Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March Madness Inklings Book Giveaway: Beyond the Farthest Star

Sometimes a girl needs a guardian angel.
This week's giveaway is Dee Dee Chumley's Beyond the Farthest Star.

If you'd like to win a copy, simply make a comment on this entry (so I can keep track). If you'd like two entries, follow my blog and leave a comment. Contest ends Sunday. Winner will be announced next Wednesday.

Once I've read a book, I always have questions. Here are a few Dee Dee answered for me. 
Dee Dee,  how did you come up with the idea for this book? 
I once read you're not supposed to say you got an idea for a book from a dream, but that's where I got the idea. Hey, it worked for Stephenie Meyer

What books do you recommend for people who are interested in guardian angels? 
Not all the books I read were Christian-based, but I tried to use only information that wasn't contradictory to Christian beliefs. However, the book is not meant to be a theological treatise on angels and I did apply some artistic license. For what I feel are the most accurate, Christian-based explanations of angels, I would recommend Angels Among Us by Ron Rhodes and Angels by Billy Graham.

What other research did you do?
For such an apparently simple little book, it actually took quite a bit of research. I read several books on angels and also did online research and reading on steroid use and dating violence. In addition, I did research on cars and trucks and even on bicycles!
What has been the most surprising part of your publication journey? 
I think it would be actually getting published! Beyond the Farthest Star was the first novel I ever wrote, and after sending it to about fifteen agents or publishers, I stored it away as a good learning experience and moved on to my next project. Then when I least expected it, I learned (thanks to you!) of a Christian publishing company in California that was accepting new material. I took the chance and submitted my manuscript and hooray! they accepted it.    

What is the part of the writing process you enjoy most? The actual writing! I've always been a kind of a nerd this way. I love taking an idea and experimenting with how many ways it can be expressed and discovering the absolute best way. I love finding the perfect rhythm. And in creative writing, I love coming up with the descriptions--the imagery and metaphors. I haven't perfected the process by any means, but I think it's great fun to think of original ways to get the reader to see, hear, or feel something. 

As a former English teacher, you taught lots of rules.  Since you are now a professional writer, do you break any of those rules? What's the rule you'll never break? 
Ha! You must have been talking to some of my former students! Actually, in his book On Writing, Stephen King offers good advice about grammar rules. He says learn them so you'll know why you're breaking them. There's a huge difference between breaking rules to achieve the effect you want and breaking them because you don't know any better. The first situation makes you look creative; the second makes you look stupid.   
A rule I'd never break? Well, I would never intentionally break a spelling rule...unless it was to acquire a certain effect. For example, in my newest novel, I have a sign written by a shadetree mechanic and instructing customers to Honk for Survice. I really do know how to spell service! Also, it confuses me to read a book in which the author saw no need for quotation marks. So I'd never break that one.

Did you write with a particular audience in mind? 
I began this book while I was still teaching, so I thought teens would be my best audience since I had a connection there. (Also, I didn't want to write explicit sex scenes and thought I could get away with it in YA literature! Ha!) What has come as a surprise to me, though, is that I'm getting a lot of positive feedback from women of all ages. Of course, many of these are my friends, and so I'm thinking, they have to say something nice. But many of them have gone beyond what I feel is the appropriate "friend" response. I think, regardless of age, most women can remember and identify with many of the situations both Darcy and Tiffin face in the novel. Not everything changes with time.  

What do you want people to think or feel when they finish reading your book? 
Regardless of their age, I want them to walk away with the same message Mike gave Darcy: Always remember who you are and Whose you are. This statement has been used time again but I don't think it's cliche. It's an important message that God lays claim to each and every one of us and as His children we are of immeasurable worth. 

In your book, they talk about going "beyond the farthest star."  If you could go anywhere, where would it be? To visit? Any tropical island that hasn't been overrun with tourists! I'm a beach bum at heart. How did I end up in landlocked Oklahoma?

Hmmm.... a beach. Sounds like the perfect place to kick back and read a copy of Dee Dee Chumley's debut novel Beyond the Farthest Star.


  1. Why didn't I know this novel was inspired by a dream? HOW COOL.

    Hooray for Dee Dee! Such a fabulous story. :D

  2. It's a great read with suspense and lessons about living.