God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
It’s been an exciting time for me, and I feel very blessed. I can’t wait to introduce readers to my next series about three sisters who pledge to help each other live their dreams.
Tell us a little about your family.
My husband David and I have been married for twenty-two years. We have three children. Our son will be a junior in college, and our oldest daughter will be starting her freshman year this fall. Our younger daughter will be in eighth grade.
Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
I know some writers find themselves being more critical, but the biggest change for me has been thinking things like, “Wow, what a great way to say that!” or “How did she/he think of plotting it that way.”
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on book 2 of the new series. I’m at the research stage, so I’m spending a lot of time reading old newspapers, looking things up, and trying to picture the city as it was in 1910. It’s one of my favorite stages of the book. When I find something useful, it’s like discovering a treasure or another piece of big jigsaw puzzle.
What outside interests do you have?
Like most women, my life is always busy. Besides being a wife and mom, I’m a Bible school teacher, 4-H leader, fair communication superintendent, and school volunteer. I do some wedding planning and coordination as the need arises. I also do some wedding flowers and have had as many as 400 fresh roses in my house at one time.
I was a 4-H Program Assistant before my girls were old enough for 4-H. Then I became a leader when they were in the organization. How do you choose your settings for each book?
The first series, The Lake Manawa Summers Series, was set just outside my hometown. I’d grown up hearing about it and decided to do more research.
I love finding places that are special in their own way. However, I’m a strong believer that every place has a story to tell. People at the turn of the century worked hard and played hard. Since I just finished the first book in my new series, I can tell you I loved digging up the places where people gathered to play hard and enjoy themselves. I try to bring those places back to life.
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
This is an impossible question for a history buff! I’m guessing this question means besides Jesus because he’d be my first choice. I guess I’d have to say the apostle Paul. For about 15 years now, I’ve taught the book of Acts to 5th and 6th graders at our congregation. I’d love to hear about Paul’s experiences from his own lips and hear about some of the stories he didn’t include in his writings.
What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
I think I would have liked to realize that there would be a moment when something I loved and wanted to do would become a job and something I had to do. Don’t get me wrong. I still love writing, but it was a strange feeling one day when I realized that I had to write even when I didn’t feel like it. It was my job and had obligations to meet.
What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
My word for the year is “wonder.” I am humbled and amazed by God’s work both in my life and in the world. The other day, I made a list of all the things God had to orchestrate to bring my husband into my life, to bring my children into the world, and me into the publishing world. I am utterly amazed at the way He has directed my paths and taken me down roads I never even imagined.
What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Keep a teachable spirit. There’s always more to learn. Soak it up and use what fits you and your work.
When the edits come, realize it’s not about you. The most important thing is the story and whether it’s told in the most effective way possible.
Rest in the knowledge that God’s in control. It’s easy to get swept away with where publishing is going, what’s the next trend, how your numbers are, or if you’re marketing enough. I try to remember how far God had brought me and that He will be faithful no matter where He takes me next.
Tell us about the featured book.
I’d be thrilled to! The Ride of Her Life is the third book in the Lake Manawa Summers series. (It’s a standalone story, but if readers want to read the books in order, the first book, Making Waves, is free on Kindle, Nook, etc. right now.) It’s the story of a practical, no-nonsense widow named Lily Hart who is doing her best to make a home for herself and her six-year-old son Levi. She wants to stay firmly planted on the ground, but the handsome roller coaster designer, Nick Perrin, wants to sweep her off her feet.
If you want a vacation without leaving your house this summer, or you’re looking for a fun beach read, then this is the book for you. I loved learning about roller coasters in 1906, and there’s nothing like falling in love when there are exciting twists, turns, and dips at every turn.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Lake Manawa, Iowa
What had Levi dragged in now? Lilly rolled her eyes as she eased a large slice of peach pie onto one of the diner’s plates. She wiped her finger on her starched apron, before she turned toward her son.
Swinging his arm in a wide arc, he thrust a monstrous writhing snake towards her nose.
With a shriek, she leapt backwards.
“Isn’t he pretty?” Levi ran his finger over the snake’s scaly head. “You wanna pet him?
Inching backwards until her shoulders lodged against the cold, metal pie safe, Lilly fought the fear seizing her voice. The counter between her and that monster dangling from her six-year-old’s chubby fist hardly seemed an adequate barrier. “N—no, I do not want to pet that thing.”
“Shhh. You’ll hurt his feelings.” He lifted the snake’s head to his cheek. “He won’t hurt you, Momma. See? He’s just a gardener snake.”
“Get it away from your face! And Levi, he’s a garter snake, not a gardener.”
“What’s the difference?”
She swallowed hard, vaguely aware of the rollercoaster workers seated in the corner chuckling. She lowered her voice.
“A gardener works in a garden and a garter well...uh...holds up a ladies’—.”
“A ladies’ what?”
“Stockings.” She whispered but more chuckles ensued from the men in the corner. She pointed at the front door. “Why don’t you take your friend outside? I think he wants to go home.”
“Silly, Momma. Snakes are like you and me. He ain’t got no home.”
“He doesn’t have a home.”
“That’s what I said.”
The snake twisted beneath Levi’s grasp, and Lilly scooted even further away. “Please, put your friend back where you found him.”
“Out front? Under the diner’s front stoop?”
Lilly’s heart squeezed. Lord, haven’t I been dealing with enough snakes lately? You had to put one where I have to walk every day?
I love it already. How can readers find you on the Internet?I love to hear from readers! I can be reached through my webpage www.lornaseilstad.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
Thank you, Lorna. I've loved the books in this series.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Ride of Her Life, The: A Novel (Lake Manawa Summers) - paperback
The Ride of Her Life, A Novel (Lake Manawa Summers) - Kindle
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