Friday, May 9, 2014

What Our Stories Teach Us

For Such a Time is the title of my novel. It also summarizes my writing journey. 

Hi, I’m Kate Breslin and honored to be a guest blogger on Seekerville today. I’d like to talk about that journey and how God—through my story—helped to change its course.


First, a bit of background: My writing career started early, consisting of childhood poems and short stories. With adolescence I graduated into more heady prose and creating song lyrics to accompany my guitar. Novel writing came much later, when as an adult I discovered my passion for reading romance. Once I’d exhausted my supply of novels written by my favorite romance authors I decided to try and write one of my own. It certainly wasn’t as easy as it looked! I’ve worked many challenging jobs, but I must say novel writing is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done…and the most rewarding. 


I joined Romance Writers of America as a young and aspiring author, hoping to publish in the general romance market. I wrote my first novel, a 156,000-word Scottish historical that I still affectionately call my “everything but the kitchen-sink” book. After many rejection letters and much revising, I entered the manuscript into RWA’s Golden Heart contest and became a finalist. I was thrilled—all those years of hard work had paid off! I didn’t win, however, and went on to re-revise and resubmit to agents and editors. My stack of rejection letters grew. I began to despair, feeling crushed and wondering if I was even supposed to be a writer. 


Still, I wasn’t quite ready to give up. I finally buried that Scottish book in a drawer and began writing another story then another. I’d heard it said that successful novel-writing consisted of 10% talent and 90% determination, and however realistic those percentages might be, it was sheer tenacity that often kept me at the keyboard. I experienced a few hits and misses with agents, yet nothing came of it so I continued on. During this time, I also began to return into my Catholic Christian faith, and as a Prodigal daughter, I was reading the Bible for the first time and attending church. I started to question my secular pursuits, and briefly considered writing for the inspirational market. But I wasn’t yet spiritually in the right place, so I remained intent upon my own course while ignoring the little Voice inside that told me otherwise.


I believe now God had His hand on me when I got the idea to write For Such A Time. I was reading the Book of Esther from the Bible when I found myself comparing the wicked Haman’s annihilation of the Jews with Hitler’s Holocaust of WWII. I considered setting Queen Esther’s story into that more modern venue and began my research, trying to imagine my characters. Would my heroine, Hadassah, hiding behind false papers in the midst of a Nazi concentration camp, ignore God’s call to salvation? Would she remain helpless to save her people behind Theresienstadt’s walls…or would she take that leap of faith? Did she have a queen’s courage to stand up to her fears and accomplish the task set before her? 


And what of my hero, Aric? Would he, like King Xerxes, listen to the voice of love? Would he see the truth, taking up the call to decency? Or as with many kings in the past, did he consider his position of power and sense of duty more important?


As I wrote my characters, I found their struggles with faith, fear, and uncertainty resonating with my own. After all, I’d been at this writing business for what seemed an eternity, without success. I’d rejected God’s influence more than once and often considered giving up. Was this obstacle course I’d set myself upon His intention for me? 


Yet as I finished writing For Such A Time, it felt right. I felt right. And through the process I’d come to more deeply understand God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ. I couldn’t say that about the other novels I’d written. 


But were those earlier stories a waste of time? For nearly twenty years I tried publishing in a market that wasn’t me. I expended reams of paper, gallons of ink, and cried buckets over a mountain of rejection letters. Yet while that Scottish novel may never again see the sun, it, along with my other works did help me—to hone my craft, improve my skills, and simply grow as a writer. Those stories got me ready for the one that really mattered. Through them, I’d come to be exactly where God wanted me—For Such A Time. 




What story changed your journey? How did God call you for such a time as this?

Today, Kate is generously giving away a copy of her debut release to one commenter. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.


More about For Such a Time.

In 1944, blond and blue-eyed Jewess Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, she is able to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller. However, in order to survive and maintain her cover as Aric's secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz. 

Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths and sympathies, Stella cautiously appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric's compassion gives her hope, and she finds herself battling a growing attraction for this man she knows she should despise as an enemy. 


Stella pours herself into her efforts to keep even some of the camp's prisoners safe, but she risks the revelation of her true identity with every attempt. When her bravery brings her to the point of the ultimate sacrifice, she has only her faith to lean upon. Perhaps God has placed her there for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she is unable to save herself? 
~~~~~

A Florida girl who migrated to the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin lives with her husband, John, and a very spoiled cat named Coco. Kate has written several travel articles, published award-winning poetry, and her first manuscript, a Scottish historical romance, was an RWA Golden Heart finalist. FOR SUCH A TIME is her debut novel. Kate’s writing journey has been one of faith as well as success; after years spent writing novels aimed at the general romance market, she finally heeded God’s call to write stories of how His love brings two hearts together. When not plotting her next novel, she loves spending time with author friends, reading from her mountain of books, or watching anything Jane Austen on BBC. Kate’s also an avid gardener and enjoys taking long walks in Washington State’s many forests. A traveler as well, she’s toured most of the country at one time or another and also been abroad–Paris, Munich, Rome, Pompeii, Athens, even a day trip to Turkey. She’d love to hear from you so please stop by www.katebreslin.com and say hello! 

“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Rom. 8:28 (NRSV)

95 comments:

Melissa Jagears said...

What a beautiful story, Kate! Can't wait to read the novel.

Tina Radcliffe said...

I've read this post twice now and I agree....an amazing story.

I'd rather be doing what I am supposed to be doing than anything else.

What a beautiful cover, BTW. What a story!!!

Thanks for joining us in Seekerville today.

Terri said...

Kate, a beautiful post. The book sounds fascinating and like Tina, I love your cover. Congratulations on your debut.

Kav said...

Well, I'm gobsmacked that this is your debut novel. I can definitely see how your writing journey prepared you For Such a Time. I've read it and it is a stunning novel. A goosebump read.

Thanks for sharing your writing story -- another testimony to grit and determination paving the way to publication. So glad you didn't give up!

Oh, and don't enter me in the draw because I have read this book. It is on my keeper shelf. :-)

Cindy W. said...

Hi Kate! I absolutely LOVED For Such a Time and fell in love with Aric and Sarah/Hadassah's story. It is absolutely the best I have read this year and has a home on my keeper shelf. Thank you for not giving up on your writing!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Kate.

Beautiful story, wonderful idea, and I firmly believe it's spirit-led...

Thank you for this in-depth look at the road less traveled, the chock-full bottom drawer of first-attempts and our hearts and souls!

My "coming of age" book was "Running on Empty" a beautiful story that never got traditionally published but received lots of awards and editorial kudos... Eventually, once I was established as an author, I published it independently and it has been my bestselling indie book. A story of a woman's return to her hometown, scorned and mocked, where she must face the teacher that robbed her of her innocence fifteen years before...

A teacher lauded and respected by all in the town.

I love that Anne's story found its audience, and I love that my "hearth and home" books have found a niche with Love Inspired and other Christian publishers. WHAT A GIFT ON BOTH SIDES!!!!

:)

Thank you for today! I'm going to download "For Such a Time" to my Kindle and then my daughter will read it and maybe... maybe!!! She'll give up my Kindle long enough for me to read it! We'll have a Kindle Kidnap Weekend!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Coffee is here!!!! And I've done Panera's this morning, those fun egg/chicken/cheese puff thingies, and yes, I know they're not low-carb, but they're PRETEND... so it's okay!!!

Jackie said...

This sounds like a beautiful story. Congratulations! I can't wait to read it.

Thanks for sharing about your journey.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning Kate, Ditto on comments. Beautiful story. Thank you for joining us here in Seekerville. Have a wonderful day.

Mary Hicks said...

Kate, I love the cover of your book! Your writing journey is interesting—and I'm glad you didn't give up during the discouraging times.

Makes me remember that there's sunshine behind the dark clouds—always! :-)

I think I'll have some coffee now. :-)

DebH said...

Kate
I LOVE the story of Esther! That you've re-told the epic tale with a modern twist, it makes me very excited to read your book.

Thank you for sharing your journey as well. It gives me great hope. I have nothing of epic proportions like your Scottish story, but that's the beauty of it. Everyone's journey is different with the occasional overlap. Again, thanks for sharing.

Annie Rains said...

Congratulations on your debut novel!!! And I agree with everyone else--your cover is gorgeous and your book sounds fantastic!

Happy Friday, Seekerville!

Connie Queen said...

Inspirational story Kate!

I have one story I've always wanted to write that is completely different from my norm. It as a stronger spiritual theme. I hope to write it one these and it can be my For Such a Tim.

Loves To Read said...

Your book sounds so interesting! Please enter me in the drawing.

Julie Lessman said...

KATE!!! You cannot imagine just HOW much I have heard about you and your "AMAZING" novel!! I hear things like "Christy contender" whispered about, so I am MOST anxious to read "For Such a Time" and, in fact, have it sitting on my desk right now!! :)

Your blog today gave me goose bumps, because in many ways, it is similar to my own story and how God stirred me into His service as well.

You asked: "What story changed your journey? How did God call you for such a time as this?

My answer, regrettably, is not from Scripture reading, but from Gone With the Wind, a book that set me upon the path to write romance when I read it at the age of 12. I immediately set out to write 150 single-spaced pages of my own romance novel back then, which actually became the basis for my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure, some 40 years later.

It happened while I was sitting in a beauty shop reading a Newsweek 2001 cover article that said Christian books, movies, and music were a billion-dollar industry that wasn't being met and was about to explode. If you remember, that's when Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ came out a few years later and forever changed how the world saw the Christian market and its vast potential.

Anyway, I was sitting there reading this when something in my spirit said, "now is the time to finish your book." I remember it being like a slow blink of my eyes -- and in my mind -- awareness slowly dawning that God was giving me a direction and, I truly believe, a directive to write for Him.

Like you, I was a Golden Heart finalist along with fellow Seekers Tina Radcliffe, Janet Dean, and Myra Johnson, and of course, that brat Myra won! ;) My novel was also LONG (158,000 words), and rejected 46 times before Revell took a chance and published me.

There is no question that unto everything there is a season appointed by Him, and if that is so, as I believe it is, then NOTHING is wasted from the moment we type that first line to the day we get "the call," as your beautiful story truly conveys.

Thanks for sharing it with us today and God bless your journey.

Hugs,
Julie

Jeanne T said...

Kate, I loved reading your story. The reminder that other works we create can prepare us for things God wants to do through our writing is a good one. It's not hard to question if they were a waste of time. Non-writers might see them that way. I look at them as my opportunities to practice my craft and grow through them.

I loved reading how your journey grew as you wrote For Such a Time. It sounds like an amazing story!

Amanda said...

Wow, Kate! Your book sounds amazing! Would love to read it! And I too am a Jane Austen fan. :)

Blessings,
Amanda
amandabarratt33@gmail.com

Cara Lynn James said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Kate! I love to hear about a writer's journey toward publication. It's never easy!

I agree that none of our writing attempts are wasted. Some we can use later or in some other form. Some are just practice, but every writer needs to practice.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Well, Kate like moi is on PST time. So it's just 6:48 and downing my first cuppa.

Thanks for bringing breakfast Ruthy.

All you Irish Catholics are here today, I see :)

Tina Radcliffe said...

Kate, dare I ask what a normal writing day is like for you?


Tina Radcliffe said...

And what's up next? Has the Lord whispered in your ear?


I have ordered your book. How could I not. It called to me. ")

Rose said...

Hi Kate!

Kate and I are 'agent mates'.

I have to admit I haven't read Kate's book yet. BUT I plan to purchase a copy for me and some for Christmas gifts (yes, I DO start Christmas shopping this early!)

Congratulations on your release, Kate. I wishing you much success with your book.

Tina Radcliffe said...

BTW if you are an Amazon Prime member you can watch BBC Pride and Prejudice free. I marathoned it last weekend. It just gets better and better and better.

Jennifer Smith said...

Oh my goodness, Kate, this novel looks so good! :) One story I read lately that I felt impacted my life (or "journey") was Tosca Lee's "Havah: The Story of Eve." Though a lot of artistic license was taken in the book, I know I will never read the story of Adam and Eve casually again!

Myra Johnson said...

Welcome, Kate! I've written one or two of those "everything but the kitchen sink" manuscripts. If a little is good, a lot is better, right???

But it's so true that God knows exactly the right time for what He wants to create in our lives. When I first began actively pursuing a writing career, I needed a lot more "growing up" in my writing (and otherwise) than I realized.

Congratulations on your debut novel! It looks riveting!

Kate Breslin said...

Good morning, everyone!
I'm three hours behind, so I'm still in my slippers and "writing outfit" and just grabbed my cup of coffee! Thank you all for such wonderful posts. Your kind words have touched me so much, and Ruth and Julie, I appreciate you both sharing your writing stories with me. By the way Julie, I recently read A Passion Most Pure and thoroughly enjoyed it! :)

We all wait in God's time, don't we? I once read a great analogy in my women's devotional, about the mother of several children who listened as her five-year-old complained about his oversized, hand-me-down sweatshirt. She explained that it was all right, that once he grew a bit the shirt would fit just fine. Our journey with God is like that. We often must wait until we "fit right" with His will before our prayers get answered. It took me awhile, but it was worth the wait. Any more stories out there? I'd love to hear them!

Mz.ZeyZey said...

Love this post! I love how you've captured the frustrations of your earlier writing and put it into perspective, showing how it prepared you to write this story at this time. God's timing is always something I find so amazing.

I've written a romance outside of my wheelhouse that I really love but has met with nothing but rejection, while everything in life is nudging me to finish and submit another story. I finally started listening to it, and I am amazed at how much stronger the writing is, even in this first draft stage.

The stories that have changed my journey:

1. A story I tried to write for years and years didn't come together until my stepfather died. Losing someone so close put the heroine's loss into perspective and writing it helped me to heal a bit from my own loss.

2. The story I'm working on now is about a man who kills someone drunk driving and how that changes his life. Having been in a bad car accident caused by a drunk driver and losing a family member to a drunk driver, I have struggled with forgiveness and seeing the reason behind both of those accidents. Writing this story is clearing some of that debris and giving me a chance to try to understand the other people involved.

3. Lastly, the first novel that I finished, for showing me I could finish a story, revise it and submit it; for showing me I could survive rejection, and; stretching my creativity to try something outside of my comfort zone and discovering new strengths in my writing.

I would love to be entered to read your book.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Munich!!! Did you go to the famous beer hall where Hitler had meetings? I was there when I was in the Army. The story goes that the ceiling was painted with swastikas and after the war they were of course painted over.

Love Munich. Got lost in the subway.

(talk about a whistling clean subway!)

Kate Breslin said...

Thanks again, and I'm glad to see that someone has brought breakfast! :) Tina, my normal writing day is usually several hours spent at the keyboard each day, usually the morning hours when I'm freshest. Lately, I've been trying to get up earlier, so I can have more free time in the afternoons. Still working on that, will keep you posted! :) I have another novel in the works with BH, to release in 2015, a WWI historical that takes place in Britain. Aside from loving Jane Austen's P&P (I have the complete DVD set of the BBC version, which I've only watched like a hundred times)I'm also a huge DA fan, so that time period fascinates me. I've finished the bulk of my research, wrote my synopsis and began writing the story awhile ago. As with most writers, I'm sure, it's always on my mind, even when I'm not typing away. The story perks in my brain and I pray constantly that God will provide me with inspiration and a clever scene!:)

Kate Breslin said...

Jennifer, I just went to Amazon and looked up Havah: The Story of Eve, by Tosca Lee. Wow, that looks like my kind of read! Adding to my TBR pile.

Kate Breslin said...

Mz. Zay Zay, your stories sound very moving! I think of writing as a quest, that we as authors either consciously or subconsciously seek answers for ourselves in what we put down on the page. I told you about realizing my own faith journey with For Such A Time, but also, when I first conceived the idea, I thought more of producing a story along the lines of "The Red Tent" concept. Yet as I did the research and got caught up in reading about the suffering and brutality of the Holocaust, I needed answers to that whole question of "why?" I believe I found them through my heroine as I wrote the story. It's simply amazing how we grow and get inspired along with our readers!

Kate Breslin said...

Tina, I did visit the Hofbrauhaus while I was in Munich! And I got to watch the Glockenspiel dance in the new hour in Town Square--both experiences I'll never forget. I visited Mannheim as well, which I mention in my story, and I enjoyed the daily open air markets. I was also in the vicinity of Dachau, but our tour didn't include a visit. Seeing the camps I wrote about is a must on my Bucket List!

Tina Radcliffe said...

I did tour Dachau. What a life changing event.

LIFE CHANGING.

Another reason to grab your book!!

Seekers of course are not eligible to win. Downloading to Kindle in progress.

Wanda (A Book Lover's Retreat) said...

I LOVE WWII stories! I recently read one I consider my all-time favorite and I would love to read For Such a Time. I have heard such great things about it. Thank you for the great post and the chance to read your book!

Wanda Barefoot
flghtlss1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Kate Breslin said...

Wanda, thank you. Once I started researching the WWII time period I was like a sponge! :) I simply couldn't get enough information. And Tina, speaking of Hitler...
Theresienstadt, or "Terezin City" in Czechoslovakia, the camp where my story takes place--is very real. As well as its "beautification project." The International Red Cross wished to inspect the camp after Denmark demanded to know the state of several hundred Danish Jews taken there by the Nazis. By showcasing this particular "gift camp" Hitler saw a means to fool the world into thinking his camps were humane and the prisoners well-cared for. I won't give the story away, but it is chilling to know the truth behind this façade he created. Does anyone have any fascinating research to share? I admit, that's the main reason I write historical novels. I love learning new things!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Okay you threw me with the BH. Bethany House not another publisher. Got it!

Kate Breslin said...

Oops, sorry! :) Yes, Bethany House. I find myself getting more caught up in those acronyms. Too much texting and Twitter LOL!

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Kate,

What a wonderful journey to publication! Mine is a bit long and I'm running late right now, so I'll save it for another time!

Your book sounds wonderful. I'd love to be in the drawing.

Cheers,
Sue

Kate Breslin said...

I just want to thank everyone again for the supportive posts! I didn't answer each one individually, but I hope that those who haven' yet read For Such A Time enjoy the story and gain a bit more insight into the Holocaust. I know I sure did!

Kate Breslin said...

Thanks, Sue. I would love to hear your journey sometime!

Pam Hillman said...

Loved reading about your journey to publication, Kate! For Such a Time sounds wonderful.

Piper Huguley said...

A wonderful post! I love to hear these stories of perseverance and triumph. (46 times Julie? Wow!) The premise of your novel sounds wonderful and I look forward to reading it. Thank you for coming to Seekerville!

Kate Breslin said...

Thanks, Pam. I hope you enjoy the story!

Kate Breslin said...

Piper, writing is perseverance, isn't it? When you think about the fact that it takes months or years to complete a work? But so worth being able to express our thoughts on the page!

Wilani Wahl said...

Kate, I loved your post. I have been wanting to get a copy of your book. It sounds like something I would enjoy.

I am leaving the house shortly for my niece's graduation from Bob Jones University and then to spend some time with my Mom for Mother's Day.

A stack of books to read is packed along with my computer and all notes for my wip. I still hope to get some work done.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Kate Breslin said...

Enjoy your mom, Wilani. Happy writing!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

The East Coast Irish Catholic Society wants you to know that we party hearty and early...

So's to make room for you folks on the far side of the moon later on.

I saw that Kate's up in the PNW... Gorgeous, I hear!!!!

Must Go Visit Someday.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I know two holocaust survivors. They never speak of it, I never ask.

They don't want to go back mentally. They're here, they're elderly now, and they're successful. God is good.

And their two sons survived the attacks on the World Trade Centers in 2001. One was in his office and had to hunker down in a lobby with dozens of other people in the dark while the ash cloud filled every crack and crevice around them....

The other was slated to do something in a New Jersey office and the blown-out window of his office floor was the damaged building alongside the twin towers, a shot you saw on the news continuously.

What a frightening day that must have been, to have survived so much as a child... and then to have your sons targeted by terrorists.

Stories are happening every day, every where.

How blessed we are to find them.

Kate Breslin said...

Amen, Ruth! And I can understand why holocaust survivors don't wish to dredge up the past. I researched and wrote about it, but I cannot really imagine what they went through in that time.

And yes, you must come westward one of these days and visit. I am originally from Florida, but I lived here as a child for a time and fell in love with all these gorgeous mountains!

Dianna Shuford said...

Thanks for sharing your story Kate! It's very inspiring.

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Kate! I identify with your journey, not only the long trek to publication, but publication of stories written to bring God glory. By the time I got God's message and wrote for the inspiration market, things changed. I was a Golden Heart finalist with my first and second inspy manuscripts. I sold the that first story two years later.

For Such a Time as This sounds wonderful! Congratulations on your debut.

Janet

Kate Breslin said...

Thank you, Dianna!

Kate Breslin said...

Janet, thank you for the good wishes and the welcome. I really enjoy being here. And I recognize that we are all called differently and at different times. So glad you found what you were meant to do here and now! :)

S. Trietsch said...

Enjoyed your background/growth story very much!

Tina Radcliffe said...

RUTHY!!! ROAD TRIP TO THE RIM!!!

WOOOT!!!

Kate Breslin said...

Thanks Ms. Trietsch!

Kate Breslin said...

Even after years of living here, the view of Mount Rainier still amazes me!

Anna Weaver Hurtt said...

Sounds like an awesome read! Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us, Kate. It gives the rest of us hope. :)

Kate Breslin said...

I'm so glad, Anna! Never stop trying! :)

Michelle F. said...

Sounds like an interesting book. Please enter me in the drawing. No mountains around here in Toledo, Ohio.

Tina Radcliffe said...

My husband is from Kirkland and when we visit the the area he goes into overdrive when he sees Ranier. He used to work as a guide at a hotel up there.

Kate Breslin said...

Wow, that sounds like a great job! I don't visit Rainier very often, but it's so huge, we can always see it on a clear day, and we live across Puget Sound, about two hours' drive away. I was in Kirkland on Monday for a book signing!

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

Kate, thank you for sharing your writing journey and for not abandoning your dream of publication. Your story is absolutely amazing and such an encouragement.The scripture verse you quoted is a favorite one. I remind myself of that promise daily. Congratulations on your debut novel. Your story set during such a dark period in history is an intriguing one. I wish you all the best, Kate.

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

Kate, thank you for sharing your writing journey and for not abandoning your dream of publication. Your story is absolutely amazing and such an encouragement.The scripture verse you quoted is a favorite one. I remind myself of that promise daily. Congratulations on your debut novel. Your story set during such a dark period in history is an intriguing one. I wish you all the best, Kate.

Mary Connealy said...

Kate I know when I read Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion Trilogy I felt like I finally knew what could be done with words.
The world she created, the power of her writing.

It was an achievement in literary fiction and I think I started aiming higher because I knew what words could do.

Kate Breslin said...

Pat, thanks so much and I'm glad if my story encourages others. I love Romans 8:28 and the day I first read it in the Bible, I knew it spoke to me. I love it when we receive Scripture exactly what we need it. Amazing grace!

Mary Connealy said...

Kate the research that really hit me was when I researched Andersonville Prison for my Kincaid Brides series. The horrors of that place.

But what inspired a whole new book was when I learned that a baby had been born in that prison. A prison came full of men...but a woman was in there...with her husband...disguised as a man.

It gave me chills to read it and I immediately began wondering how to catch that chilling moment in a book.

Kate Breslin said...

Mary, I felt the same way! I hadn't read too much Christian fiction and then I got my hands on Francine's trilogy and oh my! I became very excited about writing in the genre. It was a good thing I had all three of her books when I started, because that first one really leaves you hanging...

Kate Breslin said...

Mary, you just gave me chills! I want to read that book. Did I understand right, it's based on a real story?

Mary Connealy said...

Kate, the end of Voice in the Wind, the first book in that trilogy is just about as intense as writing can get.

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, Kate, LOVE the "oversized, hand-me-down sweatshirt" analogy, especially since I'm #12 of 13 kids (ten girls!!) -- SO true!!

Thanks for reading APMP -- it always blesses me when a fellow author and peer tells me they read my work, especially if no new 1-star reviews pop up right after, discreetly titled "Anonymous." ;)

And, yes, Piper -- 46 times, including one from a query letter returned to me a year after I was published! :) I think that was the only queried rejection that didn't hurt ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Mary Connealy said...

I go to research and with absolutely NO NEED TO, I start following rabbit trails just because I'm interested.

I found this diary of a Rebel Guard at Andersonville and he gives this first person account of the baby being born.

It is CHILLING. His wonder, his fear, his disbelieve.

One thing that particular diary really taught me was....I couldn't be sure if his memory was correct. I couldn't be sure if he got the details and names and dates all right.

But I realized in reading that I COULD BE SURE of one man's reaction. One man's personal experience with an event.

It helped me realize that TRUTH is (searching for a word) ephemeral...maybe that's it.

TRUTH is not exactly facts and figures.

A better way to put it....ONE MAN'S TRUTH is legitimate.

That guard's reaction was so strong and maybe another man who saw and heard the same things just waved it off and forgot it, strange business, woman's an idiot, her husband needs to be shot for letting her stay....blah, blah, blah....and that man's TRUTH, of his own reaction would have been just as true as the man who reacted as if he was witnessing a pure miracle.

That's affected my writing and I'm much more interested in first person accounts of events as a result. So often you can find them for almost no money on Amazon.

And often on Wikipedia the will cite quotes and references...say the name like...as was written in The Diary of a Rebel Guard by Wilson Whoever...then Wiki will go on. But if you pay attention to that title and go plug it into Amazon you may find it and often really cheap.

I own a signed copy of Jim White's Own Story...The Discovery and History of Carlsbad Cavern.

Jim White is the man who discovered Carlsbad Cavern and I bought this book...led there by Wikipedia...for a few dollars and here it comes in the mail and it's OLD and battered and signed by Jim White. I LOVE IT!!!

I used it so much when writing the Kincaid Brides which is set in a fictionalized Carlsbad Cavern.

Mary Connealy said...

Long comment. Good grief.

Sorry. :)

Kate Breslin said...

Julie, I'm looking forward reading Charity's story next, now that you've got me hooked! :) You know I framed my first rejection letter because it was proof I was moving forward in my writing. Of course, those letters still smarted. At least some of them were encouraging and helpful.

Mary Connealy said...

Trying for a live link


A Baby Born in Hell

Kate Breslin said...

Mary, I hear you! I begin research for a book and I really have to put myself on a timer, otherwise I go down that same rabbit hole. And the story? I believe it's true--I mean, there were women spies during the Civil War, so why not a woman disguised as a man to be with her husband in prison? Thanks for the link. And back to Francine's trilogy, that was so intense! They're on my shelf to re-read one day. I just can't believe the research she must have done to accomplish that!

Mary Connealy said...

The Mark of the Lion Trilogy is a perfect example of World Building.

That's a term we usually use in sci-fi fantasy books. Like...Hogwart, right?

But she created that perfect, visible Roman world.

Kate Breslin said...

Thanks, Mary, it worked. Oh my goodness, the condition of that poor inmate! You know I ran across a tidbit in Wiki about the Brits during the Boer War near the end of the 19th century. They had hospitals set up there and Wiki shows a photo of this young girl in horrible condition. At first I thought she'd been in a Nazi concentration camp, but it turned out she was of the Boer nationality and very sick, but none of the British doctors would care for her because her father had been convicted as a traitor. She was left there to die. I hadn't realized how much prejudice there would be toward a child. It was an eye-opener.

Tanya Agler said...

Kate, Thank you for sharing your writing journey and the research and thought behind your heroine's story.

Mary Connealy said...

Kate I used to be more annoyed with myself for the time sink of research but I've changed my mind on that.

The research into Andersonville for The Kincaid Brides, done 18 months before hand, clicked at some point and ended up inspiring the whole Trouble in Texas series and THAT research, the part about women disguised as men in war, inspired the whole Wild at Heart Series which begins in September.

I always notice if I'm reading something and it gives me CHILLS! Then I know I've hit something cool and interesting. Something I can fictionalize, play 'what if' with, jump off of and come up with a book.

Kate Breslin said...

I agree, world-building. The depth of those novels is still amazing to me. I love it when I can sink into a story and literally feel like I'm there.

Kate Breslin said...

Tanya, thank you so much!

Kate Breslin said...

Mary, that's great--you got a lot of mileage from that research. I agree that if something resonates with us during our exploration, it often helps create the next novel. I have stories in my head that I want to write one day, from the research I've gleaned through the years. Hopefully I won't forget everything before I get the chance.

Kate Breslin said...

Tina and Seekers, thanks so much for hosting me today. And to the rest of you, I've really had fun! I hope we can do this again sometime. Now I've got a dinner date--so I'm signing off. Enjoy your weekend!

Mary Connealy said...

Kate think how that story impacted you of the bigotry that led to that child's death. What powerful seeds to grow a story.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Thanks, Kate!!! You've been a fun guest!

Natalie Monk said...

What an encouraging testimony! Thank you for sharing with us, Kate! I can't wait to read this novel!

Mary Preston said...

FOR SUCH A TIME is going to tear my heart out I think. Yes please!!

Mary Preston said...

FOR SUCH A TIME is going to tear my heart out I think. Yes please!!

Cindi A said...

Sometimes I believe that we think we know where God wants us to be but when it truly is where He wants us, it becomes an aha moment. I'm glad that you didn't give up on your writing.

Cindi Altman from PA

jubileewriter said...

This post spoke to me and encourage me to press on. This was my inspiration for thr day. I found the story premise very intriguing.
Cindy Huff

Julie Lessman said...

LOL ... framing your first rejection letter is very cool -- never thought of that. Of course, I could have wallpapered with mine ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Alexa Verde said...

Thank you for sharing your journey with us, Kate!

Kate Breslin said...

Getting the last word in. :)Thanks, everyone!

Missy Tippens said...

Kate, I'm sorry I'm dropping by late. I was traveling yesterday. We're so glad you joined us!

What a fantastic post! Your book sounds amazing. I can't wait to check it out!