Sunday, May 6, 2012

Wedding Belles - Giveaway!

UPDATE Sunday 5/13/12 9:50 pm WINNER!

Here are your random numbers:
2
Timestamp: 2012-05-14 02:47:04 UTC

Congratulations to Debbie! Email me your address, Debbie, and Janice Hanna will send you the book! Thanks to all for entering!

* * * * *

Wedding Belles
Janice Hanna
(Summerside Press)
ISBN: 978-1609366322
May 2012/320 pages/$12.99
Also available for Kindle - $7.99

I'm delighted to share a Q&A with Janice Hanna (who also writes as Janice Thompson; that is explained below) today, along with a giveaway of her brand-new book, Wedding Belles, which just released last week! I have just read the beginning, and it is a delight! I loved her Weddings by Bella series, so I was thrilled when she offered this opportunity to participate in this promotion. Details of the giveaway follow the Q&A.

Who (or what) influenced you to become a writer?
From the time I was a little girl, I always had a creative bent. I loved to sing and dance. I got involved with drama in high school and ended up writing a little play, which we performed. In the late 70s my father moved our family to Los Angeles so that he could get into the movie business, (as a producer). He encouraged me to co-author a screenplay, which I did. In fact, I joined the screenwriter’s guild at age 18. Quite an honor! After I got married and had my children, they showed an interest in theater, too, so I ended up directing and writing musicals for Curtain Call CafĂ© (a Christian theater group). From there, my interests spread to books, and I started publishing fiction for the Christian market. I’ve now published over 80 books, everything from inspirational romance to non-fiction devotionals. I would have to say that my father was a huge influence. He passed away in ’06, but did a lot of writing in his lifetime (both screenplays and lyrics to country songs).

Janice, can you tell us about your latest book project?
Yes, I’m so tickled to share the news about my comedic historical, WEDDING BELLES, which is releasing on May 1st. Most of my readers know that I love to write light-hearted tales, and this one is no different!

What is the story behind this book?
I received a call from editor Susan Downs, who shared an idea she had for a series of books titled “Belles and Whistles.” The books in this series, she explained, must be historical, set in the west, with funny, quirky female characters. Because I write romantic comedy, she thought I would be perfect. I quickly put together a proposal for six books and two were picked up right away: WEDDING BELLES and SLEIGH BELLES. I was commissioned to write WEDDING BELLES first and had a blast doing so! The basic premise for the book was developed before I started writing, but something significant happened along the way to change my plans drastically. I needed a sneaky reason for Lottie Sanders (my heroine) to bring a group of women to Estes Park Colorado as potential brides for the town’s men. About a week after I got the contract for this book I went to a local restaurant that happened to be hosting a melodrama during the dinner hour. As I watched the drama take place, I realized this was my answer! Lottie would write and direct a melodrama to raise funds for Parker Lodge (owned by the young man she secretly loves). Out of that came the rest of this fun, melodramatic tale!

Can you share the “official” synopsis?
Lottie Sanders would do just about anything for the man she secretly loves. When Gilbert Parker suggests they put on a play to draw people to his family’s lodge, he begs Lottie to direct it. Lottie agrees to help, but is also worried if they cannot pull this off, Gilbert and his family will lose the lodge — and she will lose him. When the local single men look at this as an opportunity to catch a bride, they secretly hatch their own drama to win the hearts and hands of the actresses.

Why did you choose to write this book under the name Janice Hanna, instead of Janice Thompson?
Ooo, great question! I write most of my contemporary novels (like the WEDDINGS BY BELLA series) under Thompson and historicals (like the LOVE FINDS YOU books) under Hanna. My maiden name is Hanna, and I love to write under that name to honor my father, who passed away in ’06. I think he would have been very proud of this particular book.



Is there any connection between the WEDDINGS BY BELLA series and this one?
Nope. None whatsoever. Just an interesting coincidence with the titles/names.

What’s the deal with the wedding stories? Why do you write so many books with wedding themes?
My four daughters (all in their late 20s/early 30s) got married within four years of each other. Talk about wedding chaos! At writer’s conferences I’ve been told to “write what you know” and I certainly know weddings. I worked for a short while as a wedding coordinator and have catered many a wedding and/or bridal shower. It just makes sense to keep my writing wedding-themed, as much as possible!

What are Reviewers saying about WEDDING BELLES?
I just found out that Romantic Times gave the book a four-star rating. Woo-hoo! Here’s what the reviewer said:

Hanna’s Belles and Whistles series launch is filled with mayhem, drama and, of course, romance. The characters are engaging, witty and willing to do what they need to get what they want. Hanna’s magical touch ensures the book brims with laughter, charm and style.

Reviewed By: Patsy Glans

What outside interests do you have?
People might be surprised to hear this, but I bake cakes. Wedding cakes. Shower cakes. Birthday cakes. You name it, I bake it. In fact, I was once asked by a local restaurant to bake cakes for them.

Cute cover! What’s the story behind it?
My heroine, Lottie, is a tomboy. She’s not much for dresses. In fact, she wears pants most of the time. The men in Estes Park make it their mission to get Lottie “gussied up and lookin’ like a lady” as the story progresses. Of course, she’s still pretty attached to her cowgirl boots, so giving those up isn’t an option. I love the cover, because it merges the boots with the wedding dress.

How much research went into this story?
I drove to Estes Park while working on this book. Even though I had been many times before, I needed to see the area again so that I could envision it through Lottie’s eyes. The wonderful people at the Estes Park Museum spent a great deal of time with me, talking about the history of the area and pointing me to just the right research books to write. So, I would like to think I’ve got most of the historical elements right. I added the Stanley Hotel, of course, and the Stanley Steamer. But the setting for my story is Parker Lodge (which is completely fictional). Because I’m passionate about photography, I took dozens of pictures of the area. I particularly enjoy my trek up into Rocky Mountain National Park, where I did my best to absorb all I could about the scenery.

What are some of the most interesting things you found about this subject that you weren’t able to use in the story?
I learned a lot about the health benefits of living in Colorado! Did you know that Freelan Stanley (the man who designed/built the Stanley Hotel) came to Colorado at his doctor’s recommendation because he had tuberculosis? His health improved dramatically while in Estes Park.

What inspired and surprised you while you were writing the book?
I was directly inspired by the team of actors and actresses (here in Texas) who performed the melodrama. That little “spark” of inspiration completely changed the layout of my story and allowed me to tap into one of my strengths: directing. Many people don’t know that I spend part of my time working as a director at a local Christian theater and I love anything and everything about putting on shows.

What do you hope the reader takes away from the story?
Two things: I hope they see Lottie as the precious girl she is. I also hope they learn that perceptions are just that. . .perceptions. They’re not fact. Sometimes we look at situations and think we’ve got them figured out. When we give them a second look (and a third) we realize we were dead wrong.

What is the next project you’re working on?
I’m currently writing a novel titled LET THEM EAT CAKE, which is part of the new WEDDINGS BY DESIGN series from Revell Publishing. Many of my readers know me as the “Bella” author (from the WEDDINGS BY BELLA series). In this new series, readers can catch up with Bella, DJ and the whole gang!

What do you do when you have to get away from the story for a while?
I spend time with my grandbabies. I have six darling grandbabies with number seven on the way.

God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
I feel so incredibly blessed at this particular season in my life. I’ve been through several hard things over the past several years, but through it all, God has been right there, walking me through one book project, then another. He has used the writing to bring healing in so many areas, and I’m so grateful for that! I’ve made Ephesians 3:20 – 21 my life verse: Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. God IS able to do so much more than I could ask or think, and He keeps proving that to me. In spite of any weakness on my part (and there’s plenty, trust me), He entrusts me with this gift (writing). I will use it to His glory as long as He allows.

Please give us the first page of the book.

A Reckoning in the Rockies

Estes Park, prepare to be razzle-dazzled! Parker Lodge, located on the beautiful Fall River, continues to offer the best entertainment in town. This month’s event is certainly no exception. Join us this coming Friday evening, April 27, for a rousing performance by local musician Jeb Otis, who will play several well-known ballads and folk tunes on his saw. Otis, who hails from the Estes Valley region, will be appear- ing at the lodge for one night only, performing before a packed house. C’mon out and share in an evening of fine food, rousing entertain- ment, and heartfelt fellowship. Front-row seating for the first ten guests to arrive. —Your friends at Parker Lodge

Estes Park, Colorado, 1912

“Jeb Otis says he’s going to jump off Longs Peak and end it all.” “What?” Lottie Sanders looked up from the rippling waters of Fall River into her boss’s worried eyes. “He’s going to end it all? Why-ever would he do that?”


“Oh, you know how he is.” Gilbert Parker plopped down next to her and sighed. “Melodramatic. Always wanting attention. Just like the other men in this town. He’s frustrated because the Widow Baker won’t give him the time of day, so I guess this is how he plans to remedy the problem.”

“He’s going to remedy the problem by taking his life?” Lottie swallowed hard. “Won’t that defeat the purpose?”

“Who knows?” Gilbert offered a little shrug, and a hint of a smile turned up the edges of his lips. “But if it’s any consolation, I reminded him that he’s got a concert coming up this Friday evening, so maybe he’ll wait till after then to do himself in.”

“One can hope.” Lottie thought about the many times Jeb and the other fellas who frequented the lodge had posed such ludicrous threats. How weary she’d grown of their antics. “What’s it going to take to convince Jeb that he and Althea Baker are as different as night from day, anyway?” she asked. “They would make a terrible match. I’m surprised he can’t see that for himself.”

“True.” Gilbert released a sigh. “But I guess it’s true what they say—love is blind.”

“Mm-hmm.” It’s blind, all right.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website: www.janicehannathompson.com
Facebook: Janice Hanna Thompson
Twitter: booksbyjanice
My online courses: www.freelancewritingcourses.com

Where can readers buy this book?
They can email me for an autographed copy: booksbyjanice@aol.com. They can also purchase online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Christianbook.com.


GIVEAWAY!

Janice Hanna has graciously offered to give a copy of this book to one of my readers! To enter, leave a comment on this post by 8:00 pm CDT Sunday, 5/13/12, and I will randomly draw a winner. US Residents only, please. Be sure to include an email address if you don't have a blog so I can contact you.

Thanks so much, Janice, for providing this Q&A and this giveaway! I look forward to getting a copy of this book and reading it!


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16 comments:

collettakay said...

This book this really good! I would love to win it. Thanks for the interview. It was fun to read.

collettaskitchensink [at] yahoo [dot]com

Debbie said...

I love to read and would love a new book, this looks great!

My e-mail should link up with my profile but I will put it here in case.

dlphsmom (at) aim (dot) com

karenk said...

what a fun read...and i enjoyed janice's interview/posting, too ;)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Merry said...

Janice knows how to write awesome, delight filled stories. I'd love to win Wedding Belles.
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

skoots1mom said...

a great summer read...put me in, too, pleeuz ;)

Anne Payne said...

This is a great interview! So happy to learn more about one of my favorite authors. I love wedding stories and Janice is a great humorist! Can't wait to read this one :)

homesteading[at]charter[dot]net

Judy said...

Looking forward to reading this one. I'd love to win a copy of Wedding Belles.

Enjoyed the interview! Six grandbaby's and number seven on the way. I'm sure you are a wonderful grandmother. I love my grandbaby's too!

Blessings!
Judy
sweetpea.judy(at)yahoo(dot)com

Glenda Parker Fiction Writer said...

The book sounds really cute and I would love to win it. Thank you for the post, the interview was awesome. God bless you.

Glenda Parker
parker.glenda@ymail.com

Mary Lou said...

Thanks for doing this...sounds like a really good read.


Mary Lou Lowrance
dlowran1(at)comcast(dot)net

JackieW said...

I would love to read your book. I was born in Colorado and have visited all over the state and so I am anxious to see how you describe it. Rocky Mtn Park is a beautiful place.
JFWisherd(at)aol(dot)com

joye said...

Would like to win this book-it sounds really good. I like to visit Colorado its such a beautiful place.

Sharon said...

Would love to win a copy of Wedding Belles. Just finished laughing my way through Weddings by Bella series Estes Park is beautiful and a great setting.
smoore at tcq dot net

AuburnChick said...

You know I love a giveaway! The book sounds terrific!

Julia M. Reffner said...

Janice writes wonderfully funny stories! Please count me in the drawing.

julesreffner(at)gmail(dot)com

Amanda Stephan said...

Ha! I've often wondered about the name - I'm so glad you answered it, Miss Janice! And thank you for your generous offer - I appreciate it very much!
amanda38401 at gmail dot com

atthegrand said...

Women and weddings....they just go together. I can see a cool glass of lemonade, a summer chair and this book in my dreams! :-)