Ladies and gents, let me introduce to you my St End, Katie Ganshert. (I’m Be Fri, she’s St End– get it?)
I.love.this.gal. That being said, I feel like everyone needs to know her and love her as much as I do, and one easy way you can do that is by celebrating the release of her debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter.
Katie and I met via Twitter, believe it or not. After discovering that we’re pretty sure we were separated at birth somehow, we’ve been devoted long-distance friends. We were finally able to meet face to face at the ACFW conference last year, and decided that it’s probably a good thing God has us living far apart, because if we lived in the same town, neither one of us would ever accomplish anything because we’d be getting into too much trouble together. Plus her flat, midwestern accent would never work down South, and I’d sound like I hick if I moved up her way.
Long-distance or not, she’s one of my favorite people on the planet.
Here’s a little info on my friend:
Katie Ganshert was born and raised in the Midwest, where she writes stories about finding faith and falling in love. When she’s not busy plotting her next novel, she enjoys watching movies with her husband, playing make-believe with her wild-child of a son, and chatting with her girlfriends over bagels. She and her husband are in the process of adopting from the Congo. You can find her online at her blog and on Facebook.
And now for the reason we’re celebrating–Katie’s novel!
A young architect at a prestigious Chicago firm, Bethany Quinn has built a life far removed from her trailer park teen years. Until an interruption from her estranged mother reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is called back to rural Iowa. Determined to pay her respects while avoiding any emotional entanglements, she vows not to stay long. But the unexpected inheritance of farmland and a startling turn of events in Chicago forces Bethany to come up with a new plan.
Handsome farmhand Evan Price has taken care of the Quinn farm for years. So when Bethany is left the land, he must fight her decisions to realize his dreams. But even as he disagrees with Bethany’s vision, Evan feels drawn to her and the pain she keeps so carefully locked away.
For Bethany, making peace with her past and the God of her childhood doesn’t seem like the path to freedom. Is letting go the only way to new life, love and a peace she’s not even sure exists?
Okay, I know you want to read it. And you should. It’s a beautiful story eloquently written. It made me laugh, it made me cry. It’s that good.
I thought you might like to know a little more about its author, so I asked her a few questions. Perhaps you think you know Mrs. Ganshert? These aren’t the same old, same old interview questions, so check out her unique responses.
About the book:
1. What was your inspiration for this story?
Late one night, while nursing my son, the voice of this 12 year old girl came into my head and would not leave. So I sat down and wrote the prologue without having any sort of story to go with it. At the same time, I was thinking a lot about my best friend growing up. We lost touch in college. And I found myself wondering what, if anything, would bring us back together again. I knew I wanted to tell a story that explored the bonds of friendship, so I squished that idea together with my prologue and voila!
2. What was the first scene you developed in your mind?
Interestingly enough, the first scene I developed in my mind (besides the prologue….which isn’t really a scene), is one that isn’t in the book. I envisioned this scene where this woman was in Walgreens, perusing the sympathy cards, not at all sure which one to get for a woman who used to be her best friend but is no longer in her life.
3. Without giving anything away, what is your personal favorite scene in the story?
Oooo! That’s such a fun question! Probably the scene where Bethany and Evan are sitting by the creek at night in the snow, and they have this really touching conversation. It’s sort of their first civil moment and it was very fun to write.
4. Which of the characters you created is most like you?
Definitely Robin. Faith isn’t generally a struggle for me like it is for Bethany. I gave my life easily to Christ, just like Robin did so many years ago. It’s hard to see in the book, since Robin is experiencing so much grief, but when she’s not grieving, Robin is an outgoing, warm personality, whereas Bethany is much more reserved.
5. If you could release a soundtrack for the book, what songs would be on it? (Give me at least 5 or so).
Five songs! That’s hard. Let’s see. Beautiful Things, by Gungor. Blessings, by Laura Story. Oh sheesh….I’m totally stumped after two. How’s that for awesome?
1. What’s your favorite romance book, movie, and TV show?
Favorite romantic book is definitely Mark of the Lion [Francine Rivers] (the first two in the trilogy). Marcus and Hadassah’s relationship made me all swoony. It was perfect. I reread those two books at least once a year. But recently I read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins and holy buckets! It was amazing. Totally in the running. Movie would have to be Pride and Prejudice (it’s hard to choose between the Colin Firth version and the Keira Knightly version). And show…do you even have to ask? Vampire Diaries! Although I did love me some Pam and Jim, season 2 style, from The Office.
2. If you could only listen to three artists/bands for the rest of your life, who would you choose?
I’d be set! Can you tell that I totally am not a music-girl. I love listening to music on the radio. Love, love, love. But I so don’t know the name of the singers. Half the time I don’t know the names of the songs either. Hmmm…I’d probably pick Adele, Hillsong United, and Phil Wickham, maybe. He has a few songs I’d hate to never be able to listen to again.
3. What’s your favorite meal?
Fried pickles for an appetizer, this buffalo chicken wrap I order every time we go to The River House in Moline, followed by some Coldstone Creamery. Yum, yum, yum.
4. What’s the most romantic date your hubby has ever taken you on? OR What is the most romantic thing your hubby does for you?
The most romantic thing he does for me is rub my back when I’m writing. Not all the time. But enough. Especially when I’m stressed out. I get this perpetual knot in my left shoulder and he’s great at rubbing it out. He also does the laundry and the cleaning and the grocery shopping when I’m a deadline. How much more romantic can you get?
5. What is your earliest memory?
Earliest memory would probably be sitting on the fence at my daycare provider’s house. I had to have been four or so. I was swinging my legs, watching my older brother play two hand touch football, when I fell off the fence and split open my head. I remember this because I had a crush on my day care provider’s son at the time and he scooped me up and carried me inside. I had to get five stitches.
6. If you could live anywhere in the world for a 5 year stint (not permanent), where would you choose & why?
Ireland. Just to listen to those amazing accents for five years. I don’t even like beer, yet I would choose Ireland.
7. When money is no object (I said when, not if), what’s the first thing you’ll do for your spouse?
Ha! Okay, I’ll go with it….I shall buy a private jet and fly him around the world, feeding him lots and lots of delicious cuisine, pouring him all kinds of wonderful imported beer (unlike me, my hubby really likes beer).
8. What one skill or talent do you wish you had and why?
I wish I could sing. Like, really really sing. I wish I could open my mouth and belt it like Aretha. I’ve always thought that would be amazing. Sadly, I am incredibly tone deaf.
9. If you could design your own house from scratch, what would be the three most important things you’d include?
Lots and lots of storage space. A mud room that has a door I can close. And an office with an inspiring view.
10. If your life had a theme song right now, what would it be and why?
Oh, I totally know this one! Insane in the Membrane by Cypress Hill. Hello nineties! Why? Because life is so insanely busy right now that I often feel insane in the membrane.
Lol! Insane In The Membrane? Now you have at least a little bit of an understanding of why I love this chick. We share an affinity for The Vampire Diaries, Adele, and fried pickles, among other things. (Seriously, Katie, are you sure you aren’t Southern?)
Are you ready to read her book, Wildflowers from Winter? Awesome!! You can get your own copy by clicking on the link or get one for free because we’re giving away a copy to ONE lucky winner!!!
You can enter to win a copy of Wildflower from Winter by leaving a comment below. One commenter will be chosen at random to win a copy of Katie’s book. The contest is open through Tuesday May 15, 2012, and the winner will be announced via my post on Wednesday, May 16th, 2012.