Friday, February 10, 2012

FAR FROM HERE - Nicole Baart - Free Book

Welcome, Nicole. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I write stories about everyday people who are faced with extraordinary circumstances. Tragedy is a part of life, and finding hope amid the ruins of an unforeseen disaster--whether personal or communal--is what compels me to write. I believe that life is a fine balance of both devastation and beauty, and I am passionate about pointing out the light that still glimmers from the ashes of a seemingly unredeemable wreckage. It’s all about rising from the ruins, finding hope where none seems possible.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
I’ve had a hundred happiest days. My wedding day, the birth of my sons Isaac and Matthias, the day I first held my adopted son Judah, the day I signed my first book contract... The list goes on. One of the happiest days I’ve had recently was the day I finished reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to my two oldest boys. We were curled up on the couch with hot chocolate, and we all got teared up through the final pages. I love sharing things with my kids, and I think that particular afternoon is one that we will all remember forever. Often we believe that the important stuff is the so-called big stuff, but I’m a big fan of living in the details.

How has being published changed your life?
I think the biggest change for me was letting go of my career as a teacher. I was a high school English teacher before I signed my first book contract, and although I was taking a break from teaching to be a stay-at-home mom, I always thought I’d go back to the classroom. Now that I’m writing, I know that will never happen. It was a bittersweet day when I let my teaching license expire.

What are you reading right now?
I’m reading Juliet by Anne Fortier and loving it! Out of all of Shakespeare’s plays, Romeo and Juliet was my favorite one to teach (high school students get really into it!). It’s fun to read Ms. Fortier’s take on this classic story.

What is your current work in progress?
I kind of have two books on the go right now. I’m editing my next book, Sleeping In Eden (due out in February of 2013), and laying the groundwork for my third contracted book with Howard. Sleeping in Eden is a mystery that spans three decades, and my current work in progress is a love story that spans the globe.

What would be your dream vacation?
I want to spend an entire summer on the island of Capri.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
Most of my books are set in Northwest Iowa simply because it’s an area that I know and love. I’ve also used Florida, British Columbia, Alaska, and most recently West Africa as settings in my books. Personally, I wouldn’t write about a place I’ve never been. To me, the atmosphere of a book is too important to guess at.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I know this sounds kind of uppity, but fame doesn’t really do much for me. I once met Bono, and when I realized it was him I was like: “Hey, Bono.” He said hey back, we smiled, and went our separate ways. So the person I would like to spend time with is someone who is meaningful to me... I have an old friend that I would like to reconnect with, but we live too far apart to make it possible. I’d love to spend an evening sharing a bottle of wine with her.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I love to garden in the summertime, and work on house projects during the winter. My family is also very outdoorsy and we live with our windows open and our feet bare when weather permits. We like to hike, kayak, run, camp, geocache... Pretty much anything we can do outside!

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Finding the time to write. I haven’t overcome it by a long shot--it’s a constant, daily struggle. No matter how hard I try to stick to a schedule, life continues to interfere. My kids get sick, school is canceled due to a snow day, a friend crisis comes up... But I’ve learned to roll with the punches. The work always gets done somehow.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Oh, my goodness... Where to begin? I guess what I would say is not so much advice as it is an anecdote from my own life. I’ve been writing ever since I was a little girl, but none of my early work is any good at all. I believe that’s because for years I didn’t have anything to say. It was only after I had given up writing for nearly five years that I experienced some really difficult things in my own life... And suddenly I had so much to say. In my life at least, I needed to have a story to tell--a meaningful, personal story--before I could write a novel worth reading.

Tell us about the featured book.
Far From Here is a book that is very loosely based on one of my own family stories. Over thirty years ago, my dad’s best friend disappeared off of the coast of Alaska. He was a bush pilot, and he simply vanished into thin air. No trace was ever found of him or his plane. I grew up with this piece of family history, but it wasn’t until I was a grown woman with a husband of my own that I began to grasp the depth of loss that everyone who loved this man must have felt at his disappearance. Far From Here explores that sort of loss, but it’s definitely a novel that hinges on hope... Even if that hope is a tenuous, ever-changing thing.

Please give us the first page of the book.

         The first time he took me up, I thought I was going to die. It was an accident, really, a stroke of luck or fate or happenstance that lured me into the cockpit that morning. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t have touched with the tip of my little toe the small red-and-white Cessna 180 that Etsell used for teaching rookie pilots. But his lesson had been a no-show. And the plane was fueled up and ready to go, waiting on the runway for takeoff.

         I was huddled in the hangar, arms wrapped tight against my chest to ward off the early-spring chill as Hazel yakked on endlessly about her grandson who was in the army. Later, I wondered if it was orchestrated, if she had baited me with a fresh pot of coffee and the pay-attention-to-me slant of her puppy-brown eyes. But at the time, all I could think of was that her steel-wire mop of hair could use a good wash and set.

         “My grandson is going to be in the special ops,” she said with a grin.

         I nodded, though I doubted that those sorts of things were determined in the first week of boot camp.

         “He’s going to be one of those secret agents. Navy SEAL or something. Imagine that: Special Agent Jansen.” Hazel smirked at my halfhearted acknowledgment. Then her eyes slid past me and she tipped her head in the direction of the runway. “I think Etsell is waving at you.”

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Nicole, for spending this time with us.

Dear readers, my friend Nicole is a Christian, who wrote this book for the general market.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Far from Here: A Novel - paperback
Far from Here - 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.


Susan H said...

Great interview. I love getting to know the authors. I haven't read any of Nicole's books yet, but look forward to reading this one.

Merry said...

Far From Here sounds intriguing, I love following a mysterious story. Please add me!
Merry in TX

Lorna Faith said...

This book sounds interesting:) Love the 1st page...please enter my name.

Lorna from Alberta

lornafaith at gmail dot com

Jen said...

I loved Nicole's first trilogy, so good. I would love to read this book at some point.

Jen from FL

Unknown said...

Thanks for the interview, Lena and Nicole. i enjoyed it, and also that Far From Here is based (however loosely) on a family story! Thanks, too for the opportunity to win!

Marianne from Arizona


Unknown said...

I'd love a chance at this book!

AmandaSue in WI
unforgetable_dreamer_always (at) hotmail (dot) com

Wendy Newcomb said...

This sounds really interesting, thank you for doing the interview.

I live in FL


Shana said...

I can't wait to read the book. Mrs. Baart has become one of my favorite authors. I loved the After the Leaves Fall trilogy.

Shana in TN

Nicole Baart said...

Thanks for hosting me, Lena! And thanks to all of you for your lovely feedback.

I would like to take a moment to remind readers that FAR FROM HERE is a general market, women's fiction release, and as such there is some mild sensuality and profanity. It is a very redemptive, hope-filled book, but I don't want reader to feel misled or to assume that it is a Christian fiction book and be disappointed. If that's not up your alley, I totally understand! I just want to be as open and up-front as possible.

Blessings to you all! Have a fantastic weekend!


holdenj said...

I loved Nicole's comment about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. Am very interesting in checking out her new book! Thanks so much.
Julie in MN

Coolestmommy said...

What a great opening!! Can't wait to read it...

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Patty said...

I'm not familiar with Nicole's writing. Would love to read this book!

Patty in SC

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Katie said...

Sounds great! Please enter me. I'm from NC.

Jo said...

Great interview! I look forward to reading the book. Please enter me!

Jo from Southern Arizona

Linda Kish said...

I would love to win a copy of this book.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Lourdes said...

Would love to win. Thank you for the chance.

misskallie2000 said...

Hi Nicole, Enjoyed your interview. I love mystery in my books and "Far From Here" sounds like a book I would love to read. Thanks for stopping by to chat and share with us.
Thanks for the opportunity to enter giveaway.

I am from Georgia

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Mary Preston said...

I would love to read FAR FROM HERE thank you. I find looking back that it's the small things you cherish most: gardening with my Father, my Mother teaching me to knit, for example.

Mary P


Judy said...

This was a good interview with Nicole. I haven't read any of her books yet. Far From Here, sounds like a great read.

The next two books that Nicole is working on, a romance and a mystery are right up my alley! I love both.

It would be wonderful to win a copy of Far From Here.

Thanks for this interview and giveaway!

Blessings Lena and Nicole!
Judy from Indiana

P.S. I have a daughter named Nicole and a step-daughter named Nicole. Nice name!

Bethany said...

This was a fun interview! I would love to be entered! cbus.blogger at gmail dot com

Thanks! I am in Ohio :)

Joanna Richmond said...

sounds interesting I would love to read it. Thanks for the Chance to win
Joanna Richmond
Blanch NC

Sarah Rebekah Richmond said...

Please enter me in the drawing!
Thanks for the chance to win.
God Bless,
Sarah Richmond

apple blossom said...

love to win thanks for the chance
live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Abigail Mitchell said...

Enter me.
Thanks and God Bless!
Blanch, N.C.

Unknown said...

This book sounds amazing! Please enter me!

Krista from Oregon

EJ said...

Love Nicole's books & her crazy comments on Facebook (I can so relate to many of them!).

Elaine in Cedar Rapids, IA

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.

Bakersdozen said...

I would love to find out what happens in this story. I live in S. CA.

Cindy W. said...

Enjoyed the interview. I also love the cover of Far From Here. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

I live in Indiana.

Cindy W.


Coolestmommy said...

Wow--what a great premise for the story. You're right...those who loved that pilot must have been devastated. No horrible. I can't wait to see how you resolve everything in the story.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Aspiring Mom2three said...

What a great interview! I really loved your answers to the happiest day of your life. I can't wait to get my hands on Sleeping in Eden, when it is finally published. I too let my teaching license expire to stay home with my children, but the only writing I aspire to do these days pertains only to my blog. I can't wait to read Far from Here (here in Arkansas!

karenk said...

a great posting..thanks for the chance to read nicole's latest novel :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

(from PA)

Nicole Baart said...

Thanks so much for stopping by everyone! I enjoyed reading your comments and learning just a little bit about you. Blessings to you!


Angie Adair said...

This looks like a wonderful book!

Kristie said...

So does ths mean that you visited West Africa? That sounds like a magical wonderful adventure. Hope is the key to a happy life I think. Even in the worst of times we can hope and trust that God has a magnificent plan for us. Trust Him and hope that some small part will be revealed to us soon. It's nothing short of amazing. I'm from Ohio. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com

Katie Marie said...

This book sounds cool! New author to me. I'd love a chance to win. Thanks!

Katie from FL