Archive for the 'author interview' Category

The Backstory to Remembering You by Tricia Goyer

Today I am posting the backstory to Tricia Goyer’s newest book release, Remembering You.  Tomorrow I will post my thoughts :)
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In the last ten years since I started interviewing veterans for my WWII novels, most have passed away. Some of them—realizing their days on earth were coming to an end—returned to Europe one last time with their family members to walk along paths they’ve never forgotten. Those trips inspired my most recent novel, Remembering You.One of the most amazing experiences was when I received an email from a woman named Hana. She’d heard of my book and knew I’d interviewed some of the veterans. She asked if I’d interviewed any medics. Then she told me an amazing story. Hana was born on a cart just outside of Mauthausen. Her mother had survived being a prisoner of another camp and was transported to Mauthausen at the end of the war.

Hana was just three weeks old when the Americans arrived, and she was very ill. Because of the filthy conditions she got a skin infection and sores covered her body. No one expected her to live. Yet one of the medics saw the small baby and knew he had to do something. Even though it took most of the day, he lanced and cleaned all Hana’s sores, saving her life. Over the years she’d wanted to find the medic, but didn’t know where to start.

I was amazed by Hana’s story and told her I knew one medic—maybe he remembered who that man was. I gave Hana the contact information and I soon heard the good news. My friend LeRoy “Pete” Petersohn was the medic who’d saved her life! The two were soon reunited! After all these years Hana was able to look into the eyes of the man who saved her and thanked him. After all these years Pete was able to meet the woman he saved. “Baby!” he called out when he met her.

Remembering You is a work of fiction, but the experiences of the men are true. The experiences of the main character, Ava, are also true-to-life. I was busy with life when God pointed me to an amazing story, and to even more amazing men. I’m so thankful I took time to listen and care. I’m so thankful I allowed these men to share what … and who … they remembered most.
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Tricia Goyer is a homeschooling mom of four and an acclaimed and prolific writer, publishing hundreds of articles in national magazines. She has also written books on marriage and parenting and contributed notes to the Women of Faith Study Bible. Tricia’s written numerous novels inspired by World War II veterans, including her new release Remembering You. Tricia lives with her husband and four children in Arkansas. You can find out more information about Tricia at www.triciagoyer.com.
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Q&A With Hunter Harrison, Creator of the Mend Mark

I am sharing this with you because on Monday I am giving away one of these bracelets!  It would be great for yourself or as a gift!  So come back Monday for a chance to win your own Mend Mark.

www.mendmark.com

Q: How did you arrive at the idea for the Mend Mark? Why a bracelet?

A: I always thought about getting a tattoo. I still haven’t, but tattoo designs frequently cross my mind, and if I ever got one I would want it to be meaningful. On one particular day, I had the idea of getting two circles tattooed on my wrist to resemble a hole. But not just any hole—the hole that killed a king. The more and more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that nowadays EVERYONE has a tattoo and it would almost be rebellious NOT to get one. (I guess you could consider me a reverse rebel.) So I decided to do something a little different, something that would reach many more people than just some ink on my wrist. I took the idea and designed a bracelet instead, and consequently, the Mend Mark idea was born.

Q: At first glance Mend Mark seems like a nebulous name. What does it mean?

A: I’ve always liked the word “mend” and I feel like it’s underused. So it was an easy decision to incorporate that into the name. It fit the product purpose, and since it was representing one of the marks of Jesus, Mend Mark was an obvious choice. Plus it had a nice ring to it and with tattoo roots it seemed natural to call it that. I wanted it to be more than just another bracelet or wristband. I wanted it to represent a movement. So the “Mend Mark” it became.

Q: What are you hoping will be accomplished through the wearing of the Mend Mark bracelet and through the Mend Mark movement?

A: There are three main things I want to be accomplished. First is that I wanted people to remember the sacrifice. I wanted to unite people—Christians (no matter the denomination) and even people of other worldviews—on one common message: LOVE. The love that Christ preached in particular. With so many books out there and theological debates on who’s right and who’s wrong, sometimes we forget the simplicity of Christ’s main message: LOVE. I figured that no matter what one believes, they can’t deny that selfless love can change the world… and sometimes we need a reminder of that. So I coined the phrase “Remember Love” to be printed on the bracelet. The second thing is that I wanted people to emulate the emotion. I wanted it to require the wearer of the product to engage in conversation about the love of Christ (and hopefully show that love to others) instead of just letting the product talk for them. I felt that if this was done properly it could force people into intentional situations where they were able to demonstrate their faith. If I was a non-believer and I saw someone wearing an obvious Christian product, I doubt I would ask that person about it because I would already know what they were going to say. But, if I saw this, I would want to know what it was. It sparks curiosity… and in turn that curiosity may open some doors for people to share the love of Christ with others. Finally, I wanted it to inspire people to change the world around them. I decided to find a cause to support through the sales of the bracelet. There was no reason for me to keep all the profits for myself. I wanted to be able to give back and share the proceeds somehow. I researched and prayed and petitioned God on what ministry to support and God led me to Living Water International. I knew I wanted to help fight malnourishment in one way or another and providing “Living Water” seemed to fit the purpose of the product—using “love” to mend. That’s what it’s all about and this product allows that to happen on a global scale.

Q: Where did the inspiration to create the Mend Mark come from?

A: My mother was the most influential person in my life. She raised me on her own, even homeschooled me in high school, and I think that extra time with her really impacted me. She passed away from cancer in 2007, but she always told me I would do great things. My wife, Morgan, has been extremely instrumental in encouraging me to take those words from my mom to heart and make them a reality. Morgan motivates me like no one else can and has been a tremendous source of love and support throughout the entire process.

Then my work in banking inspired me. All day long I am helping people achieve their dreams getting businesses and ideas started. I wanted to get out there and start doing something myself. But I wanted it to be meaningful. Since my son was born two years ago, he’s given me an added motivation to do something bigger than myself, something that will somehow leave a legacy behind.

Q: The Mend Mark is certainly growing as a movement. It’s even been worn by celebrities. What’s next for the Mend Mark?

A: The Mend Mark isn’t the first idea I’ve tried to get off the ground. It definitely won’t be the last either. By far, it’s been the most fun and the most successful, and the one I’ve been most passionate about. I’m currently working on additional product designs as well as T-shirts that will go along with the original Mend Mark purpose. The future is bright and I can’t wait to see where God takes it.

An Interview with Julie Lessman

Julie Lessman is an author who has garnered much writing acclaim, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever, and has two grown children and a daughter-in-law. She is the author of The Daughters of Boston series, which includes A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. You can visit Julie at her Web site at http://www.julielessman.com.

Okay, I must admit it before we go any further…I am a big fan of Julie Lessman, umm that might be a slight understatment. I got to know her a little through email after the release of her first book, A Passion Most Pure. She is gracious and oh so very sweet. So when it came time for the blog tours of A Passion Redeemed, her second book in The Daughter’s of Boston series, I knew I wanted to interview her. She graciously accepted to do an interview for me, even though she is quite the busy bee! So let’s get to know a little more about Julie Lessman and her book A Passion Redeemed.

–What was your inspiration for A Passion Redeemed?

Actually, the inspiration for this second novel in the series came from the first book, A Passion Most Pure, because the plot for A Passion Redeemed just seemed a natural conclusion to Charity’s actions in book 1. And since I am basically a seat-of-the-pants writer, I literally followed the trail that Charity’s personality laid out for me, expanding the plot as I went along. Kind of like Hansel and Gretel following a trail of breadcrumbs—very symbolic if you have read book 2, A Passion Redeemed—to find my way home. J

–The main theme of redemption shines throughout A Passion Redeemed in several different ways. What do you want you reader to take away (learn) from that theme?

The #1 message I would like readers to take away is that no matter how far we stray from the hand of God, NOTHING can separate us from His love … “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” – Romans 8:38-39. Charity experiences this redeeming truth head-on, and in the throes of the greatest tragedy of her life, she is reborn through the healing power of God’s love.

–What are you favorite (and not so favorite) things about Charity? Do we see any of you in your characters?

My favorite thing about Charity is her relentless pursuit of love, even though the means of that pursuit is not admirable. She reminds me so much of one of my favorite fictional characters—Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind—which is no surprise because I started writing this story at the age of twelve after reading Gone With the Wind! Of course, I didn’t finish it until I wrote A Passion most Pure forty years later, but the influence of Scarlett O’Hara in Charity O’Connor is there all the same.

I also love Charity’s resilience which, like Scarlett’s, is as tough as tempered steel through all the adversity in her life. Neither woman—Charity or Scarlett—is a shrinking violet, which is so appealing to me—and to the men in their lives! My least favorite thing about Charity would be her propensity to hold on to bitterness, a trait that I firmly believe shoots a lot of Christians down in flames. Charity learns this firsthand and is finally purified by the fire that will bring her back to the hand of God.

Do I see any of my own character traits in my characters??? Uh … tons. J You see, I write by feeling, so there are plenty of my feelings in these books—such as Charity’s seductive nature, something that she and I had in common before I became a Christian. And the quirky, manipulative things she would do, like putting breadcrumbs in her eyes to make herself cry on demand. And even her propensity to throw up at the drop of a hat—this was something I used to wish I could do as a child so I could stay home from school. Also, Faith’s character in the book as the sister who always resorts to prayer first—that is a habit of mine as well. And as far as Mitch’s tendency to groan when God tells him to forgive or pray (“That’s your pat answer to everything, isn’t it?” he groused)—well, that’s vintage Julie Lessman, I’m afraid! J

–The O’Connor family has a strikingly real family dynamic and you spend a great deal of time developing each of the characters in the family, how much of their dynamics comes from personal experience and why was it important for us as a reader to get to know this family?

Oh, great question, Christy! The “strikingly real family dynamic” you see in the O’Connors is pretty much lifted from my own life—both as a child in a dysfunctional family of 13 kids and as a woman healed by the blood of Christ and now blessed with an incredible family of my own.

And, yes, I do spend a great deal of time developing the family characters because I really wanted these novels to be more of a family saga romance rather than just straight romance. Why? Well, for one, as a baby boomer, I got tired of the young pups getting all the romance action! J My husband and I are more in love and act more like teenagers today than ever before in our lives, so I wanted to portray that in my books. And because I truly believe that with God in the middle of a good marriage, that kind of romantic relationship is real and available for women of any age.

I also wanted readers to fall in love with this family because I believe readers who are captured by characters will also absorb more spiritual truths from those characters, which is the primary goal of my books.

And finally, I wanted readers to get to know each O’Connor because, well, I hope to write a book about each sibling in this family. J Currently I am putting together another 3-book proposal for my publisher that will finish off the saga of the O’Connors. Book 1 will be the story of the youngest daughter, Katie, which will be fun because she is a pistol who comes of age in the Roaring Twenties, right before The Great Depression. Books 2 and 3 will be about the O’Connor brothers, Sean and Steven, during the exciting era of speakeasies, dance marathons, gangsters, G-men and era criminals like Bonnie & Clyde and John Dillenger. Steven will be a tall, brooding G-man-type modeled after Eliot Ness … you know, a la Robert Stack from the Untouchables? Hubba, hubba. I’m very excited because all three plots are very involved, include detailed sub-stories for ALL the character couples (can you say “complicated”???) and each plot has surprises that I hope will blow the reader away!


–What book(s) are on your nightstand?

I just finished An Irishwoman’s Tale by Patti Lacy, which is a wonderfully haunting woman’s fiction, and next up is Reforming the Potter’s Clay by Donald James Parker. And then … ahem … A Passion Redeemed, which I have been waiting for my husband to finish so that I can have my turn. Because, YES, I do read like to read my own books when they come out … from the vantage point of a normal reader, of course! J

Thanks, Christy, for allowing me this time to connect with you and your readership.

Anyone who would like to contact me can do so through my Web site at http://www.julielessman.com, either by sending an e-mail via my site or by signing up for my newsletter, in which I feature book giveaways. Finally, I invite your readers to visit The Seekers, a group blog of which I am a part that talks about “The road to publication. Writing, contests, publication and everything in between.” You can find it at http://seekerville.blogspot.com/. God bless!

Now for some fun news…I am giving away a copy of the first two books in The Daughter’s of Boston Series, A Passion Most Pure and A Passion Redeemed. All you have to do is leave a comment on any A Passion Redeemed post on my blog during this week.

Join me tomorrow as I share my thoughts about A Passion Redeemed.


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