Tuesday, October 6, 2009

C. LaRene Hall: Author Interview and Book Giveaway

Today we have an interview with C. LaRene Hall, author of the children's historical fiction novel, Martha's Freedom Train. You can read my review of Martha's Freedom Train by clicking here.

C. LaRene Hall was kind enough to allow me to interview her, and, yes! offer an autographed copy of Martha's Freedom Train to some lucky reader of my blog at the end of our chat! So stick around and find out how you can win a copy of this book for your very own!

JDP: What did you find most fascinating about the time period of Martha's Freedom Train?

C. LaRene: The stories of the Utah Pioneers have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. There isn’t just one thing that stands out to me during that time period. I’ve always admired those people who had the courage to undertake such an adventure. If there hadn’t been any rivers to cross, I’d loved to have been in their shoes. Wearing the dresses, seeing Indians for the first time, and watching the buffalo would have been exciting. As an adult, I realize it wasn’t all fun and games, but for a child I think the entire journey would have been enjoyable.

JDP: I’m always interested in how authors research their historical novels. Could you tell us a little about how you researched the the historical background for Martha's Freedom Train?

C. LaRene: I read everything on line and in books that I could about the Underground Railroad, slaves, and pioneers. The last part of the book is taken from the journals of my own ancestors who travelled west in a wagon train to Utah.

JDP: What a fun source to have available to help you research your novel! Can you share with us your top three favorite research books or other resources?

C. LaRene:
1. Journals of the grandma and her son. I will not disclose the names because this is a work of fiction, and all names were changed. The grandma in the story is actually one of my great-grandmas. No, she didn’t have a colored girl travel with her, but since she was a very kind woman I’m sure she would have, if the opportunity had been available.
2. Green Flake – Black Pioneer.
3. Lds.org/churchhistory/library/pioneercompanysearch

JDP: Are there any historical figures from the era of Martha's Freedom Train who particularly intrigue you?

C. LaRene: In the front of the book I listed four historical people, who I greatly admire. My favorite is Allen and Barbara Mayhew. This couple put their own lives on the line when they willingly took slaves into their home to keep them safe.

JDP: What inspired you to write Martha's Freedom Train?

C. LaRene: While I was on a tour of the Mayhew Cabin, an Underground Railroad, the idea of this book came to me. I could actually picture the girl Martha and imagine her coming west with my own ancestors.

JDP: Visiting the Mayhew Cabin must have been a marvelous experience for you. Tell us a little bit about Martha's Freedom Train?

C. LaRene: Twelve-year-old Martha and her family escape slavery with help from the Underground Railroad. Because of her mamma’s poor health, Martha’s heart almost breaks when her papa sends her west with a wagon train of strangers. Along the way, she helps put out a fire, and after falling asleep beside the trail, they accidentally leave her behind. Upon reaching her destination, Martha wonders if she’ll ever see her mamma and papa again.

JDP: What would you most like readers to feel or learn when they read Martha's Freedom Train?

C. LaRene: There are many good people in this world – it doesn’t matter what color your skin is, it’s what’s inside that counts.

JDP: Are you working on any new projects?

C. LaRene: I am looking for a publisher for my book, Magical Journey to the Past. John and Mary discover an ancient home along with an old journal written by their very own Great-Grandpa. As they read the old-fashioned writing, and wish they can see where he lives something strange happens, the dugout whirls around them, and everything goes black. The pair arrive in North Carolina in the year 1813, during a war. The two children experience many adventures and learn to appreciate those people who protected our freedoms, as they search for their great-grandpa.
I have several children’s stories that I’m writing, but the main one I’m working on is the sequel to the Magical Journey to the Past. It takes place in Medieval Times at the Warwick Castle.

JDP: You can bet I'm gonna want to read that medieval sequel of yours! Where can readers obtain a copy of Martha's Freedom Train?

C. LaRene: If you live near Salt Lake I can get a copy to you. If not, you can order it from Amazon.com or Authorhouse.com.

JDP: Thank you for joining us today, C LaRene! You can read more about Ms Hall on her blog, C LaRene Hall.

Okay, now for the giveaway! How can you win an autographed copy of Martha's Freedom Train? By doing one, two or all of the following three things:

(1) Leave a general comment on this interview.

(2) Leave a comment telling me the name of your favorite children's book (other than Martha's Freedom Train!).

(3) Go find whatever book you're reading right now, turn to page 51 (I hope it has at least 51 pages!), then type the 7th sentence on the page into a comment, and include the name of the book and the author.

After you've done one, two, or all three of the above, please email me at jdipastena@yahoo.com WITH YOUR NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS telling me you've left comments so I can check them out. (And so I'll know how to contact you if you win!)

If you do all three of the above, you will be entered three times to win a copy of Martha's Freedom Train. DEADLINE FOR ALL ENTRIES IS MIDNIGHT PST, OCTOBER 18.

Have fun and good luck!


Nichole Giles said...

Great interview, Joyce! I don't need a copy of "Martha's Freedom Train" because I own it already, and it's a great book.

What a creative thing to have us turn to a page of our current reading book and type in a line. Great idea. Love that!


buddyt said...

The book sounds very interesting, so please enter the giveaway.

I am presently reading Web of Smoke by Erin Grady. The 7th sentence is" She had no intention of saying anthing else"

Rachelle Christensen said...

Fun contest! I already own a copy, but I enjoyed reading Connie's interview. :)

traveler said...

What an interesting interview. It would be a pleasure to read Martha's Freedom Train. I enjoyed learning all about the research. Best wishes on continued success.

traveler said...

My favorite children's book is Anne of Green Gables. I started to read the entire series way back when it was in the library in hardcover when I was 10 years old.

traveler said...

The book that I am reading now is Now and Then by Jacqueline Sheehan. The 7th sentence on page 51 is :Anna had felt her eyelids descend with an urgent demand to sleep.

Elizabeth Morgan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary said...

I would love to win a copy of Connie's book. I read part of an early draft and am really interested in reading the rest.
I am currently reading "Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng the Seventh sentence is, "Long lines of people were forming at dawn at Shanghai police stations, waiting to apply for exit permits to leave the country."
One of my favorite children's books is "Number the Stars" by Lois Lowry.

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

This book sounds wonderful! I just finished reading Golden's Rule which is also about a youngster's journey from slavery to freedom. And The Magical Journey to the Past sounds fantastic as I LOVE time travel books.

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

My favorite children's book is anything written by Dr Suess. I have spent countless hours reading his books to my children.

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

I am currently reading Saving Madeline by Rachel Ann Nunes. The 7th sentence reads: "Faster than he could climb the four cement steps framed by a wobbling wrought iron railing, she was out the door and climbing into his arms."

Joyce DiPastena said...

Thank you to everyone who has read my interview and left comments for the giveaway (or even just comments)! :-) Please forgive me if I don't respond to each entry individually, but I am keeping careful track of them all. I love reading about your favorite children's books, and choosing a book page/line from your current read is one of my favorite games. It's always so interesting and fun to see what random sentence pops up from everyone!

Thank you, all, for playing. I hope you're finding it fun!

Unknown said...

Love hearing about this book! My GG Grandfather and his wife were a stop on the Underground Railroad, so it's near and dear to my heart! The book I am reading right now is the Undaunted by Gerald Lund, the seventh sentence on pg 51 is:"It was hardly light enough to see between those intervals, but it beat the utter blackness, and since they always put a lamp near the door, he no longer needed his own candles."
One of my favorite children's books is Charlotte's Web by E.B. White.

Margaret said...

Martha's freedom train sounds like it could fit in with the 5 children's novels that were written several years ago about the underground railroad. Each one was by an LDS author, the one that I critiqued was by Margaret Yorgeson. The books were to be sold with matching dolls for the protagonist. I never saw them in the stores - so I don't know what happened to them.

Margaret said...

The book I'm reading now is by Janette Rallison, My fair Godmother. Her young adult books are great, she has a hilarious sense of humor. p. 51 sentence seven reads: "He watched me for a moment then took a rope from the wall, looped it around the cow's neck and attached it to a peg on the wall."

Margaret said...

The book I'm reading now is by Janette Rallison, My fair Godmother. Her young adult books are great, she has a hilarious sense of humor. p. 51 sentence seven reads: "He watched me for a moment then took a rope from the wall, looped it around the cow's neck and attached it to a peg on the wall."

Donna Hatch said...

My daughter's second grade learned all about Harriet Tubman in their text books, but I don't believe I've seen any children's books about the underground railway. This sounds like a great way to bring this part of history to our children.

Cindy R. Williams said...

It was fun to read the interveiw. You are both busy ladies. Best of luck for her upcoming book.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this interview with Connie. It would be wonderful to meet her sometime. I would love to win a copy of "Martha's Freedom Train" because it sounds so fascinating. It would inspire me as I am writing about a young man who meets som pioneers. My favorite children's author is Beverly Cleary. Her books are so well written and she uses humor so well. I'm currently read "A Promise To Believe In," by Tracie Peterson. It takes place in Montana Territory, and on page 51, sentence # seven says: "It is. Go right ahead. Lacy, please get the water, then see that the table is set."
Julia Griffin

Heather Justesen said...

Hm, let's see, I'm rather fond of "The Monster at the End on This Book". I'm afraid I don't read as many children's books as I should, but oh, I also really love "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie".

And the seventh sentence is "My Nana and his mother are friends, so I suppose I saw him on a few of the occasions I spent with my grandparents."

This line, by the way, is a lie--that's not how she knows him at all. =)

JoAnn Arnold said...

Great interview and the book sounds like one I would love to read.

I'm to the last few chapters of "Dragon Rider" It's a fun book to read

Lisa And Randy said...

What a terrific giveaway. i would love a copy of "Martha's Freedom Train." I love to collect children's books, especially those that are based on actual history.

Lisa And Randy said...

One of my absolute favorite children's book, would be a cute book called "Henry Babysits". My husband read this book over and over to our girls, when they were little. He would change the words, and call it "Benry Habysits". There is a line in the book, in which Henry always tells all the parents that it will be "no trouble". Our oldest would always repeat this line, and it was so cute.

Lisa And Randy said...

I am currently reading The Silence of Snow, by Anita Stansfield. Line 7 on page 51 reads."The purpose for their visit was the annual Grammy Awards."

This is such a fun idea!!