Thursday, October 18, 2012

VALLEY OF THE SHADOW - Stephanie Grace Whitson - One Free Book

Tell us about your salvation experience.
My mother was a believer when I was born. Daddy came to faith when I was about nine months old, so I don’t remember a time when Jesus wasn’t the centerpiece of home life. By the time I have conscious memory, Daddy was a deacon and Mother was running everything the Southern Baptists allowed a woman to run J. I don’t honestly know when I came to faith. I remember going up one Sunday night after church and asking Reverend Leininger if I could attend the classes he held on the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Everyone he baptized had to take those classes, and while I don’t remember the classes themselves, I imagine that it was at some point during those studies that I became a Christian. Reverend Leininger had explained that he would ask us to speak our name when he baptized us, and that when we did that, we were offering our lives to Jesus. As far as a nine-year-old can understand it, I did understand the gospel and the significance of what I was doing that day.

You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?
I would ask writers who write in a genre different from mine, because they would encourage me to get out of my “rut” and think in a new way about plots and characters. I’ve had this experience before, and it was very rewarding. I’d probably want a romantic suspense author, a mystery author, someone who writes thrillers, and someone who writes science fiction/fantasy. And if possible, I’d want half the group to be men. Again, I’d want to tap minds that work differently from mine, because I think that encourages creativity.

Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.
The first time someone asked me if I did public speaking, I was really surprised, and my knee-jerk reaction was to say no. But my then-husband (who died of cancer in 2001) encouraged me to consider it. I’d shared my testimony at church and taught women’s Bible studies, and so I began, very slowly, to say “yes.” Over the years I’ve developed a menu of about a dozen topics and lectures for church groups, writers conferences, and civic organizations. The most frequently requested talks this past year were “A Patchwork Life,” which is my personal testimony (illustrated with quilts in my collection), “Calico Trails,” which talks about how pioneer woman inspire my fiction (and is also illustrated with antique quilts and tops), and “Quilts and the Sod House Experience,” which is based on my recent non-fiction book Home on the Plains: Quilts and the Sod House Experience. I also teach writing workshops on various aspects of writing. I limit the speaking part of my ministry to a couple of times a month.

What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?
Oh, my. Let’s just say it involved a surprise that backfired when my husband unexpectedly brought his boss home for lunch. We all laughed. Later. I still laugh, and it happened over thirty years ago.

People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?
“That’s wonderful! Go for it!”

Tell us about the featured book.
Valley of the Shadow (a Christy Award finalist) was inspired by the incredible sacrifice and bravery of the Christian Dakota Indians who risked their lives to save their white brothers and sisters in Christ during the Dakota War of 1862. My imaginary characters, Daniel Two Stars and Genevieve La Croix, struggle to adapt to the changing culture around them. Just when they’ve taken steps to find a way to survive, the war erupts and everything they thought they knew about God is challenged. 

Please give us the first page of the book.
            How he had managed to get that beautiful Ellen Leighton to marry him was beyond the realm of logic for anyone who knew Simon Dane. Never, people said, were two young people more unsuited for one another.

            Even though she was only seventeen, Ellen Leighton was the very definition of a lady. Why, hadn’t her own grandfather fought under General Washington himself? And wasn’t it her grandfather on her mothers’ side who had had a commission from King George? Certainly Ellen’s parents had nothing approaching marriage to the likes of Reverend Simon Dane in mind when they sent their daughter to be educated at Miss Bartlett’s finishing school in Ipswich. Ellen had gone reluctantly, but came home a vision of manners and grace that made the entire village proud. She poured tea like royalty. And those gray eyes! Well, any young man upon whom those alighted felt a thrill down to his elegant riding boots.

            And so, when the practically middle aged and almost homely Reverend Simon Dane arrived to temporarily fill the pulpit at Christ’s Church, imagine everyone’s amazement when Ellen Leighton looked upon him with something more than passing kindness.

            “He has a mind, Mother,” Ellen had explained firmly. “A girl can’t always be a girl. I enjoy flirting as much as anyone, but when it comes to marriage, I want a man with a mind; someone I can talk to late into the night, for all those long years after youthful passions fade.”

            “Ellen!” Mrs. Leighton scolded, blushing.

            Ellen’s gray eyes crinkled up at the corners. “It’s all right, Mother. You needn’t act so shocked. Miss Bartlett’s gave me a very thorough education in every manner of life.” Her peach-colored lips parted in an almost impish grin …

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing this book with us today.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Valley of the Shadow (Dakota Moon) - paperback
Valley of the Shadow (Dakota Moons) - 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.


karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this wonderful novel

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Arieth said...

What a nice interview, very inspiring to read. Thank you.

pol said...

thanks for the comments today with Stephanie Grace Whitson, I enjoyed reading them. I love to read books and this book sounds interesting -would love to be in your drawing.
Paula O(
a Ga fan

Amy C said...

Thanks for a nice interview. Valley of Shadow sounds amazing
Amy C

Carla Gade said...

Valley of the Shadow sound wonderful Stephanie. Thanks for interviewing her, Lena. I enjoyed what Stephanie said about who she'd choose to include in a writing retreat of four authors. And about her speaking ministry, encouraging since I've been contemplating becoming more serious about mine. Blesings, Lena & Steph!

Patty said...

Ellen sounds like a very smart girl! Would love to read more of her story.

Patty in SC

Unknown said...

Oh, looks like you have another keeper written. i am looking forward to reading it. Thanks Lena and Stephanie for a great interview and chance to win.

Marianne from northern Alberta


Unknown said...

Oh, looks like you have another keeper written. i am looking forward to reading it. Thanks Lena and Stephanie for a great interview and chance to win.

Marianne from northern Alberta


Anonymous said...

i would be so blessed to win. angela from ky

ASC Book Reviews said...

WOW this sounds fabulous! Please enter me! That's what I LOVE most about this blog; it introduces me to books I have never heard, might not have heard of, and maybe wouldn't have read. So glad you are keeping me from missing out on AWESOME books!


Amada Chavez, NM

Lisa E. said...

I've read a few of Stephanie's wonderful books. I haven't read this one yet, but I'd love to!

Lisa in Washington State

Lourdes said...

Looking forward to reading this book.

Cindy W. said...

I loved the synopsis of Valley of the Shadow. I would love to read this book as I love stories about the American Indian (my husband is part Cherokee). Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

I live in Indiana.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Mary Preston said...

What a wonderful story. I am eager to learn more.

Mary P


rubynreba said...

Enjoyed the interview and please enter me!
Beth from IA

apple blossom said...

thanks for chance to win
live in ND

ABreding4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Diana Flowers said...

Thank you for the interview and for sharing your new book with us, Stephanie! I have enjoyed all of the books I have read by you and this one is right up my alley! Would love to win!

Diana in SC


Stephanie Grace Whitson said...

Thanks everyone for your kind words. I just received a request to send an autographed copy of this book to one of the Native American descendants of the real people who were involved in this event. It meant even more to me because the request came from a white descendant of a woman who was defended during the Dakota War by a believing Native American. What an honor it was to hear from them.

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me this book looks great!!
Sharon Richmond

Melissa M. said...

I've read this and liked the whole series! :) I'm not entering, but wanted to let others know.

Bluerose said...

Native American stories hold a special place in my heart! I didn't know about this series until now, but it's definitely going on my reading list.

Stephanie, I enjoyed your interview!(especially your salvation story!) :)

Tammy from AL

Judy said...

Valley of the Shadow sounds like a great read. I would be thrilled to win a copy of this book.

Judy B from Indiana

Evlin said...

Thank you for the interview, very interesting. Would love to win a copy of "VALLEY OF THE SHADOW". Thank you for the opportunity.

Kevlin, NY

misskallie2000 said...

I have not read one of your books Stephanie but looking forward to reading Valley of the Shadow. Thanks for this opportunity to enter giveawauy.

Benda from Georgia
misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Shopgirl said...

I would love to learn more about the Dakota War! I'm in MN.

Diana Gardner said...

Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks! Portsmouth, VA

Anne Payne said...

The cover is intriguing and the opening even more so! I look forward to reading this book. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

Anne, rural NC

Karen G. said...

Wow! This book sounds so good. Love reading Native American books. Thank you for the interview and giveaway.

Karen, Troy, NY.

Jes said...

Valley of the Shadow sounds great! I just read your comment above about receiving a request for an autographed copy from one of the descendants of the real people who were involved in this event. That is wonderful! :)

Jes (CA)
jswaks at gmail dot com