Author Interview (and a Giveaway!): Stephenia H. McGee

May 11, 2017 Author Interview, giveaway, historical, Stephenia McGee 66

I have so enjoyed getting to know today’s guest over the last year or so, as she’s participated in several of the group giveaways I’ve hosted!

Author of six historical novels, Stephenia H. McGee has a fascination with hoop skirts, Greek revival homes, quirky Southern sayings, and home-grown recipes. She lives in Mississippi with her husband and two boys where she writes stories of faith, redemption, and life in the Deep South.

You can connect with Stephenia on her website, Facebook and Twitter.

Her new book, In His Eyes, released May 5, 2017 from By the Vine Press.

Her heart sought shelter. Her soul found home.

Ella Whitaker rescues a newborn from the dying arms of a woman of ill repute and at long last she has someone to love. In need of a wet nurse, she arrives at Belmont Plantation just as Federal soldiers demand to speak to the owner. Thinking quickly, Ella masquerades as a Yankee officer’s widow in order to have a roof over her head and a home for the child.

Major Westley Remington has dedicated his life to serving his country. The Civil War has divided his family, torn his thoughts of glory, and left him with a wound that may never heal. Westley returns home on medical furlough to settle his father’s estate at Belmont Plantation, only to find his home is being run by a fiery and independent woman—one many believe to be his wife. Now he is faced with a conflict he’s never been trained to fight, and one she has yet to conquer.

 

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Hi Stephenia! Welcome back to the blog! I start all of my guests out with a fast four:

apples or oranges

Stephenia: Apples, because you dip them in caramel.

Carrie: Um yes please!

winter or summer

Stephenia: Summer. I utterly despise being cold.

Carrie: I’m the exact opposite – I utterly despise being hot lol.

dogs or cats

Stephenia: What? Oh, no. I love both… I guess dog, since my 14 yr old pup was my wedding present from my hubby.

Carrie: Excellent choice – of an answer and a wedding present!

coffee or tea

Stephenia:  I have to say tea, because I drink it the most, but I still drink coffee every morning. 😉

Carrie: Isn’t that a prerequisite for writers anyway? 😉

Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?

Stephenia: Juggling! I juggle writing, a publishing company, teaching fiction, and a young family with super busy boys. 

Carrie: That is definitely your superpower!!

When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head first?

Stephenia:  Straight for the Christian fiction (if I’m in Barnes and Noble) and then to—as you might have guessed—the historicals. But I also love almost any genre, and I will read just about anything with an amazing cover and a killer description. I have also been known to run into Lifeway and get lost in the land of bargain books, only to emerge an hour or so later with a couple of armloads….

Carrie: the land of bargain books is a marvelous place to be lost in 🙂

Writing spaces are as diverse as authors and books. Where is your favorite space to write?

Stephenia: When the weather is nice, I enjoy writing out on my screen porch where I can enjoy the sounds of nature. When it’s cold, I stay in my office. It is decorated with bookish things and next to my big bookshelf, I have posters of all of my book covers hanging on the wall. It’s my inspiration space.

Carrie: A screen porch is perfect! You enjoy the outside without all the bugs and critters 😀

Your latest novel, In His Eyes, is set at the Belmont Plantation. Tell us a little bit about the plantation and why you decided to set your novel there!

Stephenia: So, this is a fun story. I knew I needed a house in the Mississippi Delta near the river, so I started Googling houses. I saw this one very old picture of Belmont, and not only was it beautiful, it stood exactly where I needed it to for the story. When I clicked on the link, I discovered the house had recently been purchased, restored, and opened as a bed and breakfast. I dug around and found the owner’s name (who happens to have been born in the small town I now live in) and sent him an email. I told him who I am and asked him if he would be interested in discussing the possibility of featuring Belmont on one of my novels. He sent back a reply later that day and—this is such a God thing—showed me a picture of one of my other books (The Whistle Walk) that he was currently reading while on a business trip! He said he would love to see Belmont on my next book.

A few weeks later, I took a trip up there and just loved the place. They showered us in Southern hospitality and even took the time to drive me all over the county so I could get a good dose of the local history. If you ever find yourself in Greenville, MS, it is definitely a place you want to check out. We are doing a launch party there on May 27th where readers get to tour the house, take pictures with the cover model in her dress, and get autographed books. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

Carrie: Ok. That is an AWESOME story!!!

Ella and Westley grew up in very different situations. What do they have in common?

Stephenia: They both tend to be a bit stubborn, and both of them let fears and insecurities dictate their words and actions.

Carrie: I know nothing about either of those things. (I also never use sarcasm lol)

What do you most want readers to take away from In His Eyes?

Stephenia: I think we all struggle with feelings of inadequacy at times. Sometimes we forget who we are and whose we are, and it can lead to all manner of insecurities. In In His Eyes, Ella struggles with these things as well. Writing this book was a journey for me, one where God gently led me to discover some important truths along with Ella, and He encouraged me to never forget that no matter what else goes on in life—good or bad—my identity is always grounded in Him. It’s my hope that there is a reader out there somewhere that He has the same message for and that this story can help point them toward Him.

Carrie: Yes. So true.

Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me, my friend! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.

Stephenia: My readers have been asking for a new Ironwood book for quite some time now, so…my next release will be Ironwood Plantation Family Saga book three. It will take place sometime during the 1880s and will feature Lydia and Ruth’s (from The Whistle Walk) daughters. It will release in the fall of 2017. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter to keep up with the details if you are a fan of The Whistle Walk.

Thanks so much for having me, Carrie! It’s been a blast.

Carrie: Come back anytime! Like… next week maybe 😉


Stephenia H. McGee is giving away a copy of In His Eyes to one of my readers! (Signed print copy for US readers or an ebook for internationals) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

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What about you? What’s a historic place in your state that you like to visit?

Carrie

66 Responses to “Author Interview (and a Giveaway!): Stephenia H. McGee”

  1. Helene

    A historic place I’d like to visit? The Mountain Man museum in Pinedale! Or the old prison in Rawlins. I hear they had Billy the Kid there. Got to love Wyoming!

  2. Carolyn Tye

    I’m not sure if there’s a historical place in my home state if Georgia that I haven’t visited. If there were, I’d love to go there.

  3. Rebecca Maney

    Stephenia is one of my new favorite authors. Great post! North Carolina is full of history; from the mountains to the beach. But the Biltmore House in Asheville is one of my favorites.

    • Stephenia H. McGee

      Thank you, Rebecca! *Big grin over here!* I’ve never been to Biltmore, but I have seen pictures and it is beautiful.

  4. Janet Ferguson

    Waving at my Mississippi buddy! Great interview! I love that story about the Belmont owner!!
    My husband and I went on our honeymoon and a couple of anniversary trips to Natchez, Mississippi, which is full of historic homes. It holds a special place in my heart.

  5. Kailey Bechtel

    I love visiting Gettysburg. It’s only a half hour away from where I live.

    • Carrie

      i have always loved going to Gettysburg!

  6. Pam Potter

    Hi Stephania, I can’t wait to read this book. I’ve read all the others. Historical places: I live in Wilmington, NC. I was raised in Brunswick County. My best friend’s father was a caretaker at Orton Plantation. I grew up playing in and around the plantation. My daughter was married at the chapel there. Unfortunately or fortunately, depends on how you feel about, a private investor bought Orton a few years ago and is restoring it to the rice plantation it once was. But, no longer open to the public. I loved that place.

    • Stephenia H. McGee

      Thank you so much, Pam! I’m so glad you enjoyed them. I bet those are good memories. Plantation homes are so beautiful.

  7. Katie Andersen

    Hmm, I live WAY up north in Minnesota, so there isn’t much of national landmarks around here, I am not by the eastern side or anything. There was a tree at a nearby State Park that was the 3rd largest Jackpine that I liked to go visit, but sadly, I believe it is dead now.

  8. Kay Garrett

    I would love to go to the Arkansas Post National Memorial in Gillett, Arkansas. It’s the Historic Arkansas Post that was the site of the last battle of the American Revolution

    Don’t know if this counts or not but I’ve never been to Crater of Diamonds State Park where you can actually dig for and keep any diamonds you find. Often talk about going, but when we have time off and want to relax digging in the dirt doesn’t seem to fit the bill at the time. 🙂

    • Carrie

      i read that as “Arkansas Pot National Memorial” … LOL that puts a different spin on it 😉

  9. Debbie Clatterbuck

    Actually, I have never visited any historic place in my home state of Ohio. But when I lived in Missouri, I visited the caves in Hannibal, Missouri.

    • Carrie

      oh Debbie! You should go to the freedom museum in Cincy if you ever get the chance!

  10. Connie Saunders

    The Henry Clay Estate at Lexington, Kentucky is a wonderful historic place not far from my home.

    • Carrie

      Do you know I’ve never been there?? I’m 15 minutes away, if that, and I’ve never been.

  11. Becky Hriv

    I love to visit a (very)little place near where I grew up…Thomas Edison’s birthplace 🙂 Another place I’ve visited several times growing up and has a lovely house is Rutheford B Hayes Memorial and home…yet another one in my home state of Ohio 🙂
    Always enjoy reading your interviews, Carrie! You always ask the fun questions to help readers get the behind the scenes on authors!

  12. Dianne Casey

    I like visiting Springfield IL. Abraham Lincoln’s home and tomb is there and also an awesome museum.

  13. MH

    We’ve visited some of the historical sites of the Revolutionary War. Amazing and fun to tread through history like that.

  14. Katie Donovan

    LOVE the story about Belmont Plantation! Here in Australia, about five minutes away from where I live, is the little town of Morpeth. Being right on the Hunter River, it was originally a major shipping port and was one of the earliest towns in the Hunter Valley. (Bear in mind, we’re only talking 200 years here. We’re a young country!) The Main Street has retained the original buildings and the sandstone footpaths and guttering. There are even still the old hitching posts for your horse, should you choose to ride it into town. ?

    • Stephenia H. McGee

      Thank you, Katie! That sounds like a neat place. About 15 years ago I had the chance to go to Australia as a student ambassador, and I absolutely loved it.

  15. Patty

    I live right near Greenville, SC but I’ve never been to Greenville, MS .
    I can’t think of any historical places right around me then I would like to visit although I am sure there are some.
    Several years back I was visiting my brother in Virginia and we went to James Madison’s home Montpelier. At the time they were in the midst of restoring the inside of the home. I’ve always wanted to go back and see how it all turned out.

  16. Stacy

    I have never been to New York City proper ( transferring planes at JFK doesn’t count) and there is so much to see there.

    • Stephenia H. McGee

      I’ve always wanted to see a show on Broadway. My husband has taken me to see Wicked and The Phantom of the Opera when they came close enough, and I love the theater.

  17. Marilyn

    I would love to visit New York Archives to look up records from the past.
    Marilyn

  18. Patricia Bradley

    I would come to Stephenia’s books signing at Belmont Plantation if I weren’t going to be in Missouri! Rats. Mississippi has so many historical places to visit that it’s hard to narrow it to one. 🙂

    • Stephenia H. McGee

      Oh, that would have been fun! We do have some great historical places around here. It certainly makes for rich soil for historical writers. =)

  19. Winnie Thomas

    Fun interview, Carrie and Stephenia! Congrats on your new book, Stephenia. It sounds wonderful.

    We have five National Parks in Utah, and I really enjoy visiting all of them. Also, with origins in 1894, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City is amazing. It is the largest genealogical library in the world and is open to the public at no charge.

  20. Jeanna Massman

    I live fairly close to Tombstone, AZ but we haven’t visited there yet.

  21. Jocelyn

    St Augustine is a historic landmark area in my state. We have been to the fort, but I’d love to visit some of the historic homes. Great interview, and the book looks interesting.

    • Stephenia H. McGee

      Oh, I love St Augustine! We’ve been there a couple of times, and there is always something to see or do. And there are some pretty awesome restaurants, too. We ate at one place – Harry’s, I think – that the food and the setting were both amazing.

  22. Janice Moore

    I agree – the story of Belmont Plantation is pretty amazing!
    There is a place in our county we like to visit with the only remaining covered bridge in the state of SC. Campbell’s Bridge is free to see, and a great setting for picnics and photos, as well as walking in the stream on a hot day!

  23. Janice Moore

    I agree – the story of Belmont Plantation is pretty amazing!
    There is a place in our county we like to visit with the only remaining covered bridge in the state of SC. Campbell’s Bridge is free to see, and a great setting for picnics and photos, as well as walking in the stream on a warm day!

  24. Terressa T.

    Loved this interview. The book cover and title draw my in so much that I wanted to read the book without reading the description…and then I did and now I MUST read this book!
    I love quaint little towns and my state is full of them! We visit the little historical museums in the little towns surrounding us. It’s always fun to learn something new each time we go. And of course, since we are surrounded by mountains, we stop at the historical sites marked on the side of the roads when we are traveling.

  25. Brittaney B

    Being from Texas there are many historical sites to see, but I can’t think of a single one off the top of my head. However, one of the historical sites in the US that is on my list is Mount Rushmore.

  26. Lori Smanski

    this looks like a wonderful book. i loved the interview. one historical place i love to visit in Illinois is where Lincoln lived for a while and his grave site

  27. Sabrina Templin

    I have not been to a historic place in the state. We have a Dance Academy that is historic in town and I’d like to visit it and haven’t yet.

  28. Shannon

    I live in AZ. Tombstone is a great place to visit.

  29. Diana Guz

    I live in California, where the Gold Rush has left lots of interesting historic places. Old Sacramento is fascinating and we have secret tunnels from the 1800s that run underneath!

    • Carrie

      oh wow!! I’d love to visit there someday

  30. Deanne Patterson

    I love less than an hour from Gettysburg. Love to visit time after time. So much history here.

  31. Lucy Reynolds

    I love visiting Droop Mountain Battlefield in WV. So many places to visit, but I love it there. The view is beautiful. Thank you for the chance.

  32. Elaina

    It’s always fun when I get to go to St. Augustine! 😀

  33. Theresa N

    I’d love to visit Fort Sumter in SC.

  34. Sharon Extine

    Hi, I live in Ohio and I love to visit the Great Serpent Mound.