Guest Blogger: Sandra Orchard

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I’m delighted to have my friend and fellow Love Inspired author Sandra Orchard as my guest blogger today. Sandra Orchard lives in rural Ontario, Canada where inspiration abounds for her romantic suspense novels set in the fictional Niagara town she’s created as their backdrop. Married with three grown children, when not writing, she enjoys hanging out with family, brainstorming new stories with fellow writers, and walking her dog in God’s beautiful creation. She loves to connect with readers, and has created “novel extras” to enhance readers’ experience of her books.

When Lisa invited me to post today, she said I could write about real life romance or something to do with my characters. Well, when people find out I’m a writer, they often ask if my stories are inspired by true events, to which I reply, “Oh, yes,” because I always have bad guys trying to do me in, and heart throbs tripping over themselves to go out with me.
Okay, I’m just kidding. And I know many diehard romance readers shy away from romantic suspense because it can be a little too intense for their tastes, but I enjoy the extra plot elements and faster pace and the challenge of creating a mystery/suspense thread without sacrificing the romance.
In Shades of Truth, the heroine is a woman with a heart for the underdog. She offers unconditional acceptance to the youth under her care, no matter the mistakes they’ve made. For a man who’s made some big ones, that kind of acceptance really tugs at the hero’s heart.
I think a lot of women, myself included, are drawn to guys who are hurting. Maybe because it’s not something most guys would readily admit, although we can see the evidence in their eyes, their posture, their words and their action, and we want to help them feel good about themselves again.
Then again, maybe that’s just me.
My favorite scene in Shades of Truth is when the hero reveals his past mistakes to the heroine. I love writing a hero who’s not afraid to bare his heart, be vulnerable, no matter the consequence.
Of course, in reality while we’re often drawn to help someone who’s hurting…after awhile if the person doesn’t “get better”, (whether in their outlook, a physical ailment, or overcoming an addiction) we can grow pretty discouraged ourselves, maybe even bail.
What separates a true hero from the rest is the decision to never bail. No matter what. 
Shades of Truth is dedicated to a dear writing friend who passed away last autumn after a twenty-year battle with cancer. Her husband’s unwavering support and sacrifice, and her own determination to not give in to despair for her husband’s sake was a true inspiration to me of heroes and heroines who’d never bail.
I believe the constant reminder of how precious little time they might have together made them more open with their feelings and more forgiving of the little annoyances that can eat away at a marriage. But really, if we truly love our spouse, do we need the specter of their imminent demise to be a better spouse?
My favorite Christian romances, at their heart, inspire me to be a better wife or friend or mother, and I hope my novels do the same for others.  
Your turn: What kind of hero tugs at your heart? How might you be a “hero” to a loved one today?

Shades of Truth is the second book in my Love Inspired Suspense series, Undercover Cops: Fighting for justice puts their lives—and hearts—on the line. However, you won’t be lost if you haven’t read the first novel. Each story stands alone. They are linked by setting, theme and characters. For example, the heroine in this book was the friend of Deep Cover’s heroine. 

Back Cover Blurb: Big city detective Ethan Reed is working deep undercover at a Christian youth detention center. The kind of place he spent some harrowing time in as a kid. Ethan’s mission: ferret out who’s recruiting resident teens for a drug ring. He expects help from the lovely, devoted director of Hope Manor. But Kim Corbett won’t tell Ethan anything— even when she’s threatened and attacked. When Ethan discovers what Kim is protecting, his guarded heart opens just a bit wider. Enough to make this the most dangerous assignment of his career. 
Get it Now!: Shades of Truth will be in bookstores by mid-March, but if you’d like it now, click here to buy it from Harlequin at 20% off, and use coupon code FREESHIPAFFO to receive free shipping until Mar 31st.
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  1. Jessica R. Patch

    I love a hero who's rough around the edges, but has a big heart and yes, one that never bails!

  2. Kav

    Definitely a hero who loves animals! 🙂 And he's gotta have a dog…the kind that might just get the better of him once in a while. Not a white collar worker either. And brown eyes are always a plus. 🙂

  3. Melissa Tagg

    I love a wounded hero with a heart of gold. And if he's rugged and handsome, all the better. 🙂

    Great post, Sandra!!

  4. Sandra Orchard

    Interesting, why not a white collar worker, Kav?

  5. Kav

    I'm just plain ol' real people so my dream hero wouldn't be afraid to get his hands dirty. Vet, mechanic, farmer, carpenter — any kind of trades — those professions all appeal to me. And I suppose because I've had my share of run-ins with white collar types who think they are in a privileged class all of their own. But I'm not bitter. 🙂

  6. Sandra Orchard

    Wow, what wonderful insight into a heroine's motivation, Kav 🙂

    Jessica and Melissa, love all your descriptions!

  7. Pat Trainum aka P. T. Bradley

    A guy who never bails…interesting concept. Just joking. Yes, I love a hero who commits no matter what, then something happens and he stumbles but never lets go. Great post, Sandra! Loved Deep Cover On my way to get Shades of Truth.

  8. Sandra Orchard

    Oh, Pat, your joke raised images of our basement flooding last month. Thankfully my hubby does bail…that way. LOL

    So thrilled to hear you enjoyed DC and are off to get SoT. That's what an author looooves to hear. 🙂

    I've been working on edits today for book 3 and am just flying high because of the super-encouraging comments the editor made throughout. It was my first book written on proposal and I'd been anxious about what to expect.

  9. Lisa Jordan

    Sandra, thank you so much for being my guest. I love heroes who make the heroine feel protected and cherished but allow her to stand on her own two feet. I love heroes who are willing to be vulnerable and self-sacrificing for the ones he loves.

  10. Sandra Orchard

    Thanks for having me Lisa!