Monday, August 07, 2017

SURVIVING THE STILLNESS - Jessica White - One Free Book

Dear Readers, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to one of the women in the critique group that meets in my home and her debut novel.

Welcome, Jessica. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
There are aspects of me in every character. Big things, like my struggles with fear and anxiety, to the little things, like my love of music. God also loves to use my characters to show me parts of myself and my relationship with Him. I encounter God more often while I’m writing than I do any other time. So those moments tend to seep out onto the pages, leaving imprints.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
When I was a kid, I used to sleep in my closet. I had built in shelves on one side and would pretend I was a stowaway on a ship or hiding from the evil queen. On the other was a bar for clothing, and one time I hung upside down, pretending I was a bat. I even fell asleep that way and somehow managed not to fall off. I’ve always had a strong imagination.

That imagination is why you’re such a good author. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I was always complimented by my teachers for my creativity and writing skills, but I didn’t realize I could actually write a story until I got bored in my seventh grade computer class. We’d have these timed typing assignments, and I always finished way before everyone else. The only thing we could do was type on a text file while we waited, so I started writing. By the end of the semester, I had thirty-five pages.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love to read just about everything except horror and paranormal. My favorites tend to be literary, historical, and romantic suspense. I love books that make me think, books that explore the depths of humanity and the boundlessness of God.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
My life motto is Ora et Labora. Pray and Work. If you keep those two things in balance, I find God takes care of things.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I love for the names in my stories to mean something. Even if it is just capturing their heritage, each name is important. For example, Abigail means “father’s joy,” and she brings joy to all the fathers in her life.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Knowing that my husband and parents came to faith because of my walk with God. I don’t see myself as a particularly demonstrative Christian. I’m definitely not an evangelist. But I don’t shy away from praying with people in their times of need or being honest about what God has done in my own life and what I believe He can do in theirs. And somehow He uses me with all my failings and weaknesses to show them His love. Really it is His accomplishment and the fact I get to take part in it is humbling.

I feel that way, too. I often thank Him for choosing to use me in what He is doing. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Oh goodness, I guess I’d be a dog. Loyalty is a really important trait to me. I will fearlessly defend people I care about and am very protective of others. Plus, I shamelessly want to love and be loved.

What is your favorite food?
Cinnamon French toast made with Texas toast and real cinnamon, slathered in butter and covered in powdered sugar, with maple syrup to dip each bite in.

Sounds yummy. You’re making me hungry. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest roadblock is my belief that you have to learn from others before you can be good enough to do it on your own. Those early readers I let read bits and pieces of Surviving the Stillness said it was a great story. But as a reader, I knew it wasn’t on par with the books I thought were well written. So I sought out other writers.

I was fortunate that my very first writing group was filled with experienced writers. They led me to great craft books, which I consumed and applied. They gave me feedback on my work, and taught me how to self-publish. Over the past three years, I’ve learned so much more and I realize writing is a journey you never quit learning and growing on.

That is so true. I hope I never stop learning the skills of writing. Tell us about the featured book.
At its heart, Surviving the Stillness is about trusting God with our fears. It’s about being still and waiting on God to direct us. When winter comes early to the foothills of western Montana, siblings, Abigail and Samuel Morgan, are forced to seek refuge in a Catholic orphanage. Abigail’s health fails and her life is put in the hands of Dr. Mason and his son and apprentice, Matthew. Together Matthew and Abigail learn to stop running from the tragedies of their pasts and rely on one another, and God, to find healing for their wounds.

Please share the first page of the book.
Matthew Mason
      Bear Valley, Montana
     October 18, 1920
I strained out the window, listening for hoofbeats, but all I heard were the pine trees creaking overhead. Mr. Talbot had saddled his horse and left to fetch Pa over an hour ago. One of them should have been back by now.
           
Returning to Mrs. Talbot’s bedside, I removed the compress, now hot with fever, from her wrist. Her pulse galloped beneath my fingers. Despite an hour in bed, her heart refused to rest. I wasn’t sure how much longer it could sustain her and the baby. God, where are they?
           
The curtain flapped in the wind. Something moved beyond the tree line. I rushed back to the window hoping to hear the horses, but it was only little Fannie Talbot, returning with more ice-cold water from the spring. I should have been the one carrying water that far. She was only ten, seven years younger than me, but I couldn't leave Mrs. Talbot's side until Pa arrived…

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Readers can find me on

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Surviving the Stillness (The Seasons of Healing Series) (Volume 1) - Paperback
Surviving the Stillness (The Seasons of Healing Series Book 1) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

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16 comments:

Melanie Backus said...

Jessica's book sounds like a good one.
Melanie Backus, TX

Jessica White said...

Hello, Melanie!

I really enjoyed writing Surviving the Stillness. Praying you have a blessed day.

Vivian Furbay said...

Being familiar with Montana after living there for about 5 years and visiting relatives there often, this sound like a book that I want to read. Would enjoy winning a copy.

Beth Gillihan said...

Sounds like a good book. I live in Montana and love reading stories set here. Have a great week!

Beth in Montana

Jessica White said...

@Vivian and Beth,

I did lots of research trying to find the perfect spot. Lots of flat land in Montana until you get right up to the Rockies, but I needed a bit of hill country, so I had to move them up north along an older trail. I've learned so much about the territory. And my sister-in-law recently moved to Missoula, so I've been having her verify research for future books in this series. I would love to visit someday.

Cele LeBlanc said...

Great interview! look forward to reading your book, Jessica.
Wylie TX

Kristine Dessinger said...

It's great to learn more about you, Jessica! I'm glad I got to meet you at the writer's workshop here in DFW. I love the testimony about your family. Your book sounds intriguing!

VanG said...

This is a new author to me and I would love to win a copy of her book. It sounds great. 😊
VanG from NC

Jessica White said...

@Cele and Kristine, I've enjoyed getting to know both of you, too. I look forward to seeing you both get published. Praying we all open up doors for the Lord to speak through our written words.

Jessica White said...

@Van
Thanks for stopping by and getting to know me a little better. Praying you have a blessed day.

Connie said...

Thank you for sharing!
Connie from KY
cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

Caryl Kane said...

Lena, thank you for the wonderful interview with Jessica. Sounds like a must read.

Caryl K in TEXAS

Deanne Patterson said...

I enjoyed the excerpt and interview. I really want to read this!

Deanne in PA

Vivia Furbay said...

Sounds like an interesting book. I lived in Montana and have relatives there. Beautiful state! Would love to win this book!

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway SC.

Jessica White said...

@Caryl-It's a small world...lol. I hope to get back to Book 2 of this series soon.

@Deanne I'm so glad you enjoyed this interview. I look forward to getting to know you better.

@Vivia I love Montana, too. It was actually happenstance that the story ended up there, but definitely divine providence.

@Sharon and Connie, thanks for stopping by. I can't wait to see who wins.