I’m excited to welcome author Brandy Vallance to my blog today! Brandy’s debut novel, The Covered Deep, released in October; part historical romance, party mystery, and part adventure, The Covered Deep takes the reader on an emotional journey from Appalachia to London, to the streets of Bethlehem.
The Covered Deep is the winner of the 2013 Operation First Novel Contest through the Christian Writers Guild, and winner of the 2012 ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Genesis Contest for Historical Romance.
Brandy Vallance fell in love with the Victorian time period at a young age, loving the customs, manners, and especially the intricate rules of love. Since time travel is theoretically impossible, she lives in the nineteenth century vicariously through her novels. Unaccountable amounts of black tea have fueled this ambition. Brandy hopes to avoid a similar fate as the writer, Honoré de Balzac, who met his death via caffeine poisoning. At this point, the balance may not be tipped in her favor. Brandy’s love of tea can only be paralleled by her love of Masterpiece Theater Classics, deep conversations, and a good book.
Bianca Marshal is holding out for the perfect husband. Finding a man that meets the requirements of her must-have list in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains has proven impossible. Bianca’s mama insists that there’s no such thing as a perfect true love, and that Bianca’s ideal man is pure fiction.
On the eve of her twenty-fifth birthday, Bianca discovers a devastating statistic: her chance of marrying is now only eighteen percent. Unwilling to accept spinsterhood, Bianca enters an essay contest that propels her into a whirlwind search for her soul-mate. Via the opulence of London and the mysteries of the Holy Land, Bianca’s true love will be revealed, but not without a heavy price.
My Review of The Covered Deep:
I finished The Covered Deep yesterday, and I still catch myself gazing at the cover. Thinking about Bianca and Paul. Replaying zippy dialogue and decadent descriptions of scenery in my mind. Savoring phrases used like word sculptures throughout the prose. And smiling at the last few pages.
I really didn’t want to close this book.
Author Brandy Vallance has written a unique, adventurous romance, a story that is breath-taking in its twists and turns and secrets. Her characters are larger-than-life, humorous, and relatable. The secrets the story holds will drive you pages and pages in, until questions finally get answered and God’s grace is revealed on the streets of Bethlehem and back home in the heart of the US.
The story begins at the banks of the Ohio River, carrying the reader along to museums in London and the moon-drenched streets of Jerusalem on the back of an Arabian horse. Each scene packs emotional punch and builds to the story’s end, bringing full-circle the themes of forgiveness and grace.
I will long remember brave, bright Bianca and thoughtful, mysterious hero Paul. Their interactions on the page and chemistry were lifelike and sigh-worthy.
The Covered Deep offers readers the heart-pattering chemistry of a romance, the vivid detail and background of a historical, and the buried secrets and regrets of a mystery. It’s a truly unique and unforgettable story, one I highly recommend.
Brandy Vallance has a talent with words and description and has a gentle magnifying glass into the workings of the human heart.
- Winning the Operation First Novel through the Christian Writers Guild must have been a dream and a half come true. Try to share the emotion of receiving that phone call!
Yes, indeed! It was a total dream come true. I was in Starbucks when I read online that I was a finalist. I started crying right there! The night that I won, I was at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs at the Writing for the Soul Conference. Jerry Jenkins went to the podium and welcomed everyone to the conference. After a few matters of business, he asked the finalists of Operation First Novel to stand. I had seven guests with me that night (my writing support group, family, and literary agent). When he announced my name, it was like a resonating yes went through my body.
- I read in a previous interview that you rewrote this story several times, over a period of years. If you could go back to the beginning of that time, what’s one piece of advice you would you tell yourself on this journey to publication?
Perseverance is key. Dream big. God makes the impossible, possible.
- I appreciated the uniqueness of The Covered Deep. I don’t think I’ve read another story quite like it – romance, historical, and mystery. When you wrote the first draft, did you consciously set out to create such a fascinating mix of genres?
Thank you! No, it wasn’t conscious. I just wrote the book I wanted to read.
- Your heroine, Bianca Marshal, is a starry-eyed bookworm from Appalachia. She’s naïve, yet plucky and courageous. Do you consider that she’s similar to you, or very different?
All the characters have a little of me in them, I suppose. Bianca is a dreamer and a bookworm, and that’s not far off. However, Bianca is a lot funnier than I could ever be on the fly. She’s like the best friend I wish lived down the street.
- I absolutely the love the scene in the British Museum when Bianca meets Paul. He’s so mysterious and appealing; their chemistry was riveting throughout the story. Did you have a favorite character in this story? A least favorite character?
I love that first scene between Paul and Bianca! I went to the British Museum in 2011 and stood in the King’s Library where I had them meet. That was a wonderful moment for me. I just adore their chemistry. It was so much fun to write! Paul and Bianca are my favorite characters, I think, but I have a place in my heart for all the characters in The Covered Deep.
- The Covered Deep weaves a test of faith into the storyline, for both Bianca and Paul. Why was this important to you?
I love deep conversations and I suppose I wanted the book to reflect that. I’m all about getting down to the deepest truth, both for my characters and myself. So much in our modern world is muddled. I wanted to ask some hard questions in the book and find real answers. What does it mean to be a true Christian? Was Jesus who He said He was? Those are some of the issues that I wanted to explore.
~ Quick Questions ~
A color we’ll never see you wear?
Hmmm . . . I don’t usually wear pastels. I love jewel tones.
Night owl or mourning dove?
A book you’ll never part with?
The King James Bible.
Favorite way to spend a lazy day?
Drinking tea and reading!
Brandy, thank you so much for visiting my blog! I relished each moment reading The Covered Deep, and highly recommend this one-of-a-kind romantic adventure. Please keep writing! I look forward to your next book! (I would love a sequel for Sir Adrian.)
Thank you so much!
In honor of Brandy’s love of good books and tea, I’m offering one copy of The Covered Deep along with a delightful assortment of tea to one reader who comments on this interview.
In your comment, please share either A) your favorite genre (type) of book to read, or B) your favorite kind of tea.
Contest opens Friday, December 5th and closes midnight Thursday, December 11th. Only for U.S. residents, please. You MUST leave an email address with your comment so I can reach you if you’re the winner.
I’ll draw the name Friday morning and post it here on my blog; if you win I’ll be in touch for your address soon.
Thanks so much for reading!