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Saturday, August 28, 2010

LOVE, INTRIGUE, AND DANGER!

CONGRATULATIONS TO MERRY FOR WINNING A COPY OF WHISPER ON THE WIND!

My guest for these next two weeks is my friend Maureen Lang, whose latest novel, Whisper on the Wind, is an exciting story set in WWI, or The Great War.

Maureen Lang is a multi-published author and recipient of RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest and the Golden Heart Award, and American Christian Fiction Writer’s Noble Theme Award (now the Genesis). Her work has also been a finalist for the Christy, ACFW’s Carol Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellent, the Holt Medallion and others. She lives in the Midwest with her husband, two sons and their lovable Lab. Visit Maureen at her website www.maureenlang.com or follow the "story behind the story" of Whisper on the Wind at her blog: http://maureenlang.blogspot.com.

Welcome, Maureen. Will you tell us a little about your writing?

1. What is your writing vision?
My vision has always been to write books that touch people, the same way so many books from other authors have touched me throughout my life. After being lost in another world for a little while, I end up feeling refreshed and ready to face real life with a bit more energy. Of course, I tend to enjoy most the books with a happily-ever-after ending, otherwise it may sour my mood. So that’s the kind of book I write.

2. Whom do you write for?
I’d like to say I write 100% for God, that it’s my offering to Him, but the truth is I receive so much from writing that I’ve learned this gift is as much for me as it is for Him. I think that’s the point—He wires us so our gifts work both ways.

3. What inspired you to write this particular book?
Whisper on the Wind is an idea that just begged to be written. I’ve long been interested in World War One history, and I’d often come across references to a “brave little newssheet” called La Libre Belgique that started in Brussels, Belgium after the German invasion. The more I investigated this newspaper (considered illegal under a harsh German occupation) the more I knew it would be the perfect backdrop for an exciting romance. By the time I actually sat down to write this story, it had percolated so long in my imagination that all I needed to do was take dictation. It was so much fun!

4. Please give us a brief story of your journey to publication.
I actually have two journeys – one that took place a very long time ago when I was far from God and writing secular historical romances (those books are long out of print, I’m happy to say) and another more recently when I knew I would only write a book God would be pleased to read. Both journeys have their similarities: I joined critique groups, went through the requisite period of submission and rejection, attended writer’s conferences to network and continued everything I could to learn more about the craft. The only real difference in my second jump into publication is that I’m far more confident that my writing is making a positive difference, because my books include a deeper, spiritual element that was lacking in the secular world. It’s amazing to me that God can wire us up a certain way—He’s our creator and knows us best—and we can use that gift for good or we can waste it. I was wasting it before. It’s far more satisfying to write books that touch people on multiple levels.

5. What advice would you give to an unpublished writer?
I would start with the usual: write consistently and read, read, read—everything that’s excellent, but don’t stop with reading your own genre, or the kind of book you want to write. Read everything, so long as it can teach you what excellent writing looks like. Don’t waste your time reading books that won’t teach you something.

As I mentioned about my own journey, I think joining a critique group is important, as well as attending writer’s conferences. Be involved in the writing community because it has so much to teach you, both about the market and about the craft.
But I think the most important thing a writer can do if they want to write a book God will be pleased to read is to pray, and ask others to pray for your writing ministry, too. No one knows where your writing will lead; perhaps the person most impacted by it will be you. Or perhaps you’ll reach millions. Chances are it’ll be somewhere in between, but the important thing is not to lose touch with why God gave you this passion for writing. He didn’t give it to you to make you rich, or to make you fascinating. The most important thing to Him is that you trust Him with it, not looking around you for what He’s doing with others and their gifts, but what He’s doing for you. Use it for His glory, and at the very least you’ll have made Him smile. What could be more wonderful than that?

ABOUT THE BOOK: She risked everything to rescue him.
But what if he doesn’t want to be saved?

Belgium, 1916

The German Imperial Army may have conquered Belgium on its march through Europe, but the small country refuses to be defeated. An underground newspaper surfaces to keep patriotism alive and bring hope and real news of the war to the occupied country. It may be a whisper amongst the shouts of the German army, but it’s a thorn in their side nonetheless—and Edward Kirkland will do anything to keep it in print . . . even risk his life.

Isa Lassone is a Belgium socialite whose family fled Europe at the first rumblings of war. Now, two years later, she sneaks back across enemy lines, determined to rescue Edward—the man she has loved from afar since she was a child. But will he ever see her as more than the wealthy, silly girl his mother once cared for as a daughter?

When Edward refuses to leave, so does Isa, and soon she is drawn into his dangerous double life. But the Germans are closing in on the paper, and Edward had never planned to put any one else at risk . . . especially the beautiful, smart, yet obstinate young woman who has inconveniently managed to work her way into his life—and into his heart.

Whisper on the Wind brings to life a time and place too often forgotten in historical fiction. . . . The suspenseful climax kept me on the edge of my seat!”
Lynn Austin, best-selling author of Though Waters Roar

“A suspense-filled romance. . . . an exciting page-turner, one that will have readers racing to reach the end so they can discover how it will turn out. I highly recommend Whisper on the Wind.”
Robin Lee Hatcher, best-selling author of A Vote of Confidence

If you would like to be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Whisper on the Wind, leave a comment below. This drawing is limited to residents of the United States and Canada and is void where such drawings are prohibited. It is the responsibility of entrants to know the laws of their own state or province. The drawing will be held on September 11, 2010. We must have ten entries, or this drawing will not take place. So tell your friends! AND BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS SO I CAN CONTACT YOU IF YOUR NAME IS DRAWN!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Letters in the Attic


For the next two weeks, my guest will be DeAnna Dodson, author of Letters in the Attic. DeAnna Julie Dodson is the author of In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered, a trilogy of medieval romances, and Letters in the Attic, a contemporary mystery in the Annie’s Attic series. She is currently working on The Drew Farthering Mysteries, a new series set in 1930s England. A graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas, she currently lives in North Texas with four spoiled cats and, when not writing, enjoys quilting, cross stitch and NHL hockey. She is also trying to teach herself to knit.

DeAnna has some great tips for aspiring writers:
1. What is your writing vision?
My vision is to write stories that are exciting and entertaining and that represent a Christian world view. Too many times, readers who are looking for a good story are inundated with philosophies that are opposed to what the Bible teaches. I think there’s no reason we can’t have engrossing, well-written books that support rather than tear down our faith.

2. Whom do you write for?
I write for people like me, I suppose. Whether a book is very gentle or has more grittiness to it, I want something that reflects Christian values and reminds me of God’s ever-present mercy and guidance. When all is said and done, He is my Audience of One.

3. What inspired you to write Letters in the Attic?
Actually, Letters in the Attic is the fourth book in the Annie’s Attic Mystery series, all written by different authors. The basic premise of the book was given to me by the publishers and then I was free to take it from there. I had never written a book like this before, but it was great fun. It’s the first contemporary book I’ve ever written. It was kind of nice to not have to do a lot of historical research for once!

4. Please give us a brief story of your journey to publication.
When I first started writing, I never dreamed that I would ever be published. I just wrote to entertain myself. After I had written about ninety percent of my first book, a friend of mine encouraged me to try to get it published. I didn’t think anything would come of it, but I gave it a try anyway. I was amazed when the third publisher I queried bought the book and the other two in the series: In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered. Unfortunately, I let “real life” get in the way and didn’t pursue my writing for a long period of time after that, but for the past three years or so I’ve really worked at it. Letters in the Attic will be my first published book in the last twelve years, and my agent is working hard to sell my 1930s series, The Drew Farthering Mysteries, too.

5. What advice would you give to an unpublished writer?
I suppose there are writing prodigies out there, people who can just sit down and write perfection from word one, but I’ve never met anyone like that. The only way I know to succeed in writing is to write. And write. And write. And read a lot. And write more. I’ve heard it said that it takes about ten thousand hours to really master the craft of writing. Shortcuts don’t work. Put in your time. There’s really no other way to end up with a product that will make you proud.

But while you’re putting in your time, don’t get discouraged. Really learning to write is a long, arduous process. It’s usually a thankless job. Lots of people say they want to write. Very few stick with it long enough to actually become writers. Writing is a lonely business. It can be a very discouraging one. But if it’s something God has called you to do, there is nothing else as satisfying. Stay the course. Learn your craft. Write the book that’s on your heart. God will use it where He sees fit.



Now, about DeAnna's book:
Up in her grandmother’s attic in Stony Point, Maine, Annie Dawson finds a stack of old letters from her childhood friend Susan Morris. Annie remembers Susan fondly and would like to get back in touch, but nobody seems to know what’s become of her. Her friends at The Hook and Needle Club aren’t much help either. All they remember is that Susan left town more than twenty years ago to marry a very wealthy man, but none of them is quite sure who he was. And Annie can find no record of any marriage.
The more Annie searches, the more she begins to wonder if something has happened to Susan. Something bad.

Although I (Louise) haven't had a chance to read Letters in the Attic, I did obtain a review that should stir your interest:
In chasing her mischievous cat Boots up to the attic of her late grandmother’s house, Annie Dawson discovers a pack of letters she had exchanged with a childhood friend, Susan. Reading through them, Annie begins to wonder, whatever happened to Susan, anyway?

Annie begins a casual search, but disturbing results prompt her to dig deeper. And when she receives an anonymous warning to let the matter rest, it only turns the search into an obsession. The consequences of her digging spiral out of her control, creating a final face-off that surprised even this jaded mystery reader.

Although this is book #4 of a series (written by authors other than Dodson) I did not feel I had missed a thing in the story. The characters are fully fleshed, especially Annie, who reacts with strength and grace when she realizes that she has made a fatal misstep. Supporting characters, such as Officer Roy, are a delight. And most important (to me, anyway) the plot is well paced, well constructed, and explosive in the end. A 5-star rating. Robin Hardy, author of the Annals of Lystra and the Streiker Saga

Sounds like a terrific book!

If you would like to be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Letters in the Attic, leave a comment below. This drawing is limited to residents of the United States and Canada and is void where such drawings are prohibited. It is the responsibility of entrants to know the laws of their own state or province. The drawing will be held on August 28, 2010. We must have ten entries, or this drawing will not take place. So tell your friends! AND BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS SO I CAN CONTACT YOU IF YOUR NAME IS DRAWN!!!

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