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Monday, June 09, 2008

Blog Tour - Allison Pittman and With Endless Sight

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allison Pittman is the award-winning author of Ten Thousand Charms and Speak Through the Wind. Before her recent success in fiction writing, Allison spent seventeen years teaching high school English. Now a full-time writer, Allison serves as the director of her church's Theater Arts Group ministry. She lives in Texas with her husband, Mike, and their sons.

WITH ENDLESS SIGHT
by Allison Pittman
Published by Multnomah Books

ABOUT THE BOOK

Belleville, Illinois and Wyoming Territories, 1861

Born into a life of privilege, fourteen-year-old Belinda never questions her security, even as she leaves Illinois with her family to discover new adventures in the Oregon Territory. But when disaster falls, Belinda is left wounded, weak, and alone. Her faith in God gives her the only strength she knows in a harsh new world.

Belinda's journey takes her to a snow-covered mining camp and a red-roofed brothel in the Wyoming mountains, but not before she must spend a lonely winter with the man who took away the life she knew. Throughout the grief and hope of a strange land, Belinda must decide if her faith is big enough to allow her to forgive.

The satisfying conclusion to the Crossroads of Grace series, With Endless Sight offers a rich story of family, new beginnings, and the freedom that grace can bring.

Buy your copy of With Endless Sight today!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

Well, Belinda (Biddy) first appears in Ten Thousand Charms, and at the time all I really knew about her was that she was a young girl who had gone through a traumatizing experience. I knew she was hiding something, but I hadn't decided exactly what. The next year, as I was writing Speak Through the Wind, I fleshed her out a little more, giving her a strong spiritual core and a background of privilege. But the inspiration for this actual story is my family. I mean, trade a green station wagon for a stage coach, and those first few chapters are every childhood road trip I remember (minus the tragic twist, of course...). Also, during the time I was working on the series, I lost my brother, and I really wanted that brother/sister relationship to play a big role in the story. It's there with Belinda's actual brother, Chester, but also with the character Laurent. That's the kind of arm's length love that doesn't get a lot of attention in novels.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

I wouldn't say I have many experiences that influence my characters, but they are definitely products of my perceptions and insecurities. In each of my main characters—Gloria, Kassandra and Belinda—the trait that is theirs alone can be summed up in one word: strength. Gloria (Charms) is such a fighter—I mean, it's covering up a mass of insecurity, but she's so tough on the outside. I can never pull that off. If I'm feeling weak or wounded, you know it. Kassandra (Wind) is scrappy too. Just continuing to get up time and time again. Me? Knock me down and I'm going to wallow for a while. And Belinda (Sight) possesses the faith I wish I had.

3. What themes exist in With Endless Sight that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

The idea of betrayal and forgiveness play an important role in the story. I would hope the readers see forgiveness as a cornerstone to strength and healing—whether or not that forgiveness is warranted.

And I love the follow-up question here, because while I did set out to write a story that showcased forgiveness, there is another idea that developed on its own. I don't think I was really aware of it until I was actually writing those final chapters, and that's the idea that, eventually, we all need to take responsibility for ourselves and be comfortable with and confident of the woman who's standing in our shoes. Belinda is a child of privilege, the youngest of a doting family, she has a spiritual big brother and a bevy of caring women, but there's this wonderful moment in the story when she is absolutely alone. And fine. I think about that now—and it's literally just a few lines—but now I'm wondering if those few lines aren't my favorite part! I just love and admire her so much in that moment.

4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

I think my fellow writers will really identify with this...You know how when you write a book, then finish it, then revise, then revise again, then go through line edits, then copy edits...and then finally you see it in its final book-shelf form, and you just wish you could change one (or, a dozen!) more things? Well, because the stories in this series intersect, I get to revisit the characters and very scenes from those previous books, and I wanted to tweak things, but I couldn't, because of questions of continuity. Every now and then I'd look at something in the Silver Peak chapters and have to remind myself—hey! This is Belinda's story, remember?

My favorite scenes in the book are those with Belinda and Laurent in their winter in the cabin. First of all, it was a challenge to find some way to write about two people sittin' for months on end. Second, I just love Laurent, because I think he's a really unique character in the genre. An unexpected innocent. His feelings for Belinda are so pure and unselfish. He stole my heart!

5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

My next book (coming out August 19) is actually a work of non fiction. It's called Saturdays with Stella, and it tells the story of the spiritual lessons I learned when I took my dog Stella through a six-week obedience course. Let's just say we both got a crash course in recognizing our Master! Readers can get a preview by signing up for my newsletter at my website (www.allisonpittman.com) as each month has a Dog Daze Devotional.

My next novel will come out next summer. It's quite a break from the Crossroads series—it's a turn-of-the-century tale of the healing powers of God, grace...and baseball!

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Thank you, Allison, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE copy of With Endless Sight.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.

Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net) or that there is a way to contact you. Otherwise, you won't be entered. Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

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12 comments:

windycindy said...

Her book has a lovely cover! I don't know how she had the family leaving Belleville, IL, but I live only 30 minutes away from there!!!!! In some ways, I can identify with Belinda, not the privileged part; but the being doted on youngest child. Often time throughout my life, I have wondered if I could stand on my own! The author's next book sounds like a treat! I love dogs and her book about obedience classes with her dog sounds very entertaining. I enjoyed this interview! Please enter me in your marvelous book drawing. I appreciate it! Thanks,Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Carole said...

This is the type of book I enjoy the most, and Allison has been on my list of authors to try for quite a while. Thank you for this contest and the chance to win a copy!

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Carolynn W. said...

Thanks for the interview! I would love to read the book, it sounds great!

Cheryl said...

I can't believe I forgot Allison had a book coming out. I had interviewed her for her contribution to "Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul".

Since I'm a virtual book tour coordinator, it wouldn't be fair for me to be in the drawing, but I wanted to let you know that this is a great interview and I'm thrilled to see this novel in print. It sounds right up my alley.

Cheryl

cpullum said...

Love to be entered!!
cpullum@yahoo.com

Pamela J said...

I love it when God also puts in another theme than just the one intended. I'd love to read a book by Allison, to be able to add her to one of my 'favorites' authors. Please enter me. Thanks.
Pam
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Cherie J said...

Would love to be entered in the drawing. Enjoyed the spotlight.

tetewa said...

Please include me for this one! tWarner419@aol.com

ChristyJan said...

Please enter me in this drawing. This sounds like a great book.

Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

We have THREE winners for this drawing, and they are:

CINDI
CAROLE
CPULLUM

I've either contacted you or already have your info, and your books will be mailed tomorrow.

NINE other drawing winners announced. Check out the posts on Rene Gutteridge, Vickie McDonough, Tina Ann Forkner, Donita K. Paul, Nancy Moser, Marlo Schalesky, Gayle Roper, Tamera Alexander and Sandra Robbins.

Thanks, as always, for your support.

Carole said...

Amber, I discovered that I already have a copy of With Endless Sight, so please remove my name and give the others a better chance to win. Thanks for all your great contests!

Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

Thanks for letting me know, Carole. The book has been reassigned. Good luck in future contests!