Tuesday, July 23, 2013

FOR SUCH A MOMENT - Marie Wells Coutu - One Free Ebook

Welcome, Marie. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I suppose every writer puts herself into her characters, but I don’t think the characters in this book are like me in any significant way. I did incorporate one idiosyncrasy into my main character, Ellen, though I don’t know if readers will even notice this quirk. I have a fondness for textures—soft and plush like stuffed animals or smooth and cool like marble. Since Ellen is an artist and grew up poor, I used this tendency to show her fondness for luxury with such gestures as stroking fur and touching a marble sink.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
In college, when my friends and I gathered at a local restaurant, I would crouch on the seat of the booth and move my head like a vulture. I became known for making like a vulture.

But my husband says the quirkiest think I’ve done is getting off the bus in the middle of Denali National Park right between the wolf breeding area and the grizzly breeding area, which were only about a mile apart. We walked around for about 20 minutes but didn’t see any wolves or bears, then we caught the next bus. (That bus had stopped to watch a mother bear and her cubs less than a mile up the road from where we were.)

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I like to say that I’ve been telling stories almost since I learned to talk. I don’t remember when I decided I wanted to be a writer—I just did it. When I was seven, I wrote a play and convinced the neighborhood kids to perform it for our parents. In eighth grade, I wrote a romance novel called I Came from Venus.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Contemporary and historical, women’s fiction, romance, suspense, and occasionally fantasy or science fiction. In short, just about anything fiction! I also like to read helpful books on Christian living and biographies when I can tear myself away from the stories.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I’m not sure I do! But scripture and prayer, humor, and my husband help me.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I usually choose my main characters’ names based on a gut feeling for what fits the character. I’ll also look for common names, especially surnames, for the area where the novel is set. For example, my first book is set in Minnesota and Guatemala, so I needed appropriate names from those areas. If I’m stuck for ideas, I might use www.behindthename.com to find names with a specific meaning. And for the historical novels I’ve worked on (as yet unpublished), I use various websites to find suitable names for the time period and region. But it always comes down to names I like and what suits the character.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Being able to celebrate 41 years (and counting) of marriage, surviving through financial struggles, two challenging careers, bringing two troubled teenagers into our home when our own children were in grade school, remodeling numerous houses, and typical day-to-day life. It’s through God’s grace and our united commitment to His will that we can say today our marriage is better than ever.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Beaver. I like to be busy, I’m told I’m a good mother, I like fur, and I enjoy being at home. But I also like to travel and I don’t like to swim, so those would be drawbacks for me.

What is your favorite food?
Anything chocolate!

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
For my entire professional career, I’ve been focused on writing nonfiction-first as a journalist, then in government and nonprofit public relations. I could put words together logically to present facts, but I never thought (after eighth grade or so) that I could write fiction. So in learning the craft of fiction, my biggest struggle has been to show, using all the senses, instead of telling. I’m still learning but sessions at ACFW Conference, My Book Therapy, and other resources have helped me. I have to take each scene and make specific notes about all five senses, as well as the Point-Of-View character’s goals, motivations, and conflict.

Tell us about the featured book.
For Such a Moment, tells the story of Ellen, an American CEO’s wife who has forsaken her mixed heritage. She hopes that a baby will save her troubled marriage, but learns that a childhood infection left her infertile. When she learns her husband’s company is poisoning the water in her home country of Guatemala by using illegal pesticides, she isn’t sure who’s to blame. Revealing secrets from her childhood could save lives—or destroy her false sense of security.

This is the first of the Mended Vessels series of three novels loosely based on Biblical women. The lives of Queen Esther, the Samaritan woman at the well, and Bathsheba—each one re-imagined in contemporary settings—reveal how God takes broken lives and restores them to usefulness. Each is a stand-alone story but the three books are connected by their themes of restoration, forgiveness, and hope through stories of women who find significance in spite of their pasts.

The sound wonderful. Please give us the first page of the book.
Ellen Nielson scanned the large office, seeking a secret corner where she could escape. But the ten-foot-tall antique paneled walls and Architectural Digest furnishings offered no hiding place. No corner where she could curl up and pretend the doctor had made a mistake. Pretend to be three years old, not thirty.

She must have done something terribly wrong to have earned the blow her doctor had just delivered. No children. Ever.
Dr. Rostenberg continued the barrage of words—words as cold and biting as the sleet and snow hitting the tall, narrow windows.

Ellen squeezed her eyes shut. She had imagined rocking her babies, building snowmen with her children, pushing them on the swings at the park.

The doctor’s voice broke through her clouded mind. “Mrs. Neilson, do you understand what I’m telling you?”

Ellen sat militarily tall, the way her dad had taught her, and held onto the arms of the overstuffed chair as if it were a life raft. She fought to keep her voice level. “I can never have children.”

Dr. Rostenberg pressed her lips together. “I know this is difficult for you. I’m sorry that I can’t give you more answers or at least provide some hope.”

Ellen leaned toward the elegant desk. Slowly and softly she spoke, just above a whisper. “You said the infection I had as a child caused it.”

I can’t wait to read it. I’ve been on a short-term mission trip to Guatemala. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Twitter: @mwcoutu
Facebook: Marie Wells Coutu
The book is available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

Thank you, Marie, for sharing this new book with us.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
For Such a Moment (Mended Vessels Series) (Volume 1) - Amazon
For Such a Moment (Mended Vessels Series) - Kindle

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Marie Wells Coutu said...

Thanks for having me today, Lena. I had fun answering your questions. I hope you and your readers will enjoy For Such a Moment and that it will bless you.

WritePathway said...

Congratulations, Marie. It sounds like a great story. I am online with all the WIP/PNP writers so I'm watching you from every side.I'd love to read your book.
Ann Knowles

sm said...

I would like to win and read your book, loosely connected to Queen Esther, about a lady in Guatemala. Sounds good. sharon, CA

Marie Wells Coutu said...

Thanks, Ann and Sharon. I'd love to hear your comments after you read the book, too!

KayM said...

I was so blessed to be able to have children. I can't even imagine the heartache of not being able to do so. I think your book sounds wonderful. I love modern day retelling of Biblical stories. Thank you for offering the opportunity to win a copy.

Marie Wells Coutu said...

Kay, it sounds like you have a heart for others, even though you haven't experienced it. I have also been blessed to have childen, although I had one miscarriage first. I hope that I have conveyed the heartache of infertility,but there is much more to the book than this issue.

Mary Preston said...

What a fascinating subject matter. I look forward to reading more.

Mary P


EJ said...

Thanks for the interview. I love how these books are "loosely based on Biblical women". Elaine in Iowa

Melissa M. said...

These sound good!

-Melissa M. from TX

Shopgirl said...

What a unique idea to set the Biblical stories in modern-day settings! This looks interesting! I'm in MN.