Wednesday, June 03, 2009

IMHO Welcomes inspirational author Deeanne Gist!

IMHO is thrilled to welcome our first inspy author ever, Deeanne Gist. Deeanne was recently nominated for her second RWA RITA® award for Deep in the Heart of Trouble. I read Heart and was so impressed by her very human, flawed, and yet faithful characters, I asked Dee to be a guest here this month. Dee terms what she writes “edgy inspirationals.” To understand what this means, watch her as she discusses her controversial Christian romance, Courting Trouble, which inspired the 2008 RITA® nominated release of Heart, with Lifetime TV’s Romance columnist, Michelle Buonfiglio here.

Her new release, A Bride in the Bargain, is now available, and Dee will be putting an autographed copy of it in the June “Weddings and Beginnings” gift basket this week.

Dee didn’t set out to be a bestselling author of inspirational romance, but she’s found a measure of success at whatever she’s tried her hand at. After a short career in elementary education, she retired to raise her four children. Over the course of the next fifteen years, she ran a home accessory and antique business, became a member of the press, and wrote freelance journalism for national publications such as People, Parents, Parenting, Family Fun, Houston Chronicle and Orlando Sentinel. In addition, she acted as CFO for her husband’s small engineering firm--all from the comforts of home.

Squeezed betwixt-and-between all this, she read romance novels by the truckload and even wrote a couple of her own. While those unpublished manuscripts rested on the shelf, she founded a publishing corporation for the purpose of developing, producing and marketing products that would reinforce family values, teach children responsibility, and provide character-building activities.

After a few short months of running her publishing company, Dee quickly discovered being a "corporate executive" was not where her gifts and talents lay. In answer to her fervent prayers, God sent a mainstream publisher to her door who licensed her parenting I Did It!® product line and committed to publishing the next generation of her system, thus freeing her to return to her writing.

Eight months later, she sold A Bride Most Begrudging to Bethany House Publishers. Since that debut, her very original, very fun romances have rocketed up the bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere. Add to this two consecutive Christy Awards, two RITA nominations, rave reviews, and a growing loyal fan base, and you’ve got one recipe for success.

Dee lives in Texas with her husband of twenty-six years and their two border collies. They have four grown children. Visit her blog to find out the most up-to-the-minute news.

IMHO: Welcome, Deeanne. This month’s theme on IMHO is “Weddings and Beginnings,” which seems appropriate for your book, but you’ve dealt with that particular theme many times in your novels. Can you tell us a little about why that is?

DG: Sure, TJ, and if I had to give what I’m about to say a title, it would probably be “WHAT WAS I THINKING?” Let me explain by starting with this Scripture:

“‘It is not good for man to be alone.’”

I can never read this particular Scripture without a smile. Had I been the one translating the Hebrew, I’d have put: The Lord God said, “What was I thinking!”

The idea of a man without a woman’s influence has been the underlying theme of many a romance novel. What is it about men that makes us women want to roll up our sleeves and civilize them?

What is it about men that makes them recognize on some subconscious level that they need that civilizing influence?

I’m always on the lookout for fascinating little tidbits in our country’s history that I can use as the foundation for my novels. And I find myself gravitating toward the ones where there is an all-male society, then suddenly—gasp—a woman arrives.

1644: The Crown wanted to establish Jamestown. The men said, “We aren’t staying here without women!” So the Crown emptied the prisons of all their female felons. Shipped them to Jamestown and sold them as brides for their weight in tobacco leafage (because tobacco was the cash crop). The women became known as Tobacco Brides.

That really happened. Totally true. I fictionalized what happened to one of those women. (A Bride Most Begrudging)

1849: In the early California mining camps, there were no women. So the men threw themselves into the most colorful and violent “social life” ever to flourish in America ... then came the women.

That really happened. Totally true. I fictionalized what it would be like to be the very FIRST woman to hit San Francisco’s shores. (The Measure of a Lady)

1866: A man in the Washington Territory could have 640 acres of land for free IF he had a wife. So an entrepreneur told the bachelors, “For every man who pays me $300, I’ll bring him a bride from the east.”

The men paid up. The entrepreneur went east. But he told the women he’d guarantee them jobs as domestics and he made them pay their way. Never mentioned anything about being a bride.

The women signed up. He took them to Seattle. Dropped them off.

The women went to their “employer’s” door and knocked—expecting a job. The bachelor opened it expecting a bride.

That really happened. Totally true. I fictionalized what happened to one of those women. (A Bride in the Bargain)

So, what about you, IMHO readers? What are some of your favorite mail-order bride stories? Or stories where a lone woman enters an all-male society? What is it about these stories that intrigues you?

IMHO: Those are great questions, Dee! Okay, folks, you heard the lady…leave your comments for Dee and get the ball rolling. Remember, this month the gift basket will include autographed books from Deeanne Gist, Kathryn Albright, Gemma Halliday, and Kathy Carmichael, as well as a $20 gift card from Target to get you started on gifts for June weddings, or even Dad’s and Grads. Comment away!



At Home Mommy Knits said...

I love reading historical fiction because it is so interesting some of the things that happened in the past, especially with woman. Thanks for doing the interview, very interesting.

Margay Leah Justice said...

I don't really have a favorite story with this theme, but yours sound very interesting, so I would have to start there.

Becca said...

My favorite mail order bride story would have to be Sarah, Plain and Tall. Both the book and the movie are good. There is something about women who are willing to pick up and leave everything they know to go to such an uncertain future that intrigues me. I don't think I would ever be able to do something like that.

Christie Craig said...

Hi TJ and Deeanne!

Thanks for the post guys. Deeanne, you always have the most amazing covers.


Anonymous said...

I read a story by LaVeryl Spencer about a mail-order bride that was really good. I think it was made into a movie for tv.
Enjoyed reading the comments by Deeanna

Kathryn Albright said...

Hi Dee,

I haven't read any of your books yet, but you are definitely on my TBR list. I like stories that have historical facts throughout (I write them too!)so I am glad to see that yours have that (and that they are set in America!) Congratulations on all your success. It's great to see the inspirational genre doing so well!

JeanMP said...

I don't have a favorite mail order bride story. But I will definitely be checking out your books, they sound so interesting

jcp said...

I enjoy your books especially your newest one.

Jody F. said...

Some of my favorite mail-order bride stories came from Geralyn Dawson and Alexis Harrington. I like the stories because the relationships are not based on looks initially, the couples connect through words. It feels quite romantic to me.

Deeanne Gist said...

Oh, LaVryle Spencer is who I want to be when I grow up!!! I know exactly which book you are talking about, too, though the title slips my mind.

Right back atchya, Christie!

I love historical novels set in America, too, Kathryn. Have you read any of Pamela Morsi's old historicals? Ohmygosh. Sooooo good. And also set in America.

I am embarrassed to say I've never read Sarah Plain and Tall. I'll put that on my TBR list and will also look for Geralyn & Alexis' books. Do you have titles for those, Jody?

LuAnn said...

I really enjoy reading stories about the old west, especially the Oregon Trail.

Marie said...

I love learning about authors who are new to me and historical fiction is my favorite -- I look forward to reading this!

Judy said...

Hi Deeanne, I have to say I loved Sarah Plain and Tall also. I wish LaVryle Spencer was still writing. At least they are bringing some of her books back. I am looking forward to reading your books.

Unknown said...

Hello Deeanne, welcome to IMHO! I really enjoyed your post. I love reading the inspriational line of books and yours sound great! I was wondering it you enjoy doing the research for your book? I love history myself and historicals are my favorite read. Thanks for sharing your books with us!

Deeanne Gist said...

I spend 6 mos researching each book, Virginia. And by the time I'm finished with that, I'm ready to start writing.

Then, after 6 mos of writing, I'm ready to start researching! So, yes. I love the research and sometimes have to MAKE myself stop because it is soooo interesting.

My only complaint is that I don't ever get to include all the really cool stuff I find! Still, it's fun to do.

TJ Bennett said...

Hey, everyone, let's give a big hand to Deeanne for stopping by IMHO today! *much clapter here*

Thanks, Dee, and everyone who commented. I know you'll be commenting still for a while for a chance to win the "Weddings and Beginnings" gift basket, but remember to come back next Wednesday and visit with Kathryn Albright, Harlequin Historical writer of the stories set in the American West. And in between, I may give something away, so check back often.


Gwynlyn said...

I was an avid fan of "Here Come the Brides" as a kid, and have watched Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (or seven bros for seven hos, as my youngest calls it) dozens of times (love Howard Keel and Katherine Grayson together), but can't recall the name of the mail order bride story I liked so much. It's on my shelves somewhere.

Great interview. I love history, but it's the people that really make it interesting.

Our Scoop said...

Huge fan of yours Deanne! I have all of your books and have read them multiple times. I just got your new book and couldn't put it down. You have such an amazing way of writing. I am very used to Christian fiction. I have grown up (32 years old) reading Janette Oke, Karen Kingsbury, Lori Wick, Lynne Austin, Terri Blackstock...and I love all of them. But your novels have trumped over all of those. I just am so impressed by your stories. They deal with such real emotions!

SAHSHA said...

Dee: I have read the TROUBLE series and found it so refreshing and amazing. Loved them! Loved learning about the oil industry beginnings. Fascinating. I enjoy all historical romances. I really like stories about a captive, maybe kidnapped girl who falls in love with her misunderstood captor. Nothing really captures me as a favorite except your Trouble series though. Where else can I find historical novels about the O&G industry?
-Sahsha's Mummy

Maureen said...

I don't really know of any true mail order bride story but I do like to read them. Congratulations on the new book.

Deeanne Gist said...

Ooooh. I haven't watched Seven Brides for Seven Brothers in such a long time! I'll have to put that in the cue!

Thx for that encouragement, girls!

Carol L. said...

I love meeting "new to me" Authors and their books. I love History and romance so I will put your books on my TRL. I enjoyed your interview. Nice meeting you here Deeanne.

kmt1976 said...

And then there was Abigail Adams!!!

Patricia Barraclough said...

I read A BRIDE MOST BEGRUDGING after buying it for our library and before putting it on the shelf. You did a very nice job portraying the times and the circumstances of the people. I like your selection of topics. Women were often put in situations by chance or circumstance. The mail order bride topic has always intrigued me. Neither party knew what they were getting. It could turn out well or be a disaster. You wonder how desperate these women and men must have been for companionship and a life mate.
I look forward to reading A BRIDE IN THE BARGAIN and THE MEASURE OF A LADY.
Keep up the wonderful writing!

mrsshukra said...

Deeanne Gist is a new author I would love to discover! I can't really remember a mail order bride story that I've read but I like romances about mail order brides. Thanks! delilah0180 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Martha Lawson said...

What a great interview! Very informative and interesting. I don't really have a favorite mail order bride story, but I'm sure going to check your books out! Have a good summer. Martha

Lindsey said...

Aha, I figured out where to comment. lol Silly me. So copying that prior comment here:

This was a great interview, I love hearing about the meaning behind novels, and why people write characters the way they do. :-) I had to smile, too, at “‘It is not good for man to be alone.’” - I was just telling my husband the other day that it's no WONDER God made woman... think of how man would be without her... this was all coming from frustration at Tony Almeda in 24, though. lol I don't want to give anything away in case someone hasn't seen the latest season yet, but it's MADDENING. lol

As for my favorite mail-order bride story... well, a memorable one is the one by Janette Oke because it was my first - I was so fascinated with the concept after that and still am! The idea of two strangers meeting and marrying is just crazy, I guess that's why it's intriguing. I definitely would not want to be in one of those bride's shoes. It's all very well if they fall in love, but what if you end up with... I don't know. lol See, this is why it's interesting. Anything could happen!

Thanks for the giveaway!

ladyufshalott at

Deeanne Gist said...

LIndsey, I haven't watched Season 7 of 24 yet, but I saw my Blockbuster has it in!! My husband has some travel coming up, then we're going to watch it every night until we finish it!

I always LOVED Tony. But I was at a friends house and they had it on their TV and --gasp-- I couldn't BELIEVE it!!

Thanks for your comments, everybody!