Life is Full of Unlikely Blessings and Surprising Grace
Author Judy Baer entertains and delights readers with stories of small town life and an amusing cast of characters
Seattle: Life is more than just a series of experiences. It is the people we meet along the way that make life more interesting and teach us the most important lessons. City dweller turned country pastor Alex Armstrong learns this first hand in Judy Baer’s Forever Hilltop (Summerside Press/May 1, 2012/ISBN: 978-0824945299/$16.99).
Forever Hilltop is a 2-in-1 book that includes Baer’s An Unlikely Blessing along with the previously unreleased sequel Surprising Grace. The charming and often hilarious Forever Hilltop series follows the adventures of protagonist Alex Armstrong as he settles into his role as a pastor of a Scandinavian community in rural North Dakota much like the one in which Baer grew up. While Alex is sometimes baffled by his parishioners and their colorful ways, he comes to appreciate their simple wisdom. It may be a small town, but life in Hilltop Township is never dull!
The second half of Forever Hilltop is brand new, featuring Surprising Grace, the continuation of Alex’s adventures. While he is settling into life on the prairie, and even starts to understand the strange ways of his new neighbors, Alex also finds that his flock needs help and counsel like he never imagined. He also finds himself having to choose between the woman he planned to marry and the home he’s come to love.
In the debut release of the series, An Unlikely Blessing, readers are introduced to Alex as he experiences a bit of a culture shock when he moves from his home in the big city of Chicago to the tiny community of Hilltop Township in the wilds of North Dakota. Hilltop Township blooms from the prairie like a wild pink rose-lovely and prickly all at once, much like the quirky residents who live there. Alex soon discovers that his new church home has as much to teach him as he has to teach them.
“God often allows us to be in new circumstances or relationships that stretch us and make us grow. He wants us to be more Christ-like in our everyday lives and often the people we meet or the situations in which we land are great tools for that,” explains Baer.
Within the context of the story, Forever Hilltop presents enduring lessons about how people should treat each other and live their lives. “I find life to be like that,” says Baer. “The lessons learned over the years-like the benefits of kindness, respect, sound judgment, faith, loyalty or honesty-come in bits and pieces. A little lesson here, a realization there, and eventually you have a big awareness about something.”
A writing coach, personal life coach, faculty advisor, quilter, mother, wife, and daughter, Baer uses the experiences and imagination at her disposal to create stories that amuse, entertain, and delight her readers. No matter where they grew up, readers are sure to identify with the cast of characters and the situations they find themselves in.
Praise for Judy Baer:
“Baer knows how to spin a good tale…” ~ Publishers Weekly on The Whitney Chronicles
“Judy Baer is a gifted inspirational author.” ~ RT Book Reviews on Be My Neat-heart
Praise for An Unlikely Blessing:
“I felt the town itself was as much a character in the book as well as the loveable quirky cast Judy has put together. You only learn a little bit about each one in this book as she sets up the beginning of the Forever Hilltop series. This is a lighthearted story filled with laughter, fun adventure and truth learned along the way. I can’t wait to read the next one.” ~ Nora St. Laurent, Founder of The Book Club Network
“I have been an urbanite/suburbanite all of my life. However, I have an affinity for country/small town living. An Unlikely Blessing by Judy Baer takes me to a place that I don’t visit very often – but love just the same.” ~ Andrea Schultz, Reviewer at Ponderings by Andrea
“Judy Baer has done such an amazing job in this first book of the Forever Hilltop Series. I loved this book and seeing how Alex learns just as much from those in his parish and they do from him. You will love seeing God move in this community and in the hearts of HIS people. I am truly looking forward to much more in this series!” ~ Loren McGhee, Reviewer at From the Heart of a Bookworm
About the Author
Judy Baer was born and grew up on a farm on the prairies of North Dakota, experiencing many of the same things as her Hilltop characters. An only child, she spent most of her days with imaginary people-either those she read about or those she made up in her head.
Baer graduated from Concordia College with majors in English and education and a minor in religion. While at the time, she was simply studying what interested her, Baer later realized that she was educating herself for her future career as a Christian writer. She certainly put her education to use as she is the author of more than 75 books.
A certified professional life coach now certified in three coaching disciplines, Baer coaches primarily professional and aspiring writers. She is also a faculty advisor in the Department of Human Development at St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis, MN. Baer has two daughters and three step children. She and her husband live in Minnesota. Learn more about the author and her books at www.judykbaer.com.
Suggested interview questions
* Forever Hilltop is set in rural North Dakota, your birth place. How much of the book is based on your own life experiences.
* Your protagonist finds himself in a new setting much different from the one he has been in. Do you think that God puts us in new and uncomfortable situations to help us grow?
* Was there a certain event in your life or person that you have met that you drew from in writing Alex’s story?
* What is your favorite situation that Alex finds himself in?
* You have written close to 80 books. What makes this series stand out as different than your previous books and series?
* What lessons do you hope readers will take away from Forever Hilltop?
Judy Baer is available for interviews to promote the release of Forever Hilltop. To request a review copy, schedule an interview or for more information, please contact Audra Jennings, firstname.lastname@example.org.