Thursday, April 23, 2015

Interview and Give away!

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 ripples.

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:




Find her books here:


THE 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.

What 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 conflict.

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.

I’m 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 deeper level?

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 . 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.

If 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.

Do 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:

Wired For Story by Lisa Cron
The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction by James Alexander Thom
The Art of War by Steven Pressfield (this one is motivational rather than craft-related, but if it doesn’t motivate you nothing will!)
The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass

And 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. 

Congrats on your new book, Lori!


  1. Great interview, Spesh & Lori. I love hearing about the work behind the creation. I don't qualify for the draw but, no worries, it hasn't been a problem purchasing Lori's books. :0)

    1. Thanks for dropping by Rose, and I'm glad you have access to her books. :)

  2. That is such a pretty cover. Sounds like a great book. I'll have to check it out.

    1. Her covers are always beautiful. I don't know how she got so lucky to have her cover designers.

  3. Great interview!

    Love the premise of THE WOOD'S EDGE, and that's a beautiful cover! I wish you much success with it, Lori--it sounds like a real winner. :)

  4. As a mommy to an adopted daughter that's just one more reason to want a book written by Lori. I'd love to win! ewe_r_merritt(at) yahoo( dot) com

  5. I'm so excited to read this book, I loved Burning Sky! Hoping to win!

  6. I loved The Wood's Edge, Lori! It was a compulsive page turner. All of your books make belief as an integral part of the character, not an afterthought, or a values lesson. That takes true inspiration. Thank you for a marvelous read! Again. ;-)

  7. I would love to read this book. Please enter me in the giveaway. :) Thanks.

  8. I adore Lori's books and would be thrilled to win an autographed copy of THE WOOD'S EDGE!! I can't wait to read this story! Thank you so much for sharing this great interview and giveaway.

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

    1. She does write excellent books. Thanks for dropping by!

  9. The story sounds bittersweet. Great interview. Great synopsis.

    1. Bittersweet is a great word for it. Heartbreaking in a way, yet still filled with hope and love.

  10. So excited to read your books! I just discovered you as an author! :)

  11. Congrats to Lori! This sounds like a great read, and what a fun interview :) I love Pinterest for the visual aspect of my novels!

    1. I've never been interested in doing my own pinterest but I enjoy looking at boards for the books I love.

  12. Wonderful interview, Lori and Sara. I'm so looking forward to reading this book. And I need to check out the Pinterest board!

  13. Sounds like a fascinating book. Good job on the interview, too.

  14. I'm so excited that this book has a sequel, but it will sure be hard to wait for the sequel. I can't wait to read The Wood's Edge!! Great interview!!

    hspruitt at frontiernet doT net

  15. Great interview Sara and Lori! I always enjoy hearing about the research behind a novel.