Dear Readers, I’m thrilled to be sharing Lisa Wingate’s new book with you.
Welcome back, Lisa. As an author, I know it takes a lot of people to birth each book. Who were the people involved in the birthing of this book, and what were their contributions?
It really does take a village to raise a book. My mother and my Aunt Sandy edit for me. My husband and sons help with travel and shuffling book boxes around. Author-friend, Julie Cantrell, gave the book an early read, and we talked about potential tweaks.
The greatest contributor to The Story Keeper, by far, was my
friend, Ed. I’ll talk more about him when in a later question about The
Story Keeper. Without Ed and his memories of growing up in , The Story Keeper, in its present form,
would never have come to be. Clemson, South
If you teach or speak, what’s coming up on your calendar?
A book tour! Beginning the first of September, I’ll be heading out on The Untold Story Tour 2. Last year’s tour was busy and fun and exciting. I met so many wonderful people. I’m looking forward to again traveling several states, beginning with a big Journeys event in
author-friends, Lynne Gentry, Kellie Coates Gilbert, Julie Cantrell, and
Elizabeth Ludwig. After that, I’ll travel to North Carolina and several surrounding
states. Readers can find out more about the tour here: http://www.lisawingate.com/appearances.htm
Oh, my goodness. I know three of those women very well and love them. Wish I could tag along with y’all. If you had to completely start over in another place, where would you move, and why?
Someplace where there’s wilderness and mountains. I’ve always loved the mountains. I feel at home there. While I love the Texas Hill Country, there’s just something about life in the mountains that is earthy and real. The seasons change in splendor, the sights are awe-inspiring, and the fingertip of God is so clearly visible.
Then again, I feel the same way about the ocean. Maybe I’d settle in by the coast somewhere, in a little cottage by the sea ;)
If you could only tell aspiring novelists one thing, what would it be?
Enjoy the time of writing “just for you.” There’s something magical about the purity of writing just because you have a story inside you and you want to put it on paper. The story and the characters are the only things in your head as you work. After you sell your first book, that state of being alone with your story doesn’t exist anymore. Along with the story in your head, there are editors, deadlines, book reviewers, readers, financial considerations, agents, contracts, and so forth. All of those are wonderful things. They’re part of our end goal of being published and sharing our stories with the world, but it’s so worthwhile to be cognizant of the gifts of each part of the journey and the purity of its beginning.
You’ve been asked to be in charge of a celebrity cruise. Who would you ask to take part, and why? (As in what program, singers, etc. [it doesn’t have to be writing related])
I think my cruise would be a “storytellers” cruise. I am a lover of stories told the old-fashioned way, between a listener and a teller. I love them so much, in fact, that I’ve been quietly hatching a new gathering site at TheUntoldStory.Guru to catch and preserve fascinating stories that might otherwise fade from our culture.
My storytelling cruise wouldn’t necessarily be filled with national celebrities, but the sort of tellers who gather crowds in their hometowns or at family gatherings.
celebrities could come along if they were good storytellers, but my cruisers
would be the waitresses from small-town cafes, the men who sit on pickup tailgates
outside local Dairy Queens, the older folks who can tell you about driving on
three-and-a-half bald tires during the rationing years of World War II. The
ship would be so filled with stories, you’d see them floating on the air like a
fog as we passed by. We’d breathe in their sweet scents, and remember every
tale, and when we all went our separate ways at the end of the cruise, we’d
tell those stories in new places.
Lisa, I’d have to hang with you on that one, too. Now tell us about the featured book.
After turning in the first draft of The Prayer Box, I literally dreamed a story about a young
New York editor who
finds a forgotten manuscript partial on an old slush pile. She’s captivated by
the tale of Sarra, a young Melungeon girl, trapped by dangerous men in
turn-of-the-century Appalachia. Sarra’s circumstances
in some ways mirror the editor’s painful childhood in the Blue
Ridge Mountains. In my dream, the search for the manuscript’s
author took her back home after many years away, leading her to a place called ,
deep in the mountains. Mirror Lake
When I woke, I poured the story concept onto paper, all at once, complete. Over the course of twenty-three novels, I’ve never done that before, and I knew that this story was something special. I was scheduled to meet with my editor the next week, so I took the synopsis along and told her about the dream and the story concept. We agreed to substitute it for the book that was to follow The Prayer Box.
When I contacted my friend and long-time mentor, Ed, to tell him I was writing another Carolina-based book, and so I had another project for the two of us. He was elated. I described the location as I’d dreamed it, and gave him the name of the place in the dream –
. Imagine my surprise
when Ed wrote back, “The name Mirror
Lake really brings back wonderful
memories that span time from the sixties to the present. When I was at Clemson,
sometimes during the winter, when one of my friends could get a car, we would
go to Highlands to ice skate on Mirror Lake . If we could get
some dates to go with us, that was all the better. While I didn't own ice
skates nor could I skate, I loved to watch others skate. Mirror
Lake Mirror Lake
and the Highlands area were beautiful places.
Those were some great times.”
When that email arrived, I became fully convicted that this story was meant to be. During last year’s book tour, Ed and I took time to drive through the Blue Ridge together, visit Pisgah,
, Stumphouse Tunnel,
and many of the old places Ed remembered. We hiked, talked, photographed, and
finished up our trip by passing through Clemson, where the editor character in
the story was given a life-changing scholarship that frees her from a family
pattern limited by poverty, geographic isolation, and the control of the Church
Of the Brethren Saints. Mirror
Please give us the first page of the book.
This is the glory hour. This is the place the magic happens.
The thought fell quietly into place, like a photographer’s backdrop unfurling behind the subject of a portrait. Its shimmering folds caught my attention, bringing to mind a bit of advice from Wilda Culp, the person without whom I would’ve ended up somewhere completely different. Someplace tragic.
It’s strange how one person and a handful of stories can alter a life.
The trick, Jennia Beth Gibbs, is to turn your face to the glory hours as they come. I heard it again, her deep-raspy
drawl playing the unexpected music of a bygone day. The saddest thing in life
is to see them only as they flit away.
They’re always a passing thing. . . .
My first afternoon in the war room at Vida House Publishing was a glory hour. I felt it, had an inexplicable knowing of it, even before George Vida shuffled in the door and took his place at the head of the table to begin the weekly pub board meeting—my first at Vida House. This meeting would be different from all other such gatherings I’d attended over the past ten years at a half-dozen companies, in a half-dozen skyscrapers, in and about
There was magic in the air here.
George Vida braced his hands on the table before taking his seat, his gaze strafing the room with the discernment of a leathery old goat sniffing for something to nibble on. His survey paused momentarily on the pile of aging envelopes, manuscript boxes, and rubber-band-wrapped papers at the far end of the conference room. The odd conglomeration, among so many other things, was Vida House’s claim to fame—a curiosity I’d only heard about until today. One of the few remaining actual slush piles in all of
New York City, perhaps in all of publishing.
In the age of e-mail communication, paper-and-print slush piles had quietly
gone the way of the dinosaurs. Digital slush is smaller,
Wow. This book just went to the top of my to-be-read pile. Now let’s tell my readers where we can find you on the Internet, Lisa?
My website: www.Lisawingate.com
Blogging Mondays at: www.SouthernBelleViewDaily.com
The Untold Story Guru: http://theuntoldstory.guru
The Story Keeper Pinterest Page: http://www.pinterest.com/lisawingatebook/the-story-keeper-a-novel-by-lisa-wingate/The Sisterhood Of the Traveling Books: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SisterhoodOfTheTravelingBooks/
Thank you so much, Lisa, for sharing this new book with us. I'm excited about it.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
The Story Keeper - Christianbook.com
The Story Keeper - Amazon
The Story Keeper - Kindle
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