Monday, February 1, 2010

An Author Chat and Giveaway

UPDATE #2: Sunday, 2/7 at 6:00 pm

Unfortunately, Marilyn did not leave an email address, nor did she contact me within 48 hours. So we have a new winner of A Bride in the Bargain!

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2010-02-07 23:58:29 UTC

Congrats to Sara!. Contact me within 48 hours and the book is yours, Sara!

* * * * *

UPDATE: Thursday, 2/04 at 9:45 pm
Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
8, 11
Timestamp: 2010-02-05 03:45:21 UTC

Congrats to Virginia C, winner of Deep in the Heart of Trouble, and Marilyn, winner of A Bride in the Bargain! Please email me your addresses within 48 hours and the book will be headed your way!

* * * * * * *

I had the delightful privilege of meeting and interviewing another of my "must-read" authors last March at the Christian Book Expo. Deeanne Gist published her first book in 2005, and she has been churning them out steadily ever since. I've read and enjoyed every one of her books (and the covers are beautiful!); meeting her and hearing the stories behind them was the icing on the cake!

How did you begin writing books?

My degree is in Elementary Education but I had 4 children in 4 years, so I needed to stay home. [While I was home with my kids] I did journalism because I’ve always had a knack for writing; I wrote for People Magazine, Parenting, Parents, Family Fun and the Houston Chronicle – whoever would pay me.

(The interview was briefly interrupted by our excited conversation when her mention of the Chronicle led us to discover that she lived on the same street as my husband's family when she was in high school!)

Anyway, while I was doing journalism I developed a parenting line of products; my kids needed to learn to do their chores so I developed a chore system, I Did My Chores. That has been licensed by a third party so they do all that now. About the time I was getting out of that and licensing it, Bethany House Publishers bought my book. (I had been writing fiction and dabbling.) That was A Bride Most Begrudging; it came out in 2005, but I’d finished the manuscript in 1997. It’s all about what’s going on in the heavenlies, and when the timing is right. That’s how I got started.

Usually what I do is look for a premise – I look for something interesting that happened in our history that people just don’t hear much about. A Bride Most Begrudging, is actually in Jamestown Virginia, about 20 years after Pocohantas. The men wouldn’t stay without women, and the Crown wanted settlements, so they sent a bunch of female felons out of their prisons in England; they sent them across the ocean and sold them as brides. And that’s why she’s begrudging.

So then your next set of books is set in Texas.

Yes, Courting Trouble is the prequel to Deep in the Heart of Trouble, and the premise was that oil was first discovered in Texas. Everybody thinks it was discovered in Beaumont, with a gusher, Spindletop, but it wasn’t. Spindletop was in 1901 and oil was discovered in Corsicana in 1894. That’s where the big boom was until Spindletop.

So you start with a real fact and build a story around it rather than just coming up with something from your imagination.

That’s right. I definitely look for some intriguing historical tidbit. One of them is in the Gold Rush. And I found out that the people on the East Coast were told you could just go to California and pick up $10,000 worth of gold in two days and go home, so all the men left their families. They get there and of course, they can’t do that. So they start sending for the women, but it’s like a big bachelor party – there’s drinking and gambling so the respectable women show up and they want a lending library, they want an ice cream social, and they want a Sunday school. And the men have missed the women, but they’re really having a good time! So I thought, "What if you were the very first respectable woman to get there?" So I fictionalized what happened to her. That was The Measure of a Lady.

A Bride in the Bargain was set in Seattle and again, that was a settlement issue. The men were told they could get 320 free acres for free if they would just settle. But if they had a wife, they would get 640! So all the guys wanted 640, but there weren’t any women. So this entrepreneur says (and this is all true), “Each of you give me $300. The Civil War just ended and there are tons of widows and orphans over there. I’ll go get a bunch of brides for you and bring them back for you.” So they said okay and give him $300 apiece. He goes to the East Coast and tells the women, “I guarantee you jobs as domestics, nannies, or school teachers -- and you have to pay your way.” He gets them over there, gives them the name of their employer, and they go knocking on his door thinking they’re going to their job, and he opens the door thinking he has a bride, and I fictionalized what happened with those girls.

So that really happened?! Where do you find out this stuff?

You know the bargain books in the bookstore? A lot of them have that sort of thing. I go to the history section and see what’s over there that I don’t know about.

That is so cool.

And what was really fun about that one is they put my daughter on the cover. They found out she modeled and so she's on the cover.

So how old are your kids?

They are 22, 21, 19, and 18. We just became empty nesters and we LOVE IT! It’s such fun. It’s the first time it’s been just the two of us since our first 5 years of marriage. I mean, we love the kids, but it’s so nice!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

At the time of the interview, A Bride in the Bargain was about to be released and we ran out of time before I could ask her what else she was working on, which would be Beguiled, which releases today, and her seventh book, Maid to Match, which will come out June 1 and is available for pre-orders.

Deeanne's books have received many nominations and awards. Among them are two Christy Awards for Best Romance, A Bride Most Begrudging in 2006 and The Measure of a Lady in 2007. You can see more of her accolades here.

Deeanne has a fantabulous website with all sorts of fun features as well as a blog where you can get to know her better.

What Do You Get When You Cross a Romance Writer With A Crime Fiction Novelist?

Her newest book, Beguiled, is a collaboration with J. Mark Bertrand. They are former critique group partners, and Deeanne came up with the idea for them to write a romantic suspense together. Deciding to collaborate was the easy part; then they had to flesh it out. The book is set in Charleston (Mark's doing) and the heroine is a dogwalker (thanks to Deeanne!). Deeanne says "At first we figured having two authors work on one story would cut the work in half. Wrong. If anything, it doubled the amount of writing! We both went over every line, every detail, getting everything just right. The result is a book neither of us could have written without the other." (from the Author's Note of Beguiled, p. 331)

That book will be featured here tomorrow.

I have an autographed copy of Deep in the Heart of Trouble as well as a copy of A Bride in the Bargain. (It's not autographed because it came out after my interview with Deeanne!) I will draw two names from comments received on this post by 2:00 pm Thursday (2/4/10). US Residents only, please. And please be sure to include an email address if you don't have a blog so I can contact you.

Thanks to Bethany House Publishers, who provided the giveaway copy of Deep in the Heart of Trouble. A Bride in the Bargain was purchased by me. (I wouldn't be so generous about giving it away if I hadn't won an autographed Advanced Reading Copy from Deeaane! Her books are keepers! LOL)

Tomorrow: my review of Beguiled!


View blog reactions


quilly said...

Me! ME! Pick ME!

(I know that came as a complete surprise to you.) ;)

sara said...

you know I want one!!!! so many giveaways lately..yippee!!!

Kim said...

Don't enter me Linda. Just stopping by to tell you this was a WONDERFUL interview! It sounds like she and Mark are really neat people, and we have a lot to look forward to in coming releases!

Next time I'm going with you to the book expo!!

Barbara H. said...

I haven't read Deanne yet, but I have noticed her titles, and this interview makes me want to read them! I'd love to be entered.

Heidi said...

I just read Beguiled. Good interview here. Fun!

Cindy said...

I'm fresh out of reading material for February so count me in!

LuAnn said...

Sounds like another great author. Sign me up Linda !
Thanks :)

Virginia C said...

Hi, Deanne! Your story lines are wonderful, and your book covers are so pretty! Please enter my name in the drawing.

Follower & Subscriber

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

2cats said...

Her books sound so wonderful, I would love to read them all. However, I would be glad to win one.

Gay Vaughan said...

Spreading some sunshine your way. Check out my blog.

Marilyn said...

I love to read- please enter me in the book giveaway! Thanks!

Mary Lou said...

You'll recognize me...I won last week..but I love this author's books..would love her new one. So please consider me entered. Thank you....

Carole said...

You're very good at interviews, Linda, and I'd love to win one of Deeanne's books.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Edna said...

I really like Deeanne's books as I have a few of hers. I would love to win one of these new ones.


Anonymous said...

Please enter me....would love to read them! Thanks!

cpullum said...

Would love to read this book count me in!!

Anonymous said...

please count me in....thanks


Sylvia M. said...

I just found this. It's after 2:00. Can I still enter? I'd like either of these books.