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, July 25, 2011

Lisa Wingate and Free Books!

PhotobucketAn elderly widower who just wants to be left alone finds himself saddled with a smart-mouthed teenage girl who needs someone to believe in her, and their unlikely friendship uncovers a family mystery that changes both lives.

Before we visit with today's author, I want to announce that the winner of the signed copy of DiAnn Mills' novel, Under a Desert Sky, is:

walen11@ . . .

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 (below my list of books) in order to participate in future book give-aways!

Now let's revisit with novelist Lisa Wingate, author of Dandelion Summer (NAL Accent Penguin Putnam, July 2011).

PhotobucketLisa Wingate is an award-winning journalist, magazine columnist, popular inspirational speaker and a national bestselling author of sixteen novels, including Tending Roses, now in print for ten years, and a favorite book-discussion selection.

Lisa is one of a select group of authors to find success in both the inspirational and general markets in mainstream fiction. Her works have been featured by the National Reader's Club of America, AOL Book Picks, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, American Profiles, Crossings Book Club, Women’s World Magazine, Family Circle Magazine, and have been short-listed for various awards, including the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Book of the Year Award.

Lisa also spends time on the road as a motivational speaker. Via Internet, she shares with readers as far away as India, where her book, Tending Roses, has been used to promote women's literacy, and as close to home as Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the county library system has used her works to help volunteers teach adults to read.

Lisa lives in Central Texas where her husband teaches Science and her two boys are to enter their junior years, one in high school and one in college.

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

--My husaband and I teach Sunday School for high school seniors, who are a joy and a challenge. My very favorite day is to gather kids, pets and camp food, and head down to the old swimming hole where kids have been gathering for generations.

--For my first writing session of the day, I’m usually propped up in bed with my laptop, my decaf, and really bad hair.

--I work on my TBR stack by propping a book on my elliptical machine and having awkward but total mind-body exercise.

--Houseplants have short life spans in my house—I don’t mean to be a plant-killer; it just happens.

--I am a mother of boys (ordered girls, but they were out of stock that day, twice), so I know how to catch crickets in Ziplock bags, to feed pet lizards—this may come in handy during the apocalypse.

I do the same as you on the treadmill! It makes the exercise time pass more easily, and I find I actually look forward to it.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Dandelion Summer.

PhotobucketThe story features an unlikely friendship between a grumpy old man and a desperate teenage girl who are drawn together as they try to solve the mysteries of a hidden family past.

 When J. Norman’s daughter hires a smart-mouthed teenager, Epie, to cook for him in the afternoons Norman is not pleased. Over time, an unlikely friendship develops, as Norman shares his memories of his work at NASA and the early days of the space program. Epiphany’s presence in the house pulls ties to Norman’s long-lost memories of another house, another life, and a woman, a black housekeeper, who saved him. Together, Norman and Epiphany begin to investigate the mystery of Norman’s true identity.

For me, this story was a joy to write, as the original Apollo moon shots are some of my oldest memories.

What is it about your lead characters that will make your readers care about them?

J.Norman reflects on his busy career in the space race and his lack of time to share in his daughter’s upbringing, as young Epie also suffers from lack of parental attention. Like many fathers, Norman regrets that he didn’t spend more time with his daughter. Norman’s recollections of the early days at Cape Canaveral and President Kennedy’s space race were inspired by a special reader-friend, Ed Stevens, who worked on the Howard Hughes team that designed the first moon lander. Like my friend, Ed, Norman has fascinating stories to tell, and those stories draw Epie to him.

In Epie, Norman finds a lost connection to his own daughter and a catalyst for change. In Norman, Epie finds a father figure, someone to mentor her, and an friend to fill the empty space inside her where a father should have been. Epie is a kid filled with potential, but on the road to dangerous and destructive choices.

The story is in many ways a modern southern corollary to George Eliot's classic Silas Marner --in which Silas's discovery of an adopted daughter (oddly enough, Silas's daughter is named Eppie, which wasn't even intentional) changes Silas's life as a hermit/weaver who works all the time and breaks him out of his shell to bring him into the larger community. In the process, of course, Silas saves Eppie and raises her to be a confident young woman.

Here is a link to a father/daughter video excerpt from the book:


Why will readers enjoy your novel?

Readers will enjoy the intergenerational friendship, but also the prickly relationship between Norman and Epie. They are at times both wonderful and difficult, each of them. Their quest to solve Norman’s family mystery takes them on a road trip of epic proportions through historic southern towns and a hidden past.

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

PhotobucketWow! Robert Duvall would be J. Norman.

Epie would be played by a brilliant, young, spunky, and heretofore undiscovered newcomer!

If your publisher asked you to write your next novel in a different genre, which genre would you choose? 

Historical, maybe? I love history!

What is the last book you read that you would recommend?

I thoroughly enjoyed Water for Elephants. I was so into it that when I saw the movie, I was reminded that when a book is really great, reading is better than seeing. The movie was good, but the book was the full experience.

I loved both the book and the film. Both were so moving and gorgeous. I so agree that the book is typically a more full experience. But I do love when my favorite books are brought to film. 

What are you working on now?

I’m doing the edits for Blue Moon Bay, which follows Larkspur Cove in the Moses Lake series for Bethany House. Blue Moon Bay will be released by Bethany House in February, 2011. The second book in the Moses Lake series, it is a stand-alone story, but also within the small-town lakeside setting of Larkspur Cove (Bethany House, Feb. 2011). When a family falls into conflict over the sale of the family land, a no-nonsense career woman is forced to return to the family funeral home in tiny Moses Lake, Texas to sort things out and deal with the unresolved wounds of her past. There, she meets a local guy, finds herself embroiled in a family mystery, and reconnects with the plain faith of her family’s Mennonite neighbors. The last place she ever wanted to find herself turns out to be the place where she might reconnect with her family and find out where she’s meant to be.

Where else can readers find you online?



The book is available at fine book stores and online via the following buttons:

233271: Dandelion Summer, Blue Sky Hill Series #4

Finally, what question would you like to ask my readers?

One of my favorite things about sending fictional people out into the world is meeting the real people they bring home—like my fascinating reader-friend Ed Stevens, who inspired Dandelion Summer. Can you share a real-life connection that has happened because of a book, story, or book club?

Thank you, Lisa, for visiting with us and telling us about your novel. Readers, Lisa has offered to give a signed copy of her book to the winner of our drawing on Thursday, July 28. To enter, leave an answer to Lisa's questions (above) at the bottom of today's post. "Please enter me" won't get you entered. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Be sure to check out my interview with Sharon Dunn, below, and leave a comment at the bottom of the post to enter the drawing for a signed copy of her book.

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.


Jackie S. said...

I love Lisa's books and would love to win this one! I have enjoyed meeting authors/commenters on various author blogs!

Velma said...

My favorite connection was when I won a copy of a book from Leanna Ellis. I was so excited to win a copy because it was at a time when I was really feeling down. I sent her a message thanking her for the book and briefly telling her how much it meant to me. She responded and shared a testimony of how God had moved in her life in a similar situation. Her response was so uplifting and helped me during this difficult time. I still have the message saved.

I love Lisa Wingate's book, and I would love to have a copy of her new novel.

Trish Perry said...

What a wonderful story, Velma! I can attest to how encouraging it is for an author to hear from a reader like that. Reader emails and letters have been my sweetest connections brought about by books.

One of my books (The Guy I'm Not Dating) is about a young woman who has been burned one too many times in the romance department and decides not to date around but to simply wait for God to bring forth her future spouse from among her male friends. I got a reader note from a young woman who was in precisely that boat. She had been in the book store and prayed that God would show her what book to buy next. She turned around and there was my book. She felt a lot of guidance as a result--and here I was just telling a story! Very cool.

Jackie, be sure to answer Lisa's question, in order to be entered in the drawing!

windycindy said...

My brother was a veterinarian for
over 33 years before he passed
away. He was well like for the
work he did for people's pets
whether they could afford it
or not! James Herriot's book;
All Things Great and Small is
so reminiscent of my brother...
Many thanks, Cindi

squiresj said...

I have read books that have encouraged and uplifted me because of reading a fictional inspirational romance. I would be so down or hurting emotionally and I would gleam something that would cause me to push past it.
jrs362 at hotmail dot com

Please enter me to win. It has been awhile since I read one of your books.

lgm52 said...

The only connection I can think of is that I am a retired Public Library librarian. Of course, I met many people and made lots of friends over books and discussion of various books.

Nancye said...

I remember way back in when "The Outsiders" by SE Hinton was very popular. My friends and all were in love with all of the good looking guys who were in the movie (like Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, Ralph Macchio, etc.) We read the book and saw the movie so many times that we knew them both by heart. Fast forward to fall 2005. I was teaching 7th grade special education students. When I shared the history I had with the book and the movie (which they also saw). It was really neat to have that kind of connection with my students! The girls didn't want to admit that the guys in the movie were cute, but the boys were quick to say how cute they thought Cherry Valance (Diane Lane) was very "hot"!! LOL!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Trish Perry said...

These are wonderful moments, friends. Lisa, this was a good question. I'm so sorry about your brother, Cindy. I lost my sister at 36. It's an empty place that never gets filled, isn't it?

Nancy, how cool to have The Outsiders come back around for you like that. That book (and movie) was so popular!

Lisa Wingate said...

What wonderful connections between books and life! The best thing about creating imaginary people and sending them out into the world, is that they come home bringing real friends with them. I've been blessed to meet so many real friends through the books, many of whom have contributed inspirations, thoughts, and ideas to new books. Thanks for sharing, all, and, Trish, thanks for having me!

Judy said...

I connected with "crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes". My husband passed away with a malignant brain tumor before "crossing Oceans" came out but the book brought back everything I went through while my husband slowly lost his life a little each day until God called him home. It really was an emotional book for me to read. The real life connection happened when this book opened up emotions that I had long buried.


karenk said...

i, too, must say that 'crossing oceans' touched my heart and soul. i felt that those characters were a part of my own family.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

apple blossom said...

I connected with one of Amber Miller's character in her Promise series The character had a miscarriage.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

carla stewart said...

Lisa, I'm so intrigued with the premise of your book. The book/people connection for me was when I was in B & N looking at all the book covers because my publisher had asked me for ideas. I kept coming back to a particular cover of a coat rack that had two hats and coats arranged so that it looked like two people embracing. I'd never heard of the author, but thought the title and cover were catchy - Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson. A year later, I was thrilled to meet Helen at the Pulpwood Queens Girlfriend Weekend! It's a wonderful book written by a lovely, gracious woman. And we chatted about the cleverness of her cover.

Would love to get my hands on Lisa's book.
carla (dot) stewart (at) sbcglobal (dot) net

Thanks, Trish and Lisa for a great interview!

Trish Perry said...

Thanks for your comments, ladies! I should have mentioned my own book/story/book club connection. I would have to say that books have drawn me into two divergent and wonderful groups of friends--one a group of fellow believers and the other a group of women from all walks of life. Two book clubs, the members of which have become or are swiftly becoming very dear friends over the years. Although the books are the initial draw, I've learned so much and gained such richness in my life from the friendships developed through our discussions.

Carla, your description of that cover is going to send me straight to that book's Amazon page! Intriguing.



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