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Two years ago we had the opportunity to visit with Vikki Kestell about the release of the first book in her Girls from the Mountain series, Tabitha. (If you missed that visit, you can learn more about Tabitha here.) I am happy to have Vikki back today with the newly released second story, Tory. Before we visit, let’s take a look at this intriguing story.
Victoria Washington—sophisticated and elegant, owner of Victoria’s House of Fashion, designer of haute couture gowns for the wealthy and elite of Denver, a brilliant and successful business woman in her own right. Tory, as she is known to her friends, is also a supporter of Palmer House—a most extraordinary refuge for young women rescued from prostitution.
Deceived, kidnapped, and beaten into submission, the girls of Palmer House had been held captive in Corinth, the little mountain village above Denver, forced into an occupation not of their own choosing, until freed by the combined efforts of U.S. Marshals and Pinkerton detectives. Through no fault of her own, Tory was one of those girls—also rescued from a life of shame and degradation.
And Tory’s past hides more than one dark secret: She was born in the deep South to Adeline Washington—a negress, the daughter and granddaughter of slaves, and the “kept” woman of a wealthy, married white man. Tory’s mixed blood, her illegitimate birth, and the shame of her exploitation follow her down the mountain and haunt her, even to the cusp of her success.
What will happen when those who hate Tory expose her secrets? Will her business and reputation survive the scandals? Or are the rumors a cover for a more sinister plot? Is Tory’s life also in danger? And, if so, why?
Welcome back, Vikki!
Thank you for inviting me to interview with you, Sarah. I appreciate the work you do to highlight Christian authors and their work.
It’s a blessing to be able to share so many amazing authors with others who love their books, too! We’d love to hear more about Tory. What inspired you to write this series, or this novel in particular?
My series, Girls from the Mountain, follows three unrelated and very different young women and their journey to Jesus. The first two books, Tabitha and Tory, are available now, with Tory being released earlier this month. I hope to release Sarah late next year.
The lives of these women intersect in Denver, Colorado, in the early 1900s, where they each meet Joy Thoresen and her mother Rose Thoresen, two women who have given their lives to salvaging the broken in body and spirit. The complete story of the Thoresen family is told in my series, A Prairie Heritage.
So what you’re saying is that we don’t have to fall in love with these characters and say goodbye all within a few stories, but there are actually two full series that are interconnected? How fun is that?! Do you have a favorite character from this story? Why is this character your favorite?
Of course, my favorite character in Tory is Tory herself. Victoria Washington (Tory as she is known to her friends) is the sophisticated and elegant owner of Victoria’s House of Fashion. Tory is the designer of haute couture gowns for the wealthy and elite of Denver, a brilliant and successful business woman in her own right. God has a great destiny in mind for Tory, but her past holds many secrets: She was born in the deep South to Adeline Washington—a negress, the daughter and granddaughter of slaves, and the “kept” woman of a wealthy, married white man.
As a woman of mixed blood in the early years of Jim Crow, Tory already has several strikes against her. I guess I appreciate Tory’s character because she overcomes so much to accomplish God’s plan for her life, including the shame of her illegitimate birth. The tagline I love to use with Tory is, “Healing from shame is as relevant today as it was in Tory’s time.”
Shame is something we can probably all relate to in one form or another, and the hope for healing is so needed. On a lighter note, paper or e-reader? There are certainly pros and cons to each. Which is your favorite?
I was averse to eReaders at first, but once I got my iPad mini, I was sold on them. I appreciate that I can enlarge the typeface so that I don’t have to use my reading glasses and can set the iPad on its stand so my hands are free. The best part? I used to take a bag of books with me wherever we vacationed and worry that I’d read them all and run out. Not anymore! My entire “bag of books” fits inside my purse. I love that!
That’s true. There’s no way I could fit a few hundred books in my bag, or even my car! If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you most like to go?
Back to Hawaii. I fell in love with snorkeling on the Big Island. The perfect water temperature, holding my husband’s hand as we swam along and observed the beauty below us? Well, it was a magical time, over too quickly. I’d really love to go back and do it again.
Another place I’d like to revisit is the Olympic Peninsula, specifically La Push, Washington. The beach trails along the coastline there are enchanting, no one the same as another. We stayed three nights and hiked several trails, but I was not ready to leave when we did. I wanted to stay longer to watch the waves crash against the shore. I don’t think I could ever tire of it.
Both sound like amazing places to visit! Would you tell us about something crazy that you’ve done or would love to do?
My husband and I love to zip line! We’ve done zip lines everywhere we’ve encountered them, as many as 27 in one day. In fact, I pretty much love any “scary” adventure (helicopter rides, parasailing, rollercoasters, glass floors, etc.) where there’s no real danger because we’re safely harnessed in.
It must be zip lining week… LOL! (If you missed it, you’ll have to check out Valerie Comer’s story, too.) What accomplishment means the most to you?
The older (and, presumably, wiser) I get, the more I understand that personal accomplishment means little, but how we influence others to know Jesus is everything. My books challenge my readers to come up higher in their walk with God. They do not carry a preachy tone to them, but they do make explicit how people of faith can live their lives. If I have any accomplishments at all, it is that so many of my readers have written to say they rededicated their lives to Jesus after reading my books.
That’s an awesome accomplishment! Can you give any hints about what you’re working on now?
I will begin work soon on Deep State Stealth, the fourth book in my Nanostealth series. Yes, Nanostealth is a VERY different genre from Girls from the Mountain or A Prairie Heritage. This contemporary series is based in my hometown, Albuquerque, and is a mix of high-tech science and thrilling “fiction.” I only intended to write three books in this series, but an overwhelming response from my readers begging for more made me change my mind. The first book in the Nanostealth series, Stealth Steps, is free in most eBook formats (Kindle, Nook, and iBook).
Begging for more is a good sign! 😉 Thanks for taking the time to visit with us today, Vikki!
Thank you again, Sarah, for inviting me to visit your blog.
Your turn! In honor of our unofficial zip lining week, have you ever been? If not, would you want to?
More about Vikki:
Vikki Kestell’s passion for people and their stories is evident in her readers’ affection for her characters and unusual plotlines. Two often-repeated sentiments are, “I feel like I know these people,” and “I’m right there, in the book, experiencing what the characters experience.”
Vikki holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Learning and Instructional Technologies. She left a career of twenty-plus years in government, academia, and corporate life to pursue writing full time. “Writing is the best job ever,” she admits, “and the most demanding.” She and her husband, Conrad Smith, make their home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Also by Vikki:
From the author of the groundbreaking series, A Prairie Heritage, comes the compelling story of fiery-haired, fiery-tempered Tabitha Hale. Rescued from a life of depravity, Tabitha gives her heart to God and her life to nursing.
As this tenacious, redeemed woman perseveres toward her vocation, her temper and stubborn independence threaten to derail her aspirations. Will Tabitha pass the trial by fire that is necessary for God to truly use her?
And what is Tabitha to do with her feelings for Mason Carpenter, the man who simply refuses to give up on her? Is it even possible for God to ordain a shared future for two such different people, both with fervent callings upon their hearts?
When the Great War erupts in Europe, Carpenter leaves for England to train British pilots to fly reconnaissance missions over Belgium and France. Soon after, Tabitha hears God asking her to nurse the war wounded. However, because America has not joined in the fight, Tabitha has few options. Will the elite British Nursing Service make a place for her? Will they accept the services of an American volunteer?
And will Tabitha and Mason overcome the differences that stand between them?
Revisit Palmer House—a most extraordinary refuge for young women rescued from prostitution. Renew your acquaintance with Rose Thoresen, Joy Michaels, and the others who live at Palmer House. Glimpse the years between Stolen and Lost Are Found.
Vikki has graciously offered to give away one Kindle copy of Tory. Giveaways are subject to the Giveaway Policy.