Author: Michelle Griep
Price: $TBD paperback
Price: $8.00 Ebook (PDF format)
Pages: TBD paperback
Minnesota author,Michelle Griep, has been writing since she first discovered Crayolas and blank wall space. She has homeschooled four children over the past twenty years, and teaches both Civics and Creative Writing for area co-ops. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle's debut historical romance, GALLIMORE, is scheduled for release December 15, 2008.
BOOK TRAILER #1
Jessica Neale’s faith is lost the day of her husband’s death, and with it, her belief in love. In a journey to find peace, she encounters a gentle, green-eyed stranger who leads her to the ruins of the medieval castle, Gallimore.
On his way to battle, Colwyn Haukswyrth, knight of Gallimore, comes face to face with a storm the likes of which he’s never seen, and a woman in the midst of it who claims to live centuries in the future. The Lady Jessica of Neale is an irksome, provoking bit of woman to be sure. And she’s about to turn his beliefs on end.
The product of a family rooted in pain and evil, Colwyn has focused on naught but himself—until Jessica. To a mysterious prophecy stitched on a tapestry, through the invasion of Gallimore itself, Colwyn and Jessica are bound together by a lesson in forgiveness and love—a bond that might be strong enough to survive the grave.
INTERVIEW WITH MICHELLE GRIEP
WMD’s—Weapons of Medieval Destruction
by Michelle Griep
A nuclear bomb pretty much assures instant death—one second you’re here, the next kablooey. Quick and painless.
Unlike Washington bureaucrats, the average American doesn’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about weapons of mass destruction. I certainly don’t detect a high level of fear in anyone I know. Other than the garden variety conceal-n-carry discussions, weapons really aren’t on anyone’s mind.
I suppose if you lived in war torn Iraq or some drug-cartel, gang-infested country, you would be afraid. And rightly so.
Or if you lived during the Dark Ages.
Peasants didn’t get to wield halberds or maces. Oh, they might have a pitchfork handy to threaten some nasty puncture wounds. Likely they’d tote a knife which, granted, can inflict a mortal wound if handled properly. But the gnarliest weapons belonged to knights and nobles…instilling fear into the plebian sort.
Let’s say you’re a resourceful peasant who copped a sword off the black market for an amazingly low price. End of fear factor, right? Wrong. Some knights carried a Sword Breaker. This is a unique weapon developed and used during the Middle Ages. It’s pretty much a long, sturdy dagger but with one major difference—slots on one side, kind of like the teeth on a comb. A Sword Breaker was used to capture an opponent’s blade. Once caught, a quick twist would snap the enemy’s blade, effectively disarming him.
Speaking of daggers, ever hear of a Rondel? This puppy inflicted some serious damage. A Rondel is a long, conical-shaped dagger made specifically for piercing armor. And once through the armor and the flesh beneath, a gaping hole the size of Pittsburgh pretty much insured death.
But both of these aforementioned items would require your enemy to be on foot, not mounted up high. Problem: how to unseat a skilled horseman. Solution: a landmine.
Yes, a landmine. Oh, not the type in use today but efficient nonetheless. The Caltrop is an example of the ingenuity of the times. Much like a mongo version of a child’s jack, a Caltrop is a fabrication of metal with four sharp points. Thrown on the ground, it always landed with a point sticking up. Scatter a bunch of these babies on the ground and the oncoming cavalry would have some serious issues to deal with.
But even common items can do unspeakable damage. In my book, Gallimore, I allude to the death of Edward II. Consensus says he was murdered, but the story behind the murder might make you cringe.
You should know this about ol’ Ed…he wasn’t a favorite king. He didn’t endear himself to the people and especially not to his wife. Most queens are hardly amused when the king not only partakes in dalliances on the side, but ones wherein they can’t compete, well… You see, Edward had a bit of an attraction to the same gender. This special quality of his ticked off a lot of people, tolerance not being in vogue at the time.
They tried the usual imprisonment and starving. Even subjected him to filthy water in hopes he’d succumb to disease. Nope. Edward II was a hearty soul.
So, one wicked eve during his enforced visit to Berkeley Castle, several men gathered to perform a dastardly deed. As Edward lay asleep, they squished him down with a table, intending to squash the air from him and suffocate the little fella. Foiled again. He wriggled like a minnow out of water, flipping himself over on his tummy.
Who came up with the idea of a hearth poker we may never know, but someone did. They heated the rod up until it glowed red, then shoved it up his…well, let’s just say Edward became a kabob from the bottom up.
Technology will forever be developing newer, mind boggling weapons. However, just because they’re fancy does not make them any more frightening than the weapons of the past.
Hmm. Kind of makes one wonder…maybe it’s the people behind the weapons we should fear most.
BOOK TRAILER #2
Posted by Nora StLaurent at 8:22 AM
KELLY & MICHELLE
Freshman author Michelle Griep writes like one who has been multi-published. Few newbie authors grasp all areas of writing well, and Griep nails them. Her characters are richly drawn and multi-faceted. I ached with them, I wanted to slap them, I cheered them on. Gallimore's plot is tightly woven and fast-paced. Dialogue? Surprisingly clever and realistic. Humor laces more interactions between characters than not, and when it's time to be serious, Griep layers in the intensity and spins a web of poignancy. Description is an art form with this author, you will smell, see, taste and hear Merry Ole England, which is delighting in some scenes and not so pleasant in others. To top it off, Griep handles story with deftness, twisting and shaping it into something that will stick with the reader.
Because of the uniqueness of this tale, I know it's taken longer to see print. This is one of those books that doesn't quite fall into a category easily even though one has to assign it a genre. Part speculative fiction melded with adventure and action. A historical love story with twists and turns that may leave you breathless at times, tearful at others, hopping mad, terrified and wistful.
I've had the privilege of reading more of Griep's works and can only say her books will find faithful followers. If sci-fi/fantasy/speculative fiction is not your cup of tea, take a peek at Gallimore anyway, I'm betting you'll be glad you did.
KELLY - I totally appreciate you dropping by and giving us your review of this new book!! Thanks friend.
Posted by Nora StLaurent at 9:44 PM
Inspired by Gallimore
5. A prime-time CSI type lackey for collection of DNA or evidence planting. With talons, intelligence and wicked sharp beaks, a raven can plant evidence or borrow evidence. Creativity is required here. If your Stunningly Great American Novel is set in a historical setting, DNA is a moot point. However, never overlook the possible inclusion of an evil wizard or psychotic bad guy to need to collect a lock of hair or a strip of skin.
4. Eye candy. Literally. Okay, this is gross, so close your eyes o' squeamish ones. Ready? Here goes. Carrion birds consider eyes a great delicacy and believe in eating dessert first, if you get my drift.
3. Nothing like a soaring black bird with a wing span equaling the height of a child. Yes. Edgy.
2. Swooping and terrorizing. Do I need to say more? Obviously the bird likes eyes, has an amazing wingspan and can collect DNA. Think about the implications. And Red Riding Hood thought that the wolf was a fright.
And the number one use of a fictional raven: Stalking. Two glossy beady eyes. Awesome sight and smell skills. That's what I'm talking about.
Hope you've gleaned helpful information and sufficient ravenicity to add drama, edge and creepiness to your work-in-progress. Romance and childrens' authors may want to consider the tastes of their readers. You don't want to get letters now do you? Perchance letters delivered by a raven....
The above was inspired by Michelle M. Griep's novel Gallimore. For those of you who are interested in raven antics as specified above, you'll find much satisfaction should you crack open the book. Trust me. Michelle went right for the big dog bird...no prissy little humming or songbirds for her.
By Kelly Klepfer
(You go Kelly Girl!! You Crack me up!)
Posted by Nora StLaurent at 8:45 PM
Did you have a say in picking out the cover for either of your books? Was that a fun experience for you, why?
When I self published, the company I chose did a wonderful job with the cover. They had given me two choices, and I picked the better one. A funny thing was that the woman on the cover was given dark hair—I had to write an email and tell them that every single person who read the book ( about my lovely blond-haired heroine) would look at that picture and wonder who the heck that gal was! So they changed it for me to blond.
I have yet to see the final cover from Harvest House for the December release (as of this interview) but they have already agreed to re-work their first design. The clothing wasn't correct for the Regency. So they're being great about it to re-do it for me.
Can you describe for me a moment in your life that you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt God was real? Not just a story you read in a book?
Yes. At one time I was facing a decision I had to make that scared me. Someone had suggested I join this therapy group, which I had about as much desire to go to as jumping off a bridge. But I promised I'd pray about it. Well! When I put it to the Lord with a simple question, He immediately responded, very strongly, with an unmistakable “GO!” I've had other experiences of hearing his voice (not necessarily audibly) but on this occasion, my goodness, I had to go because he'd answered me so clearly and emphatically. I don't think I'd ever have made it to that meeting without such strong incentive because I was truly terrified at the thought of it (opening up before other people? Yikes! No, thank you!) but His voice got me there. That little group ended up changing my life in a powerful way.
I was intrigued by Ariana and how she stuck to her guns about what was important to her in life. Everyone thought that this was a crazy thing for her to do. I wondered if women back then would really be taken seriously. Could they really have that much power as to who they would marry or not?
Interestingly, the richer the family a woman was from, the less likely she might have been to have a choice of whom she would marry. People married for title, status, money, and just plain survival. Ariana's circumstances were such that her parents would not force her to marry a man because of his wealth or title. She (and they) weren't starving, and their religious convictions were such that they could trust God for the right person. There is nothing historically inaccurate about this—just that most people involved in high society were not usually of the deeply religious sort.
TOP THINGS YOU WERE AFRAID TO ASK LINORE, SO I DID! :D
If you had to pick a super hero to hang out with for a day who would you pick and why?
Jesus. It would be scary because he has no illusions about what's in my heart and he knows it all, but it would be so fascinating and wonderful and priceless I'd do it, anyway. Imagine the change in yourself if you could spend a day with God!
What is the neatest place you have ever visited and why? What made it so neat, special, memorable for you?
Vermont. I was staying with my cousin and when she went to work one day and I was completely alone in a house that was alone in the middle of nowhere, it was a feeling I'd never had before. So freeing. (I grew up in Queens, New York). I went out on the back porch, a flat deck, and played music and danced out there by myself. My only witness was God. It was glorious!
If you had all the time in the world (and just as much money) to do anything you wanted to do; what would you do?
Travel. I'd start with England and stay there for months, maybe a year. Then I'd move on and do a “Grand Tour” in the old style. Italy, “the continent,” Germany. It would be a blast. And I would visit every art museum I came across and spend as long as I wanted to, there.
If you could interview or hang out with someone for a day who would you pick? Why?
Francine Rivers. Just to listen to her talk about her writing, and her writing-related experiences, getting her works onto film and that sort of stuff. Why? Because she is where I want to be. I believe in learning from people who model what you want. People who are ahead of you and can teach you so that you can move ahead, too.
If you had to pick to be a contestant on a TVshow which one would you pick? Why would you pick that show to be on?
Jeopardy. When we used to watch tv, my kids were always saying, “Mom, you should go on Jeopardy!” I love the show, but in reality I don't think fast enough for it.
If you had 24 hours to hang out with anyone dead or alive in the history of the world, what two people would you pick and why?
Marie Antoinette--(if I spoke French or German!) To tell her to wise up before it's too late.
My grandfather—because I was too young when he died to know him.
Given the time period that you have written about what would be the neatest thing to experience at that time and why?
The sort of success that my heroine experiences—all the glitter of the high life, the excitement of falling in love, “standing up” with the Regent at Carlton House—I included many things precisely because they would be the neatest things to experience at that time!
Star Wars or Lord of the Rings? Why did you pick that one?
Definitely Lord of the Rings. Star Wars was good on film, but Lord of the Rings is good literature, and has more noble characters in it.
Thank you Linore for letting the ladies in my book club and others get to know you better. I appreciate you hanging out with us.
Anything else you would like to say or comment on?
Nora, this is the most I have shared in an interview to date! Rest assured that your book club now knows me better than most all other readers! Thanks so much for your interest.
Many blessings your way!!!
THANKS LINORE!! REMEMBER if you are ever in Atlanta, we have to do lunch, and book club of course! You are such a great sport. I'm sure that we will see each other in person my friend - Lord willing. I know it will be more exciting than cyberspace. Ha! (You do have my sisters first name after all! Not Kidding)
WIN A COPY OF LINORE'S BOOK!
Simply read the interview and leave a comment about something Linore said. One commenter will get a free copy of Before the Season Ends.PLUS,if you've already read this book and want to leave a comment, you can win a free copy of the sequel, The House in Grosvenor Square. (Just mention which book you want to win if you prefer the sequel.It isn't out yet, but Linore will keep your information and send you your book when it's available.) But do tell your friends and family about the giveaway! We need a minimum of ten unique comments to draw a winner!
So, comment away, and good providence to you! Drawing is December 14th. I will post in the comments who the winner is:D
Posted by Nora StLaurent at 5:44 PM
How did you start out your writing career? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
I remember the day I got my very first book from the library at about age 5 or 6. I thought books were God's greatest gift to the world. At a later date, it occurred to me that the names on these books were names of real PEOPLE. (Formerly, they were names of super-human creatures; surely someone whose name appeared on a book had to be a special order of being!) At that young age, I didn't dare aspire to be a writer; but I knew it had to be the most sublime experience in the world.
How did you get the idea for "Before the Season Ends". Did you come up with this title? If not what was your working title?
Before the Season Ends was the book I wanted to read for years, and had been waiting for someone else to write—but it never happened. I wanted to read a Christian Regency romance—not just a pleasant read, but fun with a message. It's sort of like wanting a box of filled chocolates with surprises in each bite rather than a square of the unsweetened sort. Yes, this is candy and you'll enjoy it, but there's more to it than that; there's hope and love and a deeper reason for being alive than we ever suspected.
How did you come up with the idea for the book – to write about this time period? What research did you do to gather all the fascinating rules and manners of high society. Also of how the upper and lower class interact?
Being a fan of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, I wouldn't say I came up with the idea of writing a regency—I just fell in love with it, is more accurate! Starting with general books like, “What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew,” I just kept reading and digging out information in my local library (a task which is far easier today, with the internet. You can pretty much research exhaustively now without leaving your home).
Did you come up with the title of this book? If not what was the working title? How did you come up with that?
Before the Season Ends pivots around the social season in London of that time, which does come to an end each year; so the element of needing to solve the problems which are keeping the hero and heroine apart before that happens, is important. It's a suspense element. I did have a goal of not using a typical regency title, (The Duke's Dilemma, etc.--I hope there is no book by this title out there!) because my book is different, and I wanted that to be clear from the get-go.
I've read that you have 5 children and you home school them. When did you have time to write a book and home school your kids?
LINORE CUTTING UP WITH HER DAUGHTERS IN CHURCH BASEMENT
LINORE'S BOYS ALL GROWN UP
NEWEST ADDITION TO FAMILY - GRACE WITH LOVING DAD
GRACE ON THE RUN AT CHRISTMAS (Grace is now Kindergareten age)
I wrote the book at night after they'd gone to bed, and on the occasional Saturday by hiding in a little study in our basement, at that time. I grew up in a large family with eight children so I have never needed absolute silence to concentrate, and that has been a big plus! Nowadays, I have two in college (one commutes from home), and I homeschool a great deal less than in the past. This year I am homeschooling my kindergartner—a joy—and my high schooler will be doing an online curriculum, which takes just a little bit of my time. My sixth grader is in Christian school. (You have to be flexible and go with the needs of each child.)
Is being an author everything you thought it would be? If not, what has been surprising to you?
I think I've always put authors, at least the many wonderful ones that I've loved, up on a sort of pedestal—ever since way back when I held that first library book. They just couldn't be ordinary people; they had to be extraordinarily different from you and me. Now that I'm an author I see it's been a myth of my own invention. Authors are generally people of strong conviction and drive—they've got a book they need to write and they do it. But otherwise, we still do dishes and tend sick children, and cook dinner for our families. We're just people, but we want to use the gift God has given us to share the message he puts in our hearts.
It says on the back cover that you couldn't find a book like this on book shelves so you decided to write one yourself? What kind of book were you looking for that you couldn't find? What made you write about this subject?
I loved the regency, but I wanted to share the message of hope and peace that God has for every person. Before the Season Ends has a strong-minded heroine whose faith in her God is central to the story. Through her, the reader can learn that God forgives any sin, that His help is available at all times, and at no cost—he's only a prayer away. Many people think they have to get themselves in shape to “qualify” for God's help, when in fact God alone can get us in shape—all we need do is turn to him with a sincere heart.
Can you tell me of two "Wow" moments you have had on your journey to being published and now afterwards? What made it a "Wow" moment for you?
The first time I wrote “The End” was a “Wow” moment, for sure. (You never know if you're really going to be able to fully tell a story until you do it.) And the day I held my very own book in my hands for the first time was another.
How do you come up with names for your characters? Is that a difficult process for you?
It can be. I try to keep a log of names I like. Having a baby name book around helps, too. Sometimes I see two names I like, and then I'll take the first name from one and the last name from another and combine them, maybe change a syllable, and then I've got my character's name.
What are you working on now? Can you tell us something about it?
I've just finished, The House in Grosvenor Square, which is a sequel to Before the Season Ends. Both books can stand alone, but of course you'll enjoy “Grosvenor Square” even more if you read BTSE first. “Grosvenor Square” has more plot threads and surprising happenings than the first book, and, I hope, the same level of fun and Regency atmosphere as the first—with a good twist of faith, of course. Lots of return characters, too.
What was your favorite book as a child? Why?
Oh, dear. To name just one seems impossible, but here's a few standouts:
The Yearling, The Little House books, (which I stumbled upon by accident during my quest to read every book in the children's department. I had to abandon that goal after I read about three long boring books in a row—a great disappointment. But I did find Laura Ingalls Wilder that way!) Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, The Boy Who Had the Power, Emmy Keeps A Promise, and, My Side of the Mountain. Also, The Velvet Room, and Harriet the Spy. Each of these books were compelling and wonderful in their own way, and I read them all more than once.
Some writers plot out their stories, others say they write by the seat-of- their pants? What kind of writer are you and why?
I'm definitely more of a seat-of-the-pants writer, but I'm striving to be more of a plotter. With Grosvenor Square, I used an outline method that doesn't come naturally to me, but it did shorten the writing time by quite a lot, and I think I'll always use this method for now on. It doesn't mean I don't do any impulsive twists or turns with my plot—this is what writing is all about. But it did help me think harder sooner than I might have done without the outline.
Could you please share some of your Testimony with us?
I became a Christian in my late teens, and grew slowly in the faith at first. But God has been wonderful and faithful. He took the mess I was and made my life truly beautiful. My family, my education, my writing, my whole world today, is one great big gift from Him.
That hymn, “Something Beautiful, Something Good,” could be my theme song.
What was the scariest moment you have had as a writer?
Thinking that my whole plot was flat, boring or stupid. It's also quite scary in the beginning when you first allow other people to read your work—what will they think? When you start to hear enough people say, “I loved it!” it helps immensely.
What was your happiest moment as a writer?
As wonderful as it is to find that people love my book, I actually think my happiest moment is yet to come. (Having Harvest House want to publish me was happy, but even this won't compare.) When I hear someone say that they turned to God, or grew in their faith, or said they found the courage to say a simple sinner's prayer because of my work, then I'll be supremely happy.
CHECK OUT GIVE AWAY - READ PART#2 of LINORE'S INTERVIEW AND LEAVE A COMMENT FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF HER BOOK.
You won't want to miss it or her new book. It's really a great story. This book would make a great movie!! That's my opinion! :D
Posted by Nora StLaurent at 1:32 PM