Monday, November 18, 2013

Lisa Lickel & Brave New Century

Meet Lisa Lickel and read more about her book, Brave New Century, comprised of novellas written by herself, Paula Mowery, Teena Stewart, and Kathleen Rouser.

Tell us a little about your book and yourself.

Greetings, and thanks for letting me visit today. I’m Lisa Lickel, Wisconsin author. I live with my husband in an old house without a straight angle in it. It’s been interesting, and got me involved in the history of this community as well. My husband likes to garden and we both like to travel. I like history, but it’s a lot of work to write it, so I haven’t done much before this book. Brave New Century is a collection of novellas with the common theme of young women learning about what it means to live in the city, to find their own way and identity when America was changing and figuring out who she was, too.

How did the idea and/or inspiration of writing this book come about?

Brave New Century was a fun project for me. I called together some friends to write initially short stories about life and romance in the big city at the turn of the twentieth century several years ago. I was tired of the prairie romances and wanted to show that exciting things were happening in cities, too. When we finally got the project together, four authors stuck with it, so we rounded our short stories up into the novella category. I met some neat folks, Teena Stewart, who shares the same agent, Paula Mowery, who was our champion for the project and kept us going, and Kathleen Rouser, fellow historian, whom I met on a history writers blog, and who also signed with Teena’s and my agent. This is her first published work, so I’m extra excited.

Your book has a strong faith element. How natural was this to write about?

Sometimes faith elements in stories feel unnatural or tagged on for effect. Our stories all feature if not outright tragedy, at least some strong sense of loss or identity crisis. Being people of faith, or learning through the example of others that turning to God and prayer during times of triumph as well as trouble, should be part of their quality. Breathing a prayer or going to church should be something that a character does from the onset, at times and in places that flow with the profession. A missionary is going to be different than a waitress or a shopkeeper, but they can show their personality in many areas of their lives.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

For my part, good, clean entertainment is my goal for giving you a story to read. I hope readers appreciate the research, the attempt to let you visit this era, and what it was like to live during the past. I hope you think that people aren’t that much different and maybe you learn a little something about the past.

Which of the characters in the novel is most like you and why?

I’m probably a little of each of my female characters. Alice is practical about herself and her situation. She’s had to take care of herself in an era where women weren’t expected to work outside the home. Her friend Minnie is a bit impish and wants to be independent, but still holds onto her family, and is a terrible romantic. Alice’s other friend Emma is a spinster business woman, also practical and forthright, but satisfied with her lot.

Who is your favorite Biblical character and why?

Smile. That changes on any given day. Let’s see, today it’s Philemon, who had the guts to run, but more to return and face who he was called to be.

What’s your favorite and least favorite part about being a writer?

Favorite parts: typing away, forgetting about time and everything else, being confused there’s no snow outside when I’ve just been living and working in the blizzard in my manuscript.
Least favorite parts: begging other people to spend their hard-earned money on me.

What advice would you have for writers hoping to follow in your footsteps?

Whew – make your own trail, too! But I would delight in walking with you on your journey. And that means that group efforts are always better than struggling on your own. Gather with other writers and readers, make friends, learn a lot of different parts of the trade and spend time on craft. Read a lot.

Other than writing, what else occupies your time?

My husband and I enjoy our family, we travel all over the US and Canada; we garden (he much more than I). I like movies and visiting with my friends, and reading.

Thanks so much for the visit.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Mary L. Hamilton & Hear No Evil

Hear No Evil is a middle grade Christian fiction for 8-12 year olds. Definitely a book I look forward to letting my own son and nephew read. Summer camp is no fun for Brady McCaul. The girl with the cute dimples thinks he’s immature and childish. The camp bully targets him with cruel taunts and teasing, and flips Brady’s canoe to keep him from winning the race. But worst of all, his mom won’t let him come home. She doesn’t want him living with her anymore. Brady wonders if even God cares about him. Can Brady figure out what he did to earn Mom’s rejection and change her mind by week’s end? Or will he have to live with his workaholic dad, the guy who left when Brady was seven? All seems lost until a surprising secret changes everything. Here are a couple of reviews about Hear No Evil: "Ms. Hamilton has written a contemporary teen novel about real-life issues interwoven with questions of faith. The voice of her thirteen-year-old male protagonist rings true, as does his struggle to come to grips with his difficult family issues." ~KM "I felt she did an incredible job of directing the reader as she took the main character, Brady, toward a victorious freedom from those struggles. This is definitely a must read for everyone." ~ Dr. PDK


Your novel, which is geared toward "tweens",--tell us a little about it.

MH~ Hear No Evil is about a young teen whose mother drops him off at summer camp and tells him he can’t come home. She doesn’t want him living with her anymore and sends him to live with his workaholic father. Brady tries to figure out what he did to warrant his mother’s rejection and how he can change her mind. During the week, he makes a couple of great friends who balance out his insecurities, but he also becomes a target for the camp bully. At times, Brady wonders if anyone, even God, cares about him.

How did the idea and/or inspiration of writing this book come about?
MH~ I lived at a camp until I left for college, so my memories of that inspired the setting. When my own children were teens, I saw so many of their friends experience doubt and rejection when their parents divorced. Very often they heard a parent say “I don’t want you” in the way they acted, if not in so many words. It broke my heart.One day, I got the idea to connect the two--write a story about kids who come to camp with all the baggage from their daily life. At camp, they gain a new perspective and learn better ways of handling the issues they face.
Your book has a strong faith element. How natural was this to write about?
MH~ It was very natural for me, because I grew up with in a strong faith atmosphere. Every summer, I saw kids leave camp with a new relationship with the Lord, or a new confidence that God is who He says He is.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

I hope my tween readers will understand how much God cares for them, and that He wants to be actively involved in their life on a daily basis. I also want them to know that when terrible things happen like divorce and parental rejection, it’s not their fault. When parents are overwhelmed with stress in their relationships, jobs, finances, etc., they become desperate to rid themselves of anything that adds to the burden. The stress often blinds them to the effect on their kids, who think they’ve done something wrong.

Which of the characters in the novel is most like you and why?
MH~ I probably identify with Steven the most. I have a pretty even temperament and tend to let a lot of things pass in order to keep the peace. Occasionally, I’ve been with friends or other people who took offense at something that I totally missed, did not even see it as something to get upset about.So I can be just as blind as Steven, too.

Who is your favorite character?
MH~ Brady really tugged at my heart, but I loved writing about Steven. That sounds a little narcissistic, doesn’t it? My favorite character is the one most like myself. (laughs)But when things got heavy, I could always count on Steven’s upbeat attitude and sense of humor to brighten things up.

What’s your favorite and least favorite part about being a writer?
MH~ My favorite part is the discovery, when I’m writing a scene and suddenly, I see how something I wrote earlier fits in perfectly, even though I had no plan for that to happen.

My least favorite part of being a writer is when I’m building the characters and the story and can’t quite get a handle on what exactly is the conflict or a character’s goal or motivation. It takes me forever to figure these things out.

What advice would you have for writers hoping to follow in your footsteps?
MH~ Three things. 1. Commit your work to the Lord and trust Him for everything, including the timing. We all want to rush into having a book published. But take your time, listen to those who are further along the road, and trust that God will open doors for you at the right time.

2. Understand that being a published author is a business. There’s so much more to this than just writing a book and seeing your name on the cover. Attend conferences and get to know the writing business.

3. Write because you love it. I believe Michael Jordan was once asked how he kept going early in his career when his team lost so many games. He said he loved the game more than winning. Writers need the same attitude to survive the rejection and waiting that comes with the game of publishing. If you love writing (the game)more than publishing (winning), you’ll persevere through all the discouragement and rejection.

Other than writing, what else occupies your time?
MH~ I’m involved in several ministries at church—youth, mentoring moms, and a specialized adult Bible study for people working through issues in their lives. My children are grown but my husband and I love spending time with them. And I have a Golden Retriever that would love to occupy all my time if I’d let him.

Thanks so much for letting me visit with you and your readers! It’s been fun.

Read more about Mary L. Hamilton below:

Mary L. Hamilton grew up at a camp much like the setting for her Rustic Koll Bible Camp Series. Her faith is a strong influence in her life and writing, along with her concern for young people growing up in today’s popular culture. She loves opening her home to youth Bible studies, pancake suppers and breakfast with her special recipe waffles. Mary and her husband live in Texas, within range of their three grown children.

Connect with Mary here:
Twitter: @mhamilton122


Friday, November 8, 2013

D.M. Webb & 30 Days: A Devotional Memoir

When too many deaths happened one right after another, and when so many things seemed to go wrong and I was lost in the upheaval, I wondered if there were others who felt the same as I did. I could find no blog, no book, no devotional, no person to connect, no mentor to talk to. I tried reaching out, and became rejected by so many people or labeled a freak or wanton. I wanted help with dealing with issues. I wanted guidance. Eventually, I decided that some things had to be done on my own. So I studied, I read, and I wrote on my blog. I had a few relationships born out of the studying and internet surfing. The season of the friendships is over, but they were there for a purpose: to help strengthen me. I did eventually quit blogging about things I formally did, and things are still as tough as before, but not quite so daunting. 

If there is one person out there that feels the same way, then this book 30 Days is for him/her. Read more about it below:

Do you desire to no longer be alone? Do you yearn for understanding and hope? Do you wish for a closer walk with Jesus?
When a relationship ends, whether through divorce or death, it leaves us with heartache and sadness. Fear of loneliness overwhelms our soul. Anger at God consumes us. We are suddenly thrust into unknown territory, lost and bewildered.

Psalm 147:3 "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds."

30 Days: A Devotional Memoir brings you deeply moving stories to strengthen your walk and bring you closer to Christ. Author D.M. Webb shares her three year spiritual journey with a collection of thirty devotions designed to reach out and uplift those who have endured the turbulent emotions that came with divorce, widowhood, and single parenting.

Reach out, place your hand in His, and begin your journey today.

Author's Note from 30 Days: A Devotional Memoir:

"The compilation of this book was not an easy thing for me. More or less three years in the making, through personal journals and a personal blog, each story revealed a little more about myself than I really wanted known. 
I never wanted to talk about my late husband, my father, the trials I endured or the thoughts of hopelessness, loneliness, failure, and doubt. Truly, I only wanted to show the happy, sparkly times in my life.
As with all good intentions, it only matters when it is God's intention being done. I sat for so many weeks, staring at my words in my latest novel, wondering why I couldn't write, why the words wouldn't come. I knew what I wanted to say, knew what I wanted to create, but nothing happened.
Instead, my journal and blog posts kept distracting me. Books were distracting me. Finally, I sat down and printed out those blogs.
I fiddled with a few of them, and then set it aside.
I tried to ignore it. Days passed and still those pages called.
More day passed.
I eventually gave up the fight. Once I sat down, I edited, rearranged, and added to the stories until my eyes blurred, and yet I still pushed forward. It had to be done. I felt it in my soul.
Self-doubt and fear of utter failure would beat at me, and still I kept writing and typing. Three days later I beheld my product: three years of a spiritual journey condensed into thirty days--thirty days of stories that bared my  heart and soul, my shortcomings and dreams.
It isn't that I wanted to reveal myself to others; but if what I spoke about could help others deal with similar issues, then I had to tell my stories. I hope it will encourage others. I hope it will help others. Most of all, I hope it brings glory to God's name."

D.M. Webb (Daphne Self) lives with her husband and two sons, along with a variety of pets, in the beautiful state of Mississippi. Her experiences ranging from retail clerk to firefighter/EMR and her travels around the U.S., have given her a plethora of ideas for upcoming books. She’s an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and a proud supporter of American Family Association.