Tell us about your salvation experience.
My mother was a believer when I was born. Daddy came to faith when I was about nine months old, so I don’t remember a time when Jesus wasn’t the centerpiece of home life. By the time I have conscious memory, Daddy was a deacon and Mother was running everything the Southern Baptists allowed a woman to run J. I don’t honestly know when I came to faith. I remember going up one Sunday night after church and asking Reverend Leininger if I could attend the classes he held on the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Everyone he baptized had to take those classes, and while I don’t remember the classes themselves, I imagine that it was at some point during those studies that I became a Christian. Reverend Leininger had explained that he would ask us to speak our name when he baptized us, and that when we did that, we were offering our lives to Jesus. As far as a nine-year-old can understand it, I did understand the gospel and the significance of what I was doing that day.
You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?
I would ask writers who write in a genre different from mine, because they would encourage me to get out of my “rut” and think in a new way about plots and characters. I’ve had this experience before, and it was very rewarding. I’d probably want a romantic suspense author, a mystery author, someone who writes thrillers, and someone who writes science fiction/fantasy. And if possible, I’d want half the group to be men. Again, I’d want to tap minds that work differently from mine, because I think that encourages creativity.
Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.
The first time someone asked me if I did public speaking, I was really surprised, and my knee-jerk reaction was to say no. But my then-husband (who died of cancer in 2001) encouraged me to consider it. I’d shared my testimony at church and taught women’s Bible studies, and so I began, very slowly, to say “yes.” Over the years I’ve developed a menu of about a dozen topics and lectures for church groups, writers conferences, and civic organizations. The most frequently requested talks this past year were “A Patchwork Life,” which is my personal testimony (illustrated with quilts in my collection), “Calico Trails,” which talks about how pioneer woman inspire my fiction (and is also illustrated with antique quilts and tops), and “Quilts and the Sod House Experience,” which is based on my recent non-fiction book Home on the Plains: Quilts and the Sod House Experience. I also teach writing workshops on various aspects of writing. I limit the speaking part of my ministry to a couple of times a month.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?
Oh, my. Let’s just say it involved a surprise that backfired when my husband unexpectedly brought his boss home for lunch. We all laughed. Later. I still laugh, and it happened over thirty years ago.
People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?
“That’s wonderful! Go for it!”
Tell us about the featured book.
Valley of the Shadow (a Christy Award finalist) was inspired by the incredible sacrifice and bravery of the Christian Dakota Indians who risked their lives to save their white brothers and sisters in Christ during the Dakota War of 1862. My imaginary characters, Daniel Two Stars and Genevieve La Croix, struggle to adapt to the changing culture around them. Just when they’ve taken steps to find a way to survive, the war erupts and everything they thought they knew about God is challenged.
Please give us the first page of the book.
How he had managed to get that beautiful Ellen Leighton to marry him was beyond the realm of logic for anyone who knew Simon Dane. Never, people said, were two young people more unsuited for one another.
Even though she was only seventeen, Ellen Leighton was the very definition of a lady. Why, hadn’t her own grandfather fought under General Washington himself? And wasn’t it her grandfather on her mothers’ side who had had a commission from King George? Certainly Ellen’s parents had nothing approaching marriage to the likes of Reverend Simon Dane in mind when they sent their daughter to be educated at Miss Bartlett’s finishing school in
Ellen had gone reluctantly, but came home a vision of manners and grace that
made the entire village proud. She poured tea like royalty. And those gray
eyes! Well, any young man upon whom those alighted felt a thrill down to his
elegant riding boots.
And so, when the practically middle aged and almost homely Reverend Simon Dane arrived to temporarily fill the pulpit at Christ’s Church, imagine everyone’s amazement when Ellen Leighton looked upon him with something more than passing kindness.
“He has a mind, Mother,” Ellen had explained firmly. “A girl can’t always be a girl. I enjoy flirting as much as anyone, but when it comes to marriage, I want a man with a mind; someone I can talk to late into the night, for all those long years after youthful passions fade.”
“Ellen!” Mrs. Leighton scolded, blushing.
Ellen’s gray eyes crinkled up at the corners. “It’s all right, Mother. You needn’t act so shocked. Miss Bartlett’s gave me a very thorough education in every manner of life.” Her peach-colored lips parted in an almost impish grin …
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Valley of the Shadow (Dakota Moon) - paperback
Valley of the Shadow (Dakota Moons) - 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.