I have had the honor and privilege to work together with a wonderful team of authors to produce a new book--Montana Mistletoe, which releases in September.
This blog is the first stop on the Montana Mistletoe blog tour. I'll have a list of the other stops at the bottom of this post. Lots of exciting things on this tour. Every tour will have different information from the rest of them, so you'll want to visit them all. Also we'll be giving away four books on this blog. The tour ends at the Montana Mistletoe blog. You'll want to leave comments both places. We'll be giving away three more books and a grand prize at the end of the tour.
Let me introduce you to the team.
How did your story for the collection come about?
Lisa: I’d always wanted to do a Christmas novella, and the idea of a pact between four friends sounded fun. When Lena, Debbie and Kim jumped on board, we spend time brainstorming the idea until we were ready to send in a proposal to Barbour.
Debby: When Lena asked if anyone was interested in joining her in this anthology, I jumped on it because it sounded like fun. I thought about different story ideas in a town that celebrates Christmas year-round, and the concept of my heroine being a tourism director and the hero longing to return seemed natural.
Kim: I love Christmas stories, so when the opportunity to join a Christmas novella presented itself, I jumped. :o) My story is a springboard of two good friends, both named Kathy, and time I've spent with them. It was fun to weave some real "Kathy-Kim" events into the story.
Lena: Lisa first approached me and asked if I could find other authors to join us for a Christmas novella collection. I had been a part of several novella collections, but not a Christmas one. I really wanted to be in one. The rest, as they say, is history.
What are you reading right now?
Lisa: About a half dozen books. :-) The Last Days (Joel Rosenberg), Operation Firebrand (Jefferson Scott), The Measure of a Lady (Deeanne Gist), Gone with the Groom (Janice Thompson), Experiencing God (Blackaby & King) The Hobbit.
Debby: I have a stack of short Christian romances I’m working my way through, and I have home decorating magazines tagged with ideas I’m hoping will inspire me. I tend to go in many different directions at once, so what I’m reading today is likely to be completely different from what I’ll be reading tomorrow.
Kim: Jane Orcutt's All the Tea in China, a very intriguing story!
Lena: I'm about halfway through that book, too. I highly recommend it.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
Lisa: I recently sold my twelfth book, which is exciting. I have a historical series set in Massachusetts with Heartsong Presents. Michaela’s Choice, Rebecca’s Heart, and Adam’s Bride. This collection is being repackaged and released this August as Massachusetts Brides. Two other of my Heartsongs will be released this year, Tara’s Gold (July) and A Matter of Trust (November) Besides Montana Mistletoe, I’ve enjoyed being a part of three other novella collections, To Catch A Thief, Cowboy Christmas, and Sweet Home Alabama. I’m also thrilled to be a part of Barbour’s upcoming mystery line. Recipe for Murder comes out in February, while Baker’s Fatal Dozen debuts next August.
Like most authors, I also have several proposals floating around on editor’s desks. Most of these are either International suspense, or gothic historicals, both of which I love to write.
Debby: I’ve written a set of 3 Heartsong Presents set in Georgia: Love’s Image (Jan. 2005), Double Blessing (Oct. 2007), and If the Dress Fits (June 2008). 5 of my novellas have been in Barbour anthologies. I also have several books published by Avalon in hardcover.
Kim: If I were to start listing unpublished works, I'd take up too much space, because I'm always writing! But published...the Mt. Lake Series: A Seeking Heart, A Heart Surrenders, When A Heart Cries; Heartsong Presents novels: Dear John, That Wilder Boy, Promising Angela; the Sommerfeld Series: Bygones, Beginnings, Blessings; and historical novels: Waiting for Summer's Return, Where Willows Grow, My Heart Remembers. Eight more stories are contracted and slated for release by fall of 2010.
Lena: My 9th Heartsong will come out in October. Four of them were repackaged in a collection titled Minnesota Brothers. Pirate's Prize also released in an audio edition. I've been a part of these novella collections: Scraps of Love, Windswept Weddings, Spinster Brides of Cactus Corner, Carolina Carpenter Brides, Snowbound Colorado Christmas (which wil release in September 2008). You can check out all my books at: http://www.lenanelsondooley.com/
What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a novella collection?
Lisa: Barbour likes collection that are tied together closely which means you must coordinate with the other members of the team. In Montana Mistletoe, for example, we made a map of the town, had to share character information, work on the timeline, and insure it all fit together seamlessly. It’s a lot of work, but worth it in the end.
Debby: The hardest thing for me was making sure the timeline worked so it wouldn’t conflict with the other stories. However, now that we’re through this, I feel that the book is one of my best.
Kim: I think trying to keep all the storylines flowing smoothly and keeping the characters consistent through all the stories. With four authors, it would be easy to get things mixed up, but working closely together helps smooth out the rough spots.
Lena: I agree with the rest of the team, but this we really worked well together.
How did collaborating with this team impact you?
Lisa: What I enjoy the most is making new friends as you email back and forth with ideas for the collection.
Debby: I got to know the other 3 fabulous authors in the collection. It’s almost like a sisterhood among the authors as the characters become real.
Kim: Writing can be a very isolating occupation, so having the opportunity to communicate on a project gives a splash of refreshing fellowship. I really enjoyed that and hope to do more novella sets in the future.
Lena: I knew each of these ladies before we started work on the collection, but I agree with them that we have a much deeper relationship since working together.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Lisa: I have two baby name books I use a lot. For me, when the name is right, I know it.
Debby: I use a baby naming source book and try to pick names with meanings that fit my characters.
Kim: Usually the characters introduce themselves to me, as odd as that sounds. But this time I chose names significant to the aforementioned friendships.
Lena: My characters' names usually come with the story idea.
What did you want the reader to take away from your story?
Lisa: As with all my books, I pray that through the journey of the book, they not only enjoy a few hours escape into another world, but that something in the storyline will touch them so that they will be drawn closer to God.
Debby: When falling in love, it’s best to allow the Lord to be in charge. When we try to take matters into our own hands, things can get very complicated.
Kim: If the reader will grasp the importance of seeking God's will first rather than self-will, I will be happy. :o)
Lena: God gifted me with the ability to plan things out. That's a good thing, but sometimes I make plans without seeking what His will is in the matter. My heroine did that. I want the readers to know that God desires to be a part of everything in their lives.
Why are you a member of American Christian Fiction Writers?
Lisa: The resources are innumerable. From online classes, to critique groups, to mentors and contacts, to the annual conference. . .I could go on and on. In my opinion, if you are serious about writing, you need to join.
Debby: The ACFW provides a professional forum for learning craft, discovering publishing opportunities, and professional camaraderie.
Kim: ACFW has given me wonderful opportunities to learn and grow. Some of my dearest friends are among its membership, as well as prayer warriors, encouragers, and mentors.
Lena: I agree with everything my team members said. I want to add that we have a lot of fun!
Will you be at the conference in Dallas in September?
Lisa: Yes! I can’t wait!
Debby: Unfortunately, I have a couple of factors preventing my attending the conference this year: my husband’s health and a prior commitment in another part of the country. However, I don’t like missing this wonderful get-together, so I’ll do everything in my power to be there next year.
Kim: Yes, I will! And I'll be teaching a class for the first time. I'm very excited (and a little nervous lol) about that!
Lena: I haven't missed one of the conferences, even the two Texas regional ones before we grew large enough to have a national conference. I'm vice president of the Dallas-Fort Worth local chapter, so I'm involved with providing local support to those attending. Less than a month to go. Yippee!!!
What is the best piece of advice you received as an author?
Lisa: Write from your heart. Be patient in the waiting (the writing journey can be such a waiting game), and strive to grow in the craft. Getting involved with others who write is essential as well as writing can also be lonely.
Debby: Continue to learn and never stop writing.
Kim: PERSEVERANCE is key. Publishing is a slow-moving process and not for the impatient. So if this is your calling, persevere! The journey is well worth the end result.
Lena: I agree with everything they said, but another piece of valuable advice I received was that the only authors who get published are the ones who submit proposals. That's scare to many people.
Now for the Tour Schedule:
August 26th - Lena Nelson Dooley http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com/
September 3rd - Jackie Castle http://www.journeyintograce.blogspot.com/
September 5th - Ronie Kendig http://supernaturalcraving.blogspot.com/
September 7th - Lisa Harris http://myblotintheheartofafrica.blogspot.com/
September 10th - Lynette Sowell http://myslicesoflife.blogspot.com/
September 12th - Cecelia Dowdy http://www.ceceliadowdy.blogspot.com/
September 14th - Marjorie Vawter http://www.marjorievawter.blogspot.com/
September 24th - Debby Mayne http://debbymayne.blogspot.com/
September 26th - Rhonda Gibson http://www.rhondagibson.blogspot.com/
September 28th - Beth Goddard http://bethgoddard.blogspot.com/
October 1st - Draw winners! http://montanamistletoe.blogspot.com/
Visit each one to learn more about this novella collection. Leave comments on the first and last one for chances to win books or the Grand Prize. Of course, we welcome comments on all the other stops, too.
If you can't wait for the drawing, you can find the book in most retail book outlets and online at http://www.christianbooks.com/ , http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ , http://www.amazon.com/, http://www.walmart.com/ . They make really good Christmas presents for the readers on your list.