Friday, August 29, 2014

THE STORY KEEPER - Lisa Wingate - One Free Book

Dear Readers, I’m thrilled to be sharing Lisa Wingate’s new book with you.

Welcome back, Lisa. As an author, I know it takes a lot of people to birth each book. Who were the people involved in the birthing of this book, and what were their contributions?
It really does take a village to raise a book. My mother and my Aunt Sandy edit for me. My husband and sons help with travel and shuffling book boxes around. Author-friend, Julie Cantrell, gave the book an early read, and we talked about potential tweaks.

The greatest contributor to The Story Keeper, by far, was my Carolina friend, Ed. I’ll talk more about him when in a later question about The Story Keeper. Without Ed and his memories of growing up in Clemson, South Carolina, The Story Keeper, in its present form, would never have come to be.

If you teach or speak, what’s coming up on your calendar?
A book tour! Beginning the first of September, I’ll be heading out on The Untold Story Tour 2. Last year’s tour was busy and fun and exciting. I met so many wonderful people. I’m looking forward to again traveling several states, beginning with a big Journeys event in Memphis with author-friends, Lynne Gentry, Kellie Coates Gilbert, Julie Cantrell, and Elizabeth Ludwig. After that, I’ll travel to North Carolina and several surrounding states. Readers can find out more about the tour here:

Oh, my goodness. I know three of those women very well and love them. Wish I could tag along with y’all. If you had to completely start over in another place, where would you move, and why?
Someplace where there’s wilderness and mountains. I’ve always loved the mountains. I feel at home there. While I love the Texas Hill Country, there’s just something about life in the mountains that is earthy and real. The seasons change in splendor, the sights are awe-inspiring, and the fingertip of God is so clearly visible.

Then again, I feel the same way about the ocean. Maybe I’d settle in by the coast somewhere, in a little cottage by the sea ;)

If you could only tell aspiring novelists one thing, what would it be?
Enjoy the time of writing “just for you.” There’s something magical about the purity of writing just because you have a story inside you and you want to put it on paper. The story and the characters are the only things in your head as you work. After you sell your first book, that state of being alone with your story doesn’t exist anymore. Along with the story in your head, there are editors, deadlines, book reviewers, readers, financial considerations, agents, contracts, and so forth. All of those are wonderful things. They’re part of our end goal of being published and sharing our stories with the world, but it’s so worthwhile to be cognizant of the gifts of each part of the journey and the purity of its beginning.

You’ve been asked to be in charge of a celebrity cruise. Who would you ask to take part, and why? (As in what program, singers, etc. [it doesn’t have to be writing related])
I think my cruise would be a “storytellers” cruise. I am a lover of stories told the old-fashioned way, between a listener and a teller. I love them so much, in fact, that I’ve been quietly hatching a new gathering site at TheUntoldStory.Guru to catch and preserve fascinating stories that might otherwise fade from our culture.

My storytelling cruise wouldn’t necessarily be filled with national celebrities, but the sort of tellers who gather crowds in their hometowns or at family gatherings. Hollywood celebrities could come along if they were good storytellers, but my cruisers would be the waitresses from small-town cafes, the men who sit on pickup tailgates outside local Dairy Queens, the older folks who can tell you about driving on three-and-a-half bald tires during the rationing years of World War II. The ship would be so filled with stories, you’d see them floating on the air like a fog as we passed by. We’d breathe in their sweet scents, and remember every tale, and when we all went our separate ways at the end of the cruise, we’d tell those stories in new places.

Lisa, I’d have to hang with you on that one, too. Now tell us about the featured book.
After turning in the first draft of The Prayer Box, I literally dreamed a story about a young New York editor who finds a forgotten manuscript partial on an old slush pile. She’s captivated by the tale of Sarra, a young Melungeon girl, trapped by dangerous men in turn-of-the-century Appalachia. Sarra’s circumstances in some ways mirror the editor’s painful childhood in the Blue Ridge Mountains. In my dream, the search for the manuscript’s author took her back home after many years away, leading her to a place called Mirror Lake, deep in the mountains.

When I woke, I poured the story concept onto paper, all at once, complete. Over the course of twenty-three novels, I’ve never done that before, and I knew that this story was something special. I was scheduled to meet with my editor the next week, so I took the synopsis along and told her about the dream and the story concept. We agreed to substitute it for the book that was to follow The Prayer Box.

When I contacted my friend and long-time mentor, Ed, to tell him I was writing another Carolina-based book, and so I had another project for the two of us. He was elated.  I described the location as I’d dreamed it, and gave him the name of the place in the dream – Mirror Lake. Imagine my surprise when Ed wrote back, “The name Mirror Lake really brings back wonderful memories that span time from the sixties to the present. When I was at Clemson, sometimes during the winter, when one of my friends could get a car, we would go to Highlands to ice skate on Mirror Lake. If we could get some dates to go with us, that was all the better. While I didn't own ice skates nor could I skate, I loved to watch others skate. Mirror Lake and the Highlands area were beautiful places. Those were some great times.”

When that email arrived, I became fully convicted that this story was meant to be. During last year’s book tour, Ed and I took time to drive through the Blue Ridge together, visit Pisgah, Mirror Lake, Stumphouse Tunnel, and many of the old places Ed remembered. We hiked, talked, photographed, and finished up our trip by passing through Clemson, where the editor character in the story was given a life-changing scholarship that frees her from a family pattern limited by poverty, geographic isolation, and the control of the Church Of the Brethren Saints.

Please give us the first page of the book.
This is the glory hour. This is the place the magic happens.

The thought fell quietly into place, like a photographer’s backdrop unfurling behind the subject of a portrait. Its shimmering folds caught my attention, bringing to mind a bit of advice from Wilda Culp, the person without whom I would’ve ended up somewhere completely different. Someplace tragic.

It’s strange how one person and a handful of stories can alter a life.

The trick, Jennia Beth Gibbs, is to turn your face to the glory hours as they come. I heard it again, her deep-raspy Carolina drawl playing the unexpected music of a bygone day. The saddest thing in life is to see them only as they flit away.

They’re always a passing thing. . . .

My first afternoon in the war room at Vida House Publishing was a glory hour. I felt it, had an inexplicable knowing of it, even before George Vida shuffled in the door and took his place at the head of the table to begin the weekly pub board meeting—my first at Vida House. This meeting would be different from all other such gatherings I’d attended over the past ten years at a half-dozen companies, in a half-dozen skyscrapers, in and about Manhattan.

There was magic in the air here.

George Vida braced his hands on the table before taking his seat, his gaze strafing the room with the discernment of a leathery old goat sniffing for something to nibble on. His survey paused momentarily on the pile of aging envelopes, manuscript boxes, and rubber-band-wrapped papers at the far end of the conference room. The odd conglomeration, among so many other things, was Vida House’s claim to fame—a curiosity I’d only heard about until today. One of the few remaining actual slush piles in all of New York City, perhaps in all of publishing. In the age of e-mail communication, paper-and-print slush piles had quietly gone the way of the dinosaurs. Digital slush is smaller, 

Wow. This book just went to the top of my to-be-read pile. Now let’s tell my readers where we can find you on the Internet, Lisa?
My website:
Blogging Mondays at:
The Untold Story Guru:
The Sisterhood Of the Traveling Books:

Thank you so much, Lisa, for sharing this new book with us. I'm excited about it.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
The Story Keeper -
The Story Keeper - Amazon
The Story Keeper - 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 Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, 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:


Patty said...

Sounds very good! Thanks for the interview and excerpt ladies.

Patty in SC

Anonymous said...

Would love to win Lisa's new book! Her books are always great! Wish I could join her in Memphis but going with church teens to Henderson, Tn that weekend! Shelia from Mississippi

Deanna Stevens said...

Would love to read this. Deanna S from SE NE

beckie said...

I've read of some of Lisa's books and loved them. Would love to read this one too.
beckie in Ks

Susan said...

I absolutely adore Lisa Wingate's writing style! ~ Susan in Mont Alto, PA

Amy C said...

Great interview with Lisa! I can't wait to my hands on this book.
Amy C

Jordan said...

This book looks great!

Jordan in SC

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Sierra Faith said...

this book looks sooo good!

Lisa Wingate said...

Lena, thank you for inviting me to visit your corner of cyber space and thanks to everyone who stopped by! I do hope you'll enjoy The Story Keeper.

Just for fun, take a minute and Google a bit of the history of the Melungeons. I think you'll be as fascinated as I was.

;) Lisa

Jackie Tessnair said...

I would love to win Lisa's book.It sounds great.Thanks for the chance.Jackie Tessnair N.C.

Mary Preston said...

A wonderful interview thank you & I enjoyed the first page.

Mary P


Anonymous said...

I loved this interview and the insight into the beginnings of The Story Keeper. Thank you for sharing with us.

Judy said...

I love Lisa's books. Enjoyed the interview with Lisa very much. The Story Keeper sounds like a great read. Winning a copy of it would be wonderful.

Judy B from Indiana

Vera Godley said...

What can I, a North Carolina girl all my life, say except "Me! Pick Me!"? First you captured our North Carolina beaches so beautifully and now you've wandered across our broad state to climb our mountains. I remember as a child going on a car trip to the mountains and getting deep into those hills. Dad got lost in an area known as Cades Cove and it was a lost area for certain. I had never seen such poverty. Such isolation. Such hidden-ness. Of course as an adult I have learned much more about our beloved mountains and the folks that settled them. But the mid-1940s were a poor time indeed, and I am sure ripe for a story such as yours to emerge from the foilage that covered "them thar hills."

So, please, pick me. :)

Diana Gardner said...

Portsmouth, VA

Anonymous said...

Eager to read this one!

DEDE 824 said...

Can't wait to read this one!

Bonnie Roof said...

Thanks for the wonderful interview, Lisa and Lena!!

I love Lisa's writing!! I marvel every time I hear an author mention that her characters talk to her, wake her up in her sleep, or in Lisa's case - create a dream. God's creation of the mind is an amazing thing.

I can so identify with the old men gathering at Dairy Queen - only in my small town, it's done outdoors (weather permitting, otherwise - indoors)at the umbrella tables. I'm interested in learning more about the Melungeons, love Appalachia(my home state of Ky. runs through part of it), was college-age myself in the '60's, and had an artist friend that used to go to Mt. Pisgah every Fall to paint - she would tell me how beautiful it was.

Can't wait to read the Story Keeper, especially now that I know the story behind it. I can also relate to Lisa's desire to live in the mountains or by the ocean - my dream has always been to live in a log cabin on a mountaintop overlooking the ocean, I want it all (LOL)!!


Post Shared!!

Mama Cat said...

I would love to win this book - it has been on my 'wishlist' since seeing it on Amazon, but after this amazing interview and story of how she literally dreamed the story, it definitely cements my desire to read it! Blessings to both of you; thank you for all you do to give us quality Christian reading! Jeanie in Phoenix, AZ

Connie Brown said...

I would like to have this book. I have read other books by Lisa and enjoyed them immensely. I live in Texas

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway, SC.

sm said...

I would love to win and read your book, The Story Keeper, and must also look for The Prayer Box. I like how you enlisted Ed to tour you and tell you about the area. sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Cindi A said...

Congratulations to Lisa on her latest novel. Such a great interview, too. She always makes writing sound easy.

~Cindi Altman from PA

Anonymous said...

I always love Lisa's books.

Joy in Kansas

Faith F. said...

I live in NH, but I wanted this book because it is set in Appalachia. I love that line in the Rich Mullins' song
"Well I moved to Appalachia, for my father he was born there, and I saw the mountains waking with the innocence of children."

Danielle Hull said...

Sounds great! Thank you!

rubynreba said...

I always enjoy Lisa's book. Thanks!
Beth from IA

Granny's Attic said...

This sounds like an interesting story, and it's creation is intriguing. It's been a while since I have read any of Lisa's stories, so I will have to put this on my list. Lisa in Ohio.

kam110476 said...

Hi Lisa and Lena! I would give my left arm to be with you ladies in Memphis at your Journey conference! Lynne Gentry is one of my new favorite authors and I love you, Lisa, as well as Elizabeth Ludwig! And oh, to be a fly on the wall on your cruise would be a dream come true!
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

Barbara Shelton said...

Wonderful interview! The excerpt is inviting. Thanks for this giveaway and the chance to win a great read.

Barb in Arlington, TX

KayM said...

Lisa, I love the idea of your story-telling cruise. Sounds wonderful.