Thank you all for welcoming me to Seekerville today. I’ve been reading your blog for a while and am amazed at how many devoted book lovers you have gathered here. It’s a BIG honor to join you.
Before I became a published novelist, I had heard all the tales about drunk, lonely writers going off the deep end as they sat in a cold room with nothing but imaginary friends to comfort them. Writers were supposed to be dark, moody, and anti-social. Some went as far as becoming hermits.
My, how that has changed! Today, I don’t know a single author friend who is an introvert. If they aren’t comfortable getting out and mingling with readers, they won’t be happy in this business for long.
Authors are expected to have a heavy presence in social media as well as to chat with readers at author events. Add to that the media interviews and public speaking gigs, and there’s no chance a writer will drink himself into oblivion in the basement. There simply isn’t time for that!
What I’ve learned in my two-year journey as a published novelist is that I actually love the interaction between writer and reader. When I took the leap of faith and signed the contract that would lead to my story being placed on shelves, I opened myself up to the mutual exchange that takes place every time a reader enters my imaginary world. And I love to hear what they learned while there.
There are many people who help foster this exchange: bloggers, reviewers, church leaders, book club leaders, etc. Let’s discuss librarians and booksellers, for example. To me, they do more to cure ailments than the best physician in town.
Why? Consider this.
A person walks into the library or bookstore. The visitor has a need, a problem to solve. Maybe she needs information about buying a car, or a self-help book on addiction, or a novel that will help her process the emotions of real life domestic violence. Maybe her child needs homework support, or she needs adult literacy classes so she can get a better job. Maybe she just needs a fun fantasy that allows her to escape the stress and anxiety of her hectic life. Whatever these people need...they are coming into that bookstore or library for a fix. The librarian or bookseller then has the opportunity to prescribe a story...the perfect cure for whatever ails them.
I receive letters every day from readers who tell me they found hope by reading my books, or that these stories made them realize they were not alone in their struggles, or that they gained a renewed faith, or that they now know they can survive the worst of what life deals them. Other say they have examined what it really means to be a Christian and that they are more aware of the people around them who need to receive unconditional love.
As authors, we can write countless stories, but if librarians, booksellers, bloggers, book club leaders, church leaders, teachers, and reviewers don’t pass these stories to the right readers...they get lost on shelves. We cannot do this without you, and we thank each of you who help our stories land in the right hands.
I thank you for daring to choose my stories from those crowded shelves. And I thank every reader who takes a chance by entering the world of my main character, Millie Reynolds.
As a gesture of our appreciation, my publisher, David C. Cook, is offering a very special holiday prize...a gift bag filled to the brim with 14 different Cook titles. If you are the lucky winner, we hope this selection of stories will bring you a little peace and quiet this hectic holiday season. Perhaps you can use these books as gifts and save yourself a little time and money as well!
The bag will include my two novels, Into the Free and When Mountains Move, as well as books by Lisa T. Bergren, Miralee Ferrell, Ginger Garrett, Harry Kraus, Michael Landon Jr., Kate Lloyd, Creston Mapes, Jim Stovall, Travis Thasher, and MORE! It’s a mixed bag of Mystery, Amish, Contemporary, Inspirational and Historical Fiction worth more than $240.00!
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS LEAVE A COMMENT TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!
Now let’s chat. I love to hear how my stories have impacted a reader’s life. It’s nearly miraculous really, to think that a little story left my brain, landed in your hands, and brought you to a new place spiritually, emotionally, or cognitively. It’s an honor to be your tour guide through the land of imagination.
• What are some of the best author/reader interactions you’ve had?
• As a reader, what suggestions do you have for your favorite authors...things you’d like to see on our websites? In the back sections of the books? On social media outlets?
• And if you are an author...what do you like best about interacting with readers?
• Share all your fabulous ideas, and who knows...you might be having tea with your favorite author very soon.
Good Luck and Happy Reading!
It is the spring of 1943. With a wedding and a cross-country move, Millie’s world is about to change forever.
If only her past could change with it.
Soon after the break of day, Bump will become Millie’s husband. And then, if all goes as planned, they will leave the rain-soaked fields of Mississippi and head for the wilds of the Colorado Rockies. As Millie tries to forget a dark secret, she hasn’t yet realized how drastically those past experiences will impact the coming days.
For most of Millie’s life, being free felt about as unlikely as the mountains moving. But she’s about to discover that sometimes in life, we are given second chances, and that the only thing bigger than her past … is her future.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julie Cantrell has served as editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review and is a recipient of the Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Fellowship. She is the author of two children’s books as well as Into the Free, which received Christy Awards for Best Debut Novel and Book of the Year 2013 as well as the Mississippi Library Association’s Fiction Award. Cantrell and her family live in Mississippi where they operate Valley House Farm. Her second novel, When Mountains Move, released September 2013 and continues the story of Millie Reynolds (from Into the Free).
Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.