Monday, January 09, 2012

HIGHLAND CROSSING - Laurie Alice Eakes, Pamela Griffin, Jennifer Hudson Taylor, Gina Welborn - Three Free Books (US Only)

I've really been looking forward to featuring this novella collection. Coming from these ladies, it will be very good. How did your story for the collection come about?
LAE: My agent, Tamela Murray of the Steve Laube Literary Agency, called to tell me that Becky Germany wanted a collection centered around Highlanders in America. Pamela Griffin was a natural person to ask because she was in another Scottish novella series and is such a beloved writer in the genre, Gina Welborn because she had done research into Scotland for another project and is just a fine writer, and Jennifer Hudson Taylor because she has her lovely Highland books out. We brainstormed for a couple of weeks, put together a collection of generational connected stories set in North Carolina during the colonial era, and—voila! Becky bought it.
PG: The theme was the Argyll Colony, the Scottish settlers there. From the years (eras) the four of us talked about including, I chose to write about the first shipload of settlers that sailed from Scotland to America, to live in a new land and find peace from oppression, (when the main part of town was no more than one building in the midst of a forest).
JHT – Since I’m contracted for a 3-book series to release in 2013 in which a Scottish family migrates to the Carolinas during the colonial period, I wrote the last novella with the final generation to keep from conflicting with my other series. Hearts Inheritance is set in 1815 in what is now Fayetteville, NC, my home state.
GW: Well, I think the we brainstormed contained very little me brainstormed because I was working on an editor request at the time. However, being able to trust Pamela, Laurie, and Jennifer to direct us to a great premise was easy because they’re all amazing writers. I admire their craft.

What are you reading right now?
LAE: I usually don’t say what I’m reading just in case it’s someone else’s favorite book and I end up not liking it. Mostly I read a mix of historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense or mysteries.
PG: Nothing in fiction. I'm on a February 15th book deadline, (unless the many times I go over my chapters for editing counts as reading - lol)- and won't have much time in reading for relaxation until that is sent in.
JHTA Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman
GW: Oh, I’ll happily share I’m reading Annapolis by Roseanna White, Summer of Promise by Amanda Cabot, and Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge. I just finished The Untold Story of the New Testament Church by Frank Viola, which totally gave me a new appreciation for Paul’s writing. Of course, one of my favorite novels of 2011 was Laurie’s A Necessary Deception. Laurie, should I share how you nicely insisted I re-read Patricia Veryan’s Golden Chronicles series during the summer of 2010? If you loved Laurie’s first regency, then I recommend reading Veryan’s series to see how an author can take a villain in book 1 and turn him into a hero by book 6.

What other books have you had published?
LAE: This novella collection will be my first novella. I also have Heart’s Safe Passage coming out in February 2012, which is my third book with Baker/Revell and my ninth book published.
PG: I've written for Heartsong Presents, Barbour, Tyndale House, and Summerside Press. All in romance, both historical and contemporary, set in the U.S. and in Europe. My most recent books are Love Finds You in Hope, Kansas (Summerside Press) and In Search of a Memory, In Search of a Dream, and In Search of Serenity (Heartsong Presents) which also is a 3 n' 1 with the title Connecticut Brides (Barbour).
JHTHighland Blessings and Highland Sanctuary, both with Abingdon Press. I’m also part of another novella collection coming out in April 2012, Quakers of New Garden through Barbour Books.
GW: Later this year my second novella, All Ye Faithful, is part of the A Cascades Christmas anthology. Has anyone else notice how trendy flannel shirts are this winter? Either that or I have lumberjacks on my mind.

What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a novella collection?
LAE: Getting four creative minds going in the same general idea. We all have so many thoughts and ideas that pinning it down to the right ones is a bit of a challenge. It’s a fun challenge, though. Working with Gina and Pamela and Jennifer was a terrific experience. They are all so creative and talented and have such vast knowledge of history. Then the point comes where everything starts to click together, and it’s like creative fireworks—brilliantly fun.
GW: Amen, sister!
PG: When anyone in the group is hard to get in contact with on a regular basis (which thankfully wasn't the case with this group! :))
JHT – This was my first time working with a group of authors on a collaborative team other than a critique group, and it worked out very well. Once we started brainstorming, emails flew back and forth and ideas just starting falling into place. We are all from different parts of the country with varying backgrounds and experiences. I love how we were able to work so well together.

How did collaborating with this team impact you?
LAE: I was never sure I could work with a creative team, I’m such a lone wolf kind of writer, and I did and it worked, and I loved the energy of a team effort.
PG: In every novella team I write with, I always learn something helpful from the rest of the women, usually in relation to the setting or time period we are working with, etc., or other useful writer's tips and information. The other authors in this set were wonderful and easy to collab with.
JHT – It was nice to have other creative minds to bounce ideas around. Authors tend to work alone and that leaves me mulling ideas around in my head, wondering if I’m going in the right direction.
GW: Call me SpongeGina SquareWriter because I sat back and soaked up anything and everything Pamela, Laurie, and Jennifer could teach me.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
LAE: First I find a list of names appropriate to the time period and setting and nationality. From that list I pick names I like. In “Printed on My Heart”, my novella in Highland Crossings  the surname MacGill came from a list of ship passengers to North Carolina during the influx of Scottish immigrants in the mid eighteenth century. Her first name Fiona came from a list of Scottish names used at that time. The hero is Welsh, as many Welsh immigrated to North Carolina at that time, too, and, likewise, I picked appropriate names, though the surname was more difficult, as the Welsh were still shaky on using surnames.
PG: - For this story, I used a great reference book- "Names Through the Ages" by Teresa Norman. it is over 500 pages- extensive- and gives the names used for each century, country, name meanings, etc. I went to the section of names in Scotland 20-30 years prior to when my story begins. I chose Seona, because it means "God is gracious" (something she must learn):  I chose Murdag (Seona's cousin) because it means "Sea warrior" (she is strong in character, helping Seona escape by ship in my first scene.) Just 2 examples. Once I choose a name, I often write the characters to reflect something about the meaning, whether all through story, something they become at end, or just a simple behavior trait that signifies them.
JHT – Since I had the final story, I had to carry on the surnames of the previous generations in the other Highland Crossings novellas. For other surnames I used a genealogical reference on the Argyll Colony entitled, Carolina Scots. Then I went through my list of characters from my 15th century Highland series and my upcoming MacGregor Quest series to make sure I wasn’t duplicating names. My names evolved from a process of elimination. Based on what was left, I liked Brynna for the heroine and Niall for the hero.
GW: I read a 1790 census of North Carolina and compiled a list of male and female names that stood out to me. Obviously since my heroine is the daughter of Laurie’s leads, her surname was chosen for me. Once I had a list of two choices for each of my leads, I bounced them off Laurie. One choice for my hero was . . . well, hmm, all I can think of is Wolverine which makes me think of Logan which makes me think of Hugh Jackman. And Logan, Hugh or Jackman weren’t on my list. Anyway, Laurie knew a guy who had my hero’s second name choice and he was a weasel so I went with Finley instead. As far as Seran’s name, we liked how it sounded with Cardew, not to mention it was different.

What did you want the reader to take away from your story?
LAE: Trusting that God has a perfect plan for our lives.
PG: Always, always, I want them to feel inspired, encouraged, refreshed, and closer to God, while also being thoroughly entertained and feeling it was well worth their time to read.  :)
JHT – I hope that Heart’s Inheritance reminds readers that our greatest treasure is the unconditional love of God and it is given as our true inheritance.
GW: Plus looking for God’s opportunities, and if we’re really submitting to Jesus as Lord of our lives, then that means we have to be willing to sacrifice our goals, wants, dreams because God may have something better for us. Often He does. Yet we still struggle with letting go of what we think is best, which takes us back to choosing to trust God. It’s a minute-by-minute action.

Are you a member of American Christian Fiction Writers? If so, why?
LAE: Yes, I am a member of ACFW, as I believe belonging to professional writing organizations is important to writers and ACFW is focused on Christian fiction. I also belong to other professional writers organizations.
GW: Ditto.
PG: No.
JHT – Yes, because it is valuable organization that helped me transition from secular fiction to Christian fiction and I’ve found many valuable friends and fellowship.

What is the best piece of advice you received as an author?
LAE: Sit in the chair and write.
PG: No matter what happens, keep your eyes on Jesus, and never quit.
JHT – Don’t ever give up and to remember that God’s timing isn’t necessarily my timing.
GW: Don’t forget you’re telling a story so sometimes you have to tell and not show.

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
LAE: Mostly, I can be found at From there, one can find my blog. I am also on Facebook. No Twitter account yet. After February when I’ve finished up a couple of major deadlines I’ll work on Twitter.
GW: My sixth-grade (middle child) son googled me over the Christmas break and said, “Mom, did you know your picture is on the internet?” Even though I explained about being a writer, he still thought being able to google me was creepy. Fans, not stalkers, can find me at, my team blog with eleven other inspirational writers. A link to my personal website can be found on Inkwell. On Facebook, I’m Gina Marie Welborn.

Thank you Laurie Alice, Pamela, Jennifer, and Gina. I know all my readers will love learning about all of you and your book.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Highland Crossings (Romancing America) - paperback
Highland Crossings - 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.


Robyn said...

I enjoy all of your books so the chance to read a collection from you is wonderful. I especially liked how your picked names. Fun stuff!
Thank you for sharing!
coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

kmannrn said...

I have been anticipating the release of this book. Can't wait to read it.

Tracy Wainwright said...

I really like the multi-novella idea. I get so wrapped up in long novels, my kids and hubby are lucky to get dinner sometimes. Would love a chance to read these. ACFW has been invaluable to me in my writing journey and I'm fortunate to have an active group in the mid-atlantic (I live in beautiful, historic Virginia.) Thanks for offering this novella collection.

Gina Welborn said...

Ack, kmannrn, I've been anticipationg the release of this book too. ;-)

Tracy, I live in VA too, and, really, is there a place in Virginia that isn't beautiful or historic? I think not.

Patty said...

I love this idea of several authors working together to write a series of stories that all connect.

Patty in SC

Carrie Pagels said...

Lena, This is the best interview I have read since I can remember. Thanks SO MUCH for sharing this. We are going to try to put a link up on our header over on the Colonial Quills blog to this post. Do not enter me as I will have to read on Kindle. Four talented and lovely authors and I feel privileged to know them all. Many blessings!

GMCT said...

Can't wait for this book. I have a Scottish background so love anything about Scotts. I live in NE North Carolina. REally enjoyed the interviews. Thanks for offering the books---and for all of you writing!!!Happy New Year.

Debra E. Marvin said...

Well, this is a must buy on many levels, so of course I'd love to win it!

Thank you Lena, I really enjoyed the group interview and I look forward to seeing what these ladies came up with!

Jen, Hooray for sneaking a Welshman in here with the Scots.

Katie G. said...

Nice interviews!!! The books look great! I'm from NC.

God bless!

Anonymous said...

enter me in the book give away. angela from ky

Angie Adair said...

Sounds like a great book! I'm from Illinois

Anonymous said...

What a great interview! Looking forward to reading Highland Crossing.

from Michigan

Krista said...

Sounds wonderful. Please enter me.

Krista from Gresham, OR

scottsgal said...

Love the sounds of this! Fun interview

cheryl in IL
msboatgal at

Anonymous said...

Please sign me up. Thanks. :)


Rebecca said...

This looks like a great collection of stories. I would love to read these. Thanks for the chance to win.

I am from Oklahoma

wfnren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wfnren said...

Great interview(s)! Thank you for visiting with these authors.

I live in FL.


Marianne said...

Mom loves, loves, loves the 4-in-one novellas,(or the 3-in-one, she's not fussy)and i would love to win one of these books for her! How[at]yahoo[dot]cominteresting it was to read each authors replies to each question. Loved to find out how they were different or the same. Thanks.
Marianne from El Mirage, Arizona


Pamela Griffin said...

GMCT- Oh, I love everything Scots too! That was another reason I was so excited to write this book and have all my main characters be directly from Scotland. :) It was another wonderful chance to be in a Scots-based collection after Highland Legacy, and I grabbed it when it was offered to me! lol

Marianne and Tracy- I agree. Novellas are so easy to read, especially when life is so busy. I love reading them and writing them.

Thanks for everyone's interest. :)

Patricia said...

What wonderful set of books! I never thought of how difficult it would be to choose names for the characters in a book. I was pretty major when we were choosing names for kids and grandkids.

I hail from Texas, country girl at heart.


karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this wonderful novel :)

karenk...from PA
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Emma said...

I would love to win this book!!!

I live in Arizona, but I am anxiously waiting to move back to my home state of Michigan! :)

teachwhite said...

I'm excited to read a Christian fiction from an author I have met! I live near Richmond, VA.

Jo said...

Enjoyed the interviews. I like to read novellas so think this is great and should be lots of fun to read.

Jo from Southern Arizona

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Thanks everyone for swinging by. The interview was fun. Lena, I want to thank you for hosting us!

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me I would love to win a copy of this book it sounds like a great story! Thanks and God bless.
Sharon Richmond
Blanch, NC.

Abigail Richmond said...

Looks interesting! Please enter me in the drawing.
Thanks and God Bless!
Blanch, N.C.

Abigail Richmond said...

By the way I love Pamela Griffin's books, I am sorry to say I haven't read any by the others though.

EJ said...

I've read books from a couple of these authors & they were good. Looking forward to reading this one also! Elaine from Iowa

apple blossom said...

love the chance to win a copy of this book thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Faye said...

I have always wondered how the 4-in-one novellas come together when written by different authors. And it was so cool to have such an awesome interview with 4 authors! Thank you :)

Faye, SD

Ginger said...

This looks like an excellent collection. Can't wait to read it.

Ginger in AL

JoAnn Durgin said...

I'd love to win this one! JoAnn from Indiana ( Thanks for the opportunity and the great interview with the authors. Blessings!

Sarah said...

Please enter me in the drawing!!
God Bless,

Rebecca said...

I laughed about your son Googling you, Gina. Hopefully he thought it was cool as well as a little creepy.
Since I'm from NC, I'd love to read the book and see if your characters migrated the same way my family did. I really loved the way that you named your characters too.
Thanks for the giveaway!
Rebecca from NC

Debbie Clark said...

I would love to win Highland Crossing. I am from Oregon. Thanks for the chance to win.

Debbie Clark

Judy Cooper said...

It would be nice to win , I always enjoy books like this because, I never want a good story to end. Thank you for the chance to be a winner. Judy C. in Louisiana.

Pamela Griffin said...

Aw, thank you, Abigail! :)

I'm sure you'll love the other stories in this collection too! All these women are great writers!

Patricia- I'm a Texas gal too- but was born and raised in the suburbs. lol

*waves to Jennifer H.T. - hi! :)

Lena, thanks for hosting. <3

Joanna Richmond said...

sounds very interesting I would Love to read it enter me in the drawing
Joanna Richmond,
Blanch, NC

Aizess said...

Please enter me to win this book and thank you for the chance to win it!

I live in New York

Cindy W. said...

I would love to win a copy of Highland Crossing. Thank you for the chance.

I live in Indiana.

Cindy W.


Bakersdozen said...

I would love to read this. I live in S. CA.

Kristie said...

Sometimes I wonder about God's timing. It really is perfect. I look at the past and remember what I prayed for and now I realize that God had a better plan than I could have imagined. There are too many things in my life that have been orchestrated by God. There is no other explanation. Your book sounds great. I'm from Ohio. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

Merry said...

Highland Crossing sounds like a great set of stories with a Scottish background and those settling in America. I'd love to be entered!
Merry in TX

rubynreba said...

Looks like a great collection of stories.
Beth from Iowa

Carla Olson Gade said...

Just coming by this interview in May and enjoyed it very much!