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Author Interview,  Giveaway,  Hope-filled Fiction

Morgan Tarpley Smith: Louisiana, Small Town, Romance, & More

Hi, I’m Morgan, a world traveling author, mom, and wife who loves writing stories of history and heart. My travels to over a dozen countries, my faith in Christ, and my love of history fuel the inspiration behind these stories.

I have a background in journalism, and I worked for almost 14 years as a reporter and photographer for small town newspaper, which inspired the heroine of my novella, A Louisiana Snow, which is the opening story of Barbour’s three-novella collection, A Louisiana Christmas to Remember, that released this fall. This book is my debut for Christian fiction, and I’m so thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful collection with my amazing co-authors, Betsy St. Amant and Lenora Worth.

I absolutely love to travel, and my stories are infused by first-hand accounts from these experiences as well as passion for history, culture, and languages. Besides traveling, writing, and reading, I also enjoy doing genealogy research, acting in plays, singing, photography, and visiting coffee shops and bookstores.

I write both contemporary and historical fiction and combine these genres to write dual timeline fiction. I love any story that connects the past to the present in some way, which honestly is nearly every story. It’s particularly why I love reading and writing dual timeline fiction. 

Some nod to history always finds its way into my writing. Even in these Christmas novellas, we have history woven within the pages with our main characters being part of the town’s founding family from France who built a beautiful chapel that is a focal point of the town.

In A Louisiana Christmas to Remember, Lenora, Betsy, and I are proud Louisiana girls, who wanted to bring some of the warmth, humor, and spirit of our home state’s Southern culture to the page. Our stories are set in the fictional town of Moreau, which is loosely based on the lovely city of Natchitoches, the oldest European settlement in Louisiana.

Natchitoches was founded by a French explorer in 1714, and in the late 1700s, my ancestors were actually married there. I love visiting this charming place adored by tourists for its gorgeous scenery, delicious food, and friendly people.

It’s also known for being the setting of the hit 1989 film, “Steel Magnolias,” and for dazzling Christmas lights displays and decorations, which have drawn the masses each year for the Festival of Lights since 1927.

My main character is Mattie. She is named for my maternal great-grandmother who I share a birthday with. I thought it was a special tribute to her, and the name stuck to my character from the beginning. She had to be Mattie.

Three women from the same family face Christmas in a small town where everyone knows everyone and their pasts. Enter three men who shake up their world and open up a chance for love if these women can only step out in faith to seek restoration not only for the town but their own hearts. These stories are like wrapping in a cozy blanket with hot chocolate by a fire on a cold day.

Restoration is a theme that resonates through all three stories in more ways than one. One of the central focuses of our book is the physical restoration of a historic chapel that was built by our characters’ ancestors centuries before and damaged during a hurricane. Our main characters, Mattie, Jolene and Adale, also have their own journeys of restoration as they are forced to face the past during this Christmas season.

I love getting lost in the story world and how my characters come alive on the page. The brainstorming and plotting process is a lot of fun for me. But I also love interacting with readers whether online or in person and attending book signings and events.

I’m not part of a critique group, but I have a wonderful critique/writing partner—author Carole Lehr Johnson. She writes Christian fiction set in England and Scotland. We were even able to travel to England together in 2013. What a great trip! 

We’ve been writing partners since 2011 and have daily brainstorming chats. I’m so thankful to God that He brought Carole into my life. After this many years, we can literally finish each other’s sentences and can draw out the best in each other’s ideas. She’s a blessing and a wonderful writer!

Thank you so much for having me as your guest today, Deena!

Comment on Deena’s interview with @writerchic86 by 12/26 for a chance to win a paperback of A Louisiana Christmas to Remember novella collection. (US only) #giveaway #amreading


Click the book cover for purchase link

A Rare Snowfall Leads to a Christmas to Remember

Three heartwarming, interconnected stories of faith, love, and restoration, brought to you by three Louisiana-native authors. Will a rare snowy Louisiana Christmas bring restoration and hope to the hometown and hearts of three women from the town’s founding family?

In A Louisiana Snow by Morgan Tarpley Smith, meet Mattie: A passionate visionary who learns to forgive and finds love in unexpected places…

In Restoring Christmas by Betsy St. Amant, meet Jolene: An artist and prodigal daughter who discovers love exists in the very place she once called home…

In A Christmas Reunion by Lenora Worth, meet Adale: A beautiful widow who finally dares to love again…

And don’t forget Granny, whose feisty spirit, blunt dialogue, and quirky ways play an important and endearing role.

Morgan Tarpley Smith is a world traveler who weaves stories of history and heart. She loves to write inspirational fiction that transports readers to faraway places and intertwines past and present to explore questions of truth and faith.

Morgan is an award-winning journalist, freelance writer, and author assistant, who lives in Louisiana with her husband and son.

Connect with Morgan: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Goodreads / BookBub / Pinterest / YouTube

As a Jesus girl for more than thirty years, Deena Adams understands how important hope is to daily life, which fuels her passion to inspire others through hope-filled fiction based on true to life stories. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and is a multi-award-winning writer, an active ACFW member, and ACFW Virginia president. Connect with Deena through her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.