Hi Gay, tell us a little about your writing and your upcoming book, Mattie's Choice.
I usually write faith and humor, and you find both those elements in my Sarah series. Mattie’s Choice is different. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it’s still Christian. It details the faith of the characters. This book's premise is about choices, the way we interpret Scripture, right or wrong, and the choices we make based on what we perceive the Bible to say. The choices we make have a ripple effect on the lives of others. There weren’t many resources in 1925 to help abused women, but they exist today, and I hope women will search for them.
Mattie’s Choice is historical, and although my book is fiction, my husband’s family inspired the book.
The excerpt you are about to read below is Mattie's backstory. Mattie eloped with Jesse but jealousy soon consumes him, and he forbids Mattie to see her family. He thinks she will leave him for her former, better life if she visits with them. Jesse is a controlling, abusive man, and he’s resentful of Mattie’s twin brother, Maury. He believes Scripture teaches he is the head of the house and women are inferior.
Do men and women feel that way today? Does Scripture teach that concept? This book makes a good book club selection and discussion questions are there for you.
Will Mattie choose to give up family? You'll need to read the book to discover the answer.
Avril counted the strokes as she brushed her hair. When she totaled one hundred, she laid the brush aside and turned to her husband.
“Charles, are you ever sorry you married me?”
Charles made it to her side in one giant stride, placed his hands on her shoulders and met her eyes in the mirror.
“Never one day, my dearest. I fell in love with you on sight. If President Jackson hadn’t forced your ancestors to move to Oklahoma, I’d have gone to Georgia to find you.”
Avril smiled. “But you were born into a prominent Virginia family. I doubt your parents wanted you to marry someone of Indian descent.”
“It wouldn’t have mattered to me.”
“I guess Jesse feels the same way.”
“Maybe. The Colbys came from Kentucky, and Kentucky was once heavily populated with Indians. Back in his day, President Thomas Jefferson met with an Indian delegation and told them to mix in marriage. White men have married Indian maidens over the years. Everyone knows the story of Pocahontas. Nevertheless, such marriages are frowned on by some. I know several who keep their blood a secret. I’m guessing Mattie’s Cherokee heritage doesn’t matter to Jesse or he wouldn’t have married her. Our families accepted each other. Jesse doesn’t accept us. If it hadn’t worked out for us, what would you have done?” Charles massaged her shoulders.
“I would’ve done all I could to change their minds—just like Mattie says she’s doing.” Avril grinned at him in the mirror.
Charles laughed and kissed the top of her head. “One look into your beautiful black, flashing eyes is all that it takes for me to do your bidding. Our Maury and Mattie have your dark, good looks. I’m not surprised Jesse fell in love with Mattie. I simply wish he was a reasonable man.”
“Our younger girls resemble you and your English ancestry, and I’m sure it won’t be long before they have boys courting them. I hope they marry someone who won’t split the family.”
Avril stood and Charles placed his arm around her waist, tucked her into bed, turned off the electric lamps, and joined her.
“We see my family, but we don’t see your folks in Virginia. I regret that. Do you want to move?” Avril reached for his hand.
“We’re staying here. Oklahoma has the best opportunities.” He squeezed Avril’s hand. “If I could’ve come with the first land rush, I’d have met you sooner. I had to wait an extra four years for the second land opening, but I got here as fast as I could.”
“Yes, you and about fifty thousand other white men,” Avril stated in a subdued tone. “Many of my Cherokee ancestors weren’t happy about the first land rush, and they were also irritated about the second one. They’d endured too many broken promises from the government, and those broken promises resulted in our Trail of Tears. Then look at what happened. After a mere fifty years of giving us a new home and calling it Indian Territory, the government approved land for white settlement. Those authorizations removed Indian control and the white man took over. We lost our land again.”
Charles squeezed her hand again. “I hate that. My good luck came at a price for your people. I’m sorry.”
Avril acknowledged his hand hug with one of her own. “I know, but it wasn’t your doing, and thanks to you, I’ve benefited from the white development, so I have mixed emotions—happy for me, sad for my people.”
Charles remained quiet and waited for Avril to speak again.
Avril clucked her tongue and began once more. “I doubt the men were thinking about taking land from my ancestors, just as you weren’t when you came. Like you, they wanted to build a life for themselves and their families. Most arrived in Guthrie with nothing but a dream, and even after years, they didn’t acquire much—if anything at all. It’s sad, isn’t it? Sad for them and my people.”
Avril grew silent for a few moments and then continued. “You made money in the construction business during those boom days in Guthrie, but most of those people didn’t make it. They suffered loss and defeat, just like my ancestors did. I have no idea why God allows some to achieve and not others. Do you?
“No. I don’t have an answer to that question.”
“Are you happy you sold out and moved to Fossil Creek?”
“Of course I am. This is where I met you. A smaller place is better for a family, and I wanted one. Tulsa is a day’s journey by buggy, and Oklahoma City takes about two days. I can conduct business in the bigger cities if I need to.”
Avril chuckled. “The trip would be faster if you bought a gasoline buggy like Maury plans to do.”
Charles caressed her arm. “And chug down the road in a cloud of black smoke from one of those things? No thanks.”
In the black night of their bedroom, Avril smiled. “I predict Ford will eventually fix that smoke problem.” After a moment, she continued. “God has blessed us.”
“Yes, He has, but I don’t want to flaunt our position. I could have hired more help, but we both agreed that wasn’t a good idea. Our children know the value of a dollar and how long it takes to earn one. Maury builds pens and coops. He also helps with the planting and harvesting. The girls learned how to cook, clean, sew, grow a garden and tend animals. Our daughters don’t know how to bookkeep money accounts—no need for that, but Maury does.”
“I think you should teach our daughters to bookkeep as well.”
Charles chuckled. “Now sweetheart, let’s don’t get carried away. There’s men’s doings and then there’s women’s doings. I’ll teach Maury about business. We’ll continue to be involved in construction and land development here in Osage County. We can use our influence to help others.”
“We’ll see. Time will tell. At this moment, Jesse doesn’t want anything from me.”
“What about Mattie? If she asks to come back home, will you let her?”
“Of course I will, but I don’t believe in divorce. Besides that, divorce isn’t an easy thing to get these days. I doubt there’s a court that would issue one. I don’t believe in interfering with a man’s marriage, either. We’ve taught our offspring to keep an oath once it’s given, and Mattie gave one to Jesse.”
“Mattie is a woman-child. Not quite grown up enough in some ways and too much so in others. She didn’t realize what she might be doing.”
“Especially where Jesse is concerned. I’ve got to think on it. She’s put us all in a dilemma.”
He released her hand and turned his back to her. “Goodnight, Avril.”
I hope you enjoyed meeting Avril and Charles, and I hope you'll soon meet Mattie and Jesse.
A native Texan, Gay lives in Fulshear, a small town west of Houston. She loves to travel and engage in artistic ventures. Two videos she produced —The Canadian Rockies, English and Japanese translations, and Psalms from the Mountains, sold well in international markets. Graphic skills kept her busy as a portrait photographer, and for over ten years, she used her imaginative insight in the interior design field.
As a pastor’s wife, she writes Faith Features for various church periodicals. She also writes articles for Texas Hill Country. Gay is also a published author for Pelican Book Group in romance and fantasy fiction. Her current series is about a dyslexic angel who comes to earth to help humans, but Sarah, the angel, is more like Lucy Ricardo with humorous antics and bumbles.
All of the Sarah books have appeared on Amazon’s Best Seller’s List. The Sarah series is available in eBook format as well as print at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Pelican Book Group, and other book sellers. Some additions are available in Amazon Audible. Each book in the series is a standalone novel.
Her latest books, Mattie’s Choice, and Clue into Kindness are not fantasy and romance. These books are women’s fiction. The stories are about abusive men and women who are addicted to an unhealthy relationship.
The books are available in print, eBook, and audio.
For more information, please go to Gay's website
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