Check out a Q&A with the author... The Orchard House by Heidi Chiavaroli (Interview & #Giveaway) #christfic #timeslip #christianfiction @tyndalehouse

Welcome! I really enjoyed this author's last book, The Tea Chest, and will be
sharing my review of this one soon. In the meantime, check out an interview
with the author  and enter to win a copy below (thanks to Tyndale House)...

The Orchard House
By Heidi Chiavaroli
Christian Time-Slip, Romance
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 432 Pages
February 9th 2021 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.


Award-winning author Heidi Chiavaroli transports readers across time and place in this time-slip novel that will appeal to fans of Little Women.

Two women, one living in present day Massachusetts and another in Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House soon after the Civil War, overcome their own personal demons and search for a place to belong.

Abandoned by her own family, Taylor is determined not to mess up her chance at joining the home of her best friend, Victoria Bennett. But despite attending summer camp at Louisa May Alcott’s historic Orchard House with Victoria and sharing dreams of becoming famous authors, Taylor struggles to fit in. As she enters college and begins dating, it feels like Taylor is finally finding her place and some stability . . . until Victoria’s betrayal changes everything.

While Louisa May Alcott is off traveling the world, Johanna Suhre accepts a job tending Louisa’s aging parents and their home in Concord. Soon after arriving at Orchard House, Johanna meets Nathan Bancroft and, ignoring Louisa’s words of caution, falls in love and accepts Nathan’s proposal. But before long, Johanna experiences her husband’s dark side, and she can’t hide the bruises that appear.

After receiving news of Lorraine Bennett’s cancer diagnosis, Taylor knows she must return home to see her adoptive mother again. Now a successful author, Taylor is determined to spend little time in Concord. Yet she becomes drawn into the story of a woman who lived there centuries before. And through her story, Taylor may just find forgiveness and a place to belong.

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What inspired the story line of The Orchard House?

Like so many girls and women around the world, I’ve always been captivated by the story of Little Women—a seemingly simple domestic tale that, with its timelessness, explores the complexities of family, friendship, and love. But there was something else that made this tale come alive for me—a childhood visit to the very place where Louisa wrote her beloved story. Orchard House brought Louisa and her novel alive in a new way. I remember being completely captivated by this place where these fictional (and real-life) heroines lived, of beholding the very desk where Louisa wrote her masterpiece. For a child who loved this story, and books in general, this made a real impression on me.

Setting out to write a story involving Louisa and Orchard House, I dug through her biographies, journals, and letters for some interesting, lesser-known morsel about this famed author. When I learned about her time as a nurse in the Civil War, her experiences nursing a certain young blacksmith for whom she held strong feelings but who would end up dying, and her subsequent near-death experience with typhoid shortly after, I knew I’d stumbled upon something. I thought it might be interesting to have my historical heroine, Johanna, be the sister of Louisa’s “prince of patients.” What if these two women struck up a friendship? What if Louisa offered her a way to Massachusetts? What if Louisa became a mentor to Johanna, who found herself in a difficult marriage?

From this story line came the idea of women helping women, both in a contemporary story and a historical story. Themes of sisterhood, friendship, forgiveness, and helping the downtrodden—all themes in Little Women—were brought to the forefront of the book to further tie in and give honor to this much-loved story and author.

What role does faith play in this story?

When I think of faith’s role in this story, I think of having a true home, a true place to belong. Both my contemporary heroine, Taylor, and my historical heroine, Johanna, are struggling to feel accepted. They’re struggling to feel they are enough. In very different ways, they ultimately find home—not just in a physical place, but in the arms of a caring God.

Who did you write this book for?

When I started this novel, I knew I wanted to bring Louisa and Orchard House to life for those who already loved Little Women. I also wanted to give a deeper appreciation for the woman behind the inspiration of Jo March.

As the book unfolded, I felt a strong desire to speak into the lives of women tied to unhealthy relationships. This was a cause dear to Louisa’s own heart, and yet it didn’t stop there because this novel is not just for women who are in such predicaments, it’s for women everywhere—women who need help and women who are the ones helping. There’s a bond there I wanted to explore. Whether it be one of friendship or one of sisterhood, I wanted this book to feature women helping women. And so, in that regard, I hope women everywhere will be able to appreciate this story.

Tell us about some of the core themes of The Orchard House. How do you hope these themes will resonate with and challenge your readers?

I never set out to write a theme. Instead, the themes emerge from my characters. Usually they are themes that have either hit home for me or that I’m currently wrestling with myself. I’m hoping the themes of forgiveness, friendship, helping the oppressed, and finding a place to belong will resonate with my readers.

How is the perspective of The Orchard House unique compared to other novels in the time-slip genre?

Although I would consider this a dual timeline novel, there are actually three time periods— the historical period with Louisa and Johanna and then one that includes my present-day heroine, Taylor, when she is a child and one where she is in her late thirties. This was fun because we get to see Taylor at a pivotal point in her life—when she is dealing with the feelings of being adopted by her best friend’s family. We also get to see how Orchard House has become a type of bond between her and her sister and friend, Victoria.

How did you get the idea for the relationship between your two main contemporary characters and your two main historical characters?

I wanted a big part of this novel to be about women’s friendships and sisterhood. This was such an integral part of Little Women that I didn’t feel I could leave it behind. And yet I wanted the freedom of fictionalizing my historical heroine, Johanna. I could give free rein to her character and still allow her to be molded and shaped by her true-to-life friend, Louisa.

I thought it would be interesting to parallel their relationship in a modern-day friendship. I wanted to explore the intricacies and blessings of such a friendship, as well as some of the tangles it potentially creates. Later, when both Victoria and Johanna experience abuse, I wanted to take Louisa’s bold stance on domestic violence and bring it around to the present. It was interesting to include Louisa’s heart for the downtrodden through both the past and the present stories.

Which was your favorite character to write? Do you identify with this character in any way?

Even though I didn’t write in her point of view, I loved writing Louisa’s character. Maybe that’s because it was the one main character I didn’t pull out of my own brain—she was real and certainly interesting enough!

Louisa was bold where it counted, so very insightful, and cared about the deep struggles of humanity. I can relate to her desire to do something great, to stand up for what she believes in, but to also struggle with her flaws.

I had done so much research on her that I felt I knew her as an actual person, so in some ways, writing her was almost easier than making a character from scratch. It was fun to insert many of her actual words (found in her journals, letters, and other writings) into the book. I just loved tying it all together like that! My hope is that it adds a layer of authenticity to the entire work.

Your stories often deal with heavy topics, such as domestic violence. Why do you feel called to discuss these subjects through fiction?

My goal as a writer is to shine light and hope into the darkness. I’m a firm believer in not shying away from the hard but facing it head-on, trusting God to be enough to conquer the heavy. I think fiction can be a valuable place to do this. In a story, we can actually experience what it’s like to be in the shoes of a character. There’s something powerful about that. We can grow, change, become more empathetic. Our world can grow bigger, our eyes wider. And I pray that in that space, we will be able to experience the wonder, majesty, and sufficiency of our victorious God.

How did you become a writer? How long has this been a dream of yours?

I wrote my first book in third grade, titled I’d Cross the Desert for Milk. I read and wrote voraciously through elementary and middle school, but sometime before high school I became convinced that to really “succeed” in a career, I should give up my dream of writing. I turned to the sciences, worked extremely hard through high school, and earned an amazing scholarship to my first-choice college. But I had trouble summoning enthusiasm for the biology and chemistry courses. At the beginning of my sophomore year and shortly after 9/11, despite a 3.98 GPA, I dropped out of college. My heart just wasn’t in it. I missed my boyfriend (now my husband) and my parents, who were working out the kinks in a marriage that we’d all thought had ended. (It didn’t! They just celebrated forty years of marriage. In fact, the poems in The Orchard House are written by my mother.)

Less than five years after quitting school, I was married and a stay-at-home mom to two babies. I’d also renewed my love for fiction. After being introduced to Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury, I knew I wanted to write—and include God in the story line. I went to work and wrote six manuscripts in the next nine years, earning my fair share of rejections along the way. Though tempted to quit after such discouragements, I couldn’t let writing go and was certain the Lord had placed this passion in my heart for a reason. I was so blessed to receive my first contract with Tyndale in 2016. I am in love with writing and stories, and I can’t imagine ever giving them up!

What is your favorite thing about studying history and researching for your novels?

I love taking a piece of history (like the Boston Tea Party) or a person (like Louisa May Alcott) that I always thought was interesting and having a great excuse to learn everything I can about them! To place my own fictional heroes and heroines among them is super fun, because in many ways it feels I’m actually traveling through time and living alongside them. Add to that the places I get to visit that aren’t far from my own home (like Boston and Concord), and these works take on a life of their own. I just love it.

Can you tell us about some of your upcoming writing projects?

Right now I’m working on my first series! I found myself pretty sad to think of leaving the world of Louisa May Alcott, so I found a way I didn’t have to. This series will be Little Women meets contemporary coastal Maine with a few surprising twists and turns. While this will be a bit of a departure from my time-slip stories, I’m already falling in love with these characters and I hope readers will too. I’ll be releasing the entire six-book series in fourteen months, beginning April 2021. I hope readers will enjoy!

About the Author

Heidi Chiavaroli
(pronounced shev-uh-roli . . . sort of like Chevrolet and ravioli mushed together) wrote her first story in third grade, titled I’d Cross the Desert for Milk. It wasn’t until years later that she revisited writing, using her two small boys’ nap times to pursue what she thought at the time was a foolish dream. Despite a long road to publication, she hasn’t stopped writing since!

Heidi writes women’s fiction, combining her love of history and literature to write split-time stories. Her debut novel, Freedom’s Ring, was a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist, a Romantic Times Top Pick and a Booklist Top Ten Romance Debut. Heidi loves exploring places that whisper of historical secrets, especially with her family. She loves running, hiking, baking, and dates with her husband. Heidi makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband and two sons. Visit her online at


One winner will receive a print copy of THE ORCHARD HOUSE
- US only
- Provided by the publisher
- Ends February 22, 2021

Do you enjoy reading time-slip novels? What resonated with you in the interview?

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