Friday, July 06, 2012

THE PURSUIT OF LUCY BANNING - Olivia Newport - One Free Book

Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
That depends on the story and what is happening in my own life. I don’t write in overt experiences, but I think most novelists leave a footprint in the shape of fears, yearnings, or spiritual lessons they are learning in their lives.

I so agree with you. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I consulted my son on this question. He looked up the definition of quirk and came up with “peculiar habit.” Then he had an immediate answer—I’m a Chicago Cubs fan. Considering that they have been chasing a World Series for over a century now, I guess my son finds that a peculiar habit!

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I remember the story I made up when I was four about a little girl looking for Jesus. I had flannel graph pieces to go with it. When she had looked everywhere else, she found in her heart. So I was off and running very young. But life happens, and what it means to be a writer went through several iterations over the years. The goal of being a novelist has come into focus in the last decade.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I read widely, both books by authors in the Christian market and the general market. However, I almost always choose fiction. My non-fiction reading tends to be limited to the choices of my book group. We read a non-fiction title every other month. I grumble a little, but I do it—and then am surprised by how often I’m glad I did.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I listen to my body. I know what it feels like when I need more movement in my day, or better food in my system, or more laughter with friends, or more sun on my skin, or more prayer in my heart—or even more chocolate in my mouth! I don’t need an Alaskan cruise. I find encouragement and bolstering in small pleasures that remind me to be grateful for the things that bring me joy.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Primary characters tend to spring up with names and back stories that are often hard to change! For other characters, I’m a fan of crawling through baby name lists and finding names that ring true to the era. Last names come from random sightings in research documents.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
That’s a tough questions! I’m one of those people who is quicker to take blame for what goes wrong than credit for what goes right. I’m most proud of learning the difference and realizing that the meaning in my life doesn’t come so much from what I do but who I am.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
The giant antpitta is a curious creature. It’s a bird, but the sound it makes is more like a bark than a tweet. It reminds me that everyone has a unique way of carrying out what God created us to do.

What is your favorite food?
Let’s see. Fresh spinach. Red bell peppers. Avocados. Black olives. Cashews. It’s hard to rank them, so why not throw them all together into a salad and chomp in?

Sounds like a salad I’d love to eat. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I tend to start with characters and setting. I’ve had to work at learning to plot more deeply and make sure enough interesting events are happening outside of my characters’ heads. Whenever I read or listen to a book that keeps me turning pages, I analyze why. What kind of complications made me worry? What was at risk at the turning points of the story? From every book I read, I try to find the takeaway that will make my own writing stronger.

Tell us about the featured book.
Think Downton Abbey in a Chicago setting. The Pursuit of Lucy Banning is the first book of the Avenue of Dreams story set in 1890s Chicago against the backdrop of the world’s fair. Lucy lives on the exclusive Prairie Avenue among Chicago’s rich and famous, but her compassionate heart is with the children of St. Andrew’s orphanage, and she is secretly enrolled in a university course at a time when women were not welcome at most institutions. When she discovers a maid’s secret, she goes out on a limb to help rather than scandalize. And when she meets Will, an unconventional architect, Lucy begins to imagine a life lived on her own terms. But first she has to face the secrets she has been keeping from the people who care for her.

I know I’ll love reading it. Please give us the first page of the book.
A week from Tuesday. Is that even possible?

            It wasn’t that Lucy Banning did not want to view the new art exhibit at the up-and-coming downtown Chicago gallery. She did, keenly. But could she manage it before a week from Tuesday? If the expedition required her mother’s cooperation, it would come with a price. Flora Banning would pounce on the exhibit to launch a social occasion. Floating through the gallery in her draped silk gown and overdone hat, nodding and smiling, she would scan for people who really “mattered” and expect Lucy to assist in this endeavor rather than pause to study the paintings.

            Lucy had played the dutiful daughter many times. She pointed out Mrs. Field across the crowd and bantered with the mayor. She smiled coyly at the young man who offered to fetch a refreshing drink and listened to Mrs. Pullman describe the hand-painted table service for her dinner party for forty-eight guests. This time, though, Lucy actually needed to scrutinize the paintings. Her art history professor would be expecting an analysis. Lucy must prove herself insightful and articulate, a student worthy to occupy a chair at the newly opened University of Chicago.

            Leo. …

I can hardly wait to get my copy of the book. How can readers find you on the Internet?
@OliviaNewport on Twitter

Thank you, Olivia, for the interesting interview.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Pursuit of Lucy Banning, The: A Novel (Avenue of Dreams) -paperback
The Pursuit of Lucy Banning,A Novel (Avenue of Dreams) - 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.


Amy C said...

Looks I found another author to add to my TBR list!
Amy Campbell
Southwest VA

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful cover! Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.
Sharon from Eagan MN

Olivia Newport said...

Thanks, Amy! And Sharon, it is a beautiful cover, isn't it. I've been so happy with it all along.

Wendy Newcomb said...

This sounds like a great read, thank you for hosting the giveaway!

Wendy from FL


Unknown said...

You won't want to miss this one! It's beautiful inside and out. I don't nee to be entered as I've already read, but just want to encourage you to pick up a copy.

Lake Worth, FL

Olivia Newport said...

Wendy, I have a character in the book named Violet Newcomb. Maybe you're related!

Brenda--aren't you sweet.

collettakay said...

This book is on my wishlist. The cover is absolutely amazing and I can't wait to see what is within!

I live in PA :)


Olivia Newport said...

Coletta, I love your enthusiasm.

Liz R said...

I've been wanting to read this book badly! The cover is gorgeous!

Liz R in AL

Diana Gardner said...

Looks great. Please enter me in the drawing. Portsmouth, VA

Olivia Newport said...

Liz, maybe this will be your chance!

Patty said...

As a fan of Downton Abbey, I immediately want to read this book!

Patty in SC

Olivia Newport said...

Patty, I do love Downton Abbey. Hope you love the book too.

writingsofrosie said...

As a HUGE fan of Downton Abbey I would love to win this book. If I don't, I might be making a purchase. :)

Rosie from OH

Pam K. said...

I love the cover of this book. It sounds like it would be fun to read as well.


Mary Preston said...

I'd say backing your team is more loyal than quirky. Good for you.

I am looking forward to reading "The Pursuit of Lucy Banning".

Mary P


Unknown said...

i love the cover, but am sure i'd love the novel just as much if not more!Thanks, Lena and Olivia for the great interview and chance to win The Pursuit of Lucy Banning.

Marianne from Northern Alberta

mitzi underscore wanham at yahoo dot com

Olivia Newport said...

Rosie, I think I've watched Downton Abbey 3 times through now--but I never even heard of it until I had written my series. It made me feel like I got a lot right!

Marybelle, thank you! I guess the Chicago genes got diluted in my kids after we moved away from the Windy City.

Pam and Marianne, glad you like the cover! It's been such fun to hear everyone's enthusiasm.

Unknown said...

This sounds like a good book.
Buffalo, MN

Sarah Rebekah Richmond said...

Looks and sounds interesting!
I would love to win this book!!
Enter me!

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me this book looks great!!
Sharon Richmond
Blanch, NC.

Abigail Mitchell said...

Please enter me! Thanks!!!

Blanch, N.C.

JoAnn Durgin said...

Olivia, I've been wanting to read your book and would love to win it! And hang in there re: the quirk. We lived in Boston in 2004 when our beloved Red Sox finally won the World Series after 86 years (and had to go through their most dreaded rival to do it!), so take heart! Many blessings to you and as you continue to write for His glory! JoAnn Durgin, Southern Indiana

apple blossom said...

oh, please enter me thanks
live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Unknown said...

Thank you for the great Interview.
Your Book sounds wonderful and I can't wait to read it, the Cover is so lovely, please enter my name to your Giveaway.
Many Blessings

I live in S.Illinois


karenk said...

a fabulous posting...thanks for the chance to read this wonderful novel

kmkuka at yahoo dot com
from PA

Kandra said...

Thanks for hosting the giveaway! This book looks interesting.
I'm in Tennessee.

rubynreba said...

Beautiful cover! Great interview.
Beth from iowa

Lane Hill House said...

I have this book written down in my want-to-reads! I would love to win Olivia Newport's The Pursuit of Lucy Banning. Kathleen

Lane Hill House said...

Sorry, forgot to mention I live in Missouri.

Unknown said...

I can't wait to read The Pursuit of Lucy Banning. This looks like an amazing read. Thanks for the blog post and for the opportunity to win.

Val P
Las Vegas, Nevada.

lastnerve2000 at gmail dot com.

Cathy said...

I'd love to read this one. Thanks!

Cathy from B.C. Canada

Susan H said...

Great interview! Beautiful cover! Look forward to reading this book!

Fort Worth, TX

Merry said...

The Pursuit of Lucy Banning sounds like an intriguing story, I'd love to be entered. Thanks!
Merry in TX

Anonymous said...

Please enter me in the drawing, this sounds like a great book.

Nadya - TX