Monday, September 9, 2013

The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate: Spotlight and Giveaway

The Prayer Box 
by Lisa Wingate
Publication date: September 1, 2013
Published by Tyndale House Publishers
Genre: Christian/Inspirational Fiction
The Prayer Box on Goodreads
When Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, the struggling young mother in her rental cottage, Tandi Jo Reese, finds herself charged with the task of cleaning out Iola's rambling Victorian house.
Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola's walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, spanning from Iola's youth to her last days. Hidden in the boxes is the story of a lifetime, written on random bits of paper--the hopes and wishes, fears and thoughts of an unassuming but complex woman passing through the seasons of an extraordinary, unsung life filled with journeys of faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that could change everything for Tandi.


You originally had the book set in Texas. What made you switch to the coastal setting?
My special reader-friend, Ed Stevens, visited the Outer Banks (his daughter Shannon has a beach house in Duck) after Hurricane Irene, and he asked me to set a book in the Outer Banks to draw attention to the destruction there and the plight of residents—Irene was mostly thought of as a “nonevent” because it didn’t hit New York, etc. as was predicted. But the damage was very bad.

It’s a post-hurricane story, and we’ve had our share of hurricanes here in Texas. We lost our family beach houses (relatives on the coast) during Ike several years ago, so I understand the aftermath of having family treasures scattered to the tides and the feeling of losing a place you’ve loved and where you’ve made memories.

You researched the book from the Outer Banks?
Our trip was amazing. We canvassed the place. A reader friend–now–gal pal and my mother (my assistant) went with me. We photographed like crazy, talked to locals, found a location for the fictional village of Fairhope, and learned about what the people on Hatteras were going through. And that was pre–Hurricane Sandy. Now it’s even worse there. I do hope the book will bring attention/tourism/help, etc. to the Outer Banks, and Hatteras in particular. They are great people and it’s a beautiful place with rich history.

Your fans make big impacts on your writing—and your family. How did your aunt Sandy contribute to The Prayer Box?

Aunt Sandy is my mom’s sister, and while she and my mom (who I based the character Sharon on) wish I would have made them a bit younger in the book, they are great inspirations. My aunt designed her character and the Seashell Shop and made beautiful sea glass necklaces, glass boxes, and hummingbird suncatchers that will be given away as reader prizes. She is an amazing glass artist.

What exactly are prayer—or gratitude—boxes?
You can create the boxes for your own life and as gifts for occasions. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, when a child graduates, to be able to give that child the box of hopes and prayers written during the first year of life? Or for a couple on their twenty-fifth anniversary to reopen the box from their first year of marriage? For years, I’ve given journals or prayer boxes to couples as wedding gifts and encouraged them to write down their hopes and gratitudes during their first year of life, then keep them. It’s a great exercise while they’re doing it and a precious keepsake for later. It’s also their story, preserved.

How do you write for both Christian and secular audiences?
I try to write books that can be shared between people who are in vastly different places in their faith and spiritual lives, and I see The Prayer Box as that type of book—appropriate for a Christian person to bring to a book club that is not specifically Christian, for instance.

What’s the overall message?

In this cyber age, it’s more important than ever to equip families with ideas for generating family table talk and storytelling. My first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, was inspired by stories shared by my grandmother. I’ve since watched that book travel around the world, and her stories— those simple remembrances from a farmwife’s life—have affected many lives. Our stories have amazing power and value, yet we’re in danger of losing that tradition of sharing our stories, particularly with the next generation.

Thanks to JKS Communications, I can offer one physical copy of The Prayer Box to my blog readers. See the giveaway details below.

Giveaway Details

Enter by Rafflecopter below
U.S. addresses only
must be 18 or older to enter 
prize provided by JKS Communications
one winner will be selected and announced via Rafflecopter

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