Today, please welcome author Beth Pugh. Born and raised in the rolling hills of eastern Kentucky, Beth Pugh is a wife and mother searching for contentment among the chaos. She writes stories with heart like baby bear soup, hoping to inspire others. When she isn't writing, you can find her jamming out in the parent pickup line, reading on the couch, or cheering for the Chicago Cubs. Today is she going to talk to us about her latest Contemporary Romance, The Valentine Proposal. She is also giving away one print copy (USA ONLY) and one eBook everywhere else.
Beth, welcome to Interviews & Reviews!
How long have you been writing?
Since second grade. Our teacher asked us to make up a story about Geoffrey the Giraffe, the mascot for Toys”R” Us. I had him play with Miracle Grow. When I learned about poetry at the age of nine or ten, it was game over. I fell in love with the genre. I read as many poems as I could find in my schoolbooks and tried to write them myself. I moved on to prose in high school and personal essays after that. It wasn’t until a few years ago, though, I tried my hand at fiction. I was convinced I couldn’t do it! In fact, I was the kid who put a poem in their writing portfolio instead of a short story. I never planned to write a book, but we plan and God laughs. I’m thankful His ways are always higher than our own because I would have missed out on so much had I stuck to my plan.
I can relate. What inspired you to write this book?
Hallmark and high school. When I originally started writing the Pine Valley Holiday series, I knew very little of what each book would be about other than I wanted them to read like a Hallmark movie. I’m a sucker for a sweet love story!
One night while I was trying to go to sleep, I kept thinking of what I could plot around Valentine’s Day and a conversation between two of my high school friends popped in my head. They had vowed if they were both unattached at their ten-year high school reunion they would get married. Both of them were married by that time, but I started thinking about what would happen if they made good on that promise and what that would look like. The two had always been friends, but never dated, so it would have been interesting, to say the least. It definitely made for a wild ride in the fictional world, especially when I threw February 14th in the mix. It was an extremely fun book to write.
Is there a message in your book that you want your readers to grasp?
Failure isn’t final with God. In the story, the heroine, Lily Anne, feels like she’s failed at life and it’s her fear of failing at family that pushes her to agree to Mason’s proposal. She can’t see past her flaws to find her beauty, but Mason can and does, just like God does with His children. The Lord loves us no matter our faults and I hope that when readers close this book that realization stays with them.
How were you saved?
I met Jesus in a little country church on a Wednesday night during the special singing portion of the service. As a child, I’d prayed a sinner’s prayer, but when my mother died, I abandoned my faith. I was eighteen and mad at the world. I was mad at God. It took me almost four years to get over my temper tantrum and during that time God protected me, especially from my depression that nearly turned suicidal. In all His goodness and mercy, He saw fit to give me a second chance, and I am so thankful He did. But He’s done so much more than secure my home in Heaven. He’s restored my joy while I wait for eternity, and I didn’t think that was possible. He truly is a WOW kind of God.
That's amazing. I'm glad you found your way back to God. What is your favourite Scripture verse, and why?
Romans 8:28 is my favorite verse not only because of God’s promise to work all things for our good but because of the reminder that it’s HIS purpose, not ours. Some things in life break us, and when we break that pain is real and hurts. But the sorrow isn’t without a cause. God takes that brokenness and uses it to uplift His name and further the kingdom! To know that my struggles are not in vain, that the pain has a higher purpose, gives me hope.
In true God fashion, turning pain into purpose is actually how my writing journey started. After my Daddy passed away in 2018, I was sure I'd go back down the path of depression like I did when my mother died. BUT GOD... God had other ideas. I felt Him tell me in my spirit that it was now or never to chase my dreams. So, I did. I began writing my first manuscript (even though I had no idea what I was doing) and that story not only helped me get through my grief but healed my heart at the same time. It’s my prayer that the stories God gives me does the same for readers. Writing gives me a kingdom purpose and I hope to use it to point others to Him.
Oh, my. You've had to endure two big losses in your life. I can see how writing a book would be therapeutic. Do you talk to your characters?
I kind of wish my husband was the one answering this question because it would be hilarious to hear his response. Yes, I talk to my characters. Probably more than I should. I am a pantser when I write, meaning I have no idea where the characters are going to take me, so conversations with them are a must. They lead and I follow, which gets me into trouble sometimes and makes for some lengthy revisions. But it’s the only way I can get the words out, so I’ll let them keep stealing the show as long as they keep talking.
Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?
Thank you! A thousand times over, thank you! Being a debut author is so exciting, but it’s also incredibly scary because my heart is in my writing. I will forever be grateful for those willing to take a chance on my stories and letting me share the deepest parts of me.
When is your next book due out, and can you tell us about it?
The second book of the Pine Valley Holiday series, The Santa Run, will come out in September 2022. This is one of the first places I’ve announced the release. I’ve not even done a cover reveal yet (but I’ve seen it and am in love)! Actually, it’s up for pre-order already on Amazon! And yes, I can absolutely tell you about it.
In The Santa Run, readers will be going back to Pine Valley, KY to see a side character from The Valentine Proposal, Eliza Lee, chase her happily ever after. The story takes place around Christmas so there is definitely holiday cheer mixed in. But it’s not all fun and games. Eliza must battle the clock and new management to save The Santa Run, the annual train ride that gives out toys, coats, and grocery certificates to those in Pine Valley that need it most. It’s a treasured tradition of the Appalachian Express, the railroad company where she works, and the town. But the acquisition overseer from New York, Bennett Olsen, has his own agenda that keeps him hesitant to step in and help. Eliza, with her big heart and southern sass, is hard to ignore, though, and the two end up with their hearts on the line.
That sounds exciting! Thank you for stopping by and sharing with us today.
And now, Dear Readers, if you would like to win a copy of A Valentine Proposal, just fill out the form below!
This giveaway ends January 11, 2022. One winner from the U.S. will receive a print copy of The Valentine Proposal and one winner outside the U.S. will receive an eBook version. Winners will be notified via email and will be announced here and on Facebook. Failure to claim your giveaway within five days will result in another winner being chosen.
Congratulations to Christine Meiser! You have won a print copy of