Friday, September 7, 2007

After the Leaves Fall


My sister-in-law, Kendra, who works at Tyndale House Publishers, recently e-mailed me saying she thought I would be interested in a new book they're publishing. She knows I love to read and how excited I get about small world things! Debut novelist Nicole Baart and I live in the same neck of the woods, we're the same age (give or take a year), have both taught secondary English, and we are both the only female in otherwise all-boy households. It's so fun to discover these connections!

Kendra sent me an advanced copy of Nicole's book, After the Leaves Fall, which is being released in October, and I devoured it in a few days (That's quick for a mom of a baby!) I have to say that I do not normally read Christian fiction, but I really enjoyed this story about a young woman named Julia. Julia is not a fluffy character--she is very real and I came to care about her! Because much of the book takes place on a college campus, I was particularly compelled to reading about Julia's collegiate experience. I'm really looking forward to the promised sequel!

Fellow blogger Laurel Wreath has written a more comprehensive review of the book, which you can check out here.

The really exciting news is that Tyndale has generously offered to share this book with some of you! Four names will be drawn to receive an advanced copy of the book. (FYI, these are marketing copies, so they do come with a label that says "for promotional purposes only" and may not be fully revised from the final edition.)

All you have to do for a chance to win is leave a comment. This contest is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada. (Nicole has dual American-Canadian citizenship, so we figured that would be appropriate!) If you don't have a blog, please leave your e-mail address in the comments so I can contact you. If there is no blog or e-mail address given, your name will not be entered. Contest is open until Wednesday, September 12 at noon CST. Winners will be posted shortly thereafter.

So just who is Nicole?! You can check out her blog for more great stuff, but she was gracious enough to share some of her own story with all of us:

Tell us a little about your family.
I have the greatest family! My husband, Aaron, is an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church. He is currently the head and only pastor at a church called Bridge of Hope Ministries. Aaron is a dynamic preacher and a very caring man. He just loves people and it shows. I am so blessed to be his bride.
Aaron and I have two sons. Isaac is almost four and though he looks like Aaron, he has my personality. He’s very creative and full of energy. Judah, our youngest son, just turned one and he is our little spitfire. He was born in Ethiopia and brought home on December 1, 2006. I have never met a happier child in all my life.
For now, my house is full of boys. But we’d love to have more children and I certainly think our home will include an Ethiopian princess someday.

How did you find/make time to write while being a mom to two little ones?
It’s hard, but I really don’t have much of a choice. This might sound overly dramatic, but I have to write--it’s a part of me and I am not a whole and healthy person if I am not writing. So I make time.
Both of my boys still take naps, therefore sometimes I write in the afternoons. Also, my mom watches the boys one morning a week and I hire a sitter one morning a week. So I do have some scheduled blocks for writing. The rest of the week I am writing in my head. I have lots of time to think about a chapter before I put it on paper. That way, when I actually sit down to write, it doesn’t take me very long. I usually write about a chapter a week, and though only eight hours or so of that time is sitting down with pen in hand, I actually put a lot of thought into each word that ends up on the paper.

What surprised you about the writing and/or publishing process?
There have been lots of surprises! Personally, I was shocked at how quickly I was able to finish a novel. Before After the Leaves Fall, I had never completed a novel. I had started lots of different books, but I was never able to finish them. Then, suddenly when I had a deadline, I was incredibly capable of meeting it. Amazing how that works! It taught me a lot about myself though. Because I am creative I need structure in my life or I flit from project to project. I’ve always considered myself organized, but I’m not. I need to maintain order in my life or it becomes messy very fast.
Another surprising thing for me is how the creation of a book is really a team effort. I may have written the book, but so many people contributed to it! Todd edited my first draft, then Becky and Stephanie read and approved it, Lorie did the major edits, Jessie designed the cover, Babette and Vicky worked marketing magic, and the list goes on and on. I am indebted to everyone who made helped make this book what it is.

Why this story?
This story is enormously personal to me, but not because it is my story. In fact, Julia and I could not possibly be more different. I think the only things we have in common are a deep love for our grandmothers and a strong appreciation for the sometimes-veiled beauty of the Midwest. So I didn’t choose to write this particular story because it is, in some ways, my story. It isn’t at all. Nor is it biographical about anyone I know.
After the Leaves Fall really began with the character of Julia. As she formed in my mind, I just fell in love with her tenacity and strength. I wanted her to be an unforgettable heroine, but I wanted her to be real, too. I’ve read so many books that end with a neat “happily ever after” and it has often bothered me that life isn’t always (or ever, for that matter) as perfect as we read about in novels. I wanted Julia’s story to be real and honest, but also filled with hope and redemption--a story with a hopeful ending that is not necessarily rainbows and kittens when it’s all said and done.
The truth is, the story of After the Leaves Fall sort of came out of nowhere. Basically, I had a character and a vision for a book that was filled with grace, but that was also true and accessible and candid. It’s amazing how God works because I still can’t figure out how this all happened!

Now that you've met Nicole, I know you really want to win her book--so just leave a comment for your chance! Winners will be posted on my blog and also contacted directly.

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would love a copy of this book!
Melissa (brimel@hargray.com)

mer said...

I'm like you...I don't normally read Christian fiction...but you made me want to read this book. Hmmm, maybe you need a job in marketing, Carrie. smile. Count me in!

Meredith

Tracy said...

Sounds really interesting...and it's fun to find new authors! Enter me, please!

Laurel Wreath said...

Don't enter me...but I posted it on my blog =)

Frances said...

Thanks for sharing a bit about Nicole - she sounds like a wonderful woman. I would like a chance to read her book...for free. :)
fmliberto at gmail dot com

MyHeartIsAlwaysHome said...

I am an advid reader, especially of Christian fiction. I would love to add this book to my collection!

You did a great job to sale me on this book. So even if I don't win I will add it to my reading list.

Liz said...

I would love a copy of this book!
Liz
eliz76@juno.com

Leah in Iowa said...

Hi Carrie ~

Well, you can see I couldn't wait until after lunch to check in with you. =)

Sounds like a very fun thing to win - count me in. And to know the author is from the midwest just makes it even better!

I've read a lot of Christian fiction, but am starting to branch out into other areas as well. I'd love to read some of Jane Austen, but am worried they're too advanced, or Englishy for me. But we'll see. Any recommendations?

Have a great weekend!

A Dusty Frame said...

Please enter me. It sounds wonderful!
Lizzie

Dandelion Momma-Janis said...

I love new authors! Please enter me in your draw! Thanks!

Lisa said...

What a cool small world connection! You did a great job with your review and I would love to be entered into the drawing :)

Deena said...

I would love this one:-)

thedeena63 at hotmail dot com

Kara K said...

Pick Kara K! I've only read 37 new books for 2007!
kld3783@hotmail.com
I had a total Carrie moment the other day and laughed about, but now I can't remember what it was! Too bad.

Stephanie said...

This book looks like a great alternative to the Christian chick-lit fluff that's become so popular. Even if I don't win, after reading your review and LW's, I'll be looking for a copy of this! Please count me in on your drawing--thank you!

From a former mid-westerner and secondary English teacher,
Stephanie :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great read -- I can't wait! :)

Love, Mom

A, B & C said...

I would love to win a copy of this book! Sounds wonderful... and I have a US address now that we're moving back for a few months.
I've actually just read three books in the last week. In my former life this would be normal, but since Love Bug was born, it's a record for me too. Nice to meet another Mom who tries to make time to read. I hope it's a hobby that my children take up after they see my enthusiasm for a good book.

Susanne said...

Here from Laurel's. Loved the interview and I would love to win a copy of the book.

Sharon said...

Please enter my name I found out about it through Laurel.
Sounds great!

Trish said...

Laurel insists I tell you she sent me. ;) Please enter me!

Mrs. Mom said...

I'd love to read a copy of this book!
Please visit my blog at:
http://ruralwritings.blogspot.com

thehomespunheart said...

Carrie - great post! I'd love to be entered in the drawing!

Joani said...

I would love to try this book, too!

Joani

Summer said...

I'm game for new reading material!

Ewokgirl said...

I rarely read Christian fiction because it's usually too sappy and silly, but this sounds like it might be really good. So, I guess I'm entering!

justabeachkat said...

I'd love to win it! It sounds wonderful. Thanks!

Hugs!
Kat

Jody said...

I love to read new authors! Enter me, please!

Barb @ A Chelsea Morning said...

I'm here from Laurel Wreath's site, Carrie. I knew when I read her review that I want to read this book. I'd love to be entered in this contest. And thank you for doing it!

Vicki said...

Hey, I'm always up for a good read. Laurel sent me!

Julia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julia said...

Former student of Nicole's here, from Canada. I have lots of good memories from our English 9 class, and would love to win a copy of her book!

Julia (youcanwritejulia@gmail.com)

Amydeanne said...

looks like an interesting book! I'd love to win a copy! Thanks!!!
Amydeanne
the160acrewoods at yahoo dot ca

Jennifer said...

Please enter me...sounds like a great read!

Anonymous said...

Please enter me into the drawing. I am a new reader of yours.
Heather
hoverby@gmail.com

Cal Hulstein said...

We would love to be entered in the drawing for the book. My wife runs the Book Club at our church in South Windsor, CT, Avery St Christian Reformed Church, and this sounds like a book we might be interested in reading.

Cal Hulstein

Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings said...

Sounds intersting! I would love to win this.

My email is in my blog profile.

TracyMichele said...

Oooohh.. this sounds so good. Please count me in!

Kathleen Marie said...

Fabulous! I love Christian Fiction (most of it anyway) and this sounds wonderful. So please count me in.

Isn't it great when you meet people you have so much in common with.

God Bless!

Anonymous said...

Please enter me in the drawing for the book. I had Mrs Baart as a teacher and would be very interested in reading this book.
erickroese@hotmail.com

Mama Zen said...

I love to find new authors!

Stefanie said...

Sign me up. Sounds very interesting!

lifeasamama said...

what fun - i'd love to read this!

Tiffany@naturemoms.com said...

Looks like a good read!

Nicole Baart said...

Wow, look how many people responded! You guys are so great. :)

I wanted to quick pop in and leave a little message for Cal (and anyone else for that matter). If you have a book club, I'm having a little contest where the first 10 book clubs who commit to reading my book can arrange a time for me to "pop in" on their chat. In other words, I'll call your group and answer any questions you might have! If you're interested, just stop by my site (News section) and sign up. I'd love to "meet" some of you...

Selima said...

I hope it isn't too late to join. I would love to win this book.
Selima

Angela said...

Ok...I might be late cause I'm too brain dead from being a mom to know if I'm within CST time or not. :)

Doreen said...

Would love to win a copy!! ;)