Welcome, Yvonne. James and I did a lot of driving this last weekend, and I finished reading Hearts That Survive on my Kindle. I loved it. And I like this picture of you on the reproduction of the staircase on the Titanic. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I write them because I can’t not write them. I love creating the world of story and experience the characters come to life, work through their problems and find a solution and a hope. I want the readers to experience entertainment and a take-away value.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
That’s difficult. There are so many. Perhaps the most awesome was when I stepped foot in
Israel. I think it involves that
joy and peace and wonder that passes understanding, knowing I was in the place
God selected for his Chosen people and that I walked on the same streets, the
same stones, on which Jesus walked. I saw where he lived and died.
How has being published changed your life?
I don’t know what life I would have lived if I had not been led into writing. A whole new world opened up to me when I attended the Billy Graham School of Christian Writing more than three decades ago. At that time, I was married and had three children. The next year, carrying my fourth child, I returned to the School and received their Award of Excellence for my contest entry. Through the years, I took one college course at a time, worked after my children started to school, founded and directed the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in NC since there was only the BG School, and
for writers. After 25 years of directing BRMCWC, I turned it over to Alton
Gansky and I now direct the Blue Ridge “Autumn in the Mountains” Novelist
Retreat held each October at Mt. Hermon . I see that as a progression
of becoming through the years what God intended me to be and to develop the
gift and opportunities he gave me. I can’t image my life without writing and
What are you reading right now?
Last night I finished Ann Tatlock’s wonderful story, Travelers Rest. Tonight I’ll start Deb Raney’s After All.
What is your current work in progress?
Yvonne: I want to follow up the Titanic book with another story based on a true event. For many years I’ve been fascinated with the story of Japanese and German diplomats and families of diplomats having been held together at a resort surrounded by barbed wire fencing and “protected” by 25 American Border Patrol guards during WWII. With three enemy nations together, all was not peaceful. This historic resort is a couple miles from my home.
Other than that, I recently finished Let it Snow, the third in a series of Heartsong novels set in
that should be released before Christmas. Washington DC
What would be your dream vacation?
I don’t want to go anywhere to rest. I want to tour interesting places. If I could never go anywhere but one place, the place would be
I’ve been there and the trip was the joy of my life. It’s beautiful, different,
holy, and like walking on the pages of the Bible. I’ve also been to Paris and would love to
return. I would like to go to Europe, Ireland,
How do you choose your settings for each book?
I live in the panoramic mountains of western
North Carolina and set
many of my stories here because it’s such a beautiful, intriguing place with
numerous plot possibilities. Several of my stories are set in South
Carolina since we vacationed in the Charleston area which lends itself to
contemporary and historic novels. Some have been suggested by other authors
when we wrote novellas and novels for collections. My Hawaii series was because the editor wanted
that setting. Some are places I’ve lived or visited.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
Having been writing for a while and directing conferences attended by highly-acclaimed Christian authors and beginning writers, I’ve had the privilege of spending time with them and enjoy the experience equally. I am inspired by writers on all levels. However, whenever I’m reading a novel, it does cross my mind that I’d like to talk with that particular author right then about the book he/she wrote. But, if I had to choose only one person it’s my daughter, Cindy, who is also my best friend. We can be perfectly honest with each other and accept each other with love and respect.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I don’t have a hobby because writing is my gift, my mission, my life. I make time to do things I enjoy like occasionally do yard work, spend time with children and grandchildren, eat out with friends, exercise, swim occasionally, attend a weekly Bible study in January and February, attend another Bible study and lunch once a month, have a writers group that meets at my house monthly (when we aren’t too busy), teach at writers conferences, plan my Novel Retreat, and mentor
students. I enjoy eating popcorn and watching movies.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Trying to handle my own career according to the way I think it should go. I don’t like it when my agent says “Wait, before we submit this,” or my editor says, “Let talk, later.” I have to rethink and remind myself that I pray for the agent and the editor and that God will direct them, me, and my career. Writing is so much my life that I tend to think it’s over if contracts aren’t coming in and all my ideas aren’t going out as novels. I have to stop and think, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT) – Yes, a challenge.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Authors who have been in this profession for awhile already have a following, a platform, a web appearance. A new author should strive for that, but more important is concentrating on learning the craft, practicing the creativity, writing the best story possible. Please the reader with a good story instead of concentrating too much on one’s own personal advantage. Then, you will gain a following.
Tell us about the featured book.
Hearts that Survive – A Novel of the Titanic
Of all the unbelievable things that occurred, the strangest thing took place. The floating half of the ship began to melt like a dollop of butter on a hot roll. It just melted smoothly into the ocean and the hoard of people were in the water. Their hair didn’t get wet. No water splashed on their faces. For an instant they didn’t scream. They couldn’t. A communal gasp went out over the sea, produced by hundreds and hundreds of terrified people who unexpectedly stepped into icy water up to their necks.
The ship of dreams vanished, disappeared as it sank into the sea.
In its place emerged a nightmare.
The sinking of the “unsinkable” Titanic was not the end of the story for the 2207 passengers, plus the crew. It was the beginning of an unforgettable event that changed history, changed culture. There were only a few hundred saved in the 20 lifeboats. Not only were hundreds and hundreds of souls lost that night, but the event touched people throughout the world. Each person had family, friends, acquaintances and their lives too were touched and changed. Being saved was not the end, but the beginning for those who struggled not just to survive, but to live again.
This is the story of one ship, two families, three generations.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Friday evening, April 12, 1912
Clothed in her shame, Lydia Beaumont stood on the deck of the Titanic, waiting for John. Each evening since they departed two days ago from
Southampton, she and John strolled here after
dining. Other first-class passengers found their own special spots, like
congregants in a church sanctuary.
Oh, the church analogy brought the thoughts of condemnation she’d rather not entertain. The grandeur of the greatest ship ever built had pushed aside her personal feelings, any doubts or guilt that had so beset her in previous weeks. She’d tried to forget her fears by planning the trip, convincing her father to allow her to go, and helping her maid pack the trunks.
She thought back to the day before sailing while she was staying at the South Western Hotel. She’d made the acquaintance of several passengers, her favorite being Caroline Chadwick, in her mid twenties. She and her husband, Sir William, had arrived from
London and were awaiting the ship’s
maiden voyage to America.
Staring out the hotel suite window at the magnificent structure, four city blocks long and ten stories high, had accelerated her heartbeat. However, walking up the gangplank to board the ship and seeing the grand staircase took her breath away. Even Craven Dowd, the president of her father’s company and accustomed to the best, commented on the luxury as they were led to their state rooms.
John Ancel glanced her way, his deep blue eyes shining with excitement beneath raised eyebrows and lips turning into a mischievous grin. Had Craven not been entering the room between hers and John’s, her beloved would likely say aloud what he only mouthed, “This is no toy ship.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is www.yvonnelehman.comand I occasionally blog at www.christiansread.com
Thank you, Yvonne, for sharing this story with us.
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