It is my pleasure to host Lori Benton here on Britt Reads Fiction today. She is the author of Burning Sky, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, and The Wood’s Edge. Lori graciously answered a few questions I had and is also giving away a copy of The Wood’s Edge to one of my blog commenters. And, believe me, you are going to want to read this story! I was blessed to receive an advance copy which I have thoroughly enjoyed reading! The characters in this beautifully written novel have lodged themselves deep in my heart and I hope you will return next week to read my review of The Wood’s Edge.
Thank you for being here today, Lori!
1. When I read your novels, I feel completely immersed in the time period of the book. As you craft your stories, are there certain things you do to help you step back into the past and move your focus away from the modern world?
I put in earplugs. That’s actually a very important step. I need to block out everything while I write, even in an empty house (empty except for my dog). It’s not so much because it helps me step back into the past. That’s always alive in my mind now because I’m always thinking about it, reading about it, writing about it. It’s to help me concentrate and forget my surroundings. I’m easily distractible!
2. I know that you read a lot of non-fiction books to aid in writing your historical books. Do you have time for reading for fun? If you do, what is your genre of choice?
If I couldn’t read for fun then my creative well would run dry. But it’s true that my time is limited now because the research must be kept up with, and other obligations that come with being published that but into reading time. One way I manage to keep reading is with audio books. That way I can read while I’m alone in the car, or fixing dinner, or doing other things that don’t require a lot of focus. I prefer the genre I write, historical. Now and then I read a contemporary set story, a mystery, or a YA dystopian.
3. Have your characters ever taken on a mind of their own and a story you were crafting began to go in a direction you didn’t see coming?
Yes they have. Most notably in a manuscript that hasn’t yet been published. A character refused to die when I meant her to and it changed the entire rest of the story. Made it better actually. Deeper. Less tidy and more realistic. I had to work up courage to let her have her way—because then I had to figure out how to make the story head in the direction I’d intended. In the end, it required plotting out a sequel in order to do so. But I think the whole story is much stronger for it. Hopefully one day I’ll get to share those books with readers.
4. Beginning with the first draft and ending with the release next week of The Wood’s Edge, what length of time did the entire process cover?
2009-2011 — During this time I was writing and researching Burning Sky, but because much of the back story in that book forms the historical backdrop for The Wood’s Edge and its sequel, next spring’s A Flight of Arrows, I was inadvertently researching The Wood’s Edge during this time as well. By the end of 2011 I had the story in mind and was researching it in earnest.
2012 — I wrote the first draft this year—the year before Burning Sky’s release (it had been contracted).
2013 — This year was a blur. Burning Sky debuted, I was editing The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, and not managing to write a new book at all. I was thankful I’d already written The Wood’s Edge. I knew it needed a sequel, but I wasn’t up to writing it this year. I spent some of the year editing The Wood’s Edge, trying to get the word count trimmed down.
2014 — The Wood’s Edge and its sequel were contracted. I turned in the manuscript in April, when The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn released. Later that year I took it through the various rounds of editing and on into production. The cover design was released, I got to see the interior, endorsements were gathered.
2015 — And here we are, right on the cusp of the book’s release. It’s still as exciting as the first time, but this year I’m trying to get a new book written as well as promoting one, and editing another. Guess I’m learning to juggle this writing life better with practice.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
The Wood’s Edge (The Pathfinders #1)
WaterBrook Press (Penguin Random House)
April 21 2015
At the wood’s edge cultures collide. Can two families survive the impact?
The 1757 New York frontier is home to the Oneida tribe and to British colonists, yet their feet rarely walk the same paths.
On the day Fort William Henry falls, Major Reginald Aubrey is beside himself with grief. His son, born that day, has died in the arms of his sleeping wife. When Reginald comes across an Oneida mother with newborn twins, one white, one brown, he makes a choice that will haunt the lives of all involved. He steals the white baby and leaves his own child behind. Reginald’s wife and foundling daughter, Anna, never suspect the truth about the boy they call William, but Reginald is wracked by regret that only intensifies with time, as his secret spreads its devastating ripples.
When the long buried truth comes to light, can an unlikely friendship forged at the wood’s edge provide a way forward? For a father tormented by fear of judgment, another by lust for vengeance. For a mother still grieving her lost child. For a brother who feels his twin’s absence, another unaware of his twin’s existence. And for Anna, who loves them both–Two Hawks, the mysterious Oneida boy she meets in secret, and William, her brother. As paths long divided collide, how will God direct the feet of those who follow Him?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lori Benton was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American history going back three hundred years. Her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history. When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching, Lori enjoys exploring the Oregon wilderness with her husband. She is the author of Burning Sky, recipient of three Christy Awards, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, and The Wood’s Edge.
And now…on to the giveaway!
Lori Benton is giving away a copy of The Wood’s Edge to one commenter.
(US residents only due to shipping costs, please)
1. Comment on this post with your name and email in a non spam format
2. You can earn extra entries for being a follower of my blog and sharing about this post (don’t forget to let me know you are a follower and how you shared)
3. Giveaway begins 4/14/15 and ends 4/20/15. Winner will be announced on 4/21/15.