Coffee with Hope Toler Dougherty

Spring is in the air here in Michigan, and so is love. Let’s take a little break with our favorite warm beverage (because it’s still on the chilly side), sit down with the authors we love, and get to know them better.

Today, I have Hope Toler Dougherty visiting to talk about about her new book, Forever Free, what inspired the story as well as any advice she might have for aspiring writers.

Welcome to Back Porch Reads! Thank you for joining me, Hope. It is so lovely to chat with you.

To start, I’d like to ask about your writing process.What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

The most difficult part about writing for me is the marketing aspect. I love interacting with readers. I enjoy public speaking, too, but I hate having to make the call to ask people if they need a speaker. I don’t like trumpeting about my writing. I also have trouble writing conflict. I want everybody to be happy!  

I understand that one all to well. It goes against everything we are taught as kids when it comes to talking about ourselves. BUT books don’t write OR promote themselves. I guess…

I have many followers who dream of writing their own book someday, what advice would you give a new writer or someone just starting out in the industry?

Read, read, read — in your genre and writing craft books. Write every day. Connect with other writers. Ask for real critiques from people other than friends and family. And, of course, pray, pray, pray for guidance. 

Again, I most definalty agree. 

 Let’s talk about Forever Free and what was the inspiration for the story?

Heath Daniels is the fourth sibling in my Forever Series to get his own story. I didn’t know him very well when I began Forever Free because he kept to himself. He was very closed mouth about his background and didn’t interact too much with his family in the other books. Discovering his backstory with addiction and his thoughts on singleness propelled the trajectory of the story.

Those are some difficult topics to handle. 

What is a key theme and/or message in the book?

Forever Free has a subtheme about singleness being a gift from God. It’s an interesting idea especially since I write romance, but I feel strongly about this topic. A dear friend of mine became a widow in her early 50’s. She doesn’t have a lot of positive stories about her experience as a widow in churches. She says churches love families but don’t always know what to do with widows, divorced people, or people who are single adults. I’d like readers to see single people in their churches and other groups and include them. 

That is a sad fact about our churches. I have a friend who has been single her entire adult life, and not necessaraly by choice. I’ve heard similar stories as I am sure your friend encountered.  

Many readers ask me this question, so I thoughth I would ask for them. How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?

Forever Free is my seventh novel. Choosing a favorite is like choosing a favorite child, and I have reasons why each book holds a special place in my heart. The reason I love Forever Music so much is that the Daniels’ clan is loosely based on my four children. I love the smack talk and teasing between the siblings and the unconditional love and support between them. At the same time, they’ll call you out if you need to be—just like my four.

I love when authors write banter among siblings. It adds a layer of relatability for readers that some stroies are missing.  

Thank you again, Hope, for joining me today. I hope this tour blesses you. I look forward to seeing more from you. 

Readers, please be sure to keep reading and enter the giveaway. 

About the Book

Book: Forever Free

Author: Hope Toler Dougherty

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: January 24, 2024

Phoebe Sinclair combines her love of flowers and teaching to nurture a cut flower business on her grandfather’s land. She’s got her hands full growing the farm, growing her customer base, and dealing with her growing attraction to the aloof man who’s volunteered to help make her farming dream come true.

Can she focus on her main job, or will a pair of yearning eyes and a hurting heart divert her worthy goals?

Heath Daniels has resigned himself to a life of singleness as he watches his siblings couple up and set wedding dates. Tracking their happiness, however, is more difficult than he expected. A real struggle, in fact.

Feeling the old troubles from his college years creeping back to tempt him, he’s propelled to volunteer for manual labor, leaving him exhausted, but out of danger, at the end of every day. His additional hours of agri-business, however, lead to different struggles with an intriguing farmer.

Does he have the strength to resist old temptations as well as a beautiful new one too?


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

Hope Toler Dougherty holds a Master’s degree in English and taught at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, and York Technical College in Rock Hill, SC. Her early novels are Irish EncounterMars…With Venus Rising, and Rescued Hearts. Her Forever series includes Forever Music, Forever Home, and the novella, “A Hatteras Surprise,” which is featured in Candy Cane Wishes and Saltwater Dreams.

A chronic volunteer, she’s a member of ACFW, NC Writers’ Network, and Triangle East Writers. She and her husband live in North Carolina and look forward to visits with their two daughters and twin sons.


More from Hope

A few years ago, I decided to write a series since readers enjoy reading stories with familiar characters. Four siblings came to mind, perhaps because I have four children, and the Daniels family from Charlotte, North Carolina, burst onto my computer screen.

I’ve loved spending time with Ben, Heath, Sam, and Josie for the past several years and sharing how three of them found their happily ever after.  One, however, always appeared on the fringe of the story, participating, yes, but always a bit set apart from the family.

Heath Daniels is the second oldest sibling, the middle brother between Ben and Sam. Readers will discover him first in Forever Music and then in a larger role in Forever Home, but he never disclosed too much about himself in those stories.

Before I began the series, I didn’t know to plan key plot points and goals for each story as well as the whole series. As a panster, I wrote each story as it came to me or as I needed to like, for instance, the novella, “A Hatteras Surprise.”

When it came time to write Heath’s story, I hardly knew him. I wasn’t sure about his backstory, his occupation, tastes…nothing. He grudgingly released those missing pieces bit by tiny bit.

At the beginning of Forever Free, Heath feels like the black sheep in the family. In the high achieving Daniels clan, he’s the one who dropped out of college, the one who struggled with substance abuse, the one who feels less than. With all his siblings coupling up, he’s staring at a single future because of old misguided beliefs.

Guilt from an early tragedy along with bad choices play important parts in Heath’s personality. Phoebe Sinclair has her hands full nurturing her cut flower farm, plus she has to deal with a cute, but distant employee, the mysterious Heath.

I enjoyed getting to know Heath and watching his growth from the sullen, misunderstood character to the confident businessperson who wants Phoebe to achieve her dream. I hope you’ll enjoy his story, too.

Here’s a recipe Phoebe bakes for her grandfather in Forever Free. I’m not sure why it’s called Swedish Nut Cake, but I’m sure it’s delicious.

Swedish Nut Cake

Ingredients for cake:                                       Ingredients for icing:
2 C flour                                                          1 8 oz pkg creamed cheese
1 ¾ C sugar                                                     1/2 stick butter
2 eggs                                                              1 t vanilla
2 t baking soda                                                1 ½ C powdered sugar, sifted
1 t vanilla
½ chopped nuts
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple with juice

Mix all ingredients for cake and bake in a greased 9×13 pan at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. For icing, mix all ingredients and frost the cooled cake. Store in the refrigerator.

Blog Stops

Pause for Tales, March 6

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 7 (Author Interview)

Simple Harvest Reads, March 8 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 8

For the Love of Literature, March 9 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, March 10

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 11 (Author Interview)

Life on Chickadee Lane, March 12

Blossoms and Blessings, March 13 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 14

Artistic Nobody, March 15 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 16

Back Porch Reads, March 17 (Author Interview)

The Lofty Pages, March 17

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 18

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, March 19 (Author Interview)


To celebrate her tour, Hope is giving away the grand prize package of a $75 Amazon gift card and a set of the 4-book Forever Series!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


  1. Roxanne C.

    I enjoyed this interview and learning the reason why the author included the subtheme of singleness being a gift from God.

  2. Alicia Haney

    Hi, I really enjoyed the interview, this book sounds like a great read! And the recipe sounds delicious. Thank you for the chance.

  3. sidlaw0425

    I’m looking forward to reading these books. I am a fan of all genres. Thanks for hosting this tour.

  4. debbiejpruss

    Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.

  5. Terri Quick

    Thank you for sharing