In October I attended the NJRWA conf, Put Your Heart in a Book Conference, held just outside of Newark and it was so awesome. My seond Brennan sisters novel, The Good Daughter had finaled in their mainstream with romantic elements contest, and most wonderful of all, I had the pleasure of dinner with Hope Ramsay.
I’d “won” dinner with Hope in Brenda Novak’s auction last May and was thrilled to finally have the chance to sit down with her, have dinner and a drink, and talk about, books, writing, faith, and life.
I’ve always loved Hope’s writing, but our dinner together made me a forever and ever Hope fan.
Hope is…incredible. Inspirational. And so when I heard she had a new book out I had to share because she’s got this huge heart and I’m a fan.
So, yes, many of you have met her before. For others, she might be new to you. Either way, I do hope you’ll enjoy her guest post, as Hope Ramsay tells us about her new release, Last Chance Knit & Stitch.
Busy Hands, Warm Hearts (and Heads)
My mother was a knitter. She always had knitting needles in her hands. And I have deep, deep memories of the sweaters she made me. Putting on one of her hand-made sweaters was like wearing a hug. And I remember putting in orders for specific kinds of sweaters. I will never forget the beautiful argyle sweater vest she made me when I was in high school – at a time when argyle was not popular.
Mom tried to teach me how to knit, and I did learn how to do it, but my projects were. . . well. . . ugly. I was so much better at crochet and sewing, so I stuck to those things.
Until Mom passed away in 1997, and I inherited her knitting needles. In my sorrow, I tried to take up knitting a second time, and I failed. This time I think it was because holding her needles was just too emotional for me. I needed time to come to terms with losing her.
And then a few years ago, several of my author friends found out that I knew how to knit but had given it up because, well, I basically sucked at it. Let me just point out that these dear friends were complete yarn junkies. And they were determined to make me one, too.
I got emails with patterns. I got links to yarn blogs. I got pushed and shoved. And then my son announced that I was about to become a grandmother. I suddenly realized that there was no one to knit the new baby a blanket and sweater using the pattern Mom used for every baby born from 1948 until the day she died.
I couldn’t stand the idea that my grandbaby would be denied a hand-knit lace blanket and newborn sweater. So I picked up the knitting needles again. And this time, for whatever reason, I found myself utterly lost in joy of knitting. I’ll be honest, when I knit I feel as if Mom is right there in the room with me, warming my heart with so many memories. And, of course, I now have a bunch of dear friends, all of whom are as addicted to yarn as I’ve become. I’ve come to see that knitting is a way to keep my restless hands busy. But it’s also a way connect to past and future generations of the mothers, sisters, and friends in our lives. Knitting, I’ve discovered, is a blessing.
Just recently, one of my readers contacted me, and knowing that I knit, she asked me if I would spread the word to my knitting friends about The Hatbox Foundation, Inc., a non-profit group that provides hand-made hats to patients undergoing chemotherapy. I was happy to spread the word, but I quickly decided that I could do more than that. So I’ve organized a cyber-knit along in support of this charity. I’m asking knitters and crocheters to make at least one hat this November and send it to me or directly to the Hatbox Foundation. The details of my knit along can be found here, and I invite any of you who knit to join with me. Knitting for others is one of the best thinks about this hobby.
Given all this backstory, no one should be surprised that I have included knitting in some of my books. My new book, Last Chance Knit and Stitch, which goes on sale tomorrow, is all about the yarn shop in the little town of Last Chance, South Carolina. It’s the story of Molly Canaday, a yarn whisperer, who happens to also be an auto mechanic. As much as Molly loves to knit, her dream is to start her own body shop where she can restore classic cars. But Molly’s mom, the proprietor of the yarn shop in town, throws a big monkey wrench into those plans. Mom runs away from her less-than-thrilling marriage and leaves Molly in charge of the shop. Enter the Purly Girls, a quirky group of charity knitters who are not about to let Molly permanently close the yarn shop.
And if dealing with a group of slightly senile knitters isn’t enough, Molly’s plans are also upset by the tall, dark, and handsome Simon Wolfe, who has just returned to Last Chance on the occasion of his father’s death. Simon wants to deal with the estate quickly and get back to his life as an artist in California. But his father’s estate is more complicated than he imagined. So he’s stuck in town for a while and takes a short-term lease on an abandoned building that would be perfect for studio space. Unfortunately, Molly had her eye on that same building for her car restoration business.
Of course the sparks fly — in more ways than one — when Molly and Simon butt heads over the real estate. Leading to the question: can two headstrong people, both of them commitment phobic, ever find happiness?
It was fun writing about a group of quirky charity knitters that wreak havoc on Molly’s life. I’m pleased that they also managed to teach Molly a few lessons along the way. Knitting will do that, you know.
So, are you addicted to a craft like knitting or scrapbooking or quilting? Tell me about it. And tell me about how you learned your craft and how doing it makes you feel. One lucky commenter on today’s blog will win a free, autographed copy of Last Chance Knit & Stitch.
Thank you, Hope, for joining us today! I am so glad you could join us to talk about Last Chance Knit & Stitch. I love having you around! 🙂
Readers, I’m adding to Hope’s giveaway a $10 Starbucks drink card, a digital copy of my new cowboy story, Take Me, Cowboy, and some treats and sweets. So comment below and you could win. The giveaway will run through Wednesday and we will announce the winner Thursday morning.
And don’t forget, you guys are amazing. Each and every one of you!
Have a wonderful week!