Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Release day and give away!



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 understand.

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!


43 comments:

  1. Lori,

    So excited about reading this book. Lori, I know it's been a long journey with much sowing, but now it's harvest time. :) Congratulations.

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    1. Thank you Beth! A long journey yes, but as Tamsen Littlejohn learns, long journeys can be the most rewarding.

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  2. The cover looks great. I took sewing in Junior High. I made a pillow for the girl I liked and she laughed at me. Sewing is traumatic.

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  3. Congrats on Lori's book! I researched sewing for a novel as well. :)

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    1. Thanks, David. I've long since decided I must confine sewing to the pages of my books. It's safer that way.

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  4. '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.'

    That's nice. Congratulations on your release, Lori. My best wishes that it find its way into the hands of readers who will really enjoy it.

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    1. Thanks Suze. That is my greatest hope!

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  5. Love that cover! Congrats to Lori on the release! :) It sounds like a long journey, one I can certainly relate to.

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    1. Thank you Anna. I am blessed with a wonderful cover designer. He designed Burning Sky, my debut novel, too.

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  6. it's so neat how writers can add in tidbits in book when they aren't experts on them...like sewing! and I can only imagine the googling on that one :)

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    1. Tammy, Oh yes. Lots of googling. And it didn't help that I grew up in a house with my grandmother, who was a seamstress. Though one abiding sound of my childhood is the hum of my grandmother's sewing machine (and a pity I didn't inherit her skill) Tamsen Littlejohn's 18th century version of sewing was far more laborious than what my grandmother did on her whirring machine.

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  7. I'd love to read this... and I love to sew.

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    1. I love to sew too. And it's a great read.

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  8. This book sounds amazing! I enjoyed reading your author interview as well. I look forward to reading it

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    1. Thanks! I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.

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  9. Hello Ladies, I enjoyed the interview and learned that this author cannot sew but she writes very well...I am on Goodreads and have this one on my TBR shelf would be great to win and read sooner then later....thanks for sharing today..Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and for listing it on Goodreads.

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  10. I can NOT wait to read this book! I have heard SO much about Lori's writing! Thank you!
    campbellamyd at gmail dot com

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    1. Lori is a fabulous writer. Very polished and professional.

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  11. Ohhhh thank you for the chance. looking forward to another author to follow and more books to read!
    mandn(at)wisper(dash)wireless(dot)com

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    1. She's definitely an author worth knowing.

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  12. Thanks so much for the interview and giveaway ladies! I love reading about the process behind the birth of a book...

    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  13. I'm so excited to read this book! What a lovely interview. I'm always interested in hearing how a book cover came about. Thanks for the giveaway!

    colorvibrant at gmail dot com

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    1. I love interviews too. I enjoy the book more if I know about how it came to be and the author.

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  14. Thank you so much for the interview. It's always fun to read more about an author and get some "behind-the-scenes" info about their books. I love the cover as well. It is beautiful and the book sounds wonderful too. I am looking forward to reading it. =)

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  15. I would love to read this book!

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  16. Congrats to Lori. I want to jump into that cover.

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    1. I know, right? I want to hang it on my wall.

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  17. Love historical! Must check out Lori's book.

    Research can be so addictive. I love reading old journals...so insightful!

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  18. Dorothy yvonne andersonApril 16, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    Would like to read never read any of her books but makes me want to try hers

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  19. Love! Holy crap, I'm swooning over that cover. Totally sounds like my kind of story. Awesome interview with Lori, Sara. Loved it. :)

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  20. Ah! I love the cover and the blurb. This is going on my "Want to read" list. =)

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  21. Historical fiction is actually my favorite genre to read. And I would love to write it, but I do get intimidated by the amount of research it would take. Some day though.

    Best of luck with this. Love the cover. :)

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  22. I had to laugh about the sewing abilities. I'm not even sure I can sew a button on properly. I just put the thread through the hole enough times and tie enough knots that it shouldn't move! :) Beautiful book cover and I can't wait to read the book itself!

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  23. Ooh, you got an ARC? I'm jealous! :)

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  24. I'm about 40% of the way in Tamsen's story and I'm loving it! Thanks for a wonderful interview, Sara and Lori!

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  25. Thanks everyone for your comments! And thanks for the interview, Sara! It was fun. :) Hope you all get a chance to check out The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, and happy reading!

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  26. Congratulations, Lori! I really can't wait to read this book.
    Love the idea of writing a story sounding like such an intriguing concept thta you just had to try it. Glad you did!

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  27. Sara and Lori, what a great interview. I just happened by this blog, and I'm glad I did. sounds like a book I'm going to love. Glad to be following.
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

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