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Welcome To Margaret Brownley - Book Give Away

Help me welcome Margaret Brownley who has penned more than twenty historical and contemporary novels. Her books have won numerous awards including the Reader's Choice. Though successful, she decided to leave behind the secular publishing world to follow God's will for her: to write inspirational fiction. Happily married to her real life hero, Margaret and her husband have three grown children and live in Southern California.

What three things are you most thankful for in your life that others might think silly?
First I want to thank you for letting me stop by today. It’s great to be here. It’s been a really exciting year for me. A Lady Like Sarah (A Rocky Creek Romance) was chosen a Women of Faith book for 2010 and is a Romance Writers of America RITA finalist. I’m counting my blessings.
I’m thankful I grew up during a time when children were free to play outside—and did.

I’m thankful for sleepless nights because that’s when my characters talk to me.
Tell us about A Lady Like Sarah. Give us, first, the best thirty-word description, then the longer paragraph version.
Short version: She’s an outlaw; he’s a preacher. Both are in need of a miracle.

Longer version: Preacher JUSTIN WELLS leaves Boston in disgrace, heading out alone on the dusty trail to Texas. But when the once-respected clergyman encounters a feisty redhead in handcuffs with a dying U.S. Marshal at her side, his journey takes a dramatic turn. When he promises the injured lawman to take his prisoner to Texas, Justin has no idea the trouble that lies ahead.

The slightly-built prisoner turns out to be SARAH PRESCOTT—sister of the notorious Prescott brothers—and she’s determined to miss the hanging party waiting for her in Texas.

Nothing is more sacred to Justin than a promise made to a dying man, but how can he turn the blue-eyed beauty over to the hangmen? She’s tough as leather, but there’s something about her that is pure and good.

Justin can’t bear to lose her, but how can a simple preacher fight an entire town? And how can either one of them know that miracles come in many guises—including love?

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope readers will root for Sarah and come away with a renewed belief that all things are possible with God.

Every reader likes to learn more about characters, as they get further into the story. How do the secrets of your characters come to life?
Before you reveal too much information it’s important to establish a reader/character relationship. If readers don’t like or can’t identify with the protagonist, they’re not going to care about his or her secrets. I like to feed background information into dialogue rather than narrative. If the hero is sharing something painful with the heroine it says a lot about him and their relationship. Either he trusts her or he’s testing her. This is how I bring secrets to life.
Some authors report writing 5-10 thousand words a day. Do scenes flow freely from your veins, or do you have to tweeze each word out?
I aim for ten pages a day during the first draft. It’s pretty rough, of course, but I don’t worry too much about that until later drafts. Some scenes are easier to write than others. I just wrote a scene that felt like I was chiseling each word out of rock. After countless rewrites, I finally realized the scene needed to be written from another character’s viewpoint. I try to make every scene accomplish at least three things. If a scene doesn’t add to the story, characterize, increase the suspense, and impart important information, I either cut it or rewrite it.
What led you to the career choice of becoming a writer?
I don’t know if it was a choice as much as a natural progression. Even as a child I loved the process of putting words on paper. I wrote my first novel in 5th grade. The career part simply followed.
What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
I love to write characters in a crisis of faith, and how they find their way back to God.
Many times, people (and other authors) think you have it made with so many books published. What is your most difficult problem with writing at this time in your career?
In my other life I was a teacher. At a teacher’s workshop I once attended the instructor asked the following life
changing questions: At the end of your career which will you be able to say? That you taught for 35 years? Or that you taught one year 35 times?
I use that same philosophy in my writing career. I don’t want to write the same book 35 or 40 times. So the most difficult challenge for me is to stay fresh.
Why historical and particularly, Historical Romance?
I hated history in school. I don’t know how they teach history today, but when I was in school it was taught from
a male viewpoint, which meant it was all about memorizing dates and battles. It wasn’t until I read Gone With The Wind in High School that I realized history was not about battles and dates. It was about people and how they related to the world around them. That’s when I became hooked.
 As for writing romance: I discovered a long time ago that every conceivable theme in the world can be explored through the relationship of two people. You don’t need casts of thousands. That’s the fun of writing romance.

What three things do you know now about the publishing world that you wish you knew when you first started?
Oh, wow! Only three? There are so many aspects of
publishing that an author can’t control. You get a bad cover, books don’t arrive in stores, an editor leaves—the list is endless. I’ve learned to focus on what I can control, which is the quality of the writing, and ignore the rest. That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned to date.


Has being an author been everything you thought it would be? If not, what has surprised you the most?
I’m doing what I love to do so, yes, it’s everything I thought it would be. The thing that surprised me most is that writing never gets easier. If anything, it gets harder.
What have you learned about writing and yourself since you started it?
I really enjoyed writing my Rocky Creek series and have just finished book three. I’ve been living with these characters for nearly three years and hate to let them go. Though I’ve published more than twenty books, this was my first attempt at writing inspirational fiction. I didn’t even know if I could write inspirational. Now I don’t see myself writing anything else. Faith (or lack of it) is such a major part of who we are. If we ignore that aspect in our stories we’re not writing fully developed characters.
I’m thankful for all the rejections I receive before becoming published because they made me work harder to be a better writer.

How do you keep your balance in today’s busy world?
It’s tough as I’m sure you know and it takes a lot of discipline. Someone said that writing is 15% putting words on paper and 85% ignoring the Internet. How true. There seems to be so many more distractions today than when I first began to write. I try to keep my balance by putting God first.

What can you tell authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
Some rejections can turn out to be blessings in disguise. One of my books was rejected 13 times before it was picked up by a major publisher as a launch title for a new line. I’ve had other similar experiences. A rejection isn’t the end of story; sometimes it’s only the beginning.

What other books of yours are coming out soon?

The 2nd book in my Rocky Creek series, A Suitor for Jenny will be out in September, 2010.

What would you say to your readers?
I just want to thank you all for your many cards, letters and emails, and for you enthusiastic response to A Lady Like Sarah (A Rocky Creek Romance). Keep them coming—I love hearing from you.

Where can we find you on the web? www.margaretbrownley.com
Blog: www.petticoatsandpistols.
Stagecoach Etiquette for Readers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prY2q9Oasp4


Thanks for visiting with us, Margaret, and I look forward to interviewing you when your next book is released.
To have the possibility to receive a copy of A Lady Like Sarah (A Rocky Creek Romance) leave a comment with your emal (name at domain name dot com). Giveaway closes Sunday, July 12, 2010 at midnight (CST). Only US postal codes.

If you're reading this on Feedburner, Facebook, or Amazon please come to AJHawke.blogspot.com to leave your comment.

11 comments:

Wendy said...

Sounds like a great book!
wsmarple/at/gmail/dot/com

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, man, I WANT this book!!! Margaret, I have heard SO many great things about A Lady Like Sarah that I am chomping at the bit to get my hands on it. Plan to buy it at ACFW if I don't win it before then.

See you at ACFW, I hope, as we will most likely be sitting at the same table, right??? :)

Hugs,
Julie
gsus(at)charter(dot)net

Rosslyn Elliott said...

Hi Margaret,

Your premise for _A Lady Like Sarah_ sounds great! And I'm also looking forward to meeting you at ACFW.

Rosslyn

Kathi Macias said...

I have to brag a bit on Margaret, as she probably wouldn't do it herself. I first met this amazing lady decades ago when we belonged to the same writers' group. I was as green as they come, but Margaret graciously took the time to read my first attempt at a Christian novel and to give me some much-needed advice. I credit this great friend and mentor with helping me get started in this industry. So though she is only now debuting with her first inspirational novel, her influence was present here long ago. Thank you, Margaret, and may A Lady Like Sarah have great success!

David said...

Your short description of a Lady liked Sarah really sparked my interest!

Julia M. Reffner said...

Great interview, AJ & Margaret. It was great to hear Kathi stop by and share a brag on Margaret. Count me in. I would love to read this.

julesreffner(at)gmail(dot)com

Jody said...

Great interview! The book sounds very exciting and I'd love a chance to win a copy.

rodgerandjoy (at) hotmail (dot) com

Cindy W. said...

I absolutely love the cover of A Lady Like Sarah. I am always drawn to a cover first...don't know why.

An outlaw and a preacher...sounds like fun to me. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

Ann Lee Miller said...

I'd love to win Margaret's book!
Thanks,
Ann_Lee_Miller@msn.com

scrapbookangel said...

sounds like a great book. please enter me in the drawing.

avidreader at middleswarth dot net

Tina Dee Books said...

Don't enter me, I've read this book and loved it and can't wait to review it!

Thanks for a great interview AJ & Margaret! Can't wait for the next book to come out.

 

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I love the wind in my face, the open sky before me, the romance and flavor of the West, but, most of all, our loving and living God, who created it all. I love how He works out His plans in the realm of human events, which is His Story. I have been blessed with a gift: a compulsion to write Historical and present-day novels set in the American West that demonstrate His power to transform ordinary people into true heroes and heroines. I am just a scribe really. I find the joy of participating in the creation of inspirational fiction indescribable. May our Lord Jesus Christ receive all of the credit and be glorified.

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