Mary has a new release with White Rose Publishing titled Starfire - and my first question to her was, naturally: What inspired you to write the story?
Here's her heart-touching reply:
I was inspired to write Starfire because I have a nephew who is autistic (my brother's son) and I also work with a boy who has Asbergers who really has a special place in my heart.
These kids have so much love to give, and a great deal of ability, if it's nurtured with patience. I have a background in special education and have also worked extensively with special-needs kids and also kids who come from fractured families, and I think I'm just beginning to realize God's purpose in all the years I have spent teaching and loving them.
It seems their likeness keeps showing up in the stories I write, and I guess I hope to give them a voice and perhaps garner a greater understanding for the many capabilities they possess.
Mary, what a lovely objective, and you're so right - all of God's creation is precious and of deep value. God bless you in both your teaching and writing ministries - it sounds to me like God uses your gifts abundantly, and with great success.
For those of you who don't know, Mary is a finalist in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award sponsored each year by the Faith Hope and Love Chapter of Romance Writers of America. It's a tremendous honor and I'm delighted for her.
Here's a glimpse at Starfire - and then - my review!
Austin McGill has one goal: to satisfy the conditions of his estranged father's will. After living on Starfire Ranch for three months, he'll sell the property and leave East Tennessee and its heartbreaking memories...forever. At least, that's his plan until Samantha Lakin comes along.
Samantha Lakin has one goal: to save Starfire and its summer camp for special-needs kids like her foster daughter, Jenny. To succeed, Sam will have to soften Austin's stone-cold heart. Not an easy task, especially when she realizes the ranch isn't the only thing that needs saving.
Can Sam's devotion and the love of a little girl teach Austin to let go of the past and to trust God for the future before the ranch and any chance at a happily-ever-after are lost?
The dictates of the will are clear:
‘Live on Starfire Ranch and maintain the property to the present standards, including the summer riding camp, and if you’re not satisfied to remain after three months, you can sell the land and retire a rich man.’
Austin McGill is the heir, a Chicago businessman looking to save his struggling company with an influx of cash once he gets rid of Starfire Ranch—his childhood home and the residence of his estranged father who just passed away.
Samantha—Sam—Lakin oversees Starfire Ranch and its horse camp for special needs children. There could be no more precious example of the benefits of this camp than Sam’s foster-child, Jenny. Jenny is a charming seven-year-old with Asbergers, a slight form of autism which makes it difficult to communicate or cope with new situations.
Jenny helps Austin realize how important this camp is. Sam helps Austin realize how important it is to pay attention to matters of the heart.
In Starfire Mary Manners has once again captured the heart with a wonderful sense of both character and setting. Austin, Sam and Jenny live and breathe in these pages. Manners also demonstrates her deft hand at descriptions and setting, painting a lovely picture of life in the Smoky Mountains. Overriding all else, however is the emergence of Austin’s heart as he opens himself to Sam and Jenny and the blessings that abound on Starfire Ranch.
Do yourself a favor, and pick up a copy of this wonderful White Rose Publishing short story. No edition by Mary Manners should ever be missed, but this one especially is top notch and definitely earns each and every one of my five stars! It’s another Mary Manners winner!
Purchase Starfire right here: STARFIRE BY MARY MANNERS