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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Interview & Giveaway: Stephania H. McGee | Author of The Whistle Walk!


Welcome to Christian Bookshelf Reviews, Stephenia!! Will you tell us a little about yourself? 
Thank you for having me! I am a wife, mother of two very active little boys, author and chairman of Spirit Horse Ministries – which provides spiritual and emotional growth and a quality education to at-risk young girls. I love all things food related, and am a self-proclaimed foodie (especially anything Italian). I love culture and travel and have been blessed to see Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras and Italy. I currently live in Mississippi with my husband, sons and little mutt dog, where I write stories of faith, redemption and the deep south. 

What is your novel, The Whistle Walk, about? 
The Whistle Walk, at its core, is about redemption, faith and love that overcomes all obstacles. It centers on the unlikely friendship of a plantation owner’s wife and a slave woman and how that friendship changes both their hearts and the world around them. Here is the book description:

A Mississippi Plantation: Civil War pits country men against one another and tears a nation asunder. Life and death are held in the balance where everyone is a slave to something.

One is born free, yet lives as a soul in bondage…

Lydia Harper never intended to purchase a slave. But when she witnesses a woman being beaten in the street, all her pretenses begin to unravel. A bride to a man she barely knows and bound by her secrets, Lydia will risk everything to save a stranger. Amid the War Between the States, the mistress of Ironwood faces the battles in her own heart and discovers strength in a way she never imagined.

The other is born to serve, yet holds the spirit of freedom…

Ruth, standing on the threshold of desperation, has lost everything she holds dear. After being pulled from the dirt, she is no longer a field hand but the personal maid to the lady of Ironwood. Ruth soon realizes adversity pays no mind to the color of skin. When propriety slips, she discovers they have more in common than she dreamed possible. In a time when fear brings the South to its knees, two women will forge a friendship in the fires of redemption and thrust Ironwood into a new future – where the battle for freedom has merely begun.

If you are interested in trying a sample, you can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Whistle-Walk-Ironwood-Plantation-Family-ebook/dp/B00R6C7508/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1421078354&sr=1-1&keywords=the+whistle+walk 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00R6C7508/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00R6C7508&linkCode=as2&tag=chrisbooksrev-20&linkId=2UNMXWPR272ZSIHPWhen did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 
My first inclination was in the first grade, when I took my list of spelling words and wrote a story about a pig traveling to America on the Mayflower. I’ve always enjoyed literature and was a voracious reader from an early age. However, I didn’t start seriously looking at becoming a writer until my husband began to encourage me to take all these stories out of my head and apply them to the page. After that, I spent several years studying and attending writer’s conferences and workshops and learning the craft. 

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? 
I don’t know if this qualifies as a writing quirk or just a “me” quirk, but I actually have to remind myself that my characters were not real people. Here is one example: The Cedarwycke house was one of the locations that inspired Ironwood. I happened to attend the home’s auction and purchased several items original to the house. One of these items is a handmade clay pitcher, likely fashioned from slave hands during the plantation years. This pitcher sits on top of the cabinets in my kitchen. I have to consciously remind myself when I tell people about it that that pitcher was not actually made by Ruth or Betsy (some of the Ironwood women). They become so real to me that sometimes I forget they were not actual people. 

Where do you like to write? 
Anywhere quiet. Usually I write at my office, unless I have something really pressing and then the boys know they get to watch a movie while Momma does her computer work at home. 

What do you like to do when you're not writing? 

I enjoy reading (of course!), cooking and spending time with my family. Recently, we all discovered martial arts. The boys are learning hapkido and my husband and I are learning tai chi. I have some issues with my back, and the movements are great for strengthening your body’s core and especially the muscles around the spine. We’ve just gotten started, but so far love the experience. It gives us a chance to both exercise and learn new things as a family. 

What is your favorite genre to read and why? 
That’s a hard one. I read everything from fantasy to historical fiction. I am especially drawn to stories that have a little something different – A twist, a mystery, or a new outlook. I have always believed that books are a window to the world and a passport to new realms. I love when a story can take me to a new time, place or on a new adventure. 

What is your least favorite genre to read?  
I’d have to say science fiction. While I will watch movies like Star Wars, I’m not usually drawn to space-themed books. 

Is there a place you'd like to visit, but haven’t yet? 
Ireland. My ancestors trace back to the emerald isle, and I would love to see the lush lands there. I am also fascinated with old castles, and I would love to get a chance to see some. 

Do you have a favorite Bible verse? 
John 15:5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

This verse reminds me that Jesus is the giver of life. Not only for salvation, but every day He is the one that gives me strength. As long as I stay connected to Him, my live will be fruitful. 

Do you have a favorite song and/or movie? 
My favorite movie of all time is The Princess Bride. I can quote nearly every line. This year my boys bought me the 30th Anniversary version of the novel for Christmas. Did you know he writes the book as if Florin is a real place and the story is based off actual history? The depth of literary devices he employs is simply fascinating. But as far as the movie, I still laugh every time I watch it. There are so many great lines in there. 

What is your favorite holiday? 
Thanksgiving. I enjoy the time spent with family talking about all we have to be thankful for during the last year. Oh, and of course, lots and lots of food. 

What is your favorite season and why is it your fav? 
I love the fall, when the leaves change color and the weather is just cool enough that we build a fire in our outdoor fire pit and sit around it to roast marshmallows. If I get a chance to go to the mountains, that’s even better. Seeing the hills on fire with red and orange leaves is simply breathtaking. 

Some this-or-that questions: 
Snowstorms or Thunderstorms? Snowstorms 
Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla 
Tea or Coffee? Coffee 
Call or Text? Text 
Cats or Dogs? Dogs 
Early-bird or Night-owl? Ha! Neither. I really like to sleep… 
Introvert or Extrovert? Introvert 
Facebook or Twitter? Facebook 
Mystery or Romance? Romance 
Sneakers or Sandals? Sandals 

Are you currently working on any new novels? If so, could you give us a hint? 
 I am currently finishing Heir of Hope. It is the sequel to The Whistle Walk. The story takes place in both modern times and the Civil War era. Emily inherits Ironwood and discovers Lydia’s (from book 1) diary hidden in the attic. Emily reads the diary and soon discovers she has a strange connection with her ancestor. Heir of Hope shows Lydia’s diary entries and her perspective on some of the scenes from The Whistle Walk as well as some new things that Lydia experienced while the reader was off with another character. Lydia’s story has a profound effect on Emily as she struggles on whether or not to sell the house and forces her to face the dreams that haunt her. Through the diary, Emily will discover both her past and her future at Ironwood. 

Thank you so much for being here! Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers and where can we find you on the web? 
Thank you so much for having me! I’d like to thank the readers for spending a little time with me today, and let them know if they would like to see more information on my books, upcoming events and photos of my food and travels, they can find it on my website: www.StepheniaMcGee.com I also love to talk with readers, and can be found (probably too often) on facebook under my personal page (Stephenia H. McGee) and on my author page www.facebook.com/StepheniaHMcGee

Enter for a chance to win an e-copy (PDF or Kindle format) of The Whistle Walk by Stephenia H. McGee! Giveaway is open internationally. Ends 3/5

How to enter: Sign into the Giveaway Tools form below (it might take a moment to load) and submit each entry you complete. Commenting alone will not get you entered – you must click enter on the form. Happy entering!

Open only to those who can legally enter. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Giveaway Tools and announced here as well as emailed and will have up to one week to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Giveaway Tools or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. I am not responsible for any packages lost or damaged in the mail. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


  1. I love when I get so wrapped up in a book that I find myself praying for the characters!

  2. I love the synopsis for this book. It looks like a great read. Thank you for sharing about it.

  3. As soon as I read "Mississippi Plantation," I was very interested in this book! Raised in Louisiana and living in Mississippi now, I love the plantations and the rich history (yes, the good and the bad) of our south!
    ~Amanda T.

  4. Thanks for stopping by ladies! Yes, Joan, they can seems so real sometimes, can't they? :)
    That's great Amanda! I am also fascinated with the history, and plan on doing a new series (I'm starting the first book now) where each book takes place at a different MS plantation.

  5. That book has a beautiful cover. It really looks wonderful. So I am anxious to read this one! sonja dot nishimoto at gmail dot com

  6. Hello Stephania. I love your answers. Oh my, you do tai chi. Know I couldn't do that but like the idea that it strengthens your back along the spine. I should have learned this many years ago. I have so much trouble with mine. Also loved hoe you wrote your first story, The Pig that went to America on the Mayflower, in first grade with spelling words. Sounds like you were pretty smart at that age.
    Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

  7. Being a native Mississippian I love to read books set there. I look forward to reading this one. Thank you both for the interview and giveaway.

  8. Maxie, thank you for your kind words. I've found tai chi very relaxing and have enjoyed it very much.
    Shirley, how neat! I hope you enjoy the story and thank you everyone for taking the time to get to know me a little and for entering the contest.

  9. I would love to read this book. I can imagine being in her shoes and thinking I would Never own a slave. I believe those are famous last words. She winds up buying a slave. That made me smile because there have been too many I would never moments in my life,

  10. Thanks so much for the great interview! I love books set during the Civil War and this one sounds very intriguing. I look forward to reading it.

    I love that Stephenia's favorite movie is "The Princess Bride". It's my favorite too and it's so fun to quote the different lines. It's funny how everyone seems to be able to quote that movie even after so many years. 😃

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  11. Sounds promissing, already on my to-read-shelf at goodreads :-)

  12. Thank you ladies for stopping by! I agree, Jennifer. I think I can quote at least a dozen great lines from that movie.
    Thank you Agnieszka! I hope you enjoy to story!

  13. I have heard a lot of great things about this book. Thank you for the post ad giveaway. Amyc


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