Monday, July 14, 2014

Author Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: Meg Moseley


Today I am delighted to welcome Meg Moseley, who has become one of my favorite authors. Meg's stories capture the essence of the South and there's almost a magical quality to her writing, especially when she sets her story in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southern Appalachia. Meg also has a sincere love for the southern area she writes about, and that's something to which I can totally relate!

As we get to know a little about Meg today, she'll tell us about her current release, A Stillness of Chimes (reviewed here) - a book that I highly recommend. The title itself is compelling and sets a mood, an atmosphere, almost foreshadowing with these words:  "There was no sound but the wind in the trees and the chimes. Then the wind stilled. Everything was hushed, as if the whole world waited for something to happen."

Meg is graciously sharing a copy of A Stillness of Chimes with one of you, details at the end of this post. Now enjoy hearing from Meg . . .


Q:  Meg, tell us a little about yourself and your writing.

As long as I can remember, I have been addicted to books. I especially love good contemporary fiction. Although I didn’t get serious about writing until I was in my forties, now I can’t imagine stopping. As my family knows all too well, I get cranky if I’m away from my computer too long. I’m a coffee drinker, a cat person who loves other people’s dogs, and a wife, mom, and grandmother.


Q:  After reading your books, I find it hard to believe that you're a "California girl" at heart and haven't lived in the south all your life. What draws you to write about the south, particularly Southern Appalachia, an area to which I am drawn?

I’ve spent almost a third of my life near Atlanta now, and it’s just a short drive to the mountains. Many of my ancestors were southerners, including a great-grandmother who was born in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, eighty miles from where I live, so there’s that connection, too. But the biggest draw for me is the way the history, culture, and language of the South create an atmosphere that’s ripe with stories to be told.


Q:  Describe a "perfect trip" on the back of your husband's motorcycle.

A ride in the mountains always recharges my imagination. My favorite time for a ride is in the fall when the leaves are changing. We would start early and be in the mountains in less than an hour. We might ride alongside the Chestatee River for a while, stop for lunch in some little mountain town, and maybe do some window shopping. We might explore some roads we never noticed before and we might even get lost, but we would be home by suppertime and my head would be full of new ideas for the next day of writing.


Q:  Tell us about the novel we are featuring today, A Stillness of Chimes.

This story is near and dear to my heart for a number of reasons, including the way the main character sprang into my imagination years ago with an early version of these opening lines:

Laura Gantt didn’t believe in ghosts, but sometimes she wondered if living across from a graveyard had warped her. Part Irish, all southern, descended from moonshiners and holy rollers, she’d always believed in things she couldn’t see.

Here’s a brief summary of the story:

When her mother dies suddenly, Laura Gantt returns home to rumors that several people think they’ve seen her father Elliott, who has been dead for many years. As Laura’s former beau, Sean, helps her uncover the truth, the secrets seem as vast as the mountains surrounding her Georgia childhood home.


Q:  Describe A Stillness of Chimes in five adjectives.

Oh, no! I never know how to describe my own books. I’ll cheat and swipe some flattering words from a few reviews and endorsements: atmospheric, southern, melodic, magical, compelling.


Q:  I love how your story takes on the issue of PTSD through the character of Elliott Gantt, Laura's father. How did this theme come about and have you received any feedback from readers who were touched by Elliott?

During the Vietnam era, military personnel often received more abuse than honor when they came home, and the ones who experienced PTSD were especially misunderstood and maligned. When I first imagined Elliott, I pictured him as a gentle musician whose soul never healed from the trauma of war. A number of readers have told me that his story helped them make peace with their own losses, but the response that means the most to me came from a friend who served in Vietnam; he told me I nailed it.


Q:  Music has always been important in Appalachia, and you’ve incorporated several kinds in the story. How did you decide which forms of music to include, and do any of the story’s musical elements have special meaning?

Bluegrass came up naturally, given the story’s setting. Laura’s former beau, Sean Halloran, follows in her father’s footsteps as a folk musician and luthier, and the lyrics of a few old folk songs suited the plot perfectly. Because church music is part of the fabric of life in the Appalachians, I also alluded to several hymns with lyrics that hint at the story’s themes. The wind chimes are my special favorite, though. Instead of being played by human hands, they’re played only by the wind, which can symbolize the Holy Spirit.


Q:  You did a great job at infusing spiritual themes in a subtle way, Meg. Why this style, and how do you hope readers will be inspired by reading this story?

Thank you, Carole. I don’t think preaching belongs in a novel. I trust my readers to understand that the spiritual themes are the backbone of the story, not the skin, so they’re not obvious at first glance. I hope A Stillness of Chimes will inspire my readers to see that even the most damaged souls among us can be beautiful reflections of divine love and sacrifice.


Q:  Why is writing important to you; how is it part of your life?

I’m not a natural-born plotter, but maybe that’s a blessing. Because I can’t just whip up a story in a hurry, I spend months getting to know my characters and their issues. Sometimes I feel as if I’m making no progress, but really I’m sorting out my own questions as well as my characters’ questions. In that sense, writing isn’t just part of my life; it helps me make sense of life.


Q:  What story or writing project are you working on now?

I’m muddling my way through a zillion different ideas that are just starting to come together in a viable plot. If I could tell you more than that, I would!


Q:  How can we support, encourage, or pray for you?

That is such a kind question. Please pray that I will be true to the calling that God has given me, and that I will find the stories that I’m meant to write. My biggest encouragement comes from interacting with my readers, who can reach me at megmoseley.com@gmail.com or through the contact form on my website, megmoseley.com. I’m always happy to meet with book groups, either in person or via Skype.

Thank you, Carole, for giving me this opportunity to visit with you and your readers. I appreciate you!

____________________


I am so glad to share Meg's writing with all of our readers! Her two previous books were wonderful as well, and here are the links to their reviews:

Review:  When Sparrows Fall
Review:  Gone South

Meg, I think I speak for all of us when I say how much we've enjoyed having you with us. I pray that God will continue to inspire you with the stories He wants you to write, and please know that you will receive a warm welcome here when you're ready to visit again.


GIVEAWAY

To enter the drawing for A Stillness of Chimes, simply answer ONE of the following questions and leave your e-mail in a safe format. If you're willing, it's also helpful to share about this giveaway on Facebook.

1) Have you ever visited the Appalachian Mountains? If so, did anything about the area especially appeal to you?

2) If you're familiar with any of the classic hymns, name a favorite or two.

Please "like" my Facebook page, ThePowerofWordsBookReviews, if you haven't already. And new followers of this blog are always welcome!

  • Contest ends at midnight PST on Sunday, July 20. No purchase necessary.
  • Winner will be chosen by Random.org and contacted by e-mail by Tuesday, July 22. Respond within 48 hours of notification or another winner will be chosen.
  • Eligibility: U.S. and Canadian addresses, 18 or older

50 comments:

  1. I read Gone South, and I would love to read Mrs. Moseley ' s new novel. I also live in Georgia, and the North Georgia Mountains are one of my favorite vacation spots. I get my love for the mountains from my mother. When I was a little girl and my parents were still married, we went to the mountains every year for summer vacation. We would visit Cherokee, North Carolina and Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
    donvelma@gmail.com

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    1. Velma, another Georgia girl! I live just south of Atlanta and had almost the same experiences as you while growing up - except that we alternated summer vacations between the mountains and Gulf Coast area. Loved the NC and TN areas you mentioned! We used to stay at Fontana Village in NC and visit the surrounding area. Did you ever see "Unto These Hills" in Cherokee?

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    2. No, but I would love to see it. I haven't been there in years, but I hope to go back someday.

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  2. Hi Carole, thanks so much for the very interesting interview with Meg. I certainly enjoyed it and as you know, I have liked, shared, twitted, pinterested, and followed everything that I can so that is covered!! Now for the question of Megs about the Appalachian Mts, I just want to say that I live in WEST VIRGINIA , the only state that lies completely within the Appalachian Mountain region!!!! We also have a higher elevation than any state in the east, at 1,654 ft. Elevations range from 4,862' at Spruce Knob to 240' at Harper's Ferry AND our State is beautiful and I would love to welcome both you lovely ladies to visit out State some time!

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    1. Rats, I've never been to West Virginia, but I've seen pictures and it is beautiful - thanks for the invitation! Some of my best friends in Bible college were from the Bluefield. And my sister-in-law's husband preached at a church in WV before he passed away last year. Their mailing address is Romney, but I'm not sure if that's the actual town where he preached.

      I got your e-mail from your second comment. Thanks, Rats!

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    2. Rats, I've been to WV many times and we always stayed in Harper's Ferry at a friend of my Mother's. I believe it was called the Hilltop House (?). You've brought back wonderful memories for me.

      Denise Glisson (FL)

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  3. 1.I have never been to the Appalachian Mountains, but they sound beautiful.
    2. My favorite hymn, because it reminds me of my Daddy, is The Old Rugged Cross. It was one of his favorites and I remember him singing it after he couldn't hear very well and had stopped singing.
    susanmsj at msn dot com

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    1. Susan, a lot of my treasured family memories revolve around hymn singing also. Words so moving and meaningful that your Dad couldn't help but sing! Thank you for sharing, Susan.

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  4. I was immediately attracted to this book by cover alone, and now that I've read more about it through your wonderful interview, I'm determined to read it! My favorite vacations have been the ones my parents and I took to the Pocono Mountains. The Appalachian area has always appealed to me, and it's so gorgeous! I play the fiddle, and my mom plays the dulcimer, both of which are Appalachian instruments, so I feel very connected to that region! :-) I would love to win a copy of "A Stillness of Chimes"! Thank you for this wonderful post and for the giveaway!

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    1. litteraegaudium(at)aol(dot)com

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    2. Sarah, I think you will absolutely love Meg's book! My family came from the Appalachian region, it's the historical Appalachia that gets to me - going back to my love for Catherine Marshall's novel, Christy.

      And music is such a big part of that heritage! I didn't know you play the fiddle; love to hear the dulcimer also. There's just something special about mountain music!

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  5. I grew up in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, so I am very familiar with the Appalachian Mountains; their hiking trails and water falls. My father and I used to hike up ridges to find fire stations; they are like lighthouses on land. This sounds like a very interesting book. rmaney(at)firstarpchurch(dot) org

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    1. Rebecca, while my daughter was attending a seminary in eastern TN, we always drove through Asheville. Such a beautiful area! Once we stayed at a B&B and followed some "easy" trails. Love your thought about the fire stations being like lighthouses on land.

      You had a duplicate post that I deleted. Thanks for visiting, Rebecca.

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  6. My favorite hymn is Great is Thy Faithfulness. I love the richness and truth!!!

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    1. Beautiful choice, Kate! I've been a church pianist for almost 50 years and have to say that I miss singing hymns like that today.

      Be sure to leave your e-mail for the drawing, Kate. Thanks for visiting today.

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  7. I love that cover. And the title, you had it pegged exactly right. It's foreshadowing really draws you in and makes you wonder what's going to happen. Thanks for the fun! As for favorite old hymns, I absolutely love And Can It Be. There's quite a few more, I Know Whom I Have Believed, Wonderful Grace, Amazing Grace, The Old Rugged Cross, etc. I love them all, but a rousing rendition of And Can It Be always brings tears to my eyes. Same with It Is Well With My Soul. Those have to be my two most favorites.
    kjv1611as at gmail dot com

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    1. Amanda, I am totally with you on And Can It Be! I've always said that hymns teach theology, and there's nothing as moving as the powerful words in that hymn. Thank you for sharing.

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  8. The beauty and the grandeur of the mountains is breath taking. I am in awe every time I see them. I Know Who Holds Tomorrow and Precious Lord Take My Hand are two beautiful hymns that I dearly love.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. Melanie, you're taking me back in time with those two, which are still precious to me today. Precious Lord is one of my favorites to play on the piano.

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  9. I give up. I wrote three long comments and each time it crashed. Quickly- I live in Central APPLE-at-cha and love it. Here 11 years. This book looks fantastic and I'd love to win!

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    1. Kathryn, I understand crashes, but you'll have to share those long comments with me sometime. You will really be able to relate to Meg's setting because of the beautiful area you live in. Good to see my dear friend here!

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  10. I live very close to the Cumberland Plateau which is part of the Appalachian mountain chain but not sure what location the book is in. I love it here. We actually live in a small valley surrounded by mountains. Very beautiful! I don't know for sure if these are classics, but I love Beulah Land, In the Garden, and Rock of Ages, :-) Great interview Carole. Thank you for the giveaway Meg!

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    1. Amy, you hit on another of my favorites, Rock of Ages. I get emotional every time I play it, especially on the verse with these words: "While I draw this fleeting breath, when mine eyes shall close in death, when I soar to worlds unknown, see thee on thy judgment throne . . ."

      Thank you for being here, Amy.

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  11. One of my favorite old hymns, since I was a little girl, is In the Garden. It talks about Christ walking and talking with us in a garden. I've always loved flower gardens so this resonates with me.
    I've read Meg's previous books so am looking forward to reading A Stillness of Chimes. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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    1. Pam, I've always loved the way In the Garden makes intimacy with Christ seem so natural. Glad you enjoy Meg's books!

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  12. Hello Carole and Meg. I loved this interview. I have wanted Gone South so bad and tried hard to win it, but no luck. Can't afford to just buy books when I want them with my SS money.. I have never gotten to visit the Appalachians but wish I could. I'm sure would love them. Did live in Jackson Hole, WY. for 6 years. I loved looking at the beauty God had given us. the Teton Mountains were beautiful to see and could see them every day and the lakes. About the classic hymns, I have always loved "The Old Rugged Cross" and "In The Garden". Also "In The Sweet By and By".Have sang them so many times and can't sing them too many times. Would love to win this book. Maxie
    > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

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    1. Don't all these hymns richly bless us?! I hate that so many today are missing out on them. "Can't sing them too many times" - well said, Maxie!

      You were certainly blessed by living in Jackson Hole all those years! I've been moved and in awe of God's creation just by seeing pictures of the Tetons. Thanks for being here, Maxie.

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  13. There are so many classic "old" hymns that it is hard to choose just one. As our mother lay dying we girls sang "Amazing Grace" as she was escorted into Heaven.
    "On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand" was another one when my husband broke his neck and wasn't expected to live.
    In times of trouble the hymns speak to my soul more than any other music does.
    Janet E.
    von1janet(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. What moving thoughts and testimony of God's faithfulness, Janet! I think we all share in your last comment, "In times of trouble the hymns speak to my soul more than any other music does."

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  14. I can't help but answer both of these questions:
    1) I have been to the Appalachian Mountains and they are breathtaking!
    2)I have a number of favorites, but the ones that come to mind first are Be Thou My Vision and It Is Well With My Soul.

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    1. D. L., thanks for visiting! I love your blog and reviews, by the way. I got your e-mail address and deleted your second comment.

      Like you, I have several favorites. Be Thou My Vision has an almost haunting Celtic feel that I love.

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  15. Really enjoyed this interview! Favorite old hymn? Can I pick 10? ;-) One of my favorites is "Be Still My Soul," by Katharina A. von Schlegel.
    Please drop my name in the hat: aliciagraceroque (at) gmail (dot) com
    Thanks!

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    1. I'm with you on the number, Alicia! How can we only have one "favorite"? We sang "Be Still My Soul" at church when I was growing up. Beautiful words and melody; I miss singing it today.

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  16. I enjoy reading all kinds of books. I hope that I can win this book looks very interesting and I really would like to read it.

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    1. Laura, thank you for visiting today! Be sure to answer one of the questions and leave your e-mail address in order to be entered. Thanks!

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  17. I have been to the Appalachian mountains numerous times. (I live nearby) My favorite part is the view when you are on, or near the, top of one. God's beauty is magical.

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Meg's book. It looks like a great read.
    cindialtman(at)gmail(dot)com

    ~Cindi Altman

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    1. Cindi, you are right about the views from the top. I can hardly pass by those pull-off areas without stopping.

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  18. The Appalachian mountains are peaceful and magnificent. God's creation at his best! The wind in the trees sings it's own hymn.

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    1. Wufferhund, I love what you said about the wind in the trees. So right!

      I copied your e-mail and deleted your second comment. Thanks for being here.

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  19. Hey Carole, I too loved your interview and really cannot wait to read her books. Oh my I could have sat here and read all the comments but I would be here all day.I love the Appalachian Mountains and Cades Cove in TN....Just a wonderful place to talk w/God in all His beautiful handiwork. My Mama was born in Knoxville and every holiday about we were there. In the Winter time we'd stay w/friends in Knoxville then go on to Gatlinburg. I'm a FL girl myself and even tho my accent isn't very Southern it would change when I came home from college (Carson Newman College) and in between visits.

    I heard about your interview on "Avid Readers of Christian Fiction" on FB. Thanks for letting us all know! Denise Glisson

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    1. So glad you visited, Denise! I don't think I've been to Cades Cove, but I've seen lots of pictures. Just a beautiful area. And visiting Gatlinburg was always fun. Especially liked the shops, taffy, and riding the ski lift.

      I copied your e-mail and deleted the other post. Hope to see you again, Denise.

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  20. I was born 40 miles from Gatlinburg, TN so have made many trips into the Appalachian mtns both from TN and NC (my father's home). Peace best describes my feeling when in the mountains. msmlsu@bellsouth.net

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  21. Sounds like a wonderful book. joycejohnson1976@yahoo.com

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    1. Glad you dropped by, Joyce. Be sure to answer one of the questions in order to enter the drawing. Thanks!

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  22. I live in NC, so I love to visit the Appalachian Mountains as often as I can! I love reading about the area, too. This post made me curious and interested about your book. Hope to win.
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

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  23. Thank you for that wonderful interview, Meg and Carole!!

    I love the Appalachian Mountains and books about the area and it's people!! I love the beauty, music, crafts, and SO much more. Since I live in Ky. - the Appalachians cover a sizeable portion of my state and were instrumental in the settlement of it, I love reading about the hazards and trials endured during that period.

    "A Stillness of Chimes" is such a beautiful and interesting title for a book - I love books featuring dysfunctional relationships/people. I haven't read any of Meg's books and the title, storyline, and 5 adjectives describing "A Stillness of Chimes" have me greatly anticipating the reading of it and becoming acquainted with Meg's writing style. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!!

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

    I am a blog and Facebook follower and have shared this post.

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  24. I'm a mountain girl, 16 years in Colorado, and 26 in the upstate of SC. I've been to NC and Tennessee, so yes, I've been in and through "them thar hills." Also, I'm part Irish as well, and deeply spiritual. I look forward to reading the book!
    [I don't know why, but it will not "verify my credentials" to comment with my wordpress ID, robinsnest212.wordpress.com] so I comment as anonymous, but I'm Robin E. Mason.

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  25. I was born in the Appalachian mountains (in Buchanan Co. Virginia) and lived there the first 12 years of my life before being uprooted and moved to Kansas. I will always have fond memories of my life there which was extremely different than the life we have in Kansas. Thanks for the chance to win. joyzzzz@aol.com

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  26. Congratulations to Sarah Snider, winner of Meg's book! I sent you an e-mail, Sarah.

    Meg, it is always a joy to promote your writing and we've all enjoyed having you with us this week. I pray that God will place on your heart the stories He wants you to write , and that you will be back with us soon.

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  27. Carole, thank you so much for doing the interview and the giveaway! It was fun to read everyone's comments about the Appalachians and to be reminded of so many great hymns. The one running through my head right now is "Abide with Me," a song that we associate mostly with times of sorrow, but the lyrics are wonderfully faith-affirming at any time. "Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me."

    Sarah S., I will mail the book to you today! Thanks for reading.

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