It all began as a lark. Shay Callahan’s life was just fine, thank you, but when the seemingly misogynistic missionary, Timothy Flynn, places an advertisement for a wife in a Christian magazine, she decides to give it a whirl and sends in the five-page application. Why not? After all, she’s not currently seeing anyone, and this man truly needs to be taught a lesson.
Finding out she’s Dr. Flynn’s pick of the litter, Shay hops on a plane and flies to The Philippines. The strategy is to jet in, enjoy an exciting two-week vacation, and jet out again, all at his expense. Instead, her plan backfires. The handsome missionary man is not what he seems, and the foreign land has far more to offer than she could imagine.
What a way to return from vacation! This week Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome author Jan Elder and Shay Callahan from Jan's recent release, Manila Marriage App. As usual, we'll begin with Shay.
Where are you from? it’s so kind of you to interview me. I grew up in Maryland in a suburb of Washington, D.C. I haven’t moved too far from home except to attend Cornell where I studied computer science. I managed to get a good job with a large corporation in the computer field, but I was just a cog in a wheel.
Tell us a bit about Manila Marriage App. Book? What book? Did you say Manila Marriage App? Is someone writing a book about me and Timothy? I’m honored. Sounds like a great title and very appropriate since I traveled to Manila in answer to a marriage application. Lots of good fodder for a book right there, don’t you think?
What did you think the first time you saw Timothy Flynn? He’s was so hot he knocked my socks off…or my flip-flops as the case may be.
Good one. And your second thought? I was kinda mad at him. He didn’t even have the courtesy to pick me up at the airport. And do you want to know the first thing he said to me? He called me Miss Callahan and said I was blonde. Duh. As I sometimes have a tendency to speak before I think, I replied, “Whoa, nothing gets past you does it, Dr. Flynn?” He just sounded so condescending. Now I know what he was really thinking.
Did you feel it was love at first sight? I did NOT like him immediately. Can you imagine someone in this day and age audacious enough to advertise for a wife? I flew to the Philippines to take him down. He was just…so, so arrogant.
What do you like most about Tim? He is one of a kind. He’s one of the brightest people I’ve ever met, but it’s his kind, caring, compassionate nature that reeled me in. Once you get to know him, you’ll find he’s a big softie. I like that.
How would you describe him? He’s tall, which is a good thing, because so am I. I’ve rarely had to look up to a man, both literally and figuratively. And Timmy has this lock of dark brown hair that keeps falling in his eyes, and speaking of his eyes, they’re this lovely shade of silvery gray that can get all cloudy when he’s passionate about something. Did I mention he was hot?
How would he describe you? He compared me to a flower and told me I was beautiful.
What made you choose computer programming as a career? I’m one of the world’s best (worst?) geeks and I’m really good at my job. I can write code like nobody’s business. I guess you could say I think in bits and bytes. That’s a programmer joke. I know. A bad one.
What is your biggest fear? Hmmm. That’s a hard one. I’ve always been able to relate well to kids and I can’t wait until I’m a mom. I’m thinking I’d like at least three children, maybe four. I suppose I should run that by the big guy, huh? [Then I think] what if I can’t have kids? I have a few friends who have gone through a lot of heartache because they’re childless. In that case, I’m sure we’ll adopt. There are so many wonderful kids here in the Philippines that need good homes. Come to think of it, maybe we’ll have lots of kids AND adopt!
Excellent thought. How do you relax? Pet a fluffy cat, read a terrific book, and enjoy a good foot rub. Ah, bliss!
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? I have a secret crush on George Reeves, the original Superman from the TV show in the 1950’s. That’s why I named my cat Clark Kent. Why do I like him? He can FLY! I’d love to fly. Maybe in heaven I’ll get to soar!
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Listen up when God speaks to you because He has something important to say!
Terrific ending, Shay. Thanks for that one. Now it's Jan's turn.
What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer and why? I’ve always love romantic books and movies. What can I say? I’m a girl. My favorite movies are A Big Fat Greek Wedding, and The Princess Bride. Then I discovered Christian Romance. Most anything that is not too sappy catches my fancy. When I made my first attempt at writing a book five years back, romance poured from my fingertips—ok, the words stuttered and stopped, stuttered and stopped with the occasional gush—so I write what makes me happy.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? My brother has lived in the Philippines for over thirty years. He’s a missionary, seminary professor, and church planter. I was privileged to visit him a few years ago where he lives in a suburb of Manila, and it changed the way I think about the world…and the way I think about my faith.
There was so much about that Asian foreign land that is good…and yet there was so much abject poverty it broke my heart. I understand why my brother has chosen to live there and I admire him for his sacrifice. I am so very glad that there are people in this world who give up so much to follow God’s leading. But could I ever be one of those people? Could I give up all of the creature comforts I have come to love so well?
In Manila Marriage App, the heroine, Shay Callahan, has a choice to make at the end of the book. Stay or go? I like to think that if God called me to serve in the mission field I would have the courage to listen to his command. I haven’t had to choose, although my brother did. But I do have a choice as to how I live here in the good old U.S.A. We have the homeless, the poor, and the downtrodden right here in the town where I live. I am trying to be more mindful of that.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? It all started in a little café in Silver Spring, MD. I was meeting with a few other ACFW members (American Christian Fiction Writers) and fellow writer, Carole T., mentioned that Pelican Book Group was searching for authors to write for their Passport to Romance series. What did I do after I hurried home? You got it. I checked it out. Pelican/White Rose publishing has a lovely website with terrific handy-dandy info all about their requirements.
Here’s an excerpt from their website at www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ that shows the requirements for their newest series, PASSPORT TO ROMANCE:
Take a trip and fall in love! Passport to Romance™ titles are contemporary romances set in exotic locations around the world. These stories offer the contemporary Christian reader adventure, vivacity, romance, and faith. Passport to Romance™ features chic heroines who are sparkling, confident, open for adventure—and who are a perfect match for a contemporary alpha male who has a zest for life, a thirst for God, and who likes an intelligent woman who can hold her own.
If you are a writer, Pelican is still taking submissions. You might want to check it out! If you are a reader, check out the whole line. You can travel around the world in your easy chair.
Thanks for that information, Jan. We're sure some of our visitors who might be starting out in this profession and are looking for a publisher will be very interested in what Pelican has to offer. What project[s] are you working on now? A Christmas novella called A Semi-Precious Christmas. The book is set in a jewelry store and starts with a bang—an armed robbery. I’m hoping that Pelican decides to publish it, also.
What's up next for you? I continue to serve as the Maryland Coordinator for American Christian Fiction Writers. Every month, my group has a fine time brainstorming, critiquing, and giving encouragement to one another and I’m always looking to form new groups. I also have a new book coming out early next year called Love, Lies, and Fireflies, by Prism. I’m working on a sequel tentatively titled Love, Wheels, and Red High Heels. Lots of fun!
Jan brought along an excerpt from Manilla Marriage App:
Taking a deep, stabilizing breath, I strolled into the room. Behind a massive teak desk sat the man I’d come to meet. The photo he’d emailed me didn’t do him justice. Not by a long shot. If I’d been the obvious sort, my jaw would have dropped to the floor. And drool. There’d be plenty of drool.
He stood as I entered the room, cool gray eyes raking over me. His bio had told me he was a tall man, but the head shot hadn’t captured the aura of authority he projected. Mister-too-important-to-pick-me-up didn’t say a word, although that intense stare roamed my face with apparent disbelief. Perhaps he was confused as to my shabby state, but he didn’t have to be rude.
We glared at each other. In fact, he examined me as if he were judging a heifer at the county fair. If he were testing my mettle, I was not going to be the first one to blink. With a heavy sigh, he shook his head, loosened his lips, and said the words I least expected. “Miss Callahan, you’re blonde.”
Words spilled out of my own mouth before I could filter them. “Whoa, nothing gets past you does it, Dr. Flynn?”
“In the picture you sent me, you were a brunette.”
Well, he had me there. Before last Tuesday, I had been a brunette. Light brown, but still brown. I straightened my spine. “Hey, I didn’t go platinum or anything. The appealing color you see before you is called Golden Latte. Two measly shades lighter.” Huffing, I pushed my long mane behind my ears hoping no remaining traces of peas were visible. “And what am I doing justifying my personal color preferences to you? It’s my hair.”
He kept staring at me. “Putting that issue aside, you’re also not…how shall I put this? You’re…you’re not what I expected. You’re way too…”
“I’m way too what?” My chin rose, as did my ire.
“Oh, never mind,” he mumbled. His head hung down and, I swear, his feet shuffled. That was unexpected. Was he arrogant or bashful?
Either way, still standing in the doorway, I’d had enough of this strange exchange. Since he didn’t seem to know how to greet me like a decent human being, I’d give him a demonstration. “Okay, let’s try this again. Dr. Flynn, I presume? I’m Shay Callahan. You know, the woman you ordered with a ‘keen mind, and a rational outlook on life’?”
This has been great. Simply great. We promise, she'll be back.
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