Tuesday, August 20, 2013

TATTLER'S CREEK - Jan Watson - One Free Book

Former registered nurse and peri-natal loss counselor, Jan Watson won the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild First Novel Contest in 2004 with Troublesome Creek. Written with a dollop of romance and a smidgen of suspense, Jan’s award winning historical novels, are uniquely set in the Appalachian Mountains.

Jan was voted 2012 Best Kentucky Author by the readers of Kentucky Living Magazine.

A voracious reader since childhood Jan recalls “when all those squiggles on the page made me want to learn what Dick and Jane did next.” Although she has always loved books, she had no intent to write one of her own. . .until one day she recalled a story told to her by her grandmother.

As a child, Jan often visited her grandparents in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. One summer day, as she and her grandmother sat in the porch swing breaking beans, her granny told her the true story of the terrible flash flooding of Frozen Creek, and of the tiny baby who was swept away never to be seen again. Jan carried the story in her heart for fifty years before she decided to save that baby, if only fictionally. This became the basis for a series of books: Troublesome Creek, Willow Springs, and Torrent Falls and of a spin off, Sweetwater Run.

In all her books, Watson artfully draws on the folklore and culture of times long past to create colorful characters living their faith in a world that offers comfort and peril in equal measure.

Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I never purposely write myself into my characters, and I can not say which character would be the most like me. Rather, I let the character develop organically, telling their story as it happened. For instance, in Sweetwater Run, Henry Thomas hits Ace Shelton in the back of the head with a hatchet. Now, I will admit, I have at times wanted to hit a man upside the head but never with a hatchet—maybe just a glancing blow with a harmless one-egg skillet. I’m kidding ...  really. 

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I have an inability to discern direction—it runs in my family, and so I am often lost. Truly lost. One time I needed to change planes in Atlanta under time constraints. I didn’t have time to wander around asking questions which often are of no help to me anyway. I heard one man tell another man where he was going and what his connecting flight was. I stalked him. Where he went I followed albeit at a respectful distance. Stalking is much easier when you are a woman of a certain age. Nobody pays an older woman much mind—which is how I like it. I do believe I’d make a pretty good private detective—if I could find the folks needing detecting that is. 
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Several years ago, after working as a registered nurse for twenty-five years, I began to put on paper a story my grandmother told me when I was a young girl. Granny spoke of a terrible flash flood up there in the mountains of eastern Kentucky and of a baby girl who was swept away, never to be seen again. I decided to rewrite the story as if the baby had lived. When the words to Troublesome Creek wouldn’t stop coming, I knew I was a writer.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I am the proverbial cereal box reader. I can not be without something to read. I always have the book I’m currently reading, the one I want to read next, and a follow-up to that one. Lately I’ve been on a true-adventure kick, and have read: Beyond the Bear by Dan Bigley, AWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David Miller, and am looking forward to In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryant. I suppose I am living a life of adventure through books. Who knows where a person with no sense of direction would wind up if she tried to walk the Appalachian Trail or fish a river bank in Alaska or tour Australia? Books open the world for me, and I never even need a GPS. 

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I stay grounded in God’s Word. “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10. Nothing is more calming than the Bible. I begin each day with ten minutes or so of contemplation. I like one short devotional that I can skim and a few pages from something deep like The Quotable Lewis by Martindale and Root published by Tyndale House. You can’t get much deeper than C.S. Lewis.   
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I love names. I collect them: Turnip Tippen, Lump Lumpkins, Shade Harmon, Tern Still, Lilly Corbett, Betsy Lane, and Demaree Whitt, are some favorites, not to mention Mazy and Molly, the twins named after favorite cows. Names should reflect a character’s personality. For instance, Shade Harmon (from Tattler’s Branch) has both a good side and a bad side. Shade foreshadows his bad side and Harmon (shortened harmony) reflects the good.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
In the world of writing, I’m most proud of winning the 2004 Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest. Outside of that, I’m most proud of my children. I’m not a prideful person. I feel everyone is just one banana peel away from disaster, and if one person is down-on-his-luck then I should do my best to lift him up and share his burden. My granny always said, “Laugh today and cry tomorrow.” I felt this saying was Granny’s way of teaching me that I would have good times and hard times alike, and that I should never gloat.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
This one is easy. I adore animals from frogs to elephants. If I were an animal I’d be my Jack Russell terrier, Maggie. Maggie orders my day and sleeps on my pillows at night. She is an old lady now and thus needs tender care. Maggie has her own seeing-eye person, me. We go to the park almost daily. She walks half the way, and I carry her for the rest. That’s a new form of dog walking, and its really good exercise for me. We also play fetch. I throw the ball, and if she can’t find it with her keen sense of smell, I go fetch it. Every animal should be as well tended as my little Maggie Mae. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40.
What is your favorite food?
Here’s a favorite meal and how to obtain it. On a real hot July day, take a sleeve of saltine crackers, a knife, and a jar of creamy peanut butter out into the field and find a vine-ripened tomato. Twist the tomato from the stalk, spread some peanut butter on a cracker and eat right where you are. This will be especially good if you’ve remembered to bring along a fruit jar filled with cold spring water. Notice, I said field and not garden, although a garden tomato will suffice if you don’t happen to have tomatoes growing in the field. I can only surmise that field tomatoes are the best because they have not been coddled as garden tomatoes often are.   

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Keeping up with technological changes is the most difficult part of publishing for me. I don’t see this as a writing problem but rather a marketing problem. Writing is basic and stays the same. To quote William Faulkner: “The Primary job that any writer faces is to tell you the story.” I’m pretty good at storytelling but struggle to keep up with the all the rest. Thankfully, I have a lot of help.

Tell us about the featured book.
Oh, this is just the best story. Tattler’s Branch features Lilly Still as the small town doctor of Skip Rock, a small coal community in the Kentucky Mountains. Though her husband, Tern, is away for a few months at a mining job, Lilly has her hands full with her patients and her younger sister visiting for the summer.

Lilly turns to her good friend and neighbor, Armina, to help keep things in order—until a mysterious chain of events leaves Armina bedridden and an orphaned baby on her doorstep. Lilly works to uncover the truth, unaware of what a mess she’s found herself in until a break-in at her office puts her on high alert. Struggling between what is right and what is safe, Lilly must discover the strength of her resilient country neighbors, her God, and herself.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Armina Tippen’s muscles twitched like frog legs in a hot skillet. She leaned against the deeply furrowed trunk of a tulip poplar to wait out an unexpected change in the weather and to gather her strength. The spreading branches of the tree made the perfect umbrella. Gray clouds tumbled across the sky as quarter-size raindrops churned up the thick red dust of the road she’d just left.

The rain didn’t amount to much—it was hardly worth the wait. Armina kicked off her shoes, careful to not disturb the kerosene-daubed rags she’d tied around her ankles to discourage chiggers. She didn’t have to fool with stockings because she wasn’t wearing any.

Back on the road, she ran her toes through the damp dirt. It was silky and cool against her skin. The only thing better would have been a barefoot splash in a mud puddle. There should be a law against wearing shoes between the last frost of spring and the first one of fall. Folks were getting soft, wearing shoes year-round. Whoever would have thought she’d be one of them? Knotting the leather strings, she hung the shoes around her neck and walked on.

Clouds blown away, the full force of the summer sun bore down, soothing her. She poked around with the walking stick she carried in case she got the wobbles and to warn blacksnakes and blue racers from the path. Snakes did love to sun their cold-blooded selves.

She hadn’t been up Tattler’s Branch Road for the longest time. For some reason she’d woken up thinking of the berries she used to pick here when she was a girl and living with her aunt Orie. Probably somebody else had already stripped the blackberry bushes of their fruit, but it didn’t hurt to look. There weren’t any blackberries like the ones that grew up here.

After she crossed the narrow footbridge that spanned this branch of the creek, she spied one bramble and then another mingling together thick as a hedge. Her mouth watered at the sight. Mayhaps she should have brought a larger tin than the gallon-size can hanging from her wrist. Or maybe two buckets. . . but then she couldn’t have managed her walking stick. Life was just one puzzle piece after another.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Please visit at www.janwatson.net

Thank you, Jan, for sharing your life and this new book with us today.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Tattler's Branch - Christianbook.com
Tattler's Branch - Amazon.com
Tattler's Branch - 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 Google +, Feedblitz, Facebook, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Anonymous said...

would love to win Angela from KY

Britney Adams said...

I look forward to reading Jan Watson's books. Thank you for sharing this wonderful interview!

Britney Adams, TX

Melody said...

This would be a new author for me - can't wait to read her book!

Donna, TX

Amy C said...

I love this series! Thank you for the interview with Jan.
Amy C

Patty said...

Would love to win one of Jan's books!

Patty in SC

Anonymous said...

Would love to win this book.

Katie J. from FLORIDA

CentralEast2 said...

Would love a chance to read it. Carol from AL

Norma S said...

I would love to win this book.I want to tell you something. When i was young we lived in Kentucky, my sister was 3yrs.old she got into mom powder,we had a flash flood. My sister was hiding because of mom's powder, we called and called but not sister we were frantic,seen a doll put we didn't know it was a doll, we though it was our sister, we were screaming for someone to help. Our mom was in the house crying.Mom found the powders that how she found my sister.My brother was trying to fish our sister out of the waters.
We were thrilled to find her. God bless.
Norma from Ohio

Betty Crouch said...

You know I can hardly wait for your book, I l know it will be as good or better than all the rest. I treasure each one of them. Keep up the good work. Love you Betty Crouch. Danville. Ky.

Unknown said...

I grew up in eastern Kwntucky and would love to win a copy of this book.
Tonja (VA)

Anonymous said...

I would love to win this book! I haven't read any of Jan Watson's books yet. Donna B. from IL

Mary Preston said...

Thank you for the fantastic first page - most descriptive. I love it.

Mary P


buy rs gold said...

I want to tell you something. When i was younger we resided in The state of kentucky, my sis was 3yrs.old she got into mom powdered,we had a display overflow. My sis was concealing because of mothers powdered, we known as and known as but not sis we were rapid,Diablo 3 Gold
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Vera Godley said...

Jan has my interest when she writes a book about 1911 - my grandparents were most likely the age of the characters. Then the little lady barefoot in rainy weather in the woods, stepping over a branch of the creek and getting some berries just speaks of personality. Then the clincher will be it is set within a medical practice of the times. Lovely. Would love to win.

And I'm in North Carolina but I'm a city-gal. We city gals DID go barefoot in summer, though.

Vera Godley said...

Jan has my interest when she writes a book about 1911 - my grandparents were most likely the age of the characters. Then the little lady barefoot in rainy weather in the woods, stepping over a branch of the creek and getting some berries just speaks of personality. Then the clincher will be it is set within a medical practice of the times. Lovely. Would love to win.

And I'm in North Carolina but I'm a city-gal. We city gals DID go barefoot in summer, though.

Jean said...

Thank you for the opportunity.

Jean Kropid
West Palm Beach, FL

Melody said...

Hey...a second reminder came thru...I'll enter for this book TWICE!

Donna, TX

Sarah Rebekah Richmond said...

Enter me!

bonton said...

Love this storyline - full of relationships & mystery!

So enjoyed your interview - grateful to meet another Ky. author & resident. Love stories set in the mountains of my home state!

Would love to read your book!


Library Lady said...

I would love to win Jan's book to give to my church library.
Thanks for the giveaway.
Janet E.

Kandra said...

Great interview. I would love to read this!

Kandra in OK

Mama Cat said...

This sounds really cool - would love to read it! And I love that you followed the man thru the airport with the same flight - very inventive! God bless you, Lena and Jan!! Phoenix, AZ Jeanie

Wendy Newcomb said...

I would love to win one of Jan's books, I read a couple of hers a few years ago and loved them.

Wendy N from FL


Unknown said...

Enjoyed the wonderful interview. Would love to win. Book sounds great.Please enter me in the giveaway. Thank you!!

Barbara Thompson (LA)


Judy Cooper said...

This is another new author for me. So glad to know about Jan Watson. I enjoy anything written about the Appalachian Mountains. Please enter my name. Thank you. Judy Cooper in Louisiana.

A Cooking Bookworm said...

Loved Skip Rock Shallows -- can't wait to continue Lilly's -- and the others' -- story!

Binghamton, NY

mybabyblessings AT gmail DOT com

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this novel :)

karenk...from PA
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Melissa M. said...

Would like to read this. Thanks for the giveaway!

-Melissa M. from TX

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter Me!!
Sharon Richmond Bryant

Shopgirl said...

This sounds very interesting! I'm in MN.

sm said...

Sounds very good. Love to win.
sharon, CA

Grace said...

Love Jan's books! Can't wait to read this newest one. I live in Minnesota.

rubynreba said...

I enjoy books set in small towns.
Beth from Iowa

Carlton said...

I'm one of Jan's biggest fans, and I'm from Kentucky. She once almost got lost in my small town!

Sheila Baker said...

Just downloaded to my Kindle yesterday pre-bought can't wait to read. Love all her stories have my daughter-in-law Vickie for Lexington reading now. Have given frost five books to church in Morgan Co. Tn so would love to add this since can't pass on thud my Kindle. Sheiks B. Oak Ridge. Tn

Lane Hill House said...

I have read all of Jan Watson's books! Would love to have Tattler's Branch. Kathleen ~ Missouri
Lane Hill House

Marilyn said...

Have read all Jan's books and anxious to read the newest.

Marilyn from Frankfort, KY

Unknown said...

Loved all the other books. I live very near Troublesome Creek in Breathitt County, KY. Would love to win the latest.

Redyns731 said...

I have loved the series since Troublesome Creek. I love the time period and the authenticity of the ideas. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the series goes on.....I can hardly put them down, once I begin! The story never gets old.

Linda Snyder
Gahanna, Ohio

Mary Ann M said...

I just read Jan's first 3 books and really liked them! Am anxious to read more and would love to win the newest book. Enjoyed reading the interview.

Mary Ann M.,RN from OHIO