I'd like to welcome Jane Goodrich to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of  The House at Lobster Cove  from Benna Books , ...

Interview with Jane Goodrich, Author of The House at Lobster Cove + Giveaway (open internationally!)

I'd like to welcome Jane Goodrich to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of The House at Lobster Cove from Benna Books, an Applewood Books imprint!

Welcome to Books � la Mode, Jane! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

Jane Goodrich is a native New Englander who writes from an island in Maine, in a room that sits above Kragsyde's famous arch. A lifelong love of the 19th century has inspired her work as a designer, builder, printer, and story-teller. 

The House at Lobster Cove is her first novel.

It's amazing to get to feature you today! Readers, here's a bit about the book, which was released in May:

He was Boston's largest taxpayer with little interest in civic affairs. He was listed yearly in the Blue Book and joined no clubs. He possessed a dining room overlooking Boston Common and never entertained.

If George Nixon Black was mentioned at all, it was almost as rumor. He came and went from the opera in a carriage pulled by horses that were the envy of his peers. If he were glimpsed on the street, it was almost always with one of his beloved dogs by his side. His magnificent seaside greenhouses boasted rare plants, his collection of antiques and paintings, seldom exhibited, were said to be extraordinary. When his own portrait was painted, just twice, he chose women artists. Each winter he quietly boarded a luxury European-bound steamship with a man eighteen years his junior. The two had lived together for years.

Black's life was exceptional for his time. After a youth marred by violence and uncertainty, and a life of great privilege contrasted with the awareness of the danger his lifestyle placed him in, his happiness is remarkable and his secrecy understandable.

In the end, it was his house that gave him away. While Black himself was probably content to slip unnoticed into history, Kragsyde, his house at Lobster Cove, was to have no such fate. Published many times when it was first designed, and adored by architects and scholars ever since, the marvelous and photogenic house has made it impossible for Black to disappear.

In The House at Lobster Cove, you will meet the elusive Boston bachelor who was a curious blend of humility and fierceness, and see behind the doors of Kragsyde, the house that sheltered and shaped him, and continued to tell his story long after both were gone.

What was the inspiration for The House at Lobster Cove?

Most people, when they pick up my book do not realize that the house at Lobster Cove was a real life home. Built in 1884 on Lobster Cove in Manchester, Massachusetts for the novel�s protagonist, George Nixon Black and torn down at his death in 1928, the house was named Kragsyde.

Long before I ever wrote a word about Mr. Black I was fascinated with Kragsyde, so much so that my husband and I built an exact replica of the house over a twenty year period doing all the work ourselves. It certainly must be singular for a novelist to live in the setting of her novel�but I do, with all the old ghosts around me.

The replica of Kragsyde. Photo courtesy of Bret Morgan.
Thus, the characters, places and events of The House At Lobster Cove are all true to life. They were all real people and their real names were used. The events actually happened. Only their dialogue and feelings are imagined.


What were your challenges in writing such a novel?  


I had to write and plot within the parameters of real lives, and could not deter from the paths and choices these real people made. Rather than imagining a character from scratch, I had to imagine them within the framework of their actual physical features, and actions. Plotting can be difficult because real life progresses nothing like life in novels. Real life is more dull.

I also had to try and be empathetic with each character and the point of view they seemed to hold during their life and times. I certainly found I �liked� some of the characters more than others, but it was important to imagine them within the context of their circumstances, and not as heroes or villains.

The research for the novel was extensive, it took ten years. Besides using primary sources which told me about the time period, I studied Mr. Black�s will and contacted as many descendants of his beneficiaries as I could find. It is from the stories and letters they provided me that I built the personalities of the characters I only knew from old photographs.

I gave myself a challenge in writing this first novel as well. I wanted to create as fine a work of literary fiction possible. I am a descriptive, poetic sort of writer, and am impatient with stories that have big loud events which carry them. I don�t like bombs going off, or worlds ending or space invaders. To me the smallest of gestures and events written lyrically are much more moving.

I agree! As a big fan of first lines, I'd love to hear yours. Can you provide some commentary on it?
The dog simply slipped off the cliff.
Yes, the first sentence was designed to draw the reader in, but also to give the message that even in a setting of wealth and beauty, sad things happen, and they can happen quickly. Mr. Black did have a dog which fell off the cliff at his home. Not as momentous as the world blowing up, but just as poignant, and something nearly every reader can really relate to. The novel is full of the sudden unexpected joys and sorrows we all experience. To me, that is the value of literature, to unite people in feeling, and provide clues to how we all live and thrive.

I think that's a wonderful technique, to be able to portray such a relatively small moment as extremely sad. Poor dog :( Can you talk a bit about your publishing journey?


It was as full of unexpected twists and events as my novel!

The very hour I sat down to begin writing a query for an agent, I received a call at my business to place an order for a product I sell. (I am a greeting card designer and publisher). The woman on the phone told me she was seeking a card we made with a quote about books because she was a literary agent and wanted to send them to friends and associates.

I immediately went into �elevator pitch� mode, told her I was writing a query at the moment she called, and asked if if she would read my manuscript. She was polite but very cool, but she did agree saying �I don�t believe in coincidences.�

She called me back within the week, told me she thought the novel was marvelous and I signed with her before the month was out. This is going to be easy- I thought.

She submitted my novel to three publishers and they rejected it. She called me to reassure me this was not unusual and not to worry, and then she suddenly died. A few days later, my dog died. It was a bad week.

I rapidly found out that it is perhaps worse being �half-agented� than not having an agent at all and another year passed before a friend of a friend put me in touch with the publisher of Applewood Books.

This time the stars were properly aligned and I had found my publisher. Applewood was also savvy enough to suggest that since I am a letterpress printer and have sold my own greeting cards to bookstores for over 30 years that I have a hand in designing and printing the book�s cover, which I did.

In the end, I have created more facets of my novel than I ever expected and the reader has a special volume. My thoughts have been in every word, and my hands have been on every cover.


It was a pleasure to be able to get to know you better today, Jane! Thank you again for dropping by, and best of luck with future endeavors!

Giveaway!


Books � la Mode is giving away four print copies of The House at Lobster Cove�woohoo! To enter, all you have to do is respond to Jane's question in the comments below:
Because of its fame, Kragsyde, the house at Lobster Cove ended up telling the story of the secretive man who owned it. What story would your house tell about you? What would be its secrets?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Jane and I really want to hear your thoughts! :)
Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher�a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at TLC Book Tours and Harlequin!
Giveaway ends October 13th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar on the right for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide�there are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

0 coment�rios:

I'd like to welcome Christopher Meades to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of  Hanna Who Fell from the Sky  from Park R...

Interview with Christopher Meades, Author of Hanna Who Fell from the Sky + Giveaway (US/Can)

I'd like to welcome Christopher Meades to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of Hanna Who Fell from the Sky from Park Row Books, a Harlequin imprint!

Welcome to Books � la Mode, Christopher! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

Christopher Meades is the author of three previous novels, including The Last Hiccup, which won the 2013 Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction. In addition, Meades�s work has appeared in several literary journals including The Potomac Review and The Fiddlehead.

He lives in British Columbia, Canada, with his family.


It's amazing to get to feature you today! Readers, here's a bit about the book, which hit shelves yesterday:

A magical, provocative tale of forbidden love and one girl's struggle for liberation

Hanna has never been outside her secluded community of Clearhaven. She has never questioned why her father has four wives or why she has fourteen brothers and sisters. And in only one week, on her eighteenth birthday, Hanna will follow tradition and become the fifth wife of a man more than twice her age.

But just days before the wedding, Hanna meets an enigmatic stranger who challenges her to question her fate and to follow her own will. And when her mother reveals a secret�one that could grant her the freedom she's known only in her dreams�Hanna is forced to decide whether she was really meant for something greater than the claustrophobic world of Clearhaven. But can she abandon her beloved younger sister and the only home she's ever known? Or is there another option�one too fantastical to believe?

With lush, evocative prose, award-winning author Christopher Meades takes readers on an emotional journey into a fascinating, unknown world�and, along the way, brilliantly illuminates complexities of faith, identity and how our origins shape who we are.

Were the characters in this book based on anything in your life?

I laced my previous books with people I knew growing up, embarrassing incidents (that changed only the names) and random events from my own life. For this novel, I created the world of Clearhaven out of thin air, so to speak. Creating characters solely from my imagination was a daunting challenge, but one I took seriously because this book means so much to me. I have two young daughters and one day, the oldest one picked up one of my earlier novels and started reading it. I almost had a heart attack (it�s not appropriate for children) and stopped her after one page. I hid the book and eventually we had a good laugh about it. But that moment inspired me to create a young female protagonist who finds her own path, who never gives up in spite of the obstacles in front of her. In Hanna, I created the kind of character I hope my children one day aspire to be: brave, honest, and above all�empathetic.


Would you share the first sentence and give us a bit of commentary?  

The wolves were lurking.
Hanna is in peril right from the start of the novel, surrounded by wolves as she and her disabled sister struggle to make their way through the woods. I sought to establish a sense of jeopardy and vulnerability right away, to show the dangers Hanna faces, what she must overcome to grow into herself throughout the novel, which starts as a story of survival and turns into one of potential.

Can you give us a behind-the-scenes peek at a crucial moment in the book�s history?

The first draft of Hanna Who Fell from the Sky had an ambiguous ending, leaving the reader hanging, which really isn�t fair to the reader (I personally hate it when a book leaves its story unresolved). Later, I placed a frame story around Hanna�s main tale and kept it there for over a year. When my editor told me that the frame story just didn�t work for the book, I spent months agonizing over how to change it. Two days before my edits were due, I had an epiphany and quickly wrote a new chapter, which (without revealing any spoilers) I believe gives hope and promise to the novel.

What did you learn as a result of writing this book?
  • Your editor is (almost) always right. If she says something�s off, askew or downright wrong about the novel... believe her!
  • Readers relate best to characters who care about the people around them
  • Sometimes the paragraph that you like the best�the one with the MFA-style wording and fancy turns of phrase�is the one getting in the way of your story
  • The best way to get any work done is to turn off all social media
  • To paraphrase Paul Valery, �A novel�s never finished, only abandoned.� You can keep fine-tuning a novel for thirty years if you feel like it. At a certain point, you have to say, �It�s done,� and send it out into the world.

Where can you be found on the web?


It was a pleasure to be able to get to know you better today, Christopher! Thank you again for dropping by, and best of luck with future endeavors!

Giveaway!


Books � la Mode is giving away one print copy of Hanna Who Fell from the Sky�woohoo! To enter, all you have to do is tell  me in the comments below:
What is the farthest you've traveled from home?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Christopher and I really want to hear your thoughts! :)
Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher�a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at TLC Book Tours and Harlequin!
Giveaway ends October 11th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar on the right for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide�there are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

0 coment�rios:

The Crows of Beara Julie Christine Johnson from Ashland Creek Press Along the windswept coast of Ireland, a woman discovers the landscape of...

The Crows of Beara by Julie Christine Johnson Giveaway (US only)

The Crows of Beara
Julie Christine Johnson
from Ashland Creek Press

Along the windswept coast of Ireland, a woman discovers the landscape of her own heart

When Annie Crowe travels from Seattle to a small Irish village to promote a new copper mine, her public relations career is hanging in the balance. Struggling to overcome her troubled past and a failing marriage, Annie is eager for a chance to rebuild her life.

Yet when she arrives on the remote Beara Peninsula, Annie learns that the mine would encroach on the nesting ground of an endangered bird, the Red-billed Chough, and many in the community are fiercely protective of this wild place. Among them is Daniel Savage, a local artist battling demons of his own, who has been recruited to help block the mine.

Despite their differences, Annie and Daniel find themselves drawn toward each other, and, inexplicably, they begin to hear the same voice--a strange, distant whisper of Gaelic, like sorrow blowing in the wind.

Guided by ancient mythology and challenged by modern problems, Annie must confront the half-truths she has been sent to spread and the lies she has been telling herself. Most of all, she must open her heart to the healing power of this rugged land and its people.

Beautifully crafted with environmental themes, a lyrical Irish setting, and a touch of magical realism, The Crows of Beara is a breathtaking novel of how the nature of place encompasses everything that we are.

Giveaway!


Books � la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Crows of Beara�yay!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
If you could run away from home, forever or for just a short spell, would you escape to a city (Paris! Tokyo!) or the middle of nowhere? Where would you go, and why?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Julie and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the author�a huge thank you to the lovely Julie Christine Johnson!
Giveaway ends October 10th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US readers only�sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for the list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

0 coment�rios:

Sugar Pine Trail   ( Haven Point #7) RaeAnne Thayne from Harlequin An unlikely attraction brings comfort, joy and unforgettable romance thi...

Sugar Pine Trail by RaeAnne Thayne Giveaway! (continental US only)

Sugar Pine Trail (Haven Point #7)
RaeAnne Thayne
from Harlequin

An unlikely attraction brings comfort, joy and unforgettable romance this holiday season!

Librarian Julia Winston is ready to ditch the quiet existence she's been living. She's made a list of new things to experience, but falling for Jamie Caine, her sexy military pilot neighbor, isn't one of them. Julia's looking to conquer life, not become the heartbreaker's latest conquest. But when two young brothers wind up in Julia's care for the holidays, she'll take any help she can get�even Jamie's.

Happy to step in, Jamie reveals a side of himself that's much harder to resist. Not only is he fantastic with kids, he provides the strength Julia needs to tackle her list. She knows their temporary family can't last beyond the holidays, but the closer she gets to Jamie, the more she wonders if things could be this merry and bright forever...

Giveaway!


Books � la Mode is giving away one print copy of Sugar Pine Trail�yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What is your favorite baby name, i.e. one named your child or are saving for a future baby? I know this could change with the times so tell me your favorite one currently!
I've always loved Rosalie for girl names.

Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. RaeAnne and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publicist�a huge thank you to the lovely folks at Little Bird Publicity!
Giveaway ends October 9th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to continental US readers only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open internationally. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

0 coment�rios:

The Trust   ( Liam and Catherine #4) Ronald H. Balson from St. Martin's Press // MacMillan The newest novel from Ronald H. Balson, the...

Behind the Scenes: The Trust by Ronald H. Balson + Giveaway (US/Can)

The Trust (Liam and Catherine #4)
Ronald H. Balson
from St. Martin's Press // MacMillan

The newest novel from Ronald H. Balson, the international bestselling author of Once We Were Brothers, finds private investigator Liam Taggart returning to his childhood home for an uncle's funeral, only to discover his death might not have been natural.

When his uncle dies, Liam Taggart reluctantly returns to his childhood home in Northern Ireland for the funeral�a home he left years ago after a bitter confrontation with his family, never to look back. But when he arrives, Liam learns that not only was his uncle shot to death, but that he�d anticipated his own murder: In an astonishing last will and testament, Uncle Fergus has left his entire estate to a secret trust, directing that no distributions be made to any person until the killer is found. Did Fergus know, but refuse to name, his killer? Was this a crime of revenge, a vendetta leftover from Northern Ireland�s bloody sectarian war? After all, the Taggarts were deeply involved in the IRA. Or is it possible that the killer is a family member seeking Fergus�s estate? Otherwise, why postpone distributions to the heirs? Most menacingly, does the killer now have his sights on other family members?

As his investigation draws Liam farther and farther into the past he has abandoned, he realizes he is forced to reopen doors long ago shut and locked. Now, accepting the appointment as sole trustee of the Fergus Taggart Trust, Liam realizes he has stepped into the center of a firestorm.

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at How The Trust Came About


How did The Trust come about? I suppose the foundational question would be, what inspired me to write a murder mystery and set it in Northern Ireland? My three previous books were either set in wartime Poland or in the fiery Middle East. What would inspire me put my characters in Northern Ireland? My very first character, Ben Solomon, told Catherine Lockhart in Once We Were Brothers, that inspirations are ideas that come to all of us from time to time, and to capitalize on them, we must be receptive. We must be good listeners. �Ask any writer,� he said, �they thrive on inspirations, like waiting for the next bus.� Ben believed that inspirations were divine revelations. He said, �The word inspiration comes from Latin and means: to breathe into.� Divine? Perhaps, but I think mine are more mundane.

For Once We Were Brothers, it was my experience traveling around Poland that inspired me to write a story about a Polish family in World War II. For Saving Sophie, it was my connection with people who lived in Israel and served in the Israel Defense Forces that inspired me to write a story involving the Israeli/Palestinian dispute. Fay Waldman, a magnificent woman, a survivor of the Auschwitz death march, told me her story, which inspired me to write Karolina�s Twins, a novel based on her life.

When I finished Karolina�s Twins and was searching for a topic for my next novel, I was out of inspirations. I was toying with the idea of writing a murder mystery, but nothing grabbed me. Where were my inspirations when I needed them? People would ask me what�s next, and I would shake my head. Finally, one of my kids said, �Why don�t you write a story about Liam Taggart going home to Northern Ireland.� Hmm. Not bad.

Like many of us, I was obliquely aware of the civil discord that ravaged Northern Ireland in the seventies and eighties. During that time, I would read newspaper reports about the Catholics and the Protestants, the Loyalists and the Nationalists, the IRA and the UVF, the civil war they called The Troubles, but I can�t say that I had a very good understanding of what it was all about. Nonetheless, being a writer of historical fiction, I thought I could learn about it and draw upon Northern Ireland�s recent history as a backdrop to a murder mystery.

I began to study and research the era. I dove deeply into books and studies about The Troubles. From time to time, in casual conversation, people would ask me, �What are you reading these days?� �What�s on your nightstand?� I would answer, �An eight-hundred-page book on the IRA.�

I have never written a book without actually going to the locale. My wife and I traveled to Northern Ireland, engaged the services of a historian and sought first-hand to examine the places and events I would include in the story. If you truly want to learn, the resources are there and so are the people who are willing to help. The staffs of the Titanic Museum, the Ulster Museum, the Dunluce Castle and other historical sites mentioned in the story were more than willing to provide the fabric and color that cannot be found in the pages of a book.

I decided to write The Trust in the first person to let Liam tell his story. I wanted it to be introspective and delve into intra-family relationships. The Taggarts are a large Irish family with disparate personalities. Indeed, in the mystery, many of them were not above suspicion. I thought it would be interesting to examine the interplay of those personalities when faced with the dilemma of a serial murderer and an unsettled estate. There is no better way to do that than through the eyes of the storyteller.

Since The Trust is my fourth installment in the Liam and Catherine series, I also thought it would be a fine opportunity to get to know Liam. From the previous books, we don�t really know much about his past or his development into the character he is today. In The Trust, there was ample opportunity to insert material about Liam�s childhood, his life as a young adult and his previous relationships. Now Liam returns to Northern Ireland after a sixteen-year estrangement from his family. Not only must he find the villain who threatens the lives of his entire family, but he must face the people and the reasons that prompted him to leave his family and shut the door so many years ago. All in all, The Trust was a joy to write and I thank my kids for giving me the idea.

Giveaway!


Books � la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Trust�yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
Who is someone you would trust with even your deepest darkest secrets?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Ron and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher�a huge thank you to the lovely folks at St. Martin's Press!
Giveaway ends October 3rd at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

0 coment�rios:

The Writing Desk Rachel Hauck from Zondervan // HarperCollins From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dress comes a new...

The First Line of The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck + Giveaway (US/Can)

The Writing Desk
Rachel Hauck
from Zondervan // HarperCollins

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dress comes a new captivating novel of secrets, romance, and two women bound together across time by a shared dream.

Tenley Roth�s first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she�s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?

With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer�s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart�s been missing.

A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she�ll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn�t know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.

Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase.

The First Line of The Writing Desk


I�m a first line junkie because they can say so much about a story and draw a reader in. Hint at success and failure, of the protagonist�s wound or fear. A first line can represent the overall theme of a book.

My protagonist, Tenley Roth, is a novelist who had surprising and instant success with her first novel. As the story opens, she�s on her way to accept a prestigious literary award. Yet, she�s struggling with her second novel and fears she�s a complete fraud.

Instead of feeling honored and special as she heads to a rooftop venue in midtown Manhattan, she battles fear.

Here�s the first line of The Writing Desk:
This should be her night of triumph.
Let�s break down those first seven words.

This should be... The first half of the sentence speaks of Tenley�s expectations about herself and her career. Winning a coveted award should make her the queen of her world. But there�s no crown. Only worry. She�s nervous and jittery, wondering when the publishing community will discover she�s a poser.

...her night of triumph.

The second half hints that something good is going on. This woman isn�t just living A typical life, but owning some corner of her world. She�s achieving, winning, succeeding.

This should be her night of triumph.

The sentence raises questions for the readers. If it�s her night of triumph, why is there a sense of dread or disappointment? What�s wrong? Was it because of her own failings or someone else�s? If it�s not her night of triumph, then what kind of night is it? Is she sick? Lost? Fired? Did she worked long and hard for a promotion only to discover another took her place?

The reader must go on to find the answers!

A first line should raise questions, hint at what the protagonist wants and set the stage for the overall story.

Will Tenley Roth ever be triumphant?

How did I come up with this line?

I do a lot of character work before I start writing. I ask myself the questions I�ve posed here. What does Tenley want? What�s her goal? What is her wound, lie, and fear? Her secret desire?

As I develop the characters, the external plot becomes a little more clear. (If you can call mud clear.) I envision large plot stepping stones that might move my character through the story. I dream up problems, obstacles, and romantic interests.

I do this for all of my point of view (POV) characters. So when I introduce each one into the story, I craft an opening line to set the stage for the character�s journey.

Of course, the opening line for the entire book should reflect its theme and draw in the readers.

This should be her night of triumph.

The line came to me as I considered Tenley and the journey ahead. I love that it hints at a problem. Often I don�t know the first line until the book has been written and rewritten. I may tweak it a half dozen times through the writing process.

I landed on this particular opening line when I realized the book was about overcoming, about turning failures into successes. Failure is not what sinks us, it�s believing we cannot succeed.

I imagined myself, and most readers, relating to the notion that every once in awhile, a grey cloud hangs over our success, excitement, or a happiness. That�s Tenley in the opening scene. A grey cloud shadowing her success and, in many ways, that same struggle follows the rest of the characters telling the story.

So that�s my first line.

About the Author



Rachel Hauck is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY bestselling author of The Wedding Dress, which was also named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times and was a RITA finalist.

Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and two pets and writes from her ivory tower.


Giveaway!


Books � la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Writing Desk�yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
If a genie offered to grant you 20 wishes, what are some things you would wish for that aren't significant enough to use up your initial 3 wishes on?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Rachel and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Nice weather for everyone in every geographical location (dependent on their preference, of course), the ability to speed through traffic when I'm running late, and the safety of never getting lost when I'm in a foreign environment.

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher�a huge thank you to the lovely folks at TLC Book Tours and Zondervan!
Giveaway ends October 2nd at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

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A Mother Like Mine   ( Hartley-by-the-Sea #3) Kate Hewitt from Berkley // Penguin Random House Welcome to England�s beautiful Lake Distric...

The Setting for A Mother Like Mine by Kate Hewitt + Giveaway (US/Can)

A Mother Like Mine (Hartley-by-the-Sea #3)
Kate Hewitt
from Berkley // Penguin Random House

Welcome to England�s beautiful Lake District, where a reluctant reunion forges a new bond between a daughter and her wayward mother...

Abby Rhodes is just starting to get her life on track. After her fianc�s unexpected death, she returned with her young son to the small village where she grew up and threw herself into helping her ailing grandmother run the town�s beach caf�. Then one evening, her mother, Laura, shows up in Hartley-by-the-Sea and announces her plan to stay. After twenty years away, she now wants to focus on the future�and has no intention, it seems, of revisiting the painful past.

Laura Rhodes has made a lot of mistakes, and many of them concern her daughter. But as Abby gets little glimpses into her mother�s life, she begins to realize there are depths to Laura she never knew. Slowly, Abby and Laura start making tentative steps toward each other, only to have life become even more complicated when an unexpected tragedy arises. Together, the two women will discover truths both sad and surprising that draw them closer to a new understanding of what it means to truly forgive someone you love.

It's All in the Setting in A Mother Like Mine


The setting for A Mother Like Mine is the small village of Hartley-by-the-Sea, on the coast of England�s Lake District. It�s based almost entirely on the village where I lived for four years, St. Bees.

A Mother Like Mine is the third (standalone) book in the series, and I wrote it after I�d reluctantly moved away from St. Bees, thanks to my husband�s job relocation. It felt very different to write about a place I�d loved and had to leave, compared to the first two books in the series, which were written when I was still happily living there and had no plans to go anywhere.

The result is that I experienced a fair amount of nostalgia while writing A Mother Like Mine, as I recalled all the things I loved about the village�the green sweep of fields to the sea; the long, rambling high street that went steeply down to a little stone bridge; the sense of community bordering on nosiness�I couldn�t go out for a drink at the local pub without someone commenting on it the next day! Things that annoyed me while I lived there�like the fact that it rains in the Lake District for approximately 300 days out of 365�took on a cozier cast as I remembered them from afar.

Setting has been an integral part of all three books in the series, and in A Mother Like Mine, the two main characters, Abby and her mother Laura, both return to the village with varying emotions after many years away. Coming home can be both wonderful and hard, joyous and bittersweet, and it certainly is for Abby and Laura, especially as they have their own reconciliation to navigate.

Is the setting of a story important to you? What has been one of the most interesting or unique settings you�ve read about? To inspire you, I�m leaving you with a real-life photo of Hartley-by-the-Sea�s inspiration!

Happy reading!

About the Author


Kate Hewitt is the USA Today bestselling author of more than fifty books, including the Hartley-by-the-Sea novels, Rainy Day Sisters, and more recently the Willoughby Close series.

A former New Yorker, she now lives in Wales with her husband and five children. She also writes as Katharine Swartz.

Giveaway!


Books � la Mode is giving away print copies of Rainy Day Sisters and Now and Then Friends, two previous novels in the series�yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is answer Kate's question in the comments below:
How important is setting to you in a story?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Kate and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

I think interesting settings can really pull a reader in but they aren't necessarily the most important aspect of a novel for me. Not to say I don't take setting into account when enjoying a book, but I'm likelier to enjoy a story with great characters and mediocre setting rather than the other way around.

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher�a huge thank you to the lovely folks at TLC Book Tours and Penguin Random House!
Giveaway ends September 28th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

0 coment�rios: