Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A SECRET LIFE - Lee Carver - One Free Book

Bio: Lee Carver and her husband have lived in several foreign countries, so some of her books, including the featured book, have foreign settings. Though officially retired, they are very active in church events. She currently serves as president of ACFW – DFW chapter.

Dear Readers, I was eager for the release of A Secret Life. Lee is in the critique group that meets in our home. I watched this story come to life. Although I don’t usually like reading war stories, this one intrigued me. It’s more about the strong characters than it is about the fighting. I wrote one of the endorsements for the novel. Lee takes the reader deep into the hearts of the characters. She keeps you enthralled to the very end of the book, and the story will stay with you. I highly recommend it.

Welcome back, Lee. God has really been moving in your writing life. Love your head shot. What do you see on the horizon?
I’m thrilled to have two books traditionally-published this year. Three shorter romances have been completed for a different publisher for 2015, and I’m writing a fun book based in Texas. Always inspirational, and always with at least a romantic thread.

A very wise woman once told me, “We’re like sailboats. God can’t direct us unless we’re moving.”

Others have said, “If your books aren’t selling, keep writing.”

Now that everything’s selling, the best advice seems to be, “Breathe slowly. In. Out.”

Tell us a little about your family.
My daughter, Kelly, was a novelist before me and has given tremendous advice on every portion of the effort from brainstorming to covers. She and her two teenage daughters are gifted writers and thrive on drama. My son is an athlete and supports his wife and three children as a software engineer. The two are totally different, yet they are bonded, loving siblings. My husband Darrel and I have been married forty-six years (unbelievable!). In my most romantic dreams as a young person, I never dreamed marriage could be so satisfying and fulfilling.

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
I read a great deal, trying to understand what works in a novel and what doesn’t. As a publisher’s line editor, though, I see mistakes. I try not to read too slowly. The plot has too be realistic and authentic, or I become frustrated. Passages of that couldn’t have happened or she would never have done that are real turn-offs. Modern readers have such a plethora of titles to choose from now, and at good prices. We can read widely, and we can put down a book we don’t like.

What are you working on right now?
I call it “the pig and a roof book” because of its opening line. It’s set in a fictional small, Texas town, and I’m working to fold in a lot of humor around some serious subjects. It centers on a woman with an unfaithful husband who goes to care for her grandmother through cancer treatment. The working title is Retreat to Shelter Creek.

Sounds interesting. What outside interests do you have?
Ha! How much space do you have for the answer? I’m a Stephens Minister (Christian lay-counselor), crochet for the Prayer Shawl Ministry, sing in the choir, play piano, thoroughly enjoy quilting and other sewing projects, vegetable and flower gardening … the list goes on.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
The settings of my novels are essential to the story. For A Secret Life, the whole story plays against the background of World War II, and my main character is German. Voilá, the setting. In my next novel coming out in December, the setting is the Brazilian Amazon, where we lived for over six years. The setting is at least as important as a major character, and for each story, no choice existed. Okay, so Atlanta is significant in the first book. It’s a city I lived in and loved and know well enough to research with understanding. And Birmingham, Alabama, is important in the next novel. Being from Alabama, I know Birmingham well enough to see it was the perfect city and location for those scenes.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
If Abraham Lincoln would sit down with me for a private conversation, and if he would answer questions with all transparency, that would be my choice.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
Novels are not very long short stories. As many novels as I had read in the decades before trying to write one, I never perceived the three-act structure, the significance of pacing, and certainly not the need to portray developments from the point of view of a certain character. Omniscient narrative seemed to be the norm. There’s just a lot to learn to develop the craft of writing.

Omniscient narrative was the norm in most classis literature, but I like the way having the character’s point of view takes the reader straight into the middle of the story. What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
God is teaching me to enjoy this day rather than to work feverishly toward what I hope for in the future. And He is teaching me to savor His presence and take time to worship Him.

That is so important. What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Keep writing even when doubt looms. Associate with other writers, especially in American Christian Fiction Writers. Join a good critique group either in person or online. And fourth, read a lot.

Tell us about the featured book.
The German Army of World War II rips KARL VON STEUBEN from his family and privileged life, forcing him to conceal his American sympathies and Jewish heritage. Stripped of every tie to his home country, he determines to escape. As he crawls to the Siegfried Line, only he knows the hiding place of gold ingots melted from the jewelry of prisoners. Wounded after assuming the identity of a fallen American soldier, Karl briefly deceives even himself.

Discharged and shipped to America, he discovers God’s unmerited favor in a beautiful Atlanta nurse. But he must return to Germany or relinquish his family fortune and rear children under the name of another man.

Will Grace forgive his duplicity and accept him as a loyal American?

Please give us the first page of the book for my readers.
September, 1942
Munich, Germany
Karl knew better than to raise his voice to Father, but his anger boiled within like steam under pressure. “Why did you leave Mother in danger? And Marta, too?” He paced the width of Father’s study. “We’re the same bloodline—”

“That’s enough! How dare you question my care of the family?” Father stood from his desk, went to the dark velvet curtains, and yanked them closed. Little good that would do now.

Father’s face flushed, creating headlights of his blue eyes. “Your mother and I’ve always been careful to maintain her dual citizenship and an active church membership. They have no reason to come after us.”

With a huff, Karl dropped into the burgundy leather armchair and rubbed the back of his neck. He had said enough to get Father furious, yet he pressed further. “They could still book passage to the United States. Or somewhere in the opposite direction. Brazil. Lots of people go to Brazil.”

“That’s ridiculous.” Father slapped a dark green folder on his desk, probably the Swiss account. “Portugal, maybe.” He muttered, slipping a hand over his retreating blond hair. “I’ve heard talk about Lisbon....”

So he had considered escape.

“But I can’t leave the business here in Munich.” Father’s chest strained the worsted three-piece suit. “If I abandoned my responsibilities, the economy of the Fatherland and all our clients—some of them life-long friends—would suffer an unthinkable blow.”

Only his father’s hands touched their firm’s securities and investments of the Reichland. No one else—no one—knew how much or where they were. Certainly not himself, as a junior officer of the firm. Father would be arrested and shot as a traitor if he tried to leave Germany now.

Karl shuddered. Since university graduation, he had little excuse for not serving in the Army. Worse, his native country had the power and the will to drag him into a labor camp. “But what about Mother and Marta? They don’t have to stay. I could continue in the firm with you. Keep hoping they honor my deferment. With the British bombing farther south all the time, it just makes sense for them to leave.”

His father paced the study, pausing before the medieval tapestry. He might be seeing its idyllic forest and mountain nymphs, or simply be using the weaving to ignore Karl’s plea. “Your mother says she doesn’t want to leave me. Our home.” His voice became a rumble. “She’s comfortable here. If the Allies lost the war, she would continue to be safe.”

“And if they won?”

“She’s an American citizen. Yourself and Marta too. She’d be the salvation of us all.”

“But when both nations are at war, we have to choose. Especially me.”

A rap from the hall cut them off. “Dinner’s ready.”

Karl opened the study’s door to his mother’s troubled face. Not wanting her to realize their closed-door conference concerned family safety, he forced a smile. “Come, Father. That account will wait until we’ve taken care of this beef roast.”

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Lee, for sharing this new book with us.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
A Secret Life - paperback
A Secret Life - Kindle

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Melanie Backus said...

I am definitely intrigued by A Secret Life. That you for a great interview, Lena!

Melanie Backus, TX

Unknown said...

Congratulations on 46 years of marriage! No simple feat in today's world! Such an inspiration! My husband and I will celebrate 23 years in two weeks. :) Thank you for the chance to win!
Kelly Y., central Virginia

Patty said...

What a situation to be in, with a German father and an American Mother... living in Germany at the time of WWII!

Patty in SC

Deanna Stevens said...

What a great story line, Putting this one on my TBR list :)
dk stevens, SE NEBR

Mary Preston said...

What a fascinating read this promises to be.

Mary P


Anonymous said...

Book sounds intriguing! Shelia from MS

sm said...

I would like to read your book as I like historical fiction and this one has some suspense and romance in it. sm CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Lee Carver said...

Kelly Y, as for 46 years of marriage, I never wanted to walk away. I recently read how men need to be respected. That was easy. My husband deserved respect. My heart goes out to Christian women who marry the wrong man and suffer greatly for it. Unfortunately, this group includes my precious daughter.

Lee Carver said...

Commenters, please remember how important it is to the success of the book for readers to leave comments on the Amazon and Goodreads review page. It's easy, and can be as brief as 25 words.

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway, SC.

kam110476 said...

Wow! I don't know why, but I really enjoy WWII Christian fiction. Even in the middle of war and all the horrible things Hitler was doing to so many innocent people there's always an underlying strand of hope, even when it's at its worst! This sounds wonderful!
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

DIana Gardner said...

Portsmouth, VA

rubynreba said...

I always enjoy books set in the World War II era.
Beth from IA

kec200 said...

Very interesting interview! My parents met in Germany during the war. My father was a soldier and my mother was a civil servant working for the War Dept. I love reading about that time because both parents are gone and neither would really talk about their experiences.

Kathy from Wendell, NC