Today is release day for Lori Benton's THE PURSUIT OF TAMSEN LITTLEJOHN!
Isn't that a beautiful cover? I was lucky enough to be given an ARC (Okay, I begged like a fan girl, but it was worth it!) of the book and I can tell you the story is equally as good.
Blurb: In an act of brave defiance, Tamsen Littlejohn escapes the life her
harsh stepfather has forced upon her. Forsaking security and an arranged
marriage, she enlists frontiersman Jesse Bird to guide her to the
Watauga settlement in western North Carolina. But shedding her old life
doesn’t come without cost. As the two cross a vast mountain wilderness,
Tamsen faces hardships that test the limits of her faith and endurance.
Convinced that Tamsen has been kidnapped, wealthy suitor
Ambrose Kincaid follows after her, in company with her equally
determined stepfather. With trouble in pursuit, Tamsen and Jesse find
themselves thrust into the conflict of a divided community of
Overmountain settlers. The State of Franklin has been declared, but many
remain loyal to North Carolina. With one life left behind and chaos on
the horizon, Tamsen struggles to adapt to a life for which she was never
prepared. But could this challenging frontier life be what her soul has
longed for, what God has been leading her toward? As pursuit draws ever
nearer, will her faith see her through the greatest danger of
all—loving a man who has risked everything for her?
Lori was gracious enough to answer some questions for me.
1. Let's start at the beginning, how
did your love of words begin?When did
you know you wanted to be an author?
My love of words began when I was nine
years old. I wrote my first story after my best friend announced one day that
she had written a story. I guess it never occurred to me before then that I
could write a story, though I already loved to read. It was simply too
intriguing an idea not to give it a try. I did, and I was hooked.
When did I know I wanted to be an
author? All through my teens I had the niggling urge to write a “serious
grown-up” sort of story, and made a few false starts. But it wasn’t until my
early twenties that I buckled down and got serious about pursuing novel-writing
as anything like a career. Once I finished that first novel, I knew this was
how I wanted to spend my days.
2. This is your second published book,
did you find publishing it easier or harder than the first one?
A little of both. The editing process
on this second book was far more difficult and stretching to me as a writer,
which isn’t a bad thing. Just challenging. As far as the publishing process,
it’s been easier because I’ve known much better what to expect.
3. Your main character, Tamsen, loved
fabric and sewing. Do you sew? Does your personality influence your books or
characters at all?
I can manage to sew on a button, but
that’s the extent of my ability. For a woman happy in her jeans and 90s-era
flannel hoodie, I was surprised to find myself writing about a character with a
passion for clothing, both the wearing and the creating of them.
Does my personality influence my books
and characters? How could it not? If you want to know a writer, read her books.
There’s no hiding who I am on the pages. It finds it way there. That doesn’t
mean every character I create is a carbon copy of me, obviously. How boring!
Yet there is something of me in every character (even the antagonists; I create
them too, after all).
Characters—mine anyway—often spring
into being with personalities and interests that hold firm despite my efforts
to shape them. I gave up trying with Tamsen Littlejohn, embraced that “girlie”
aspect of her character, and soon saw how I could use her preoccupation with clothing
to show the stages of her growth—her rejection of the cage she feels caught in,
her shedding of her old life, her attempts at “trying on” various aspects of
frontier life, until we see her constructing a set of clothes unlike any she’s
ever imagined, for the sheer joy of creating. Which I can fully embrace and
4. How much research do you do for your
historical novels? What is the oddest thing you've ever researched?
A tremendous amount, and it never
stops. It’s become a way of life for me. The oddest thing I’ve ever researched?
Some might think it odd that I’ve researched the history of undergarments, or
the way 18th century scholars at Oxford were required to curl their
hair, or how to tan hides using an animal’s brains, or the erratic spelling and
capitalizing of 1700s penmanship, or how a woman could manage to get trapped in
her stays. None of it seems odd to me. Learning how our 18th century
ancestors lived is endlessly fascinating.
5. The cover is gorgeous! Did you have
any input? How did you feel when you saw it for the first time?
I’m very pleased with the cover for The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn. It’s beautiful. I’m thankful that
my cover designer, Kristopher Orr, is willing to discuss this aspect of the
book with me. In this case I was given a choice of three models for Tamsen.
While all three women were lovely, one of them so strongly embodied not only
Tamsen’s physical appearance, but her inner person—her vulnerability, strength,
and sweetness—that there was no other choice for me. She’s the Tamsen who
appears on the cover.
Seeing a cover for the first time is always, for me, a bit
of shock to the system. I’ve carried around potential covers in my head for
months before that moment, my own hopes, ideas for what I think it should look
like. When I see the cover for the first time there are a lot of happy feelings
because my cover designer does beautiful work. At the same time, all those
possible covers in my mind die a little death. After a while I cease to
remember them, as I fall in love with the cover that is.
When you've finished this book, go ahead and pick up her first book BURNING SKY which is also brilliantly done.
We do have a copy of THE PURSUIT OF TAMSEN LITTLEJOHN to give away to one lucky person. It would be awesome if you wanted to add her books on Goodreads, or leave reviews somewhere, buy her books or give a shout out about the book or contest on your social media but I hate making people jump through hoops (probably from years of filling out adoption papers) So, the only thing you need to do to enter is leave a comment on my blog sometime before Friday the 18th. That's it. I'll announce the winner next week. But if you want to do those other things too, feel free. Sorry, but this is limited to postal addresses in the United States.
If you want to find out more, here are some links.
Lori's website here. Facebook page here. Her pinterest book boards, which are really amazing are here. Amazon here. And, if you want to read the first two chapters free, you can find them here. Enjoy!
I just saw that Business Insider listed 'poets, lyricists and creative writers' as the second most competitive job in the country.
Agents are listed at number ten.
The thing I find so amazing is that even though it is competitive, whether we're selling to agents, publishers, or readers, we are still friends. The writing community as a whole is supportive, friendly and always willing to offer advice. So even if we do have a competitive job, we also have the best co-workers.