Monday, July 9, 2012

COTT's Winning May Release Christian Fiction Novel

Today's host: Jennifer Slattery

This has been an exciting clash! Two debut authors--Katie Ganshert with Wildflowers from Winter and Dineen Miller with Soul Saver--entered the ring, sparring with three of Christian fiction's greats, the very talented, multi-published Deborah Raney, Martha Rogers, and Lynette Eason. Talk about an exciting clash! 

This competition was very close. Soon after we opened the poles, our two debut authors rose to the top. The victor won by one vote

You, our ever-faithful readers, have spoken.

The winner of our May Release Clash is ....

Katie Ganshert with Wilflowers from Winter! Congrats, Katie! You've been automatically entered in our prestigious Laurel Award contest and sent directly to Round 2.  

Wildflowers from Winter:
A young architect at a prestigious Chicago firm, Bethany Quinn has built a life far removed from her trailer park teen years. Until an interruption from her estranged mother reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is called back to rural Iowa. Determined to pay her respects while avoiding any emotional entanglements, she vows not to stay long. But the unexpected inheritance of farmland and a startling turn of events in Chicago forces Bethany to come up with a new plan.

Handsome farmhand Evan Price has taken care of the Quinn farm for years. So when Bethany is left the land, he must fight her decisions to realize his dreams. But even as he disagrees with Bethany’s vision, Evan feels drawn to her and the pain she keeps so carefully locked away.

For Bethany, making peace with her past and the God of her childhood doesn’t seem like the path to freedom. Is letting go the only way to new life, love and a peace she’s not even sure exists?

Read the first chapter here

Praise for Wildflowers from Winter
“Katie Ganshert knows how to wring the heart of a scene in order to place her reader within a character’s pain and wonder. Wildflowers from Winter is a romantic beauty-from-ashes story – and a promising series starter from this debut author.”
- USA Today

“In this novel rich in details and well-thought-out characters, Ganshert offers something for everyone: romance, secrets, a few laughs. The reader will come away with the knowledge that even in the arms of grief, hope emerges after loss.”
- Romantic Times 

“Themes of loss and redemption, believable characters, and a realistic view of life’s challenges make this debut a worthwhile, gut-wrenching read. Recommended for fans of Francine Rivers.”
-Library Journal 

Buy the book at: 
Amazon: Paperback Kindle

Get to know Katie:
Katie Ganshert was born and raised in the Midwest, where she writes stories about finding faith and falling in love. When she’s not busy plotting her next novel, she enjoys watching movies with her husband, playing make-believe with her wild-child of a son, and chatting with her girlfriends over bagels. She and her husband are in the process of adopting from the Congo. You can find her online at her blog and on Facebook.  

Q & A with Katie 

If you could have one super power, what would it be?
Hands down, I wish I could apparate like the witches and wizards in Harry Potter. In case you don’t read those books, apparition is the ability to think of a place you want to go and *poof* you’re there. Do you know how amazing that would be? Seriously. No more spending time in traffic. No more paying for gas. No more ears popping in planes. And if I wanted to write a story set in Novosibirsk, Russia, do you know how easy it would be to research? Okay, so maybe my editor is happy I can’t apparate. 

If you could witness any event in history, which event would you choose?

Something to do with Jesus. Either His birth or His resurrection. I don’t think I could handle His death.  

If you could be an animal, what animal would you be?

I’d be an octopus. They don’t have many predators, do they? Or maybe a jelly fish. Something where I could explore the depths of the ocean and meet Nemo. I also want to know if mermaids are real.

What was your favorite book growing up?

Hands down, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. It was the first book that swept me up and transported me into a different world. I absolutely could not put it down. I have so much nostalgia for this book that when I taught 5th grade, I read it to my students each year. The story has so much word play and symbolism that went over my head as a kid, but I can appreciate now as an adult. Plus, the message is beautiful. Don’t let the old-fashioned cover scare you off. It’s such a fun book. 

When did you start writing?

In third grade I wrote this epic, life-changing story about Mr. and Mrs. Leaf. In fact, it was so epic and life-changing, my 3rd grade teacher read it out loud to the class and everybody clapped and cheered. Okay, so maybe not. But it was at least good enough to read out loud. And so a love-affair was born. I found something I could do well. From there on out, I wrote all kinds of stories and bless my parents for being so patient, they listened as I read every single one of them out loud (sometimes with an accent).

Where do you get your ideas?

Usually in church. While most of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are listening and self-reflecting and confessing and pondering the vastness and greatness of God, I’m the weirdo who’s thinking, “This would be a great spiritual arc for my character.” 

What are three of the hardest things about being a writer?

  • Sitting in the chair and putting my hands on the keyboard on days when inspiration refuses to cooperate. Talk about torture.
  • Waiting. There’s always something to wait for on this journey. And since I’m an impatient person, this doesn’t come easily.
  • Sharing my stories. Enter fear and trembling. Because what if people don’t like them?

What are three of the best things about being a writer?

  • Sitting in the chair and putting my hands on the keyboard on days when inspiration flows so fast I can’t catch it all. What a rush.
  • Waiting. Because through the long moments of nothing, I’m reminded again and again to surrender my hopes and dreams to Him.
  • Sharing my stories. Enter excitement and anticipation. Because what if people like them? 
Thank you to all of our talented competing authors who helped make this a phenomenal (nail-biting) clash! 

Voters, what hooked you most, the blurbs or the covers? For me, it was a combination, but the intriguing covers really grabbed me. ALL of these novels instantly moved to my "must-read" list.  

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