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Author Interview with Deeanne Gist

 

Christa’s (flchris) Author Interview with Deeanne Gist

Christa: First, I’d like to say Thank You for agreeing to an interview for the PBS Blog. I’ve read all of your books, so I’m a little nervous and more than a little star-struck to be communicating with one of my favorite writers!

Deeanne: It’s my pleasure, sweetie.

 

Christa: 2010 was a great year for Deeanne Gist fans, because you published not one, but two terrific books. Maid to Match, set at Biltmore Estates in Asheville, NC explored the life and sacrifices of the below stairs servants.  What intrigued you about that setting?

Deeanne: I’ve always been fascinated with the upstairs-downstairs way of life and while many books touch on the lives of the servants, there weren’t too many whose protagonists were the servants–unless it was a rags-to-riches story. I thought it would be fun to explore the lives of the servants  within their own community–without the rags-to-riches scenario. On another note, I have visited many, many historical homes. Most all of them are run by historical societies and are furnished with pieces “from the era.” But Biltmore is still owned by the Vanderbilt family. So every piece of furniture, the knickknacks, the draperies, even the pots and pans, are the original items the turn-of-the-century Vanderbilts used. That  was such an amazing treat. Add to that the enormity & grandeur of the house, along with the visionaries who built it and dwelled in it and you  have a true national treasure. If you haven’t been, it’s a not-to-be-missed destination.

 

Christa: The turning point in the book for me was when Mack cleaned up the vandalized dressing room for Tillie. Can you share a time when someone has done such a humbling, self-sacrificing act for you?

Deeanne: I’ve been married for 27 years to a wonderful, thoughtful, self-sacrificing man. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many times he’s charged in on a white horse to save me. It would take volumes to record them all. Suffice  it to say, he’s my real-life hero. 🙂

 

Christa: You also published Beguiled in 2010, which brought a lot of “firsts” to your novels…first crime mystery, first contemporary, first collaboration (with J. Mark Bertrand). Was that scary to go outside your box?

Deeanne: It was something I’d wanted to do for a long time and having Mark at my side took the fear-factor out. I trust him implicitly.

 

Christa: What was the best and/or the hardest thing about collaborating with another writer?

Deeanne: The best thing was that it was Mark. He’s an incredibly talented writer. His strengths complement my weaknesses. He has a marvelous sense of humor. And he’s one of my dearest friends. The hardest thing was him being in South Dakota and me being in Houston. I wish we’d been in the same location. I missed the face-to-face time.

 

Christa: What did you learn from the experience?

Deeanne: I learned why I prefer writing historicals to suspense. In many cases, I found myself shying away from the creepy parts (which, of course, make it suspenseful). Thank goodness Mark was there to fill in those gaps. He’s a master at “creepy.”

 

Christa: Do you have other contemporaries or collaborations in the works?

Deeanne: I have some ideas for some contemporaries I might like to write someday, but for now and the near future, I plan to stick with historicals.

 

Christa: Your books are often called “Edgy Christian Fiction”. On PBS, we sometimes refer to it as “Not Your Grandma’s Christian Fiction.” You’ve dealt with topics ranging from child abuse to prostitution and of course, sexual temptation. These are romance novels, after all!  What can we learn about these modern issues by exploring them in a historical context?

Deeanne: Whether we’re reading our Bibles or our history books, the human race seems to struggle with the same issues generation after generation. Sometimes it’s comforting to know that somebody in the 1800s felt just like you do now and that if they could overcome, than perhaps you can, too.

 

Christa: What other “edgy” topics might we see you address in the future?

Deeanne: I never know from book to book. I start with a premise and a location, then read biographies of women from that time to see what they were dealing with. Then I go from there.

 

Christa: I’ll admit that the bathtub scene in A Bride Most Begrudging is one of my personal favorites, but some reviewers have said that your novels are too graphic and cross the line for the Christian audience. How do you handle or respond to that criticism and does it influence what you write?

Deeanne: Christian women–and in particularly our singles–are constantly faced with sexual temptation and they might not feel comfortable bringing up the issues of premarital sex and infidelity in their Ladies Bible Studies and small groups. I, however, can use Christian romance to reveal and deal with sensitive issues like these.

To do that successfully, however, I must have a bit more rope than our readers might be accustomed to, yet still being careful to glorify God.

That said, I go before the Lord and ask Him to convict me immediately when I write something out of His will. That is all done well before the book ever hits the shelves. So, if my published work offends someone, the Lord has already told me, repeatedly, that I am not to worry about pleasing man. I have an audience of One to please. And if He is okay with it, then I am to be okay with it.

 

Christa: You’ve become a bit of an expert in Victorian era fashion!  How did that interest come about?

Deeanne: The truth is the clothes. I love to shop. I love to dress up. I love pretty things. And Victorian fashions are lots prettier than what the pilgrims were wearing. So there it is. You busted me.

 

Christa: Were there differences in the American application of the Victorian trends during that time?

Deeanne: Yes. Just like there’s a difference in the British vs. American ways of doing things today.

 

Christa: All of your books are set in different regions and periods in US History. Do you have any interest in settings outside the US?

Deeanne: No. I love American history. I have no interest in veering into other countries with my writing–though I love to read books set in all kinds of locales.

 

Christa: Think of the cool travel you would get to do and call it “research”!

Deeanne: I’d rather do cool travel and call it “vacation”! LOL.

 

Christa: How do you select the time periods or settings for your books?

Deeanne: I’m always on the prowl for interesting little tidbits in our country’s history that we never really learned about in the classroom.

 

Christa: Do you have a favorite of the ones that you have done?

Deeanne: You know, I truly don’t. I enjoyed them all. I know. Boring answer. Sorry!

 

Christa: You seem to go above and beyond in reaching out to your fans…including going on vacation with them in the “Getaway with Dee”! How do your fans react to those opportunities?

Deeanne: I’ve had an overwhelming response from them. But the truth is, I love it just as much as they do!

 

Christa: Why are they important to you?

Deeanne: Because they were stitched together in their mothers’ wombs by the hand of God. And that, to me, is super cool.

 

Christa: What can you tell us about your new book coming out in October, Love on the Line?

Deeanne: Rural switchboard operator Georgie Gail is proud of her independence in a man’s world…which makes it twice as vexing when the telephone company sends a man to look over her shoulder. Dashing Luke Palmer is more than he appears, though. He’s a Texas Ranger working undercover to infiltrate a notorious gang of train robbers. Repairing telephones and tangling with this tempestuous woman is the last thing he wants to do. But when his stakeout puts Georgie in peril, he realizes more than his job is on the line. Love on the Line will be released this October.

 

Christa: Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview. I am so looking forward to Love on the Line this fall! 🙂

 

Thank you, Christa and Ms. Gist for a great interview!

Ms. Gist has generously offered a personalized autographed copy of her book The Trouble With Brides to a member who comments on her interview. A winner will be chosen at random. Good Luck!

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33 Responses to “Author Interview with Deeanne Gist”

  1. Jerelyn H. (I-F-Letty) says:

    Great interview Christa! C/F isn’t my thing but it is interesting to get to hear from the author. I am intrigued now.

  2. Holly Daigle says:

    Great interview! I love Deeanne’s books and I would love an autographed copy! ♥

  3. Aveina says:

    “the Lord has already told me, repeatedly, that I am not to worry about pleasing man. I have an audience of One to please. And if He is okay with it, then I am to be okay with it.”

    LOVE BUTTON.

  4. CarolM says:

    Deeanne – I too love the line about God having already told you repeatedly it’s okay. While you [and Julie Lessman] are my heroes in that department, I hadn’t really thought of it in those terms. To my knees I go… =D

    And though I already have a copy – I’d love another one. Then I can give one away ;).

    Carol

  5. Jacque Hall says:

    I absolutely LOVE Deeanne’s work! She manages to write wonderful and compelling romance stories without them ‘crossing the line’. There just aren’t many books like her’s out there!

  6. Lyndee Henderson says:

    Love your books, Deeanne, and I admit that I get sucked in by the covers. I always wonder if you ever have input in them.

  7. Sheila says:

    Thanks for the wonderful interview and giveaway! I must say, I have been a Gist fan since I first read “A Bride Most Begrudging” and have loved every book since.

    Unlike some others out there, I have never thought of your work as too graphic or that it ever “crossed the Line”. We as Christians are real people, with real lives and I think you have always handled the more intense topics with truth while firmly reminding us of God’s will, words and ways.

    I pray that you keep on doing what you are doing Deanne, as your writing has been a blessing in my life! 🙂

  8. christina yoder says:

    Deanne gist has become my favorite author. I love her realistic approach on the issues she writes on and her sense of humor in the books. I usually get sucked in the storyline within the first couple pages.

  9. Cindy G. (dadena) says:

    Thanks for a great interview! I’ve enjoyed Deeanne’s books and it is interesting to hear her thoughts about them. Looking forward to reading more!

  10. Carmen R. (carmenrose) says:

    Great interview. I am so excited for Love on the Line! Sounsd awesome! And, I would love to win the autographed copy!

  11. Leeann Boone says:

    I love your books Dee!

  12. Cozette M. (CozSnShine) says:

    Christa, what a great interview! I love knowing about this author that I’ve read so many times. Can’t wait for her new book.

    BTW Christa – you are a very good interviewer!

  13. Stephanie G. (thestephanieloves) says:

    Hi Deanne! I’ll admit you’re a new author for me — haven’t read any of your books, but I definitely look forward to now 🙂 Welcome to PaperBackSwap!

    Stephanie

  14. Nikki Greis says:

    Great interview, thanks for the giveaway!

  15. Phoebe says:

    Thank you very much for doing this interview. I discovered Deeanne’s work this past year and have LOVED it. Thank you, Deeanne, for using your gift for the glory of God! I love how you have written about things that we all struggle with. 🙂 Your historical fiction is always a fun read.

  16. Angie Lambert says:

    I have read all of Deeanne Gist’s books, and have loved every one! I think what I love most about them is that they are NOT my “Grandma’s Christian fiction!” I love the drama, and the romance, and yes, the little bit of spice that she adds to them! I enjoy having something to read that is slightly spicey, yet tasteful, and not something that would make me ashamed for reading it. I think the added spice makes them more realistic to contemporary readers even though they are almost all historical. Thank-you!

  17. I love,love ,love Gist, she is my fav author. Thanks for the interview

  18. Nayda T. says:

    Great interview! I’ve read most of Deanne’s books (haven’t read Beguiled yet, but it’s on its way to me). So I was thrilled to read the interview.

  19. Rose Ann M. (moonspinners) says:

    Great interview, Christa. I found Deeanne Gist on PBS! I’m reading all of her books and very much look forward to new ones.

  20. Teresa G. (tgriffis) , says:

    Great interview! Christian American Historical Romance is my favorite. I’ve read a couple of Deanne’s books and loved them. I’ve never been offended by a little spice in Christian romance books. We are human, and if it’s included tastefully, I don’t have a problem with it. Keep writing, Deanne.

  21. Christa says:

    This was such a great interview. Thanks!

  22. Shayla B. (ShaylaB) , says:

    Great interview! I loved getting to know a little more about this new to me author. I read my first Gist book earlier this year, Maid to Match, & loved it I look forward to getting my hands on others by her.

  23. Christa H. (flchris) Denham Spgs, LA says:

    Thanks for the nice comments about the interview. Deeanne was so nice and it was a pleasure working with her on this!

  24. Debbie C. (grannyc) , says:

    Thanks for doing this interview Christa! I love reading about the authors that I read. I don’t read a lot of Historical CF but I do love Deanne’s books.

  25. Deeanne Gist says:

    Oh, golly. Ya’ll are so so enthusiastic! Thank you so much. It means a lot. I had a great time. @Lyndee, as for input on the covers, the author has no control over the cover or the title. My publisher is always good about asking for my suggestions and ideas, but ultimately, it is completely up to them. Great question. 🙂

    Good luck on the giveaway everyone!

  26. Shellie F. (aylamonster) , says:

    I’ve been a fan of her work but now I’m a fan of her. Thanks Christa for doing this interview with Deeanne Gist!!

  27. Shannon G. (forever913) says:

    I would love to try “Not Your Grandma’s Christian Fiction”. I have only read one other book in the Christian Fiction category and it seemed completely unrealistic to me.

  28. Becki (beebs) says:

    I have yet to read a Deeanne Gist novel, but after reading this interview I think I love this lady. Great job, Christa.

  29. Christy says:

    Deeanne is such a marvelous writer! I have read almost all of her books, and she is definitely one of my favorites. I will never forget when I read Courting Trouble how much I laughed at this one scene…I literally laughed so hard, I cried!

  30. Katy (srfbluemama) says:

    Great interview! I have read a couple of Deeanne’s books and have enjoyed them. 🙂

  31. Julie D. (ecomama) says:

    I love it when books reference places I’ve been! Thanks for sharing!

  32. Kim F. says:

    I haven’t read any books by this author yet but would love to after reading this interview! Looks like just my cup of tea!

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