Earlier this year I had the pleasure of meeting Denise Weimer at a book signing at The Carpenter’s Shop in Athens, GA. I had such a wonderful time talking to her and I even got to meet her mother. They are both precious women and love the Lord. I knew then that I would want her to be one of our featured authors and this is the perfect month for it because we are giving away, Sautee Shadows (Georgia Gold Series #1), and The Gray Divide (Georgia Gold Series #2) is coming out this month. So this is the perfect opportunity to win the first book in this series and then you won’t have to wait for Book 2, you can go right out and buy it! The giveaway is September 1st – 7th, and the winner will be randomly selected on September 8th, 2013.
Here is a great timeline photo of all the history that is covered in this book. It’s incredible how much research Denise did for this book.
Let’s meet Denise and get to know her better:
Is Sautee Shadows your first novel, or have you written before?
I began writing at age 11 – historical novels! I published a novella called Redeeming Grace with PublishAmerica about 7 years ago. It was about a struggling opera singer from NY who found love with a local minister when she vacationed at Tallulah Falls, GA, during the 1880s. The publisher set the book price too high, so the book was only marketed locally and is now out of print. I hope to self-publish it again in the future. But the important thing was that Redeeming Grace opened the door for The Georgia Gold Series, because my historical mentor, well-known artist John Kollock, read it and offered his help in research should I write another novel …
Why did you decide to write your novels about Georgia history?
… I took Mr. Kollock up on his offer, and he gave me a tour through his family’s 1848 summer home outside Clarkesville, along with a stack of books and his ancestors’ diaries and letters. The Kollocks had been among the families who lived on the coast but had summer homes in the Northeast Georgia mountains to escape heat and yellow fever. This first person research gave me an inside understanding of life in the mid-1800s in Georgia. Using that base, I was able to craft a story with four fictional families that moved among real people, places and events and incorporated the fascinating history of the Georgia Gold Rush, the Cherokee Removal and The Civil War. A sweeping historical fiction series had never been written about that exact era and area.
I can tell from reading, Sautee Shadows, that you did a lot of research. How much time and effort did you put into your research before you were able to write the book?
I researched about a year before starting to write, then continued to research as I wrote to try to provide the reader the feeling of “being there.”
How much of your book is actual facts? Are all the characters fictional or are some of them real people?
Most of the main characters are fictional to give them “room to move” so that I could develop their stories as I wished, but those stories overlap many real people like Jarvis Van Buren, Stand Watie and Francis Bartow. The reader will learn many fascinating facts about Northeast Georgia in the mid-1800s; the most surprising things in the book are the things that really happened! Truth is really stranger than fiction.
What would you like your readers to discover by reading this book?
In The Georgia Gold Series, I sought to re-create a very real time period and to portray all sides of issues with historical accuracy and balance. It was important for my characters to overcome the challenges of their day and age, personality deficiencies and prejudice – and to rise above that regardless of race or background – to show how God working in their lives can help them become people of integrity. I hope our generation will be reminded of the virtues of courage, sacrifice, commitment, faith and honor.
This is Book 1 in a series and Book 2, The Gray Divide, comes out this month, right? How many other books will there be?
Yes, Book Two, The Gray Divide, releases September 1. There are two more books after that, The Crimson Bloom and Bright as Gold.
Do you already have plans for future books once this series is finished?
Right now I’m concentrating on publicizing the series. I don’t have any specific plans but will just be open to what God leads me to do in the future! I do have some ideas bouncing around. And if the next book is fiction, I always tend to write in the setting of where I am currently living! There is so much rich history surrounding the Athens area, I’m sure I can come up with something!
Are you a native Georgian? Where do you live?
Yes, I was born in Atlanta and raised in Jackson County. I lived in Habersham County for ten years while raising my girls and researching and writing The Georgia Gold Series. My family now resides in Watkinsville. My husband’s job as area manager for Woodmen of the World Life Insurance and Investments brought us to the Athens area.
What are your hobbies, besides writing?
Of course I also enjoy reading – historical fiction and Christian non-fiction. I’m an avid swim mom and help support my daughters in Athens Bulldog Swim Club. I love going to movies, antique stores, tea rooms or coffee shops and touring historic homes. For most of my life I’ve been involved in living history, and for many years I was founder and director of a mid-1800s dance group. Writing and being a mom are taking priority now.
If you could visit anyplace on earth, where would it be and why?
I’d enjoy a trip to England and Scotland, because I haven’t been there yet and those are the countries from which my own ancestors came.
Who are your favorite authors?
I enjoy many Christian historical fiction writers. Laura Frantz is one of my favorites. Her book The Frontiersman’s Daughter hooked me because I could tell it was written from her heart. It reminded me of my favorite movie, “The Last of the Mohicans.” I’ve had the honor of becoming online friends with Laura and found her to be as gracious a person as she is a talented writer. I also find Deanne Gist, Tamera Alexander and Francine Rivers to be among the best.
Are you reading a book now, if so, what is it?
I am currently finishing up a Christian non-fiction book on marriage written by a local author, at the request of one of my friends.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself and your books?
The publishing industry is tighter than ever, with the economy and e-books putting pressure on traditional publishers. However, for those who write, I’d say you should never give up your dream if you are sure that is where your talent lies. Create a tight package for publishers – a well-edited manuscript with a story that makes the reader want more, a strong query letter, plus the training and willingness to help market yourself. Then target publishers and agents only in your niche or genre. Regional presses are often much more likely to accept new authors, especially if their story is regional as well.
Denise, thank you so much for sharing your time with us and telling us so much about your books and all that went into writing them. I find it interesting, especially since I live in Georgia and have visited a lot of the places you mention in your book. If you live in the Athens, GA area, you can visit The Carpenter’s Shop to purchase Denise’s books.
You may visit Denise’s website and her publisher’s website by clicking on the links below:
- You must be 18 years or older and be a U.S. resident.
- Leave a comment in the comment section at the end of THIS post. One entry per person.
- We will randomly compile a list of everyone who made a comment and will draw a name. We will then notify you by email giving you further instructions to collect your free book. DO NOT include your personal mailing address in your comment for security reasons.
- If we do not hear back from you in 5 days, we will draw another winner.
- Please allow 2-3 weeks for book delivery.
- If you win the book it would be really great if you could come back to this post after you have read it and tell us what you thought about the book.
Next Month – October 2013 – our Featured Author will be Hannah Alexander and we will be giving away an autographed copy of Keeping Faith.