01 April 2012

Interview with Naomi Rawlings Debut Author


Naomi Rawlings is the author of Sanctuary for a Lady, her debut release. This book just released through Love Inspired Historical.

I met Naomi through HisWriters, those who have either published or planned works with European characters.  I got to meet her at the ACFW Conference last year.  

Naomi, welcome to Overcoming Through Time - With God's Help.  Would you share either the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help, or the most tragic situation or circumstance one of your character’s has had to get past?
I live in northern Michigan, not the slightly northern part of the state or the northern part of the lower peninsula. No. I live way up north on the coast of Lake Superior. It’s beautiful here, with towering pine trees and rocks, clear lakes and rivers, and every kind of northern wildlife imaginable, from black bears to wolves to bald eagles.


But it’s also very isolated. My husband pastors a small church up here, and my children are the only kids in the entire church. There is little industry, and almost no jobs are available. Most of the community is older. A lot of people move up here after retirement because property is extremely cheap, but it’s a very lonely lifestyle. 


Our county is over 100 square miles, yet has only 6,000 inhabitants.
Sometimes I get lonely. I have Christian friends with children who are grown and out of the house, and other friends with children the ages of my own children. But God hasn’t given me any close friends who are facing the same stage of life that I’m facing right now.  So I’m extremely grateful for my online friends. I think I would go a little crazy if I didn’t have the internet to connect me to the rest of the world.


(CFP: I grew up in the upper peninsula of Michigan, east of where Naomi now lives. It is beautiful but sparsely populated.)


What is your favorite bible verse and why?
1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God, I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain, but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

I love this verse because it reminds me that God made me what I am, and just the way he wanted me to be. “But by the grace of God, I am what I am.” That single phrase gives me so much confidence as I face life. I never have to doubt if God made me the right way or if I’m living in the wrong place or anything of the sort. God had made me and given me his grace; that’s all I need to face life.

Disability friendliness:
The digital version of the book can be read aloud using kindle’s text to speech feature. Not all books available on kindle have text-to-speech enabled, but all books from my publisher do come with those capabilities. If you’re interested in text-to-speech, look carefully before you purchase an ereader. Not all kindle versions have text-to-speech, the most basic models don’t have it and neither does the kindle Fire. I’m not sure about the nook or iPad either.

Though I don’t have difficulty reading regular print books, I find myself using the text-to-speech on my kindle constantly. As a busy mom with two little boys, I don’t have a lot of reading time, but I listen to books while I’m doing dishes, laundry, and the like.
My publisher produces category romances and offers very few large print editions. Only the most popular authors have their books available in large print, and since this is my first ever book, I’m hardly a popular enough author for that privilege. Maybe one day, though!

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from reading your book and why?
I hope readers will come away with an inspiring and challenging comprehension of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the theme of my book. Though I have my main character, Isabelle, face many hardships as she struggles to survive the French Revolution, learning to forgive those who wronged her is the biggest challenge she faces. I pray readers will be inspired by her actions at the end of the story, but I’ll say no more lest I give the book away!

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
I learned several things, but one of the bigger ones was how badly the French Aristocracy oppressed the poor. The aristocracy had money falling out their ears and simply kept taxing the peasant class without ever paying those same taxes themselves. People tend to view the French Revolution as bloody and chaotic, and it was. What people don’t realize is that France before the Revolution was equally as bloody and terribly oppressive, but few people paid attention to the plight of the peasant class.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
As I said earlier, I really hope my book will encourage people to think about biblical forgiveness and what it entails. While I wouldn’t say my book could be used as reference material for teaching on forgiveness, I do think the story might be a blessing to someone struggling with that issue in his or her personal life.  Christ asked God to forgive the soldiers when He was hanging on the cross. Most Christians are familiar with that story, but I think few realize how big of a sacrifice saying those words really was for Christ.

Thank you, Naomi, for agreeing to answer these questions.  Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!

Thank you so much for having me. I enjoyed being here!


GIVEAWAY:  Leave a comment and your email to be entered in this week’s contest.  Drawing will be late Saturday.  Your choice of format.

42 comments:

  1. NAOMI welcome to Overcoming Through Time - With God's Help. Thank you for the interview and for reminding us of how great a sacrifice it was for Jesus to say "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." The ultimate example for us to follow.

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  2. Naomi, thanks for sharing this interview with us!
    It sounds like a beautiful place where you live--although lonely.
    We also have a small church and there's only one family with kids. Kids are teenagers now, so we don't have little ones anymore.
    Our church has more men than women and I don't have someone close to me either. So, I can easily relate to that. I am also happy with my online friends. :)

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  3. Thank you for doing this interview, and I would love to win her book, it sounds great!

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com
    wrensthoughts.blogspot.com

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  4. Your book sounds really good. I am always looking for new authors to read.

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  5. NAOMI, thank you for being with us this week! What a great interview, CARRIE, and NAOMI, and a topic I think many people can identify with-isolation and loneliness. Hubby and I lived for almost a year where we were so isolated that both of us were becoming depressed (no FB back then); so we sold our home, and got out of there! It's a thought, NAOMI...but may not feasible in your case, I know.

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  6. Teressa, you're welcome, and I'm so glad the theme of my book resonated with you. It wasn't the easiest thing to write about, but now that I sit back and look at the completed version of the book, I find it was worth all the time I spent struggling to convey the ideas in my head!

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  7. Great questions in the interview, it's nice to learn about new debut authors. I look forward to reading this book, sounds intriguing.

    Please enter me in the drawing and thanks for a chance to win.

    Janella

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  8. Ah, Mariaan and Diana, you both have a good understanding of some of the things I face. It's so lovely to be able to share our trials with other believers, (and so very nice to stay connected with others through things like facebook)!

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  9. Carrie, I want to give you an official thanks for inviting me to do this blog, and giving me the opportunity to encourage others by sharing some of my own struggles. What a brilliant idea to put a blog on overcoming together!

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  10. NAOMI, I give GOD the credit on the idea for the blog. And I thank Him everyday that when we prayed together about Diana coming on, she agreed to do so. Then we prayed some more and Teresa joined us. Then we prayed LOTS about Marian because that sweet young lady keeps plenty busy! We are all overcomers through Christ and that is something we love to share about and read as others do the same!

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  11. I just realized I forgot to add my contact info

    arieljo12 at hotmail dot

    -Janella

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  12. Hi Naomi!! I enjoyed your interview and would love to enter and win your book! Thank you so much for the contest. frederickmolly!yahoo.com

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  13. I loved this interview, and love getting to know authors and the "behind the scenes" person behind the book. And Naomi I didn't know you were a pastor's wife! I am too! I can relate to the no kids at the church...my church only has one teen other than my own teen left at home. I will say that a small church is like a family and they always treat my kids as their own.

    I live in Ft. Worth with the hustle and bustle of busyness! Your part of the country sounds like a breath of fresh air. :)

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  14. Sounds like an interesting book that I would like to read!

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  15. Naomi, I just added Sanctuary For a Lady to my wish list. From the reviews I know I will love your book. Romance, suspense and history all in one book is great. Thanks for stopping by to chat and share with us.
    Thanks for the opportunity to enter giveaway.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

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  16. Thanks for your email address, JANELLA! I hope we need it to email you that you won. :)

    SHERRINDA, thanks for sharing with us!

    KRISTIN, we'll put you in the drawing.

    MISSKALLIE, you're like me... throw romance, suspense and history together and I probably will love the book! Hope you'll win this one.

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  17. Thanks for the interview and for writing the book. I get do excited when authors write about an unusual time and place. I love learning about history and gaining new insights into the past. Would love to read this book.

    Gail
    Bookwurm70 at gmail dot com

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  18. Thanks for a great interview Carrie and Naomi. Naomi, I just finished your book last night. I LOVED it! Readers, if you haven't read Naomi's book it is well worth buying. You'll have a hard time believing this is a debut novel.

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  19. I grew up in Michigan, but the lower part not the UP. Visited the UP several times, it's beautiful, but I'm sure the isolation and the harsh winters make it not so fun at times.

    Thanks for the interview Carrie!

    Patty
    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  20. GAIL and PATTY, you're in the drawing!

    DEBBIELYNNE, thanks for sharing and recommending Naomi's book!

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  21. I've been doing my Monday morning cleaning house thing, and decided to stop by and WOW---look at all these comments! Thank you for coming by, ladies! Good luck to all of you in the giveaway!!

    CARRIE has gone AWOL on us...lol! Just kidding, her in-laws are visiting this week, so I know she will stop by IF she has any free time. Have a great time with your company, CARRIE!

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  22. Waving at you way up there, MOLLY! Good luck in the giveaway and thanks for stopping by!

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  23. Good morning everyone! My inlaws should be arriving soon and Clark is up and enjoying his spring break! Has the snow left NAOMI? A friend from the U.P. told me it was gone in the Soo.

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  24. Sherrinda, I didn't know you were a pastor's wife! But yes, it sounds like your life is probably a bit faster paced than ours. That's one nice thing about where we are. You don't make a house call that lasts under an hour. Everyone you visit offers you coffee and pie, because that's just how people are up here. :-)

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  25. Misskallie, yes, I must admit my book as a bit of everything in it. I hope you enjoy it!

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  26. Gail, I'm like you in that I get excited reading about a new time and place as well. I hope you enjoy the book!

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  27. So glad you liked the story, Debbie Lynne. I must confess, if the novel seems really good for a debut, it's because I took FOREVER to write it. Some of those chapters I rewrote so many times I think I cried. Glad all the hard work finally paid off!

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  28. Patty! Nice to meet you, my fellow Michigander! Yes, the UP is beautiful, and a really unique place to live. I enjoy it, though the isolation can get to you at times.

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  29. Carrie, have a wonderful time with your in-laws!

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  30. NAOMI, I just enjoyed a nice dinner with my in-laws and some of my MIL's yummy oatmeal bars for dessert! Oh, and I know what you mean about the rewrites. That will get easier with each book, with God;s help!

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  31. So you are both Michiganders?

    Is that the correct term?

    I keep seeing great reviews on your story, Naomi. Congratulations!

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  32. Every single time I look at this cover, I get excited to read this book, which won't be long now because this little baby is near the top of my TBR list, just burning a hole in my pile!! So don't enter me because I'm one of the lucky ones who already have a copy -- YAY!!!

    BUT ... wanted to tell everybody that if you don't win Naomi's wonderful book here, she will be a guest blogger in Seekerville THIS FRIDAY with a GREAT subject: The Almost Kiss -- How to Tease and Tempt Your Readers without Lip Service!! So DO come by to Seekerville.

    Naomi, SOOO excited for you!! You go, girl!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  33. DEBRA, I believe that is the correct term, but I think Carrie calls herself a Yooper. lol! Seems like the term would be Michiganers without the "d", doesn't it?

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  34. Hey, JULIE! Carrie is entertaining her in laws today from out of town, so you all are stuck with me today. OOH, JULIE, that is sooo frustrating in a book, but we ALL love it! They almost dive in for the kiss and wham!...something interferes. Builds up alot of good tension, but I recently read a book where no kiss ever took place. Too disappointing. Obviously that book was not written by Julie Lessman! lol!

    I know you will enjoy Naomi's book, JULIE! Happy reading!

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  35. Yes, it's Michiganders. I don't know why. It's not the most attractive word, in my opinion. Carrie calls herself a Yooper because she's originally from Michigan's Upper Peninsula, which has a culture all it's own. I'm a Troll, because even though I live in the UP (Upper Peninsula) now, I wasn't born here. I was born below the Mackinac Bridge, which connects the Upper Peninsula to the Lower Peninsula. And we all know what people who live under bridges are called. :-)

    And yes, I'm absolutely serious about Yoopers and Trolls. Just ask Carrie if you don't believe me.

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  36. And Diana, prepare to be very frustrated on Seekerville on Friday. I give you some pretty tempting scenes without ever having the H/H kiss. But then, you've read my novel, so you know how many kisses it has. :-) More than one, to be sure!

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  37. Well, all I can say is you sure don't look like a troll, Naomi! Imagine being called a troll, my my. And I will admit to my heart racing a few times, during those kissing or almost kissing scenes in Sanctuary For A Lady. ;)

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  38. DIANA SAID: "I recently read a book where no kiss ever took place. Too disappointing. Obviously that book was not written by Julie Lessman! lol!"

    LOL ... an understatement if ever there was!! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  39. I love this cover

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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  40. Lady DragonKeeperApril 5, 2012 at 1:21 AM

    Thanks for the interview --just added another book to my wish list. Love the cover and the story sounds great as well! The LI Historical line has really been doing a wonderful job with their book cover art recently!

    jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

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  41. This story looks great and the cover is beautiful!

    nina4sm/at/gmail/dot/com

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