Thursday, September 25, 2008

Returning Guest Author: Maureen Lang

I'm excited to welcome Maureen back to the blog. We met recently at the ACFW conference. See below for a picture of us together.

We're highlighting her new release "My Sister Dilly." Here's our latest interview, followed by my review.

We're having a contest, so leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of her book. We'll have the drawing on 9/28 and announce the winner 9/29. See below for other chances to win as well.


Tell us about your book “My Sister Dilly.”


My Sister Dilly is the story of two sisters, one of whom makes a terrible mistake and the other, the older sister Hannah, feels like she let Dilly down by not being there when she was needed most. So Hannah returns to the small town she left behind with the hope of “fixing things.”


She finds her sister changed, and soon suspects her carefully wrought plans might not work—and maybe it isn’t her sister who needs the “fixing.” Hannah realizes the price she was willing to pay because of her own sense of guilt, having left behind the only man she’s ever loved, and fears every decision she made was the wrong one.


This is a book about relationships and forgiveness, second chances and faith. Writing this was challenging in some ways because it’s not only completely contemporary (I’ve usually had at lest some historical element in my books prior to this) but it has a more serious tone than some of my other work. I have to admit, though, the challenges brought a really satisfying sense of accomplishment, and these characters have stayed with me. I hope they will for my readers, too!


I recently had a book trailer done for this book, which you can see at the following link:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5impgRmCNCk


I think the designer really captured the feel of this story!


What inspired the book? Are there any elements from your own life experience included in the story?

This book was inspired by a conversation I had with my sister-in-law. We both have children with disabilities, and although our children are different from each other, we understand some of the byproducts of belonging to the disability community. Some of those factors play a major role in this book—the isolation and fatigue, along with some triumphs and a very special love.


I remember thinking after our discussion that although I wanted to write this book, I knew even then it would be very different from anything I’d done before. I assured myself I’d be able to put a romance into it, and at least that part of it would be familiar. Tackling something really new for me was a little daunting, though. But not only did I thoroughly enjoy the process, it feels like one of those special accomplishments we get to enjoy when we strive for something and succeed.


What are you writing now? Tell us about it.


I’m happy to talk about my current project! I’m writing the first of a three book series, and each book will be set in a different country in Europe during the First World War. But of course all of the angst of war is merely the backdrop for a romance in each book, which is my favorite kind of story.


The series starts in Northern France, in a small village that holds the unfortunate location of what ends up being behind the German lines. It’s soon occupied by German troops, and the villagers discover and hide Allied soldiers who were caught in the chaos of some of the early battles. One of the stragglers, as they were called, is discovered by my heroine and guess what? They fall in love amid all the danger. Great for conflict!

I’m actually blogging about the process of writing this book, which has been huge fun. I’ve noticed that I have a pattern to my writing—things have started to feel familiar now that I’m working on what’s actually my ninth contracted novel. I’ve recognized things like initial enthusiasm followed by insecurities, wondering what my characters are really like, defining the theme, and so forth. It’s a daily journal about things on my mind as I’m working on this book.

The blog address is http://maureenlang.blogspot.com/

So if any of your readers want to stop by, great! I’ll also be holding occasional contests for a free book, so if you don’t win one through Annette’s blog, stop by mine.


Do you have any other books coming out before that one is finished? If so, we’d love to know titles and info about them.


My Sister Dilly is my next release, and this first book of the WWI series will release early next fall, 2009. The second book in the series will be set in Belgium and release nine months after the first book (mid 2010) and the third book will release nine months after that. The third book is just a twinkle in my eye for the time being, but I’m already excited about that one, too. Just about all I know of that story is the setting, and a glimpse into the hero who’s introduced in Book One—a German soldier. I think it’ll be interesting to have two books set from an Allied perspective, then for the denouement switch to the German perspective. I can hardly wait!


Thank you for visiting again. How can readers contact you?


Readers can visit my website at www.maureenlang.com or stop by my blog at http://maureenlang.blogspot.com/. I love hearing from my readers!


My review of My Sister Dilly:


I’ve had the privilege of reading and reviewing Maureen’s novels since On Sparrow Hill came out a couple of years ago. One thing you can always count on with Maureen’s work is she puts a lot of heart into her stories. Her storytelling has a way of digging deep into the reader’s own heart to find what’s buried there. My Sister Dilly is set in the Midwest. I grew up in the Midwest, and I can vouch for her descriptions and skill at immersing the reader into that setting. Her descriptions were so realistic, down to the personalities of some folks there—people working hard throughout their lives and finding the help God offers, but not always understanding His heart. (Which can happen anywhere.) I also really appreciate her ability to infuse her stories with life-changing messages without leaving room for defensiveness from the reader. She writes real stories, seemingly about real people, and the reader is left pondering those characters long after the book has been placed on the shelf or into the hands of the next reader, or friend.


Don't forget the contest. Leave a message for a chance to win a copy.

8 comments:

Annette M. Irby said...

Hey guys, when you leave a comment, sneak your email address in like: yourname (at) somewhere (dot) com. That way I can contact the winner next Monday. Thanks for reading!!

Anonymous said...

I'm anxious to read My Sister Dilly, as I have enjoyed all of Maureen's books! It's interesting to hear how Maureen gets her great ideas for new projects. Keep on writin', Maureen!

Suzanne Slade
www.suzanneslade.com

Maureen Lang said...

Thanks, Suzanne! And thanks for having me, Annette - I love blog interviews, the questions are always such a nice reflection of the host. Lots of fun!

squiresj said...

I would love to read your book if I win it. I promise I will write you several reviews too.
jrs362 (at) hotmail (dot) com
I enjoyed your blog and pray that God will bless you special today.
I hope I am not too late to enter.

Erica said...

I've read all of Maureen Lang's books and her new book looks interesting. Please enter my name in the contest. Thanks!

Erica

bookhearth [at] yahoo [dot] com

Annette M. Irby said...

Hey readers,

I performed the very scientific process of drawing one of your names from a bowl. :) And the winner is. . . . Erica! CONGRATULATIONS!!

I'll email you and Maureen. She'll be getting with you about your address so she can mail you the book! Thanks for reading!

Have a great day, everyone!

sarahw said...

I don't remember if i've read a book by Maureen but she sounds like a name i know. please enter my name in the draw. thanks,
sarahwoll at hotmail dot com

Annette M. Irby said...

Sorry, Sarah, we held the drawing on the 29th. Feel free to leave a comment for current drawings, however. Megan DiMaria's book "Out of Her Hands" is our next giveaway. Leave a comment over at that blog post and we'll have the drawing first thing on October 7th. Sorry you missed the last one.

Thanks for reading.