Friday, December 4, 2009

Sharlene MacLaren ~ Interview + Giveaway!

Today author Sharlene MacLaren is telling us about herself, and her new book, Maggie Rose. She has offered an autographed copy of her new book to one lucky winner!

Welcome, Sharlene! Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a Christian first, wife, mother of two married daughters, grandma of three (age 3 and under), retired schoolteacher, vocalist, and currently enjoying a very satisfying writing career.

How long have you been writing? How many books do you have published?
I started writing at the ripe age of 52 back in the summer of 2000! So, not that long, actually. I had dabbled a little bit in fiction while in high school, but after college, marriage, raising kids, music, church responsibilities, etc., writing took a waaaaaay back seat. And then one day about 9 years ago, God awakened that seed of passion for writing He’d planted in my heart so many years before.

If you compared your writing style to any other Christian Fiction author, who would it be? How would you rate the romance in your books?
I think I have a style all my own. I love to employ all the senses, draw my characters into a deep, multifaceted plot; and thereby, pull in my readers as well. As for the rating, I would probably say they’re all G’s for the most part unless a person is easily embarrassed by good, juicy kissing scenes (which are few and far between) and then I might say PG, but, really, I’m very careful with the way my kissing scenes play out.

In your own words tell us a little about Maggie Rose.
Maggie Rose is the middle daughter in my “Daughters of Jacob Kane” series. Like the other two, she is bright, sophisticated, intelligent, feisty, strong-minded, opinionated, and very passionate about what she believes. God has called her to leave the comforts of small town, West Michigan (Sandy Shores) to pursue work at a New York City orphanage in a day when Orphan trains transported displaced, neglected, orphaned children from the city to parts of the Midwest in search of loving families to adopt or foster these children. (Actual orphan trains operated from the mid 1800s to 1929, so, roughly 75 years, paving the way for today’s child welfare system.) Maggie’s heart is very full of love and compassion for these children, and her goals for helping them are set—until a hardnosed, bitter-hearted newspaper reporter from the New York World comes to do a human interest news piece at the orphanage and “rocks” Maggie’s heart and soul with his utter good looks, but also obvious lack of faith. How can she be attracted to one so opposite to her, not to mention one who doesn’t share her heart of zeal? If you like to read stories wrought with romantic, emotional tension and conflict, then you can be sure you’ll see a few sparks fly off these pages!

Read my review HERE.

What made you want to write this story?
I love writing stories about children; in fact, I don’t think I’ve written one yet that didn’t include children. They are my heart, and since I taught school for 31 years, I think I have a good idea of what goes on in their heads. I’ve always been fascinated with the Orphan Train era, so it seemed natural that I would research it and develop a story around that time period.

What research did you have to do for this book?
I had to go to my local library in search of books pertaining to this era, and I also went online and purchased several books, a dozen or more, all having to do with the orphan train. Some were history books, others stories of orphans who traveled the trains. There are still a few survivors of the orphan trains, but of course, their numbers are diminishing. PBS has done a few specials about the orphan trains. I also rented a movie about it. So, there are lots of ways for going about researching a project before you actually launch it.

Who would you pick to play the lead roles if this book was made into a movie?
I’d choose Abbie Cornish to play Maggie and James Marsden for Luke. (Love them both.)

What are you working on now or going to write next?
Currently I’m working on rewriting an old book (2002), bring it up to date and editing for a release of September ’10. It has a working title of Spring’s Promise, but that may change.

How can readers get in contact with you?


What are you currently reading?
Besides my Bible and a daily women’s devotional of my choice, I’m reading a work of fiction by Dan Walsh called The Unfinished Gift. (It’s really wonderful.)

Tell us something surprising about yourself that readers may not know.
I’m really pretty much an open book. I don’t hide much because I’m an “out there” kind of person, but I will tell you that I have a horrid, most dreaded fear of mice! I absolutely detest the sight of one, can’t even bear to see a picture of one on tv! My fears stemmed from childhood, and it’s stuck with me. If you want to play a trick on me by putting a fake one on my desk or in my chair, that rates right up there with cruel and twisted. I do not take kindly to those kinds of antics and my friends figured that out a long time ago. Hahaha.

If you could be any animal, which would you choose? Why?
Well, you know what I WOULDN’T want to be. Haha. Hmm, I guess I’ll just choose my favorite animal, which is a dog. I’ve had one my ENTIRE life. We have a big 10-year-old predominantly white collie now, he’s our fourth collie, and he’s a wonderful lover boy. I also have a big cat, a Himalayan/Siamese boy that is such a good, good kitty.

TV show, and/or movie?
I’ve loved American Idol right from the start, although the last couple of seasons have not thrilled me. Don’t know what to think of Ellen as a fourth judge. I think they need to go back to three judges, and frankly, I will miss Paula.

Place to go on vacation?
We’ve been all over the world, except we’ve somehow missed Hawaii. Would love to go there sometime. Europe is wonderful. We went to England and France in September ’08 and thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful countryside.

Book this year or month? Why?
I can only say the book I’m currently reading, the one I already mentioned. Of course, my beloved Bible is another all-time favorite. I’m working on reading it straight through again. Just finished reading it in its entirety a couple of months ago, and now I’ve started over again and am in about the fifth or sixth book. Always glean so much more every time I read it.

Maggie Rose released in late summer 2009.

Sharlene's directions to a place to read the first chapter:
I believe if you go to it gives you the option of reading a chapter/chapters of most of my books. There’s a little link that says, “See inside!”. Click on that.

**USA residents only, please**
Okay readers, here is your chance to win an autographed copy of Maggie Rose! To enter: Leave a comment with your name and email address (so I can contact you if you win), and please specify that you want to be included in the contest! *If you want an extra entry, become one of my followers.* The comment is mandatory. (Please, say in the comment if you are a follower!! It makes my job easier when you do.) You will not be entered unless you leave a comment. If you are already a follower, and then you leave a comment, you will still get two entries in the contest. The contest will run from today (Dec. 4) until 10:30 CST on Thursday (Dec. 10). I will announce the winner that night. The winner is always randomly drawn. I will contact the winner on Friday the 11th, and then that person will have one week to reply. If the winner doesn't reply within that time period, I will pick a new winner. Good luck! Thanks for visiting.


adge said...

I'd like to enter this contest, but the dates are a little skewed. If it's still open, please include me. Thanks. gasweetheart211[at]netscape[dot]net

Virginia C said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hi,Carmen! I love your page. Thanks so much for running my interview! You're a sweetie. I hope you get lots of entries for the contest!

May the Lord bless.

I'll check back later...


Virginia C said...

Hello! "Maggie Rose" sounds terrific! Just my kind of story, where the characters learn from each other as they learn what love truly means.

Please enter my name in the drawing. I am a follower.

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

SuperMom said...

Hey Carmen, Please enter me!
Always looking for new Christian authors to try out!

ladyverlina AT

TheAtticGirl said...

This sounds like a great book! Please enter me in the drawing. I follow your blog too.

donnyandshelly at yahoo dot com

Carman said...

Sorry about the date mix-up. Its all fixed now. ;)
Thanks for letting me know!

Diane said...

Sounds great! How do you get all these great interviews??? :O)

Thanks for the opportunity!

SHARLENE said...

Hi, everybody! So happy to see you're getting a nice turnout of viewers! Yippee-Skippy!

Diane, Carman jumped into Facebook, found the authors and and said, "Hey, I'm scheduling some interviews. Can I count on you? And off she went."

Gotta love Carman. What a little "go-getter!"


Renee (BlacknGoldGirlsBookSpot) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renee (BlacknGoldGirlsBookSpot) said...

Hi Carman and Shar!! I have a collie too (her names Coco)! They're the best dogs EVER!!! I would like to be her too if I had to be an animal LOL! She's soooo spoiled!!

I would love to win a copy of Maggie Rose! I love Sharlene's books! I'm an old follower too!

Thanks for the great interview and contest!

Merry Christmas!

xoxo~ Renee

SHARLENE said...

Hi, Renee! Aww, you're a collie lover, too? Coco is so cute. I went to your page for a closer look at him. Sweet. Dakota is my fourth collie, and I think when he goes, I'll be getting yet another. Dakota is 10, and I HATE that he's getting old and somewhat arthritic.
Pets add so much to our lives.

So, you're a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan, huh? My publisher (Whitaker House) is in Pittsburgh, and they are all huge Steelers fans.


collettakay said...

I can't wait to read this series.

I'm a follower.


Renee (BlacknGoldGirlsBookSpot) said...

I have seen your Dakota in the back of your books! He's soooo pretty! I love blue merles! Coco is a spoiled girl. Thank you for stopping by my blog and checking her out! I have a more recent picture of her on photobucket if you want to see. She's a year and a half now! She's 80 pounds!

And yes WE'RE both huge Steelers fans as you can see from the blog. I guess since you're publisher is in New Kensington it's probably nuts around there during football season since Steeler fans are diehards LOL!

I love your books and can't wait to read the latest!


Hope said...

This sounds like a neat book! Please enter me in the drawing.

Hope said...

Oh, and I'm a follower too :)

apple blossom said...

Please include me in this book giveaway. Thanks.

I'm a follower

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Merry said...

I enjoyed your review and interview. Please add me to the drawing for Maggie Rose it sounds wonderful. Thanks!


Merry said...

I'm a follower.

Anonymous said...

Would love to win and read this book! Please enter me. I am a follower. Thanks.

Carole said...

I can tell that Maggie Rose is the type of book I would enjoy. Thank you for the chance to win a copy. I also share Sharlene's thoughts about American Idol, by the way.

I'm already a follower, Carman.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Ashley (Ibreath2read) said...

Hey Carman,
I have been wanting to read Maggie Rose for a long time now, so I'm pretty excited about this giveaway.Please enter me in:~)

I'm a follower

Love Y'all,