Lilly Maytree is in Alaska today...

Lilly Maytree is in Alaska, today...looking for adventure and divine appointments. Want to follow along? Enter her ARMCHAIR TRAVELERS PORTAL


The Next Big Thing...

I was blog tagged by Lynn C. Willis, last week (thank you, Lynn) and invited to participate in The Next Big Thing! So, here we go, dear readers, with some answers that pertain to my own soon-to-be-released novel...
Another inspirational adventure from Pelican Book Group...

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Hmm... I am from a previous generation, and (to tell you the truth) haven’t been to a movie theater in several years. So, I’m unfamiliar with most of the latest stars. However, my editor recently mentioned her choice of  Matthew McConaughey, so I would probably add Sandra Bullock. Then, again, I’d much prefer readers to “choose their own.”

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

The confession of a dying Nazi war criminal sends journalist, Dee Parker on the treasure hunt of a life-time… oblivious to the fact that the CIA has been watching the case for years.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 

First draft, about a year.  Many rewrites interspersed over several more. Final draft after I discovered the definition of a Christian worldview (thank you, Chip MacGregor)... six months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre

Having thought I came up with the “inspirational adventure” genre all by myself, I wouldn’t know. But if there are others out there, please pipe up, as I would love to read them!

Who or What inspired you to write this book? 

This book has been bubbling and simmering at the back of my brain for many years. The idea came to me one night as I was following an errant cat down onto some fishing docks in the Pacific Northwest, and stumbled onto an old relic of a sailing vessel that was rumored to have been chartered by the notorious Hermann Goering during WWII.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? 

Many of us are working at dream jobs that turned out not to be so dreamy. So, I was wondering how many would take a chance on treasure hunting if we suddenly got a hot lead no one else had ever heard about. Which is what I happen to be doing myself, in real life, at this very moment... if I were going to be perfectly honest about it.

Well, there you have it. Thanks so much for dropping by for this little “game of tag” dear readers, and I hope you’ll keep your eye out for THE PANDORA BOX when it hits the shelves. Meanwhile, I'm going to pass the baton to five of my own favorite authors, and hope you will join me in seeing what they have lined up next for their readers, too. I know I can't wait to find out!


A Titanic Event...

Hello, dear readers… today I have the pleasure of visiting with Janice Thompson, on this very special day when her wonderful new book, QUEEN OF THE WAVES, is released from Summerside Press, in the new American Tapestries Series. Welcome, Janice, I'm glad you could stop by.

Thank you, Lilly, it's good to be here.

Well, considering your'e best-known for your "Love, laughter, and happily ever afters," how did you come to write about such a serious subject as the sinking of the Titanic?

Well, my agent asked me to put together a story idea focused on the Titanic. Since he caught me on my way home from the theater, where I direct musicals, I quipped: "Only if I can throw in a song and dance number involving an iceberg!" He laughed and responded with, "No, we have to play this one straight."

At first, I wasn't sure if I could come up with a serious plot line, but twenty-four hours later, I had the story idea and the first chapter. My editors at Summersside (Rachel Meisel and Susan Downs) read the idea and loved it. When they saw me at the ACFW conference, I got the news that they were going to publish it, and I was especially thrilled to hear that my book would be among the first to release in the new line. What a privilege!

It certainly is. Congratulations! I understand this year marked the 100th anniversary of the Titanic. Why do you think we're still so fascinated with the so-called "unsinkable" ship after all this time?

You know, Lilly, I would imagine that people five hundred years from now will still be interested. It's such a tragic story, and one that affected thousands of people. Meeting Cathy Peeling (whose great-uncle was the captain of the Titanic) really put this in perspective for me. Her uncle passed away that night. This completely changed the make-up of her family. And she's just one person out of thousands. 

Generations of people were affected by this tragedy. And so many feel a connection. Ship builders. Dress designers. Modern-day cruisers. The rich. The poor. The dreamers. Those who long to travel. We can all envision ourselves aboard Titanic on that fateful journey. Perhaps the greatest lesson to be learned from it is this: We cannot put our trust and confidence in man-made things; only in the Lord.

That is so true, Janice, and something I think is just as pertinent for us today as it was a hundred years ago, too. Isn't it odd, though, that for such a tragic moment in history, so many stories are told of finding love on the Titanic? What do you think makes it so romantic?

I think it's the "unknown variable" that makes it all so interesting. It's the fact that we can only speculate. Who were those people? What were they feeling? What were their hopes and dreams? What were they feeling before the ship set sail? After? How strongly did they feel it? Who did they feel it with? These are the questions that motivate us. 

As I sat to write this story, I envisioned people from every walk of life, all converged in one small world for a brief moment in history. Together, in that place, emotions surely ran the whole gamut (from exhilaration, to distress, and grief). Placing a love story in the middle of all of that emotion just seems to make sense.  

It definitely adds to the appeal, that's for sure. But what a writing change for you! Especially since historically accurate novels take a lot of research. How much time and effort did you actually put into that?

Oh, my goodness! Talk about a lot of work. Not only did I spend months researching Titanic's story (reading every available book and watching every conceivable documentary), I also drove from Houston to Branson, Missouri, to the Titanic Museum. Talk about an eye opener! The exhibit covers everything you could imagine, and includes all sorts of artifacts from the ship. 

When you write about an event such as this, particularly one that has been so well documented in movies and books, you need to get your facts right. Even the "little" things (like, how long did it take to load everyone onto the ship) can bog the writer down. Dozens and dozens of times, I would stop writing just to look something up. And don't even get me started on the clothing and hats! I created a board on Pinterest to study 1910 fashion!

That's amazing. Is there a spiritual thread that runs through the story? Some message that you hope readers will come away with?

Absolutely. Several of my characters (primarily Tessa) face their own destiny. They come to grips with the brevity (and value) of life. They see first-hand what's truly important, and what isn't. In my story, Tessa learns that her picture of God has been skewed (since childhood). She discovers a relationship with Him while aboard the ship, but that relationship is tested the night the ship goes down.

Well, it sounds like a marvelous story, and I can't wait to read it. It's been a pleasure having you stop by to talk with me about it, and you can bet I'll be posting a review over on Lilly's Book Club page as soon as I finish. 

Thank you, Lilly. I always love hearing from readers, but as you can imagine, I'm especially interested in hearing how they like QUEEN OF THE WAVES, because it was a real change of pace for me. 

I'm headed out to get my copy, now. Meanwhile, here's a bit about the book, and a link to your website where people can find out more about you and your other wonderful books...

When pampered Jacqueline Abington secretly elopes with the family gardener, she asks another woman to take her place on the much-anticipated maiden voyage of the Titanic.Tessa Bowen hails from a poor corner of London but has been granted the opportunity of a lifetime—a ticket to sail to America aboard a famed vessel. But there’s a catch; she must assume Jacqueline’s identity. For the first time in her life, Tessa stays in luxurious quarters, dresses in elegant gowns, and dines with prestigious people. Then a wealthy American man takes an interest in her, and Tessa struggles to keep up the ruse as she begins falling for him. When tragedy strikes, the game is up, and two women’s lives are forever changed.