Author Erin Rainwater - Giveaway of Refining Fires

Sit back and relax was we visit today with author Erin Rainwater. Erin's here to chat about her book, Refining Fires. So, grab your cuppa and let's enjoy some time with Erin.

[Also, a quick editorial note: I don't know what has happened, but my blog has a mind of its own today, the formatting is doing something crazy, so please excuse the post's messiness! Goodness!]

--Refining Fires - Fires is plural. Could you tell us why?

Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.   This quote from Isaiah begins the book. Each of the characters in these three stories goes through a refining process. The hero of the stories is Peter Cochran, and his fiery process is literal as well as figurative. So the title of the first part of the book, which deals with him and his nurse Clare, is “Refining Fire” (singular). But the nurse, the little girl, and the woman of questionable repute all undergo some type of refinement and redemption. Thus the plural Fires captures all of their trials.  

Questions for Refining Fires' hero - Peter

--Peter, could you tell us about yourself, your injury and how you got it, what struggles you're facing?
There was a time that seems not so long ago when I never would’ve answered your questions, Tina, and in fact would’ve told you what you could do with them. But my world is different now, thanks be to God and the gift He sent me. 

I was born into a Christian home but wandered from those roots. I had money and good looks, so doors of worldly opportunity were wide open to me, and I went through them. Yet I remained in the family business and took it over when my father died. I served in the Korean War, and on my last day there, the plane that was bringing me home crashed. After many months in the hospital, I returned home badly scarred in more ways than one. 

Bitterness reigned in my soul. My only friend was my butler, Leopold, who remained loyal despite my acrimony. I rarely left the sanctum of my home. Why should I, only to face all the wide-eyed children and the wincing parents who’d grab their kids by the collar and steer them clear of me? And I steered clear of God. Four years after the crash is when Clare entered my life.

--In the story, Peter, we find out that Clare is a VA nurse--how does she come to work for you and what challenges did you face early on?
I look back and wonder sometimes if God allowed the unfair circumstances in Clare’s life just so she’d be desperate enough to accept the job as my live-in nurse. It pains me to think so, but she sure had to be desperate—homeless and penniless—to put up with me. She had cared for soldiers as an Army nurse during the war and veterans at the VA, but all put together they didn’t equal the challenge I presented. But my anger was no match for her chicanery in getting me to hire her after I’d already had her thrown out. No match for her tenacity. Nor for those emerald eyes of hers. Nor her laugh. Nor her…but I digress. Suffice it to say, Clare resurrected my long-lost sense of humor, along with the courage I’d need to define myself as a man. But the biggest challenge I faced with her was learning the meaning of what it is to love sacrificially.

 --What was your first impression of her?
My first impression was tainted by my bitterness, and I did not want to hire her or to like her. I even tried sabotage, and had her thrown out, but her fight for fairness moved me in ways I hadn’t counted on. I couldn’t get her out of my mind. To this day I don’t know what would’ve become of me if she hadn’t tricked me into hiring her.

Now, back to Erin:

--Erin, tell us about the how the three stories in this book are connected.
The first story, “Refining Fire,” is about a former Army nurse who is just desperate enough to take on the most horrible patient any nurse could ask for—Peter Cochran, a bitter and disfigured veteran. But her faith and determination combine to elicit renewed life from his damaged body while evoking a raw yearning in his damaged soul. In “Blind Courage” you’ll meet a frightened young girl name Susannah whose mother is very ill and there is no one to save her but Susannah. At first you’ll see no connection to the first story, but be patient. Susannah crosses paths with a man who has suffered his own fiery trials and who offers her help with her refining process. Then you’ll meet the “Kept Woman.” Oh, she’s a prickly one, all right, and refining her is no easy task. But a little girl and a man well familiar with God’s grace show her a different path than the one she’s on that leads to self-destruction. 

--How long did it take to write the entire book?
Considering I wrote a form of the middle story, “Blind Courage,” as an English assignment in the eighth grade, I guess you could say it took me about forty-six years. Then it was a short story, and I got an A. Unlike most grade school work, which is forgotten once handed in, I never did get the story of this little girl out of my mind. I wrote the story of Peter and Clare in my thoughts over the course of a couple of years, and got the insane notion of combining the stories into one, which obviously necessitated reworking “Blind Courage.” The idea for “Kept Woman” came last, and I wrote that fairly quickly, deciding to make it a part of what became a sort of trilogy.

--What do you hope your readers will 'take away' from reading Refining Fires?
The fact that God’s unfathomable love takes many forms, and sometimes takes the form of discipline. Peter learned that what God allowed in his life was an act of love, impeding his progress toward that which would have been ruinous to him. Sometimes His love takes the form of a test, asking us to prove our faith is genuine. But the Refiner’s hand is always on us, regardless of how circumstances may appear.  And He always provides the courage and tools we need to persevere and come out refined.

--What other books have you written? Can you tell us a little about them?
I published two historical love stories via POD, both of which I’m thrilled to say readers are loving. The first is True Colors, a Civil War-set romance/adventure, a scene from which is being translated onto the theater stage this fall:

Cassie Golden feels called to leave her safe but lonely Pennsylvania farm to tend the Union wounded in Alexandria, Virginia. Love and conspiratorial intrigue enter her life there, both arriving in the form of an intelligence officer, Major Michael Byron. When duty sends him away, Cassie becomes unwittingly enmeshed in a mosaic of espionage, kidnapping, imprisonment and murder. Their unanticipated reunion only creates a chasm between them as sweeping as the one dividing the nation. Only the truth can bridge such a chasm. And truth is in short supply.

The other story, The Arrow That Flieth By Day, picks up just after the ending of True Colors, and takes place in Colorado:

Mandy Berringer is on the last leg of a homebound journey to Denver when a mistaken accusation by Indian warriors diverts the course of her life. Believed dead by her family, Mandy will do anything to get home. But a disabling accident, an epidemic, an unexpected love and a tragic loss prolong her separation from her family until she is finally reunited with them—only to be devastated by what she finds. The man she loves undergoes crushing trials of his own, and their search for each other leads them on separate journeys into new tests of faith and enduring love.

--Where can readers find you on the internet?
My web page is

Erin Rainwater in the spotlight:

--What's your favorite book and why is it?
To Kill A Mockingbird. I love Scout, her pluck, her curiosity, and even her wisdom. The plot is so powerful, yet there’s humor, and overall it’s heartwarming. But mostly I love the story because my father was an attorney like Atticus Finch—honest, intelligent, a lover of his children. He died when I was two, so I saw in Atticus a picture of my father. Gregory Peck played him in the movie, and I’ve been in love with him ever since. So is Clare in Refining Fires.

--What's your favorite breakfast?
Anything served in bed. Just not runny eggs.

--Who from present or history would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?
First and foremost Jesus, of course. But assuming you mean besides Him, I’d pick Abraham Lincoln. I’ve read a lot about him and all things Civil War related, and I am fascinated by his humility, his sense of responsibility, his wisdom and his wit despite the incredible power he held and the immense burden he bore.

--Do you have any pets?
I love animals, but I’ve had a dog that died at the age of six, two cats that went missing, and two ferrets that also died. I determined to never again own a pet because it’s just too hard to lose them.

To win a copy of Erin's book, please visit her site to find the answer to her question, then return here and leave your answer and your email address (email[at]whatever[dot]com format)  in a comment. 

Erin, thank you for being our guest today and for the opportunity for one of our readers to win a copy of Refining Fires. 

Here's Erin's question for you:

There is a scene in my novel True Colors where the hero, Michael Byron, must decide whether to remain at his present position or answer a deeper calling that would take him away from his love, Cassie. What real-life scenario is part of that scene based on?


apple blossom said...

Rainwater’s characters interact with real people – like Abraham Lincoln and Colonel Thomas Rose who escaped from the infamous Libby Prison in Richmond.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

karenk said...

a wonderful posting/interview...would enjoy reading all of erin's books :)

erin worked as a nurse at the brooke army medical center caring for 'repaireated prisoners of war.'

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Erin Rainwater said...

Thanks so much, Tina, for featuring me (and Peter) on your beautiful site. And thanks apple blossom and karen for checking out my site as well. You both did your research and found some tidbits about me and my books, but I was referring to something more specific--something personal within my own family when I asked the question about where Michael is torn between home and duty's calling that would take him away. Look just a little bit closer...

And thanks to everyone for stopping by. Tina does such a great job!

Tina Dee Books said...

It's great to have you here, Erin--thank you for being out guest!

Paula said...

This book sounds wonderful!

Linda said...

I found it:
But nothing has been more special than drawing on the circumstances and emotions that my parents experienced and wrote about in World War II. The scene in True Colors where Michael must decide whether to remain at his present position-and near his love-or answer a deep calling in his soul that would take him away is based on letters my father wrote after he had made a similar decision. In fact, some of that scene is taken word for word from those letters.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

K said...

This book sounds so good! Thanks for the opportunity to win it! :)

The answer to Erin's question (I believe) is that the scene is based on letters that Erin's father wrote after he had made a "similar decision". I think it's cool you even used some of his letters word for word in your story! :)
God bless!

K said...

Oops! I forgot to say that Carmen from Christian Book Giveaways sent me! :)

Brenda said...

I believe the answer is that it was based on letters that her father wrote. This sounds like a great book count me in on the giveaway. I am a follower of your blog. kittycrochettwo at msn dot com

Molly(Buukluvr81) said...

I'd love to win this please.

The entire book TRUE COLORS is based on her experiences as an Army nurse but the answer to her question is it's based on the letters that her father wrote of similar happenings in his decisions.

Thanks for this chance!
Mollydedwards AT yahoo DOT com

Cindy W. said...

It took me awhile but I believe the answer is that the scene was based on letters that her father wrote to her mother during the war.

Would love to win a copy of Refining Fires. Thank you for the chance.

Cindy W.


Maureen said...

Great interview. Loved looking at your pictures...through the years. Your worked at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, taking care of repatriated prisoners of war.

Carman sent me!
Thank You


Julia M. Reffner said...

Wow, this book sounds different and I would love to read it. Its neat that its based on letters that her father wrote. That will make it even more interesting.


A J Hawke said...

Great interview.
You do such a fun blog, Tina.

The answer to the question I believe is letters from your father and a decision that he made influenced your story.

Include me in the drawing.

A J Hawke
ajhawkeauthor [at] aol [dot] com

Wanda said...

Very interesting interview and I liked the idea of interviewing a character from the actual novel. Parts of that scence is based off of letters written by your father after he encountered a similiar incident.


Patsy said...

Book sounds great. Thanks for giving away a copy.

Erin Rainwater said...

You folks deserve a giant thank you for taking the time and effort to peruse my web site so thoroughly. Yes, after finding letters my dad wrote my mom during WWII, I rewrote the entire scene where Michael (in True Colors) is making a similar decision--stay or go, home or country. I even used some of the narrative from Daddy's letters and made them part of Michael's dialogue. It made the entire story even more meaningful to me. I'm glad I could share that piece of my heart with all of you.

Josh Healy said...

Hi, hope it's OK to contact you here. We would love to include your blog on our giveaway search engine: Giveaway Scout ( Have a look and if interested, use our online form to add your blog ( ). thanks, Josh

Kameko said...

Hi! I gave you an award!
You can pick it up here:


A J Hawke said...

Hi Tina,
Great Interview, well done.

The answer to the question is from letters that her father wrote.

A J Hawke
ajhawkeauthor at aol dot com