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Friday, June 06, 2008

CFBA Blog Tour - Tamera Alexander and From a Distance

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
From a Distance
(Bethany House Publishers - June 1, 2008)
by Tamera Alexander



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tamera Alexander Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots and poignant prose resonate with readers. Tamera is a finalist for the 2008 Christy Award Remembered, and has been awarded the coveted RITA® from Romance Writers of America for Revealed, along with Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction of 2006 Rekindled. Having lived in Colorado for seventeen years, she and her husband now make their home in the quaint town of historic Franklin, Tennessee, where they enjoy life with their two college-age children and a precious—and precocious—silky terrier named Jack.

A Note from Tamera:

Stories are journeys, and each story I write is a journey for me.

Rekindled began with a dream—the image of a man returning home on horseback. He came upon a freshly dug grave and when he knelt to read the name carved into the roughhewn wooden cross, he discovered the name was...his own. The inspiration for Revealed grew from two characters in Rekindled whose stories needed to be told. But even more, whose stories I needed to tell. Writing Revealed was a very personal journey for me, and a healing one. For Remembered, I met that story's heroine (figuratively, of course) while strolling the ancient cobblestoned pathways of a three hundred-year-old cemetery in northern Paris, France. And From A Distance came from a question I was struggling with in my own life at the time, "What happens when the dream you asked God for isn't what you thought it would be?"

For me, the greatest thrill of these writing journeys is when Christ reveals Himself in some new way, and I take a step closer to Him. And my deepest desire is that readers of my books will do that as well—take steps closer to Him as they read. After all, it's all about Him.

In the Potter's Hand,
Tamera

FROM A DISTANCE
by Tamera Alexander
Published by Bethany House

ABOUT THE BOOK

What happens when dreams aren't what you imagined,

And secrets you've spent a lifetime guarding are finally laid bare?

Determined to become one of the country's premier newspaper photographers, Elizabeth Westbrook travels to the Colorado Territory to capture the grandeur of the mountains surrounding the remote town of Timber Ridge. She hopes, too, that the cool, dry air of Colorado, and its renowned hot springs, will cure the mysterious illness that threatens her career, and her life.

Daniel Ranslett, a former Confederate sharpshooter, is a man shackled by his past, and he'll do anything to protect his land and his solitude. When an outspoken Yankee photographer captures an image that appears key to solving a murder, putting herself in danger, Daniel is called upon to repay a debt. He's a man of his word, but repaying that debt will bring secrets from his past to light. Forced on a perilous journey together, Daniel and Elizabeth's lives intertwine in ways neither could have imagined when first they met ... from a distance.

Buy your copy of From a Distance today!

If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE.

"...a rich historical romance by possibly the best new writer in this subgenre."
--Library Journal

"...a most amazing story. The characters are more than words on the page; they become real people."
--Romantic Times

BOOK REVIEW

When I read Tammy's first book, Rekindled, I knew I had found a new favorite author to add to my list. Ironic to realize that 3 of my top favorites are published by Bethany House. :) Anyway, the Fountain Creek Chronicles brought historical Colorado to life for me. I wept and rejoiced and shared in every experience and feeling the characters from the books in that series had.

This series starts off strong, and like the books in Fountain Creek Chronicles improved with each book, I am confident the same will take place with this new series. I empathize with the difficulty that exists in beginning a new series. Everything must be done from scratch again, and it's like you're starting on your first book.

Elizabeth in this book was difficult to like. She reminded me of my heroine from my first book. Uppity, rude, self-assued and unwilling to admit that she might be in the wrong. And like Gustaf in my book, Daniel delivered fantastic rebuttals to her attitude and high-browed ways while also retreating when necessary to lick his own wounds from his past. I think I related more to Daniel than Elizabeth, but I can certainly see why Elizabeth acted that way.

And now that I live in beautiful Colorado, the setting appeals to me on an even greater level. The vivid imagery and description penned by Tammy's hand makes the scenery come to life as you read. You'll feel like you're walking among the mountains yourself.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. This is the first book in your new series. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

The idea came from a question I was struggling with in my own life at the time, "What happens when the dream you asked God for isn't what you thought it would be?" For me, that dream was/is writing.

Do I enjoy writing? Yes…and no. One thing I didn't expect was for writing to get harder and harder. Each book is a bigger challenge. Each book is more difficult to write. I don't know where I got it, but somewhere I picked up this idea that it would get easier as you went along. Not! Now that I know that (with only five books under my belt, I've still got much yet to learn), it's not as paralyzing anymore. It's still hard, don't get me wrong. But knowing what I'm up against helps some.

I now expect those moments "mid book" when I panic and begin wondering—despairing sometimes—if I can really do this again. If maybe I've heard wrong and I'm not supposed to be doing this after all. Then…I fix my eyes (back) on Jesus, focus on Him (instead of my inadequacies), and keep writing.

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

In every book, to some extent, I think there are bits and pieces of the author. For Elizabeth Westbrook, her relentless pursuit of a dream is something I shared, so I drew from personal motivations—and mistakes—I've made along the way. Daniel Ranslett is a man who carries baggage from the past with him. Namely, guilt over things he's done, and didn't do. And questioning the why of things. I have some experience with that too.

But really, as the story unfolds and the characters begin to grow and their motivations take over, that intentional "tapping into my experiences" fades and the characters become like real people to me. I do my best to slip into their skin and see the world through their eyes. Sometimes it takes writing/rewriting a scene several times in order to get that close "point of view" where the reader can actually feel the character's emotions and experience the events along with them. I rely greatly on my editors (and my fabulous writing critique partner, Deborah Raney) to tell me whether I've done that or not. Oftentimes, a writer is just too close to their story to see it objectively.

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

Themes are funny things… I may be halfway through writing a book before I actually see with full clarity what the theme of that story really is. Theme grows from the characters' actions and motivations, what they want more than anything else, and what lessons they learn along the way. The arcing theme here is about pursuing God's dream for your life. I'm already getting reader mail (which is one of the best things about writing—connecting with readers!), and am hearing this theme being echoed. As for the more subtle themes in this book, I think those are quite individual to the reader and are best left in their hands.

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

This book was especially difficult to write. Whether it was due to the pressure I put on myself (I've been known to have unrealistic expectations, imagine…), or the fact that our family moved cross country while I was writing, or our son graduated from high school one week before we moved, or that we were transitioning to an empty nest while I was revising and editing…take your pick. All I know is that holding this "finally in print" book in my hands felt really good!

And my favorite part is, by far, having written.

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

My next book is The Inheritance, the first historical for the WOMEN OF FAITH fiction line with Thomas Nelson Publishers. It releases in March 2009 and is a historical romance set in Copper Creek, Colorado 1877. In May 2009, Beyond This Moment, a second Timber Ridge Reflections novel is due out. And fall 2009 will see the third installment of Timber Ridge Reflections released. The third title is TBD, but you can bet it'll start with a preposition!

Thanks for hosting me, Tiff!

Bless you, friend,
Tamera

* * * * *

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

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of From a Distance.

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

Make sure you leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net) or that there's 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.

* * * * *

10 comments:

Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

Oh! And something fun about this cover that Tammy shared with me.

* * * * *

Those are Kelsey's (her daughter) curls on the model's head! The model's hair wouldn’t do what we needed it to, so my editor, Karen Schurrer (who is a photographer) took pictures of Kelsey's hair then they "Photo Shopped" it on the model's head. The wonders of technology!

* * * * *

Makes you wonder about the covers of books and what exactly cover designers do to make them all work. :)

Cherie J said...

Wow! interesting fact about the model's hair. This sounds like a great story, one
I would enjoy reading.

rebecca191 said...

Thanks for the interesting interview! I love westerns and the book looks fantastic.

windycindy said...

I love the cover of the book. I like reading historical romance! It sounds like two opposites may have to depend on each other to get through a rough journey. Thanks for the author interview and the chance to win an autographed copy of her book. Please enter me in your drawing. Many thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot[com

Pamela J said...

I love a book that encourages pursuing God's dream AND each reader can take and embrace a theme that touches their heart while touching other readers in other ways.
Please enter me. Thank you.
Pam
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Carole said...

I love Tamara's writing and would love to read From a Distance. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy!

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Carolynn W. said...

I love Tamera's books, I can't wait to read this one! Thanks for the chance to win!

Carrie Turansky said...

Hi Tiff,
I've enjoyed all Tammy's books, and I look forward to reading this one. I would love to win a copy.

Carrie
carrie(at)turansky(dot)com

tetewa said...

I'd like to be included!

Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

We have a winner for this drawing, and that is:

CARRIE

I've emailed you for your information, so Tammy can send out your book.

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, Allison Pittman and Sandra Robbins.

Thanks, as always, for your support.