Wednesday, December 02, 2015

THE CALLING OF ELLA MCFARLAND - Linda Brooks Davis - One Free Book

Dear Readers, I was privileged to read this book for endorsement, and I loved it. The characters, the historical accuracy, the storyline. I think youll love it, too.

Welcome, Linda. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I dont consciously write myself into my characters. I often ask myself if a characters words or actions are his/hers or mine. I refer to the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory when I develop the characters and try to stay true to their unique traits.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I love quirky people. I admire and enjoy them, but I dont think of myself as one of themunless you count the time I showed a quirky level of naiveté. I actually believed and prepared for a protest when a friend reported that a mutual friendan American citizen, mind you, who was living and going to school in Abilene, Texashad been drafted into the French Foreign Legion.

I. Kid. You. Not. Once upon a time my middle name was naive.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Unlike others who can point to writing as their calling from an early agesome even to early school yearsI  didnt realize I was a writer until I was in high school. Even for dry, boring assignments in government/civics, sitting down to a typewriter (manual in those days) and allowing my thoughts and emotions to bubble up in the form of words was a delightful experience that peaked during my first year away from home as a college freshman. I simply loved sitting in my quiet dorm room and writing letters home. As I told Mother and Daddy every move I made, I imagined their rapt attention and enjoyment, which is my experience when I write today.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love a good story, whether historical, romance, or suspense involving legal or international conflict. I became an avid reader in fourth grade. I have those Weekly Reader books to this day. As I peruse them, Im surprised that I chose stories in which the main character was a boy, maybe because in those days it was the boys who were out getting into trouble and having adventures, as in The Red Badge of Courage and, several years later, Where the Red Fern Grows. And yet, I can remember as a girl lying across my bed, book on floor, reading Christy, Anne of Green Gables, and later on, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Gone With the Wind, and To Kill a Mockingbird. I still enjoy meaty, brave stories that tackle hard issues head-on.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Ive found if I dont start my day well, I dont end it well. For me, that means sitting at my bedroom bay window with a cup of coffee, open Bible, and prayer journal. If I begin in this way, the insanity of any day seems to even out or I remain calmer in the turmoil. Invariably, when I find myself part of the turmoil, I realize Ive neglected the bay window.

How do you choose your characters names?
Because I write historical fiction, I choose names that fit the time period, but even then characters earn their names. Noble heroes and lovely, courageous heroines wear names that have a noble, lovely, or courageous ring to them. Sometimes theyre the names of my cherished ancestors. Antagonists names can just sound unpleasant or remind me of a distasteful person in my past. My favorites are names are those I have no connection with at all. I can give a low-down reprobate such a name without worrying Ive offended someone I know.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Far and above, my proudest accomplishment is rearing my fantastic childrena son and daughter, veterinarians who actually like one another so well they are in practice together. I cant take credit for my six beautiful grandchildren, so Id say professionally Im most proud of winning the 2014 Jerry B. Jenkins Operation First Novel Award.

Thats a wonderful writing achievement. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Ive learned in recent years that Im an introvert. This surprised me at first, but Ive come to accept it as the way God made me. One personality inventory tags me as a desert animal Ive never heard of, the meerkatethical, idealistic, loyal, values oriented, and curious but inflamed by threats to the security of my babies or morals. Sounds fairly quirky to me.

I would have said Im most like a deer. Not at all quirky.

What is your favorite food?
Mexican, hands down!

James and I had delicious Tex-Mex food for lunch today. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Working through the discouragement or fear of rejection has been my biggest challenge but the one that provides the greatest reward on the other side. Only through confidence that the Lord has called me to be a writer can I overcome this roadblock.

Tell us about the featured book.
Set in 1905 Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood when the temperance and womans suffrage debates are raging, The Calling of Ella McFarland is the story of a young woman on the verge of reaching her lifelong dreama teaching position at prestigious Worthington School for Girlsbut whose sisters unwed motherhood has created a scandal that clouds her family name and may limit her to a life of grueling farm labor. One strikingly handsome board member shows Ella kindness, but will the other two men overlook her familys disgrace?

When she comes to the rescue of a young sharecroppers daughter, shes thrust into a domestic abuse situation that opens her eyes to the ramifications of women being denied a voice in their governance through the vote. Forced to make decisions about her faith, family, and aspirations, independent-spirited Ella finds a calling taking shape in ways she never imagined and a new love budding in her heart.

How will she manage in her male-dominated world to give voice to the voiceless without losing her own? Can she find Gods will amid the tumultuous storm that surrounds her? Or will fear and pride have their way?

Ella McFarland must decide.

Please give us the first page of the book for my readers.
Ella had aimed for this day all her life.
Perching on the edge of the tufted chair, she slipped off her gloves. A corset stave bit into her flesh, but she held herself erect. Such was expected of a teacher candidate at Oklahoma Territorys Worthington School for Girls.
Miss McFarland. Stationed at the head of the library table, Mr. Abernathy gestured to a colleague on either side.  As the board of directors, we must emphasize that female teachers who marry are dismissed. The mans tone had turned as severe as his starched collar. Unlike for men, marriage divides womens loyalties.
Women more prone to divided loyalties than men? Ella suppressed an urge to spout the challenge. A Worthington teacher knew her place. Rest assured, sir, I am wedded to teaching.
Perspiration dribbled down her spine. Was 1905 the hottest year on record? Plucking a handkerchief from a sleeve, she dabbed moisture from the cleft in her chin and pressed it to her nose. The librarys musty tomes and velvet window coverings tickled her nostrils and devoured the oxygen.
The man stifled a cough with a fist. Your loyalty notwithstanding . . .
She willed herself to relax. Had the Lord Himself not brought her to this premier institution of learning for the socially elite?

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Facebook: Linda Brooks Davis, Author
Twitter: @LBrooksDavis
Publisher: Mountainview Books

When The Calling of Ella McFarland debuts on December 1, it will be available to order both in print and ebook forms through bookstores and online outletsAmazon, Barnes and Noble, Google,, etc.

Thank you, Linda, for sharing this book with my readers. I know they are eager to read it.

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. 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:



Terrill R. said...

Congrats on your first place win with the Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel Contest. I'm on Clarice James Street Team who won second place. I'm very excited to read your book.

Terrill - WA

Cindy W. said...

The Calling of Ella McFarland sounds like a book I would truly enjoy. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

Cindy W. from Indiana

Teresa said...

Congratulations! What an achievement! I pray the Lord blessed you abundantly for writing these words and also everyone who reads them!

Teresa B.
Austin, TX

Beth Gillihan said...

Sounds like a great read! Congratulations on your award!

Beth in Montana

Unknown said...

Linda I am so proud of you for achieving this award! I know your love of history and writing have been blended together beautifully in this book. Congratulations! Can't wait to read it!
Shirley B.
Marble Falls, Texas

Pam said...

What an achievement! Congratulations. I look forward to reading this!

Pam in Ohio

justcommonly said...

Hi Linda! It was a pleasure speaking with you briefly on the FB party yesterday! Unfortunately for me, I forgot to change my attendance from "interested" to "going" and my entries did not count! I was so hoping to at least get a chance to win your book. So I'm grateful to Lena for having you here on her blog today! I love the synopsis of "The Calling of Ella McFarland", so please count me in this drawing to win a copy! Can't wait!

Annie JC from MD

justcommonly said...

By the way, I forgot to say that I love your cover!

Karen Sue Hadley said...

She is a new author to me and the cover is beautiful!

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Hi, Everyone! I'm sorry but I haven't found a way to respond to you individually, so I'll do it here.

Thank you for your positive comments. As new author, I'm especially encouraged by your words.

Terrill, I'm so happy I'm getting to know Clarice. What a blast she is!

Cindy in Indian, I'm pulling for you, girl! Thank you for your interest in Ella's story.

Beth in Montana, how surreal is it that I'm communicating with someone in Montana? Thank you for your interest in Ella's story.

Pam in Ohio, here I am in Texas responding to someone in Ohio. Thank you for your interest in Ella's story.

Just Commonly, I'm sorry you didn't get to participate yesterday. I think others just show up and observe. It was a fun event. Thank you for your kind words. I'm very grateful to Mountainview Books for creating such a beautiful cover.

Karen, yes, I'm a newbie! Winning Operation First Novel was the blessing of a lifetime. I hope you'll read and enjoy Ella's story.

Shirley and Teresa, my sisters-in-love, thank you for your faithfulness as encouragers. I love you!

And to everyone ... thank you for taking the time to comment.

Unknown said...

Amazing book!!! Cannot wait to have a copy!

Kathy A said...

Kathy from SW Missouri
What a great honor you received when you won your award! Congratulations!

I have always loved reading and lately find myself thinking, during various experiences in my life, that those experiences would make a good book. If I could just find a way to write them down in such a fashion that the reader becomes absorbed in the story.

Thank you for this generous giveaway.
May you have a blessed Christmas

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Thank you, Charlotte! What an encourager you are!

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Thank you for commenting, Kathy from SW Missouri. I love this multi-state thing. My great-grandparents---parents of my grandmother Ella for whom Ella McFarland is named---were part of a family of Pyles who originated in Missouri before moving to Bruno, Arkansas. Missouri roots are mentioned in the book.
I hope you'll be able to read Ella's story and enjoy it.
If you have a yearning to write some of the family stories you've heard, just write. You can do it!

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Hi, Terrill. Strangely, I can't reply to comments using my desktop computer but can with my phone. As I said in the group response, I thank you for commenting and encouraging me. I'm having a blast with Clarice! She's a hoot.

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Hi, Cindy in Indiana, strangely, I can't reply to comments via my desktop computer but can on my phone. As I said in the earlier group comment, I love this multi-state thing. And I appreciate so much your words of encouragement!

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Thank you so much, Teresa! Your encouragement means the world!

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Thank you, Shirley! Your encouragement means the world!

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Hi, Beth in Montana. Strangely, I can't reply to comments via my desktop computer but can on my phone. As I said in the earlier group comment, I love this multi-state thing. And I appreciate so much your words of encouragement!

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Hi, Pam in Ohio. Strangely, I can't reply to comments via my desktop computer but can on my phone. As I said in the earlier group comment, I love this multi-state thing. And I appreciate so much your words of encouragement! I hope you enjoy my first book!

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Hi, Annie in Maryland! Strangely, I can't reply to comments via my desktop computer but can on my phone. As I said in the earlier group comment, I love this multi-state thing. And I appreciate so much your words of encouragement! I hope you enjoy my story about Ella! PS: Mountainview Books did a great job on the cover. Thank you.

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Hi, Karen! Thank you for commenting. Strangely, I can't reply to comments via my desktop computer but can on my phone. As I said in the earlier group comment, I love this multi-state thing. And I appreciate so much your words of encouragement! I hope you enjoy Ella's story.

pol said...

Hello Linda and Lena, I have just recently found out about this author and want to read her work and let others know too so they can enjoy her work. thanks Lena for having Linda on for the interview, this helps me and others to learn little more about this new author.
Merry Christmas to you both.
Paula O(
Ga fan

sm said...

Women who have survived in a man's world are very strong, persistent, persuasive and courageous; I think these characteristics are necessary in this situation. sm CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Grammy said...

Linda everything you recommend for reading I devour! Looking forward to reading YOU!! Love, Susan

Anonymous said...

would love to win Angela in KY

Melanie Backus said...

Congratulations! Sounds like a great book and would love to read it. Thank you for the opportunity.

Melanie Backus, TX

Mary Preston said...

This does sound like a wonderful read.

Mary P


Linda Brooks Davis said...

Thank you for commenting, Melanie, fellow Texan. You've encouraged me. Linda

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Thank you, Mary in Queensland, Australia. I've always wanted to visit down under. You have encouraged me from around the world. God bless you, Linda

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Thank you, Susan! You are an entire cheering section! God bless you in abundant ways today!

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Hi, Angela in KY. I love developing these multi-state connections. Your interest in my work encourages me!

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Hi, sm. You've just described Ella! I hope you get to read her story. Thank you for your insightful comment. God bless.

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Hi, Paula in Georgia! So glad to see your comment. Being a new author is exciting and provokes a bit of vulnerability too. Your encouragement means a lot.

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Thank you! I love it too! Mountainview Books came up with a winner.

Melody said...

I love the storyline. I can remember in the 70's when pregnant friends had to leave school, I can't imagine back in the 1900's. A lot to work through.

Donna, TX

kim hansen said...

Love the cover and sounds like a good read. North Platte Nebraska

Wendy Newcomb said...

This sounds like an interesting story, thank you for the chance to win a copy of this book.

Wendy in FL

wfnren at aol dot com

GrandaddyA said...

I think my wife would really enjoy this book.
Edward A in VA

Trixi said...

I've just started seeing this one around different blogs and it sure sounds good! Turn of the Century women's rights and things were very hot topics :-) Thanks for the chance to win & the interview! Such a beautiful cover :-)

Trixi in OR

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome contest!!
Conway, SC.

Abigail Mitchell said...

Enter me!
Blanch, NC

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Hi, Melody. If you're from Donna in the Rio Grande Valley ... I'm from Raymondville so we're practically kissin' cousins! You're right about the issues to work through about out-of-wedlock pregnancies. I hope you get to read Ella's story. I named her in honor of my grandmother who migrated to the Valley as a widow with three daughters in 1924.

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Hi, Kim. Thank you for commenting. Now Nebraska is on my friends map! Love it.

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Hi, Wendy in Florida! Thank you for taking the time to comment. Florida is the 11th or 12th state represented so far. I'm glad for the new connection in the Sunshine State!

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Hi, Edward. Virginia is now the 13th state to respond! Thank you--for commenting and thinking about your wife!

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Hi, Trixie. Oregon makes 14 states! I love having an Oregon connection now. Thank you!

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Hi, Sharon! With SC, I now have connections in 15 states. How amazing is that?! Thank you for your interest.

Linda Brooks Davis said...

Wow, Abigail. Sixteen states represented with NC. My Brooks roots go back to NC. Proud of that. Thank you for your interest.

Connie Porter Saunders said...

So happy for your recognition and I wish you continued success.
Connie from KY
cps1950 (at)gmail (dot)com

Anonymous said...

Lena, I would love to win Ella's book. I have a granddaughter with that name. Maxie(Tx) > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

rubynreba said...

This looks like a book I would enjoy. Thanks!
Beth from IA

apple blossom said...

oh, I love this book cover. This book sounds most intriguing. Thanks for the chance to win. live in ND

Unknown said...

How exciting to see this book featured. I have been wanting to read this one. The cover is beautiful and the story sounds so intriguing.

Deanne in PA

Grammy said...

It is a page turner!!