Featured Author: Lisa Wingate

Featured Author: Lisa Wingate

Lisa Wingate
Lisa Wingate

Lisa Wingate is a popular inspirational speaker, magazine columnist, and national bestselling author of several books, including Tending Roses, Good Hope Road, The Language of Sycamores, and Drenched in Light. Her work was recently honored by the Americans for More Civility for promoting greater kindness and civility in American life. 

Selected among Booklist’s Top 10 for two consecutive years, Lisa skillfully weaves lyrical writing and unforgettable settings with elements of traditional Southern storytelling, history, and mystery to create novels that Publisher’s Weekly calls “Masterful” and Library Journal refers to as “A good option for fans of Nicholas Sparks and Mary Alice Monroe.”

​Lisa is a seven-time ACFW Carol Award nominee, a multiple Christy Award nominee, a two-time Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RT Booklovers Magazine Reviewer’s Choice Award Winner for mystery/suspense. Booklist summed up her work by saying, “Lisa Wingate is, quite simply, a master storyteller.”

The following is an October 2015 Q&A interview with Lisa.

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
AT THE END 
OF THE INTERVIEW

~~

carolina-heirloomsBe in to win a copy of
a Carolina Heirlooms title
The Prayer Box,
The Story Keeper,
or
The Sea Keeper’s Daughters

~~

by Lisa Wingate

~~

(TWO copies to be won, winner’s choice – Worldwide)

Contest runs from October 23 – November 13, 2015 EST

~~

b_w_scrolldiv

wingate-ch0.5Tell us a little about yourself.

When not disguised as an author, I am the mother of two sons. I wanted girls. I got boys. I never dreamed that boys could be so wonderful. But that is another story.

 

What inspired you to become a novelist, and did you always want to write?

A special first grade teacher, Mrs. Krackhardt, put the idea of being a real writer into my head.  She found me writing a story one day at indoor recess, and she took the time to stop and read it.  When she was finished, she tapped the pages on the desk to straighten them, looked at me over the top and said, “You are a wonderful writer!”  That was a defining moment for me.  In my mind, I was a writer. When your first grade teacher tells you that you can do something, you believe it.

I was only in her class for a few months before we moved again, but during that time, she left an indelible mark on my life.  It’s funny how we have defining moments in our lives, and that time in Mrs. Krackhardt’s class was one of mine.  For years, I couldn’t have told you what she looked like, or whether she was a young teacher or an old teacher, but I could have told you that she said I was a wonderful writer.  When I left her class, she wrote on my report card, “Keep that pencil working with that wonderful imagination, Lisa!” and  “I expect to see your name in a magazine one day.”  I still have that report card, and I never forgot those words, or the way her confidence in me gave me confidence.  Publishing is a difficult business, but I always believe I could do it, because my first grade teacher told me so.

wingate-ch1.5What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

I think Christian fiction is significant in that it offers the opportunity not only to tell a good story and to entertain, but to consider the character on a deeper level — to delve into the spiritual journey and what it means. There are inherent larger questions. Who are we, beyond our physical bodies and beyond this world? How do we connect with God? What happens when there’s a disconnect? What are we meant to be and what happens when we come to a place where we can finally live authentically, from the inside out?

wingate-ch2How did you write 25 books in 14 years with a family to take care of?

I’ve always loved to write, but I didn’t get serious about freelance writing and selling until after I’d graduated college, married, and started a family. I wrote and sold various smaller projects between naps, diapers, and playgroups. And when the boys were older, during soccer practices, in carpool lines, while helping with homework, and in all sorts of other situations.

People often ask me if I need quiet in order to write. With boys in the house, if I’d waited for quiet, the writing would never have happened. I learned to lose myself in a story amid the noise of life and I loved it that way.

I asked myself what makes a story last, what really makes a story worth telling and worth reading? I wanted to write books that meant something, that explore the human soul.

One day, I came across a notebook in which I’d written some of my grandmother’s stories. I’d never known quite what to do with those stories, but I knew they were significant in my life. When I rediscovered the notebook, I had the idea of combining my grandmother’s real stories with a fictional family who is like and unlike my own family. That little germ of an idea became my first women’s fiction novel, Tending Roses.

Now that the boys are grown and the house is quiet, I’m redefining the writing routine again. Just as in books, life is a series of scenes and sequels, beginnings and endings, and new discoveries.

wingate-ch2.5Will you tell us about the inspiration for The Sea Keeper’s Daughters?

I never know where my stories will come from. While working on my first Carolina book, set on the Outer Banks, I became fascinated with the mystery of the Lost Colonists of Roanoke Island.  You can’t spend time on the Carolina Coast without realizing that theories abound as to the fate of the 117 people who vanished from Sir Walter Raleigh’s ill-fated colony over thirty years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. While writing my second Carolina book, The Story Keeper, I delved into the mystery of what early explorers deemed to be “blue-eyed Indians,” who were found to have been living in the Appalachia decades before other Europeans pressed in. I knew that the third Carolina book would somehow bring these two fascinating bits of history together.

wingate-ch3An interesting thing happened when The Story Keeper hit the bookstores. Because the novel is about the discovery of an untold story, readers began sharing their own family stories with me. One reader mentioned that she’d traveled through the mountains many times as a child and one day had noticed that there were doors in the mountainside. When she asked about the doors, her father told her that during the Depression, families who lost their farms or had no place to live would often move into a nearby cave. Many people salvaged doors, windows, and furniture from their repossessed homes before leaving. They used those to outfit their new cave houses. I couldn’t resist researching that tale, but I found very little about Americans living in caves during the Depression. What I did come across were life history interviews written by participants in a little-known WPA program called the Federal Writers’ Project. The Project hired impoverished writers, academics, housewives, and reporters, and turned them into Federal Writers. The Field Interviewers of the FWP were tasked with traveling the hidden corners of America and recording the stories of the common man. The narratives they wrote were fascinating, but what I really wondered about were the lives behind the pen. What was it like to be a Federal Writer, literally wandering the dusty back roads, looking to scare up stories?

The Sea Keeper’s Daughters was born from that process of researching and imagining the experiences of a Federal Writer. In the novel, a modern woman, Whitney Monroe, finds herself tasked with cleaning out a turn-of-the-century hotel once owned by her grandmother. Inside, she discovers the letters of Alice, a great-aunt she never knew, who left behind her wealthy family to become one of Roosevelt’s Federal Writers during the Depression.  What does Whitney find among Alice’s field notes? Possibly, among mountain stories handed down by oral tradition, not only her own family history, but a clue to one of America’s oldest mysteries.

DSC_0074-30The Appalachian setting is a character of its own in the book. Why did you set the historical portion of the book there?

Appalachia is a place where the air fairly whispers with stories. So much of the world has become too fast-paced these days, too busy for sitting and listening, too preoccupied with the future to devote effort to retelling the past. But in Appalachian culture, there’s still a reverence for it.

There are still storytellers who can entertain a crowd at a ramshackle café, on a back porch, or at the kitchen table over coffee. That tradition of the importance of story is at the heart of Alice’s journey as a Federal Writer in the historical portion of The Sea Keeper’s Daughters.

Appalachia is filled with mist and mystery. It lends mood to a story. The mountains are dotted with isolated communities where people can live differently, undisturbed by outsiders. It’s also the place where mysterious “little races” like the Melungeons lived historically, and in some cases still do. Even today, the heritage of “blue-eyed Indians” discovered in the Appalachians by the first English and French explorers remains a mystery. What were the origins of their Caucasian blood? Were they descendants of shipwrecked sailors? Journeying Norsemen or Turks? The progeny of the Lost Colonists who vanished from Roanoke Island without a trace, decades before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock? The mystery fascinated me, and it pulled the story from me, and yes, both Roanoke Island and the Blue Ridge Mountains became characters in themselves as the dual storylines developed.

WingateBlueRidgeWaterfall-25The Sea Keeper’s Daughters tells a story within a story. Was this a challenge to write? 

It’s always a challenge to balance dual time frames and a story within a story. It falls in the category of double-the-work and double-the-risk, but also double-the-fascination and double-the-reward. There’s twice as much research, but in doubling the research, you also discover twice as many interesting historical facts, unanswered questions, and nearly-forgotten true stories. Those things weave new threads into the story loom. For me, the biggest challenge was balancing the two stories, ensuring that both the narratives of both Whitney and Alice would be fully satisfying, and that the historical story would serve a purpose in modern-day characters’ lives.

wingatepubshot2015july360What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead?

My last few books have been dual time frame novels. The historical threads were based on real historical events. I love doing the research, finding little-known events and building on those. I imagine the people who were involved, what issues they may have faced, how they might have learned from their challenges.

I love having present day characters discover some historical mystery and telling a time-slip story allows the modern characters to learn life lessons from the past. I have at least one more book coming up along those lines. My lips are sealed at this point about the topic, title, and theme, but that book will be upcoming in hardcover from Ballantine in late 2016 or early 2017 and foreign rights have already been sold in several languages. I can’t wait for it to hit the shelves!

Where can Soul Inspirationz readers find you on the Internet?

My website: www.Lisawingate.com

Goodreads : Twitter : Facebook : Pinterest : Youtube

Blogging Mondays at: www.SouthernBelleViewDaily.com

The Untold Story Guru : The Sisterhood Of the Traveling Books : Tyndale Media Center

The Prayer Box

wingate-ch1(Carolina Heirlooms #1)

by Lisa Wingate

  • Tyndale House Publishers
  • Contemporary/Historical
  • August 2013
  • ISBN: 9781414386881

Purchase:
[Kindle | Amazon | The Book Depository]

“THE PRAYER BOX is a masterpiece of story and skill.”– Debbie Macomber, New York Times #1 Bestselling Author

“A good option for fans of Nicholas Sparks and Mary Alice Monroe” – Library Journal 

When Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, the struggling young mother in her rental cottage, Tandi Jo Reese, finds herself charged with the task of cleaning out Iola’s rambling Victorian house.

Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola’s walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, spanning from Iola’s youth to her last days. Hidden in the boxes is the story of a lifetime, written on random bits of paper–the hopes and wishes, fears and thoughts of an unassuming but complex woman passing through the seasons of an extraordinary, unsung life filled with journeys of faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that could change everything.

The Story Keeper

wingate-ch2(Carolina Heirlooms #2)

by Lisa Wingate

  • Tyndale House Publishers
  • Contemporary/Historical
  • August 2014
  • ISBN: 9781414386898

Purchase:
[Kindle | Amazon | The Book Depository]

Not since To Kill a Mockingbird has a story impacted me like this.” — COLLEEN COBLE, USA Today bestselling author of Seagrass Pier

Wingate is, quite simply, a master storyteller. Her story-within-a-story, penned with a fine, expressive style, will captivate writers and nonwriters alike. — Booklist 

Successful New York editor, Jen Gibbs, is at the top of her game with her new position at Vida House Publishing — until a mysterious manuscript from an old slush pile appears on her desk. Turning the pages, Jen finds herself drawn into the life of Sarra, a mixed-race Melungeon girl trapped by dangerous men in the turn of the century Appalachia. A risky hunch may lead to The Story Keeper‘s hidden origins and its unknown author, but when the trail turns toward the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a place Jen thought she’d left behind forever, the price of a blockbuster next book deal may be higher than she’s willing to pay.

The Sea Keeper’s Daughters

wingate-ch3(Carolina Heirlooms #3)

by Lisa Wingate

  • Tyndale House Publishers
  • Contemporary/Historical
  • September 2015
  • ISBN: 9781414386904

Purchase:
[Kindle | Amazon | The Book Depository]

From modern-day Roanoke Island to the sweeping backdrop of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains and Roosevelt’s WPA folklore writers, past and present intertwine to create an unexpected destiny.

Restaurant owner Whitney Monroe is desperate to save her business from a hostile takeover. The inheritance of a decaying Gilded Age hotel on North Carolina’s Outer Banks may provide just the ray of hope she needs. But things at the Excelsior are more complicated than they seem. Whitney’s estranged stepfather is entrenched on the third floor, and the downstairs tenants are determined to save the historic building. Searching through years of stored family heirlooms may be Whitney’s only hope of quick cash, but will the discovery of an old necklace and a Depression-era love story change everything?

 

wingate-ch0.5 wingate-ch1.5 wingate-ch2.5

 Connect with Lisa Wingate

WebsiteFacebook ~ TwitterGoodreads

Author Portfolio at Soul Inspirationz // The Christian Fiction Site

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Connect with Soul Inspirationz

Social Media:
Facebook Page ~ Facebook Group ~ Twitter  ~ Pinterest ~ Google+

Email Subscriptions:
Newsletter ~ Blog ~ Readers Hub

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

~~

carolina-heirloomsBe in to win a copy of
a Carolina Heirlooms title
The Prayer Box,
The Story Keeper,
or
The Sea Keeper’s Daughters

~~

by Lisa Wingate

~~

(TWO copies to be won, winner’s choice – Worldwide)

Contest runs from October 23 – November 13, 2015 EST

~~

b_w_scrolldiv

How to Enter:

Please comment on the interview and/or leave a message for Lisa Wingate in the blog comments below, then fill out the contest form with your details.

  • To comment, log in at the top right of the blog (or below the comments)
  • Scroll to the bottom to leave your comment
  • Complete the CONTEST FORM* then return to this blog

Only entries made completing the above criteria will be eligible for drawing. 

*The Contest Form operates through Google Forms. You do not need a Google account to use it. None of the information supplied is used outside of Soul Inspirationz administration of the Giveaway.

 

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