Fireweed by Terry Montague (Blog Tour Interview, Snippet, Tens List, & Giveaway)


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Fire WeedFireweed
by Terry Montague
LDS Historical Fiction
Paperback & ebook, 320 Pages
October 4th 2015 by Covenant Communications

Summary

Lisel Spann has dreamed only of wonderful things in her future. Living with her father, sister, and brother in a cramped apartment in Berlin, the small family shares what seems to be an unbreakable spirit of love and security. However, with the rise of the Nazi party and approaching dark clouds of war, any kind of future grows increasingly uncertain. Knowing little of hate and destruction, Lisel is ill prepared as the storms of battle erupt in full fury and loved ones are taken from her as her beautiful city is reduced to rubble.

With fear and despair rising within, it is through her quiet, compassionate father that Lisel discovers faith and hope. Now, in a desperate journey to find her sister, Lisel and her neighbor flee Berlin and the advancing Russians for Frankfurt, a city under the protection of the Allies. But their flight to safety is filled with pain, hunger, and terror. However, with spiritual lessons and blessings from her father, the support of departed loved ones, and her tried but undying faith in a loving Heavenly Father, perhaps Lisel can emerge like the fireweed—rising strong and beautiful from scorched earth —transforming bitterness and despair into a charity that never faileth.

  

Author Interview, Snippet, & Tens List

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. What was the hardest part of writing your book, and how did you overcome it?

Getting started. Lots and lots of research involved in understanding the women of that time period and in that place. Then, on top of that, understanding the challenges of LDS women of that time period and in that place. However, after I got the working outline done and the synopsis it was just a matter of putting it down and it went pretty fast.

2. When and why did you begin writing?

As soon as I could get my fingers around a crayon. Actually, I was eager to learn to read and write so I could put down the stories constantly running in my mind. Even when I was really little. (I’m one of those people who can remember being born.) Before I could write what I was thinking, I had continuing stories that put me to sleep at night. The next night, when I was tucked in, I picked up the story and continued it. I had stories that went on for years. I always thought that was so, so weird and never talked about it until I finally mentioned it at a lunch table during a writer’s conference. Everyone just looked sideways at me. Finally, one person said, “I used to do that, too.” Then another and another. So, I knew I was not so weird. At least, I fit in with other weird writers. Now, I can’t do that because it would keep me awake.

3. How did you come up with the title?

That was pretty organic because fireweed was growing all over the bombed out areas of Europe. Sometimes fireweed is called a pioneer plant. Its seeds are tiny and easily blown around and tend to settle and take root in places were the soil has been scorched or cut. You see them pushing up in the soil after brush and forest fires and along roadsides here in the Rocky Mountains. The roots, themselves are lateral and stabilize the soil so that other seeds can find homes there. In this hemisphere, the flowers are a sort of pinkish-purple to red. In Europe they are yellow. The plant also has a fruit which can be made into jelly and, as well, there is fireweed honey.

4. Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family member?

Outside of Deity and family, I would say my friend and fellow-writer Mary Smith (a.k.a Maryn Langer). She was always enthusiastic about my ideas for this project and was my Alpha reader and my Beta reader. By the time she got done with my manuscript, the editor at my publishing house said there weren’t many changes to make. Mary is always my cheerleader and just recently said, “You know the Lord loves this book. He’ll be sure it’s in the right hands.” You just have a love a friend like that.

5. If you could travel anywhere in the world for thirty days and just kick back and relax, where would you go, would you take anyone with you and why would you chose this vacation spot to go?

I’m pretty happy where I am. Kids, cats, rivers, lakes, trees, mountains. However, I might consider going back to Great Britain for a while and do a tourist thing. Maybe go over to Bretagne where I attended a girls’ school. Of course, it’s impossible right now, but my Dad’s family refugeed out of the Ukraine and I’d like see the beaches of the Black Sea where my grandfather went swimming. None of that sounds like kicking back, does it? Wait a minute, I never kick back.

6. What is your favorite late night snack?

A glass of milk.
FACTS ABOUT THE AUTHOR (Top Ten List, but actually there are 14)

1. We live in an agricultural community where it can be a tough scrabble to make a living. A lot of folks here don’t take care of their animals in a humane way. I talked to two other like-minded women in our valley and, together, we founded a feline rescue that serves seven counties. We’ve placed kitties all over the west and north-west. Because one of the other partners is also a writer, we’re thinking of doing an anthology of amazing cat rescue stories. And, boy, do we have a bunch of them! See www.magicatsrescue.org.

2. In that same vein, two summers ago, I got a phone call from a real estate agent who was handling an abandoned property. My daughter and I went out there, thinking we’d probably find a half-dozen abandoned cats. Before we got out of the car, we counted 57. All starving. Many very ill. Some injured. Overwhelming smell of decomposition. We opened the car doors and many tried to get in. We didn’t stop them because we wanted to get out of there, too.

3. My husband, Quinn, helped me move the furniture out of our living room and rip out the carpet. We set up six very large dog cages that hosted moms and babies. Then, we filled three of our seven bedrooms with the youngsters and adults. In the end, we had more than eighty. We lost only one. And placed all the rest. Whew! (It was Quinn’s idea to tell you that side of our quirky life.)

4. My mom’s family is descended from William Boleyn who was Mary and Anne’s grandfather. (That’s sort of icky, isn’t it?)

5. My mom’s other ancestors came to this country in the mid-1600s and settled in the Massachusetts and Chesapeake Bay colonies. They didn’t come for religious freedom, though. They came for the buck. I have to qualify that a bit, though, because some of them were Huguenots. Funnily enough, they had “issues” with their Quaker neighbors.

6. As a teenager, I went to a French girls’ school on the coast of Brittainy (Bretagne). Our school was south of the Normandy beaches and not far from Mont St. Michel. Mmmm, crepes.

7. My dad’s parents were German colonists in what is now Ukraine. They were pushed out of Germany by the Napoleonic Wars, Protestant/Catholic persecutions, and crop failures. Then, more than a hundred years later, they were run out of Russia by the German-hating Bolsheviks. Our family came to the U.S. looking for homesteading land and wound up on the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota. The dust bowl drove them west, into Idaho where we are now. We like to say we were run out of two countries and across a third.

8. My German-Russian grandmother was a midwife/healer who practiced Brauche. That’s a special calling that is matriarchal and believed to be mystical, too. There are certain kinds of prayers offered in the practice as well as incantations and the use of religious objects. Stereotypically, Brauchers are always surrounded by animals, especially birds and cats. Before my grandmother’s family left Germany, Brauche was considered witchcraft. In Russia, it was considered “religion”. In South Dakota, the medical doctors tried to stop if.

9. I’d been studying with Dave Farland/Wolverton and we were talking about the healer as a character. I told him about my grandmother and Dave suggested I might be a witch. I’m okay with that as long as everyone calls me Glinda, I get to wear the pink dress and the crown, and carry that amazing wand.

10. This is really quirky. With all my British and German ancestry, genetically, I’m Asian. (Our Mongolian foster daughter is laughing!)

11. Sometimes, my husband buys a dilapidated house for me to rehab. For me, it’s like Barbie and her Dream House. Except the last one had an alligator in the basement. After I could stand up again and my ears stopped ringing from all the screaming, I realized the poor thing was dead. I had a great idea! I put it on the basement stairs landing, then called Quinn and told him there was something wrong in the basement then I went home. He called back later and said he couldn’t see anything wrong in the basement. He’d stepped right over the dead alligator!

12. I guess the ghost who lived there didn’t appreciate my sense of humor because, after the alligator incident, every time I walked through the back yard, I was pelted by crabapples from an unseen source. The neighbors told me it was probably Marvin, the cranky, previous owner who died in the house.

13. We have named the alligator Marvin.

14. I like oyster stew with popcorn instead of crackers.

About the Author

When I was about three, my mom said, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I think she was expecting me to say, “A mommy, like you.” Instead, I popped off with, “I want to be a writer.” I can still remember her face. She said, “Well, don’t you think you need to learn to read first?” 

I didn’t think so.

Terry Bohle Montague is a BYU graduate and a free-lance writer, having written for television, radio, newspaper, and magazines including The Ensign and Meridian Magazine. She has also been published as the author of book length historical non-fiction and fiction.

Her non-fiction work includes the book, Mine Angels Round About, the story of the LDS West German Mission evacuation of 1939 which occurred only days before the Nazi invasion of Poland. 

Her LDS fiction, Fireweed, is loosely based on her interviews with the evacuated West German missionaries and their families.

Terry studied with Dwight Swain and Jack Bickham, as well as David Farland. Her writing awards include those from LDS Storymakers, Idaho Writers’ League, and Romance Writers of America.


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