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Friday, February 27, 2009

Spotlight on Lisa Lickel and The Gold Standard


LISA LICKEL lives in a very old house in Wisconsin with her husband, a high school science teacher who is very handy answering those pesky science questions. She loves to perform and write radio drama with local group FreeQuincy Radio Theater, besides occasionally freelancing for magazines and newspapers and devotionals. She also loves to travel, hand stitch quilts, putter in the garden and can vegetables and fruit. She was raised by a history teacher and a librarian in a house filled with books. she agrees that to work hard at being a writer, one should read every spare minute, and so she does. She started writing professionally after taking the Christian Writers Guild apprentice course. Sshe is involved in every historical society within driving distance, a tribute to her BS degree in History and Russian Studies. She does as much volunteer work as she can with church and local organizations.

Visit her blog or web site to learn more about her.

by Lisa Lickel
Published by Barbour Publishing/Heartsong Presents Mysteries


Schoolteacher Judy Winters sets out to solve the mystery surrounding her only living relative's murder on the cross-state farm where Aunt Louise grew up. Judy will inherit the farm—if she agrees to stay there. But what about her boyfriend, Graham, and her job?

Meanwhile, Judy learns that, years ago, a friend of Louise's father, Bryce, lost a treasure of Alaskan gold somewhere on the property. He’d like to recover the gold if Judy plans to give up the place. As Judy and her handsome next door neighbor, Hart, uncover clues to Louise's untimely death and Bryce’s missing treasure, they develop a close friendship. Was it the treasure that might have been behind Louise's demise?

Graham's secret visits to the farm, midnight visitors, a new job offer, and new friends Bryce and the plaid-wearing Ardyth, along with one special old one—Carranza, the opinionated cat—all play a part in Judy's dilemma.

Buy Your Copy of The Gold Standard by contacting Lisa through her web site today! Her contact information is located in the right sidebar.


1. What gave you the inspiration for these stories?

My inspiration came from my love of history and a neighborhood tale of mysterious initials carved in a tree trunk. It took some sleuthing to figure out to whom those long-ago lovelorn initials belonged. Another neighborhood story of Alaskan gold played a part in the secondary mystery of the storyline.

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

My main characters are a school teacher and a farming engineering student. I come from teaching stock, am married to one, and birthed one...but my only claim to teaching is Sunday School and Bible Study groups. My husband's family and my critique partner are farmers, so I had a lot of experiences to draw from. I panned for gold in Alaska, so it was fun to have Bryce tell the picnic crowd about the experience. I also live in an old farmhouse that we've remodelled, so Judy's desire to have a decent bathroom is related to how I felt.

3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?

Judy would be maple pecan. She likes tradition and, despite being an orphan, has a strong sense of family—but she's not boring. Hart would be bearclaw, a manly, chunky flavor full of fun stuff to eat. He's the cook of the house, and likes to try unusual things.

4. Are there any themes in The Gold Standard that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the stories progressed?

The sense of family and tradition were woven throughout the story. Should Judy keep her inheritance, as she's the last link to the family homestead in the state? Where and to whom, does she belong, now that her last close relative is gone? Her first suitor didn't have those family ties and was a loose canon. Judy wanted more stability and a solid, sensible, faithful man who had that sense of connectivity. Communication was another, but subtle, theme. To whom should Judy listen, who should she trust--no matter what he or she said--and why? Why didn't Ardyth listen to Bryce when he returned from Alaska? And why did she decide to hear him out later? Turns out Judy's pet cat, Carranza, had a pretty good people sense.

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

The most difficult parts to write were actually re-writes. After I had already written the sequel, The Map Quilt, I had to go back to this original story and add in a more serious crime, using people I hadn't meant to develop until the second story. It was tricky, trying to be true to both storylines while not revealing too much in one so that some surprises, yet a sense of familiarity, were present in the other. My favorite part is the Cinderella theme that accidentally came out during the rewrite. Judy leaves a shoe behind three different times.

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

Thanks for asking. I'm very excited about the May release of the novel of my heart, Healing Grace. Grace has a special gift, handed time from generation to generation. When she becomes too comfortable, too confident in herself, Grace loses everyone she cares about. Certain that God has abandoned her, Grace runs—right into the arms of a very sick man who desperately needs her touch. But will God allow her to help him? At what cost? Purchase information will be posted on my website when it becomes available.

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

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of The Gold Standard.

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 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 anyone worldwide.


Story and Logic Media Group said...

Hey, Lisa put me in the drawing.

Deb said...

Lisa, sounds like a winner. I haven't read a Barbour mystery yet, only the romances. I'd like to check this one out.

However, I hear they're shutting this line down. Is it possible/true?

Linda Wichman said...

Hi Lisa!

The Gold Standard sounds mysteriously wonderful! I love Maple Pecan ice cream and I adore Alaska. Yum!

Please put me in the drawing.

My email is:

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa -- Congrats on a wonderful sounding story! I belong to FOUR reading book clubs, so I'm planning to read your book and recommend it as a selection BECAUSE I KNOW THE AWESOME AUTHOR! Blessings, OR :-)

Merry said...

This really sounds fun; gold, lost shoes romance, a perceptive cat. Add me to the drawing, thanks.


Rose McCauley said...

Since this blog belongs to one of my oldest ACFW friends (in time, not in age! LOL I met Tiff the first night of the very first ACRW conference)and highlights a book by one of my newest ACFW friends (Flavia Crowner cyber-introduced me to Lisa!) I thought I would come on over and leave a post. This books sounds great so sign me up. crmcc at setel dot com

Lisa Lickel said...

You people are fantastic! Thanks for your support, and thanks again to Tiff for putting this together. In the sequel to GS, Hart and Judy (the main characters) got married and are expecting their first baby - about this stage of Tiff's pregnancy, as a matter of fact. I won't say how the birth comes about, but I'm sure Tiffany will have a much less exciting delivery....
Yes, I'm sorry to say that after the third cycle of the bookclub this year, HP:Mysteries will shut down. For those of you who know Susan Downs, keep her in your heart and prayers, too, as she looks for other employment, or settles in.
And, I have to look for another publisher to pick up the pieces of life in Robertsville for Hart and Judy.

Oh! Hi, Rose!--and Flavia! I'm thrilled to see you!

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

We have a winner from this drawing and that is:


Congratulations! I have emailed you for your mailing information so Lisa can send out your book.

As always, thanks to everyone for your continued support.