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, May 31, 2012

Maureen Lang and Free Books!

PhotobucketAll Ian Maguire wants to do is stop Meg Davenport from following in her father’s footsteps. He was, after all, a thief—just like Ian.

Today we're talking with novelist Maureen Lang, author of Bees in the Butterfly Garden (Tyndale House, June 2012).

Maureen is the author of a dozen novels and her Inspirationals have earned various writing distinctions as a finalist for the Rita, Christy and four times in the Carol Awards. She’s won a Holt Medallion and Holt Award of Merit as well as the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award.

In addition to investigating various eras in history (such as Victorian England, First World War, and America’s Gilded Age), Maureen loves taking research trips to get a feel for the settings of her novels.

She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, children, and Labrador retriever.

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

--I like to collect items that have a special connection to each one of my books. A small music box that plays a song from Whisper on the Wind, a small sand globe that was just like the one my hero in My Sister Dilly gave my heroine, a fossil that my hero from The Oak Leaves would have saved, a butterfly tea cup for Bees in the Butterfly Garden and others…

--I don’t like coconut, even a hint of it.

--I’ve fallen several times in the last few years, convincing me I should always wear sensible shoes and move carefully to avoid a new ouch!

--I absolutely love dogs! I think they’re one of God’s best gifts. But I was bitten by one when I was a child, and I’m secretly afraid of dogs that aren’t my own.

--I’m a member of a book club and love reading books I probably wouldn’t have known about except for the wide and varied tastes of my fellow members.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Bees in the Butterfly Garden.

PhotobucketRaised in an exclusive boarding school among Fifth Avenue’s finest, Meg Davenport has all she’s ever needed . . . but none of the things she’s wanted most, like family, or dreams of a future that includes anything other than finding a suitable match. So when her distant father dies, she seizes the chance to throw etiquette aside and do as she pleases. Especially when she learns that John Davenport wasn’t the wealthy businessman she thought, but one of the Gilded Age’s most talented thieves.

Poised to lead those loyal to Meg’s father, Ian Maguire knows the last thing his mentor would have wanted is for his beloved daughter to follow in his footsteps. Yet Meg is determined, and her connections to one of New York’s wealthiest families could help Ian pull off his biggest heist yet. But are they both in over their heads? And in trying to gain everything, will they end up losing it all?

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

It’s a special challenge for me to expect readers of Christian fiction to like a would-be thief! I hope I succeeded, because even from the very first chapter I loved Meg. Even though she’s been raised in an exclusive school, had every outward need filled, inside she’s lived a very lonely life. She’s never known the love of a family, and so when her father dies—taking with him her last hope that she would ever find that family love—she’s determined to prove how wrong he’d been to shut her away from him.

She intends proving she could have been just like him—a thief. Her reasoning might be flawed, but I’m hoping her vulnerability will cover a multitude of her sins, until she discovers he’d done the right thing by protecting her from the truth.

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

PhotobucketI was so thrilled with the cover model that I’d search for her! If Tyndale would release her name, of course. ☺ I actually didn’t have a famous person in mind this time, although I sometimes do when I’m writing. Audrey Hepburn comes to mind (actually she’s been an inspiration to me for several of my dark-haired heroines) but she’d have to wear blue lenses to cover her brown eyes this time around.

PhotobucketAnd for my hero . . . a young Johnny Depp would definitely work.

If a novel were published today, based on your life, what would be an appropriate title?

Oh, man, I’ve been title-challenged my whole life. This is difficult for an author to admit, but I’d have to consult my editor for an answer on this one! Something along the lines of Grateful for Second Chances.

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

Fall of Giants by Ken Follet. I admit it took me over 200 pages to really get into it, but the characters are interesting enough to keep those pages turning. I think using nearly 1,000 pages to tell this story was an effective way to emphasize the length of the First World War. It probably had too much detail for a lot of readers, but that’s one of my favorite eras so I enjoyed it.

What are you working on now?

The second book in my Gilded Age series, currently titled Great Deeds Never Die. It’s set in 1887 Denver, about a hero and heroine harboring secrets they believe prevents them from ever finding love. Everything the hero represents is based on his secret, short-lived career as a thief, and the heroine has a heart for prostitutes for a reason tied to her past. Love and redemption . . . two of my favorite elements in a story!

Where else can readers find you online?

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

364469: Bees in the Butterfly Garden, Gilded Legacy Series #1

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

What’s the most common reason you put down a book and have no desire to pick it up again? Here are a few ideas to get you started, but please feel free to agree or to give me your own reason:

I couldn’t connect to the characters.

The plot was weak/confusing/unlikely.

Not enough action/romance/mystery (not enough of whatever genre element is expected).

Writing style got in the way.

The story didn’t match the cover.

Story didn’t follow through on the promise of the back cover blurb or what I was expecting.

Too long/has boring parts.

Thanks for having me on your blog, Trish! I enjoyed your questions.

Thank you, Maureen, for visiting with us and telling us about your novel. Readers, Maureen has offered to give a signed copy of her book to the winner of our drawing on Thursday, June 7. To enter, leave a comment below in answer to Maureen's question, above. "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 Martha Rogers, below. Leave an appropriate comment at the bottom of her post to enter the drawing for a signed copy of the book.

And I'd love it if you'd connect with me on Facebook. Just click on my name at the right of today's post.

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.


Deborah M said...

Looks like I'm the first to comment. I love Maureens books and I hope I win this one.

Now that I read and review books of many genres it becomes harder to be interested in a book. I read all the starters, but I really can't put my finger on one thing except to say that it feels like I'm having to trudge through it. I'm not sure what makes it feel that way.

One thing I do have a hard time connecting with are books written in present tense. For some reason they are hard for me to read. It doesn't sound right.

Enjoyed the interview!
Deborah Malone
debbiejeanm at gmail dot com

lgm52 said...

There could be several reasons I would put a book down and not finish it. One is if the plot doesn't interest me and I just cannot get into the story from the beginning. Another is if there is a lot of profanity or unacceptable (to me) 4-letter words. Or if the story line is just too "unreal" for me to believe. Sometimes a plot might go off into too many different directions, have too many characters, or just be too hard for me to follow.

Diane said...

I think for me the story takes an unlikely turn that has me scratching my head, like how in the world can this possibly work out and have some kind of happily ever after attached. I am a softie for the HEA. :O)

estrella8888 at roadrunner dot com

Lane Hill House said...

Story lags. Doesn't seem to advance to go anywhere.

Anna W. said...

Sometimes I will put a book down because I don't connect with the characters. Sometimes I won't finish it if I don't prefer the writing style. But usually if I don't finish a book, it is because the story was moving too slowly.

Thanks for the giveaway. :)


Soni B said...

Hello, well the first reason I do not finish a book is if there is nasty or ugly language, I try to check it out first, but sometimes it slips past me... I am an avid reader of Christian romance, but do spread my wings as well... The second reason is if my brain has to work to hard jumping around or back and forth...I read to relax and enjoy...not WORK... The last reason would be if I just cannot get into the book, like if it is too far off a reality level, or too dark, or just too blah...I believe this is just the type of writing and my likes not on the same level...
thanks for asking SONJA

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the interview. Sometimes I just cc262@me.com )an't get interested in the reading of a book, so come back to it later and same thing happens, so just give up on that book. But, I love to read. Hoping to have a chance to read one of your books. Maxie ( mac262@me.com )

Gwendolyn Gage said...

The main reason I might stop reading a book would be a slow beginning and uninteresting characters. If I get to the half way mark, I usually finish it. Your book sounds good, thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.


Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

"What’s the most common reason you put down a book and have no desire to pick it up again?"

for me it's writing style - documentary when i'm hoping for a great story :) or inaccuracy of details for historical era - lack of attn to detail in dialogue, clothing, using american english spelling for UK english , language idioms, etc
faithhopecherrytea at*gmail.*com
great question! TY !
and for taking time to spend w/ us today !

Anne Payne said...

I've been eagerly awaiting this book since April! The cover is so beautiful and the story sounds delightfully fun.

Most times I don't finish a book if it bores me. Whether through humor, high tension, action or some really intricate mental stimulation, I need to be fully engaged with my senses. Time is too precious to waste it on a dull story, be it fiction or non-fiction!


Maureen Lang said...

Great comments! Both confirming and instructive, so I'm thankful in more ways than one to have been given the opportunity to visit Trish's blog. :-)

It's always so interesting to me how one person can be grabbed by a story - which is what we all seem to be looking for - but what grabs one person might not grab another. Taste is so subjective. It's hard for a writer to create something that will appeal to everyone, as much as we try.

I'm loving these comments, though, they're giving me great insight!

Christy Janes said...

Lately, I have trouble sticking with a book if the action doesn't seem to be moving forward. I recently finished a book that had a very high-energy scene in the first chapter, then fizzled around chapter 4, and lagged until I reached 100 pages. I almost stopped reading it! In the end, though, I was glad I stuck with it. It ended up redeeming itself. :o)

The Gilded Era has become my favorite historical period, and I can't wait to read your take on it, Maureen!

southernsassythings at gmail dot com

Judy said...

First of all the cover of this book is absolutely beautiful!

I loved the interview with Maureen; she is a new author to me. Saddened to hear you don't like coconut Maureen!! lol You redeem yourself by loving dogs though!

I have actually gotten half way through a book before I finally gave up. I had hopes that it would get better. The plot was so weak and it sure wasn't going anywhere! I kicked myself for wasting time reading half of the book. I will be truthful and say that this doesn't happen to me very often. Profanity is another turn off. In my opinion there is absolutely never ever a reason to use the "4 letter" word.

I would love to win a copy of, Bees in the Butterfly Garden.


Abigail Richmond said...

I don't quit books to often, but when I do All I can say is that it must have been to boring!
This book looks so interesting!

Lisa E. said...

The most common reason I put a book down is that I can't connect to the author's writing style. I usually notice it within the first few pages of the story. I really need to be able to connect to an author's "voice," since I can almost hear it in my head when I'm reading. BTW, I've never had that problem w/ Maureen's books, I absolutely love her writing style! She's one of my favorite authors, and Remember Me is my favorite of her books.


Merry said...

I will quit reading a book that doesn't capture my interest in some way or a book that I feel is too silly, disturbing or unbelievable.

I love, love, love the cover of Bees in the Butterfly Garden!
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

apple blossom said...

most common reason is bad language.

Maureen Lang said...

Just wanted to pop in again to express my thanks about the cover compliments for Bees In The Butterfly Garden. I wish I could take some credit, but I can't. The Tyndale cover design team is made up of absolute geniuses! I had the opportunity to meet the photographer, who is this over-six-foot sturdy kind of guy - and the designer told me he chased down that same butterfly all through the local arboretum for those shots. Wouldn't you like a picture of that?

Cara Putman said...

Love Maureen's books. The cover is stunning. I really don't put books down, but if I do, it's because the story slowed down too much.

by Pegg Thomas said...

Probably the quickest way to snap the book shut for me is if the writer treats me like I'm stupid. I can figure things out... don't spoon feed me the story! Repeating or rewording or giving another example of the same thing (sometimes called beating the dead horse) is a book killer for me. If I start smelling pulverated equine... I'm gone.

twinwillowsfarm at gmail dot com

Sheri said...

It takes a lot for me not to finish a book that I start and it doesn't happen very often. The two main things that make me want to stop reading are that I can't follow the plot because there is too much jumping around between storyline and characters and if there is not enough excitement to the book to keep my attention.


hspruitt (at) frontiernet net

Sheri said...

I forgot to post that I love the cover and title of this book. The cover is beautiful and the title is intriguing. It definitely sounds like an awesome story and not one that I would quit reading.

Thanks for a great interview!


squiresj said...

Curse words will make me quit reading a book if they keep use them. Also a book that drags and you just cannot get interested in it. One I just quit reading I thought was on the poor in India but it hit me wrong half way through and I threw it away.
jrs362 at hotmail dot com

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this great story...i have finished all of my books.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

~Ley said...

I don't put down too many books that I start. I'm kinda picky about them to begin with, and I like a wide variety of genres. But when I do put them down... It's either that I just can't "get" the characters, or that I'm simply not in the right mood. Some days I just need a fantasy (or etc.), and nothing else will do! :0




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