Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Blue Heart Blessed-- Review, Interview and Giveaway!

As soon as I read this book, I knew I had to share it with you all. I absolutely loved it-- and I loved knowing that it was waiting for me at the end of a long day. I would crawl into bed and curl up with another chapter, meeting up with these well-developed characters who became so real to me. Not only did I identify with them, I grew to like them very much. The story line is about a girl who has been gilted just before her wedding. As she ponders what to do with her dress (which she will no longer be needing, obviously), she gets an idea for a business selling secondhand wedding dresses. The opening lines of the novel sucked me right in, and the only thing I regretted about picking up this book is that it had to come to an end! When I contacted Susan Meissner to see about doing this interview and giveaway, my first question to her was, "When is the movie coming out??" The book would make such a cute movie! Anyone have any Hollywood contacts??

Sue was so gracious to stop by and share with us about the book, her current project, and offer a little advice to those of us who are writers or wannabe writers. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I did.

Hi Susan-- or do you go by Sue?

You can call me Sue, lots of friends and family do, and many writer friends call me Sooz.

Welcome and thanks for spending some time with us today! I enjoyed reading your bio on your website about your early desire to write and your time of pushing that desire to the back burner. What did you gain during those back burner years?

I learned perspective for sure. When you are in the thick of raising a family in this wonderful, challenging world, you become an active observer in the fabric of the human experience. You get a firsthand look at what we love, what we fear, what we aspire to, what we pity, what we hunger for. That's the stuff of story. I should have been writing more in the back burner years but at least I was paying attention to what moves and motivates people.

I loved, loved, loved Blue Heart Blessed. It was fun and quirky with just the right balance between real-life characters and spiritual elements. Did you ever struggle with that balance or has that just always worked out for you as a writer?

I wouldn't call it a struggle but it certainly is what I strive for. I want that balance. Really bad. It's what I want in the books I read and what I long for when I read a book that is imbalanced on those ingredients. We don't live all of our lives on a spiritual plane. God has a way of blurring our spiritual lives with the life we live in our skin. I want to read books that don't overshoot the spiritual thread because then I can identify with those characters. And good fiction, in my opinion, invites the reader to step inside the protagonists' very soul. If I can do that for my reader, I am a happy author. I'm glad you think it worked with this one. That makes me really happy. I have a blog for this book, which has also been a blast to write. Just head to my website and the link is there.

How long does it take for you to write a novel usually?

I spend about a month or more not writing at all. I spend it pre-writing, getting to know my characters, the setting I place them in and what they long for. When I feel like I know these imaginary people and what they want and what stands in their way, then I start writing. I can usually finish a book in three months.

What are your thoughts on the length of time one person might spend writing versus someone else?

Some people are crock pot writers, some are microwave writers. Both of these appliances can cook food, really good food, so you just need to be the chef of the way that works for you. There is no right time or wrong time to spend writing a book. If you can write a great book in three weeks, more power to you. If you can write a great book in three years, go for it. No one wants to read a cruddy book, regardless of how long or how short a time the author spent writing it. A great book is a great book.

How did you balance the writing life with being a mom and wife?

I learned to appreciate the time I had to hit control S and back away from the keyboard. I use to begrudge whatever family obligation interrupted me but I learned that when I stopped writing I didn't have to stop thinking. As I sit on a bleacher and cheer my student athlete or make dinner or drive him somewhere or fold laundry, I can think about where I left everyone in my fictive world. I can take them to the next place in my mind and experiment with what will work and what won't. That helps me slide back into the moment I left them.

Any tips you would like to share with other moms who dream of being (or already are) published writers?

Your kids will be young sponges for such a short time. You are in a position of tremendous influence. Don't underestimate it and don't miss out on it. As they age they will need you less. And you will have more time to write. You are investing yourself as a mother into the lives of the people who will inherit the earth after you. Motherhood is a rich place from which to draw truth, which you can use in non-fiction as well as fiction. Big time.

Tell us about your next project. It sounds great!

My next book is called The Shape of Mercy and it's about three women, two living in contemporary times and one living in Salem, Massachusetts at the time of the Salem Witch trials in 1692. The book involves a diary this young woman leaves behind, the descendent who decides to have it transcribed, and the young college student who takes on the job of putting the words of this 400-year-old diary into modern-day language. It's a book about choices, about stigma, about stereotypes and preconceived notions, but it's mostly about love and its extravagance. It's being published by WaterBrook Press and releases in October. The cover is fabulous. Watch my website, I will post it as soon as I can! Here's my webhome,

Thanks for dropping by. I can't wait to see who wins Blue Heart Blessed! They will be blessed by this book for sure! Will you come back and do another giveaway when your next book comes out?

You bet! Thanks for having me!

Be sure and leave a comment to win the book. Please note that I need either an email in the comment or the comment needs to be linked to your blog, which has an email contact link, for you to be eligible to win. I will keep the contest open through the weekend and post the winner on Monday! I can't wait to see who wins!

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Miss Sandy said...

Thanks for the great interview and introduction to this author. Her next book sounds very intriguing and right up my ally as a person who is a keeper and collector of personal journals and diaries. I very much enjoy your blog. I'd love to be entered in your give away. My email address is:

Beth said...

Now there's ANOTHER book to add to my wanna-read list :-)

Thanks for the giveaway!

Dandelion Momma-Janis said...

I would love to read this book! Thanks for the great interview!

Valerie said...

Just when I start looking for new Christian fiction writers, you come through and introduce me to another one :-) Now if I can only win the book :-)

Kristin said...

I need a good book to read. The last few I picked up haven't grabbed my attention. This one sounds entertaining!

Elisarose said...

I'm always up for a good book to read in the evenings after the kiddies are all tucked in bed! elisarosehilliard at gmail dot com

Sondra said...

That sounds like a good book!
I love reading good books and discovering new authors.
Thanks for giving me the suggestion.
I have 400+ books on my Amazon wish list so what's one more, huh?
I enjoy your blog, I read it often.
God Bless!
My email is:

Deb said...

This sounds like a wonderful book! I've enjoyed your blog for a few months now and can appreciate your experiences as a mom! I am a single parent of five and they bring me more love, joy and amazement than I could have ever dreamed possible. Keep up the good work!Deb in Va

Blessed said...

This sounds like an awesome book

I found you from Musings of a Housewife

my email address isn't on my blog but if I happen to win and you leave me a comment I'll get right back to you.

Jill B said...

I read a number of Susan's books; they are all excellent. I would love this one for a long weekend trip we have coming up in May.

Thanks for the great heads up about this fabulous author.

Jill from Omaha

Angela - Life w/ One Busy Boy said...

Sounds like a great book!!

a moment of time said...

ooo. Thanks for the give a way. love reading a good book!


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book, I'd love to win a copy! Thanks for sharing the love! :)


Joyful said...

I am currently about half-way through the first Susan Meissner novel I've ever read - "Widows and Orphans" - and really enjoying it. I so enjoy reading these interviews you post.

I found it interesting that the author compared writing to crock-pots and microwaves. I did a blog post about that awhile back - about our lives in general falling into one of those two categories.

This novel sounds like another great read!

Debra Zantman said...

Thank You for sharing this book, it sounds good.
Also just got thru reading your adventures in Disney, How wonderful.
What great memories! Disney is such a wonderful getaway and Florida is better than Ca in my opinion. Been to both.

Bonita said...

This books sounds wonderful! I remember you telling me about it a while back. Of course, I thoroughly enjoy any interview with an author. Great post!

Pretty Jane said...

Oh, how I need a great book right now!! At the tail end of a crush of deadlines, I really look forward to having a piece of fiction that I can really get lost in--but get something out of! Plus, it'll give me something to talk over with my husband, who must be disabused of the notion that any writing that isn't non-fiction can't help me better myself. He's so wrong, but I'm always looking for a great example of fiction to make my case!

Thanks for the interview, and the giveaway!

Laura said...

Thank you so much for introducing me to this author! She sounds awesome, and I loved loved loved her answers to the mommy questions. Big picture, right? Your the best,

Michele said...

What a great interview- thanks! :) Now I would love to read this book!
Michele :)

Cynthia said...

Hi I just found your blog and I absolutely love it. I'll be back! Please enter me for the book giveaway.

Rochelle said...

I love a good book and would like to be entered in your giveaway...Thanks....Rochelle

Christina Berry said...

Very good interview. I've been struggling with how to balance mothering and writing for years, but now we're going to through infant foster children into the mix! In fact, I just blogged about it, sharing "sucess" stories from other fostering/writing moms.

Christina Berry said...

Um ... "throw," not "through!" :-) And "success." :-}

Digging for Pearls said...

I don't know if it is too late for the contest. Hope not.