Tuesday, April 27, 2010

This week we're featuring Sing, by Lisa T. Bergren. Make sure to scroll down for an interview with the author, and discussion questions for the book.

Enter to win a free book by filling out the form on the right, or leaving a comment below. All entries must be received by May 2nd, midnight MST. Good luck!

An Interview with Lisa T. Bergren

Q. This is mainly Moira’s book, but you also focused on Odessa’s growth and relationship in this novel. Why’d you think that was important?

A. Moira seems to steal every scene she’s in (Nic too!). But I wanted to show how Odessa, now physically healthy, still has some emotional growth ahead of her—like we all do. We’re all continually evolving, learning, changing.

Q. Is that why you were so tough on these characters in this book?

A. I think it’s easy to be a Christian when things are good. You show what your faith is made of—and possibly discover new depths—when you encounter the bad. Or you walk away. I was glad to see these three getting closer to God, but Nic obviously has a ways to go.

Q. You talk about the characters as if they have minds of their own.

A. [Laughing.] They do! That’s the fun of fiction. I have one idea, but then a certain spin occurs and casts them in a different direction, and I discover new things with them as if I’m riding along, observing. I always start with a rough outline, knowing some key things that will happen, and the ending I’d like to see, but I leave it to the characters to take it from there. When I’m invested in the scene, feeling it as if I’m in their skin, sensing their emotions and mind-set, the plot often turns.

Q. Why the title?

A. We often sing contemporary songs at church that make me think—phrases like “I will sing in the troubled times” and “praise You in the storm”—a pretty big challenge for most people. But learning how to do that makes the good, easy times even sweeter, and the rough times somehow bearable. It’s so important that we all find that deep assurance that God is with us, regardless of what is happening in our lives, good or bad. And when we do, the only proper response is to sing praises in His name. There’s a reason that heaven will be full of singing. They already understand what we’re still trying to get, down here.

Q. We’re in 1880s Colorado. It surprised me when we got to the conquistador gold—what inspired that?

A. The third novel I ever wrote was a romance called Treasure, in which the heroine was seeking Spanish gold as a nautical archaeologist. I think if I’d had half the chance, I would’ve loved the opportunity to be a treasure hunter myself. Indiana Jones and all that, you know. Childhood fantasies. So I always note treasure-ish things I come across, and I read about an actual legend of lost conquistador explorers, who left behind a bounty of gold when they got separated from the rest of their troops in the Sangre de Cristos. Reportedly, two lost hikers came across the cave in a snowstorm twenty years ago, marked it when the storm ended, intending to come back, but could never find it again. They spent years of weekends searching for that cave. Isn’t that fantastic novel fodder? Love stuff like that.

Q. What can we expect in Claim, the third book in this series?

A. Resolution is always nice, though I don’t like things tied up in perfect little bows. Life isn’t like that. But I’m striving to leave my readers satisfied and hopeful, right along with the St. Clairs. I think love is the key for all three. That’s all I’m telling ya. You’ll have to read the big conclusion for yourself.

Discussion Questions for "Sing"

1. Do you think that God answers our pleas at times with thoughts we don’t recognize as guidance? Why, or why not? Have you experienced this?

2. Consider how you might have felt toward Reid, were you a character in this novel? Is it ever right or justified to wish pain, or even death, upon another? Why, or why not?

3. Scripture encourages us to sing God’s praise, every day, regardless of circumstance. Do you think we must praise Him, even when things are bad? Why or why not? How do you tend to
react when faced by adversity?

4. What lessons do you feel Odessa and Bryce were learning in their marriage?

5. Have you experienced division in your marriage? Have you ever thought you were on the brink of separation or divorce? If so, what brought you back together?

6. What should someone do when faced with the temptations Odessa and Robert faced? Do you feel it was right or wrong for Odessa not to tell her husband of his brother’s advances? Why?

7. All three siblings are seeking something. What do you think each one really is hungering for?

8. Manuel told Nic of his need for God—has anyone ever done the same with you? What was that like? And if not, how would you respond if someone spoke so plainly to you about your faith?

9. Moira imagines her mother in the room with her, time and time again. Why is that? Who do you think her mother represents?

10. Why do you think Moira fell in love with Gavin? What impact will her scars have on her future?

Friday, April 16, 2010

We're featuring Heading Home, by Renee Riva, on the blog this week! Make sure to enter with the form on the right by Thursday, April 22nd at midnight MST.

Fifty Pets You (Hope) To Meet in Heaven

Here are fifty pets that author Renee Riva hopes to meet in Heaven - which pets do you want to see again in Heaven?

Tinkerbelle, the cat
A gazillion pollywogs
Goldie the goldfish, who died on Easter and did not rise, as I prayed
during Easter Mass
Bony and Claude, the turtles
Chumley, the collie-shepherd (aka Sailor’s mascot)
Luigi, the other collie-shepherd
Mouse rescued from Dorie’s cat, who lived in my tree fort in a Tarzan
lunch pail
Abigail, the albino hamster living in secret in my closet
Pugsly, the hamster I had Dorie give me for my birthday
Moonie, my Clydesdale draft horse
Maynard, the cat who had five kittens (who we thought was a boy
till then)
Rudy, the hamster who I ran away with because my mom said he had
to live in the garage
Stray kitten found on our family trip to Hawaii
After leaving home:
The Kid, rescue dog from visiting the dog pound
Sandy, rescue dog from visiting the dog pound
Loser, rescue cat from visiting the pound
Alfie, rescue dog from visiting the dog pound
Birdie, rescue dog from visiting the dog pound
Misha, the mouse
Peanut Butter, the hamster
Jelly, the hamster
Teddy Bear, the hamster
On the farm:
Peach, the half-blind chicken
Butterscotch, the friendly chicken
Elvis, the banty chicken
Mr. and Mrs. White (ducks)
Mama, banty hen who raised a dozen turkey babies
Millie, the cat
Max, the cat
Twig, the stray cat found in a tree
Fred, the cat
Bear, the Great White Pyrenees
Jesse, the other Great White Pyrenees
Curley, the cow
Duke, the horse
Bargain, the rat
Kitty, the stray
Bailey, the abandoned chow with five puppies
Max, pound puppy
Baby Bear, the European black bear hamster
Tiny Tim, the itty-bitty baby dwarf hamster
Frosty, the Chinese dwarf hamster with the one-hundred-seventyfive-
dollar vet bill
Buster, the baby turtle

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Real Enemy, by Kathy Herman

We're giving away another book on Kindle! For the next week, click here to be able to get The Real Enemy, by Kathy Herman, absolutely free on your Kindle. Enjoy!