With my latest installment in the Orchard Hill Romance series: Bratwurst & Bridges, due to release on the 28th, I thought it’d be fun to interview my two main characters in the story: Pastor Dan Wink and Skye O’Connell.
Dan, what did you first think about Skye when you met her?
Dan: I admit she was a puzzle to me – the hair, the clothes, and those silly, fuzzy pink boots? Didn’t help that her son ran and hid in my apartment.
Same question for you, Skye?
Skye: I confess I watched him through the peephole in my door as he moved in. I was impressed by how good he looked. Imagine my shock when I found out he was a pastor. Really? I guess I unconsciously absorbed that beauty, even more, when I met him face to face. I was a mess and my kids were acting up…not the best, fuzzy booted foot to put forward in meeting a man, even if I wasn’t looking for a relationship.
Dan: Even though she irritated me that day, I do admit I found her kind of cute.
Dan: (blushes and nods)
What made you take a step further in the relationship beyond strangers living across the hall?
Skye: I guess having gone through my own share of hard times, my heart went out to him when I saw how sad he often was. And strange things started happening since I first met him.
Dan: She kept asking questions and when I realized that first of all she had a tender, caring heart, and was lost as far as faith goes, I figured God had moved me there to be a light in her darkness in spite of the stifling grief that weighed me down.
Skye: I didn’t make it easy. I kept asking pesky questions.
Dan: And she never hesitated to call me out on my own hypocrisy. I gotta admit her compliments took me by surprise too.
Skye: Why? Surely you realize just how gorgeous you are?
Dan: (shrugs) I didn’t grow into my looks until I was out of high school and before that I was bullied because of my unusual eyes. I met Sharon and we were an item. I guess it was easier to just think she told me those things because she loved me. And I found it hard to embrace my appearance given how often people discounted my ability to minister effectively because of it.
Skye: Well, it certainly didn’t hurt where I was concerned.
Dan: (chuckling). You mean given that you couldn’t stop painting pictures of me?
Skye: (blushing) Well, you were a good subject for my art.
Skye, you mentioned that strange things started happening after you met Dan?
Skye: Yeah. Weird things. My paintings changed. And he was so nice to me. I’d never met any one who did nice things without some kind of ulterior motive.
Dan: She had a difficult time believing that God loved her and that was reason enough for me to be nice to her and help her when I was able.
It was a long time before you went on a date. Why?
Skye: Dan had these rules…
Dan: Principles or boundaries might be better words.
Skye: Fine. Initially, he wouldn’t talk to me in my apartment or his. So we’d have conversations in the hallway, or at the YMCA or sometimes over coffee at the local coffee shop. Always in public. Initially, I thought it was because he didn’t trust me. I finally realized he was not only protecting his reputation but me as well. It didn’t understand it all at first, but now I’m grateful because I know I can trust him. He’s a man of integrity and that was something new for me to encounter.
Dan: Well, Titus is as well.
Skye: True, but I wasn’t interested in Titus.
Dan: (grins and bumps her shoulder with his) I’m grateful for that.
How do you feel about your story releasing?
Skye: I really love the cover.
Dan: You would. Why couldn’t you have put her on the cover? Fuzzy pink boots and all
Skye: Would you leave my boots out of this? I like them. They are warm and comfortable.
Dan: I’ve grown to like your boots. (eyebrows wiggle).
Skye: Good, because I’m not giving them up. Besides, you’re hot. I have to share you with an entire congregation so you can be on a book cover. Me? I kind of prefer being in your shadow.
Dan: Fair enough. If it makes you happy.
What did you learn most from your journey?
Dan: That grief was keeping me from embracing all that life still had to offer me. And that I can move on and love and laugh and that is not a betrayal of the love I had for Sharon.
Skye: I learned about God’s grace and Dan was definitely Jesus with skin on as the saying goes. I’m grateful that God gave me far more than I had ever dreamed of for me and my children. I never expected God would use a handsome neighbor to shake my unbelief and transform my art and my heart by the power of His Holy Spirit. I’m sure glad He did.
Thanks for joining us! I hope you enjoyed getting to know Dan and Skye a little better without spoilers for their story releasing in a few days!