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
. 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 America 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
during the colonial era, and—voila! Becky bought it. North Carolina
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 , my home state. Fayetteville, NC
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.
JHT – A 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
JHT – Highland 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
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. North
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
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. Scotland
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
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
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 North Carolina
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. Logan
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.
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 http://www.lauriealiceeakes.com 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.
Twitter: www.twitter.com/jt4novelsGW: 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 www.inkwellinspirations.com, 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.
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Highland Crossings (Romancing America) - paperback
Highland Crossings - Kindle
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