Monday, July 25, 2016

ANSWERING SARAH - Nancy Bolton - One Free Book

Welcome, Nancy. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
All of my characters have a little bit of me, and some have a bit more. I try to write my characters as deeply as I can, so many times I have to really dig into myself, my experiences, and what I understand about people in order to express the heart of the character and their conflicts and changes. It may sound funny, but sometimes they really surprise me, too!

That doesn’t surprise me at all. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?   
I don’t know if this is the quirkiest, but it’s up there with the top ones. Here’s what I did: My first son was the first grandchild for my parents. Oh, how they doted on him, and as soon as we showed up for a visit, they would start towards us, hands stretched out to receive the precious baby. I thought it was adorable. They insisted we come over every Sunday afternoon and do our laundry there and have dinner. I don’t know what got into me, but one time when we showed up for our weekly visit, I decided to tease them a little. The baby was asleep in the car seat, and I wrapped a small amount of laundry into one of my son’s blankets, cradled it in my arms and entered the house. As my parents approached, eyes alight, hands ready to receive the baby, I lobbed my bundle to them and said, “Here, catch.” They both shrieked and I had the bad taste to laugh at their appalled expressions. They quickly joined my laughter, relieved, after first giving me that parental look of disapproval. (I hope the reader doesn’t hate me now! But it still makes me chuckle at myself.)

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I think I was around nine or so, and I wrote a short school essay about Abraham Lincoln, who I admired so much. It touched me when I wrote it, and I never forgot that. Soon after, I wrote my first poem just for myself, all about what the outdoors feels like after a rainstorm. I’ve loved writing since then.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Oh, goodness. Classics, fiction, non-fiction, biographies, memoirs, pretty much anything I find worth reading. What I don’t find worth reading are stories written for the sole purposes of being sensational, titillating, gory or gross.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I make sure I get enough sleep, put time into my spiritual walk and relationship with God and my family, and I don’t eat much processed food or junk food. And I take nutritional supplements. All that helps a lot.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Sometimes they just pop into my mind and most of the time they’re usually pretty common-type names for the area I live in. For one book, I used all the names of my nieces and nephews for the characters. Often, I name characters for people I know or have heard of. I try to stay away from names that are too hard to figure out how to say, so the reader doesn’t get slowed down. I know that happens to me sometimes when I read a book, and the name is so long or odd that I end up stopping to study it and wonder if I’m saying it right inside my head.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
My long marriage, and our five sons, and grandchildren. They light me up!

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’d be a friendly kitty, docile but spunky. I think this is because I’ve always adored cats, and they are so sensitive and curious, two traits I’ve been told I have in a major way!

What is your favorite food?
Aged cheeses. Yum!

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest roadblock was in the beginning phase of writing novels. I wrote as though I were explaining the story, and had way too much telling rather than showing. I joined ACFW, and the wonderful critiquers there helped me immeasurably. I would not be where I am without all of them and their patient, caring, and insightful advice.

Tell us about the featured book.
It takes place in the 1890’s in upstate NY. The main character is Sarah, who is coming of age, and whose family and community survived a fire nine years earlier. The way the fire changed their family still has an effect on Sarah, and when she falls in love with the new, young pastor, she finds herself going through internal changes she never expected. The story is told from her perspective as well as that of Mark, the pastor, who also goes through unexpected changes of his own. It’s been very popular with advance readers, and I really loved writing it.

Please give us the first page of the book.
This page is from the prologue which begins the story on the day of the fire when Sarah was nine.
Upstate New York
Summer, 1883
A rest in the shade was tempting, but one glance at the sunlit road ahead changed Sarah’s mind. She bumped her elbow on her little brother’s arm.

“Let’s play road-hop, Joe.” Now that she’d turned nine, the time for games would end soon enough. She had to fit some in whenever she could.

Joe made up the game last year and it fast became their favorite. They left the cool shelter under the pines to Ma and Pa and scampered out on the dirt road. The sun blistered the top of her head and its harsh rays highlighted every dried grass stalk and weed in the hard-baked ruts of the road. Dry heat shimmered up from the ground.

Sweat sprang out on her forehead. She should rest. They still had an uphill trek to get home from their visit to friends, followed by chores for all of them once they arrived. But she couldn’t resist having some fun.

What a long, dry summer. She and Joe spent their free time splashing in the creek at home, which was now a weak ribbon of its former strength, dwindling down in the daily onslaught of heat. It had to rain soon, Pa repeated every day, scanning the cloudless sky. Sarah was sure it would, since Pa said so.

Joe hopped on one foot, back and forth over the wagon ruts. A large clod of dirt crumbled into the rut along the edge of his planted foot, challenging his balance. Joe teetered on the edge while his arms sliced the air in erratic, frantic circles. The sight of that, coupled with his grimace and wide eyes made Sarah chortle and point at him.

Pa chuckled. Joe scowled at Sarah, regained his balance, and said, “Ha-ha. I didn’t fall.”

“Don’t tease each other, children.” Ma’s tone of admonishment made Sarah quench her giggles. But he looked so funny, and when they were alone, most of the enjoyment of the game was the teasing part while they tried to outdo each other.

“Sorry, Ma.” Joe hopped four more times and finally lost his balance. Both feet touched the ground while Joe huffed out an exasperated sigh.

Sarah clapped and jumped in delight. “My turn.”

How can readers find you on the Internet? 
Website Link:
Author Blog Link:   Group Blog
Author Facebook Link: Facebook Page
Author Twitter: On Twitter
Goodreads: Goodreads page

Thank you, Nancy, for sharing this book with us.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Answering Sarah - paperback
Answering Sarah - Kindle

Comments question: Have you ever had a devastating fire?

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 or country if outside North America. (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:


Anonymous said...

angela in ky would love to win.

Stacy T. Simmons said...

I enjoyed reading this post. The "laundry grandbaby" made me laugh! Stacy from Dallas

Stacy T. Simmons said...

I enjoyed reading this post. The "laundry grandbaby" made me laugh! Stacy from Dallas

Melanie Backus said...

We had a devastating fire at our ranch a few years ago. Welders working on our hay shed through a spark and caught our hay on fire. We lost our jeep, lawnmower, all our hay and our shed. We were led to believe that we were covered by our insurance but as it turned out, we were not. A total loss!

Melanie Backus, TX

Mary Preston said...

A lovely interview.

I appreciate character names that just trip off the tongue easily.

Mary P


nancy bolton said...

Good luck Angela from KY!

nancy bolton said...

Stacy, I'm glad you enjoyed my story about my silly behavior!

nancy bolton said...

Melanie, that's so sad about your experience with fire and loss. What a rough thing to go through.

nancy bolton said...

Mary, I also prefer character names that are easy on the tongue. Names that are hard to figure out tend to make me stop in my reading to ponder whether or not I'm imagining the pronunciation correctly! I guess that's why I prefer to use character names that are recognizable.

Beth Gillihan said...

Love the laundry baby! Sounds like a great read. Thanks for the chance to win!

Beth in Montana

Holly Ison said...

To answer the comments question, no, I thankfully have never experienced a devastating fire. Although, as a inquisitive child, I barely escaped starting a few!
I haven't read any books by Nancy Bolton before, but after reading this article, I will have to go looking! This is one of the things I love about your blog, Lena. I am introduced to new authors. Thank you so much! Oh, and I would love the chance to win! --Holly I. in Morehead, KY

kim hansen said...

Enjoy stories in the 19th century. north platte nebraska.

Melissa Henderson said...

I have never had a fire, but, have known people who have experienced house fires. So sad. This looks like a good story. I would love to read it.
Melissa in Mechanicsville VA

Unknown said...

Hi Beth! Good luck in the drawing!

Unknown said...

Hi Holly! I hope you'll read some of my books. I think you'll enjoy them. I have four out now, with two more releases before the end of the year. I write both historic and contemporary, and I love to tell an inspiring tale with interesting characters! Good luck in the drawing!

Unknown said...

Kim, since you like historicals set in the 19th century, I think you'll really enjoy "Answering Sarah." It's been very popular with advance readers and reviewers.

Unknown said...

Melissa, I do hope you read and enjoy my book. This story is especially dear to me!

Bonnie Engstrom said...

Nancy ~ I think the joke you played on your parents is a hoot! I am still laughing. BTW, I use a lot of names of people I know, too, even put real people in my stories. Fun!


Patty said...

I have never been through a devastating fire. I knew a family not to long ago that lost their home in a fire and it can be devastating! Thankfully the Red Cross and others stepped in to help.

Patty in SC

Anonymous said...

This is a new author to me Lena. Sounds like a good book. As to a fire. I was born in 1935, the seventh child of eight. I was told that my folks suffered through three fires, but I only remember one. since was only six when it happened. We lived out in the country and a truck stopped at our country school to tell them the Lloyd's house was burning. The flatbed truck drives turned around to take the six of us to what had been our home. When we got their it was a big fire. Our well was out front and to the side of our house and my baby brother was in a large pasteboard out there by the well and road. So they made me stand out there with the baby. It was a really bad and scary time. Times were hard back then too. The book sounds interesting and I would like to win it. Maxie (TX )

Terrill R. said...

I checked out Answering Sarah on Amazon and added it to my wish list. It sounds so good. Congrats on its release, Nancy, and its future success.

Terrill R. said...

I checked out Answering Sarah on Amazon and added it to my wish list. It sounds so good. Congrats on its release, Nancy, and its future success.

Terrill - WA

nancy bolton said...

Hi Bonnie! Glad you enjoyed my prank. After my parents got over the shock, they thought it was funny, too! I hope you'll try out some of my books, and enjoy them as well as be blessed by them! Thanks for commenting!

nancy bolton said...

Patty, you're right about what a blessing Red Cross is, and good, helpful citizens, too. Americans can be so generous in troubled times!

nancy bolton said...

Hi Maxie in TX! Good luck in the drawing! So sorry you had to go through such tough times, but I imagine they made you strong in ways you didn't expect. In my story, I tried to show how these difficult events can shape our lives in various ways, and how there are many different responses to the same event. Thanks for commenting!

nancy bolton said...

Hi Terril in WA! Thanks for your congratulations, and your interest in my book, and putting it on your wish list! Good luck in the drawing!

Cindy W. said...

Sounds like an enjoyable book to read. I would love to win a copy.

Cindy W. from Indiana

Connie Porter Saunders said...

No, I have so far escaped that tragedy. I can't imagine where you would start and losing family photos and momentoes would be so very sad.
Thanks for sharing.
Connie from KY

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway SC.

rubynreba said...

The 1800's are a favorite part of history to me.
Beth from IA