Saturday, August 16, 2008

"On Sparrow Hill" Interview, Review And Giveaway!!!

"On Sparrow Hill"
by Maureen Lang

I had the privilege of reading a copy of "On Sparrow Hill" that Maureen sent me and I read it as soon as it came in. I had a hard time putting it down because I was intrigued by the storyline and the way Maureen intertwined two different time periods and romances through the use of letters and current time. The settings and situations in two different times work seamlessly together and created a beautiful situation with resolution in many places. I loved the way that Maureen stirs a plot and adds in many elements (a family curse, romance crossing different stations of life, pregnancy vs. adoption...) that become an excellent book you will want to read.

Maureen has agreed to give away an autographed copy of "On Sparrow Hill" so read her interview and leave a comment telling me about your take on her answer to question #1...
don't forget to leave your email address and you will be entered in the drawing for her book - and look in the future for my review of her upcoming book "My Sister Dilly"!

1) Sometimes people think of authors as being bigger than life and not "real", so I thought we would start off with a very important question, one that will show people just how real you are! "What dessert can you not resist when it is time to indulge?"

Oh, my, the real question is “How many desserts can I not resist?” To me, meals are something one must get “through” in order to get “to” dessert. But let’s see, if I must choose one…well, hot apple pie with vanilla ice cream—or wait, blueberry pie! No, pistachio pudding cake…No, macadamia white chocolate chip cookies, you know those really big bakery kind that are soft and fresh? No, wait, what about everything chocolate? Or anything from a bakery? Oh, wait…

2) I had not read your book "Oak Leaves" before reading this one, but found that this stands on its own quite well though some characters from the first book show up in this one. Did you enjoy bringing those characters back for more? I've always wondered as an author if it is similar to a visit from your children having them show up again.

It really is similar to having someone dear come for a visit! I absolutely enjoyed it. All of my characters, particularly the main ones, are so real in my head it’s nice to have a reason to check in with them and see how their “lives” are going.

3) How much of your story personally is in this book from the perspective of the mysterious curse upon the Hamiltons?

My own family carries the “curse” of Fragile X Syndrome, the one brought out in both The Oak Leaves and On Sparrow Hill. Basically Fragile X is a genetic disorder affecting the X chromosome that can cause a range of things, among them the most common form of genetic mental retardation. That’s the inspiration behind both The Oak Leaves and On Sparrow Hill, something that can profoundly change a family’s course. But that’s as far as my similarities go to the Hamiltons, since I don’t have any journals or letters tracing this disorder back in time with my own family. Writing these books has been a source of healing for me, to search for the ways dealing with Fragile X has strengthened me and my family and grown our faith. And of course it’s been nice to be able to control my character’s stories, since I have so little control over my own!

4) I found it interesting how the story unfolds in the past and the present, through real time and through letters and you moved smoothly from one to another. What gave you the idea to tell the story in such a unique way?

The first time I read a story with this structure was probably thirty years ago. (Yikes! Sorry I counted that timeline.) But I’ve loved it ever since. I’ve always been a fan of historical fiction, although I like many contemporary books as well. To me the mix is just so much fun, getting caught up in one thread only to love jumping back into the other!
Beside that, when I started The Oak Leaves I knew the contemporary portion would be difficult to write because that story closely reflected my own. I needed the historical story as an escape, and since my ideal escape is in the form of historical romance, that was the easiest route to take.
And since The Oak Leaves had established the split story structure, I knew I needed to follow that same pattern if a sequel was to feel like a sequel. On Sparrow Hill was much easier and actually more fun for me to write, since it’s so far from my own story—and more romantic, with a romance in both story lines instead of just one.

5) What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?

My newest book is called My Sister Dilly, and it’s scheduled to release in just a few weeks. It’s a contemporary women’s fiction novel, a standalone. But since I wrote it readers are guaranteed to find a romance in there. It’s about two sisters, one of whom makes a terrible mistake. The older sister, Hannah, comes back to the small town she left behind to “fix” things with her sister Dilly. Only she finds out things aren’t what she expected, and maybe her sister isn’t the one who needs fixing. I love this book for a variety of reasons. First of all it’s set on a farm in the Midwest, so my research was especially enjoyable since that’s the general area in which my husband grew up. We still have farms in the family. But this story isn’t just about sisters with a rural backdrop, it’s also about isolation and forgiveness and honesty, all topics that worked especially well together.
I had a trailer put together to give readers a taste of its theme, which I would love for everyone to check out. You can view it through my website ( Just click on the cover for My Sister Dilly on the Home page. Or you can go directly to YouTube through the following link:

Right now I’m working on the first of a three book series, the first of which will be out next year early fall (2009), also with Tyndale. These books are taking me back to the First World War era – a time in history that absolutely fascinates me because it’s so historical and yet offers a taste of the contemporary as well. In fact I’ve started a blog about the process of writing this novel, so if readers are interested in a behind-the-scene look at what it’s like to write a novel, this one in particular, they can check that out here:

I hope to visit with you again in the future, Janna, and thanks for having me!


lisa said...

Any dessert with raspberries in it tempts me!

I haven't read anything by this author, but would love a chance to win.

ldneuhof at hotmail dot com

Stacey said...

I know how she feels. I'm not a big pie person, but I do love tira misu and cheesecake and anything fruity with sorbet or sherbet on the side...


Anonymous said...

Anything that combines chocolate and fruit or chocolate and coffee or hey, chocolate and chocolate.....

angelahipp at charter dot net

windycindy said...

Hi, I have not met too many deserts that I didn't like! Other than birthday cake, I really like a cake called "Texas Cake." I like a story line that flows. Please enter me in your book drawing. I appreciate it.
Thanks, Cindi

sarahw said...

Any dessert with chocolate suits my taste buds. i don't think that i've read any books by this author, so please enter me in the draw.
sarahwoll at hotmail dot com

Theresa N. said...

Chocolate is the best. I ahve to agreed with her about the apple pie with ice cream yummy and don't forget the peach cobbler. :)
Theresa N

Lora Lease said...

I'm with her completely... I have too many dessert favorites to just pick one! I absolutely LOVE white chocolate macadamia nut cookies (I have a great recipe for these, but they're eaten as fast as I can bake them!). I also love strawberry rhubarb pie, apple pie, blueberry pie, chocolate pie... & on, and on the list goes. Of course, you can't forget cheesecake!! :)

Carolynn W. said...

LOL...I love her answer...i think the same way:) Thanks for the chance to win the book!

Deborah said...

cheesecake!!! it's my vice lol. please enter me!

ForstRose said...

I'm with Maureen on the White Choco Macadamia cookies and anything chocolate except cake.

I'm also the one who when asked what kind of cake I want for a birthday party immediately answers Cheesecake - yes I know technically not "cake" but its my fave anyways LOL.

Please enter me in the drawing.


CherryBlossomMJ said...

I'm not so much a cake person, but the hubby's favorite is Red Velvet.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series and have been wanting to read this one. I just got an ARC for Dilly, and I'm excited to start that soon. Please enter me for this one, thanks!


Donna M said...

I love Blueberry Dump Cake. It is wonderful! I have read the first in this series and would love to read this one!!

Becky C. said...

If its dessert I'll eat it!

Please enter me in the contest.

Becky C.

Judy said...

Personally, I wish we could eat our dessert first!

Please enter me in the contest and thank you for making the book giveaway offer.

Karin said...

I'm with her---what dessert don't I like?! mmmmmmmmmm

Martha A. said...

That is a honest lady!
I love her books that I have read so far and look forward to any more! Please enter me into the contest!

Janna said...

And the winner is...