Tell us about your book.
The Ride of Her Life is book 3 in the Lake Manawa Summers Series. Each book is a stand alone with a different character featured, but they all occur at the Lake Manawa resort. This was THE place to come west of Chicago at the turn of the century. Complete with a Midway, grand pavilions with ballroom dancing, boardwalks, and a woman diver who set herself afire every night, it had a little of everything.
Here’s the back cover blurb for The Ride of Her Life:
The only man pragmatic Lilly Hart needs in her life is a six year old. Widowed two years ago, Lilly leaves the shelter of her intrusive in-laws' home to stand on her own and provide for her young son by working for the summer as a cook at Lake Manawa. However, her in-laws find that life utterly unsuitable for their grandson, and when a row ensues, a handsome stranger--who designs roller coasters, of all things--intercedes on her behalf. Still, Lilly is not about to get involved with any man, especially this cocky (though charismatic) gentleman. Little does she know she is about to begin the ride of her life.
Filled with delightful characters and the romance of summer, The Ride of Her Life is another supremely entertaining story from the witty Lorna Seilstad. Readers will laugh out loud and sigh contentedly as they spend the summer of 1906 in Lake Manawa.
Can you give us a sneak peek at your new release?
What had Levi dragged in now? Lilly rolled her eyes as she eased a large slice of peach pie onto one of the diner’s plates. She wiped her finger on her starched apron before she turned toward her son.
Swinging his arm in a wide arc, he thrust a monstrous, writhing snake toward her nose.
With a shriek, she leapt backward.
“Isn’t she pretty?” Levi ran his finger over the snake’s scaly head. “You wanna pet her?”
Inching backward until her shoulders lodged against the cold metal pie safe, Lilly fought the fear seizing her voice. The counter between her and that monster dangling from her six-year-old’s chubby fist hardly seemed an adequate barrier. “N-no, I do not want to pet that thing.”
“Shhh. You’ll hurt her feelings.” He lifted the snake’s head to his cheek. “She won’t hurt you, Mama. See? She’s just a gardener snake.”
“Get it away from your face! And, Levi, it’s a garter snake, not a gardener.”
“What’s the difference?”
She swallowed hard, vaguely aware of the roller coaster workers seated in the corner chuckling. She lowered her voice.
“A gardener works in a garden, and a garter—well, uh . . . holds up a lady’s . . .”
“A lady’s what?”
“Stockings,” she whispered, but more chuckles ensued from the men in the corner. She pointed at the front door. “Why don’t you take your friend outside? I think she wants to go home.”
“Silly Mama. Snakes are like you and me. She ain’t got no home.”
“She doesn’t have a home.”
“That’s what I said.”
What inspired this book?
My father grew up at Lake Manawa after its heyday. When the park closed in 1927, my grandfather purchased one of the bath houses for $300 and moved it to a lot where the Midway had been. They made the bath house into a home and that’s where my dad lived when he was a boy. He told me about what the place had been and I decided to research it.
How did you know you were called to write?
When I was in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade I had the same English teacher. Every Friday, we had creative writing. She have some kind of story starter for us to write about like footprints taped to the ceiling, objects in a bag, or a picture. Some of the kids hated it, but I loved it. It was like something came alive in me when I was writing.
Are you a panster or do you outline?
I do outline, but I’m a bad rabbit chaser. Things often change in the course of the book writing and my best laid plans go awry.
How long have you been writing?
Practically sense I could read, but I started writing with the intention of becoming published in 2007. I’d quit teaching after my son’s birth and had started doing daycare for teacher’s children. I loved it, but two-year-olds were not interested in Shakespeare. I needed a creative outlet, so I turned to what I’d always loved—writing. I started writing fan fiction at Romancefanfiction.net as Oreolover (and yes, you can still read my stories there). I posted my first story there in 2005. After a while, I wanted to write original fiction, and God led me to pursuing publication.
Tell us something silly about you.
I love flying kites. I taught my family, and they’re hooked now, too.
What was the first book you ever wrote?
My first book is Making Waves, book 1 in the Lake Manawa Summers Series. The first original manuscript I wrote is still on my hard drive. It’s called Watercolors.
What is your favorite character trait to write about?
Hmmm. I guess I like characters who are, well, characters. I like my heroes and heroines to be fun, quirky, and humorous, but I also like them to be struggling with something. Sometimes they aren’t even aware of what that is until late in the book.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
That God may not still every storm, but He’s always in the boat with you. And I hope they will enjoy the ride along the way.
What is your favorite season?
Oh, that’s easy. I love fall. I love the weather, and I love the colors. I love the crunch of leaves underfoot, and I love digging out my sweaters.
If you could travel back in time when and where would you go?
What project are you currently working on?
I’m working on the first book of a new series. It’s tentatively called The Gregory Girls Series. It’s about three sisters who pledge to support each other’s dreams. The oldest sister is a switchboard operator in a city. The operators had over 200 rules and she had trouble following any rules.
What has been your most challenging experience writing a book?
I think it’s hard for all moms to balance everything, whether they are writers or not. Right now, I have one book due soon, another releasing, and daughter graduation from high school. Making sure everything gets done is hard, and I want to manage it all with grace.
What is your favorite thing to write about, (i.e., forgiveness, rebellion, etc)?
I find that my characters have a common thread of trying to do things their way and not God’s. They are trying to take control, when they should be giving it up. I think this is something we all deal with. I know I do.
What is your favorite color?
I really love all colors, but my wedding was red and so is my kitchen.
Do you have a favorite recipe? If so would you like to share?
I’m known as the Cookie Lady, so I have a lot of cookie recipes and I often share them in my newsletter. I used to sell cookies at Christmas. However, with summer coming, how about I share a go to dessert recipe my family loves for Microwave Brownies. They take less than ten minutes from bowl to the plate, and since you don’t have to turn on the oven, they don’t heat up your kitchen.
1 stick of butter or margarine (melted)
1 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
½ C. cocoa
¾ C. flour
Optional add ins: 1 C. nuts, ½ C. coconut, OR 1 C. choc. chips
Cream melted butter and sugar. Add egg. Mix well. Add remaining three ingredients. Mix only until blended.
Line a glass pie plate with a paper towel. Pour brownie mixture onto the paper towel. (Can also spray with cooking spray.)
Microwave on high for 4-6 minutes. Check at 3 minutes, and if wet spots remain, add additional minutes as needed, but do not overcook or brownies will be dry. They will continue to cook once they are out of the microwave.
Invert pie plate on a plate. Peel off paper towel. Cool slightly. Enjoy!
Where is your favorite place to vacation?
What is a fond childhood memory?
This is a sad commentary on the way children think, but I’ll share it anyway. I grew up on a small farm, and I had a sheep tank for a swimming pool. It was an eight foot long metal watering trough that my dad bought for the purpose of a wading pool. It was about a foot and half deep, but they never filled it that full. When I was about five, my thirteen-year-old brother sat on the edge of it, fully clothed. I came up and pushed him in. He was so shocked! It still makes me laugh. I was so proud of myself to think I’d bested him.
What book are you currently reading?
Dan Walsh’s The Discovery, and it’s soooooo good!
What are your hobbies (besides writing)?
The other day, my author friend Cheryl St. John said, “If you still have a life, you are not an author, you’re a writer with a hobby that sometimes earns money.” Well, I gues I’m officially an author then. In the past, I’ve done wedding planning and flower arranging. I have a flower garden, but it’s in desperate need some attention. I do, and of course, read.
Lorna has offered one free book to a lucky winner. At least 10 people need to leave comments for there to be a contest OR you can email me at email@example.com and put "contest-ride" in the subject line. Winner announced May 6th.