3 May 2016

Author Interview: Hope Toler Dougherty

Travel to the small town of Mars, where you'll find a meddling horse, paper bag floors, and a flying saucer on the town square—in Hope Toler Dougherty's book, Mars . . . with Venus Rising. Penn Davenport dreams of passing the CPA exam and moving away from the two aunts who reared her after her parents died in a plane crash. When John Townsend—full of life and the joy of living—moves to town, he rattles Penn's view of herself, her life, and her dreams . . . which isn’t such a bad thing until she falls for him and discovers he’s a pilot.

Celebrate Hope's Mars . . . with Venus Rising blog tour with a Kindle Fire Prize Pack giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Mars . . . with Venus Rising
  • A $25 Amazon gift card
  • A Kindle Fire
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on May 18th. The winner will be announced May 19th on Hope's blog.


I wasn't able to finish Mars with Venus Rising, so instead of a review, I'm bringing you not one, but two interviews with the author. First, a YouTube interview, then a pen-and-paper (well, keyboard-and-internet) interview.

Tell us a bit about the story behind your latest novel. Where did you find inspiration?

For my second manuscript, I wanted a twenty-something United States citizen, like the ones found in a particular line I liked to read.

We lived near an intriguing little town for fourteen years. Mars, Pennsylvania, is a cool place with a flying saucer planted in the middle of town. The residents are called Martians. The ball teams’ mascots are the Planets.

As a Southerner, I have plenty of interesting relatives, and I’ve heard many crazy stories, like selling socks to finance a coast-to-coast vacation. Add my Southern roots to zany tidbits from Mars, temper crazy into quirky, and I had my tone.

Next, I focused on characters. Penn Davenport teaches math, studying to be an accountant.

Reared by her aunts after her parents died in a plane crash, Penn struggles with belonging, living a quiet, safe life. John Townsend, a live-life-with-gusto pilot nudges her out of her comfort zone.

What was the hardest part about writing your novel: Getting started? Keeping it going? Finding the perfect ending?

Fear and procrastination. Once I get started, I’m okay, but I have to get started every day.

What trait do you love most about your main character?

The trait I love about my main male character is his enthusiasm for life. He doesn’t let a slight handicap (walking with a limp) hold him back from experiencing all that God has planned for him, but he tempers that enthusiasm with compassion.

When readers get to the last page, what do you hope they take away from the story?

I want readers to realize God wants us to live a full life. He doesn’t want us to sit on the sidelines, watching. He has wonderful plans for us, and He wants us to embrace those plans with a spirit of power.

What are you working on next?

My agent has my third manuscript, a romantic suspense set in North Carolina. The story has guns, a kidnapping, and an attempted rape. It’s very different from my first two novels. I’m a little over halfway writing a fourth story, and this one is mostly romance.

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