Love at First Thought with Audra Harders

by | Feb 24, 2011 | Fiction Book Reviews | 13 comments

Ever had one of those moments where you met someone and there was an immediate connection?



Well, I had that wonderful experience when I met author Audra Harders at ACFW last year. I’d not had an opportunity to connect with her alot before ACFW, but once I met her…it was love at first hug. She is absolutely wonderful! Sweet, encouraging, and someone who knows how to pray.

Audra kind of took me under her wing, and I can’t tell you what a joy and comfort it was.

Between Audra and Patti Lacy, I was REALLY mentored for my very first ACFW (and I really hope to do it again in September)

I can’t say how blessed I was to have met her and now call her my friend.

Let’s here about Audra’s inspiration.

Pepper, thanks for the invitation to share my writing thoughts. You have a good idea of how my mind works and you still asked me to join the fun. Brave girl. Just for that, you’ve earned some chocolates, LOL!

My very first novel? Oh my that was a tomb of epic proportions and all the while I was trying to create an historical novel ala Kathleen Woodiwiss. Silly me. Still, I loved historical romances and wrote several of them, never quite finding my own voice.
And then I discovered country singer/rodeo cowboy Chris LeDoux and his songs/ballads. This is really where the story begins. All his songs tell a story of some aspect of cowboy and rodeo life. And he has the dreamiest voice, I could listen to the man sing for hours on end. The good Lord called him home way too early. I’m still shaking my head over that.
My first cowboy romance, Rough Ride, was the product of a multitude of rodeo songs by Chris and watching tons of PBR events (Professional Bull Riders) on television. All of my what-ifs grew from cowboys risking their lives to ride one and a half tons of meanness for eight seconds. Wow. I’ve been enthralled by cowboys my entire life. Finding out what makes them tick has become a challenge from which I can’t walk away : )
Cowboys are best, Pepper. 18th century Gypsies run a close second, but I’ll save them for another talk : )

Oh what fun, Audra. And cowboys….whew, GREAT idea 😉

Inspirational Thought:

Romans 8:29 (from the Message paraphrase version)

God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son.

The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored.

We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.

After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.

Do you ever wonder what your story is? Life ever get so confusing or convoluted that you can tell which way is up?

Well, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. The great thing about it is – God has been writing your story from the beginning of time.

Without Christ, the view of our lives is worse that convoluted and confusing. It’s chaos.

We are utterly lost in the middle of a story with splashes of black ink colored pages, crinkled with sin.

We are a lost, horrible story.

Until Jesus picks up the pen.

In an amazing act of love and grace, he rewrites our torn and tattered pages of brokenness and selfishness. From the beginning of His story in our lives, though there will be conflict, trials, and hardship, there is an overarching theme of love – and a ‘glorious’ ending.

The story of our lives, covered with God’s fingerprints and Christ’s blood, wrapped in the cover of love, assures us of a happy ending.

What a story!

What a Savior!


  1. KC Frantzen

    Loved this on SO many levels.
    Thanks Pep!!! And Audra!
    yeah – I have my own cowboy too…
    he is fine in his boots, jeans and hat!
    (fanning self) 🙂

    • Audra

      KC, you lucky girl!! Of course I think you’re lucky with your very own cowboy, but then I’m soooo partial : )

      My husband may not be a cowboy, but he’s an old fashioned, hard working, God fearing, red neck who puts up with my obsession with cowboys and even buys the tickets when the PBR comes anywhere close to town, LOL!

      Oh man, I love him!!

    • Pepper

      God is great, isn’t he, KC?
      Even when I’ve been home almost all week with sick kiddos.
      Besides cleaning up messes of obscene proportions, I’ve had a chance to write a little more AND get loads of cuddle time 🙂

      • Audra

        Cuddle time can’t be beat, despite the messes of obscene proportions!!! Hang in there, Pepper!

      • Pepper

        Thanks, Audra.
        I’m almost finished with my two Genesis entries. IT’s hard to type with a 4 year old hanging on my arm, but it’s getting done 🙂

  2. Audra

    Pepper, have you ever stopped and read the stuff you write? Wow, you are a blessing to folks on SO many levels.

    I’m not saying that just cuz you made me look good…you make everyone you interview look deep and fun and interesting (of course all your other guests are, LOL!!)

    I enjoyed sharing with you, my friend. I hope to create many more memories in St. Louis this year for us to build on : )

    We have wintery morning here in Colorado, so I’ve brought fresh blueberry pancakes and hot maple syrup for anyone stoppping in for a quick read and snack. No reason to face the cold day hungry!!

    • Pepper

      Oh Audra,
      I hope it was a blessing to you.
      I mean what I write.
      When I get to share about the opportunity to meet you, Julie, Myra, and Mary – it was like finding people I’d always wanted to know.

      And, Lor willing, I’ll have a chance to see you guys again in September. I’m saving!!! And praying.

  3. Julie Lessman

    PEP SAID: “Ever had one of those moments where you met someone and there was an immediate connection?”

    Uh, yeah, as a matter of fact, with none other than Audra herself, seven years ago at an ACFW 2004 conference. I fell in love with this amazing woman then, and then again last year, when our friendship deepened at ACFW 2010. “Sweet, wonderful, encouraging” … all words describe Audra to a T, along with humble, talented, fun and a downright hoot.

    LOVE the whole cowboy thing, Audra, ESPECIALLY in Rocky Mountain Hero, my friend — one of the BEST books I’ve read, not just this year since this is only February, but last year too!! Of course, I gotta tell you, kiddo, gypsies are sounding real good to me right now as well … But then, I’m pretty sure I’d like ANYthing you’d write, girlfriend!

    Pep, you also said “Without Christ, the view of our lives is worse that convoluted and confusing. It’s chaos.” AMEN to that. And chaos is NEVER good … unless, of course, you’re writing a family saga novel with 14 main characters … then, maybe … 🙂

    KC … your OWN cowboy??? I’m jealous … where’s Audra’s book … 🙂


    • Audra

      LOL, Julie! Keeping track of 14 characters zipping in and out of multiple volumes spanning various series???? Are you crazy?? I’d have so many sticky notes plastered all over my office I’d never find my computer! Don’t know how you do it, but each Julie Lessman original that hits the shelves is just as delicious as the others that have preceded it. Now if the good Lord would just install a turbo mode in your fingers so we could have a continuation every 6 months or so…

      You were a blessing from the first breakfast God brought us together. I’ll never forget the look on your face when I said I’d been writing for 10 years. You immediately declared I was way over due for a sale and we needed to pray…right there over Danish at the FHL get together breakfast. I really didn’t know what to do with you that morning, sweetstuff, but sure glad I stuck around for the ride : )

      AND we seem to have a theme going here. Julie introduced me to Patti Lacy over lunch in Indianapolis. What is it with establishing incredible friendships over meals??

      Anyway, much like you, Pepper, Patti has been a blessing to me, too. Oooo, now you’re making me drool for St Louis!!!

  4. Pepper

    I’m writing a family saga series like yours. Well, not exactly like yours, but I started it 4 years ago. It’s my contemp romance (Eisley & Wes) and Eisley’s crazy Jenkins family. I LOVE writing and reading it. And I love all the chaos of large families.
    The series is up to 6 books (in the outlining and plotting phases). Oh what fun!!

  5. Casey

    Until Jesus picked up the pen.

    Oh what a line Pep. So perfect for my day, seems to be one of “those” weeks this time around.

    Audra, you have such an exciting looking book I hope you have great success with the story. I have loved hearing about Pep’s experiences at ACFW and hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze a hug or two inbetween you too this year. 😉

    • Audra

      Casey, absolutely!! Hugs are doled out in great quantity!

  6. Missy Tippens

    Yes!! I know what a great encourager Audra is! Pepper, did she tell you she and I discovered we’re twins separated at birth?? 🙂 Years ago, we found in every email we shared, we had something similar going on. So much in common! So many “Me too!!!” moments. 🙂

    Loved your book, Audra! And once I get mine turned in, I’ll be posting reviews! 🙂


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