Hello, everyone, welcome to the Coffee Corner on Inspirational Moments!
It’s time to celebrate another author’s success. Grab a cup and stay awhile. Today, I have a special treat. Fellow Prism Book Group author, Paige Skeen has released her book, Magnolia Lake and she’s here to talk about it.
Oh, I almost forgot! She’s also giving away a copy of it! See details about the giveaway after the post…let’s get started.
RB: Hi Paige, welcome to the Coffee Corner! I’m so excited about your new release. I’m sure you’re about questioned out, but bear with me…we want to hear about Magnolia Lake from your lips. How did you come up with the idea for this book?
PS: It’s funny, but I began writing Magnolia Lake so many years ago that I honestly don’t remember where the original idea came from. And the book has gone through tons of changes since that first draft.
Honestly, because Magnolia Lake was my first attempt at a novel, I just wrote as the ideas came to me. I knew I wanted to use it to inspire people and glorify God, but I wasn’t sure exactly how. I started with a general outline of my major characters, but that’s about it as far as planning.
RB: Do you have a favorite character? If so, why?
PS: Oh, yes! Landon, by far! He’s just the most perfect book boyfriend you can have, I think. He’s this simple, boy-next-door, loyal type but also surprisingly athletic—and romantic.
A good friend of mine who knew me in high school asked once if the male characters in Magnolia Lake were inspired by former love interests of mine, and I think they were, to an extent. Not intentionally or very specifically, just in small ways. That sort of thing happens when you’re a writer—you draw from your own experiences and feelings.
So to really get into the right mindset for creating Landon’s character, I took a little bit of the good from every high school relationship I had and combined it to make the ideal leading man. I felt that it was important to channel those specific relationships (sorry, hubby!) in order to be able to write the situations and emotions of Magnolia Lake in a real, relatable way. Adult relationships are much different than those of our teenage years. And when I first sat down to write the story, I was in college, so the intense emotions of those high school days were fresh. That really helped me connect with the characters and see the story through their eyes.
RB: Is there a particular reason you chose your setting?
PS: It seemed inevitable. I was born and raised in a small Georgia town, so that’s how the fictional city of Davis came to be. Also, I love the South! And so often it tends to be looked down on—as if living in the deep south automatically makes you uneducated and close-minded. I wanted to represent small-town America in a positive way.
Additionally, one piece of advice I read when I began this journey was to write what you know. It helps you create believable stories; that was very true for me when it came to Magnolia Lake. And I suppose it was also comfortable—I didn’t have to do any research!
RB: Being from the Deep South myself (Louisiana), I can relate to what you’re saying. Assumptions and typecasting is common of the region. It’s hard to break through that barrier as a writer…only one of many challenges of an author. Speaking of challenges, what would be your biggest?
PS: Time. There’s never enough time. I have all these ideas for stories but can’t draw enough hours out of each day to get them all down on paper. It’s especially difficult at this stage in my life, with two little ones under five years old. Some days I wonder how I’ll ever get everything done, but then I remind myself of what’s really important in life—for me, that’s God and my family—and I give myself some grace.
RB: I’d have to agree with that! I don’t think there’s enough time in a day. I never dreamt writing would make my life so busy. If you weren’t a writer, what do you think you’d be?
PS: This answer would’ve been much different some years ago, but full-time wife and mother. Sure, there are a few things I think it’d be fun to do (like wedding planning or fashion buying, for example), but I can’t imagine tearing myself away from my kids to pursue any career other than writing. This is my passion, and it gives me the flexibility to spend the kind of time I’ve always wanted to spend with my children.
Even as a child, I knew in my heart that I’d choose motherhood over a career if necessary. But God knows what He’s doing. He put this writing passion and talent inside me so that I could have a little bit of it all and live out both my dreams: writing and motherhood.
RB: That’s amazing, Paige! I’m so happy for you! To have both of your loves is a dream come true for anybody. As we all know, God uses life to teach us many lessons. Can you share one of your lessons with us?
PS: This is one I’m in the middle of right now, so I can’t say how it will pan out. But back in 2014, my husband and I decided to buy a house. We’d been renting for the duration of our marriage, and we wanted a piece of property to call our own. We found a cute little fixer-upper on five acres, and we were sold. Didn’t even look another house (crazy, I know!). After months and months of constant renovations, remodeling, and unexpected issues, we were distraught. All our time and money was going into this place, and we were both constantly stressed out—which is never good when you’ve got two little ones to take care of and you’re trying to build a writing career.
We knew we needed a home with a better flow and fewer problems, but we didn’t think we’d be able to make a move with our current lifestyle. We started doubting—and seriously regretting—our decision to buy this house, even though we had both prayed hard about it and felt sure that God was urging us on at the time.
Well, my amazing real state friend came out a month or so ago and gave us an estimate of what we can make if we sell this place, and it’s much more than we’d even dreamt possible. So now we’re in the midst of getting the process started to sell our current house and buy something that better meets our needs. If everything works out, we’ll be at more of a financial advantage than we’ve ever been in our marriage and we’ll have a new house.
If we hadn’t trusted God when He told us to buy this place two years ago, there’s no telling where we’d be right now. It’s been a true test of faith, and I often wondered why I felt so led by Him to make what I was considering such a huge mistake. I won’t go into all the details, but let’s just say I will never doubt God again. He always knows what’s best, even when your life seems to fall apart. He can turn anything around when you trust Him.
RB: Trusting God instead of ourselves is a big lesson. In fact, I think I’m learning many lessons all the time about that! Or maybe it’s because I’m a slow learner. Thank you for sharing your story with us today, Paige. I can’t wait to read Magnolia Lake.
ANSWER THIS QUESTION IN THE COMMENTS BELOW TO ENTER THE DRAWING
FOR MAGNOLIA LAKE
“IF MONEY WASN’T AN ISSUE, WHAT WOULD YOU DO FOR A LIVING?”
(One winner will be selected by random draw on 4/24/16 from blog comments. Minimum of 5 comments required to validate contest.
Please include your email address with your comment.)
About the Book:
Popular and beautiful, Cora Stephens has it all— including the perfect football-star boyfriend— until one fateful afternoon. Facing heartache and betrayal, Cora turns to long-time friend, Landon, for comfort. While his love for her grows, she does everything in her power to avoid getting hurt again—including flinging herself into the arms of another boy.
Then, just as Cora’s shattered world starts putting itself back together, life throws something her way that’s more horrific than she ever could have imagined. Through the emotional and physical pain, she begins to lose hope and abandon her faith. Will this once light-hearted, happy prom queen find her way back home?
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/magnolia-lake-emily-paige-skeen/1115340536?ean=9781530434596
About the Author:
Born and raised in a small Georgia town, Emily Paige Skeen takes from her own life experiences to create real, relatable characters for her novels. She loves to intertwine small-town charm with deep emotion and intrigue, creating stories that inspire readers.
When she’s not writing or chasing after her two youngsters - both under the age of five - you can find Emily reading, soaking up the sun whenever possible, or shopping. She, her husband, and their kids make their home in a tiny little town an hour south of Atlanta, on a five-acre plot of land right off a bumpy red-dirt road. Emily loves to sit and listen as the ever-present crickets and frogs perform their harmonious concerts in the still, quiet evening hours.
Writing has always been Emily’s passion, ever since she crafted her first sloppily hand-written story plastered over spiral notebook paper at the emotionally-charged age of thirteen. Now, she strives to encourage and inspire girls and young women with her writing. She believes that with a little bit of faith and a whole lot of love, anything’s possible.