PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) — Beth Pugh has been weaving stories for as long as she can remember. From her beginnings in poetry to her more recent work in novels, she has long dreamed of seeing her words linked, capable of giving something to someone else.
“I’ve been writing since I was in second grade. My first poem was published in fourth grade and I just got bitten by the bug,” she said.
But in the face of family tragedy, after losing her mother in 2004, this dream was abandoned.
“The valleys are so low, because you kind of re-evaluate everything you do and you stand out,” she said. “And you think, you know, ‘Maybe it’s not for me. Maybe I can’t hack it.
And, while the writing continued, it wasn’t until 2018, when his father died, that Pugh started turning the pages again.
“My writing dream was rekindled in the valley of grief for me after my father passed away,” Pugh said. “I felt God in my mind telling me, ‘It’s now or never to chase your dreams.’ So that’s what I did.
She pursued those dreams through the creation of two manuscripts, finding a place they could call home when she signed with a publisher in January 2021. Now, after another year of hard work and waiting, her first novel hits the shelves.
“Not only do you prove yourself, but you get to witness to other people and tell them those stories,” Pugh said. “And hopefully ignite hope in them the same way writing gives you hope. Because that’s what writing does for me.
Her heart’s work poured out in the pages of The Valentine Proposal, her debut novel where two old friends reunite at a high school reunion, reviving a decade-old marriage pact:
“Award-winning photographer Mason Montgomery is back in Pine Valley, Kentucky. Let’s hope, for good, if his business proposal is accepted. On paper, he’s the perfect buyer for Forget-Me-Not Photography. Too bad the seller, Ol’ Man Rowe, doesn’t see it that way. He is looking for a father to take over, and Mason’s single status does not suit him.
For shy Lily Anne Dawson, life didn’t turn out the way she had hoped. Working at his mother’s bakery and editing for the local newspaper is far from his dream as a journalist. She is a failure. A lonely failure worrying about infertility with no romantic prospects in sight.
Everything changes when a decade-old wedding promise on Valentine’s Day brings them together at their high school reunion. The impromptu proposal offers a solution to their problems. But marriage requires honesty – and both have secrets. Secrets that could make or break their budding love.
Pugh said her release, just in time for Valentine’s Day, is the best gift she could imagine – to prove herself capable and show other young dreamers what is possible.
“And you can do it from the hills of eastern Kentucky, from a scream and Shelbiana. Because I did,” she said. “If you’re interested in writing, you’re your own worst enemy. Get the words on the page. The only one stopping you is you.
She said the novel makes a great Valentine’s Day gift for the reader in your life, bringing the familiar charm of Eastern Kentucky to the world of romance novels.
The Valentine’s Proposal comes out Tuesday and is available for pre-order through Amazon, LPC Books, ChristianBooks.com, and Barnes and Noble.
Pugh will host a book signing at the Lee Avenue branch of the Pike County Public Library on Saturday, February 5, from noon to 2 p.m. Books will also be available for purchase at the signing.
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