Thursday, July 18, 2013

Leah's Peace by Sophie Dawson: Interview and Excerpt


How did you get into writing?

I was media team leader for many years in my church. I knew God was leading me in a different direction and when the year ended I ended my participation in that ministry. I prayed and thought for about a month before I decided writing was what I was supposed to do. As soon as I submitted to God’s leading the story of my first book Healing Love came into my mind. 

Has someone helped or mentored you in your writing career?

I joined a Christian Writer’s Forum and received a lot of help and critiques. I needed help since I was a novice and they were kind enough to give it to me. One man, Pastor George McVey, even told me one part was the stupidest thing he had ever heard. He and I are good friends now and will be co-authoring a book soon.

What do you think makes a good story?

I think real life issues which deal with relationships and choices. My stories often don’t have a bad guy(s). It’s not often there is a real bad guy in our real lives. Relationships are difficult enough and making the right choices can be hard to do since often it may seem like you are hurting the ones you love. But God’s way always works the best even though it can be the toughest.

Plotter or Pantser? Why?

I’m both. I know what the conflict I’m starting with and where I want it to end but getting there usually isn’t all figured out. I’ll outline what I think will happen in each chapter but in the end it’s never gone the way I outlined.

Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?

Yes, Sophie Dawson is my pen name. There are several reasons why I decided to use one. I won’t go into those here. You can find them on the “About Me” page on my website. Dawson is my maiden name so that’s pretty easy to tell why. Sophie, means wisdom and I’m trying to pass on God’s wisdom found in the Bible to others on living as he instructed us. 

Do you have any books in the writing stage?

At the moment I have three started and one I’m doing some research on. One is the forth book in the Cottonwood Series, Redeeming Love. That one I’m co-authoring with Pastor George. I’m also working on a contemporary novel which I may publish under a different pen name. I also a novel set at the time of Jesus in the works. There will be at least one more Stones Creek book. As long as God gives me the stories I’ll write them.


The Civil War has been over for two years. Two young women step off the train in Stones Creek, Colorado at the same time. One is returning to the family and ranch she loves, the other starting a new life leaving the memories which haunt her behind.

*Leah, trying to flee her memories of the Civil War. She moves to Stones Creek, Colorado in 1867 following the death of her surgeon father. She had followed along as he treated Union soldiers in battle after battle. All she wants to do is forget, especially the handsome physician whose career she knew she had destroyed.

*Eli, rejected by his parents because of his scarred face and arm. He moved to Stones Creek following a war buddy and has found welcome. Eli is puzzled by the newcomer Leah's coldness and avoidance.

*Each wonders about the other. Why does this woman, who is friendly to everyone else in town, reject his offer of friendship? Why does she avoid looking at his face? How can she have peace knowing she is responsible for his scars? How could God have lead her to a town where the one person she wanted to forget lives, works and wants to be her friend?


Leah and Eli have been kidnapped and trapped in a cave. The townspeople have been searching for two days.


Riverby was giving search areas to the different groups when the store door opened. He was standing on the counter so everyone could hear him. When he saw who came in he stopped short and stared. Everyone turned around.

Standing before the now closed door was a beautiful woman dressed in velvet and fur. Next to her stood a tall lean man in dirty buckskins and a ratty coonskin hat.

“Uncle Nate? Aunt Penny?” Ben yelled as he fought his way through the dumbstruck crowd. “What are you doing here? Not that you aren’t welcome.”

“S’ppose you didn’t get my telegram sayin’ we was comin’. Sent it, when Penny m’love?” Nate looked down at the beautiful sophisticated woman.

“I think two days ago. Come Ben and give your auntie a hug.” Penny pulled Ben to her. “Now where are Sara and your children? We haven’t even seen Clayton. He must be almost two by now.”

“Yes, almost. We’ve been in a bit of a crisis the last few days. Two of the townspeople have been missing and all we’ve done is search the area for them.”

“Tells me why I’s had ta unhitch my own rail cars. You’s been carin’ for other things ’n a ol’ telegram,” Nate said. “Lookin’ like we got here just in the nick o’ time. I’ll just be getting Thunder an’ my war gear an’ be right back. I gots me some trackin’ to do.”

“Yes, dear, you go and get ready, I’ll stay here and answer the questions.” Penny accepted his kiss on the cheek. She moved further into the store as Nate left it.

“I sure hope Uncle Nate can help. Leah and Eli have been gone two days. They were kidnapped three nights ago.” Ben followed his aunt to the counter.

“Help me up, dear, so I can speak to everyone.” Ben helped Penny climb up onto the counter. “Hello, I’m Penelope Ryder, and you are?” Penny looked at Riverby who still stood on the counter.

“Sheriff Riverby, ma’am.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you Sheriff. Now, let me introduce myself and gather what information Nate will need to find this couple. You may step off the counter now.” Penny waited until she stood alone. “Greetings, citizens of Stones Creek. I’m Penelope Ryder and my husband is Nugget Nate Ryder. He’s the uncle of your own Ben Cuttler.”

The murmuring of the crowd at the mention of her husband’s name told her that his reputation had preceded them. “I see you know of him. It’s only the Lord’s doing that we are here at this moment of your great need. We weren’t going to visit this soon, Ben, but you know your uncle. He got the calling to come right now so here we are.

“Now, please tell me all you know about who, what, why and where this couple is. It will save so much time if I have the information to give Nate rather than him asking for it. He tends to get sidetracked telling stories that would be better left for after he’s found them.”

“What makes you so sure he’ll find them, lady?” A voice from the back called.

Penny speared the speaker with her gaze. “I am a lady, yes, and I have a name, it’s Mrs. Ryder. I am sure my husband will find them because he is Nugget Nate.”

That seemed to be sufficient reason for her since she repeated her request.

Ben decided he’d answer since he knew everything then have the sheriff fill Nate in on where they had searched.

The cold December wind blew into the store as Nate returned in his full war gear. Along with his buckskins and cap he had a long Kentucky rifle in his hand, a pair of Colt revolvers, a knife and hatchet on this belt. He looked just like what he was. A genuine mountain man, born and bred.

“So, Penny my darlin’, did ya get the peticulars I be a needin’.” Nate strode to the counter, wrapped his arm around his wife’s waist and swung her to the floor, giving her a kiss on the lips and a pat on the bottom.

“Yes, my love.”

“Well, be givin’ ‘em to me so’s I can be fetchin’ ‘em back afore the snow flies."


Nate walked around behind the general store. He’d already examined Eli’s apartment and Leah’s. Now he was ready to head out of town. Two day lead, well, that’s not much. He’d tracked outlaws and such with longer lead time. Besides, the cowboys who’d done this dirty deed were still around and had been immediately after, so they couldn’t have taken them far, especially at night.

Nate walked back through the building to the front of the store where the crowd waited. “Penny, my love, keep that coffee pot a brewin’ I’ll be back afore dark.” Nate kissed his wife, went out the door and swinging up onto Thunder’s back, rode out of town at a gallop.


“Will you stop that,” Leah snapped.


“Pacing. You’re making me nervous.”

“For walking around?”

“I feel like every time you walk behind me you’re going to jump on me or something.”

“Have I yet?”


“Doesn’t that give you a clue that I might not?” Eli’s voice rose with irritation.

“I don’t know. It just makes me nervous.”

Eli kept up his circuit of the cave. He’d paced it both length and width, and around. It wasn’t nearly big enough. Not for both of them and especially not for the chamber pots.

“Oh, for crying out loud. Sit down.” Leah reached out and grabbed his leg when he passed. Eli nearly fell which made him angry.

“All right. I’ll sit down.” He plunked himself down just as close as he could to her. “See I’m sitting.”

“Well move away. You’re crowding me.”

“No. I want to sit right here.”

“Then I’ll move.”

“No, I want you right here, too.”

Leah began to rise again. Eli grabbed her arms. Leah struggled to get away. His strength was greater and she ended up on her back with him still holding her arms as he looked down at her from above.

“Do you understand why I was pacing, Leah? Do you know how spending two days and two nights alone with you has affected me? I’m a man, Leah. You are a beautiful woman. We are sharing one mattress. Our bodies seek the warmth of the other. We wake up tangled together. Even though we are fully clothed I feel every inch of you. I want nothing more than to…”

Eli looked deep into her eyes and lowered his mouth to hers.

Nate scanned the bluff. Larger trees grew near the creek fading to scrub brush further away. Pulling Thunder’s reins he headed away from the creek riding along the bluff sometimes riding up it and backtracking down.

He lifted his nose and sniffed the air. A faint smell of smoke and scat drew him toward the scrub. Might just be a trapper cabin but he didn’t think so. Trappers would be further into the mountains where the trees grew tall.

The smell was faint but stronger. Nate knew he was close. Animals didn’t use fire and the smell was of human waste.

The bluff curved back and looked like it had collapsed in a heap of rubble. Nate eyed an area and kicked Thunder forward. The rocks were too neatly arranged. No bits and pieces lying on the larger ones. He sniffed again. Yeap. This was it.

Nate dismounted and tied Thunder to a bush. He began slowly climbing the rock pile. The moccasins on his feet muffling any sound. When he reached the top he pulled the first rock away and set it aside. He did the same with several more. When the opening was wide enough he shimmied through the hole and looked down.

“I be a hopin’ you gonna marry that gal, boy.”


Sophie has tried many things over the years. She loves to sew and do many types of needlework and was a professional machine quilter for a number of years. Most of the recent years have been spent as a professional volunteer on a hospital board and at her church. Professional volunteers work professional hours and get paid volunteer wages.

Retired from that Sophie now writes, reads, gardens, sews and spends time with her granddaughter. She also enjoys playing games on her iPad and MacBook Air. Many a wasted hour is spent on one or the other.

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More Links:

On Amazon

Stones Creek Series
Leah’s Peace
Chasing Noire


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