Amber: Thank you for joining us today! To start, could you share a little bit about yourself?
Maureen: Thanks for having me! I like to call myself an avid reader who’s found a way to write what I want to read. The best stories, to me, are ones filled not only with romance, challenge and adventure, but stories that touch my soul, make me think, or leave me breathless. That’s what I strive for in the stories I tell. I’ve been writing since I was a child, had my first three books published in the secular world way back in my twenties (we won’t count how many years that’s been!) and have been writing in the Christian market for about ten years. My upcoming book (spring 2012) is set in 1883 New York City, about a young woman who finds out her recently deceased father supported her year-round enrollment in an expensive debutante-grooming school by being a thief—so she decides to forget polite society and take up where he left off. Several of my previous titles have earned various writing distinctions (including a Christy nomination, a Holt Medallion, FHL’s Reader’s Choice award, four time finalist in the Carol Awards). I live in the Chicago area with my husband, two sons and our lovable Lab.
Amber: That new book sounds quite intriguing! I think it's wonderful that you can write what you love to read. =)
What made you decide to write a book series set during WWI? Even though your books don’t necessarily feature the U.S. military, do you have any military members in your family that inspired you?
Maureen: I’m the daughter of a Navy vet and the granddaughter of an Army vet. My grandfather left me two boxes of photographs from the First World War, and between that and my grandmother’s stories from the era, I was hooked.
I also grew up with all kinds of stories about my dad’s naval enlistment before WWII. My father grew up wanting to see the world, and at seventeen years old decided he wanted to join the Navy. He needed his mother’s permission to do so, and she gave it. After a brief stint on the USS Oklahoma, he served on a gunboat on the Yangtze River in China (if you’ve seen the Sand Pebbles, you have a good idea of what that was like). In late 1941 his boat, along with the other American boats in the area, were summoned to the Philippines. It wasn’t long after that he learned about the Oklahoma being sunk at Pearl Harbor. But being in the Philippines wasn’t much of a break. The area was overrun with Japanese, and they were instructed to scuttle their own boat. He fought the Japanese on land for about three months (for which he received a special Presidential citation), until captured and sent on a march that followed the initial Death March that had taken place a month or so before. He was shifted from one camp to another, until finally being shipped to Mukden, Manchuria where he spent the bulk of his three and a half years of captivity. When the war finally ended and he was liberated, he weighed under 100 pounds and the doctors told him he probably wouldn’t be able to offer children to any potential wife, because of the abuse, disease and malnutrition he’d suffered during those years. But my mom married him anyway, and it was within the first year that they proved those doctors wrong. I’m one of six kids who weren’t supposed to be here if those doctors had been believed. I think doctors know a lot more these days, but it’s probably in part thanks to what they learned from people like my dad who survived so much.
Amber: Wow! I can't even imagine what your dad suffered on behalf of our country. What an amazing story of service, courage, and hope after extremely difficult times!
So, what is it you admire most about the U.S. military?
Maureen: So many things! I know enough of history to be grateful that we’re one nation, never having been conquered or split into bits by other nations who would likely enjoy our vast natural resources. I know our security today is because of our military. I so admire those who’ve given the best of their lives, their talents and energy to keep the United States what it is: a free republic that is the strongest representative in history of peace-keeping and goodwill. Our service men and women are the ultimate good guys!
What’s next in your writing career? Can readers expect any more books set during WWI, or do you have something else in the works?
Maureen: As I mentioned above, my next book is due out in the spring of 2012. I’ve had so much fun with this book! Although it doesn’t include a war, there is still plenty of angst when my heroine tries to connect with her father’s memory by following a path he never wanted her to take, as a thief. Her father’s young protégé (also a thief) does all he can to dissuade her at first, but eventually he has little choice except to work along with her. Before long she realizes she might not have the stomach for thievery, after all, and God is in hot pursuit of them both. Who will catch them first? God, or the law?
Amber: Oooh, sounds great!
How can we pray for you and other authors?
Maureen: This is so important to me. Before I was published in the Christian market, I asked several people to pray for my writing ministry. I prayed then and still do that God would continue to use storytelling as a way to touch the lives of others—inside the Kingdom to bring us closer to Him, with greater insight to His love and grace, and beyond the Kingdom to draw others to Him. Storytelling is such a powerful tool, one Christ Himself used to reveal the nature of God. Please join me in prayer that Christian authors everywhere will trust God to use us in a way that not only honors Him but represents to others the love and power and truth that God revealed of Himself in the Bible.
Thanks so much for having me, the discussion was a pleasure!
Amber: The pleasure is all ours! =) Thank you for being here and sharing with us!
~ ~ ~The winner from last week's giveaway is Danielle!
Readers, Maureen has generously offered to give one lucky winner a copy of one of her books - winner's choice of any one of the three books in "The Great War" series (book covers pictured above throughout the interview)! Here are the rules:
- Leave a comment for Maureen along with your e-mail address!
- Please state which book you would like if you were to win - Look to the East (Book 1), Whisper on the Wind (Book 2), or Springtime of the Spirit (Book 3). (You can learn more about each of Maureen's books on her website.)
- You must have a U.S. mailing address in order to be entered in the drawing.
- The winner will be announced on the next "Monday for the Military" post.
~ ~ ~
Would you like to know the winner from last week's giveaway (Faith Deployed . . . Again)?
Thank you so much to Jocelyn (and publisher) for the wonderful interview/giveaway! And thank you to all of you who stopped by and/or became new "members" of my blog - it was a blessing to meet all of you military wives. You're welcome here anytime!