Interview with Lisa Wingate & Surprise GIVEAWAY

Interview with Lisa Wingate & Surprise GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordSelected among Booklist’s Top 10 for two consecutive years, Lisa Wingate skillfully weaves lyrical writing and unforgettable settings with elements of traditional Southern storytelling, history, and mystery to create novels that Publisher’s Weekly calls “Masterful” and Library Journal refers to as “A good option for fans of Nicholas Sparks and Mary Alice Monroe.”

Lisa is a journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the author of twenty-five novels. She is a seven-time ACFW Carol Award nominee, a multiple Christy Award nominee, a two-time Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RT Booklovers Magazine Reviewer’s Choice Award Winner for mystery/suspense. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life. Booklist summed up her work by saying, “Lisa Wingate is, quite simply, a master storyteller.” More information about her novels can be found at


Savanna:  Welcome to the blog, Lisa. We’re so glad you could join us today. Congrats on your newest release, The Sea Keeper’s Daughters!

Lisa:  Thank you for having me! I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the opportunity to hang out on your online porch and chat with your friends awhile.

Savanna:  The Appalachian setting is a character of its own in this book. Why did you set the historical portion of the book there?

Interview with Lisa Wingate & Surprise GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordLisa:   Appalachia is a place where the air fairly whispers with stories. So much of the world has become too fast-paced these days, too busy for sitting and listening, too preoccupied with the future to devote effort to retelling the past. But in Appalachian culture, there’s still a reverence for it.

There are still storytellers who can entertain a crowd at a ramshackle café, on a back porch, or at the kitchen table over coffee. That tradition of the importance of story is at the heart of Alice’s journey as a Federal Writer in the historical portion of The Sea Keeper’s Daughters.

Appalachia is filled with mist and mystery. It lends mood to a story. The mountains are dotted with isolated communities where people can live differently, undisturbed by outsiders. It’s also the place where mysterious “little races” like the Melungeons lived historically, and in some cases still do. Even today, the heritage of “blue-eyed Indians” discovered in the Appalachians by the first English and French explorers remains a mystery. What were the origins of their Caucasian blood? Were they descendants of shipwrecked sailors? Journeying Norsemen or Turks? The progeny of the Lost Colonists who vanished from Roanoke Island without a trace, decades before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock? The mystery fascinated me, and it pulled the story from me, and yes, both Roanoke Island and the Blue Ridge Mountains became characters in themselves as the dual storylines developed.

Savanna:  Such a beautiful area! Just talking about it makes me want to visit again. 😉

What first inspired you to become a writer?

Interview with Lisa Wingate & Surprise GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordLisa:  A special first grade teacher, Mrs. Krackhardt, put the idea of being a real writer into my head. She found me writing a story one day at indoor recess, and she took the time to stop and read it. When she was finished, she tapped the pages on the desk to straighten them, looked at me over the top and said, “You are a wonderful writer!” That was a defining moment for me. In my mind, I was a writer. When your first grade teacher tells you that you can do something, you believe it.

I was only in her class for a few months before we moved again, but during that time, she left an indelible mark on my life. It’s funny how we have defining moments in our lives, and that time in Mrs. Krackhardt’s class was one of mine. For years, I couldn’t have told you what she looked like, or whether she was a young teacher or an old teacher, but I could have told you that she said I was a wonderful writer. When I left her class, she wrote on my report card, “Keep that pencil working with that wonderful imagination, Lisa!” and “I expect to see your name in a magazine one day.” I still have that report card, and I never forgot those words, or the way her confidence in me gave me confidence. Publishing is a difficult business, but I always believe I could do it, because my first grade teacher told me so.

Savanna:  How did you write 25 books in 14 years with a family to take care of?

Interview with Lisa Wingate & Surprise GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordLisa:  I’ve always loved to write, but I didn’t get serious about freelance writing and selling until after I’d graduated college, married, and started a family. I wrote and sold various smaller projects between naps, diapers, and playgroups. And when the boys were older, during soccer practices, in carpool lines, while helping with homework, and in all sorts of other situations.

People often ask me if I need quiet in order to write. With boys in the house, if I’d waited for quiet, the writing would never have happened. I learned to lose myself in a story amid the noise of life and I loved it that way.

I asked myself what makes a story last, what really makes a story worth telling and worth reading? I wanted to write books that meant something, that explore the human soul.

One day, I came across a notebook in which I’d written some of my grandmother’s stories. I’d never known quite what to do with those stories, but I knew they were significant in my life. When I rediscovered the notebook, I had the idea of combining my grandmother’s real stories with a fictional family who is like and unlike my own family. That little germ of an idea became my first women’s fiction novel, Tending Roses.

Now that the boys are grown and the house is quiet, I’m redefining the writing routine again. Just as in books, life is a series of scenes and sequels, beginnings and endings, and new discoveries.

Savanna:  What were your first writing efforts?

Interview with Lisa Wingate & Surprise GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordLisa:  My older brother was a good writer, and when you’re the youngest in the family, you want to do what the older kids do. When he won a school award for his poem, “The Bee Went Under the Sea,” I was so impressed by his literary brilliance (and the blue ribbon) that I immediately went to my bedroom and created my first book, The Story of a Dog Named Frisky. Frisky’s tale was cleverly illustrated and published on manila paper in multiple editions which sold very well in the grandparent market.

Savanna:  How cute! You’re never too young or too old to tell a story. 😉 How long does it typically take for you to write a book?

Lisa:  It takes about two or three months to complete a rough draft and about a month on the second pass. Then my beta readers take about two weeks editing and commenting. Cleaning up the rough draft may take from one to three weeks and then it’s ready for the editor. Usually the whole writing process takes about six months. Some stories are like Jiffy Pop and some stories are like a slow-boiling pot of gumbo.  However it goes, the actual writing is always a journey of discovery.

Savanna:  That’s great! Is there anything else you’d like to share with us? Any upcoming projects?

Interview with Lisa Wingate & Surprise GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordLisa:  My last few books have been dual time frame novels. The historical threads were based on real historical events. I love doing the research, finding little-known events and building on those. I imagine the people who were involved, what issues they may have faced, how they might have learned from their challenges.

I love having present day characters discover some historical mystery and telling a time-slip story allows the modern characters to learn life lessons from the past. I have at least one more book coming up along those lines. My lips are sealed at this point about the topic, title, and theme, but that book will be upcoming in hardcover from Ballantine in late 2016 or early 2017 and foreign rights have already been sold in several languages. I can’t wait for it to hit the shelves!

Savanna:  Thanks for being with us today, Lisa. I’m looking forward to your next stories. 🙂

Readers, for a sneak peak of Chapter 1 of The Sea Keeper’s Daughters, go here…


This week’s giveaway is going to be a bit different. It’s a surprise! I’ll be giving one lucky winner 2 Christian Fiction books, from my bookshelves to yours. 😉

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for entering! Contest is open only in the U.S. and ends October 27, 2015.  The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody!

61 comments on “Interview with Lisa Wingate & Surprise GIVEAWAY
  1. Tammy Cordery says:

    She has written so many great books. Thank you for the great giveaway. I love all her books.

  2. Lisa Wingate says:

    Thanks for having me! What a joy to visit your lovely corner of cyberspace and sit down for a chat about The Sea Keeper’s Daughters, writing and life.

    Blessings from here!


  3. Sonnetta Jones says:

    I love that someone inspired you to write. I am currently reading The Sea Keepers Daughter. I have been looking forward to this book since I read one of the quotes about living life. After my diagnosis of cancer I realized that I want the full life that God has promised me. I do not want to live in fear of what if but what can God do.

    Thank you so much for your inspirational stories.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Hi Sonnetta! Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I was blessed by your words. Praying the Lord strengthens and blesses you abundantly in the days ahead. Keep reading! 🙂

  4. Joanne Keith says:

    I want to read them all after reading the blog…The Sea Keepers Daughter is especially speaking to me! Thank you for the chance and thank you for writing them!!

  5. Melanie Backus says:

    Lisa is a fantastic writer and I love her dearly.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

  6. Brenda Murphree says:

    I have never been inspired to write because all I want to do is read. But I was inspired by my Pastors of all my growing up years. I had several because we moved several times. They inspired me to live my life for God the very best I can. Don’t do anything halfhearted. God wants our best!

  7. Bonnie Roof says:

    Thanks for this enjoyable interview, Lisa & Savanna. Lisa is one of my favorite authors, I love her beautiful writing and her amazing story lines. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how much I enjoy her daily pictures & comments from her cute puppy Huckleberry!!

    I don’t remember a lot of my childhood, but as with Lisa – I do remember a comment my 4th grade teacher made to my mother re: how smart she felt I was. Lisa’s writing is evidence of the significance of making positive comments to a child.

    Shared post!!

  8. I loved The Story Keeper. Looking forward to The Sea Keepers Daughters.

  9. Kathryn Voss says:

    My parents were my biggest inspiration, along with my 4th grade teacher. They taught me to love the Lord and love teaching children.

  10. Jeffrey A. Fogel says:

    Always love finding new Christian authors. I would love to have 2 books to start my collection

  11. Patty says:

    Looks like Lisa has quite a few books out there, but I’m not sure I have ever read any of them! I think I might have one on my Kindle, will have to pull it up soon.

  12. What a delightful interview. I’ve been wanting to learn more about Lisa and her books (two of her books are on my TBR list). Thanks Savanna for a great interview. I also have a teacher that inspires me to enjoy reading and imagine! She was my middle school teacher, and she introduced me to my fave novel, Pride & Prejudice. Sadly, I found out that she passed away a couple of years ago. I will always remember her.

  13. Laurie Bergh says:

    It was interesting to see how you research things first before you write to be factual. I also liked your telling of the first story that you wrote that was cute.

  14. Laurie Bergh says:

    I enjoyed reading the interview, It was interesting to learn more about you and I’m impressed that you could write in a busy household with all the other things you had going on when your kids were small. And I’m glad your first grade teacher encouraged you and you remembered it .

  15. kim amundsen says:

    Nice interview. I’m a fan of her books and of Huckleberry.

  16. carylkane says:

    Hey Savanna! Thanks for having Lisa on the blog. Lisa, I love your statement: “I learned to lose myself in a story amid the noise of life and I loved it that way.” It has encouraged me to look differently at the “noise of life”. 🙂

  17. Melody Durant says:

    Those who inspired me were my mom, my county 4-H agent and my S.S. teacher. I rolled myself all up into one – a Home Economics major that became a county 4-H agent and now I’m a missionary to Mexico and Nicaragua!

  18. MS Barb says:

    My paternal grandmother inspired me as a child! She paid for my piano lessons, then bribed me w/ books to practice! (I still have some of the books, & I’m in my 60’s) Yes, the piano lessons were worth it–I play at my church!

  19. DKStevens says:

    I have The Sea Keepers Daughter in my TBR stack and I really enjoy The Story Keeper. Would love to read more of her books 🙂
    dkstevensne AToutlookDot com

  20. Linda Romer says:

    I would say my Sister-in-law left a good impression on me as a young child. She took me to Church and Sunday School, gave me my love for books and was loving, kind and often there for me when my mom was not.

  21. Pam K. says:

    I’ve read several of Lisa’s books and always enjoy them. My book club read and discussed The Prayer Box.

  22. Donna B says:

    I had several teachers that were inspirations to me. I love to read and would love to be surprised by winning! Thanks for a great interview and giveaway.

  23. Melissa Romine says:

    I have not yet read any of Lisa’s books, but I would like to read them.

    My mom inspired me as a child. She always encouraged me to do my best and never made me feel like I just couldn’t do something that I had undertaken. Plus she read to me all the time!

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Sounds like a wonderful mom! Of course, I’m partial to mine. 😉 It’s such a blessing to have their love and support, isn’t it? Thanks for joining us today, Melissa!

  24. Trixi O. says:

    Hi Lisa!! Now this is just too funny-ironic-funny that Savanna is featuring you on her blog today 🙂 I “accidentally” discovered your book “The Story Keeper” in my local library about 2 weeks ago. It was on the 7 day loan shelf (what I call the new releases) & when I saw your name on it, I decided to borrow it. Since I’ve read such great things about your writing & saw “The Sea Keepers Daughter” on a few other blogs, I thought to myself it must be something good! OH.MY.WORD….your writing blew me away!! I can’t even describe how good it was, your penchant for words, intertwining history & dialog, skipping from past events to the present ones & back again….ALL of it, every…single…page chock full of good stuff!! I found myself not being able to put it down and staying up way late into the night to read “just one more chapter” (haha, you know how well that works). My heart was pounding right along with Jenn’s as she reads the story, losing herself in it! Wow….wow…wow…..I must read more by you. You have a wonderful God-given talent that is such a blessing to this reader 🙂
    Wonderful author interview! I don’t know when the last time was that I read a more compelling one…and I’ve read my share too! I’m so glad your first grade teacher encouraged your love for writing. I wonder, did you ever get a chance to tell her that you became a published writer & that she helped you achieve that goal? I think that would have been the neatest thing! I am definitely going to be checking more of your books out in my library and scouring used book stores for more titles. Can’t get enough 🙂 And I learned some very interesting things, like I never knew about the Melungeons, even googling the name is unclear in their origins. But it was a fascinating piece of history for me to read! It lead me into my own mini research project 🙂
    Savanna, wonderful post yet again. I think you outdo yourself every time with these authors! Such a blessing you are & I thank you for the chance to win some of your books. You have great reading taste so I have no doubt you got some goodies for some blessed winner :-)And to know you read them & held them in your own hands is quite a dizzying thought…haha! It’s like meeting a famous celebrity and them shaking your hand or something *grins* Thank you both for a very insightful author interview & blessings!

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed our interview, Trixi! If anyone wasn’t familiar with Lisa’s stories before now, your awesome review would convince them! 😀 Loved hearing your thoughts on her books. Hope you keep finding great reads at your library. 😉

      I actually laughed out loud when I read your comments. 🙂 I’m not a celebrity by any means! 🙂 But I’m thrilled to share my books with you. Here’s hoping for a win!!

  25. Joan Arning says:

    This shows the value of an encouraging teacher even in first grade!

  26. Brenda Arrington says:

    Love Lisa’s books. I’m sure to enjoy this one. Please enter me in your giveaway and I hope I win.

  27. Lisa’s books have been on my TBR list for a while now. It is fun to see a post with her. Thanks for the giveaway too! 🙂

  28. Heather Olsen says:

    My 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Christianson was an inspiration to me in how to live a godly life.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      That’s wonderful, Heather. It’s hard to forget your teachers when you were young. Of course, I was homeschooled so it was impossible to forget my Mom. 😉

  29. Amanda says:

    Fun giveaway! I like surprises and I like reading… 🙂 🙂

  30. KayM says:

    As an older child/teen, I was inspired by my aunt. I really admired the way she always made the best of things, even though she had a rather difficult life.

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