Tuesday, April 06, 2010

SIXTEEN BRIDES - Stephanie Grace Whitson - Free Book

So glad to have you visit my blog, Stephanie. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

I never consciously write myself into my characters, but I know it happens whether I plan it or not. As I think back over my writing life, I realize that my character's fears and worries are usually things I've experienced, as are their faith questions and struggles, but then those aspects of my characters are also fairly universal to women in every place and time.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Learning to ride a motorcycle as a 50-something-year-old—and loving it.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I have always written. I was the weird kid in school who loved writing assignments of every kind, especially research papers. Two things eventually made it possible for me to tell people "I'm a writer" and not feel like I was "putting on airs." First, having my name come up when I did an author search at the local public library and second, receiving the contract for my second three book series.

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

I'm a very eclectic reader. I keep a reading journal where I list books I've read and write a brief response—what I liked or didn't like, etc. My 2009 list includes everything from non-fiction to suspense, contemporary women's fiction, historical fiction, murder mystery, gentle reads, end times fiction, Pulitzer winners, and biography. So far this year I've concentrated on non-fiction (I'm working on my master's degree) and obscure biographies as background research for a novel proposal.

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

Sixteen Brides is my eighteenth novel. God has blessed me with a publisher for every book so far. I have a quilt history book coming out next year that hasn't been titled yet, but I'd love to hear from people who would be interested in receiving an e-mail when it's released next April. It pays tribute to 19th century sod house homemakers on the Great Plains by showing off their quilts and providing instructions for making reproductions of some of the gorgeous pieces unearthed during the research to document quilts used in sod houses. At any rate, here's the booklist so far:

Historical Fiction:

Walks the Fire, Soaring Eagle, Red Bird, Sarah's Patchwork, Karyn's Memory Box, Nora's Ribbon of Memories, Valley of the Shadow, Edge of the Wilderness, Heart of the Sandhills, Secrets on the Wind, Watchers on the Hill, Footprints on the Horizon, Unbridled Dreams, A Claim of Her Own, Sixteen Brides.

Contemporary Fiction:

A Garden in Paris, A Hilltop in Tuscany, Jacob's List.

Non Fiction:

How to Help a Grieving Friend: A Candid Guide for Those Who Care

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

It's easier now than it was when my children were young and I was home schooling all four of them, living on an acreage, and running a home based business. As I've matured I've found it easier to focus, because I have become more conscious of how short life is and how little time I have left to accomplish the things that really matter to me. I try to be intentional about simplifying my life and eliminating merely "good" activities that might keep me from the best possible use of my time. In recent years I've also been intentional about getting rid of possessions that, because of the care they require, seem to "own me" instead of the other way around.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I often "collect" names from tombstones, and if I'm not doing "on site" research that enables me to visit interesting old cemeteries, I read local histories and collect names as I read--being careful to mix and match first and last names so that I never consciously use a "real" name for one of my fictional characters.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Building two happy marriages (my first husband died in 2001. We were married for nearly 28 years. The Lord provided new love and we've been married for almost seven years).

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

Something graceful. . . because I'm not. Maybe a Lipizzan. If all the foibles translated, I'd be. . . .hhhmmm. . . . a three-legged one-eyed dog named Lucky.

What is your favorite food?

Yes. Except for anchovies.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Self discipline is the greatest roadblock and I haven't overcome it yet. Having written is so much easier than writing.

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Continue to read widely, because reading informs writing in a way nothing else can. Write every day, and if you are writing fiction, get a copy of Sol Stein's Stein on Writing, Browne and King's Self Editing for Fiction Writers, and James Scott Bell's Plot and Structure. Those three books together provide a superb education.

Tell us about the featured book?

Sixteen Brides was inspired by a 1902 newspaper article that said: "ATTRACTIVE WIDOWS--Another cargo of war widows arrived in Gordon last Wednesday morning, sixteen in number and filed upon claims adjacent to town. This was decidedly the best lot of widows that has arrived thus far."

I just had to know the story behind that article, and researching it became "the rest of the story."

Please give us the first page of the book.

Chapter One
A man's heart deviseth his ways: but the Lord directeth his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

As the carriage pulled away from Union Station, Caroline Jamison almost panicked and called out to the driver. Wait! Don't go! I've changed my mind! Take me home! Her heart racing, Caroline forced herself to turn away. St. Louis isn't home. And home doesn't want you. Daddy told you that in his last letter. Still, there were times when she entertained a desperate few minutes of hope. But what if I was standing right there on the veranda. Would he really turn me away? If I told him I was sorry. . . that he was right. . . if I begged. . . what then?

For just a moment the possibility that her father might forget everything and pull her into his arms made Caroline feel almost dizzy with joy. But then she remembered. It had been five years since she'd opened that last envelope, and still she could recite the terse few lines of the last letter posted from Mulberry Plantation.


We received word today. Langdon joins his two brothers in glory. Your mother has taken to her bed. The idea that any--or all--of these deeds may have been committed by one their sister calls HUSBAND--

The sentence wasn't finished. Caroline still remembered touching the spot where the ink trailed off towards the edge of the paper, a meandering line that wrenched her heart as she pictured Daddy seated at his desk, suddenly overcome by such a deep emotion he couldn't control his own hand.

We are bereft of children now. May God have mercy on your soul.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

http://www.stephaniewhitson.com/ and soon. . . . http://www.footnotesfromhistory.blogspot.com/

Stephanie, thank you for spending this time with us.

Readers, here's a link to the book. By using this link when you order, you help support this blog.

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.



Theresa N. said...

Your book has really caught my attention, it sounds like a wonderful story.
Theresa N

Anonymous said...

Sounds great! I love that you find old names from tombstones.


rubynreba said...

I like the cover and I know it would be a great read.

Wendy said...

I have enjoyed Stephanie's other books and I look forward to reading this one.

Sylvia M. said...

I love stories about ladies that go out west to become brides. Recently I saw the film The Women Westward that was along the same lines of this subject. We know nothing today of the hardships those women had to endure. I respect them greatly. I have enjoyed the books by Stephanie Grace Whitson that I have read. Karyn's Memory Box is my favorite.


Stephanie Whitson said...

I just wanted to thank Lena for letting me gab with her followers today. . . and say thanks for mentioning Karyn's Memory Box. It's out of print now (sigh), but still has a place in my heart because it's the book that taught me about sod house homemakers and raise my "thankfulness quotient" that all I do is WRITE about "the olden days". . . . because I'm really glad I don't have to live them. Bless you readers! You've made my morning by commenting on the blog post.

Jan Cline said...

I really enjoyed this interview. I am a 50 something writer who has only been writing fiction for about a year. I am so happy for your success Stephanie. And I know what you mean about self discipline! You would think at my age I would have it down!

K said...

This sounds like an amazing book! Books about mail order brides are some of my favourite!! :)
Thanks for the opportunity to win this book! :)

Casey said...

Looks like a great book, love the cover. :) Thank you!

Robyn said...

Looks like a real winner of a story!

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Debra said...

Sounds like a great book. I love the cover, too!


Katy said...

Oh how heartbreaking that excerpt is. I would love to read this book.

denise said...

This book sounds so good. Would love to read it.

Anonymous said...

I have been wanting to read this one...please enter me. Thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for introducing me to new authors and books. Please enter me.

ebeandebe at gmail dot com

Edna said...

I would love this book, I really like Stephanie's writtings.


mariag said...

Sounds like an interesting read.
The cover also caughte my eye.


Trinity Rose said...

I really like Stephanie's books. I've read several. Sounds like another wonderful read.
Thanks for the interview and giveaway.
Trinity Rose


Linda Kish said...

Please include me.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

the title of this book facinates me...thanks for the chance to read it.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Megan said...

I love that she is learning to ride a motorcycle now! so cool!

Thanks Lena


Virginia said...

This sounds like a wonderful read! I would love to read it.


Cindy W. said...

I love the cover of Sixteen Brides and the story sounds awesome. Please enter me into your giveaway and thank you so very much for the opportunity!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Sheila Deeth said...

That newspaper report would have caught my attention too. What a great inspiration.

ladystorm said...

Sounds interesting. Its great to find old articles like that and it strike up a idea.


Cherie J said...

Enjoyed the interview. Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you!

MJ said...

There have been many articles in old newspapers that have struck my curiosity too. We don't write newspapers like we used to.

The Herd said...

I would love to read this book whether I win it or borrow or buy it!

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

Desiree said...

I think this sounds like a good book.

Julia said...

My biggest struggle is definitely self-discipline and scheduling, too. I enjoy reading about mail order brides.


Judylynn said...

I've really enjoyed Stephanie's books before. Please enter me in the drawing!


misskallie2000 said...

Great interview Stephanie and Lena. I have not read any of your books but have added you as a new author. This book sounds like a wonderful story.
Pls count me in. Thanks..

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Lori (sugarandgrits) said...

Motorcycles are awesome! Hubby & I just bought a 'new' one Monday! I haven't gotten to ride it yet, but am looking forward to it. :)

I can't wait to read Sixteen Brides...it sounds great. Thanks for the chance to win!

sugarandgrits at hotmail dot com

Merry said...

Sixteen war widows going west to be brides is an interesting twist. Please include me in the drawing, thanks!

Anna W. said...

Ooh, what an interesting premise! This book sounds like my cup of tea! :)

Marla said...

Would love a chance to win. Thank you for the entry.


April said...

Please enter me. I really am looking forward to reading this book. tarenn98[at[yahoo[dot]com

Carla said...

I would love to read this book.

Sara - artst4christ said...

Very interested, I like the historical novels about brides different ways. . . First one I read was A Bride for Donnigan by Janette Oke and most recently last week in fact I read A Bride Most Begrudging by Deeanne Gist. I haven't read any of your books before but I'm always glad to add another Author to my list.

Nancye said...

This sounds like a wonderful book. Please count me in.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Wanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wanda said...

I would be very interested in this book. Please enter my name in your draw. Thanks.

Rhonda Gibson said...

I'm late getting in to tell Stephanie how much I enjoy her books. Walks The Fire was my first introduction to her writing. I loved it!! I'm looking forward to reading Sixteen Brides. Thanks for giving me a chance to get to know Stephanie better Lena.

kristen said...

Sounds great!
Please enter me:)

Megan said...

Self-discipline/ or self control is what I am working on right now...Because it is a fruit of the Spirit, I know God has already given it to me, but I must die to self and let Him lead me because I am weak! Thanks for this interview and giveaway.
We posted about it at Winning Readings.


Mel said...

Thanks for the giveaway! Sounds interesting!
mjudge83 at gmail dot com

Brenda said...

I love these kind of stories! Please enter me!

dancealert at aol dot com

Anonymous said...

I would love to read this. I am a huge history fan of that era.

Katherine said...

This book looks wonderful! The cover art is beautiful. Please enter me.


Lydia M. said...

I would love to read this book. This author really knows how to write and make the reader feel like they're in that time period. So realistic.

Please enter me into the contest. lindawn[at]hotmail[dot]com.

Michelle said...

Thank you for entering me!

scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

Tammi said...

I have had Sixteen Brides on my list of books I want to read for awhile now. Please enter my name into the drawing. Thank you. ~Tammi

Linda said...

Winning Readings mentioned this giveaway. It's a book I'd love to have. Please enter me.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Melissa M. said...

I would love to win this! I love her books! Great interview, too.

Sarah R said...

Please enter me in the drawing. This book sounds like one I want to read.