In this post my friend and fellow North Carolina author, Lisa Kline, answers questions about her first two books in her four-book series, Sisters in All Seasons. Although Lisa has published three other middle grade books, these are her first in the inspirational market as well as her first foray into writing a series.
Carol: What was your inspiration for writing Summer of the Wolves?
Lisa: On a trip with a friend to a ranch in western North Carolina, I became fascinated with some hybrid wolf dogs, especially one wolf that was terrified of people. I also saw a family with two daughters, one of whom seemed as shy and miserable as the wolf. My heart went out to her. I decided to make up a story combining the wolves and the family.
Carol: What an interesting premise! What stands out for you as being the most challenging and/or rewarding part of writing inspirational material for kids?
Lisa: When I wrote Summer of the Wolves, I wasn’t trying to be didactic or inspirational. I was just trying to tell a story that interested me. What engages me most as a writer is a character’s inner conflict; that is, what is the right thing to do in this situation? And do I have the courage to do it? Writing about characters’ inner conflicts gives me a chance to explore some of my own questions about how we should live our lives. I think that many writers write, not because they have the answers to life’s big questions, but because they struggle with them. And maybe readers identify because they struggle too.
Carol: I can totally relate to that, Lisa. Sometimes I feel as if writing Half-Truths has raised many life questions for me. How did you use this increased self-awareness in your book?
Lisa: I grew to love my characters and wanted them to find love, either from parents, friends, spouses, or God. I believe that God loves us and that love is the most powerful force in our world. One of the questions I often ask myself is, how can we learn to live together on this earth and love each other?
Carol: Did you have a goal in mind as you wrote?
Lisa: If my writing inspires or uplifts others, I’m very happy to learn that. But I don’t set out to be inspiring or didactic. I just try to tell an engaging story, and explore some of my own questions in the process.
Sisters in All Seasons, is about Stephanie and Diana, who become stepsisters when Diana’s mother marries Stephanie’s father. The girls possess very different forms of courage, and don’t respect or empathize with each other at first. The series is the story of their journey to learn to trust and love one another. Each book features a different vacation location in North Carolina and a different animal. The first two books, Summer of the Wolves and Wild Horse Spring, which were just released by Zonderkidz, are recommended for ages 8-12.
If you live in the Charlotte area, please join Lisa at her book launch on June 30 from 2-4 at Charlotte’s favorite independent bookstore, Park Road Books.
Meanwhile, you could be the first one of your friends to own an autographed copy of this book! Leave me a comment with a promise to tweet, Facebook, or use the social media of your choice to share this giveaway and I will enter your name. If I don't have your email address, make sure you leave your name and address so I can contact you if you win. But hurry! I'll pick a winner on the evening of June 23!
If you don’t win, you’ll get another chance to win one of Lisa's books. Next week Lisa will share more about the places she visited while writing these books, as well as her thoughts about writing a series. I’ll be giving away a copy of her second book, Wild Horse Spring.