Maureen Lang writes stories that celebrate a mix of faith, history and romance. She is the author of fifteen novels and three novellas, and several titles have been recognized through various awards including finaling for a Christy, Carol and Rita. She lives in the Midwest, is a married mother of three, and is the caregiver for her adult son with Fragile X Syndrome. Visit her at Goodreads or Facebook.
Welcome to my blog today, Maureen. I’m excited to have you as a guest! Please tell us something about your latest novel, The Matchmaker’s Match, which sounds like it would be a fun romance to read.
Mara Madison has been traveling the world, evading her family and their faith. But she can’t escape God’s pursuing love forever, and at twenty-eight years old finally places her future in God’s hands. Convinced faith means nothing without love, Mara decides she must first face the sister she never got along with. Knowing she would be frowned upon by polite (Victorian) society because of her independent past, Mara has vowed to make up for her selfish ways by remaining unmarried. She’ll allow nothing to distract her from complete devotion to God.
She never expected to compete with her sister again, this time as matchmakers. Despite Mara’s claim to spinsterhood, Christa declares Mara to be perfect for Benjamin, her husband’s business partner. However Mara quickly realizes the family governess is already in love with the man. So both endeavor to see Benjamin married, with Mara arranging for the governess to spend time with Benjamin while Christa schemes to put Mara in his company. When Mara starts dreaming of marrying Benjamin herself, she soon realizes this is one competition with her sister she hopes to lose.
Would you care to share about your new adventure in self-publishing? After being part of the traditional publishing world, what different challenges are you facing?
One of the first warnings I’d heard about self-publishing was that it’s hard to be your own boss. Naively, I never thought that would be a problem. Like most writers I know, I love to write. The business end seemed a little intimidating, but I liked the idea of being able to monitor sales, adjust pricing, and not worrying about sales. I took a purist view: I would write for the love of it, for an audience of one or a million and one. Sales no longer mattered because money isn’t a big motivator for me.
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However, there is something to be said about that warning, for a reason I never expected. I truly do love to write, but without a firm deadline, without the face of a waiting editor hovering at the back of my mind, it’s far too easy to let life carry you along from day to day. Lunch with friends? Sure, why not? Get the shopping done while the stores aren’t Saturday-busy? Of course! Take the dog for a walk, read all of the email links I find in my inbox? And on and on with all of life’s fun distractions. Before you know it, a day is gone and no writing gets done. It’s easier than I ever imagined!
Well, I do still love to write, but the discipline to write every day must come from inside instead of my waiting editor or from a contract. I’m blessed because I have some wonderfully loyal readers who let me know they’re waiting for the next book, and that truly is the best motivation for me these days!
Have you found that similar themes throughout your writing? Why? Or why not?
With every book I write, I hope to learn something. Not just about history, since I write historical romance, but especially spiritually. My characters tend to need growth in one area or another, and so I hope the faith theme is as obvious to readers as it is to me as I uncover new insights through various plots and characters.
What helps you maintain productivity as a writer? And what do you find most challenging about the business of being an author?
As I mentioned above, productivity can be a challenge! And readers really do motivate me.
But so do other authors. I’m always reading something, and when I’m immersed in someone else’s book, getting to see how they use plot techniques, character motivation, description, dialogue, prose and all the rest, I’m often inspired because they’ve created this wonderful world I’m enjoying. I’m totally “there”—and very much want to create a “there” for myself and my readers.
Are there any verses of scripture which have inspired your writing?
I love the verse 1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
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This is a life verse for me, not only because I view my writing as a ministry, but because it’s something created while sitting in a room all by myself and sometimes seems in vain. Writing is a solitary occupation. By the time a story is edited and out to market, even in the lightning fast pace of self-publishing, I’m already on to the next story. So what seems new and fresh is already old to me, and sometimes seems like toil of the past.
But as I said this is a life verse, not just a vocation verse. There are other facets of life that seem like toil. I have a handicapped son, and I can’t even count all of the repetitive, mundane tasks I do every day just to keep up with his needs. So this verse reminds me that those meals I make every day (he likes a lot of the same meals, every two hours, day after day), those baths I give him, those diapers I change, they’re not just for him. It’s all work that God has given me to do, and it’s not in vain even if it seems that way because so little changes. There is another verse about doing it all as if for the Lord (Col 3:23) . . . Scripture really does recognize all kinds of situations!
Would you care to tell us about your next novel?
Right now I’m working on a second book for my Cranbury series, set near the turn of the last century, from 1890s to early 1900s. The Cranbury Papermaker was my first in this series, and I hope to release the second in 2016, called The Cranbury Toymaker. Cranbury is a small, secluded town set amid the forests of Pennsylvania, where artisans of various crafts happen to live. Making paper or toys or even photographs isn’t just a job to these characters, it’s a calling from deep inside themselves with the hope of producing something no one else can create.
The Cranbury Toymaker is about a young woman with an idea to sell soft, little toy lambs to remind children and their parents of the Lamb of God. But when she’s caught up in the country’s first Teddy Bear craze, her mission gets lost in an ambition she never knew she possessed. Only Cranbury’s first toymaker sees the danger in taking such a path—but obstacles from his own past might be too painful to let him help her.
That sounds like a wonderful story, Maureen! Thank you for taking the time to visit with my readers, and giving us a peek into your everyday life. It’s been great having you.
Thank you for having me!
Maureen is giving away an ebook this week--reader's choice!
The winner of the drawing can choose from The Cranbury Papermaker,
or a Kindle only ebook version of The Matchmaker's Match.
Please leave a comment below and and a valid email address
to qualify. Thank you!