Wednesday, July 22, 2015

AMONG THE FAIR MAGNOLIAS - Tamera Alexander, Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love, Elizabeth Musser - 3 Free Books

Dear Readers, we have a special treat today. A collection from a special group of authors that I really love their books.

Welcome to my blog. How did your story for the collection come about?
Tamera:  Savannah Darby is a character we first meet in To Win Her Favor, a Belle Meade Plantation novel. And I knew when writing that novel that Savannah had a deeper story to tell, and I’m grateful for the chance to tell her entire story in To Mend a Dream, my novella in the Among the Fair Magnolias collection.

Elizabeth: I was actually doing research for a novel that takes place both in modern day and during the late 1800s and had studied a lot about Reconstruction in Georgia.  When I was asked to contribute to Among the Fair Magnolias, inspired by my previous research, I wrote Love Beyond Limits, a story about a young Southern white woman whose courage and convictions lead her to fight for the rights of the freedmen.

Dorothy:   I fell in love with Pawleys Island and the South Carolina Lowcountry while writing Carolina Gold. I'm  fascinated by the history of the old rice plantations and by the lives of 19th century women who managed to accomplish so much despite the restrictions placed on them. My novella, A Heart So True, explores both the beauty of the Lowcountry and the difficult choice my character Abby Clayton faces in determining her own future, and it gives readers of Carolina Gold and The Bracelet a glimpse of their favorite characters from those books.

Shelley: Russell Champion, the hero in An Outlaw's Heart, was featured in a series of westerns I wrote a few years ago for Abingdon Press. I jumped at the chance to finish his story.  

Are these stories connected in some way? If so, how?
They’re connected by the Southern locale and the time period (1860-1878). And that we’re all writers passionate about sharing history and the true love and hope found only in Christ.

What are you reading right now?
Tamera: I’m reading The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech by Kristen Powers; Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology by Arnold G Fruchtenbaum (in prep for an upcoming Revelations study); and Prayers that Changed History by Tricia Goyer

Elizabeth: Holiness by Grace by Bryan Chapell; Prayer by Tim Keller; Saving Amelie by Cathy Golhke  

Dorothy: The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love.

Shelley: I'm reading Eric Larson's Isaac's Storm and Soaring by Kristen Ashley

How many other books have you had published?
Tamera: Among the Fair Magnolias is my twelfth publication. I’ve written eleven novels to date, and one novella.

Elizabeth: I have published nine novels and one other novella.

Dorothy: Fair Magnolias is my nineteenth publication. Seventeen novels and two novellas.

Shelley: I think I'm at 53 books. (Insert Tamera gasping here! Tamera says, I had no clue! Shelley, babe, you’re ah-mazing.)

What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a collection?
Tamera:  Honestly, it was a pleasure all around. I love how the four stories (and themes) blend with each other and show the ever changing life in the South over those two decades. 

Elizabeth: Well, I tend to write LONG novels, so I was a bit concerned that I would not do well with a novella, but I actually really enjoyed the experience and found, to my surprise and delight, that when needed, I can be succinct!  I echo Tammy—really felt thankful and privileged to contribute to this collection.

Dorothy: Since we weren't required to mesh the stories, writing the novella was easy. I published a novella, A Proper Marriage at Thomas Nelson last year and  enjoyed writing a complete story in a much smaller space.  So I jumped at the chance to write a second novella. It's a nice break from the intense work of researching and writing a 95,000 word novel.

Shelley: I have to echo what Tamera said. I was so honored to be asked to write one of the novellas in this collection. Though I'd long been a fan of Tamera's, Elizabeth's, and Dorothy's work, I never had the chance to get to work with them. Since writers usually spend lots of time alone, it was wonderful to have “book friends.” 

How did collaborating with this team impact you?
Tamera:  I’ve known Dorothy and Elizabeth for a while now—both women are such blessings.  And I enjoyed the chance to work with Shelley which was a real honor for me. Love all these women.

Elizabeth: It was a lot of fun.  I had the privilege of doing a book tour with Tammy last year, and she is priceless, and I so enjoyed corresponding with Dorothy and finally meeting her last November.  I’ve only “met” Shelley through email and Skype, but hope to meet in person in the future.  I felt a lot of reassurance and complicity working with these women, all such talented authors.  It’s been a real pleasure to put our heads together for some fun blog and interview opportunities, too, like the video Tammy mentioned.

Dorothy: Tammy has encouraged and blessed me in so many ways since my arrival in this market and it was such an honor to coauthor with a writer whose work I absolutely love (insert Tamera’s grateful tears here). I first met Elizabeth in the pages of her wonderful novels, The Swan House and The Sweetest Thing and when my publisher was looking for another author for Among the Fair Magnolias, I requested Elizabeth. We were able to connect in Nashville last fall and she is every bit as lovely as her books. Though Shelley lives in Ohio now, she is a Texas girl like me.  We were introduced by a mutual friend at a writers' conference several years ago. I enjoyed Secrets of Sloane House so much, and was thrilled to have Shelley as a coauthor for Among the Fair Magnolias.

Shelley: I've honestly learned a lot. We each approach our novels in different ways. These other authors are so talented! I should also mention that the team at Harper Collins Christian Publishing have been so great to work with. 

What did you want the reader to take away from your story?
Tamera: Gain a deeper appreciation for Southern history, for a start, as well as come away encouraged in your faith as you’ve been swept away into another  time and place. 

Elizabeth: I want the reader to become more aware of the challenges that faced the South after the Civil War, and especially see the courage of the freedmen and those who supported them.  I pray we’ll be reminded again that all men are truly equal in God’s sight.

Dorothy: My hope for all my stories is that they will act as windows and  mirrors. Windows that allow readers to peer into another time and place, and mirrors that reflect  a universal truth about ourselves.

Shelley: I always simply hope that readers will feel that it was time well spent. There are a lot of books to choose from, so it means a lot when someone gives one of my stories a try. 

Please give us a peek into your story.
We have a treat for you! We got together and made a VIDEO introducing our novella collection. 

To Mend a Dream
Savannah Darby would do almost anything to revisit her family home. So when new owner, Aidan Bedford, a Boston attorney and former Union soldier, seeks to redecorate the house for his fiancée, Savannah jumps at the opportunity. But the clock is ticking. Can she find the box her father supposedly hid there during the war before her assignment is completed? And before she sees yet another battle lost on the home front. This time, one of the heart.

Love Beyond Limits
Emily Derracott loves her childhood friend Thomas McGinnis, but she cannot marry a man who doesn’t share her strong convictions about the freedmen. Besides, she harbors a secret love for someone else. But the prospect of becoming his wife is not improbable. It is completely impossible.

A Heart So True
Abigail Clayton knows what is expected of her: to marry her distant cousin Charles Kittridge and take her place in society. But despite his many business successes, Charles is not the man her father thinks he is. Besides, her  heart belongs to Dr. Wade Bennett, a brilliant young physician engaged in developing new medicines. When her father unexpectedly announces her engagement to Charles during the Clayton's annual barbecue on Pawleys Island, Abby must decide whether to honor her father's wishes or to  follow her heart.

An Outlaw’s Heart
Russell Champion returns to his small Texas hometown after seven years. He had been sent away when he was just fifteen and suffered greatly. He returns to only give himself closure. Instead he discovers his mother wants to make amends and Nora, the woman he once risked everything for, is in need of him again.

What is the best piece of advice you received as an author?
Tamera: Don’t write for the market. Write the story God has placed on your heart, the story you’re most passionate about. Because passion bleeds through on the page. Unfortunately, boredom does too. So if you’re not passionate about your characters and story, the reader will sense it and they won’t be either. 

Elizabeth: As a writer, you’ll need to create AND edit, but be sure that when you to separate the two.  When you are creating, just get the ideas down on your laptop.  Later, you can move into
editing mode” and polish up.  It doesn’t work to create and edit at the same time.

Dorothy: When I was starting out, people told me to "write what you know." But after seventeen books, I have come to believe it's more important to write about the things that move you to anger or to compassion or to love. To write what you are most curious about. Today it's easy to find out whatever you need to know.   Don't limit yourself to writing what you know.

Shelley: To listen to advice. Many, many editors have helped me learn to be a better writer. I'm thankful for them. 

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?



Thank you, ladies, for sharing this new book with my readers. I can hardly wait to read it, and I know my blog readers feel the same way.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Among the Fair Magnolias -
Among the Fair Magnolias: Four Southern Love Stories - Amazon
(The paperback is on a special sale today on Amazon. I don't know how long that will last.)
Among the Fair Magnolias: Four Southern Love Stories - 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:


Caryl Kane said...

Great interview with these AMAZING ladies! I enjoyed the video. I learned some very interesting things about these authors. I would love to read AMONG THE FAIR MAGNOLIAS.

Caryl in TEXAS

Melanie Backus said...

Great, great ladies, great interviews, great books. What could be better! I am certainly keeping my fingers crossed! Thank you, Lena!

Melanie Backus, TX

Beth Gillihan said...

Great interview! Loved the video. I love novella collections like this! Thanks for the chance to win!

Beth in Montana

Danielle Hull said...

I love the cover and what I've heard about the stories! Danielle in Indiana

Britney Adams said...

I love the wonderful video and interview and am so excited to read Among the Fair Magnolias!!

Britney Adams, TX

Mary Preston said...

This collections sounds like a lot of great reading ahead.

Mary P


Cindy W. said...

Sounds like a wonderful collection by some talented authors. I would love to win.

I live in Indiana.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Jean said...

Love all these authors!

Jean in Florida

Amy C said...

What a fabulous interview!
Thank you!
Amy C

Raechel said...

This book sounds interesting! Nice interview too. :)
Thanks for the give-away!
Raechel from MN

Cynthia said...

What a great line-up! Thanks for the opportunity...
-Cynthia in NY

Patty said...

What a great collection of authors! I especially look forward to Tamera's novella.
I enjoyed the video when Tamera posted it yesterday on FB.

Patty in SC

Anne Payne said...

What a great interview with four fabulous authors! I enjoyed the video, too. Would love to read their novella collection.

Anne, rural NC

EJ said...

I love to read collections like this that have 4 wonderful authors all contributing. Thank you for the interview. Elaine in Iowa

Mama Cat said...

How exciting! It is so much fun to read books in which several authors have collaborated. This sounds like a great one! Thank you for the insights in the interviews - Jeanie in Phoenix

sharon said...

Would really like to read this collection by favorite authors. Sm CA. wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

GrandaddyA said...

I would so love to win this for my wife who is an avid reader. It sounds like four great stories.
Edward A in VA

Cindi A said...

Very lovely interview, ladies.
I don't typically read novellas but with this great group of authors I believe I would truly enjoy this collection. Please throw my name in the hat to win a copy.

~Cindi Altman from Pennsylvania

Pam K. said...

It was nice to learn more about these four authors. I've read several books by both Tamera and Elizabeth. Dorothy and Shelley aren't as familiar to me. All the novellas sound very good and the cover of this book is quite lovely. Thanks for the chance to win Among the Fair Magnolias.


Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in this amazing giveaway!!!
Conway, SC.

Emma said...

wonderful interview! please Enter me in this giveaway!!!Thank you for the opportunity to win.

Emma said...

wonderful interview! please Enter me in this giveaway!!!Thank you for the opportunity to win.PA.

Anonymous said...

Would love to win a copy!

Thanks, Lientjie

QLD, Australia

Merry said...

Great set of authors, I love the beautiful cover!
Merry in MN

Unknown said...

That cover though! Thanks for the chance to win!


rubynreba said...

These books have to be good - the authors are all wonderful!
Beth from IA

Anonymous said...

Oh my Lena. I loved this video so much I had to watch it twice. Was so neat seeing and hearing all of them. Thanks for the great interview. Would love to win this book. Thanks for the chance. Maxie (TX) > mac262(at)me(dot)com ,

kam110476 said...

Hi ladies! I have been anxiously (and really not so patiently) waiting for Among the Fair Magnolias to come out since I first read about it months ago!
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

Abigail Mitchell said...

Awesome! Please enter me!

Blanch, NC

Connie Porter Saunders said...

Wow! Four great authors! Thanks for a chance to win this book.
Connie from KY

Anonymous said...

What an excellent interview and video. Excellent authors all around. I lov e all these authors books. I am really looking forward to reading this ! Thank you for the opportunity !

Deanne in Pennsylvania