Wednesday, September 16, 2009

LOOK TO THE EAST - Maureen Lang - Free Book

It's a great pleasure to welcome Maureen back to my blog. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?

This is one of the most exciting aspects of Christian fiction—the spiritual layer that can be represented subtly or overtly, symbolically or blatantly. The theme in Look To The East is misplaced faith—how people can put their faith in the wrong thing, like themselves, or another person, or even in a group of people. In previous books, as in My Sister Dilly, I wrote about God’s unconditional forgiveness, and in The Oak Leaves my characters learned to trust God even when everything else in their lives seemed to fall apart. I have an upcoming book (Book Two in my Great War series, still untitled at the moment) where the hero’s faith has become elusive, impossible to hold on to. Unfortunately, it’s usually challenge, heartache and conflict that bring us closer to God, and it’s no exception for my characters.

What other books of yours are coming out soon?

I wish I could tell you the title, but as of right now Book Two in my Great War series is untitled. Being “Book Two” is just a technicality, by the way. The fact is, each book will stand alone, with characters only loosely related. I’ve just turned this second book in and had a blast writing it—or should I say rewriting it, since it’s actually an updated version of a story idea I had several years ago. I’ve always loved this story and its characters, but when I first wrote it, it was not only too long, it didn’t easily fit into a specific genre. It straddles the fence between historical fiction and historical romance—so I’ve cut the length and turned up the romantic element so that it better fits the historical romance genre (my favorite kind of book!).

I love historical romance, too. If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?

I’d like for my husband and I to be able to spend an evening with Charles Krauthamer. Who’s he, you might wonder (if you don’t watch Fox News in the evenings). Dr. Krauthamer is a syndicated columnist who, to me, is one of the most insightful conservative voices out there. You won’t see him on shows like "The McLaughlin Group" or other venues where panelists are trying to out-shout each other. He’s soft spoken but sure of himself, which I admire.

Sounds interesting. How long have you known that you wanted to be novelist?

Seriously, since I was ten years old. I’ve always wanted to tell stories, and I completed my first novel at age ten. Handwritten. A romance (of course!). I passed it around to neighborhood kids and they were so encouraging I decided all those years ago to never give it up.

What can you tell authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?

It’s easy to be really candid with a faceless person, so my advice will be candid. It depends on how long a person’s been at it, the quality of the rejections they’ve received, and the kind of personality a person has in order to withstand this kind of business. If a person writes a book, polishes it, and then is so eager to start getting feedback they start mailing it out to agents (and editors, if they can connect with one or find one still taking submissions without an agent) they may be jumping the gun. In that case, early rejections might not be coming because the author doesn’t have talent. They just didn’t let enough time go by to achieve a fresh eye to really polish their work. Perhaps they didn’t get enough outside input—from other writers rather than friends or relatives—someone objective enough to tell them if their project is working.

If a person studies the market by reading the kind of book they’re trying to publish, has joined a critique group or partnered with someone else who can give them objective help, has attended some workshops on craft (either online or at writer’s conferences) and is seriously pursuing professional writing, then they stand a chance at publication. The competition is tough, so the quality of work has to be stellar.

Secondly, is the writer consistently receiving only form letter rejections, despite all their efforts at learning to improve, polishing? There are levels to rejection, from form letter to the more personal but encouraging rejections. Ones that include lines like “although this project doesn’t work for us, we’d like to see something else by this author,” or “if the author could make a few changes, we’d like to see this again,” or some other form of “please consider resubmitting in the future.” If, after years of trying, of submitting and resubmitting, an author still only receives form letter rejections, it might be time to reevaluate. I’ve seen many reasons for an author not to progress. Some people are simply uncoachable. They have a story in them and want to tell it, but have no desire to listen to any advice they’re given; for whatever reason they just can’t see their work from a fresh perspective. On the other hand, I’ve seen writers bring in work that seems entirely unpublishable. But with time spent improving their craft, market study, more reading, withstanding critiques, I’ve seen a number of writers go on to produce wonderful (and definitely marketable) work.

Third, there are some people who wither over rejection. I do not mean to belittle how painful rejection is. It’s terribly difficult, because it feels so personal. But in reality the rejections a writer receives on the early portion of their journey in this business are the first steps to prepare a writer for the professional side of things. Just because a person is published doesn’t mean rejection doesn’t still come. After publication, most rejections are no longer private. A bad review for all to see, a withdrawn contract, a short career. This business isn’t for the fainthearted, and someone with a fragile ego might be spared all kinds of heartache by not ever getting published.

That may sound harsh, but for some, God gave the gift of writing as a way to communicate with Him. Writing, in its purest sense, is fulfilling and can be a great way to learn and grow—in faith, in insight. Publication feels like validation, but the truth is, if writing brings a person closer to God, greater insight into themselves or others, then that’s the real validation.

Tell us about the featured book?

Look To The East is one of my favorite projects! It was one of those stories where, at times, my fingers couldn’t keep up with what the characters were doing. Don’t you love it when that happens?

This story follows the romance of Julitte Toussaint and Charles Lassone. Charles tries to volunteer to fight against the Germans just as the First World War breaks out, but he’s too late. He’s caught behind the battle lines, forced to take shelter in a small French village where he meets Julitte, the adoptive daughter of a sailor. They fall in love despite the danger—if the Germans were to find Charles, it would be death for him and perhaps the same for anyone helping him. And when Charles escapes, he comes back for Julitte, proving to himself and to her that he’s not the coward he thought he was at the beginning of the book.

How can readers find you on the Internet? or visit my blog at

Thank you, Maureen, for once again sharing one of your books with us.

Readers, here's a link where you can order Look to the East:

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book.

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.



Katherine said...

This book looks really good. I would love to win it!


Sherry K said...

Thanks for the great interview with Maureen. Look to the East sounds like a great book. Would love to have a chance to win it.

Sherry K

Maureen Lang said...

Hi, Lena -

Just wanted to thank you again for having me visit your blog! Your questions are always fun. :-)

All the best to you and to your blog readers.

Connie e said...

Please enter me this drawing! The book sounds great!


Michelle said...

This sounds like a great book! Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy. : )

scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

Laura in Texas said...

The book sounds great, and I love this type of historical. More than that, though, I appreciate the honest analysis and advice regarding rejections. It's so hard sometimes for us to be objective about something as personal as our writing. Thank you.

I'd love a copy of the book - lauramctx @ yahoo

Sheila Deeth said...

Interesting interview, and thank you for the well thought out advice. I'd love to read this book

sdeeth at msn dot com

Buukluvr81 said...

Loved the interview and the book sounds just as good as the interview did! Would love a chance at winning it!


Cherie J said...

Wonderful interview! This book sounds great!

Wanda said...

I would love to be entered in your draw for this book. Thanks.

Linda said...

I actually haven't read any novel on WWI. This would be an interesting read. Please add me. Thanks.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Wendy said...

I love Maureen's books and this one sounds good too.

Anonymous said...

Would love to read this fabulous book...great review and interview.

karen k

Brenda said...

I would love to win a free book. Those that you write are just the kind that I love to read!

Thanks for the opportunity!

dancealert at aol dot com

Virginia said...

Hello, Maureen! Thank you for your insightful comments on how to improve one's chance of becoming a published author. LOOK TO THE EAST sounds exciting and sweetly romantic. I'd love to win. gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Abi said...

Looks like a really good book. Thanks for the contest

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Julie said...

Sounds like a great book! Would love to read it!


Brenda said...

I would love to read your book. It sounds really interesting. Thanks for the opportunity.

dancealert at aol dot com

Marla said...

Thank you for the interview. This books sounds good. Thank you for the entry in the giveaway.

Carole said...

Lena, you have some of the most interesting authors on your blog! Thank you for this interview and a chance to win "Look to the East."

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Anonymous said...

This book sounds awesome. I'd love to read it.


Anna W. said...

Sounds good! Please enter me!

writer_weaver at yahoo dot com

lovedandamazed said...

This looks like an interesting story!! Last year I visited a World War I museum in Kansas City and realized how very little I knew about that time period, compared to WWII. I'd love to read this book.


gahome2mom said...

I found your blog from the Back 2 School Book Bonanza. Thanks,


Erin said...

I'd love for a chance to read this book!

ellybean (at) connected2christ (dot) com

Mark said...

Good review. I'd love to win it

Amber S. said...

This sounds very interesting and powerful! Thanks for a chance to win!