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!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Jane Kirkpatrick and Free Books!

PhotobucketA turn of the century woman photographer (the author's grandmother!) struggles to leave a love affair behind and develop her talent as an independent businesswoman in a man's world in the Midwest.

Before we meet today's author, I want to announce that the winner of the drawing for Thicker Than Blood, by C.J. Darlington, is:

jssmcg@ . . .

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!

Now let's meet novelist Jane Kirkpatrick, author of An Absence so Great (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group/Random House, March 2010).

PhotobucketJane is the award-winning and best-selling author of 3 nonfiction and 16 historical novels based on the lives of actual historical people. She's a former mental health director, therapist, rancher in Oregon and a Wisconsin native who listened to that writing voice later in life. Her first book, a memoir called Homestead was released the day before her 45th birthday. Her titles have won the WILLA and Wrangler awards and been finalists for the Christy, WILLA, Oregon Book Award, Reader's Choice, Spur and others. She speaks internationally about the power of story in our lives and is a frequent retreat leader.

Jane lives with her husband of 34 years, Jerry, on their remote ranch in Oregon where she spoils two dogs and a goat and sometimes her husband.

Please tell us five random things we might not know about you.

-- I have a private pilot's license.

-- I don't have a belly button (don't ask!).

-- I play the piano, a little.

-- I can kick a football over the power lines.

-- For seventeen years I worked in early childhood education on an Indian Reservation in Oregon helping families of children with disabilities.

I just knew you were going to have a few unusual items, Jane.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of An Absence so Great.

PhotobucketIn 1910, Jessie Gaebele, an eighteen year old German American woman discovers her passion for photography. She knows she has talent but talent is a currency and she wants to invest it well. In book one, she's already made some poor "investments" becoming emotionally attracted to her very-married employer. Now, she wants to set her own course as an independent woman during a time when women weren't even allowed to take photographic courses because of the danger of chemicals and the flash-light exposures. Will she overcome the perils of emotional liaisons for the passion of using a gift wisely and fully? Only time will tell.

The book is the second and final in a duet about my grandmother's life. The first is A Flickering Light named to Library Journal's Best Books of 2009 list.

What is it about your lead character that will make your readers care about her? 

She's compassionate and generous (her younger brother has a speech impediment and she sets aside some of her earnings to help his treatment and other family needs). She's adventuresome. (She traveled throughout the then northwest - Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, etc -- to operate studios of widows whose husbands had died or women whose husbands were sick from mercury poisoning from exposure to the developing chemicals). Jessie makes mistakes and has to live with the consequences. She stands up for herself in a business world where women were marginalized and she succeeds! She struggles to make her faith real in her life and not just a Sunday proposition.

Why will readers enjoy your novel? 

They tell me they enjoy it for the images my words create as well as some of the actual glass plate images that were reproduced from my grandmother's collection. They also tell me that it's a book that remind us that we all make mistakes, we all falter and fail and it is a mark of our character how we allow family, friends and faith to sustain us and help us find forgiveness for our past errors.

One reader told me she'd read the book twice and it was helping her come to terms with an absence in her life she'd let define that past ten years and how it gave her a way to move forward. Those who'd like to know more about early photography will also enjoy the books and hopefully, they will empathize with the characters, find their voices of interest, and will remember the story after the final page is finished.

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

PhotobucketTaylor Swift would be the lead. Jessie was petite, kind, gentle and a woman of faith while driven with her talent and I think Taylor Swift is too! Plus, isn't she advertising for a camera company these days?

PhotobucketAs for Mrs. Bauer...I think Winona Judd could play her well. Mrs, Bauer was beautiful and had emotional problems but needs to be a sympathetic character.

PhotobucketAnd Mr. Bauer? Hmmm. Maybe Richard Gere. Mr. Bauer was 26 years older than Jessie so it'll be a "mature" actor playing that part of her employer who has to begin to tell himself the truth about his own life. He wasn't just mentoring a young woman; he was falling in love and struggling with his own moral code so a blend of self-assurance, romantic inclination and vulnerability could be captured by Richard Gere.

How important to the story is your book's setting?

Setting is critical for the reader as they need to know where they are in each scene, whose eyes they're seeing through and what the scene is about. But more, when I write, I'm weaving four threads through the plot and the character's desire: landscape, relationship, spirituality and work.

Landscape is one of the big features as I think where we live says much about who we are. Author Barry Lopez says some of us are not finished at the skin...we send out luminous fibers into the soil that surrounds us and leaving it is like an amputation. Whether it's the banks of the Mississippi River where much of this story is set or the wide open prairie of North Dakota, where the other part of the book is set, those landscapes affected Jessie, challenged her but also gave her places to pause, consider and seek faithful guidance in her life.

I also want the reader to experience those landscapes. I want the reader to feel the wind off Lake Winona, smell the lilacs in the spring, even taste the dirt swirling around in a storm so they'll feel closer to the character and the story will take them into the present moment while still keeping them engaged in another century. Setting helps make that happen in the sense of scene structure but also in overall story impact so I'd say it's very important.

Choose an inanimate object to represent you. Explain what you have in common with that object.

A picture frame in a heart shape. What we have in common is that the frame sets borders and boundaries which I have to do in my stories (and that my characters have to deal with when they face challenges). It could be brass or wood or any kind of material but it defines and in some ways, as a writer, I think that's what I'm doing, helping define what a story is about and what it might have to say to a contemporary reader. The heart represents a desire I have to frame my stories and my life with love.

Lovely, Jane.

What is the last book you read that moved you?  

Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner. It won't be out until September but I found myself staying up late to find out what would happen; crying (I rarely do that when either reading or writing!) and appreciating the great skill of the author to take me into a time and places I've never been and make me feel at home there. It was also a book that made me close it at times to just think about a scene I'd read and the incredible importance of choice in our lives and how easily we can allow others to make choices for us and when we do, we may well miss the life God intended for us.

What are you working on now?

The Daughter's Walk a story based on the fact of a mother and daughter, who in 1896, take a wager to walk from Spokane, Washington to New York City. If they were successful, they'd earn $10,000, enough to save the family farm. What intrigued me was that in a book written about the walk (which had its own triumphs and disasters) a footnote said that after they got back from the walk, Clara, the daughter, changed her name and separated herself from the family for 20 years. I wanted to know what happened so I've been researching the daughter and this book will tell her side of the story about being in exile, really, and how to find our way back home.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

My website where I have a blog called Words of Encouragement is www.jkbooks.com. I also blog at www.janekirkpatrick.blogspot.com at a site called Harvests of Starvation Lane where there's a photograph of our remote ranch on Starvation Lane. And my dog has a blog too. www.bodaciousbothedog.blogspot.com. He has more followers than I do. And visit me on my Facebook fan page The Author Jane Kirkpatrick. I also do a monthly newsletter called Story Sparks. People can sign up for it on my website www.jkbooks.com. I'd love that!

The book is available for online purchase through the following buttons:

569816: An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2

Thanks, Jane, for visiting with us and telling us about your novel. Readers, Jane has offered to give a copy of her novel to the winner of our drawing on Thursday, September 2. To enter, leave a comment for Jane, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Check out my interviews with Donita K. Paul and Darlene Franklin, below, and leave comments under their interviews to be entered in drawings for signed copies of their books. And see how to win one of five copies of my next release, The Perfect Blend, HERE.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer HERE.


Anne Payne said...

I love reading this type of fiction. Look forward to this one! Thanks for an opportunity to win a copy.


Wendy said...

I love Jane's books. Thanks for offering this one.

Jane Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks, Trish! I love the photos you included of my dream cast :) and your great comments, too. Thanks for including me as a guest. Warmly, Jane

A J Hawke said...

Jane, you're an amazing writer and I look forward to reading this one. I read and enjoyed A FLICKERING LIGHT.

A J Hawke
ajhawkeauthor at aol dot com

barbjan10 said...

Jane, Your interview touched me tenderly in the sore places of my soul. My understanding of an absence so great aptly says something about what I've felt missing in my own life. The maturity heard in your answers to Trish's great questions struck me as truths. I need to read this book. This is one of those books that is much better to be counseled by than a costly psychologist! Thank you for the giveaway, Jane; and thanks Trish for the opportunity to win such a valuable book.

Sharing God's Love,
Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

squiresj said...

Whow you have worn many hats. So you've been married 3 years more than me. I was 29 when I married. I love animals but I only have one dog - had two but lost one two years ago. Was it hard getting a pilot license?
You worked on an Indian reservation - I like that. I was taught to be proud of the fact my great Grandmother was full blooded Indian.
I would love to win and review this book.
jrs362 at hotmail dot com

Cindy W. said...

Oh An Absence So Great sounds awesome. I love the cover art too!
Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

Cindy W.


Barbara M. said...

Thanks for the interview and giveaway. I just finished the Change and Cherish trilogy and I'm now reading A Sweetness to the Soul. I really like the way Jane writes these historic stories. I'm hoping to read all of them.


ergliangel45 said...

As an American living in Latvia I may have never found the wonderful books of Jane Kirkpatrick without the help of a another American living in Latvia. I am now saving to buy 'Flickering Light' for a good winter read. Of course with Jane's books it will be a matter of one or two days read, as I can't put them down. Having both the books would warm the days of a very long winter here in Latvia.

Tabitha C said...

I just LOVE Jane's books. I have devoured every book she's written and haven't gotten this one yet. I would LOVE to win it, so please do enter me. Thanks!!


Pam said...

I have several of Jane's books. Her research is so thorough and her writing makes me feel I am in that time period. I absolutely loved An Absence So Great (and A Flickering Light) so would be thrilled to win an autographed copy! Thanks for the opportunity.


Sarah Williams said...

My husband and I are both fans of Jane's writing. We recently took a road trip to the Tygh Valley to see Joseph Sherar's bridge. We spent hours at the Sherman County Museum in Morro, Oregon. I was taken back in time thanks to Jane's books on the history of the area. We are fairly new readers of Jane's books, and are looking forward to reading many more.

Sarah Williams swilli4232@yahoo.com

peachykath said...

This book sounds really good. I think i may have to go out and get the first book before this one comes out. Please enter me in the drawing for this book.


Anonymous said...

I love historical books and right now I am interested in photography and love learning about antique cameras and such. The cast you chose for your book would be a sure hit. Looking forward to reading your book.

thanks, holli redding

Ann Lee Miller said...

Ooh! I'd love to win Jane's book!



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