Author Lisa Wingate is a fellow Texas author. I love, love, love every book of hers I've read. We've become acquainted in the cyberworld. I'm hoping for some face-to-face girl time with her soon. Welcome, Lisa. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
Most of my stories are, in some way or other, about relationships. My characters often have family issues and past hurts that are holding them trapped in one place. God wants harmony and peace for us, and I like readers to see that they have the power, with God’s help, to rise above old hurts and animosities.
I love stories with a sense of community, in which neighbors pull together and learn to regard others with a sense of grace. Intergenerational themes are some of my favorite. Younger characters learn to enjoy older people and older people learn that they can open up to the new experiences and ideas that can come from spending time with someone younger. I hope the books will inspire readers to be open to the people who cross their paths. God does some of His best work through the people we meet along the way!
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
Blue Moon Bay will be released by Bethany House in February, 2011. The second book in the Moses Lake series, it is a stand-alone story, but also within the small-town lakeside setting of Larkspur Cove (Bethany House Feb, 2011). When a family falls into conflict over the sale of the family land, a no-nonsense career woman is forced to return to the family funeral home in tiny Moses Lake, Texas, to sort things out and deal with the unresolved wounds of her past. There, she meets a local guy, finds herself embroiled in a family mystery, and reconnects with the plain faith of her family’s Mennonite neighbors. The last place she ever wanted to find herself turns out to be the place where she might reconnect with her family and find out where she’s meant to be.
If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
Oye! That’s hard! Could I please sit down with the entire United States Congress? I have some things I’d like to tell them. In particular, I’d like to stand there with the gavel and read the “Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” poster that was so popular a few years ago.
If I could pick just one person, I’d like to sit down with someone influential in Texas state government and discuss the fact that cutting funding is like deciding not to water and fertilize the crops because it costs too much today. The problem is that what you do today affects tomorrow’s harvest.
What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
It’s a tossup between Will Rogers and Mark Twain. I admire the writing, the humor, and the wisdom of both of these men. Having lived near Will Rogers’ birthplace for many years, I’d probably opt for Will if I have to go with just one. A man whose fame enabled him to hobnob with presidents and celebrities of all kinds, Will never forgot his roots and he always looked at life with a simple man’s view – or perhaps he was extremely complex but gifted at expressing his astute observations in common language that no one could resist. I’d hope to find out which it was on this special evening.
How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
I’d encourage them to realize that rejections happen for many reasons. A rejection doesn’t necessarily mean the writing is bad or that writer doesn’t have a worthy story to tell. You have to keep trying, keep learning the craft and consider the possible reason for rejections. Don’t make alterations to your work based on one rejection, but if you receive the same critique from multiple people, take another look at your project and consider revising. At this point, a strong, supportive writer-community is a must. There is so much benefit in contact with published and unpublished writers. This can be by joining writers clubs and organizations, attending the meetings, communicating by email, reading online newsletters, asking questions of other authors in the newsletters, blogging with authors and readers, and so forth. Aside from that, it’s good to realize that the more you learn about rejection and revision before you sell a manuscript, the more equipped you will be to hit the ground running when you do sell a book. The rejections and revisions don’t stop after you sell—the rejections just become reviews, and the revisions become editorial letters, but the process is much the same.
Tell us about the featured book.
Several years ago, I received a reader email from Ed Stevens, a retired engineer, who offered to help with technical projects to spread word of the books via Internet. As we worked together, I learned that he had an amazing life history to share.
My favorite stores are the sort inspired by the lives of real people.
Those conversations with Ed became the genesis for Dandelion Summer, which an early reviewer called a cross between Water For Elephants, The Help, and Driving Miss Daisy (if you can imagine that combination). Dandelion Summer is the story of Norman, an aging widower who feels he has no reason left to live, and Epie, a young girl who needs someone to believe in her. When Norman's daughter hires Epiphany to cook for him in the afternoons, Norman resists, but over time, an unhappy coexistence leads to an unlikely friendship.
Norman's history mirrors that of Ed Stevens, who worked with the Howard Hughes team that designed America's first moon lander, Surveyor 1, during Kennedy's race to beat the Russians to the moon. What those men accomplished with 1960's electronics was truly a moment of American Camelot. In Dandelion Summer, Norman shares memories of that turbulent summer of sixty-six with Epiphany. Through Epiphany,
finds links to a family secret, mysterious memories of another life, and a young woman, a black housekeeper, who saved him. Norman
I love when a story comes to life on its own, and Dandelion Summer was that kind of story. Norman and Epie were fun, funny, and sometimes just downright difficult, each of them. For those of you who enjoyed Tending Roses years ago, Dandelion Summer is something of a grandfather-granddaughter version, with some mystery and history thrown in for good measure. I wish every young woman could have a "Norman" in her life, and every lonely elderly person could have a young friend who needs guidance and infuses new life into an aging soul.
I'm thrilled to share with you that both Publisher's Weekly and RT Bookreviews Magazine gave Dandelion Summer fantastic reviews, and the book has already garnered interest from two film production companies! Keep your fingers crossed, and in the meantime, I hope readers will enjoy getting to know Norman and Epiphany, learning a bit about Surveyor 1 and the crew that built her, and reliving that Camelot summer of 1966.
Please give us the first page of the book.
J. Norman Alvord
A single drop of water changes the ocean. A noted colleague of mine once asserted this as we dawdled over lunch at a restaurant near Cape Canaveral. “How can it not?” he demanded. “Some amount of matter is displaced. There’s transference of energy. Nothing is as it was before.” We were young then, certain of our own importance. Convinced that our presence in the world, that our work, was destined to change it. “I discussed it with Einstein, you know,” he said, and went on to share a story of having accompanied the physicist on a fishing trip, of all things. They’d considered the drop-of-water theory while Einstein reclined on the deck of a sailboat, trails of pipe smoke drifting lazily into the air. Less than a year after their conversation, Einstein’s sudden demise sent a ripple around the world.
There are those men whose deaths displace water in the far parts of the sea, and then there are those for whom the pool seems to have dried up long ago. So much of a life can pass without a thought of where the journey might end. A young man’s days grow full and his nights become short, and his mind is crowded with all that must be done, and all that has been done, and all that waits to be done. Hours come and go, a rush of time that seems limitless as it passes.
Looking back through the haze of years, you wish to whisper in the young father’s ear, tell him to put away his books and his calculations, go out into the yard and play a game of kickball, stop worrying about engineering the best tree house on the block and just climb the tree. Sit quietly in its branches with a son or a daughter and watch the minutes drift by in glorious splendor, as aimless as the cloud ships in a summer sky…
I can hardly wait to get my book. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Stop by my cyber-porch at www.Lisawingate.com.
For Dandelion Summer, we’ve also done something special, which has turned out to be one of the most fun things we’ve put together in advance of a book. A book club read the book early, and then we met for a pre-publication book discussion. The result was the Book Club Premier of Dandelion Summer, which readers and writers can watch here: http://www.youtube.com/lisawingate - p/a/u/0/jDYy8jZqGO4
Come and visit me at our fun, relaxed southern fiction cyber-spot with Beth Webb Hart, Marybeth Whalen, Rachel Hauck, and Jenny B. Jones. We talk about fiction, faith, fun, family and all with a southern view of things. www.southernbelleview.com
I’m also a hopeless Facebook addict, and readers-friends or writer-friends can join me here: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1551277549 - !/pages/Lisa-Wingate-Readers-Circle/132187520154779
Lisa, it's been such fun to host you here on my blog.
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