What book should you read next? What words should you write next? Whether you're a reader, a writer, or both, you need look no further for ideas and pointers to help you make up your mind. You might even get your next book for free--and signed by the author!

Sometimes I even give away my own novels. My Inspirational romances and devotionals are pictured below and are detailed on my Books page. You can always count on a trace of humor in my novels and nonfiction. Whether you're a teen or a woman mature in years, I think these stories will ring true.

Read on, and discover some of today's most appealing Christian novelists, their latest books, and their words of wisdom and imagination. Enjoy!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lisa Lickel and Free Books!

Schoolteacher Judy and her opinionated cat uncover an eco-terrorist's plot to take over the country when they delve into the untimely death of Aunt Louise.

Before we meet today's author, I'd like to announce that the winner of the signed copy of Victoria Bylin's book, The Maverick Preacher, goes to:

kfp10596@ . . .

Congratulations! I'll contact you today for your snail mail address, and we'll get your book to you right away. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right in order to participate in future book give-aways!

And now let's meet novelist Lisa Lickel, author of The Gold Standard (Barbour Publishing, January 2009). Tell us about yourself, Lisa.

I live in a very old house in Wisconsin with my husband, a high school science teacher who is very handy answering those pesky science questions. I love to perform and write radio drama with local group FreeQuincy Radio Theater, besides occasionally freelancing for magazines and newspapers and devotionals. I also love to travel, hand stitch quilts, putter in the garden and can vegetables and fruit.

I was raised by a history teacher and a librarian in a house filled with books. I agree that to work hard at being a writer, one should read every spare minute, and so I do. I started writing professionally after taking the Christian Writers Guild apprentice course. I am involved in every historical society within driving distance, a tribute to my BS degree in History and Russian Studies. I do as much volunteer work as I can with church and local organizations.

Now tell us a bit more about the plot of The Gold Standard.

Schoolteacher Judy Winters sets out to solve the mystery surrounding her only living relative's murder on the cross-state farm where Aunt Louise grew up. Judy will inherit the farm--if she agrees to stay there. But what about her boyfriend, Graham, and her job?

Meanwhile, Judy learns that, years ago, a friend of Louise's father, Bryce, lost a treasure of Alaskan gold somewhere on the property. He'd like to recover the gold if Judy plans to give up the place. As Judy and her handsome next door neighbor, Hart, uncover clues to Louise's untimely death and Bryce's missing treasure, they develop a close friendship. Was it the treasure that might have been behind Louise’s demise?

Graham's secret visits to the farm, midnight visitors, a new job offer, and new friends Bryce and the plaid-wearing Ardyth, along with one special old one--Carranza, the opinionated cat--all play a part in Judy's dilemma.

Which character in your novel most interested you while you wrote? Why?

I loved writing Ardyth, the slightly eccentric, plaid-wearing widow who couldn't see the forest for the trees. Maybe I'm getting older, but it was fun to write about a woman who was able to do and say pretty much whatever she wanted, and still be a romantic figure to the secondary hero.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

The Gold Standard a multiple generation love story with a quirky double mystery. And a great cat. Who doesn't love an opinionated cat who can figure out the bad guy first? It's not hard to figure out the big "whodunit," but the revelation of the secondary mystery will please the reader and keep him or her guessing to the surprise ending.

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?

Oy, I usually don't think about this. There are four lead roles: the young school teacher and her handsome neighbor, and the elderly couple. I don't have cable and I'm behind on newer movies, so I'm not sure who's who anymore.

Um . . . a thoughtful but enthusiastic adventuress to play Judy--someone like Anne Hathaway.

Hart would be a healthy but engaging engineering student, perhaps the young man who plays Wolf from CSI: Miami?

And the elderly couple: I have Lily Tomlin stuck in my head for some reason for Ardyth, and, honestly, Joe Biden for Bryce.

I've never watched CSI before, but the fellow you mention is Jonathan Togo. Nice to see a fresh face associated with someone's characters! And I tried to find a more folksy, less politician-mask-wearing shot of Joe Biden.

Now, tell us, Lisa, what facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you.

I have no end of plot lines and stories running like a raging map of rivers through my head. I have started four potential series so I just have to buckle down, choose one, and get typing on the next titles.

What do you struggle with in your writing?

The "writing by committee" style. I'm told I don't have enough confidence to just do what I think is best. Yet when I have professional critiques/edits done, or after my readers and my critique partners go over my finished work, I find myself making edits that try to please too many people and end up making the next person to look at the work unhappy. Where's the line?

Yes, you can lose your own voice when you bend to too many critiques, can't you? I've found it's best to pay attention to criticism when more than one critiquer mentions the same thing. Other than that, you have to stay true to what flows best for you. Here's another style-specific question for you, Lisa. Say a new writer tells you she's going to write her novel using the omniscient point of view. In three sentences or less, give her your thoughts on that idea.

While omniscient point of view used to be the norm in generations past, you would find that very difficult to sell in today's mainstream market, as only people like John Grisham can get away with it. Unless using this POV was a trick plot to move the story and you had very good representation with a firm offer, I'd advise you to be flexible with the characters and try, if only for practice, to write the story from several angles and see if something else works.

Excellent. Thanks. Now choose an inanimate object to represent you. Explain what you have in common with that object.

A deck of cards. There are many different individual cards within the deck, and while each alone could be decorative, you need more than one to entertain--and there are many ways to entertain yourself or others with that deck of cards. But if a card is missing, your game may be compromised. Like the card deck, I enjoy entertaining people with my variety of work; also, I have pleasure in simply writing the stories. Writing involves many aspects, such as research, partner readers and writers, editors, and good representation, but when one of them is missing, the work may not always be played out as it was meant to be.

What is the last book you read that impacted you? How did it affect you?

Every book impacts me in some way. I just put down Angela Hunt's The Face. Ever since reading her Uncharted, I’ve been struck by how inseparable what I believe about God and how I practice those beliefs have to be in order for me to truly be a woman of faith.

What are you working on now?

Rewrites, and plotting for the second and third novels in the Stories From Paradise House series, as well as publicity for my next novel, Healing Grace--due out in May--a story about a faith-healer who makes a difficult choice in order to feel forgiven.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online? Please include the link for purchasing your book.

As far as I know, readers can still purchase The Gold Standard through Barbour's Heartsong Presents: Mysteries bookclub site through this link: www.heartsongmysteries.com

Unfortunately, the book club will no longer release new titles after the third cycle, but readers can find single copies through me, until I hear otherwise. I have a short romantic mystery available for you to read online at my website, as well as links to the podcasts of the radio mystery plays available at FreeQunicy Radio Theater, and a link to an e-zine that has published the first of my children's historical stories--and other goodies for writers and readers to explore.

My website: www.lisalickel.com
My blog: www.livingourfaithoutloud.blogspot.com

Thank you, Trish, for this opportunity.

And thank you, Lisa, thanks for visiting us today and telling us about The Gold Standard! Readers, Lisa has offered to sign a copy of her book for the winner of our drawing on Monday, February 23. To enter, leave a comment for Lisa, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. If you subscribe to my blog, at right (or if you're already subscribed) you'll be entered an additional time to this drawing and all future drawings.

Check back on Thursday, when we'll meet author Brandt Dodson, author of Daniel's Den. And we'll draw the winner of Shirley Connolly's devotional, I See God in the Simple Things. You can still enter for that drawing, below.


HollyMag said...

Thanks Trish and Lisa! I enjoyed the interview. Would love the opportunity to win a copy.

Blessings to you both.



Bev said...

I enjoyed the interview. Thanks.

Vie Herlocker said...

Hi Lisa--Wow! I would love to read The Gold Standard. Great interview! Thanks to you and to Trish as well.

Becky C. said...

I really enjoyed the interview, and would love to read the book.

Thank you,

Becky C.


Barb said...

I have a cat-loving co-worker for whom I would love to win this book.

sbsalzer at gmail dot com

Carole said...

I love cozy mysteries like this one, and including a cat makes it that much better. I'd love to read Lisa's book. Thank you for the giveaway.

Carole said...

Sorry, I forgot to leave my e-mail:

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net


kalea_kane said...

Hi Trish and Lisa! Great interview. Any story that includes a feline is on my list! So glad to read that you have many more ideas in your mind! Looking forward to this and more!

Kelly :)


Becca Dowling said...

Thank you, Trish and Lisa, for an insightful interview. I like the premise of a double mystery, not to mention an opinionated cat (and what cat is NOT?). Just from Ardyth's description, I can see why you chose the multi-faceted Lily Tomlin as a possible screen version.

I'd love to win the book.


Linda said...

I look forward to reading 'The Gold Standard.' It will fill in some spots of history that other writers haven't touched on. Sounds great!

Please enter me in your contest.


Anna said...

Please enter me!


Martha A. said...

Wow, Jonathan Togo is young in that picture.....
It sounds like a interesting book, especially with characters like that!

mez said...

I love cozies with unusal characters and a quirky pet. Include me please, thanks.

Trish Perry said...

Well, Lisa, you definitely brought out the cat lovers in full force! Very cute.

Sorry about the young shot of Togo, Martha. I think he looks especially young because his hair is longer than when he's on CSI.

I'm looking forward to seeing one of Lisa's current and future fans winning her book!

Ruth Dell said...


Please enter me in the contest- I would love to get acquainted with Ardyth and Carranza.

Thank you

Best wishes

Ruth Dell
ruthdell [at] mweb.co.za

Lisa Lickel said...

Thank you, Trish, for your vote of confidence and your gracious hospitality. I grew up with cats in the house. Our favorite was a fabulous Siamese male named Terrible Turk. My brother and I loved to get him all wound up in the evenings and he would chase us through the house. We adored screaming, of course. Carranza is a great cat and a wonderful dad to his kittens, one of whom shows up as Pancho Villa in the sequel. Of course, then there's Santa Ana....
I'm enjoying writing a new mystery series now with unique Egyptian Mau cats. They're a lot of fun.
I wish I could send you all a book!

Jo said...

I really look forward to reading this book. It sounds extremely interesting. Please enter me in the drawing.


Marta said...

hehe I found the right place ;)

I'd love a chance to win this book. It sounds like a great read!

I'm already a follower

tbbycatt (at) gmail (dot) com


hippmom said...

Thanks for the chance to win this book. I follow your blog!

angelahipp at charter dot net

windycindy said...

I like the idea of the secondary mystery that keeps the reader guessing until the book's ending!
Mysteries are one of my most favorite genres to read. Many thanks, Cindi



Content Copyright Trish Perry | Graphic Design and Layout Eagle Designs