Well, today the interview is with Maureen Lang and she has been gracious enough to offer a copy of her book, Whisper on the Wind, to one of my blog readers. Again, read to the end to find out how to enter the giveaway.
How long have you known you wanted to be an author?
Since I was about ten years old—but let’s not count how many years that’s been! When I was very little, I heard my father tell a neighbor that I was “the creative one” and being singled out in such a way from my other siblings was a treat. I think I always wanted to live up to that assessment.
Can you tell me a little bit about your newest book?
Whisper on the Wind is one of my Great War books, set in Belgium during the First World War. That’s a war so few people seem to know much about, because when I mention it they often ask what part the Nazi’s play. But that party didn’t start until the 1920s, well after the First World War ended. Even though war is brutal and this war is certainly no exception, the lines between good and evil, right and wrong, were far less defined in this war.
At the start of the story, my heroine risks her life to sneak back inside Belgium, which has been overrun by the German Imperial Army on their way to conquer France. She plans to smuggle in—then out—rescuing both the man she loves and the woman who helped to raise her, his mother. But the man she loves refuses to go, because he’s involved in a secret newspaper which is the only source of real news for Belgium. Despite his reluctance to have her involved, partly because he’s always thought of her as a young nuisance, my heroine works right alongside of him—and it isn’t long before he realizes she’s a woman fully worthy of his love. If only both of their lives weren’t in constant danger…
When a reader gets done with your book, what do you want them to come away with?
I’d love, first of all, for them to have been entertained, because that’s what a romantic story does for me. But I also hope they feel a bit closer to God, to be reminded that He loves each of us as individuals and that no matter what happens His love remains strong. If we turn away from Him, refuse to acknowledge Him, if everything seems lost, He’s still there. Loving us.
What is the funniest moment you have had while writing?
This isn’t a LOL moment, but it’s kind of funny in surprising way. Before I was published, I had a ten-minute interview with an editor from Kregel Publications at the Write to Publish conference in the Chicago area. I came with my “one-sheet,” a single page complete with a description of the novel I was prepared to pitch, my past publication credits, a head shot and contact information. No sooner had I handed the one-sheet to the editor, explaining my story was set during the First World War with an element of espionage, than he said something along the lines of: “We just purchased something with espionage. What else do you have?” Thankfully I was able to go on to share information about a project I was just beginning, and he was interested in that—even taking notes about it on the back of my one-sheet.
So despite the rough start, the appointment ended well. Home I went to work on my new project and to send him a proposal on that. A few weeks later, I received an email from another editor at the same publishing house asking for a proposal on my First World War espionage story. How strange, I thought. Although I didn’t know this other editor, I assumed the first editor to whom I’d handed the one-sheet had passed it on. How else would anyone at Kregel even know I was writing a First World War story?
So with a cover letter explaining that another project of mine was already under consideration there, I submitted my espionage story. That’s the one they bought. (Pieces of Silver, a Christy finalist.) Let this be a lesson to aspiring writers: always come to an editor or agent meeting prepared to pitch more than one story!
Is there a place you have always wanted to visit? A vacation spot, historical monument, overseas, etc?
I actually wrote the first draft of Whisper on the Wind a number of years ago, and always wanted to visit Belgium because of my research. I was blessed to go there recently, and it was a dream come true!
Having had that dream fulfilled, it seems like other places pale a bit in comparison. But I’ve wanted to go to the Czech Republic for several years now, because my daughter visited there while she was in college. She said of all the cities she’d visited, Prague was her favorite. I guess I’ll have to set a book there so I can plan a research trip!
If you could have dinner with 2 people, who would they be?
Living, or dead? That’s what I hope to do in Heaven, share all kinds of wondrous meals with people I’ve read about in history. Like the apostles and saints that came after them, or famous figures in history. I suppose if I were somehow able to meet any one of them in this life time I’d be incredibly intimidated, so waiting for Heaven to enjoy such a thing probably works out best anyway.
As far as a dinner with living people: I’d love to talk to Beth Moore because I admire her Bible study methods so much. I’d also love to meet comedian/commentator/radio host Dennis Miller. I didn’t always like him because he’s a bit more liberal than I am, at least socially, but whenever I hear him on the radio I’m always struck by how kind he is to his callers. So many radio personalities, either conservative or liberal, are so abrasive I can hardly stand that part of their program. But Dennis Miller seems genuinely friendly, intelligent, and I agree with enough of his conservatism that I feel like I’d honestly enjoy his company—like a brother.
What one event would you love to be at? Historical or future?
My initial thought was that I’d love to be a witness to Christ’s second coming, but almost as quickly I thought I’d love to see how God created the universe. I don’t want to be Eve’s older sister, I want to be a heavenly being, not bound by time, watching it all unfold. What a show!
Do you have a favorite hobby?
I used to enjoy working on embroidery or painting ceramics, but between family demands, writing and reading for both pleasure and research I haven’t had time in years. I think reading for pleasure might still qualify as a hobby, even though I consider it vital to my writing life. The time I could spend being creative with my hands I now devote to reading.
Is there something about you most people wouldn't know?
I always feel like between my books, my blog and my Facebook page people can find out far more about me than even I realize! But if someone were to have read all of my books, visited my website, followed my blog, they still might not know I absolutely dread talking on the telephone. This is true most of the time, but especially in the mornings when I’m working. I love email! Hate the telephone.
Do you have any suggestions for the aspiring writer?
Write consistently because we learn by doing, and read voraciously. Read not just the genre in which you want to be published, but anything that’s excellent. I believe we learn best through positive example and also through positive reinforcement. So even though we must certainly be aware of our weaknesses in writing, ask critique partners what your strengths are. Then try to minimize weaknesses but concentrate on your strengths, because the rest will tend to either work itself out or be so overshadowed by your strengths that they’ll pass notice.
Any last thoughts for your readers?
I’m always so grateful for readers who spend their precious time reading one of my books. I consider myself a reader first, one who’s figured out a way to write what I want to be reading. Chances are people who enjoy my books have taste that’s similar to mine, and I love to celebrating that—so let me know if you enjoy my books!
And how can they connect with you?
Website: www.maureenlang.comBlog: http://maureenlang.blogspot.com/
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