Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Birthday Bash Day Two: Stephanie Grace Whitson

Hello Faithful Readers! I have fun news. My lil' ol' blog passed 1300 page views today. That's not Seekerville caliber or anything, but I feel like it's not too shabby for a year old blog that was sadly neglected for much of that year. And it's all because of you. Thank you all, so very much!

Now on to the reason we all are here: Introducing Stephanie Grace Whitson!

Click here to read my review of A Most Unsuitable Match

Author Stephanie Grace Whitson
What is something about you that is little known to your readers?

That I’m an introvert … and that a few years ago, when I was in my 50s, I took a class to learn to ride a motorcycle, bought one, and like nothing better than riding a few hundred miles … on a whim. 

A few hundred miles? On a whim? You are far braver than I!

What was it that made you start writing stories?

I don’t honestly know. One of my first memories is of my mother reading Pinnochio aloud to me when I was sick as a child. My older siblings used to get a kick out of “teaching the baby” new words. So I’ve been a book-lover and a “word person” for as long as I can remember.  Writing is something that I’ve always done. I loved getting writing assignments in school, loved writing letters home (in the days before computers), loved putting my thoughts down on paper. Story-writing came as a natural outgrowth of learning Nebraska history so that I could home school my children in the subject, being amazed at 19th century women’s perseverance … and then starting to wonder “what if …. ?”

What inspired this particular story?

I’m working on my master’s degree in history. As part of a summer class, I visited the DeSoto Bend Wildlife Refuge in Nebraska, where the cargo from the Bertrand, a steamboat plying the Missouri River in 1869, sank. The cargo included calico fabric, and items belonging to the few women on board. I was immediately fascinated by the idea of women being stranded on the shores of the Missouri River in 1869 (no one perished in that event). As I went looking for answers to the “what was that like?” question, my fascination grew, and from there characters and scenarios emerged.

What scene in A Most Unsuitable Match stands out as your personal favorite?

That’s a very difficult question to answer. I don’t know that I’d say it was my favorite scene, but I had fun putting a curtain rod in Hannah’s hand and then seeing how she and Fannie would handle the intruder’s threat (obviously I knew nothing too horrible was going to happen, so I could enjoy creating that scene). Samuel’s sermon in the saloon was inspired by a real event, and I enjoyed the idea of paying tribute to Brother Van (a beloved missionary from early Montana days) by having Sam follow in his footsteps in that moment.
Hannah is a lovely character. That scene shows her spunk. She's fearless there.  And the sermon scene was remarkable to me because of the reactions from his audience. Both were beautifully written.

Among your body of work, what would you recommend to readers as your favorite novel or your best work?

Walks the Fire will always have a special place in my heart because of the memories associated with writing it and because of the way that Lonnie Hull Dupont nurtured my fledging writing through the process of that first  book. 

Karyn’s Memory Box continues to be a favorite because of my personal fascination with sod house homemaking. 

Sod house, huh? I'll have to check that one out. It sounds fascinating indeed.

From the viewpoint of craft, A Garden in Paris was the most challenging. Thanks to the help of wonderful editor Ann Parrish, I think we did well. It seems that nearly every book teaches me something new, either about myself as a writer or about the way God invades human history. For readers, it truly does depend on what era of history or what setting and/or genre appeals to them, so I don’t think I can answer that part of the question. 
I love the cover on this one. It's beautiful. --------->

Readers who love antiques or quilts or who wax nostalgic about family heirlooms might enjoy knowing that Sarah’s Patchwork, Karyn’s Memory Box, and Nora’s Ribbon of Memories are now available as ebooks. They’ll soon be back in print as paperback, too.

As a multi-published author, what words of wisdom do you have for those of us trying to break into the writing industry?

“The word” in publishing these days seems to be that it is so difficult to get published. The thing is, that was “the word” back in 1994 when I sent out my first query letters, too. I absolutely expected rejection, and was astounded when that didn’t happen. However, even after 20+ book contracts, I still have to remind myself that “success” does NOT equal “published.” For those of us who love Jesus, success = obedience. Obedience takes on all kinds of shapes, but the truth is that what God is doing in me may have very little to do with whether or not I get published and everything to do with what He is doing in me through the process. I know that seems so easy for me to say because I’ve gotten that contract, but it never gets easier for me when it comes to “remembering the primary purpose.” There is always a new rung of the ladder to climb. Once the publishing contract arrives, there is the wondering if there will ever be another one, and the potential to stress over sales numbers. So, for new writers and old writers and writers in-between, I think the fundamentals remain the same. Work and pray. Repeat. That’s where I was in 1994 before my first contract, and that’s where I remain today. Working, praying … and working and praying. That is simple, but it isn’t easy. Ever. 

Those are certainly wise words, and ones I'll strive to keep in mind as I make my own journey.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thanks so very much for helping me celebrate my blog's birthday!

Okay readers, the comment section is officially open. 

Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. You can get an extra entry by following my blog or subscribing by email.

If you choose the extra entry please leave a separate comment. The giveaway closes at 11:59 pm on October 16. 


  1. I was your first follower in the history of the universe, that means I get extra points, right?

    I "love" that in 1994 publishing was declared as impossible a dream as today.

    And now, I'm thinking about pursuing a graduate degree in history, I so totally have spare time on my hands for that!

  2. Technically one extra point per drawing. So yes.

    You are so crazy busy. Did you recently say something about time wasting. I've never seen you do that. Or is the graduate degree one giant form of procrastination? ;)

    Thanks for coming.

  3. thanks for the chance to read stephanie's lastest novel...loved your posting/interview, too :)

    i'm an email subscriber, too :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  4. Loved reading the interview and learning about Stephanie another new to me author. I am also a introvert. Would love to win a copy of this book.


  5. karenk~

    Thanks for your kind words, and thanks so much for subscribing. You're in twice


    You are entered. Stephanie was new to me before this, but I was definitely not disappointed. Isn't it wonderful discovering new authors?

    Thanks for entering.

  6. I've read several of Stephanie's books and enjoyed them very much, especially "A Garden in Paris," "A Hilltop in Tuscany," and "Sixteen Brides." I would enjoy winning a copy of "A Most Unsuitable Match." Thanks for the interview and giveaway.


  7. I just discovered your blog and became a subscriber by e-mail. Thanks for having the birthday bash giveaway.


  8. Melissa ... go for it! I graduate in May of 2012 and am so glad I did this, even though it's been very challenging ... and thank you for sticking with me for all this years!

    Thanks so much for making me feel welcome on this blog. You've all been so kind ... God bless ya!

  9. Andrea, I have seen you on Seekerville and so glad to find you here! Thanks for interviewing Stephanie, and please enter me for the book!

  10. Andrea, I am following you via E....and enjoying your blog.

  11. Jackie S.~

    Welcome to Andrea's Take. I've seen your name on Seekerville too. That's a great place to meet great people.

    I'm glad you've found me here and are enjoying what you've found. I worry sometimes that people think I'm crazy, but I hope there are folks out there who think like me. That is besides my sister and my friend Melissa, who's been stopping by daily. I will write for just the two of them if I have to, but it won't be much of a living. ;)

    I get excited every time I see a new comment. It means someone wants to win one of these wonderful books!

    And they are wonderful.

    Thanks for stopping by and for subscribing. Two entries coming right up.

  12. I'd love to win Stephanie's book. :)


  13. I just became a follower.


  14. I have yet to read one of Mrs. Whitson's books, but my mom raved about "Sixteen Brides" (which is on my TBR pile) --"A Most Unsuitable Match" sounds like a great book as well. Thanks for the chance to win!


  15. Aly~ Thanks so much for entering and for following.

    Lady D~ I hope you get to read it. I hadn't read any of Stephanie's books before this one. I'll be looking for them from now on. Thanks for entering.

  16. I have been wanting to read A Most Unsuitable Match for awhile now, it sounds very good and I enjoy trying new authors!


  17. I am also a subscriber of your blog!


  18. Jen~

    I'm sure you won't be disappointed if the book if you win it. Thanks for entering.