Nearly sixteen years after relinquishing the rights to his unborn child, Noah Cooper is stunned to discover his daughter, Hope, wants to meet him. With the love and support of his family, Noah sets off from Elk Flats, Montana to Albany, New York, having no idea what changes are in store for him.
Cancer survivor and widow, Beth Peterson, is more than a little nervous to meet her daughter’s birth father. Their initial meeting goes well, but things decline in a hurry when Noah invites Hope to spend time at the ranch without speaking to Beth about it first.
Determined to meet her new family, a battle of wills ensues between Hope and her mother. While Hope longs for a connection, Beth fears losing her daughter to virtual strangers—strangers who live two thousand miles away.
Struggles and misunderstandings abound between Noah and Beth, despite their growing attraction for one another. Noah is ready to commit, while Beth can’t let go of the memory of her husband and the imperfections cancer has forced her to live with. Will hope, patience, and prayer be enough to pull this family together?
Lucie Ulrich is one of my favorite authors. I’m so glad to be interviewing her and learning more about her books.
Lucie, what inspired you to write Finding Hope? My readers. When I wrote The Rose Ring, I did so with the idea that it would be a stand-alone book. I had no thoughts of continuing the story of the Cooper brothers. When readers asked for more, I realized that, without meaning to, I left an opening for another book. While Micah and Noah Cooper are both important to The Rose Ring, Finding Hope is primarily Micah’s story.
That’s a great way to stay involved with your readers. How long have you been writing? I penned my first novel back in 2001. I had no clue what I was doing, but it got me motivated to learn all I could about the writing process. My first novel wasn’t published until 2012. In between, I wrote loads of skits and plays for my church and the private school where I worked as a drama teacher and eventual performing arts director.
Wow, that sounds great. So, tell me, are you an outliner or pantser? Panster all the way! I love to give my characters the lead. As crazy as it might sound, I keep track of my chapters as I write them, so that I can go back and reference days, dates, times, events, etc., so I sort of outline after the fact.
Sometimes our characters have a mind of their own. Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block? I started writing later in life, so it was never my intention to make it my day job, which takes the pressure off. That said, I always have 4 or 5 projects in the works. Some have been around for a long time. When I find a project I’m passionate about, and I get stuck, I leave it alone for a while and work on something else for a while. I did that with Finding Hope on several occasions.
What are your hobbies aside from writing? I don’t have a lot of hobbies. My husband and I are both retired and enjoy taking road trips. He’s a fabulous photographer, so I sometimes join him. I’m nowhere as good as he is, but I come up with the occasional “keeper.” My husband and I hit a number of estate sales nearly every week, so I guess I could count that as a hobby.
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before? I’m currently finishing the first draft of a story that ends in Scotland. I spent one day in England many years ago, but haven’t seen any more of the British Isles. I’m not a fan of flying, but I think if the opportunity arose, I’d love to visit Scotland and Ireland.
Here’s a fun question! What if you were just given an Island. What would you name it? And who would live there with you? Interesting question. I wouldn’t never want to live on an island full time, but I would love a place where I could go to get away and write without distraction. I’d also love to share it with my daughter and her fellow dancer so they could be refreshed and get their creative juices flowing. I would name it Inspiration Isle.
I like that name for an island – Inspiration Island. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? I don’t know. I mean that in all honestly. When I traveled to Holland with my daughter back in 2001 (this is where I penned the beginning of my first novel), we were staying at a retreat center. My daughter danced while I wrote. Anyway, we were fed in a communal dining room. Each morning, my daughter and I would enjoy bread and chocolate spread along with something that looked like a sausage. I can’t remember the taste, but we both loved it. When we asked what it was, nobody would tell us. They said we would never eat it again if they did. To this day, I have no idea what it was. Lol The second weirdest thing would be cow’s tongue. It tasted really good, but when I found out what it was, I quit eating. Guess our friends from Holland were right.
I’m not sure if I could eat cow’s tongue, they are one of my favorite animals. If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be? Noah Cooper from Finding Hope. I’m not just saying that because he’s my most recent character. I love all my characters, but Noah is the kind of guy every girl would want to fall in love with. He’s sweet, considerate, loves his mother, and is a hard worker. He has a strong sense of family, despite a troubled past. He tends to speaks without thinking—which gets him into trouble—but would give anything for those he loves.
He sounds wonderful. I hope to meet someone that reminds me of him, oh wait, I have. My husband. LOL! Do you have any advice for other writers? As trite as it might sound, I’d tell them to never give up. I’d also suggest they join some sort of critique group—whether online or in their community. It’s important not only to get feedback, but to help them grow tough skin. Criticism is hard, but constructive criticism is a must.
Can you share an excerpt of your book with us? I’d be happy to.
The bell over the door jangled, as did Noah’s heart. He needn’t have worried. Other than some fine lines at the corners of her green eyes, and a few added pounds, Amanda was still as beautiful as the last time he’d seen her. He stood and greeted her, brushing her cheek with a quick kiss. “You haven’t changed.”
Amanda flushed and took a step back. Her smile didn’t reach her eyes. “Thank you for seeing me on such short notice.”
“Are you kidding? I’m so excited about the news; I would have come to you.”
Her eyes widened. “No. That’s exactly what I didn’t want. I had to arrange a weekend with a friend in Missoula just to pull this off.”
Pull this off? Amanda’s enthusiasm clearly didn’t match his. He pointed to the booth he’d occupied. “Let’s sit.” He waited until she was seated before sliding in on the opposite side. “Want something to eat or drink?”
“I could use a cup of coffee.” Noah gestured to Julie, holding up two fingers.
She nodded her understanding and brought a carafe and two mugs. “Can I get either of you anything else?”
Amanda shook her head.
“We’re good, thanks.” Noah poured the coffee and pushed a cup her way. “What’s going on Amanda? You didn’t have to come in person to give me the contact information.”
Amanda kept her hands wrapped around her mug and her gaze focused on the table. “For the last fifteen years, there hasn’t been a day go by that I haven’t wondered what would have happened had I kept our baby.” She looked up, her eyes glassy. “I was so young and scared. After the birth and adoption, I did as my parents suggested and tried to forget.”
Pain squeezed his heart. “Kind of hard to forget when you get yearly updates.”
Amanda had the decency to blush. “Are you angry I never told you?”
He shrugged. “Anger won’t change the past. All I care about now is that we get to be part of our daughter’s future.”
“You do, Noah. Not me.” Tears slipped down her cheeks. “Don’t you think I would have done it years ago if I could?”
The pain in her voice matched the hurt in her eyes. He handed her a napkin. “I don’t understand.”
Amanda dabbed at her tears. “I never told my husband.”
Noah sat back. Pulling off this meeting made a little more sense now.
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Lucie Ulrich is an award-winning author of inspirational fiction. Her books are filled with stories of faith, family and forgiveness. She was honored to receive a RONE Award for her second novel, “The Rose Ring.”
A former performing arts director, Lucie now enjoys going on photo shoots with her husband, and taking long (or short) road trips. She continues to find inspiration as she and her husband explore the four corners of the United States.