BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

BETH WHITE UP-CLOSE and PERSONAL PLUS CREOLE PRINCES GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY






ABOUT BOOK: Torn between loyalties to family and flag, one young woman is about to discover that her most important allegiance is to her heart.

It is 1776, and all along the eastern seaboard the American struggle for independence rages. But in the British-held southern port of Mobile, Alabama, the conflict brewing is much quieter--though no less deadly. 

Lyse Lanier may be largely French in heritage, but she spends most of her time in the company of the ebullient daughter of the British commander of Mobile. When a charming young Spanish merchant docks in town, Lyse is immediately struck by his easy wit and flair for the dramatic. But is he truly who he makes himself out to be? Spies abound, and Spain has yet to choose a side in the American conflict. Is Lyse simply an easy mark for Rafael Gonzalez to exploit? Or are his overtures of love as genuine as Spanish gold?

With spectacular detail that brings the cultural gumbo of the Colonial Gulf Coast alive, Beth White invites you to step into a world of intrigue and espionage from a little-known slice of the American Revolutionary War.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Beth White is the award-winning author of The Pelican Bride. A native Mississippian, she teaches music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. Her novels have won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Carol Award, the RT Book Club Reviewers’ Choice Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. Learn more at www.bethwhite.net

“Duplicity, danger, political intrigue, and adventure.”—Booklist on The Pelican Bride

“New France comes alive thanks to intricate detail.”—Publishers Weekly review of The Pelican Bride

“The brutal New World [is] captured with distinct detail in this fast-paced romantic adventure.”—RT Book Reviews on The Pelican Bride
  
How did you come up with the idea for The Creole Princess?

I conceived the Gulf Coast Chronicles as a series similar to Elswyth Thane’s classic Williamsburg series—which was written and published in the 1940’s and ‘50’s, but which still holds up as wonderful romantic historical adventure—but set on the Gulf Coast. The idea was to take a couple of central families and build a sort of epic dynastic tale which would touch on major historic events. Book 1, The Pelican Bride, launched the series with the establishment of the Lanier family and the city of Mobile, Louisiana Territory, during the French Colonial period (1704).

The Creole Princess, Book 2 of the series, skips a couple of generations and places the reader in Mobile at the outbreak of the American Revolution. Events in Mobile (held by the British) and New Orleans (held by the Spanish) helped dictate what happened to my characters. But I had to decide which events to focus on, so I did a lot of preliminary reading and learned some surprising facts that aren’t generally taught in American history classes.

For instance, it isn’t generally known that the British actually had fifteen colonies; besides the thirteen that broke away and formed the United States, they also held East and West Florida, which remained loyal until the Spanish wrested them away near the end of the war. Also, documents are just now coming to light revealing Spain’s secret involvement in funding and supplying the Patriot cause—years before she actually joined France in military engagement on the American side.

Anyway, with those two central surprising facts in mind, I bounced around ideas with my son, Ryan, who turns out to have quite a good brain for developing story ideas and a great grasp of history. His contribution was a confiscated shipment of Spanish gold, which I loved! But character drives story for me, and in answering later questions I’ll explain more about how I developed the hero and heroine, Rafa and Lyse.

Nora: Interesting history. I liked the Spanish gold element in the story. Fun that your son can contribute to the story. Both of you helped me get a grasp on this time period. I was full engaged and adored your characters. Thanks for sharing the map too!

What was your favorite scene in The Creole Princess? Which was the most fun to write? Which was the hardest? Why?
Okay, sheepish confession here. I’m a romance fan from preteen years, so my favorite scene is the first kiss between Rafa and Lyse. I have gone back and read it multiple times, which is crazy since I wrote it! haha!

Nora: Fun! It was a precious moment! Loved it!

The scene that was the most fun to write was sort of in the middle of the book when I knew that Rafa would have to either ask Lyse to marry him and take her out of Mobile—or leave her there, vulnerable to prosecution as a traitor. When I began writing that scene, I honestly didn't know which way it was going to go (and I’m not going to provide a spoiler here). But as the dialogue unfolded, it took on a life of its own, Rafa was so perfectly “himself,” and I couldn't be happier with the story solution.

Nora: I like how you kept readers in suspense about his decision too!

The hardest scene to write was from the point of view of Lyse’s cousin Scarlet, a slave who is sold away from her husband and then finds herself pregnant with his child. Putting myself inside the skin and mind and heart of such a desperately sad person was emotionally grueling. It’s one of the darkest scenes in the book, so I had to find a way to lighten it with hope—and a delightful character named Blackberry came to life. I hope readers will like the scene as much as I do.

Nora: That scene about ripped my heart out. The events seemed unthinkable and crazy because it was legal. Slave owners didn't give it a second thought to what they were doing.

Can you give us a sneak peek into what you are working on now? When will it be out?

I’m working on the third book in the series. Set one generation after Creole Princess, during the War of 1812, it features a British naval officer with amnesia and the only daughter in an American ship-building family. The Battle of New Orleans and Andrew Jackson’s career-establishing heroics figure prominently in the second half of the book. But don’t worry—the romance stays front-and-center! It will be out in April 2016.

Nora: I’m looking forward to reading it Beth!

You state, “The history surrounding the American Revolution is complex, fascinating, and surprising – much too complicated to distill in a one-paragraph explanation.” What fascinating and/or surprising things did you discover in your research that did NOT make it in your book? Why didn’t you add it? What treasures did you share in your book?

One of my favorite discoveries about the Spanish alliance in the Patriot cause is a 550-mile cattle drive undertaken right around the time Spain declared war on England and entered into treaty with France. In order to feed two battalions of soldiers due to arrive on six transport ships from Havana, Spanish Louisiana Governor Bernardo de Gálvez ordered a group of vaqueros to escort 2000 longhorns from Béxar, Texas, to New Orleans during the summer of 1779.

My mind was totally blown, picturing that giant herd milling around the swamps and bayous of New Orleans—in the middle of a hurricane! Okay, I couldn’t resist sending my hero to be part of that assignment, though it happened “off-stage.” One day I may write the whole scenario into another story and let the Western adventure begin!

Nora: Wow! I look forward to your Western adventure!

I loved Lyse Lanier – she is feisty, hardworking, loyal, loving and passionate about her family. How did you create her? Is she based on anyone? What do you hope readers learn from her?

Lyse sort of appeared in my head full-blown. And, no, she isn’t really based on anyone I know—though some of my students I’ve taught in urban Mobile have faced the same kinds of challenges (messed-up parental units, dependent younger siblings, limited financial resources, etc.). There were some emotional and cultural things I wanted to explore with her—mixed racial heritage, mixed religious background, feelings of inferiority, survivor guilt…

So I gave her a disgraced alcoholic papa and a mother who was a beautiful freed slave. I gave her a beloved cousin who remains a slave. I had her fall in love with a wealthy young Spanish merchant who seems light-years above her socially—and deal with the hurt of his parents’ disapproval. I forced her to learn to make her own way and accept the generosity of others, but at the same time trust God’s goodness and justice.

My hope is that readers will identify with Lyse so closely that her hurts and worries and victories will bring them closer to God right along with her.

Nora: I identified with her very much. She had a lot to push through. I enjoyed reading how she found her way and learned to trust God. It was believable.

Don Rafa was so much fun. He was charming, inventive, clever and suave. How did you come up with his character? What do you hope readers take away and/or learn from Rafa?

Rafa is one of those characters who has become so real in my brain that I think of him at random moments and laugh. I’ve always wanted to write a Scarlet Pimpernel-type hero and finally got the chance (I don’t know how many times I’ve read that book, but “Sink me!” is to this day one of my favorite lines). So I kept telling myself, Make him seem stupid but make his actions brilliant—not an easy task. I hope I succeeded.

 Nora: YES, You Did!! Loved him. I haven’t read the book you talked about. Going to check it out. Sounds interesting and fun. (Kind of like your book!)

One thing I realized as Rafa did his thing was how vulnerable he really was underneath all that charisma. When you love someone, they are armed to hurt you, and it’s unbelievably difficult to keep putting yourself out there. I found his joking about Lyse throwing cake at him both funny and poignant. But my favorite thing about him was his standing up to his mother (as much as he loved and respected her) in defending Lyse. Men often don’t do that. And they should. 

Nora: I agree! 

You state that if the reader is a history geek they should check out “The American Crisis: Vol. 1 (1774-1779) writings of Thomas Paine.” When you read Thomas Paine’s collection of common sense essays; what did you think about it? Feel after you finished?











The common sense essays by Paine are amazing. I had read pieces of them in high school, and I've even quoted the famous “These are the times that try men’s souls” in a novella. But as I began to write The Creole Princess, I read the entire work all at one sitting. I’m not sure I can even articulate how it affected me. “Euphoric” sounds silly, even over-the-top, but I think that’s the closest I can come. 21st Century Americans take our freedom, our basic equality in our human-ness, so for granted—and I suddenly realized what a powerful, far-reaching impact Paine’s work must have had in waking people up, galvanizing them to forcefully claim that equality and freedom. The “American experiment” has been an astounding success, and I hope I never get over the joy and pride in being an American.

Nora: You talked about this in the book in the story. It was an eye opener.

What two jobs have you had that would surprise people? Do tell!

Dorm Room
I worked in a Fort Worth bank while my husband and I were in seminary, back in the early 80’s. Over the course of those four years, I did a stint in the motor bank, I worked in auto loan collections, I managed and balanced the ATM’s, and I served as the Customer Service supervisor. I like handling money. I like balancing a cash drawer. I like counting and making things come out even. It is the flip side of my creative brain, I guess.

The other weirdo job I had was being a Resident Assistant in my college dorm. Hey, I got a room to myself! And I got to tell people what to do (maybe that helped me become a teacher). It sure gave me some cultural education!

Nora: Getting to know another side of you Beth. Fun!

If you could have a day to yourself (money is not an issue) what would you do?
Artwork

When I have a day to myself, guilt-free (that means no deadlines hanging over my head), I take an art lesson and paint something. I grew up drawing with charcoal, mostly portraits of my friends and random children, then graduated to chalk pastels. I actually have earned some money with commissioned art. But last summer I took lessons in acrylic paints, and I’m in love! All those brilliant colors! Eeeee!!

Nora: LOL! That sounds freeing and fun! You are full of surprises! 

Name three things you’d rather not live without? (Besides your family it’s a given)

Art (see above). iTunes. Sudoku.









Is there something you’d like to try that you've always wanted to but haven’t so far? If so, what is it?
Beth conducting LeFlore Choir -Parent Appreciation Night Mobile
I’d really like to learn to play the oboe. One of my dearest friends was the oboist in our church orchestra, and I play flute, so we sat next to each other week after week for years, until she was killed in a car accident about eight years ago. So I’d kind of like to learn to play oboe in Tammy’s honor.

Nora: I’m sorry to hear that about your friend. It would be fun to learn in her honor!

Thanks for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your books. 

I’m thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity at TBCN starting TODAY APRIL 21st at GO TO www.bookfun.org Answer one of the authors questions to be entered..

Looking forward to it to reading the participation between you and readers! It’s always so much fun! Everyone has to be a member of TBCN in order to participate. It’s Free and easy. Participate as your schedule allows.

SEE YOU THERE!!

Looking forward to it to reading the participation between you and readers! It’s always so much fun! Everyone has to be a member of TBCN in order to participate. It’s Free and easy. Participate as your schedule allows.

Nora :o)

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com

The Book Club Network Blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com

2 comments:

  1. Trying again to enter. I don't know why my initial comments are not printed but anyways, I would so love to win this book as this year I developed a real love for historical fiction and this book sounds excellent. I love the cover too! thanks for the contest and I will keep hoping to win. Mary Lou K

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Mary Lou; Thanks for stopping by. This book is excellent. To enter you'll need to go to The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org I am show casing the author here. She is running the discussion at TBCN See you there!!

      Delete