Q&A and Giveaway with Lori Benton!

Melissa Tagg Giveaway 61 Comments

516N6+64zSL._SX335_BO1,204,203,200_So, there are books I love.
And there are books I loooooooooooove.

Every single book Lori Benton has ever written falls into that latter category for me. She’s my very favorite author, and her writing is so gorgeous I really can’t even talk about it intelligently. I just turn into a gushy mess when I try.

So needless to say, when an ARC of her latest release, Many Sparrows, landed in my mailbox weeks ago, I dropped everything—including edits on my own book!—to read it. I adored every word, and I loved catching up with a couple characters from one of her former books.

So I’m super excited today to welcome Lori to the blog and to host a giveaway for a copy of Many Sparrows and of a limited-edition photo book with photos taken by Lori herself. (She’s a talented photographer in addition to being an author!) Enter the giveaway below the Q&A.

Melissa: One of the bazillion things I loved about Many Sparrows is the reappearance of a couple characters from your second book, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn. Did you always plan to revisit Cade and Jesse? Or did that element in Many Sparrows surprise you?

LORI_1(0662)--WEBSIZE_MPLori: I wanted to write more about them but I hadn’t expected it would be their back story! It was a happy surprise, once I realized the story I wanted to tell about a frontiersman and a woman searching for her lost son would work well set against the historical events of 1774 (the Yellow Creek Massacre and Lord Dunmore’s War), which happened to be a time I knew exactly where Cade and Jesse were, what they were doing. It was the part of their back story I’d recounted in The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn.

Even so it took me a while to decide how closely linked my frontiersman, Jeremiah Ring, would be to the characters of Wolf-Alone (Cade) and Wildcat (Jesse), among the Shawnees. Getting to flesh out those bare bones of back story was an enjoyable aspect of writing Many Sparrows.

Melissa: You’re a hiker and photographer and I’m constantly in awe of your photos! How does that love of nature play into your stories?

Lori: Thank you for the kind words about my photos. The Pacific Northwest is a paradise! That love of nature goes back longer than my love of writing. As a little girl I didn’t want to play Disney princess or Barbie dolls. I wanted to recreate The Jungle Book in my bedroom! When I got a little older, I made my own bow and arrows out of the forsythia bushes that lined our driveway and practiced shooting. Then I moved to Oregon where access to the kind of wilderness I dreamed of as a child is easy. I still go out with a bow for target shooting, though as you mentioned I’m more often shooting with a camera these days.

The stories I began writing as a child had to do with wolves, or some sort of adventures out of doors. So did the books I read. When I turned to writing novels it’s no surprise I chose a wild frontier setting.

Melissa: What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Lori: Connecting with my main character, Clare Inglesby. It wasn’t until I gave sufficient attention to her nemesis, Rain Crow, and discovered these two women had made idols out of the same little boy, seeking to fill the emptiness each carried in her heart, that I really got deep into Clare’s soul and knew what made her tick. Both these women are so fixated on Jacob Inglesby that the need to make him the center of their existence has become a scream that drowns out all other voices, including that of the Lord.

Melissa: Which character in Many Sparrows do you identify with most?

Lori: They are all me, in their way. But I’m going to have to admit that it’s Clare. Her struggle to stand still, trust, and allow God time to fix the heart-wrenching problem she is facing is one I find challenging as well. I have failed in it, and I have triumphed in it. I’m also prone, like she and Rain Crow have done in this story, to putting something or someone before the Lord in my heart. Putting the unrealistic expectations of fulfillment upon that person or situation that only the Lord is big enough, deep enough, and complete enough to fill.


Melissa: There’s no doubt in mind that readers will walk away from this story hugely emotionally impacted. But for you as the author, how did it impact you?

Lori: Aside from delving deeply into issues that the Lord is still at work on in my own heart… this book was my problem child, when I was so certain it would be easy to write. Well, not easy. No novel comes easily, but having just finished a two-book, multi-generational series with a huge cast of characters spanning twenty years and two major wars… I thought Many Sparrows would be a breeze by comparison. Then, rather like Clare, it fought me the entire way, no doubt in part because I was attempting to write about what the Lord had so recently revealed to me about my own walk with Him! But God met me at every step, as I continually asked Him to do, and I’m still amazed at how this book has come together. It’s good to know that whatever emotional impact this story has on readers’ hearts it’s Him doing His good work in spite of me.

Melissa: What’s up next for you writing-wise?

Lori: Tentatively titled The King’s Mercy, my next book will take readers back to North Carolina, to a decade in the 1700s earlier than any I’ve yet written and a setting a little different than anything I’ve so far published (though still plenty of frontier adventure mixed in). As always when I can manage it, there will be at least one familiar face among this new cast of a characters. And my hero hails from Scotland.

Lori Benton was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American history going back three hundred years. Her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history. When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching, Lori enjoys exploring and photographing the Oregon wilderness with her husband. She is the author of Burning Sky, recipient of three Christy Awards, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn; Christy nominee The Wood’s EdgeA Flight of Arrows; and Many Sparrows.

Connect with Lori:  Website  ♦  Facebook  ♦  Instagram  ♦  Twitter
Check out the first two chapters of Many Sparrows here. 

21057636_10155286493161329_1745486644_oGiveaway Time!

Enter to win a copy of Many Sparrows (ebook or paperback, winner’s choice) plus a limited-edition copy of a photo/quote companion book. Just use the form below!

(Giveaway only open in the U.S. Sorry, international friends!)

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    Comments 61

    1. Raechel L.

      I have yet to read one of her books, but I REALLY want to! They sound amazing!!
      As for what character I identify with the most…I’m going to possibly “cheat” and say my own that I’m currently writing the story of. I realize that, without trying, I’ve put a lot of myself and my struggles into this character. :)

      Thank you for this fun interview, and giveaway!!

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    2. Deanne Patterson

      I just finished the book All That Makes Life Bright: The Life and Love of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Harriet isn’t the world’s best housekeeper, she would much rather be reading. Yeah, that’s me!

    3. Melanie Backus

      Great interview and I can’t wait to read Lori’s book! There are many characters in books that I can identify with but I was actually named after a great character in a book….Melanie in Gone With The Wind.

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    4. Marylin Furumasu

      I’ve heard a lot about this book and so I really think I need to get it.
      As to a character I connect with in a book…..I’m not sure. I’ve read so many books and I truly love them all. I would say, a character who is seeking to deeper her relationship with God, someone struggling with self worth, and a person who loves and cares for others.

    5. Candice Valdez

      I can relate to Olivia Pratt from Amy Matayo’s book, The Thirteenth Chance. She is a bit of a loner and likes things a certain way. Totally me!
      Love Lori Benton’s books! She is at the top of my list always!

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    6. Evangeline

      Such a great interview and recommendation! Lori is a new-to-me author, but after reading this I have added some of her books to my wish list. I would love to win a copy of her book. Thanks for the chance to do so.

    7. Rosalyn

      I haven’t tried any of Lori Bentons books, but they are high on my TBR list!
      Character I identify with-hard to say, it really depends on whatever book I am currently in the middle of! :)

    8. Monica H

      I have Lori’s books on my wish list and have heard so many good things about them. I think I most relate to Margie in Karen Barnett’s book, The Road To Paradise, with Margie’s love for nature and the parks.

    9. Susan Snodgrass

      Many Sparrows was absolutely exquisite! Lori always manages to craft such feel books that stay with you for a long time. I especially loved how she pictured her characters.

    10. Courtney Clark

      Many Sparrows is absolutely AMAZING!!!! It’s hard to put into words what a beautiful and emotional story it is. Of the characters in it, I identify with Clare’s tendency to rush ahead and try to make choices on her own without waiting for God’s leading. I think that’s something we can all relate to —- our wanting to “fix” something immediately.

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    11. Linda

      Thank you for posting this interview – great questions and insightful answers! I have read Burning Sky, and I totally get why one would turn into a gushy mess, the writing is beautiful. Can’t wait to read the rest of Lori’s books!

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    12. Susan Wilson

      I adore Lori Benton’s style of story telling! I don’t really know what fictional character I identify with except maybe one who feels the need to nurture everybody. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!!

    13. Kathryn Voss

      I am so excited to read this book! It’s hard to say exactly what character I identify with, as there are some parts of many characters that I relate so clearly too.

    14. MH

      Not sure. I’ve identified with a lot of heroines who are “under the radar” and very average. Can’t think of one from a book right now though….

    15. Heidi Robbins

      I identify with Marianne from Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson. One of the reasons I love that book so much 😉

      I can’t wait to read Lori’s new book! Do you know if her photo book will be avalable to buy if we don’t win it? I love her Instagram feed!

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        Melissa Tagg

        You know, I’m pretty sure Lori said she only had seven copies of the book, so I don’t know if it’s something she’ll make available for purchase elsewhere or if she’s just using them for giveaways here and there. But I could sure ask her for you!

        And Edenbrooke. <3 <3 <3 <3 I love that book so much!

    16. Jennifer Rumberger

      I think I can identify with any character that has a Christian background and is grounded in their faith.

      Haven’t read any of Lori’s books yet, but if you recommend them, then I definitely will!

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    17. Mary Lou Kleveland

      I have never read any of Lori’s books, but this interview makes me want to run out and read one right away. Thanks for the great interview!!!

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    18. Beverly Duell-Moore

      Great interview! I love Lori’s books! My daughter and I were able to meet her last fall when she was in the area doing research!

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    19. Sonnetta Jones

      I identified with Cat O’Brien in His Steadfast Love by Julie Lessman. As she watches her twin get married and leave home I hurt with her. It is hard to know that her brother in law would be her twin’s priority. You are happy for her but sad at the changes taking place.

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    20. Patti Iverson

      I love Lori. I love Many Sparrows. I identify with Clare, but also with the old gramma types, because they are more “me” now, as I am at this age ‘n stage in life. I also identify with Lori, being Lori–a woman as we all are, at some times in our lives. And the Lord God loves her and us all! <3

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    21. Mary Kay Moody

      Good Q & A, Melissa! Enjoy learning some of her writing backstory. I love Lori’s stories. And her photos! Don’t get me started. Both are so lush and evocative. Such an delightful giveaway. Thank you both.

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    22. Bonnie Howard

      I relate to characters in nearly every story I read, either in their personalities or circumstances and it makes the story come alive for me. It helps me see how I can grow and change in my personal and spiritual life.

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    23. Winnie Thomas

      I can’t think of anyone right off that I identify with. Jane Bennet might be one that I would be close to.

      What an amazing giveaway! I’d love to win. Thanks for the chance.

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    24. Danielle Diez

      Yay for giveaways, especially for one of Lori’s books!!

      In response to the pronpt of which fictional character I relate to the most, I honestly think it is with Amelia Bentley/Walker from your book, “Like Never Before”, Melissa. From two pages in, I KNEW that she and I shared the same kind of “quirky”. 😉

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        Melissa Tagg

        Awwww I love hearing that. I hugely identify with Amelia, too…partially just because of her love for Logan. LOL! But also, her quirks and her love for reporting are very much me. 😀

    25. Lori Smanski

      I would love to read one of her books.
      I don’t think I relate to a fictional character completely. But there have been a lot that are like : oh that about her is so like me. Little bits of a lot of different ladies seems to be me.

    26. Pam K.

      I’ve read all of Lori’s books prior to this one and absolutely love them. I can’t think of one particular character I relate to but enjoy books much more that have at least one character that I can identify with in some way.

    27. Megan Potter

      I really connected with Amelia Bentley from Like Never Before. She and Logan had to think about the future, and contemplate doing something different then they had originally thought. I loved that book! It helped me to realize we don’t have do stick to plan A. It’s okay to change. And look for His will in your life.
      Thanks for the giveaway!

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        Melissa Tagg

        Love this, Megan! As I wrote Like Never Before, I realized I was on the exact same journey as Amelia…learning to embrace Plan B…or C or D or whatever! Life has twists and turns and we can stubbornly hold on to the straight path we thought we were on…or get excited about the changes around the bend. I loved watching Amelia and Logan come to terms with that even as I came to terms with it in my own life. :)

    28. Candi F

      I identified with Elianna in Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar. I understand performance based striving for approval, living with chronic illness and the desire for Christ to heal me. Life seems to throw curveballs at us but God’s hand guides our lives through it all and you can see it when looking back and at the big picture.

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