CFBA Blog Tour - Robin Jones Gunn and Sisterchicks Go Brit
You know, I'd always found the books in this series to be hilarious and full of winsome characters. But after meeting Robin face to face last year in Dallas, I know why. She just exudes personality. No wonder her characters are such a pure joy to read. I'm sure you'll enjoy them too.
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
Sisterchicks Go Brit
(Multnomah Publishers - May 20, 2008)
by Robin Jones Gunn
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robin grew up in Orange County, California and has lived in all kinds of interesting places, including Reno and Hawaii.
Robin's first novel was published in 1988, and she has continued to write between two to five books a year. Her 63 published books include 47 novels, all of which are still in print. Sales of her popular Christy Miller Series, Glenbrooke Series and Sisterchicks Series, including Sisterchicks in Gondolas and the new Katie Weldon Series including Peculiar Treasures, are all approaching four million copies sold, with translations in nine languages.
Robin's passion for storytelling and travel are evident in all her books, especially the Sisterchicks novels, and she has received thousands of letters from readers around the world who have come to know Christ through her writing. She sees this as her dream come true. Her novels are traveling to foreign lands and her characters are doing what she always longed to do; telling people about God's love.
She and her husband currently live near Portland, Oregon and have been married for 30 years. They spent their first 22 years of marriage working together in youth ministry, and enjoying life with their son and daughter who are now both grown.
As a frequent speaker at local and international events, one of Robin's favorite topics is how God is the Relentless Lover and we are His first love. She delights in telling stories of how God uses fiction to change lives.
Robin is the recipient of the Christy Award, the Mt. Hermon Pacesetter Award, the Sherwood E. Wirt Award and is a Gold Medallion Finalist. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Media Associates International and the Board of Directors for Jerry Jenkins' Christian Writers' Guild.
SISTERCHICKS GO BRIT
by Robin Jones Gunn
Published by Multnomah Publishers
ABOUT THE BOOK
SISTERCHICK® n: a friend who shares the deepest wonders of your heart, loves you like a sister, and provides a reality check when you’re being a brat.
Two midlife mamas hop over to jolly ole England and encounter so much more than the usual tourist stops. Liz does have a bit of a childhood crush on Big Ben, and she has hoped to "meet" him ever since her fifteenth birthday. Kellie dreams of starting an interior design business and figures Liz needs to be a part of that equation–a calculation that hasn’t added up for Liz yet.
Nothing on the excursion goes the way these two friends had envisioned. They start with a village pancake race and end up being held for questioning on The Underground. Kellie and Liz take a wild tour through the land of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien and then find themselves swept up, up, and away in a hot air balloon over the Cotswalds. London beckons with the Tower of London, Windsor Castle, shopping at Portabella Road in Knotting Hill, and of course, reservations at the Ritz for a posh high tea.
A few detours along the way and the possibility of being lost in a London fog of wonderment aren't enough to stop these two Sisterchicks! Each step of their regal journey is lined with evidence of God's gracious compassion, and both come to realize that God knows their every wish. He is the One who planted every dream in their hearts.
And, oh, what a surprise awaits them when they return home!
If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE.
"Robin has done it again! You and your Sisterchicks will love taking this new adventure together!"
- Karen Kingsbury, New York Times best-selling author
"My only complaint about Robin's latest is that now I want to hop a plane to England! But combine a cup of Earl Grey tea and this charming story and you're halfway there. Another delightful tale about women helping women to live their lives to the fullest."
- Melody Carlson, author of A Mile in My Flip-Flops
Order your copy today!
1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?
As with all the Sisterchicks® novels I wanted to tell a story of friendship between two women and show what happens when they get out of their comfort zone. They see God as much bigger than they ever thought and they open up their hearts to each other and to the Lord.
Of course, I had to go to England and do the necessary all-important research. My editor, Julee, came with me and we had a fantastic time. The first few days we stayed with another good friend of mine, Marion, who lives in England. She showed us the sights Sisterchicks style!
We also met with a group of British Sisterchicks readers who called themselves the Blessed Chicks. We had a silly, frilly tea party at a very old hotel in Bedford and ended our time together in prayer. It was such a treat! Sisterchicks are the same around the world.
To give readers a sneak peek at the story behind the story, I've added a scrapbook/travel journal entry at the back of Sisterchicks Go Brit!. You'll find a photo of a special group of women who call themselves the Blessed Chicks. It was one of our sillier moments.
2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?
Interesting question. I think every story I tell has a distinctive overlapping of true life experiences and feelings mixed with the imaginary and embellished adventures. Our real life tour of Oxford and all things Tolkien and Lewis was an especially memorable day. The account of Oxford that appears in the novel needed very little embellishing over our real life experience. It was crazy!
Oh, and I do have a bit of a crush on Big Ben like Kellie did. Watching his handsome face light up for me on a summer evening was definitely an experience from my life that influenced Kellie.
As far as traits that were Liz and Kellie's alone I think one of the traits was Liz's interest in decorating. Liz is like my sister in that way. My sister is an artist when it comes to putting together a beautiful room or combining colors. I'm learning more and more how to do that but I don't think it comes naturally for me as it did for Liz or as it does for my sister.
3. What themes exist in Sisterchicks Go Brit that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?
You know what’s funny about this? So often I'll set out with a key thought or theme and think it's being woven through the story as I write. Then I get a letter from a reader telling me that God showed them this and that and whatever else while they were reading and I am amazed. I know I didn't have that thought in mind as I wrote but clearly God's Spirit used whatever was there to touch them in a tender place in their heart. And that's what really matters to me in the end.
The verse I selected for Sisterchicks Go Brit! is from Joshua 23:14 in the paraphrased version of The Message. "Deep in your hearts you know that every promise of the LORD your God has come true. Not a single one has failed!" That says it all as far as what I had in mind as a theme that developed as the story progressed. I wanted Liz and Kellie to look over their lives this far and see how faithful and trustworthy the Lord had been to them. They had every reason to trust Him for whatever was next in His mysterious plan for them.
4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?
I don't remember a part that was particularly difficult to write but the whole book was difficult in one way and effortless in another. Let me explain. The effortless part of the story was that I had the privilege of going to England and gathering ideas and information that I came home and pieced together for the tale. That part was fun and super energizing and rewarding. The difficult part was that this story turned out to be written in two separate chunks of life. I got about half way through and then due to schedule changes and publishing adjustments, I had to put this book aside and go on to work on another project. When I came back to Sisterchicks Go Brit! I felt like it took me awhile to get back into the locale. So much time had passed. It was much easier when I was writing immediately after the trip to England. As I was putting my attention to the second half of the book it took awhile to start to "hear" the characters talking to me again.
I remember getting up on morning and as I was brushing my teeth I could "see" the two friends having tea at the Ritz. I could hear what they were saying to each other in my imagination. That's a happy moment for a writer – when you're allowed back in to the story after fragmenting your imagination for a stretch. In the end, I think it was over two and a half years from when Julee and I went to London and when they book finally released. With the first six Sisterchicks books it had been a shorter stretch between the research, the writing and the release, which makes the stories feel fresher. At least it seemed that way with the fifth Sisterchicks novel, Sisterchicks in Gondolas!. I wrote the whole book fairly quickly right after returning from Venice. The experience and location was fresh and on the tip of my imagination. That book won a Christy award.
5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?
My next book to be released is On a Whim, book #2 in the Katie Weldon series. These stories have a special little corner in my heart because I always wanted to find out what happened with Christy Miller, Todd, Sierra and the especially Rick. These are all characters from the teen series I've written for the past 20 years. Katie definitely has her own voice. It's so fun to write about her. After that the next Christmas novella comes out: Engaging Father Christmas.
Then next spring we should be seeing the next Sisterchicks novel -- #8. It's Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes! I recently finished writing that one so the two Sisterchicks, Summer and Noelle, are still near and dear. I was thinking about them yesterday when I saw a tulip on a postage stamp and thought about their visit to the tulip fields in Holland. I know these characters aren't real but sometimes they sure seem like it. Especially after I've spent so much time writing their story and then all of a sudden the story is over. It's like I can still see them and find myself imagining what they're doing now. I guess that's why I've written so many sequels!
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I really appreciate your hospitality, Tiff. Thanks for inviting me to your blog. I'd like to return the favor by inviting all your readers to come visit www.robingunn.com. I'm celebrating 23 years in Christian publishing this month and am holding a drawing on August 1st. All your readers need to do is come by my website at www.robingunn.com and sign up to receive the Robin's Nest e-Newsletter. Everyone who signs up during July will be entered in a drawing to win an autographed copy of one of my books. Winners will be notified by August 1st via email. We'll be drawing 23 winners so come on over and sign up!
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Thank you, Robin, for being in the spotlight with us.
Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Sisterchicks Go Brit.
If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.
Make sure you leave your email address (name [at] domainname [dot] com/net) or that there's a way to contact you. Otherwise, you won't be entered. Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)
And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.
This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.
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