Colleen L. Reece learned to read by kerosene lamplight in a former one-room school house where her mother once taught all 8 grades. Colleen dreamed of someday writing a book. God has multiplied the “someday” book into 150+ “Books You Can Trust,” six million copies sold.
Welcome to my blog, Colleen. You’re the first author I’ve interviewed that has written over a hundred books. Congratulations! I’m so impressed with your talent. Please tell us about the Shepherd of Love Hospital Mystery/Romance series. What is it about?
Five best-friend, caring nurses serve at the Shepherd of Love Hospital in Seattle, Washington, dedicated to God: the hospital scoffers said it could never be built. Now doctors and nurses follow in Jesus’ footsteps and bring healing to body, mind, and soul. Note: Fans wrote asking to know more about the wonderful hospital/nursing school I created—they wanted to train there!
Wow! Your story must be very well developed for your readers to believe that the hospital is real and not made up. What a wonderful compliment! Please give us a short description of book one: Lamp in Darkness.
Although a respected RN, the heart of a frightened little girl beats beneath Jonica Carr’s uniform. Will God use an accident, a blizzard, and a lamp in darkness to bring the runaway nurse home to Shepherd of Love and Dr. Paul Hamilton?
Now tell us about book two: Flickering Flames.
Helping save young lives in Pediatrics can never erase Nancy Galbraith’s memories of those she failed to save as a child. Nursing helps, but Nancy must deal with secrets from the past that involves both her and Dr. Damon Barton.
A Kindled Spark is the third book. What is it about?
Surgical nurse Lindsey Best and Chaplain Terence O’Shea combine forces to expose and stamp out the kindled spark of evil hanging over their beloved hospital and threatening to destroy it . . . as well as Lindsey’s and Terry’s chance for happiness.
What is the fourth book about?
Glowing Embers: A Mount Rainier-size obstacle stands between Obstetrics nurse Shina Ito and Kevin Hyde, the man she loves. Nancy and Damon are again the victims of racial prejudice. It will take incredible faith and courage for the two couples to extinguish the glowing embers of turmoil.
Now for the last book in this series. Tell us about Hearth of Fire?
“Once bitten, twice shy,” describes Outpatient RN Patti Thompson. She escapes to Montana and becomes a helicopter rescue flight nurse with pilot “Stone Face” Sloan. Only God can save Patti from a stalker and change her hearth of fire to a home filled with peace and love.
What kind of research did you do this series?
Although I dreamed of writing books, my small western WA logging town didn’t grow authors, just trees, so I planned to be a nurse. I studied accordingly, only to discover it wasn’t God’s plan for me. However, the knowledge I gained plus having my twin best friends become nurses, has proved invaluable in my writing many nurse books. One editor said, “It is so nice to have a nurse heroine who does more than stick on a Band-Aid.”
Will you please give us a sample of the first book in this series, Lamp in Darkness?
“May I help you?”
A deep masculine voice jerked Jonica back to the present. She whipped around. A tall, slim man with white streaks in his hair and eyes as blue as her own stood smiling at her.
“I-I was just going in.” She put her hand to the doorknob and couldn’t help adding, “I’m Jonica Carr, the new night charge nurse in surgery.”
A surprised expression crossed the older man’s face. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. Welcome to Shepherd of Love.”
“Thank you.” She noticed how young and alive he looked when his smile broadened. “Do you work here?”
He nodded and gallantly swung the door inward for her. “I’ll be seeing you again, Miss Carr. Or is it Mrs.? Or Ms.?”
She glanced both ways and whispered, “Miss, but I like Jonica best.”
He bowed and swung off down the highly polished corridor, stopping now and then to admire the continuing mural of sea, forest, and mountains that brightened the walls.
“He loves this place,” she murmured. It seemed a good omen, as had the friendliness of the staff when she applied for the job a few weeks earlier, not expecting to get it, but confident she could do it well if chosen. She knocked on the closed door.
“Come in, Miss Carr.” The hospital director rose from behind his practical desk, a style in keeping with the paneled walls and muted carpeting. An open window with a view of an early-summer Puget Sound brought a fresh breeze and cooled Jonica’s flushed face. “We feel fortunate to have you join us.”
When she couldn’t hide her surprise, he smiled. She liked his keen eyes, modest dress, and obvious efficiency tempered by caring. “Oh, yes, I make it a point to know each of the staff personally. If there is ever anything you need, do not hesitate to come to me. You’ll notice I prefer to be personally available rather than use a secretary as a buffer.”
“Now.” He changed to brisk business. “We chose you despite your youth and limited charge nurse experience because of several factors. First, your record is impeccable. Even more important, your deportment at your personal interview clearly showed your ability to maintain your composure under trying circumstances.” He smiled again. “Interviewing for a position, even at Shepherd of Love, or perhaps especially at Shepherd of Love, can be trying.” He shuffled papers and paused. “Only one question on your application had a rather sketchy answer. I’m sure that’s due to our shortsightedness in not leaving enough room to write everything you’d like.”
Jonica’s heart plummeted. She knew what question this observing man meant. It had taken her longer to respond to the simple query, “Are you a Christian?” than to fill in the rest of the lengthy form. Hadn’t her penned words, “Yes. I was baptized as a teenager and have been faithful in attending church except when on duty” been enough? If not, why had they waited until now to question it? Surely she wouldn’t be disqualified now that official notice of her appointment had come and she’d served her thirty-day notice in Tacoma.
“You are a Christian, aren’t you?” the kindly director prodded.
“Of course.” She certainly wasn’t a heathen. She believed in God and had accepted Jesus as His Son. If she sometimes felt that God was some faraway Power who had little interest in her, she need not confess it.
Jonica’s quick reply appeared to settle possible doubts. The director rose, shook hands, then asked, “Did you tour the hospital when you were here before?”
“Oh, yes!” She knew eagerness sent a glow to her face. “It’s perfect; large enough to have the best equipment yet small enough to feel almost like a family home.” Wistfulness crept into Jonica’s voice.
“Do you think you can be happy with us?”
She sobered. “I know I can.” She blinked and scoffed at the instant moisture crowding her eyes. She never cried, hadn’t since she ran away from home all those years ago, away from the stepfather she hated, the pretty but weak mother whose only defense against him was a threat to leave if he ever mistreated Jonica . . .
Thank you for this interview. I hope my readers will check out your books. Here are some links so you can find out more about Colleen Reece.
Reece’s Ramblings Blog: www.colleenreece.blogspot.com
Check out Colleen’s Amazon site: www.amazon.com/Colleen-L.-Reece/e/B001H9PAYY