Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Atlanta Giveaway #8 - Allison Pittman's Sister Wife Series

UPDATE Wednesday, 9/7/11 at 8:00 am: WINNERS!

Sorry for the delay in announcing a winner; with all the news of the fires and trying to ascertain who in our church family might need assistance, it kinda slipped my mind.

Winner of Book 1, For Time and Eternity:

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
5
Timestamp: 2011-09-07 13:02:15 UTC

Congrats to windycindy! Email me your address and I'll send the book your way!

Winner of Book 2, Forsaking All Others:

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
9
Timestamp: 2011-09-07 13:12:02 UTC

Congrats to Esther Byler, who visited from Allison Pittman's Facebook page! Esther, I'm sending you a FB message and I need to hear from you no later than noon Friday to claim your book!

For those of you who didn't win, I highly recommend you grab a copy of this series. It is well worth the money!

* * * * *

CHECK OUT THE UPDATED GIVEAWAY INFO AT THE END OF THIS POST!


You are probably getting tired of reading "I was thrilled to meet and interview. . ." but there are only so many ways to say that! Allison Pittman is an author whose books I have loved from her very first one back in 2006. We connected via email over her books but had never met in spite of the fact that she is also a Texas gal. I loved sitting down and talking to her on Tuesday morning of ICRS -- in fact, I was so caught up in talking about her books that I completely forgot to take a picture, which really aggravated me when I got home and realized that! Oh well - I'll just have to see her again sometime! Here is my chat with Allison Pittman.


I just finished reading the advanced copy of Forsaking All Others, and it is an incredible, incredible book. Tell me this is not the end of the series. I have to know how these girls turn out! I just feel like these people are so real!

Well, the sales of the first book (For Time and Eternity) have not been great. But I don’t know anyone who hasn’t loved it. I have synopses of stories for Rachel’s story and Evangeline’s story. I’m most heartbroken if I don’t get to write Rachel’s story because I love her. And she really delves more into the polygamist aspect of it even than Camilla did. Another book I wanted to do in the series is further on down the line with Nathan’s two sons. But it’s hard, when the numbers aren’t there, to justify going on.

[Note from Linda: We discussed some aspects of the story that I would love to share but won’t because it would be a severe spoiler. But oh, we had a great time talking about the characters in these wonderful books! We also discussed the cover, over which Allison really has no control, but which I thought was not particularly attractive. I would not have been drawn to the book if I had not been familiar with Allison Pittman’s writing. Allison said they are re-releasing For Time and Eternity with a revised cover.}

Tell me about the Mormon aspect of this book. It seems like there is a huge increase in the number of Mormons today and in their being viewed as more mainstream.

I think it’s very purposeful on their part to align themselves with Christianity as much as they can. I read a State of the Church Address from 1963/1964 where they were still calling the Gospel “mythology”. When it became politically savvy to be an evangelical and the evangelical movement really came into play they began to say “Yes, we are Christians, too.” Mormons did not call themselves Christians [in the past] because Christians were their enemies; they were the Gentiles. Christians were, quite frankly, the ones who were chasing them out of towns and shooting them and, actually, being pretty horrible. Now that’s wHow did you find out so many details about the garments and wedding ceremonies? I know current Mormons would never tell you about those!

I did a lot of reading on chat rooms of ex-Mormons. They call themselves MNMs – Mormons No More. These are people who have left the church. They talk about the garments and growing up with them. It’s also interesting historical research. The garments changed over the years.

They truly believe the garments are their salvation. If you die without your garments [you’re doomed] —that’s your identification into heaven. When you do have to change them, you hope you don’t get struck by lightning in the middle of changing! You have to treat them very carefully. You’re supposed to always hand wash them. You’re not supposed to throw them in the machine because something could happen. When one wears out you cut the sacred markings off, you throw the garments away and burn the sacred patch. I just think, “How sad to have your faith in that, in this rag you’re wearing.” To think that it has eternal significance is mind-blowing to me.

Have you gotten any mail from Mormons who haven’t liked the book?

I got one email from a woman who is “a happily married Mormon and her husband isn’t a polygamist.” Well, I would assume not because polygamy is illegal! Even the mainstream Mormon Church denounces that.

When I set out to write the book, I didn’t want it to be about polygamy. I wanted it to be about marriage. At the core of it is the marriage between her and Nathan, and when you marry outside of the faith, how heartbreaking that can be! He happens to be bringing in other wives. I have a woman in my Sunday School class who is married to a Jehovah’s Witness. That’s just sad that they can’t share that spiritual bond.

I’ve only gotten one just real negative response [from a Mormon] and she says that she believes her salvation is in Jesus Christ. I emailed her back and said “Then I don’t think you really understand your theology. And good for you! I’m glad you understand the saving grace of Jesus Christ.”

In fact, I got a really good review on a Mormon book blog. He felt sorry for me being locked in my theological box and not being open to new revelations but he liked the characters and he liked the book.

It's interesting that he could like the it when it opposes what he believes.

It was really important to me not to have Nathan be monstrous and unlikeable. I wanted the Mormon characters to be likeable. You have to care about him to understand Camilla’s heartache at having to leave him and still loving him. Sometimes making choices are really hard. It would be way too easy if he were horrible and abusive. I wanted it to be hard for her to leave because he’s handsome and he’s charming and he’s sexy and she loves him. Sometimes we have to leave things we really, really want to have, to have the life that Christ would have us lead.

I think out of all my male heroes I loved Nathan Fox the most. Even though he’s forbidden and awful, I just adored him!

Tell me about Rachel, Nathan’s sister.

Rachel’s just in it for the money! (She laughs.) Rachel’s a great character because she’s a Mormon of convenience.

But she really staunchly defends it.

She does, but she has these moments where she says “You can believe or not believe, but I know that being married to this guy I get to have this house, I get to have these things, I get to have a life I’d never be able to have if I weren’t a part of this church and a part of this movement.”

I think that she’s more staunchly defending Nathan because she loves him and sees him as her protector and doesn’t want him to be hurt or disgraced. It’s not all about the church but about “don’t do this to my brother.”

What’s on your plate right now?

I’m working on a new series with Tyndale set in the 1920’s, which I love. I love that era! My recent book with Multnomah, , with the flapper, was set in the ‘20s. I loved that book. I have to say, of all of my books, I think Lilies in Moonlight is the book that I would read if I hadn’t written it. I really enjoyed writing that story, especially after Camilla being lost in the snow! There was an evangelist in the mid-twenties, Aimee Semple McPherson, who is credited with starting the Pentecostal movement Movement. I have stories of three different women in three different books who somewhat intersect with her ministry in different ways. It’s been fun to do. I’m about one third of the way through with the first book.

I would love to do more Sister Wives, but you have to go where the market is. Maybe if the second book really takes off – they know at Tyndale I’m ready to go! In the meantime, I’m working on this and it’s a fun era. It’s hard because you don’t think of the 1920’s and think “Christian.” In your traditional historical, everyone went to church because that’s just what everybody did. That was the whole social outlet. What I love about the twenties is you come into an era where being amoral is socially normal. There was a time if you drank, if you danced, if you ran around, if you dated, and if you were being loud or obnoxious or sexual, then that was considered sin. The whole society would shun you. Then in the 1920’s we have a world in general saying, “It’s okay to be this way. This is what you should be doing.” So I think you can get characters that have a more authentic faith because they are really having to make a choice between the world and living for Christ, whereas in straight historical if you were worldly you were awful. It was that clear.

What do you like to do just for fun?

We really love to travel. We’re Disney people. We’ve always got a trip that’s being planned to do that. I’m a huge movie watcher and a huge TV watcher. I know people probably think that’s terrible, but I’m a huge TV junkie. I have my TV on while I write. I put it on something like Dateline Investigative Discovery Channel. I just have that sort of humming in the background. I never write more than 2-3 sentences at a time. I don’t do sprint writing. If I don’t have something on TV, I get up and go do something. If I have the TV on I might just sit and look up for 5 minutes or so, and then go back and write a few more sentences, and then watch, and then go back. I hear other writers, or [see] on Facebook, “I wrote 4000 words today” and I just can’t imagine that. I am not a fast writer. Maybe I’d be faster without the TV on – I don’t know. But I just get restless.

And I have three boys, including twins who are about to be 17. They just got their driver’s license and that was better than potty training! They are both so busy that I was grateful when I didn’t have to haul them around. My youngest son is 13, and he’s quieter and likes to be home more.

Anything else you want to say to readers besides “Buy these books so I can write the rest of the series!”

You know, I was talking to a woman from South Africa, and it’s so weird to think of people all over the world—or even people in Indiana—buying my book, something I wrote. I see myself in my living room just tippity-tapping away, and to think that at some point, someone is going to see it in a store and pick it up and buy it. It’s such a humbling thing. I love my readers so much. I felt so much pressure with the second [Sister Wives] book. It was almost crippling writing the follow-up to For Time and Eternity because I felt like I had a huge debt I owed them to finish up the story well. I’m so thankful that anyone buys and reads, and I have a huge fear of disappointing. I can’t write to the audience, but I’m aware of my readers and I want them to feel, first and foremost, that they got a good story.

THE SISTER WIFE SERIES:


For Time and Eternity
Allison Pittman
(Tyndale)
ISBN: 978-1414335964
August, 2010/384 pages/$13.99

All Camilla Deardon knows of the Mormons camping nearby is the songs she hears floating on the breeze. Then she meets one of them—a young man named Nathan Fox. Never did she imagine he would be so handsome, so charming, especially after Mama and Papa’s warnings to stay away. Though she knows she should obey her parents, Camilla can’t refuse her heart. But even Nathan’s promises cannot prepare her for what she will face in Utah.

You can read my review here.


Forsaking All Others
Allison Pittman
(Tyndale)
ISBN-13: 978-1414335971
October, 2011/400 pages/$13.99


Camilla Fox is alive. The last thing she remembers is being lost in the snow after leaving her home to escape the Mormon faith she no longer calls her own. She’s been taken in by the 5th Infantry Regiment of the US Army and given over to the personal care of Captain Charles Brandon. As she regains her strength, memories of her two children she had to leave behind come flooding back, threatening to break her heart. Camilla is determined to reunite with her daughters. But when news of her father’s grave illness reaches her, she knows she must return to the family farm to reconcile with her father. As spring arrives, Camilla returns to Salt Lake City a changed woman, but nothing could prepare her for the changes to the city, to the Mormon church, and to the family she left behind.

MY THOUGHTS:
Wow. I inhaled this book. It's hard for a sequel to match the quality and intensity of feeling of a first book in a series, but Allison Pittman has accomplished this in spades. Camilla once again captured my heart and I ached and agonized with her pain and heartache, her love for her daughters, her longing for her father's forgiveness, her desire for her husband's faithful love, and her steadfast commitment to God. For anyone who wants an insight into the history of the Mormon church and its theology, this is a fascinating book. Beyond that, it should be required reading for any Christian considering marrying someone outside of the faith. This is story-telling at its best; I had to keep reminding myself that these were fictional characters! I hated to see this book end, and I long to know what happens next in the lives of Camilla and her children. I can't recommend this book and this series highly enough.


GIVEAWAY

UPDATE!: Since several commenters have already read For Time and Eternity, Tyndale has graciously agreed to let me add a giveaway of the brand-new, soon-to-be-released, second book, Forsaking All Others! So this is now a double giveaway! TWO winners will be chosen - one for each book!


I received an autographed copy of the first book, For Time and Eternity, in Atlanta to give to one of you. To enter, leave a comment on this post by 8:00 pm CDT Sunday (9/4/11). Post about this interview & giveaway on your blog or FB and leave a second comment for an additional entry. Limit two entries per person. A winner will be drawn by random. US residents only, please. Be sure to include an email address if you don't have a blog.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of Forsaking All Others free from Tyndale in preparation for my interview with the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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11 comments:

Diana Ferguson said...

You have had so many wonderful opportunities to get the scoop with these authors!! Awesome....

sara said...

I really liked this interview!! It seemed like I was sitting there with you!

karenk said...

a great posting/interview, linda...
thanks for the chance to read allison's novel :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Cindy Swanson said...

Allison Pittman is one of my all-time favorites! I haven't read the Sister Wives series, but I'm definitely intrigued. Thanks so much for this excellent interview!

Cindy @ Notes in the Key of Life

Christy said...

I would've loved the opportunity to have met Allison in person! I loved the first book in this series, and devoured it in a matter of hours. Can't wait to read this one!

Christy
southernsassythings at gmail dot com

windycindy said...

Great interview! I love learning more about the author behind the
books they write...
Many thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

ellenjfoster said...

What a wonderful interview.

Thanks!
ellen foster
mythatsnice at yahoo dot com

Sandy Rutkowski said...

I really enjoyed "For Time and Eternity". I was hoping when I finished it there would be another.
I can't wait to read it.

Anonymous said...

I totally LOVE the sister wife series. I read the first one and can't wait for the other one to come out. It's making me crazy. i learned so much about the Mormons and can't wait to see where this book will take me. I seriously couldn't sleep with the first one; it had me so entangled. Great writing, Allison.

Thanks for your amazing imagination, Esther Byletr

Sandra said...

I know Allison but learned more about how she writes from your interview. I thought I was the only restless writer. Allison is a great writer and I hope to learn more about her style. I've read all of her books and want to tell you she brings each character to life. Thanks Allison.

Madonna said...

When I first saw the topic I didn't think I would be interested in this book but your review makes me want to read the whole thing. I have known a few Mormons in my life but wasn't close to them so other than the poligamy thing, BSU and genealogy I know nothing about them.