Sunday, October 14, 2012

COLONIAL COURTSHIPS - Amber Stockton, Carla Gade, Lisa Karon Richardson - Two Free Books

We're welcoming the authors of Colonial Courtships to the blog today. Unfortunately, Laurie Alice Eakes is not able to join us.

Welcome, Carla. How did your story for the collection come about? 
Colonial New England is a favorite setting of mine. I had long wanted to write about a ship’s figurehead carver, such a fascinating trade, so I created a family for him - four brothers and a widowed mother who ran the family inn. While researching, I discovered a quaint town on the Connecticut River that has a wonderful colonial history that included ship building.  When I found an antique illustration of a young man carving the figurehead of a lovely young lady, my inspiration came to me. Only then did I have to decide how she would enter his life, knowing then that it would be most reluctantly.    

What are you reading right now? 
Silly me, Colonial Courtships! I am excited to see the final version in print and experience it as a new reader would.  I’m also reading a super book from another debut author friend Keli Gwyn called A Bride Opens.

What other books have you had published? 
My debut novel, The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter, released in Feburary (Heartsong Presents) of this year. I have two additional contracts I’m working on now — Pattern for Romance (#9 Abingdon’s Quilts of Love series) and a Christmas novella in Mistletoe Memories (Barbour).

What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a novella collection? 
There is much organization involved in order to maintain consistency throughout the novellas for the family of four brothers.  We used a fact sheet that provided the foundation of research for our historical setting, including the family inn.  The collection took place within a span of less than 10 years and several of the same characters appear in one another’s  novellas. So we compiled a reference chart to help us keep track of the character’s in one another’s stories including ages, residences, education/vocations, marital/family status, physical characteristics, personalities, etc. 

How did collaborating with this team impact you? 
This was my first time working on a novella project, and I took the initiative. What was I thinking? It was such a joy working with each of the authors, who were all pleasant, professional, and intuitive. I was so pleased to see the cohesiveness of facts and tone of the four novellas. “How good and pleasant it is good when brothers work together in unity” (Ps. 133:1), writers too!

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I often search vital records for the time period and location of my setting. In the case of Colonial Courtships, I researched Connecticut, mid-18th century.  The surname Ingersoll came directly from my 15-generation family tree chart of my New England ancestry, and thus the Red Griffin Inn in the story was named for the Ingersoll family crest.

What did you want the reader to take away from your story? 
That God is in control even when circumstances seem to be against us. These are the times when our disappointment and mistrust can often turn to bitterness. It can adversely affect our  attititude. My heroine, Constance, began to resent that she had to work so hard to get out of a situation that she was victim of. Nathaniel, the hero, went into overdrive working night and day to try to correct the issue. Neither trusted God. But when they realized that God was on their side, trusting that He was working all things for good, it changed their attitudes. They then could serve the Lord, not with him as the taskmaster, but in joyful service in step with Him.

Are you a member of American Christian Fiction Writers? If so, why?
Yes.  Several years back I found learning the craft of writing fiction for publication to be a very solitary venture. I came across the organization on the internet and decided that I should get connected to a group of my peers.

What is the best piece of advice you received as an author?
Network. My effort to connect with writers, industry professionals, and readers through my online presence (website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, online communities, etc.) has been invaluable.

Where can my readers find you on the Internet? 
Readers can connect with me at 

Now we're going to talk to Amber. How did your story for the collection come about?
Carla approached the 3 of us with the idea after visiting the area where our stories are set. She also has family ties through her ancestry in Connecticut. When I read her idea, I immediately jumped at the chance to join the team and write together. We brainstormed about the careers for the four brothers, and each one of us took one. At the time, I had been in the middle of researching the shipping industry and the various types of ships that traveled the waterways, so “my” brother became the merchant trader with his own ship. I needed a struggle for him, so what better way than to have another merchant trader with vengeance on his mind in the wake of a pirate attack that left him with a limp. Even better to have that trader be the brother of the love interest for my hero. The rest of the story flowed from there.

What are you reading right now?
I’m in the middle of Tamera Alexander’s novel, A Lasting Impression.

What other books have you had published?
I have 12 other novels, and the full list can be found on my web site:

What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a novella collection?
This is the first time I’d ever written with someone else, and to write with *three* others amplified the experience. Since writing tends to be a solitary occupation, and you usually write your books alone, remembering to double-check your facts with the other authors doesn’t come naturally. It’s critical to be certain the details you include that might affect the other stories are accurate and communicated, so there aren’t any issues of inconsistency between the stories. And for the authors whose stories follow yours (if you aren’t the last one), you need to provide the key elements so they know to reference them. No doubt about it, this was a learning process.

How did collaborating with this team impact you?
It opened my eyes to a whole new world of team writing. I loved the concept of having a team of authors and knowing as a whole, we were all contributing our part to the collection. It also felt good to know I wasn’t in this alone. As a social person, the solitary side of writing is sometimes the most difficult part of this occupation.

I agree with that. We are both “people” persons. How do you choose your characters’ names?
Usually, I look at the time period where my story is set then look up popular names from the census taken about 20 years prior. Then, I do a name meaning search, seeking a name whose definition matches either the personality of my character or a trait they demonstrate as a result of a struggle or experience they have in my story. That doesn’t always apply to the secondary characters, but it does apply to the principle ones.

What did you want the reader to take away from your story?
The understanding that honesty and integrity should be a top priority in all of your dealings with businesses and people. When you live your life in an upright manner, even when trouble befalls you, your integrity will shine through, and your honesty will be rewarded.

Are you a member of American Christian Fiction Writers? If so, why?
Yes. I joined in 2002 as the 111th member. I had been chatting with author Tracie Peterson for a few years, and when she read some of my stories, she encouraged me to join, telling me it would change my life. It did. Not only did the annual conference held by ACFW pave the way for my first book contract, but that conference was also where I met the man who is now my husband. Little did Tracie know just how prophetic her words would become. :)

I was the 48th member. What is the best piece of advice you received as an author?
Never stop learning. That came from Tracie Peterson. As people, and as authors, we are always growing, improving, and learning. I need to maintain a teachable spirit and always be willing to discover new ways of doing things. Another tip is taking ownership of rejections being the footsteps in my career. If I’m not getting them, I’m not moving forward. That tidbit came from Linda Windsor. Without both her and Tracie, my first novel would likely never have been published.

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
Lisa is the last of the authors to join our discussion. Welcome, Lisa. How did your story for the collection come about?
When Carla proposed her idea for a novella collection that told the stories of how four brothers found love my first thought was cool idea. I’ve been fascinated with medicine since I was little and had done research into colonial era medicine for another story. I thought it would be fascinating to make my brother, Alden, a doctor and then confront him with an intensely challenging experience.

What are you reading right now?
Flames of Resistance by Tracey Groot. It’s excellent!

What other books have you had published?
This is my debut novel, but I have several coming out over the next two years, beginning with The Magistrate’s Folly in January from Heartsong Presents.

What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a novella collection?
I had a terrific team, so it all flowed fairly well. We did try to make sure that the characters were consistent and coordinated throughout. The hardest part was trimming everything to the bone while, (hopefully) still reaching a satisfying conclusion.

How did collaborating with this team impact you?
Like I said the team was terrific. Everyone is very easy to work with and of course they are all creative and had great ideas, like Carla’s idea to include a recipe from the time period with our manuscripts.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I typically will choose a name that I know was in use in the appropriate time period, but also in that location for the correct socio-economic and cultural background as well. Old books are great ways to come across good names. As are census and tax records.

What did you want the reader to take away from your story?
My theme for the story is from Psalm 46:10. Be still and know that I am God… Inactivity can be so hard when we have been wronged and want to fight our own battles. As difficult as it is to rely on the Lord and not lash out, it can be amazingly freeing as well. There is nothing better than knowing that the outcome doesn’t all rely on our efforts, but the Creator who strung the stars against the curtains of night can lay out our paths just as capably.

Are you a member of American Christian Fiction Writers? If so, why?
I am a member of ACFW. I love and honor that group for the great work it does in helping authors develop their craft.

What is the best piece of advice you received as an author?
Every bit of advice I’ve received has been valuable at least for a season. One of the hardest things about the writing life is the waiting—waiting for responses from agents and editors is particularly difficult, but Psalm 46:10 applies to that situation as well. Be still. Rest in God, rest in His promises, and the knowledge that He has a plan for you. Your value doesn’t come from writing it comes from your identity in Christ. So be still, focus on what you can control, and let Him take care of the rest.

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
I like to hang out at my group blog: or readers can find more information about me on my website:

Thank you, ladies, for the interesting discussion today.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Colonial Courtships (Romancing America) - paperback
Colonial Courtships (Romancing America) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

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 4 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 if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Anonymous said...


Wendy Newcomb said...

Great interview, thank you for hosting this giveaway.

Wendy from FL


Amy Campbell said...

Love this giveaway! Thanks.
Amy C

Carla Olson Gade said...

Thank you for having us here today, Lena! It is good to see the interest in Colonial Courtships!

Marianne said...

What a great giveaway, ladies! i am looking forward to reading something by Carla, and love the idea that these stories take place in a ten-year span frame. Thanks Lena for the chance to win.

marianne from northern Alberta


Merry said...

Colonial Courtships sounds like a great set of stories, please add me.
Merry in TX

Lisa Karon Richardson said...

Thanks for hosting us, Lena!

scottsgal said...

definitely sounds like a book I'd enjoy. thanks for the giveaway
cheryl in IL

Mary Preston said...

A collection I just know I will thoroughly enjoy.

Mary P


rubynreba said...

I enjoy Colonial New England books. This looks very good!
Beth from Iowa

Katie G. said...

Sounds great! I'm from NC.

Lyndie Blevins said...

Thanks for the opportunity to get this book.
Lyndie Blevins

Duncanville, Tx

Amada Chavez said...

Thank you SO much for the chance to win this book! I LOVE Romancing America books and I have been dying to read this one! It looks SO good!

Amada Chavez, NM

LadySaotome said...

This sounds like a wonderful collection!

from the Black Hills of SD!

Sarah said...

Looks and sounds interesting, Enter me!!

Carol N Wong said...

I thought that was interesting that you used the surname that you have in your own family history. I love to read a story set in colonial times because I have traced a lot of people on my mother's back to then and beyond.


Carla Olson Gade said...

I'm so excited to see all of you who love colonial history! It was a unique time for sure and lends so many wonderful elements to the story: setting, customs, vocations, attitudes, fashion...oh, so much!

Carol, I love using names for my characters from my family history. In addition to being a good resource for names, it's a great way to give a little nod to my ancestors.

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me this book looks great!!
Sharon Richmond

Jo said...

Thank you for the giveaway!

Jo from Southern Arizona

apple blossom said...

thanks for chance to win this book

live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Ladette Kerr said...


Ladette in GA

BW said...

Great interview. I would love to read your book.

BW said...

I forgot to tell you that I am from Ohio.

Carla Olson Gade said...

So thrilled to see all the enthusiasm for Colonial Courtships! Blessings all!

Veronica Sternberg said...

I love historical novellas! Can't wait to read it! I'm in MN.

Diana Gardner said...

Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks! Portsmouth, VA