Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Interview and Giveaway for "White Picket Fences" by Susan Meissner

I am so excited to have Susan as a guest on my blog. Lets begin by posting the back of "White Picket Fences" and go from there. There will be a giveaway of a copy of this book so please look for the instructions later in the post. Thank you Susan for taking the time to spend with us!

Also, I'm having two giveaways this month and anyone who signed my blog this month will be entered into my special giveaway when I reach 100 followers!


Back Cover: The Janviers have the idyllic life -- a beautiful home, great jobs, two wonderful kids -- and surrounding it all is the proverbial white picket fence that protects them, offers them a serene sense of security... and hides all their secrets.

When her black sheep brother disappears, Amanda Janvier eagerly takes in her 16-year-old niece Tally. The girl is practically an orphan: motherless and living with a father who raises Tally wherever he lands-- in a Buick, a pizza joint, a horse farm -- and regularly takes off on wild schemes. Amanda envisions that she, her husband, Neil, and their two teenagers can offer the girl stability and a shot at a "normal" life, even though their own storybook lives are about to crumble.

Seventeen year old Chase Janvier hasn't seen his cousin in years, and other than a vague curiosity about her strange life, he doesn't expect her arrival will affect him much -- or interfere with his growing, disturbing interest in a long-ago house fire that plagues his dreams.

Tally and Chase bond as they interview to Holocaust survivors for a sociology project, and become startlingly aware that the whole family is grappling with hidden secrets, with the echoes of the past, and with the realization that ignoring tragic situations won't make the go away.

Will Talley's presence blow apart their carefully constructed world, revealing the hidden past that could destroy them all -- or can she help them find the truth without losing each other? From the author of The Shape of Mercy, one of Publishers Weekly's best religious fiction books of 2008, comes a tale of family secrets smoldering behind a white picket fence.


About Susan: Susan Meissner cannot remember a time when she wasn't driven to put her thoughts down on paper. Her novels include The Shape of Mercy, winner of the Christian book award for fiction, and Blue Heart Blessed. Susan and her husband, a pastor and a chaplain in the Air Force reserves, make their home in Southern California. They are the parents of four grown children.

My Take: I won "White Picket Fences" quite a while back from another blog giveaway. I have to admit I had so many books to read that this one went into my "to be read pile" where it stayed for quite a while. The other day I was looking through those books for my next read. For some reason this one caught my eye. I really had no idea what the genre was or what the book was about. I just started reading.

The protagonists were three cousins as well as a friend to one of them. When I first started reading I thought it was geared to young adults, but after reading a while longer I discovered this was a story for all ages! It is a story of people holding onto secrets and not wanting to let them go for fear of what might happen - but in the long run the secrets begin to come out and effect those who are involved. This story is about the Janviers family who appear to have the perfect life to those who know them, but inside of their home more than one person is holding onto a secret that is beginning to destroy their lives from the inside out. Can an unexpected visit from their niece/cousin be the catalyst that begins a healing for this family. I urge you to read the book and find out. I believe this is something everyone can relate to at one time or another in their lives. I love it when I am pleasantly surprised.

INTERVIEW WITH SUSAN

1. How did you choose the plot/subject for White Picket Fences? How about the characters?

Five years ago I was a court-appointed advocate for children involved in protective services for the state of Minnesota. There were times when I saw that even in a less-than-perfect home, a child could be loved there. Just because a parent is unconventional or unsuccessful career-wise or makes choices that buck societal norms, it doesn’t mean that he or she is by default a “bad” parent. Likewise, parents who we would traditionally call “good” -meaning they provide, they protect, they don’t hit, they don’t ridicule - can still make decisions regarding their kids that have hugely negative effects and yet their outward appearance would never lead you to suspect it. Even if you live behind a white picket fence, you still have to deal with the reality of a living in a broken world. You can’t hide from it. The perfect, idyllic life is an illusion. Life is a weave of both good times and hard times and it’s precisely these things that give it definition and depth. To ignore what is ugly is to cheapen what is beautiful.

2. At first I thought the book might be geared to YA, but the more I read I realized this is a book for all ages. Was this your intention or did it just happen?

Because I have a couple of young protagonists, the feel of the voicing might seem like a YA read, but I intended the book to speak across the generations. Jodi Piccoult often has young protagonists in her novels and I read once that this is intentional on her part. The young have a perspective the mature often lose sight of.

3. When/How did you start writing? What is your next project and when will it be out?

Though I’ve always love to write stories, I let fear of rejection keep me from doing anything serious for a long time. I didn’t concentrate on a writing career until 1998, when I was named editor of a small weekly paper in southwest Minnesota. I was honored to win several awards over the years, but the best part of my four years as editor was having my paper named the Best Weekly Newspaper in Minnesota by the Minnesota Newspaper Association in 2002. That year became a rather pivotal one for me as a writer. My beloved paternal grandfather died in July 2002 and his passing had a profound effect on me. I knew I didn't want to come to the end of my life having only dreamed of writing a novel, and was ready to live with rejection, instead of regrets. I resigned as editor of the newspaper, which was a very hard decision to make, and set out to write Why the Sky is Blue. It took four months to write and ten months to be accepted by a publisher. That first book was published in 2004. White Pickets Fences is my eleventh novel.

My next book, Lady in Waiting, will release in September 2010. I like to weave a historical thread into my contemporary setting. For this one, I chose the tender and remarkably moving story of Lady Jane Grey. She was queen of England for nine days at the age of 16, during the mid sixteenth-century.

You can check out a book trailer on Vimeo right here, if you wish: http://vimeo.com/13889642

4. I always like to ask what advice you have for novice writers like myself.

The advice I give most often is don’t give way to disappointment. Writing is an isolating art and often one that fails to win you a large audience or much affirmation. But writing because you are good at it and love it is enough reason to keep at it. Writing to be published is a fine aspiration but one that you can only control to a point. You can write the best that you can and make every effort to seek publication but you cannot control the market or the industry. Do your best at the part you can control. Leave the part that you can’t to the God who loves you. I also have more writer’s encouragements on my website:http://www.susanlmeissner.com/writers.html


TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY


1. Be a follower or sign up as a follower.


2. Leave your email address so I can contact you.


3. Can you tell us about a book that pleasantly surprised you? We might want to read it!


4. Visit Susans website at

http://www.susanlmeissner.com and let me know if you've read any of her books.

5. The contest will end on Saturday, August 20th. Be sure and tell your friends!


HAPPY READING


33 comments:

  1. Great advise to new authors here and on her website. I didn't realize she offered editorial services.
    Good interveiw and I'll be looking for her books now.
    jancline@ymail.com

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  2. I've read Seahorse in the Thames, The Shape of Mercy, Blue Heart Blessed, A Window to the World, and can't wait to read more!
    Ann_Lee_Miller@msn.com

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  3. I am a follower! I recently read a book called Twilight's Serenade by Tracie Peterson-it was EXCELLENT and I loved more than I thought! And as for Susan books I have The Shape of Mercy, Remedy for Regret and Window to the World in my TBR pile-can't wait to read them!

    Loved the interview!
    Blessings
    Mollydedwards AT yahoo DOT com

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  4. A book that surprised me, hmmm...I would have to say Solitary by Travis Thrasher...surprised as in shocked by the ending.

    Great interview.

    julesreffner(at)gmail(dot)com

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  5. I don't have this book and haven't read this book either. But I have read...

    The Remedy for Regret
    Widows & Orphans
    A Seahorse in the Thames
    Blue Heart Blessed
    The Shape of Mercy

    joyfulhutch[at]msn[dot]com

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  6. I'm a follower.

    Blessings,
    Sandee61

    Muzzley56[at]aol[dot]com

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  7. I enjoyed the interview and would love to be entered in your giveaway for Susan's book. Thank you! I recently read "By Fire, By Water" by Mitchell James Kaplan, and didn't think I would
    enjoy it, but it pulled me in and I really liked it.

    Blessings,
    Sandee61

    Muzzley56[at]aol[dot]com

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  8. Hi! Just became a follower of your blog. Great interview and I really appreciate what Susan said in answer to your first question. I haven't read any of Susan's books, but just ordered her first one from my library. Would love to read this one. Most impressionable book/series I've read is Francine Rivers, Mark of the Lion Series.

    Anne
    homesteading[at]charter[dot]net

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  9. Susan, looks like we are off to a great start! Thank you so much for sharing your time with us for the interview. I look forward to reading more of your books!

    Thank you to all of my supporters - I've almost reached that 100 mark.

    Deborah M.

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  10. Your books look awesome, and I don't know why I haven't found them before. I just checked my local Library and have put some holds on.
    I have just finish "White Roses" by Shannon Taylor Vannatter, and really enjoyed it. What great faith the characters showed...can't wait to read the two sequels!
    I am a follower!
    alekee02[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  11. I am a follower and email subscriber and would love to win a copy of White Picket Fences.

    I read A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin, expecting it to be a sweet love story set during WWII. It was so much more. First it was set partially in my childhood hometown of Riverside, California and March Field (I was born on base). The characters of Walt and Allie are still with me and I finished the book a couple of months ago. I can hardly wait for the second book in the series which comes out next month.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  12. i enjoy susan's novels very, very much...thanks for the chance to read this one.

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  13. Thanks for the opportunity to read this book. It sounds awesome!

    Blessings,
    Jo
    ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

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  14. I am a follower! I recently read Chasing Lilacs by Carla Stewart, and it was very good! I had heard many good things about it, but it was even better than I expected it to be.

    I haven't read any books by Susan Meissner, but I would definitely like to! Thank you for entering me.

    Michelle
    scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

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  15. Sounds like a good book!

    parisakins@gmail.com

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  16. I'm now a follower.

    The book that popped into my head as a pleasantly surprising read was "Red Rain" by Tim Wendel. It was a war novel (fiction) and since I don't read that genre or watch movies of that genre I thought I'd break my own rule. Not only was it a very interesting book, I learned a few things too.

    I visited Susan Meissner's site and am sad to say I've never read one of her books. I've seen "White Picket Fences" on a few blogs and have wanted to read it.
    Thanks for the chance to win it.

    readingatthebeach(@)gmail(.)com

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  17. Thanks for the giveaway.


    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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  18. I am a follower. What a pretty blog! I like butterflies too!
    I have never read any of her books. Would like the opportunity to do so.
    Hmmm... "No Other" was a surprising ebook by Shawna K Williams.
    Carman sent me.

    latawniakintz[at]gmail[dot]com

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  19. I'm a new follower!! I LOVED The Shape of Mercy, which is a book that did take me by surprise in the story line. I read it nearly in a day and moved me so much I emailed Susan about it. :) I have visited her website in the past and really enjoy the layout. I would LOVE to read White Picket Fences.

    Email is in my profile. THANK YOU!!

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  20. Great interview!
    I just signed up to be a follower.
    I got to meet Susan (briefly) at She Speaks and got an autographed copy of "Lady in Waiting." Just started reading it and love it already, so I know I will enjoy White Picket Fences.

    edwina[dot]cowgill[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  21. I am a new follower and am loving the blog! I love Susan's books but have ot read this one-yet. I was pleasantly surprised by Harry Bentley's Second Chance by Dave Jackson. It is a companion book to Dave's wife's books. Neta Jackson wrote the Yada Yada Prayer Group series. Her current series (The House of Hope Series) is a spin off of that one. Harry Bentley is a character in the House of Hope series but not a major one. Dave's book puts him front and center and brings in the familiar characters of Neta's books. Written in Dave's own style, it is a great companion to Neta's beloved books.

    Blessings,
    Kim Thorne msjmom@msn.com

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  22. Oh, and I am now a follower, too. Would love to read this book.

    joyfulhutch[at]msn[dot]com

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  23. I have not read any of Susan's books books but look forward to reading soon. When I visited her site I saw that she has several books that she has written and they all look inviting in just reading their titles.
    I am a follower via GFC

    Thanks for introducing Susan to us and for the opportunity to enter this giveaway.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

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  24. We posted about your giveaway at Winning Readings.

    inspiredbyfiction[at]gmail[dot]com

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  25. I am a follower and 2 books that pleasantly surprised me this year are Ruby Slippers by Leanna Ellis and Seeing Things by Patti Hill.

    inspiredbyfiction[at]gmail[dot]com

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  26. I've read A Window to the World, Widows & Orphans, and The Shape of Mercy!

    inspiredbyfiction[at]gmail[dot]com

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  27. Susan Meissner is a new author to me but I would love to win "White Picket Fences" I feel like when I read this one I'll have to go back and read all her books. Thanks for the entry. I follow on Google Friend Connect. ybutler@oppcatv.com

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  28. I am reading Deeanne Gist. I am on the "Measure of a Lady" set during the CA gold rush. The lead character never stops showing her Christian Character in all she incounters after her father dies and she has to accept responsiblity for two siblings. ybutler@oppcatv.com

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  29. Hi Deborah, this is my first visit to your beautiful site. My mom loved butterflies and always said, "Butterflies are free." I would love to win Susan's book so you can contact me at crmcc at setel dot com if I win! How is that for positive thinking?! Usually whatever book I am reading or just finished is my favorite of the day so I will mention a book I recently finished and loved --They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti.

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  30. I am a new follower.Great interview! White Picket Fences
    sounds wonderful. I look forward to reading more of your books!I like butterflies too!

    Please enter me in the giveaway.augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.Thank you.

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  31. This sounds like a wonderful book! I would love to be the winner. Thanks for the chance. I am a follower.

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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  32. I recently read "Life in Spite of Me" It was a super book. It surprised me not that it was really good, but how much of the story I could relate to.
    I would recommend this book highly.

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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  33. I have never read Susan's books yet. After looking at her website I definitely want to read them. They all sound really good!

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

    ReplyDelete