Monthly Giveaway - Head in the Clouds

Hello readers! For this month we are combining our author interview with out monthly giveaway - as it will be done from now on! Look forward to next month's interview/giveaway - we're starting something new and fun! :)



First off, what inspired you to write Head in the Clouds?

Since I enjoy regency romances as well as those set in the American West, I thought it would be fun to blend the two by bringing an English nobleman to Texas.

Oh that's cool! It did make for an excellent book!
How did you mold your character's personalities? Did they choose them for themselves?


Some of the characteristics evolved naturally, but others sprang from the theme and plot. I knew I wanted my theme to delve into the idea of how we deal with situations when God seems to be silent. How better to demonstrate this than with a heroine who is naturally impulsive and impatient? It would be that much harder for her to wait, since it goes against her natural inclination. Adelaide's adventurous spirit and imaginative ideations were products of her love for novels, however, and came about more naturally.

Gideon is my representation of Prince Charming. He's rich, he's genteel, he knows how to turn
a pretty phrase—he's everything Adelaide ever dreamed of. Yet he's more than that storybook
facade. He's also hard working, willing to get his hands dirty, and willing to sacrifice everything
for those he loves. So for my plot, he started out as Prince Charming, but as the story progressed,
he revealed more and more depth.

Gideon was quite charming - and perfect for Adelaide, too!
How long did it take you to write Head in the Clouds?


My typical pace is about one book a year. I spend a few weeks at the outset doing research and brainstorming plot, then I take about 40+ weeks writing the actual manuscript. I'm one of those odd ducks who prefers to edit as I write. This makes my pace slower (about a chapter a week), but when I reach the end of the book, the editing is already complete, so I don't have to go back for rewrites until I hear from my editor.

Which book took you the longest to write?

Head in the Clouds took longer to write than A Tailor-Made Bride. Tailor-Made was the book Bethany House wanted to launch me with even though Clouds had been written first. Because of tight deadlines, I finished Tailor-Made in about 8 months where Clouds took me closer to 11 months.

What was the publishing journey like for you with your first book, A Tailor-Made Bride?

My journey was crazy, but looking back, I can definitely see the hand of God at work.

In 2007, I took my first completed novel to the ACFW conference in Dallas. I arrived a day early and worked at the volunteer station stuffing envelopes. A woman worked beside me who shared my first name. That's fun, I thought. However, as time ticked on, I picked up clues to her identity from others in the room. This was Karen Schurrer, an editor from Bethany House, my dream publisher. Only the Lord could have orchestrated such a meeting. I resisted throwing my pitch at her, but two days later, I sat at her lunch table and after everyone pitched their projects, one brave writer asked if we could send her our proposals. She said yes.

After the conference, I sent in my proposal and soon had a request for a full manuscript. Surely a contract
was right around the corner since the Lord was at work, right? Wrong. The acquisitions editor rejected my
manuscript. Nevertheless, she complimented my writing and said there was one component to the story
that she really liked—the dress shop. Could I come up with a new idea surrounding a dress shop?

Now, in the original story, the dress shop burned to the ground in the prologue. Yet she wanted me to
create an entirely new book from scratch based on this shop idea. I was faced with a choice: do I seek
publication elsewhere or do I keep my foot in this door?

Since publishing with Bethany House was my dream, I started brainstorming ideas for a dress shop book,
and even met with the editor in person at the 2008 ACFW conference where she gave me feedback and
encouraged me to resubmit. By January 2009, Bethany House offered me a three book deal launching
with A Tailor-Made Bride.

What was the most valuable thing you have learned when it comes to writing?

Depend on the Lord in everything – inspiration, plot, word choice, character development,
theme, everything. No aspect of writing is too small. Bathe your work in prayer, surrender to his
leading, and ask him to provide the discipline to write even when the desire flees.

Wow that's quite a story! Congrats on your success! :)
What is a word of advice you would give to aspiring authors?


Be committed to mastering the craft, tenacious in submitting your work, flexible enough to move
when the industry moves, and grounded enough in who you are as a person and as a child of God
not to lose heart when rejection comes. Accept the lessons of humility you learn now, for you
will need them later when you find success.

Excellent advice!!
If you could enter and book you wanted to and live it out as the main character, which

book would you enter?

Great question! And hard to answer. My favorite book of all time is The Secret by Julie Garwood, but I don't think I could handle living in a drafty medieval keep in the highlands. My favorite Christian romance is Redeeming Love, but I'm definitely not comfortable in taking on the role of a prostitute even if it means missing out on a dedicated man like Michael Hosea. I adored Jane Eyre, but her story started with such abuse and tragedy, that I can't quite commit to wanting her life even with the joy she finds with her Edward in the end. So, I think I'm going to vote for Pride and Prejudice. I feel like I already have a lot in common with Elizabeth Bennet as far as personality goes, and I'd love to know what it is like to have sisters. I only ever had a brother. The romance of the regency era would be something to see, and who wouldn't want to win the affections of Mr. Darcy? Such a noble hero.







Great choices! Thanks for visiting!


This month we are giving away a copy of Head in the Clouds to one lucky commenter! Thanks, Karen, for providing us with a giveaway copy!


Giveaway Rules: You must be/become a follower of Book Ponderings AND include your email address with your initial comment.USA only, please. This giveaway begins today and ends Friday, the 29th of April. The winner will be randomly chosen and announced on the 30th. This winner will be notified by the email address they leave in their comment. If the winner doesn't respond within 5 days, we will randomly pick another winner. Have fun!
For Extra Entries:
- Subscribe to this blog(+1)
- Grab our button(+1)
- Post about our giveaway on your blog(+2)
- Twitter this giveaway(+1 per tweet per day)
- Comment on our weekly book discussion (Wednesdays) or history posts(Tuesday)(+2)

Please seperate each entry with a seperate comment.

23 comments:

April said...

I am a follower of this blog and will be tweeting it momentarily

Ariel said...

I've been looking forward to reading this book, and I am a follower!

I subscribe +1

Vivien said...

Please enter me :)
follower

Vivien
deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Vivien said...

+1 email subscriber

Vivien
deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Naomi Musch said...

These books both have such beautiful covers. The artist has succeeded in doing their share to pull in readers -- AND the stories sound great. Intrigued to read.
Naomi
muschfarm@yahoo.com
(already a follower)

amber said...

This book is on my "to read" list! I'd love to win! Thanks for the giveaway!

afren07[at]gmail[dot]com

amber said...

and I'm an email subscriber : )

afren07[at]gmail[dot]com

loveangel132 said...

These books look amazing, love the covers too. Thanks for such a great give away!

Heidi
loveangel132@yahoo.com

Carol N Wong said...

I loved 'A Tailor Made Bride' and gave it a 5 on Amazon.dot in my review. I am definitely hooked, I want to read all her books.

This the main character is a school teacher so I am very eager read this one.
Please enter me in this contest!

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Carol N Wong said...

I follow your blog with Goggle Friends Connect.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Carol N Wong said...

I follow with an e-mail subscription to your blog.


CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Carol N Wong said...

My Twitter name is Carolee888 and I tweeted:


http://bookponderings.blogspot.com/2011/04/monthly-giveaway-head-in-clouds.html? Giveaway of 'Head in the Clouds'

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Carol N Wong said...

I commented on the Tuesday, April 12th post about the witch hunts.


CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Courtney said...

I can't wait to read Head in the Clouds, thanks for a chance to win it!

kcmelone/at/yahoo/dot/com

Courtney said...

I subscribed to this blog! +1

kcmelone/at/yahoo/dot/com

Courtney said...

I posted about this giveaway on my blog! +2
http://courtney-courtneyschitterchatter.blogspot.com/

kcmelone/at/yahoo/dot/com

Courtney said...

I made a tweet about this giveaway! +1
@kcmelone

kcmelone/at/yahoo/dot/com

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read karen's latest novel...

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

i'm an email subscriber :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Carol N Wong said...

I retweeted.


CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

karenk said...

i'm a follower, too :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Samantha Cheng said...

I'm a GFC follower! :D

hsiu_an(at)hotmail(dot)com

Samantha Cheng said...

I've subscribed via email!

hsiu_an(At)hotmail(dot)com

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Photo credit: Lori Warman