I’m so looking forward to this interview today! I love finding out about new authors and writers. Can you tell us what genre you write and a little of your writing journey?
Certainly! I write Christian contemporary romance. It all started with a creative writing class I took in college. I took the class because I needed it for my requirements and I had no idea how much I would love it. I’ve dabbled with writing in the past but I never showed anyone. My teacher was extremely supportive and once the writing bug bit, it was all over. In 2014, I made a commitment to myself to finish a story and take my craft seriously. I’ve been writing ever since.
What book are you featuring today and what story can you tell us that has something to do with your book?
Today, I wanted to talk about my latest book, Buying Love. I wrote it in November 2015, and I’m overjoyed that it is now available for readers to enjoy. This book is special to me because it was written for National November Writer’s Month (NaNoWriMo). It’s a contest that takes place to motivate writers to write 50,000 words or more for the month of November. It was the first time I entered, and I was successful at reaching the goal. Buying Love is the result of it.
Can you give us a short summary or back copy blurb about the book you are featuring today, Buying Love http://amzn.to/2deXj91?
Will money ruin everything? Nina Warrenton is ready for the next step in her life plan—marriage, but no one has proposed. Taking matters into her hand, she places an ad in the newspaper hoping to entice a willing stranger. But when she begins to fall for the small-town chef, she realizes how much she wants him to love her and not her money.
Dwight Williams needs fast cash to save the family restaurant. When he sees Nina’s monetary offer for a husband, he goes for it. He’s determined to save the legacy his dad left him, but can he let it go to prove his love for her? Can Nina and Dwight find true love, once money has entered the equation?
I love this idea, and I love the cover of your book! What do you do when you sit down to write? Do you listen to a certain type of music or eat chocolate or exercise? Anything special?
The first thing I do is pray. I always want my words to be guided by the Lord. Then I set up my music, because silence is a bit unnerving to me. Depending on the genre or my mood dictates the type of music I listen to. Generally, I listen to Contemporary Christian, Country, or artist like Adele. I also love to snack on crunchy foods, such as, chocolate covered nuts, seaweed (when I’m in a health conscious mood), or trail mix.
What is something unique or amusing about yourself or your life that we would like to know?
I talk out loud quite often. It drives my husband crazy because he can never tell if I’m talking to him or myself. But, it helps me focus and I get more things done that way. 😉
Give us a short biography about yourself and tell us how we can contact you (fb, twitter, website).
Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.
She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the local Virginia Chapter.
You can find her on her at the following sites:
Blog I’m part of: http://puttingonthenew.com ; http://heartwingsblog.com
*GIVEAWAY!* One free ebook of this same title will be given to the winner of a drawing. Anyone who makes a comment on this post on my blog (lindarodante.com) or on my author facebook site (Linda K. Rodante) will be put in for a drawing. On Monday, following this blog, a winner will be drawn and their name will be given to the author who will contact them and arrange for the book to be sent.
Please give us the first chapter of your book:
Nina Warrenton checked her watch for the umpteenth time. He was late. On the one hand, she was thankful; on the other, she was annoyed. Who makes an appointment and shows up late? Granted living in the D.C. Metro area guaranteed multiple opportunities to be late, but she made an effort to arrive on time to any appointment. Too bad the unknown Mr. Williams didn’t hold the same virtue.
She sighed. Had she acted prematurely? Putting an ad for a husband was a little archaic, but she believed it would get the job done. However, none of the previous candidates had panned out. One man had been released from prison a couple of months ago. Another had answered her ad with the hope of moving out of his mother’s place. Still, another had answered her ad because the voices in his head had prompted him to. She shook her head.
Maybe the face that Mr. Williams was missing was God showing her he wasn’t the one. Maybe he was prematurely balding or had the personality of wilted lettuce. Of course, she had prayed that God would send her the right man, but there was no guarantee He would acquiesce to her request.
She tapped her pen on the table and looked around the room. The coffee shop was filled with D.C. metropolitans ready to embrace the autumn air. It was a gorgeous day with a light breeze and the preferred seventies temperature. Was it possible that Mr. Williams was already here and hiding behind a coffee mug or laptop, to secretly get a first impression without her noticing? She peeked around the shop, but she was the only one alone.
She glanced at her watch again. He was only five minutes late. Maybe he took the metro and it was running behind. On the other hand, maybe he drove and couldn’t find a parking spot. The sound of her pen hitting the table seemed to mark the seconds. She knew this part of D.C. wasn’t filled with ample parking, but she wasn’t ready to excuse him yet. Her place was a block away and she had made the journey in no time.
She glanced down at her aqua journal to review her notes about the man in question. He had filled out the questionnaire she had sent when he contacted her about the ad. She knew he was a few years older than herself and lived in Loudoun County, a suburb in Northern Virginia. Coming from that direction, he probably was stuck in traffic.
She really wasn’t that obsessed with time. However, he was the third candidate she planned on meeting face-to-face. Third time was the charm, right? If so, why wasn’t he here? Why hadn’t Prince Charming swept her off her feet? Shouldn’t she be the one making him wait?
She glanced up at the tinkle of the door chime. She inhaled sharply. In strode a man, wearing a sweater that matched the color of her notebook, a white-collared shirt peeking above his collar and hanging past the sweater’s edge. His maple-brown sugar skin reminded her of her favorite body scrub. He was gorgeous.
She shifted in her seat wondering if he was her missing appointment. Mr. Williams had agreed to bring a white rose so that she could identify him. However, the bookshelf by the door hid his hands. The man scanned the crowd then brought his hands up and took a sniff of the aforementioned flower.
It was him.
She wanted to grin, but held back. She didn’t want to get her hopes up. All the other candidates had been so dismal that her dreams had begun to wan. She really wanted to meet her next life goal of having a family, but a husband was imperative. If Mr. Williams didn’t pan out, what was she going to do? Her ex-boyfriend had gleefully dumped her a few months ago.
She shook her head to dislodge the thought. She didn’t have time to entertain it. Instead, she stood up and waved a hand, hoping to catch the man’s attention. He turned and captured her gaze.
She gulped. The electricity that hummed in the air had to be her imagination. He gave a brief smile and walked her way. She clasped her hands, hoping to present a confident façade and hide the one that was shaking in her gray suede, ankle boots.
He stopped at the bistro-style table and cleared his throat. “Are you Nina Warrenton?”
The deep timbre of his voice ran down her spine. “Yes. Are you Mr. Williams?”
His eyebrows rose. She suppressed the urge to fidget. Had she sounded unfriendly?
“I am.” He held out a hand in greeting.
She placed her hand in his and almost jumped at the shock that went up her hand. Get a hold of yourself, Nina. He’s just a man.
“Nice to meet you.” She licked her lips, suddenly feeling the need for a drink of water. She sat down and reached for cup. “Would you like to get a drink? I’ll wait.”
He flashed a smile, wider than his first, and her insides quivered. Her Mr. Williams was really handsome. He’s not yours yet.
“Thanks, I appreciate that.” He placed the rose on her journal. “For you, Ms. Warrenton.”
He walked away and stood in line to place his order.
She watched, noting his broad shoulders. His outfit was wrinkle free. Although he wore dark wash jeans, he had on dress shoes. The man was a walking advertisement. Was it for pretense? Did he dress like that often? She wondered if his car and house were as neat as his appearance or if he was he really a slob.
She looked down at the notes. He said he was a chef. Were chefs messy? She hated clutter and preferred to put everything in its designated spot. Why hadn’t she put that question in her survey? She had added nitpicking ones like “Which side did he hang the toilet tissue on?” She had felt relieved to find he was an over-type-of-guy, one less argument to worry about.
She watched as he thanked the barista and placed a tip in the jar. He had good manners. She wondered if that could be attributed to his parents or was he a self-made man? Lord, I pray that You would guide me in this interview. You know how important it is to me to successfully complete the next item on my list. Please, let him be the one.
Her ex had admired her determination at completing a goal, only to cite it as an aggravating habit when he dumped her. Would Mr. Williams agree?
She couldn’t think of him as Dwight. Not yet. Maybe if he agreed to get married, but for now, it was vital to view this as a business relationship. Who knew, despite his good looks, he could fail at the interview portion as the other two guys who managed to get that far had.
He walked back to the table and took the seat across from her.
“What did you get?”
“The dark roast with cream and sugar. You?”
So he was a coffee drinker as well. “Caramel Macchiato.” She stared at him, noting his thin goatee. Suddenly, her mind was devoid of all the questions she had planned to ask. She reached for her cup hoping to regain her focus.
“So, why the ad?”
She watched him as he took a cautious sip of coffee. Should she be completely truthful? She scooted in her chair. “I like setting goals for business and for my personal life. A husband is necessary for the next goal on my list. I don’t have a boyfriend so this seemed like the best way to go about it.” She cringed inwardly. She sounded like a robot or worse, heartless.
He slowly nodded. “What’s the goal?”
“I’d like to be married and have a child before I hit thirty-five.”
His eyebrows rose again. Was that a facial expression she should start expecting from him? Was he unsure of how to proceed as much as she was?
“Wouldn’t you rather let nature have its way and fall in love?”
She tilted her head. “I don’t necessarily believe in ‘falling in love.’” She sighed as she used air quotes. “I think society has diluted the feeling and used it as an excuse for divorce and for not keeping their vows sacred. I know my way seems a little unconventional, but I believe that God will guide me through this endeavor.” She looked down at her journal. Why couldn’t she relax and speak from her heart? She sounded like she was making a proposal in the boardroom. But you need to be analytical. Hopefully Mr. Williams would understand.
He sat back and took another sip of his coffee. “So then whoever you chose, you intend to stay married until death do you part?”
“Absolutely. Wasn’t that your intention when replying to my ad?”
She saw his chest rise and fall. He rubbed the back of his head. She tensed as she waited to see if he was going to lie or was just looking for the words to continue.
“Honestly, when I first applied to the ad, it was because of your comment of a monetary dowry upon marrying. I have a family business that could use the financial support. However, after filling out your questionnaire, I prayed to God asking for guidance. It made me uneasy that just any man could apply and potentially be a candidate. Frankly, I worry about your safety.”
His brown eyes met hers and she tried not to turn into a wet noodle. She appreciated his candor. Thankfully, all the past candidates had agreed to a background report, which a coworker conducted. Now she owed him a favor, but it had been worth it. She was able to weed out those who did not meet her standards, bankrupt and financially incompetent men, not to mention the criminals who were unfit to participate with society.
He said he worried about her. The thought was mind-boggling. When was the last time someone truly worried about her? She could count on one hand the people she was close to. “Thank you for your honesty. The background check helped and I haven’t met a single man in a private place.” She shifted in her seat. “By the way, I appreciate your willingness to drive to D.C. I’m sure the commute wasn’t pleasant.”
Driving in the D.C. Metro area could be a nightmare on a sunny afternoon. Add to it that this was Saturday ensured that traffic was a given, no matter what time of day.
“Not a problem. So do you have additional questions to ask?”
She nodded and turned to the additional questions in her notebook. Here goes nothing.
Dwight Williams watched her as she referred to her journal. He had been floored when she stood up. He half expected the mysterious Nina Warrenton to be ugly. What else was he supposed to think about a woman who’d put an ad in the paper titled, “Seeking a Husband?” Yet ugly she was not. She was breathtaking, although he couldn’t put it on one stand out feature. Her skin reminded him of the pumpkin bread his mother made. And her haircut reminded him of Toni Braxton’s old short cut.
Yep. She was beautiful.
He remembered how he read the entire ad out of curiosity. He’d tossed the paper shortly after and had a good laugh at it. However, it refused to dislodge itself from his mind. After a week of seeing the advertisement run in the paper, he had finally sent her an email as stated in the ad. He had expected her to contact him via the phone but instead, he’d received a link to Survey Monkey to fill out a questionnaire. He felt like he was in an episode of The Twilight Zone.
“Why do you want to get married?” she asked.
He stared at her, pulling his mind from his musings. He huffed. He didn’t know how to answer that. Be honest, you have nothing to lose. “My idea of marriage is to have a life partner. One who would take an interest, if not an active role, in my business. One who I could share every aspect of my life with. To laugh with, to know she has my back, basically someone to live life with.” He stopped, trying to find the right words to explain his desires. He met her gaze, once again startled by her beauty.
“That sounds like a dream marriage. Even though we aren’t in love, would you let that allow you to stray from your vows?”
“No.” He believed in the sanctity of marriage. Even if he found this whole process a little odd. “If I commit myself to you, I will keep our vows sacred. As I said in the survey, I’m a Christian and would not break the commands God has put in place.” He wiped his hands on his jeans. He couldn’t believe he had come here.
Was he crazy? No, just desperate. He couldn’t let his family’s business go under without trying every avenue available to him. He wanted to ask how much the dowry was, but he didn’t want to be crass. He sighed. This was so bizarre.
“Would you be willing to relocate to D.C.?”
He hesitated. Driving to D.C. from the edge of Loudoun County, where the family restaurant was located, would wreak havoc on what little patience he had. He hated the traffic. “Honestly, no. My business is in Loudoun County. To move here, but have to travel there every day, would be a nightmare. Not that I’m not willing to talk it over.” He settled his elbows on his knee and leaned forward. Suddenly, he realized he knew nothing about her. She held all the cards. “What do you do?”
“I’m a CPA working primarily as a consultant, so I don’t have a nine-to-five-job.”
The husky tone of her voice captured his attention, so it was a moment before her words penetrated the haze her voice had created. “Wait, you’re a consultant?” At her nod, he continued. “Well then would you be willing to relocate?”
He held his breath, awaiting the answer. Was he really considering going through with this charade? He pictured his ledger and the amount noted in red. His options were limited.
“Perhaps, many of my clients are located in Northern Virginia. But I also have some in D.C.”
He nodded. He didn’t want to argue the point because he still wasn’t sure if he was going to go through with this. What would God think? “I feel like you know more about me since I did your survey. How about you share a little about yourself?”
She shifted in her seat. It seemed to be a nervous habit of hers. He wanted to laugh because she looked like a little kid.
“Well, my favorite color is the same as your sweater. My birthday is the fourth of July. I graduated from high school at sixteen. And, that’s about it.”
His clenched his jaw. She sent him a one hundred-question survey and he got about three facts from her. “Okay, how about this.” He sat back, crossing his arms over his chest and his feet at the ankles. “You fill out the survey you sent me and send it to my email since you’re not going to be forthcoming.”
Her eyes widened a little. “Are you mad?”
“Well, let’s see. I ask you to tell me about yourself and you spit out your favorite color, birth date and when you graduated high school.” He sat forward. “This is your idea Ms. Warrenton. I’m trying to be a good sport, although I’m not even sure the one-sided inquisition is worth it.”
She let out a puff of air. “I’m sorry, Mr. Williams. When I get nervous, I start listing facts. It’s what I know and what I do. I don’t mean to be difficult.”
She stared at him, her eyes beseeching him. He wanted to walk out, but how did he know the next interviewee wasn’t some gigolo looking for easy winnings? Are you any better?
He closed his eyes and rubbed the back of his head. Then he met her gaze. “I’m sorry. Maybe I’m not the right person for this. I do need the money, but marriage should be about love, not some analytical approach to what God intended to be a blessing.”
She leaned forward, her hands squeezing her side of the table. “But don’t you see? It can be this way as well. I reviewed all your information and noticed that where I’m weak, you’re strong. You have a business that you hinted needs financial support, I have the finances. God created us to complement one another. If love was strictly about feelings, He wouldn’t command us to love one another.” Loosening her grip on the table, she reached for her drink trying to steady her nerves. “I know this seems very odd in its approach, but I promise that I would give this relationship my all. Please consider it.”
He stared blankly, unsure what to do.
“Please call me, Dwight.”
“Dwight, can I ask what’s going on with your restaurant?”
“We’re losing business.”
“So my dowry I’m offering would help, right?”
“Yes, but that’s not a reason to get married.”
“You need help, right?”
“Then wouldn’t I be a definition of a helpmate?”
He froze. The way her logic worked was frightening. You can’t contradict her, can you? He wanted to groan in frustration. He knew answering the ad was going to be a decision he came to regret, and he hadn’t done anything yet besides meet her for coffee.
“You know I’m right, Dwight.”
“I might see the logic,” he said reluctantly.
“Great.” She beamed at him and the force of her smile hit him straight in the solar plexus. Breathtaking didn’t begin to describe it.
“Can I take a few days to think about it and pray?”
“Absolutely. I hope you’ll come to the same realization I already have.”
He eyed her skeptically. “We’ll see, Ms. Warrenton.”
“Please, call me Nina.”
He stood up and she followed suit. He looked down noticing their height differences for the first time. His nerves prevented him from noticing earlier. She had to be five foot two if anything. He held out his hand. “It was nice to meet you, Nina.”
She placed her hand in his and he squeezed it, trying to hide the tremor her touch created.
“Nice to meet you, too, Dwight.”
He left the coffee shop wondering what God would say to the whole ordeal.