Welcome, Stephanie. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
This September, book 2 of The Quilt Chronicles, The Shadow on the Quilt, releases. My editor and I are going back and forth with re-writes at the moment. I’m thrilled to be one of three authors with a novella in A Patchwork Christmas releasing with Barbour for this next Christmas season. (Judith Miller and Nancy Moser are also contributing.) And I have the third installment of The Quilt Chronicles titled The Message on the Quilt to write this summer. Greenbrier Book Company has reissued my Keepsake Legacies series (Sarah’s Patchwork, Karyn’s Memory Box, and Nora’s Ribbon of Memories both as ebook and print books), and I’m working to get Prairie Winds, Dakota Moons (2 Christy finalists in that series) and Pine Ridge Portraits back in print and available as ebooks.
How exciting. I’m really liking using my Kindle as well as having print books. Tell us a little about your family.
We are a blended family—three adult sons and their wives, two adult daughters, one married, one single, five grand-children on earth and one in heaven and one expected this October.
Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
Writing has probably made me a little harder to please when it comes to reading fiction. It’s difficult sometimes for me to turn off the “inner editor.” For that reason, when I read for pleasure, I tend to read in genres that I don’t write. I love suspense and mystery.
I understand. With my more limited reading time while on deadline, I don’t like to waste it on a book that doesn’t catch and hold my interest. What are you working on right now?
Final edits on this fall’s release titled The Shadow on the Quilt, research for next year’s release titled The Message on the Quilt, final preparations to teach at the Called to Write conference in
13-15, and my final project for my master’s degree in history (I graduate in
What outside interests do you have?
Quilt history, quilting, women’s history, delighting in my grandchildren, riding my motorcycle, travel, music (my children are all musicians, some serve in their local church, one daughter is a singer/songwriter in Nashville and my husband and I love attending live events in small venues).
How do you choose your settings for each book?
Settings are usually dictated by a compelling historical event or situation that I want to throw a character at and see if they sink or swim. I’m always reading a
history book or something in the area of women’s history. Settings and
situations literally reach out and grab me sometimes and I’m “off and running”
with a new story idea.
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
That’s an incredibly difficult question for me because as I type this I’m staring at about twenty-five running feet of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves overflowing with history books. There are literally dozens of people from history I’d love to spend time with—although I’d want them to come to me so that we could enjoy electricity and indoor plumbing. Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Charles Eastman (who inspired my fictional character Soaring Eagle), writer Bess Streeter Aldrich, Mary Chestnut (author of an amazing Civil War diary), Mrs. William Jennings Bryan, Isabella Bird, The Delaney sisters, Aunt Clara Brown, Mary Riggs, Luna Kellie, Varina Davis, Dolley Madison, Mary Allis, Mrs. Frederick Douglass … and dozens of quiltmakers whose work I’ve admired.
What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
That I would be teaching writing someday. I wish I had kept track of the process and retained examples of what I would be teaching from my own work.
What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
What Jesus meant when He said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. What it means to be “free” in a spiritual sense. The difference between repentance and shame, and the security and freedom that comes from knowing how completely God forgives and how furiously He loves.
Wow. Those are some real essentials in our walk with the Lord. What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Pray over that word “success” and decide how God would have you define it for yourself in light of eternity.
Write write write.
Read read read.
Tell us about the featured book.
The Key on the Quilt is the first book in The Quilt Chronicles. Each of the three books is inspired by a unique quilt and explains the “why” behind the way it was made. In the case of this book, why is there a brass key sewn to the center of a courthouse steps quilt? What does it open? Why the courthouse steps pattern? The story introduces a prison warden’s wife, the prison matron, and a female inmate and draws them together in a setting where no one would expect them to be friends and no one would expect them to find love. And yet …
Sounds like a book I’ll love reading. Please give us the first page of the book.
If it wasn’t for the occasional night when he tried to kill her, Owen wouldn’t be a bad husband. Jane Marquis risked a sideways glance at him. Moonlight and shadows revealed an all-too-familiar expression on his weathered face, as Owen guided the wagon across the spring prairie toward home.
Doing her best to suppress a shiver, Jane ducked her head and closed her eyes. Oh … God. It wasn’t much of a prayer, but it was the best she could do. God hadn’t seemed interested in answering her prayers for some time now. When the wagon lurched, she grabbed the edge of her seat with her right hand, lest she be thrown against him.
From where she lay sleeping in a tangle of quilts in the wagon bed, Rose whimpered. She stirred but did not awaken as the wagon lurched back up out of the ruts on the trail. Thank God for that. If only Rose would sleep through until morning. By then it would be over. Owen would smile and tease her from across the breakfast table, and everything would be fine.
What an opening! I can hardly wait to read it. How can readers find you on the Internet?
I am in the process of redesigning my outdated web site, so the best places right now are: www.Facebook.com/stephaniegracewhiton, www.footnotesfromhistory.blogspot.com.I still love my old web site www.stephaniewhitson.com , it just doesn’t have my new books up because I don’t know how to do that. My beloved webmistress graduated to heaven and I’m totally lost without her.
Thank you, Stephanie, for the interesting interview.
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The Key on the Quilt (The Quilt Chronicles) - paperback
The Key on the Quilt - Kindle
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