I’m so happy to welcome multi-published author Alice Wisler to “How I First Published” today. Alice has published nonfiction in the area of healing from grief and loss, as well as contemporary fiction. She is about to release her first historical romance called Under the Silk Hibiscus. Here’s Alice!
What was your first published novel?
Rain Song, a southern contemporary novel, came out in October 2008.
Was it a traditional publishing contract or did you go indie?
Bethany House was my publisher. They published my first four novels.
How did that come about?
It was the day before my birthday in January 2007 when my agent called to say that Bethany House was interested in Rain Song (I’d titled it The Kimono Lady Sings) as well as another future novel.
How did this make you feel? Has it been as good as you expected, or a letdown, or exhausting, for example?
I was so excited! This news made my birthday celebrations wonderful. The contract arrived about a month later.
Tell us what’s happened with your writing journey since.
Since that day, like I said, I’ve had four novels published with Bethany House. I have also had one with River North (Moody) and a devotional with Leafwood, and now, my first novel with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Under the Silk Hibiscus is also my first historical romance, set during World War II. I can’t wait to introduce it to my readers!
Why don’t you tell us more about it now!
Under the Silk Hibiscus
Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Release date: November 11, 2014
This novel takes place in an internment camp in Wyoming where many Japanese-Americans were sent after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. There’s upheaval, frustration, pain, and sorrow. Families are separated. Some members are accused of being spies, like Nathan Mori’s father.
To balance the discrimination that evolved during this time period, I had to rely on humor and romance.
One of the most fun relationships I enjoyed crafting was between the main character, Nathan, and his aunt Kazuko. Even though she’s single and has no children of her own, Aunt Kazuko knows how to keep Nathan and his brothers in line. But even she knows a body can’t live on hard work alone. She loves cookies and keeps morsels in her sweater sleeves, taking them out when she needs “a pep”.
And of course, there’s young romance. Nathan dreams of the lovely singer, Lucy, and wants her to notice him, but she seems more interested in his older brother, Ken.
There are two characters which are not people—one is Heart Mountain, the mountain viewed every day from those in the barracks at the camp. Then there is the Mori family’s coveted gold watch, a family heirloom from Japan.
So the questions form: Will Nathan get the girl? What happens to the family heirloom during the war and after the war ends? Does Nathan’s father return? How does war and discrimination change hearts? How does God’s love prevail?
Recipe from Under the Silk Hibiscus:
My character, Aunt Kazuko, is all about eating a cookie . . . or two. She often says she needs “a pep” to pep her up. Here is her cookie recipe for raisin cookies, sure to add fun to anyone’s day.
Recipe for Aunt Kazuko’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (1946)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cups rolled oats
2/3 cup buttermilk
½ cup chopped nuts
1 cup seedless raisins
Cream shortening, blend in sugar and add egg. Beat until smooth and light. Sift flour with salt, soda and cinnamon. Stir half the flour in with egg mixture; add milk, the rest of flour, and then oats, nuts and raisins. Stir till well mixed. Drop from a teaspoon onto a buttered baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F. for 10 minutes or until nicely browned. Yields about 36 cookies.
Alice has authored four contemporary novels published by Bethany House: Rain Song (Christy Finalist), How Sweet It Is (Christy Finalist), Hatteras Girl and A Wedding Invitation, and Still Life in Shadows by River North/Moody. Her newest novel, Under the Silk Hibiscus (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) is her first historical romance.
Since the death of her four-year-old son, Alice teaches grief-writing workshops and her devotional, Getting out of Bed in the Morning: Reflections of Comfort in Heartache (Leafwood), covers the many losses we face and how God sustains us through each one. In 2012, Alice and her husband started a business, Carved By Heart, where they carve memorial plaques/remembrances, house number signs, bird feeders, rustic clocks, and other home décor. Her website is: http://www.alicewisler.com
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Alice-J.-Wisler/e/B001J6GVNE/
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alice-J-Wisler/333751835453
Alice’s Patchwork Quilt Blog: http://www.alicewisler.blogspot.com/