Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A MOST UNSUITABLE MATCH - Stephanie Grace Whitson - Free Book

Welcome, Stephanie. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I don’t consciously write myself into my characters, but friends who read my books tell me they see me. Certainly my understanding of humanity and the things that are important to me as a believer filter into situations, but that happens naturally, not as part of any plan on my part.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
If I told you that I’d have to kill you. J

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I knew I loved to write by the time I was in junior high school. I loved getting writing assignments in school, loved writing letters home (in the days before e-mail), and wrote my first novel when I was in my early teens. However, I never expected writing to become a vocation. Feeling like a writer in the professional sense of that word didn’t happen for me until I got my second three-book contract. For some reason, when that happened, I began to think of myself as a “real” writer.

That should do it. I've now signed my second three-book contract, too. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
My to-be-read pile right now includes a stack of non-fiction history books with a concentration on American women’s history and biography. When it comes to fiction, I love suspense, thrillers, mysteries, historical fiction, contemporary women’s fiction … honestly just about any genre except fantasy, science fiction, and horror.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
You speak of insanity like it’s a bad thing J. Truly, I gave up trying a long time ago. That sounds flippant, but it isn’t. I wish I knew the secret of keeping up, but I’m on the search as much as anyone. Even though I have learned to say the word “no” without false guilt, even though I try to reassess my goals and “only do the A’s,” even though I try to “eliminate and simplify,” I still find myself over-committed. One thing maturity has given me, though, is the sense to only commit to things I love … things I think are really important “in light of eternity,” as Randy Alcorn says.   

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I collect names off tombstones in the area where my book is set.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
That’s a tough question because of the qualifier most. I’ve worked very hard to build two good marriages (my first husband died in 2001). Seeing my children grow into productive adults with good lives and strong faith is extremely gratifying, although I’m well aware that it’s a blessing from the Lord and not something I can claim to have accomplished. Knowing that God has used my writing to His glory is something that simultaneously amazes and humbles me.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
An Arabian horse. I’d like to know what it’s like to be that graceful.

What is your favorite food?

I’ll second that, preferably chocolate, but my husband brought home some Italian Cream Cake last night. Yum! What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I hate writing the first draft. I love gleaning ideas, I love developing them into proposals, I love editing and re-writing umpteen times and talking to readers and interacting with other writers. I hate writing the first draft. I haven’t overcome it yet.

Tell us about the featured book.
A Most Unsuitable Match introduces two very different people headed up the Missouri River on a steamboat in 1869. Fannie Rousseau has led a privileged life, but things aren’t going well in the aftermath of her mother’s death and she sets out to locate her only living relative, completely ignorant of the conditions on the river and the realities of Fort Benton, Montana, her destination. Samuel Beck has led a hard life. He, too, is on the river seeking someone, and when he and Fannie are thrown together to face tragedy, sparks fly—and they aren’t necessarily the romantic kind.

Please give us the first page of the book.

            Kneeling before the tombstone, eighteen-year-old Fannie Rousseau retrieved the scrub brush from the water bucket she’d just settled in the grass. First, she attacked the dried bird droppings on the back side of the stone, then moved on to the deep grooves carving the name Rousseau into the cool gray surface. She’d just finished cleaning out the second s when a familiar voice sounded from across the cemetery.

            “Land sakes, child, what on earth are you doin’? You’ll ruin your hands. And put that bonnet back on. What will your Mother s-s—”

            When Fannie laid her hand atop the gravestone to steady herself and lifted her tear-stained face towards Hannah, the old woman stopped mid-word. Tucking an errant hank of wiry gray hair back under the kerchief tied about her head, she hurried to where Fannie knelt. Her voice more gentle than scolding, she said, “You know your mother would have my hide for letting you be seen in public doing such a thing.” She nodded towards the red brick church just outside the cemetery fence. “And it’s the Sabbath, little miss. What were you thinking?”

            Fannie didn’t have an answer. At least not one she wanted to say aloud. She cleaned the rest of the letters out before dropping the brush into the scrub bucket and, bracing her hand atop the stone, standing back up. The soil atop Mother’s grave had finally sunk enough to be level with Papa’s side, but the grass hadn’t filled in yet. For now, the tombstone only told half a story. Louis Rousseau, 1803-1866, Beloved Husband. Eleanor Rousseau, 1803-_____.  The stone mason had yet to add the year 1869 to Mother’s side. Fannie contemplated the words Beloved Husband. She supposed it was only right to add Beloved Wife to Mother’s side. Even if she would always wonder if it were true.

I can hardly wait to read this story. How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you for once again giving us a peek into your life. I have to tell you that I loved, loved, loved Sixteen Brides.

Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.

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.


Unknown said...

I have been hooked on Stephanie's novels since i first discovered them years ago. Still read any i can get my hands on. Thanks for the post and giveaway, Lena and Stephanie. please enter me. mitzi_wanham [at]yahoo[dot]com from Peace River Country

Anonymous said...

Please enter me in the book-give-away. Angela Chesnut from Trenton KY

Jackie S. said...

I have heard so much about this book....anxious to read it. Thanks for entering me....from GA.

Jaime Wright said...

I love Stephanie and her books! She's so phenominal :)

Jaime Wright - from Midwest Wisconsin

Sally said...

I followed the link from Books, Movies, and Chinese Food. I haven't read any of stephanie's novels but from the remarks here I'll check them out. In the meantime include me in the drawing. I live in Lubbock, TX.

Stephanie Grace Whitson said...

Thanks so much for your kind words about my books ... and for being willing to check them out as a new reader! And Texans ... I'm thinking of you as you endure the heat and drought. May the Father send rain soon.

Judy said...

I loved the interview with Stephanie. She sounds so down to earth. I love how she selects names for her books by getting them off of tombstones. And...she loves desserts!! My soul mate! (smile here).

This book sounds like a great read and I would love to win a copy.

God Bless,
Judy from Indiana

Kristie said...

I think that writing a first draft would be so difficult and time consuming. I would feel the need to edit, really edit, as I went along. That would take forever. Sigh! kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com I'm from Ohio. Thank you.

Cindy W. said...

I don't believe I have read any of Stephanie Grace Whitson's books but would love to start with A Most Unsuitable the title!

I live in Indiana.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Melissa Jagears said...

sounds wonderful, enter me please. ks

Pam K. said...

I've enjoyed reading several of Stephanie's books. This sounds like another good one. Please enter me in the book drawing.

Sarah said...

I really like her books! This one looks good too! Thanks for the chance to win it!

Sarah from Ohio

Stephanie Grace Whitson said...

Kristi ... what you said about the first draft process is exactly what happens for me every single time. I edit and edit and edit ... until finally I just have to give it up to my editor and pray.

As to loving dessert ... it's 10:30 p.m. and I am trying to resist the urge to bake brownies. Incorrigible.
And I wonder why I put on those pounds .... hhhhmmmmm......

Stephanie Grace Whitson said...

Oh...yay! I just found a Hershey chocolate bar in my desk drawer ... "special dark" ... so much for willpower. But at least I don't have to bake.

Lorna Faith said...

Love the first page:) I love your books Stephanie. Thanks for the giveaway, Stephanie and Lena:)
Please enter my name.

Lorna from Alberta
lornafaith at gmail dot com

Rose said...

Your book sounds absolutely fantastic!!!
from Walla Walla WA

Ms. M. Greer/ohio said...

Love the first page of this book,can't wait to read it and I agree my favorite food would be DESSERT too :)

Ms. Mona

Sylvia said...

I'm from NC and I've been looking forward to this book. This plot sounds great and I love the cover. I know alot of people just have the heroine on the cover, but I still like to see the heroine and the hero.


peachykath said...

I love reading historical novels. Please enter me in the drawing for this novel. Thank you

Katherine from Northern California


Stephanie Grace Whitson said...

Sylvia ... thank you for that compliment on the cover. I will let the designer know. I know he will appreciate hearing a good word about his work. He's amazing IMHO. Sixteen Brides' cover "rocked," as well IMHO. Although it only has the ladies on it.

Katie Marie said...

This looks like a fun read! Please count me in for the giveaway! :-)

~ Katy from Florida

Anne Payne said...

I love walking around graveyards and reading the names on the gravestones. thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of your book.

Anne, rural NC


Abigail Mitchell said...

Enter me.
Blanch, N.C.

Krista said...

I can't wait to read this book! Please please enter me!

Krista from Gresham, OR

Anonymous said...

I have not seen your book and would be interested in getting if.
I have just started reading lately and it has been good.Thanks for the chance to win

Tammi said...

Please enter me into the give-a-way for A Most Unsuitable Match by Stephanie Grace Whitson. The book sounds soooo good, and the cover is absolutely beautiful.

Thank you,


dandtdearing [at] earthlink [dot] net

Patsy said...

This book sounds really good. Love the cover!


Anonymous said...

Please enter me in the giveaway!
I'm a subscriber and a follower gfc.

Brenda from Michigan

dancealert at aol dot com

Courtney said...

This sounds like such a great book!! Thanks for the giveaway!!

Courtney from WA state

Unknown said...

Would love to read this and win a copy! Kari in Oregon

A.Carpenter/Ohio said...

Love your novels, please enter me in the contest to win this book. Thanks


wmmahaney said...

Love the interview, especially how she comes up with names for her characters.

Wendy from Michigan

Jaedyn said...

Oooh, I love Stephanie's books! :)


Bakersdozen said...

I loved the interview and suddenly want chocolate and Italian Creme Cake. I have some of Stephanie's books and would love to read this. I live in S. CA

scottsgal said...

what a cool way to collect names from local tombstones
cheryl in IL
msboatgal at

Sarah said...

Would love to win!

Sarah H

Linda Cacaci said...

Please wenter me in the drawing. I loved Stephanie's books on Paris and Tuscany, (two of my favorite places).
linda Cacaci

Nana22angels said...

I would love to read this book; please enter me in the giveaway. Thanks - Billi, Lakeland, FL

sarahw said...

great iterview, am looking forward to reading the book. please enter my name. thanks,
sarahw- Mt.Lake, MN

Lydia said...

I'm looking forward to reading this book!

LKM from NC


Merry said...

I love unusual matches of those who headed westward, A Most Unsuitable Match sounds very interesting. Please add me!
Merry in TX

Megan said...

I haven't been checking out my usual blogs the last few months because we have a new addition to our family that has been taking up some of my time :) (I am loving it!!!) So I finally came back to your blog, Lena, and I have to tell you that I have added a ton of new books to my wish list because of you. New authors to try, new books to buy...and less time than usual--I am in trouble!! (I have read Sixteen Brides, so this is a new book for me, not a new author!) Thanks so much for all the info. I love reading about all the great Christian fiction out there!

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

Megan, one reason I started this blog back in 2005 was because there are a lot of people who love to read fiction, who don't know how many Christian novels are out there. So glad you like coming by.

Congratulations on the new addition to your family.