Sunday, April 15, 2007

THE MEASURE OF A LADY by Deeanne Gist

Deanne Gist burst onto the Christian fiction scene with her first novel. I'm happy to introduce her to you with her second novel. Always glad to promote a fellow Texas author.

Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

I’m sure they reflect me in some ways. I don’t see how they couldn’t, but I don’t intentionally make them personal. I couldn’t even pick out what parts of the novels are personal and what parts aren’t. I’m simply not aware of it. If you were to ask my sister, though, she would probably be able to tell you. On second thought, let’s not ask my sister. That could be dangerous.

Where is it that your sister lives? Just kidding. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I confess I do quirky things all the time. Not on purpose. It just sort of happens. Trying to pick one instance over another is pretty tough. I suppose one that always seems to come up at family gatherings is when I was trying to learn how to rollerblade (at age 43 as I recall), but I couldn’t master the art of stopping. So, I went to Home Depot, bought some PVC pipes and elbows and made myself a walker on wheels so that when I drug my left foot behind my right (to stop), I had something to hold on to and therefore wouldn’t lose my balance and fall down. Anyhoo, it wasn’t uncommon to see me skating down the sidewalk in kneepads, elbow pads, wrist guards and helmet while pushing my homemade “walker.”

My son saw me heading out of the driveway once and said, “If you say ‘hi’ to me while you’re using that thing, I’m gonna say, ‘Who is that woman?’”

The mother of one of his friends was standing there at the time. She said, “Actually, Dee, don’t say ‘hi’ to me either. Okay?’”

Sad thing about it is: I never did learn how to stop and have hung up my blades for good (much to the relief of my family and friends). :-)

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

My parents had always told me I could write, but they were my parents. It wasn’t until I was in sixth grade and got a “Delightful A” on my kumquat short story--and A’s were hard to come by in Mrs. Barnes’ class--that I began to believe that maybe, just maybe, I had some ability in this area.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I love my Bible. I’ll read a “how-to” book if I need to. But as far as fiction goes, romances are my favorites. Always have been. I enjoy historical romances the most, but don’t particularly have a favorite time period. I do prefer American historicals over some of the others, but really I like them all.

My all time favorite book (which, ironically, isn’t a romance) is To Kill A Mockingbird.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

My first manuscript stunk, but I learned a lot between the prologue and the epilogue. A Bride Most Begrudging was the second manuscript I had ever written.

And it is a thoroughly delightful story. Let's switch gears now. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

By keeping my eyes focused on the Lord. Spending time with Him is my best defense against succumbing to worldly ideals, stresses and schedules. I love His Word. I listen to Christian music 99% of the time. I talk to Him, listen to Him, praise Him and pray to Him. Ain’t nothing better.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I wish I could say I go through some intense, scientific process, but you know what's embarrassing? I choose names that I like and that my husband wouldn't let me use when naming our kids. Ha!

Works for me. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

I remember typing “The End” on that first manuscript (awful though it was). That night I told my husband. He nodded and said, “That’s nice.”

I smiled, thinking he was kidding. Then realized he was serious. So I tried again. “Honey, I said I finished the book, not a chapter.”

He immediately froze. “Oh! I’m supposed to say something, aren’t I?”

Yep. It was a big moment for me. ;-)

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

I don’t think I’d make a very good animal of any kind, but I’ve always wanted to sing and I’ve always thought it would be neat to fly. So, I guess I’ll say a song bird.

What is your favorite food?

Chocolate. Hands down.

I know a place near the hotel where the conference will be held that has wonderful chocolate things. Maybe we can go get something then.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

The Measure of a Lady, after it released quickly hit #14 on the CBA Bestseller List and #4 on the CBD Bestseller List. Rachel Van Buren reaches San Francisco in 1849 to discover she is the first “real” lady to establish a home in this town full of adventure-seeking, rowdy men. Cloaking herself with a mane of respectability, she takes on the task of civilizing them ... and has a wee bit of trouble.

A Bride Most Begrudging won the Christy Award in the “Best Romance of the Year” category and has been nominated for “Best Long Historical” in the Book of the Year contest sponsored by the American Christian Fiction Writers Association.

Deeanne, thank you for spending this time with us.

Readers, for more information about Deeanne, visit her web site at http://www.deeannegist.com . Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win an autographed copy of The Measure of a Lady.

17 comments:

Angie said...

Thanks for the great interview! I loved Measure of a Lady. Actually, I also enjoyed reading Deeanne's first book, A Bride Most Begrudging, because God used it to encourage me that He really was paving the way for edgier content in Christian fiction, which was exciting news for this writer. Can't wait to read Courting Trouble in June!

Melanie Dickerson said...

A Bride Most Begrudging is such a page-turner! (And that's high praise from me. I rarely can say that.) I hope to read Measure of a Lady, too.

Deborah said...

great interview! i really liked A Bride Most Begrudging and I'm reading Courting Trouble right now and i'm really liking it. I just need Measure of a Lady!

Cherie Japp said...

Enjoyed the interview! Chocolate is my favorite food as well! :-)

Norma said...

Sounds like a great book - sign me up for the draw!

Carolynn W. said...

Thanks for the interview...I haven't read any of the books but I am really looking forward to it! Please enter me in the draw too, thanks!
carolynnwald(at)hotmail.com

Deeanne said...

Wow! What lovely comments! Thanks girls. This was a particularly fun interview because Lena's questions were so unique. Thanks for inviting me!

Sharlene MacLaren said...

Great interview. I love Dee's books and just discovered I've won an advanced copy of "Courting Trouble" on her blog. Yea! Come over and visit her blog, people. We have a lot of fun discussing all kinds of stuff.

Hugs and Blessings,
Shar

Rhonda said...

Hey Lena! Great interview. Rhonda

SweetJen said...

What a nice interview! It sounds like an interesting book (and the cover is terrific).

Shauna said...

I just want to say, if you haven't read Dee's stuff....GO GET IT! She's absolutely fabulous!

I was browsing the local Christian bookstore and decided to try this new author. I went home and read her first book in a day. Couldn't put it down! I phoned the bookstore to reserve the second book, then called my husband at work and told him not to come home until he had it! The next day I read Measure of a Lady. I've been eagerly waiting for Courting Trouble ever since!

These are books you don't want to miss!!

Carole said...

Deeanne, I enjoy romances, and "To Kill a Mockingbird" is also my favorite book.

Congratulations on your awards and the success of your books. I haven't read any yet, but plan to change that immediately. Thanks for the interview.

Miss Reader said...

Deeanne,
I had to laugh with your homemade walker to learn how to rollerblade. I love it! I enjoyed the interview.

sheina said...

Didn't "A Bride Most Begrudging" get the Christy award last year? Oh, please enter me for this one! I would really like to read this book.

sheina (xypher27 at yahoo dot com)

tetewa said...

I'd love a copy of the book! tWarner419@aol.com

Anonymous said...

I want a copy! I want a copy! Pretty please...


Diane
leannesse@yahoo DOt com

Lindsey Freitas said...

Thanks for the interview! I'd love to read this, feel free to enter me in the contest! :-)