Name the Novel contest

Farm scene with tractor, hay, and sheds

My current work-in-progress is a historical fiction novel with elements of romance and mystery. Here’s a brief synopsis:

Twenty-two-year-old OLGA TYMCHUK, a newly graduated teacher, looks forward to marrying her fiancée, VIKTOR in July 1959. However, before they marry, Olga is committed to teaching for a year in Gillmore, Alberta as a requirement for the bursary she received in university. Viktor and Olga are separated when Viktor accepts a challenging job as a scientific researcher for the National Research Council in Ontario.

Olga feels deserted when Viktor leaves for Ontario. He promises to write often and gives her a ticket so she can visit him at Christmas time, but Olga feels like she’s losing Viktor. Olga still needs to work through the loss of her father, who died in a tragic tractor accident when she was fourteen. Olga’s afraid she’s going to lose Viktor just like she lost her dad. She’s still angry with God over her father’s death and doesn’t know what she’ll do if Viktor is taken from her too.

Teaching is more of a challenge than Olga thought. Although Olga misses Viktor, her work keeps her motivated. Olga develops a strong relationship with many of the students in her class. However, one student, little JIMMY, seems determined to cause trouble no matter what Olga does to reach out to him. Olga discovers sometimes her students teach her more than she teaches them.

A week before Christmas, Olga and her brother, STEFAN, use the tickets Viktor provides and take the train to Ontario, their first trip outside Alberta. When Olga tries to contact Viktor, she discovers he has been involved in a serious accident at his workplace. Olga and Stefan spend most of Christmas vacation at the hospital visiting Viktor. Olga and Viktor have time to talk through many issues and discuss wedding plans. Although Viktor received severe burns, his body is healing well. Olga and Stefan say goodbye to Viktor and return to Gillmore.

The train arrives back in Gillmore and Olga is handed a telegram which contains information that turns her world upside down and sends her on a quest for truth about what happened. In the process she discovers many things about herself, God, and true love.

My working title for this novel is Olga’s Discovery. The publisher I’m working with has indicated I need to come up with a more captivating title. Some other options that have been suggested are: Enduring Love, This Fierce Love, Unending Love, Undying Love, When Love Abides, All My Love Olga, Forever My Love, and Love That Won’t Let Go.

Please help me name my novel by commenting with your choice of title. If you have an original title idea, share it. I’ll send everyone who participates by August 31, 2014 a free electronic version of the first chapter. If your title choice is used by the publisher, I’ll send you a free autographed paperback copy of my novel when it’s published (hopefully in 2015). I look forward to your feedback 🙂

 

 


My Favourite Genre

Ben_tnsMy favourite genre (to read and write) is historical fiction. My fascination with this genre was more than likely cultivated by the many missionary biographies I read as a child. I loved “visiting” different cultures and learning spiritual lessons along with the main characters. Historical fiction provides the same opportunities, but the main character may or may not be a person of faith. The main difference between these two genres is that biographies are non-fiction and historical fiction is, of course, fiction. Both biographies and historical fiction usually focus on a time period at least twenty-five years before the current time.

Dictionary.com defines historical fiction as:

“the genre of literature, film, etc., comprising narratives that take place in the past and are characterized chiefly by an imaginative reconstruction of historical events and personages.”
Wikipedia adds:
“Historical fiction presents a story that takes place during a notable period in history, and often during a significant event in that period. Setting usually takes priority in a work of historical fiction, and the author should be making some sort of statement or observation about the period where and/or when the work is taking place. Historical fiction often presents events from the point of view of fictional characters of that time period. Events portrayed in historical fiction must adhere to the laws of nature.”
Some people may think that because a story is fiction, not much research is required. This is absolutely false, at least if you want a realistic story. In order to write powerful historical fiction, you not only need an interesting plot and a believable main character, but you also need to know about the food, clothing, houses, careers/work, and expectations of the specific era you’re writing about. There’s nothing worse for a reader than being “yanked” out of the story by details that are inaccurate. For example, if your story takes place in the early 1900s, no seat belts would be used since seat belts were not installed in vehicles until the late 1950’s.
When we write historical fiction, we are able to use actual historical events as the backdrop for our story and create our own scenes and “extras” to make the story come alive. Some of the people in our story may be actual historical figures (as long as we represent them accurately), but other characters will be fictional. For example, the backdrop of my work in progress, Olga’s Discovery, is the invention and controversial introduction of birth control.
Some of my favourite authors and books in this genre are:
  • The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers
  • The Zion Chronicles (series) by Brock and Bodie Thoene
  • Snapshots in History (series) by Murray Pura
  • Heirs of Acadia (series) by Isabella and T. Davis Bunn
  • In the Shadow of the Mountain (series) by Clint Kelly
What’s your favourite genre, and why? I look forward to hearing from you.
NOTE: This is the 5th post in a blog hop I’m hosting for writers. If you’d like to participate or want to read about other authors’ favourite genres, click on the link below.
Blog Hop for Writers

The Moses Quilt – Interview with Author Kathi Macias

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Kathi Macias
NOTE: Enter to win a free copy of The Moses Quilt by leaving a comment after this post! Draw will be made on March 1, 2013
The Quilt Series sounds interesting, but what makes it unique or sets it apart from the many other quilt books that are so popular right now?
First, I must confess to NOT being a quilter. I’ve never even considered taking it up! Second, I love quilts and have always been fascinated by the stories behind them. I combined that fascination with my passion for writing issues-related fiction, and I ended up with a three-book series that is, for the most part, contemporary but told against historical backdrops.Sounds interesting! Can you tell us a bit about each of the three books in the series? Sure! Book one, The Moses Quilt, involves an interracial romance, where the couple works through their concerns and apprehensions as they learn the story of Harriet Tubman’s faith and courage as told through the patches of the Moses quilt that represents her life. Book two, The Doctor’s Christmas Quilt, deals with the topic of abortion told against the backdrop of the life of America’s first woman doctor, Elizabeth Blackwell, who was strongly pro-life. Book three, The Singing Quilt, deals with a young woman overcoming a physical disability; the background for that story is based on the “Queen of Gospel,” Fannie Crosby.

Was it difficult to do the research on these women, particularly Harriet Tubman? What did you learn about her in the process? I knew more about Harriet Tubman than I did about Elizabeth Blackwell or Fannie Crosby, but I expanded my knowledge of each as I did the research. Harriet Tubman’s amazing faith and courage is what stood out most to me about her life. Here was a woman born a slave, penniless for the majority of her life, and illiterate except for the scripture verses she had memorized (even if she couldn’t read them). Her prayer life was powerful, even as a child. After she escaped to the North and began making forays back into the South to help bring others out of slavery, friends would caution her against it. “Harriet, there’s a reward on your head—dead or alive. Aren’t you afraid?” She brushed off their fear and explained that she believed God had called her to help rescue her people; therefore, He would protect her. When her job was done, He would take her home to heaven, so what was there to fear? Wow, what a dynamic woman of God! I also learned that her achievements went far beyond rescuing slaves, though that’s what she’s best known for. She also served as a spy for the Union Army, worked as a nurse, and opened a home for indigent elderly former slaves. She died there herself in her mid-nineties, and the entire town flew their flags at half-mast in her honor.

Tell us a little more about the contemporary story in The Moses Quilt. The majority of the contemporary story is set just outside San Francisco. Mazie is white and deeply in love with Edward, an African-American lawyer who adores her and wants to marry her but tries to be respectful of her hesitation to make a commitment. What he doesn’t know is that Mazie is disturbed by what she considers secrets in her family’s past, secrets that begin to be unraveled as her great-grandmother, Mimi, tells her and Edward the story behind her Moses quilt, which she bought years earlier in Gee’s Bend, Alabama, a little town famous for its quilts. Edward thought he knew everything there was to know about Harriet Tubman, who had always been somewhat of a hero to him, but Mimi’s story opens up new avenues of discovery for both the young people in this relationship—and takes them straight back to the quilt’s origin in Gee’s Bend.

This sounds like more than just a “feel-good” story. Can it be used as a study book in some way? Absolutely! As with nearly all my books we have free downloadable discussion questions at www.newhopedigital.com that will enable The Moses Quilt to be read as a study book for individuals or used as a discussion/study book for groups.

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For more opportunities for free copies of THE MOSES QUILT by Kathi Macias, please follow this book tour on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/CSSVBT.KathiMacias. This blog host was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview and/or book review on this blog. CSS Virtual Book Tours are managed by Christian Speakers Services (http://ChristianSpeakersServices.com).

About the Author: Kathi Macias

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the prestigious 2008 member of the year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) at the annual Golden Scrolls award banquet. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al.