Saturday 22 July 2017

Guest Post: Melinda Inman: Her New Novel, No Longer Alone

Today my guest blogger is Melinda Viergever Inman. Her new novel, No Longer Alone, will be released on July 26, 2017. In this post, she explains the background to this novel. It is based on a true story, and here's the rub, it is based on her great grandparents! Not having experienced grandparents myself, I can see how they can enrich their grandchildren's lives. I do not know much of my grandparent's genealogical history and spiritual heritage, so to have an author write a fictional account of hers based on true events, is something that I am drawn to. I am intrigued to see how this love story forms the foundation for the spiritual heritage that has impacted Melinda's family and remains a great testimony to the faithfulness of God. 

So without further ado, sit back and let Melinda talk about this foundational novel of her grandparents. 

The Story of No Longer Alone by Melinda Inman

I was blessed to grow up in a sprawling family of storytellers descended from American pioneers. The roots of all my stories were planted in the rich red soil of the Oklahoma prairie and the Kansas River bottom. There I learned about family, loss, hardship, and perseverance. Covered wagons were a part of my heritage and so were tragic death and lifelong wounds wrought by disaster.

Oklahoma didn’t become a state until 1907. Before then it was Indian Territory. Like many Oklahomans, there is Cherokee blood in my veins. No Longer Alone begins in 1913 when my Great-Grandmother Avery was a young woman in her early twenties.

When I was a child, she told us about the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893 and how she rode in the back of the covered wagon as their family rushed to claim a parcel of land, free for the taking. Hearing stories that are larger than life straight from the mouth of a participant is breathtaking for an inquisitive child. The scenes of panoramic paintings and movie screens are real to me, having listened to a primary source describe the experience.

But what intrigued me, even more, were the love stories behind the scenes.

One day we headed for nearby Enid, my mother at the wheel with my grandmother beside her in the front seat of our 1956 Ford Fairlane. In the back, I sat in the middle, my little legs straight out in front of me on the spacious seat. A great-grandmother sat on either side. My mother was in a hurry. Our large car went sailing over a wooden bridge as we sped up the narrow dirt road.

When we crossed that bridge, one great-grandmother said to the other, “Isn’t this the bridge where you and Prentis used to park in his buggy?”

Park in his buggy? What does that mean?

My little head swivelled toward Grandma Avery to hear her response. With wistful eyes, she gazed out the window, sorrowful longing in her voice as she recalled what a good kisser Prentis had been when they sat in that buggy. A widow now, she remained quiet for a great while afterwards, staring out the car window.

I’m sure they had no idea I was listening, but a light went on inside me. That moment was etched in my little brain. Our ancestors have histories. They were young. They fell in love. They made lives. That’s how we all came to be.

The stories of my ancestors fascinated me. Throughout my childhood I sat with the adults, a lone audience, listening to their stories. That’s where I wanted to be. I put together the pieces and formed in my mind the reality of my pioneer ancestors. I helped clean out their homes and sort their possessions when they passed away, finding pieces of their lives—letters, beautiful negligee, personal Bibles, obituaries.

As I wrote No Longer Alone, my aunts, uncles, and parents watched over my shoulder, thrilled that I was able to capture the personalities and character of Prentis, Avery, and all the rest. How did I do it? I merely listened, filling my imagination with their tales. Then I put together the pieces and wrote with the intuition of an observer. I’ve used the pet phrases, intonations, and cadence of speech used by these real people.

In No Longer Alone, I’ve woven in family stories and tragedies, world news, and local events, but this is no biography. This is fiction. Some of the characters of this novel are purely fictitious, though the events may be real. Fiction is blended seamlessly with real life, crafted to make a story that teaches the lesson of a lifetime: Can God be trusted?

Be transported into the world of rural Oklahoma just as the Great War begins. Come discover life on the prairie before electricity and other modern conveniences. Turn back time as you read No Longer Alone, available now.

An introduction to No Longer Alone:

Manhood arrived prematurely. At the tender age of fifteen, Prentis lost both his father and his confidence that God loved him. He grew up fast after that day, abandoning his education to take on the responsibility and hardship of supporting his mother and siblings.

Now, in Prentis’s twenties, Avery reenters his life. A Sunday School teacher with a passion for learning and theology, she is intelligent with a captivating spirit. Prentis finds her irresistible. The audacity of attempting to court such a woman in no way weakens his resolve. He’s determined to win her heart. But male competition, vicious gossip, Avery’s unspoken fears, and the ruin of his livelihood hinder his efforts. How can Prentis win her? And if he does, how will they overcome their differences, the hard life on the Oklahoma plains, and a world at war?

Set in 1913-1916, No Longer Alone is based on a true story. At the core of this historical novel is a love story that brings to life love’s healing power - both God’s love and human love. The tale also demonstrates the damage that can be done by the Christian church through judgment and harsh treatment of others and how that can impact for life those in vulnerable life situations.

Three early editorial reviews praise Melinda and her novel:

L. B. Johnson, Award Winning author of Small Town Roads

“Soft stunning and lyrically captivating, No Longer Alone: Based on a True Story, grabs onto the reader as quickly as a prairie thunderstorm. Avery and Prentis’s journey to love and renewed faith in the days leading up to World War I resonate as much today as it did one hundred years ago. A wonderfully engaging reading complemented by Inman’s vivid depiction of Oklahoma history and richly layered Christian characters.” 

Katie Andraski, author of The River Caught Sunlight

“In No Longer Alone, Melinda Inman imagines what her great-grandparents’ early marriage and courtship were like a hundred years ago when men courted women and worked to earn their heart. Set between the Oklahoma Land Rush and the beginnings of World War I, her novel explores how people lived as pioneers who wrestled with the land, the weather and their own history. I cared deeply about Prentis, Avery, their families and even their animals because they were so well drawn.

No Longer Alone is a fast, lyrical read that explores how people on the eve of the Great War worked out their salvation, with as much thought, prayer and angst as we do today. Even though happiness is nearly impossible to write, Inman draws a beautiful portrait of a couple who fall in love and start a happy marriage, that was as refreshing to dive into as mountain lake.”

Carol Johnson Parker, Educator

"It was a pleasure to read this book from start to finish. Readers who come from a background of the homestead era and prairie farming traditions will recognize this story as an authentic portrayal of the dreams and struggles of a young couple as they forge a life together. The author's descriptions of everyday life on a farm in the early 20th century are rich in detail. It is as if we were there, witnessing daily occurrences. The conversations in the story come across as genuine and underscore the importance of constant communication in any relationship. One section that was particularly delightful involved the young couple discovering things about each other they didn't know before they married. So true to life!

The incorporation of historical events lends additional authenticity to the story. It demonstrates how people's personal lives are affected by both positive and dire circumstances at home as well as on the other side of the world.

The faith element of the story is especially strong. There are many couples who enter into marriage hoping to meld their families' different religious beliefs into a healthy whole. This is not an easy process, as all of us are influenced by our early experiences. Many families keep the peace on religion by not getting involved in any faith tradition. The author has used Avery and Prentis as models of not giving up on God and seeking a way to live together in faith for the benefit of their future family.
No Longer Alone is an outstanding example of family memories incorporated into an intriguing novel."

Pre-Release Reader Amazon Customer Reviews: 

A fascinating historical novel that grabs your heart and your mind! 

By Mountain Grandma on July 10, 2017, 

Format: Paperback

No Longer Alone, a fascinating historical novel that grabs your heart and your mind. Avery is a strong attractive young woman whose gentle and patient love is just what Prentis desires and needs. Prentis is a gentle and quiet man who had to grow up overnight when his father died, and his strength of character and insights are just what Avery needs. Learn what it is like to get a Model A Ford when most people are still using horses and buggies and what courtship in a buggy is like. Enter a one-room school house where Avery is a strong, intelligent and capable teacher able to handle big boys in their teens nearly twice her size. See what it is like to be a farmer making decisions regarding the planting and harvesting of wheat to the selection and breeding of livestock and how the weather can affect one's plans for marriage. World War I is on the horizon, and the uncertainty of the times affect a young bride's emotions. Inman handles the intimate moments with modesty but deep emotion. Prentis has been alone so long, on several levels, having been raised in a home where his parents separate religious beliefs left him very wary of any attachment to a church, yet he has known God as a loving Father as he worked the fields alone. Find out about the miracle that happens to this young couple. Certainly did not want to put this novel down!

on July 8, 2017 

Format: Paperback

I enjoyed this book because it was set in my home state of Oklahoma. I didn't realize until I finished the book that it was based on a true story. It made me want to go back to those days and fall in love again. I don't think you will be disappointed. I anxiously await the sequel.

ByKarina Hon July 10, 2017 

Format: Paperback 

Melinda elegantly writes a historical love story all while reminding us that Gods plans are undeniably perfect. In hardship, loss, and joy His divine provision is a thread that binds us all, regardless of generation or race. A wonderful example of a relationship done well, No longer alone is the type of story you want readers to take note of. What more will the characters teach us in the sequel? It will be difficult to wait and find out.

Order your copy now at:

Amazon,   Barnes and Noble, or Apple iBooks for the July 26th release!

It has been a pleasure to have you as my guest, Melinda! I look forward to reading No Longer Alone. I pray that this novel will encourage a deeper relationship with God for those who read it. Thank you for allowing God to use your writing talent for His purposes in building up the Body of Christ and encouraging those who do not know Jesus to consider who He is and making a decision for Him. 

You are welcome to be a guest any time in the future where this blog may serve your novel endeavours! 

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