I was privileged to receive an ARC of the recently released THE WOOD'S EDGE by Lori Benton.
Pretty isn't it. And I love the title. It makes me want to know what's inside the woods, waiting. The book lives up to its promise.
On the day Fort William Henry falls, Major Reginald Aubrey is beside
himself with grief. His son, born that day, has died in the arms of his
sleeping wife. When Reginald comes across an Oneida mother with newborn
twins, one white, one brown, he makes a choice that will haunt the lives
of all involved. He steals the white baby and leaves his own child
behind. Reginald’s wife and foundling daughter, Anna, never suspect the
truth about the boy they call William, but Reginald is wracked by regret
that only intensifies with time, as his secret spreads its devastating
As the mother of three adopted children this book touched my heart. It brings out so many issues that are a part of my life, especially that of loving a child that isn't yours biologically, and, learning to work through the trials and mistrust that sometimes come between adoptive and biological families. Obviously, this experience is different than my modern day adoptions, but the feelings portrayed are timeless.
Lori is a sweet and amazing person. She does exhaustive research into the cultures and time periods in her novels and it really shows in the details.Her novels are well written and faith inspiring. You can find Lori at:
WOOD’S EDGE is the first book you’ve written that has a sequel. Did it make a
difference in the way you wrote the book?
Not at first. At first I planned for
the two books that make up The Pathfinders to be a stand-alone novel. But the story
outgrew the bounds of a single book (of normal length!). Once I had realized
that and knew roughly where The Wood’s
Edge would end, then I had some unique considerations to ponder. Though the
story continues in the sequel (A Flight
of Arrows, Spring 2016), I still wanted The
Wood’s Edge to be a satisfying read. Making sure enough story threads were
wrapped up for a satisfying ending, yet still leaving enough dangling for
readers to be eager for the story to continue, took some extra thinking. Hopefully
I found the right balance.
did you enjoy most about writing THE WOOD'S EDGE.
Like with any book, there were
challenges and frustrations in the writing of this story. I had to learn more
history for this series than for any novel I’ve ever written. At times it was
overwhelming. I created a 30-page single-spaced historical timeline for this
series to be sure my characters’ story and the historical record didn’t
But buried in that history were some
treasures. One of the things I most enjoyed learning about was the role the
Oneida Nation of the Iroquois played in the American Revolutionary War, and how
the seeds of that decision on their part (which opposed the choice nearly all
of the other Six Nations made) were planted years before the war. I hope
readers enjoy learning more about these “forgotten allies” of the United States
over the course of these two books.
intrigued by the idea of social media helping write books. You do a lot on
Pinterest and post pictures for many aspects of the book. Do you find that
helps you write? Or is it more a result of what you’ve already written? Or is
it simply a tool to connect to readers and help them understand the book at a
Most often it’s simply a fun way of
presenting the work I’ve already written to readers, as well as a great place
to keep visual research, such as the various 18th Century Clothing
boards I maintain. When it comes time for my cover designer to get to work on
the cover, I have all the correct period clothing samples he may need to see
gathered in one place.
Mostly it’s been a fun aside, but then
along came a pin that inspired a scene, another that solved a plot problem in the
novel I’m presently working on. But those are firsts. Perhaps I’m just making
better use of Pinterest these days. I do enjoy it a lot.
I hope readers who enjoy my books will
visit my novel boards https://www.pinterest.com/lorilbenton/ . During the
writing of a novel I’m constantly amassing images that remind me of the
characters and settings of the book, or daily life in the 18th
century as I’ve portrayed it in the story. As the book’s release approaches, I
make those pins public for readers.
you weren’t a writer what would you be?
I’d go back to what I used to do in
college and for a few years after, until the writing bug bit back in the early
1990s: wildlife painting. I’d be very rusty though! If I was just too rusty to
make a go of that, I might go back to school and get a history degree (18th
century, of course). And then what? I’ve discovered I’m not a good teacher.
Perhaps I’d work in a museum or a historic site.
you have any favorite books on the craft of writing?
There’s a longer list in the sidebar on
my website, but here are four of my favorites:
For Story by Lisa Cron
Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction by
James Alexander Thom
Art of War by Steven Pressfield (this one is
motivational rather than craft-related, but if it doesn’t motivate you nothing
Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass
because I’m in the middle of writing, rewriting, re-rewriting, crying, binging
on chocolate, threatening to give up, then starting over on my query, Is there
anything you can share about queries or your query process?
I haven’t written a query in a long time now, and perhaps
I’m not the best one to give advice, since for twenty years my queries resulted
in nothing but rejections. I had a very different path to that first open door
with my literary agent—I won top spot on her slush pile via a contest held by a
group of her clients who blogged together. Those clients passed along my
winning first chapter to their agent (who happened to be my dream agent), which
led to said agent requesting the entire manuscript, which led to her offering
me representation. Which goes to show that for an unpublished writer some
surprising doors can open simply by engaging with other writers online.
As for writing queries, I recall picking up tips by
following literary agent blogs years ago. They almost all touch on query
writing eventually (not to mention what each are looking to represent). Like
any profession, the business aspects of writing for publication need to be
studied (as much as we right-brained artistic types might wish this wasn’t
true!), but it’s far easier to educate oneself about the publishing business
than it was when I got serious about it (1991). I didn’t have a computer and
had never heard of email (much less the internet). Now there’s so much
information at our fingertips, and a world of support and community. It’s a
great time to be a writer, no matter where you are on your journey.
Lori has offered a signed copy of the book to one lucky winner. Sorry, but the contest is open to US residents only. If you want to be entered, please leave a comment saying so.