Thursday, February 11, 2010

Welcome Lisa Wingate

I'm giving up my spot today so you can participate in Lisa Wingate's Blog Tour and Grandprize giveaway.

Lisa is promoting her current release, Never Say Never:

Kai Miller floats through life like driftwood tossed by waves. She's never put down roots in any one place--and she doesn't plan to. But when a chaotic hurricane evacuation lands her in Daily, Texas, she begins to think twice about her wayfaring existence. And when she meets hometown-boy Kemp Eldridge, she can almost picture settling down in Daily--until she discovers he may be promised to someone else. Daily has always been a place of refuge for those the wind blows in, but for Kai, it looks like it will be just another place to leave behind. Then again, Daily always has a few surprises in store--especially when Aunt Donetta has cooked up a scheme. More

Lisa, how did you develop the initial story idea/plot line for this book?

Some book ideas you search for, and some just blow in on the wind. For the past several years, dating back to Hurricane Katrina, we in Central Texas have been the recipients of massive hurricane evacuations. These massive exoduses of people, pets, and belongings are frightening, frustrating, challenging, and at times oddly wonderful. When so many are on the road seeking shelter, the worst, but also the best qualities of humanity come to the surface. Hurricane evacuations truly provide times when we ask the question, "Am I my brother’s keeper?" In answering that question, we’ve enjoyed amazing moments of friendship and fellowship, family reunions, and chances to share a food and space with strangers from other parts of the country. We’ve traded stories and recipies, laughter and tears.

One thing we’ve learned about hurricanes, living here, is that the paths are never predictable. Storms waver, hesitate, speed up, slow down, and sometimes change course unexpectedly. Evacuations needs can change and develop quickly. What better way for the beauty shop girls to find their inner strength and to show Daily hospitality, than for their cruise plans to land them smack in the middle of a sudden and chaotic hurricane evacuation?

Almost every author puts a little of themselves into their stories—what did you put of yourself into this one? (personality traits, life events/jobs, settings, characters based on people you know, likes/dislikes, etc.)

There’s a bit of me in the setting, of course. I love Texas, in all its variety of cultures and landscapes, but, living in a small town, I have a particular affection for little bergs like Daily, where the coffee’s always hot, and a good slide of pecan pie can cure most ills. Having watched our little town mobilize to take in hurricane evacuees several times now, I’ve been reminded that sometimes the worst things that can happen bring out the best in people. Given the opportunity and faced with the need, regular people can rise to the occasion in amazing ways, as do the citizens of Daily in the book.

Some members of the Wingate family might also claim to recognize themselves among the citizens of Daily, Texas. I would offer the disclaimer that any resemblances are completely unintentional, but that would be a bald-faced lie. When you come from a family of great storytellers and colorful characters, there’s nothing to do but make use of what you’ve got.

Did you encounter any interesting challenges while writing/researching for this book? Please explain if so.

The most difficult part of working on Never Say Never was researching and reliving the devastation left behind on the Texas gulf coast last year after Hurricane Ike. While interviewing family members about their experiences during the evacuation and return, we shared laughter and quite a few tears. For those who have lived in southeast Texas all their lives, talking about familiar landmarks, heirlooms, and old family places that were washed away forever, knowing some things will never be the same, is both difficult and devastating. For those of us who have so many memories of family gatherings and vacations there, it’s hard to believe we’ll never visit the old places again.

Why is this book/story relevant today?

Despite our best-laid plans, we all experience storms in life—whether those storms be of a weather-related nature, or due to an illness, death, or in recent months, job loss and financial misfortune. When the parameters of life and our ability to control fate suddenly change, we’re confronted with our own helplessness and need to rely on other people and God. In a culture that values independence and self-sufficiency, it’s important to remember that we all have a common need and a common responsibility for each other and that without faith we really are alone in the storm.

Thank you, Lisa.

One person who comments on this post will have their name entered for a fabulous Grandprize Drawing of Donetta and Imagene's Texas Road Trip Basket (approximate total value over $150). Please remember your email address, preferably using (at) and (dot) so the net spammers can't find you. Only those leaving an email address will be entered.

For this blog tour contest, you have until midnight Feb 18th to leave a comment. I will randomly pick one person's name on Feb 19th from all those who've left email addresses, to submit for the Grandprize drawing. Complete list contents of Grandprize can be found here.

Lisa Wingate is a popular inspirational speaker, magazine columnist, and national bestselling author of several books, including Tending Roses, Talk of the Town, Drenched in Light, A Thousand Voices, and A Month of Summer. Her work was recently honored by the Americans for More Civility for promoting greater kindness and civility in American life. Lisa and her family live in central Texas. You can find more info on Lisa and her books at


DebH said...

great interview and post. i'm glad the Prairie Chicks is part of the book tour. the story sounds very interesting and i'll definitely be looking for the book for my TBR pile.
i agree that "act of God" events do bring out both the best and worst in people - and usually the best wins out over the worst. i think creating a story out of the events surrounding Katrina is a grand idea. there's bound to be a "real" story out there anyhow since real life is sometimes stranger (and more dramatic) than fiction.
thanks for introducing me to another author.

nm8r67 at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I also enjoyed this interview!

I've never experienced a hurricane nor do I ever want to (although I did go through a typhoon once!) I do, however, recall sensing God's extraordinary presence after going through two breakins in my home (once when I lived in an apartment and once after I moved to a house). Talk about being gripped by fear -- and then released by the perfect love of God.
Elaine King
elaineking1 (at)hotmail(Dot)com

Anita Mae Draper said...

Morning, everyone. Deb, you're right about using events such as this for the basis of a story.

It's not that we want things to happen, but when they do, if we can use the events to craft a story of inspiration for someone else... I guess not just inspiration but to show others the horrors as well as the good stuff that comes with it.

Watching the news is okay but it's fleeting. Sometimes you need to read a book and get your emotions involved in the people to really remember the event.

Thanks for stopping by, Deb. :)

Anita Mae Draper said...

Elaine, I would be devasted at one break-in, never mind two. That must have been horrific.

Although I haven't experienced a hurricane, I did go through something similiar...

In June of '95 when we lived in Fillmore SK, I awoke around 5 am by the howling wind. Seven months pregnant, I headed for the bathroom. :) As I passed the window, I saw the neighborhood trees bent in half. I awoke hubby and the 2 girls. He wanted to take us down to the cellar but I refused to go in my condition. Even if I could fit down those tiny stairs, there was barely 8 sq ft of rough cement. And there was no outside exit. If it was going to be my time to go, I wanted to be topside. Yeah, dumb, I know. So we sat in a corner away from the window and covered ourselves with a blanket in case the glass shattered. It lasted about 20 mins. When it was over, there wasn't a tree higher than 20' in the whole town. The streets were blocked with debris. One garage had been lifted up and dropped 30' away completely intact. My FIL's house had been damaged by a tree as had the greenhouses in our commercial operation. But the officials said it wasn't a tornado, etc. They called it a plow wind because of the way it scraped off everything from 20' up.

But when you're talking disaster stories, saying you've been through a plow wind just doesn't have the same 'glory' as saying you've been through a hurricane or tornado, you know?

Thank you sharing, Elaine.

Pepper Basham said...

Lisa and Anita,
Great interview. Lisa, your books sound like loads of fun. I'd love to win a copy. I love how inspiration comes in so many different shapes and sizes.

And Anita,
Nice interview.


Helena said...

So nice to meet you, Lisa. I enjoyed the excerpt yesterday from Word Gets Around. Would love to read it. Your new novel sounds great, too, so Anita gets my thanks also for introducing Lisa to us on the Prairie Chicks blog.

Sometimes when I am considering plots for my stories I wonder if including a natural disaster would sound contrived, but that could hardly be the case if the setting of the story carries a regular risk. To examine the lives of people who face that risk year in and year out, and also actually experience such things as a hurricane has to bring so much real emotion and humanity to the pages.

Would love to immerse myself in a 'Texas Road Trip' via your draw. Please enter me!

hekhmk (at) sasktel (dot) net

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Pepper, thanks for the compliment but I can't take credit for this interview, not like the ones I do for the ACFW anyway. :)

Yes, inspiration can come from just about everywhere from the smallest child to the oldest person. I think I'll add animals to that mix, too because I've seen and heard some inspiring animal stories as well.

Thanks for stopping by, Pepper.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey there Helena. Personally, I don't think using a natural disaster is contrived. I love reading books that are steeped in such facts. I think it's more probable that a natural disaster would bring two people together more than some of the other scenarios people dream up.

As literary agent Natasha Kern told me in Denver, things don't just happen. Something has to bring the characters there at that time. (I was trying to use the premise God told them to go and it didn't go over too well. LOL)

Vince said...

Hi Lisa:

I saw your book in a Christian Book Catalogue just last night and it was only about a ½” square but it owned the page because of the expression on that woman’s face. Is that woman on the cover a real person of was the cover a painting?

I think you have an award-wining cover there.


Karyn Good said...

Hi, Lisa and Anita. Great interview with lots to think about. You never know where a story idea is going to come from. Thanks for including the Chicks on your blog tour!

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Vince, the Never Say Never cover sure is eye-appealing, isn't it. Is that a 'come hither' look or a 'come and catch me' one? :)

Lisa should be stopping by later herself so we'll see what she says.

Always a pleasure to talk with you, Vince.

connie said...

Oh Lisa! I forgot to leave my email address! connie
constancesampson at Hotmail dot com

Lisa Wingate said...

Hi again everyone, and thanks to Anita and all the Prairie Chicks for having me! I enjoyed reading all the comments and sharing a few "disaster" experiences. I think one thing just about all people have in common is that we've had experiences that were frightening in the moment, yet profound in the aftermath. I think some of God's best work in our lives hides around the blind corners.

During the hurricane evacuations here, we've had some incredible experiences, learned to cook cajun food and make homemade tortillas, and met cousins we'd never seen in person. It's truly the best of times, and the worst all rolled into one, but when it happens you realize that the people in your life matter a lot more than the stuff.


Lisa Wingate said...

Hi Vince,

In answer to your question about the cover. I don't know who the girl is, but the cover is a photo, so she must have been hired to model. She is adorable!

I had this cover sitting around the house when I received the first copy. My 14 year old son walked by with his friend, and all of a sudden all these boys wanted to know about the book and who was in it, and so forth. I thought that was strange, and after a little bit of conversation, figured out that what they really wanted to know was, did I know the girl on the cover and could I introduce them. What a hoot!


connie said...

aWell Lisa,
I am off to a howling start. I wrote my comments to you and ended up posting them to Anita's page. But, I am sure she will straighten everything out. Thanks Anita.
Anita and I share Thursday's blogs. She covered for me when my computer called it quits (apparently it had more viruses than a big city hospital), then she traded turns with me and then she offered you her turn. A very generous lady!
and Anita, this time I remembered
constancesampson at hotmail dot com

MonicaH said...

I am looking forward to reading this book. Interesting interview. I am curious about the cover too.

dmhizer at hotmail(dot)com

Lisa Wingate said...

Thanks Connie, and yes, Anita is a sweetheart for letting me join in today!

Monica, it's a funny thing about covers. People always ask me if I get to pick the covers, and the answer is more or less no. Typically, I input some ideas, and then the folks in the art department put their heads together and come up with something they think will be right for the story and the recent trends in the market. Since I write for both Penguin Books (an ABA publisher) and Bethany House (A Christian publishing house), it's been interesting seeing the difference in covers in ABA vs CBA. CBA covers are much more people-focused.


Loretta2 said...

Nice interview, Anita, enjoyed the questions and of course Lisa is pretty open in sharing her reasons behind a story and her love of writing.

I met Lisa once in Kerrville, TX and was not only impressed by her writing and story telling ability but also her warmness in sharing bits of her life and her passion for writing.

I've been through some tornadoes, but nothing like a hurricane. We travel as full-time RVers and can attest first hand that many folks can be extremely helpful and kind, without thought for gain or a return of the favor (other than a suggestion to "pass it on".)

Thanks for the chance to encourage Lisa and her fans. Also, thanks for the possibility to win a Texas Road Trip Basket. It would be like icing on the cake.

Keep up the good work.


Anita Mae Draper said...

Lisa, that's too funny about your son, his friends and your book cover.

I have a 14 yo son, too and after years of saying he would never date, now he's asking why he has to wait until he's 16. I knew he'd been texting this girl he met while on a mission trip last summer. And now I know what he's thinking, too. LOL

Debbie Cavitt said...

Lisa is the best! Enjoyed seeing when she came to Waco. I think I have most of her books.

Debbie Cavitt

dkcavitt(at)charter(dot) net

mariska said...

Lisa is a new for me Author .

I really like to get to know her works better ! :)

uniquas at ymail dot com

Jana Richards said...

Hi Lisa,
Thanks for joining us today. We're pleased to be a stop on your blog tour.

A hurricane is a frightening event to live through, I'm sure, but it certainly makes for a exciting backdrop in fiction.

Good luck with "Never Say Never".


Lisa Wingate said...

Thanks, all! It was great fun to be a Prairie Chick for a day--and the icing on the cake? After a day of rainy, rainy, rain, it finally started snowing. In central Texas, that's a thrill!

I wish all of you the best of luck with your writing, and Anita, good luck with that 14 year old wants-to-date son! I have one in college, and still remember the day he was sitting there dunking oreos and just looked up out of the blue and asked "How do you know if a girl likes you?" Panic! All I could think was, I'm not ready to answer that question!

Thanks again for having me. Smiles!

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Lisa, I'm glad you said it was fun to be a Prairie Chick for the day because you're now an Honorary Prairie Chick. :)

Thanks for visiting with us today and good luck with your books.