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Writer’s Window–Maureen Lang

Monday, February 28, 2011

Joining us today for Writer’s Window is historical romance author Maureen Lang.

One lucky commenter* will win a signed copy of Maureen’s latest book, Springtime of the Spirit. Deadline for leaving a comment to enter the drawing is Friday. To enter the drawing, you must answer the question posed by Maureen at the end of the interview. Only one comment per person will count toward the drawing. You do not need to include your e-mail address in the body of your comment—just make sure it’s correct when you sign in to leave your comment. The winning name will be drawn and announced on Sunday.

      *U.S. residents only, void where prohibited. If you win the drawing, you will be ineligible for the next three drawings, though hopefully you will still come back and join in the discussion.


By the fall of 1918, the Great War has ended and the world is at peace, but there is little to celebrate in Germany. After four years of fighting for his homeland, Christophe Brecht returns to find there is little left of what he once called home. So when family friends ask him to travel to Munich to bring back their runaway daughter, Christophe agrees.

When he finally locates Annaliese Duray, he discovers she is far different from the girl he once knew. Headstrong, idealistic, and beautiful, she is on the front lines of the city’s political scene, fighting to give women and working-class citizens a voice in Germany’s new government.

As the political upheaval ignites in Munich, so does the attraction between Annaliese and Christophe. With an army from Berlin threatening to squash everything Annaliese has worked for, both she and Christophe are forced to choose between love and loyalty.

Welcome, Maureen!
What do you like best about being a writer?

    I love writing! There’s nothing else like indulging my imagination, getting to research other times and places and making up some extraordinary circumstances for people far more fascinating than I am. Writing a story is like putting together little pieces that—hopefully—will fit like a puzzle.

What do you like least about being a writer?

    Worrying about marketing and doing the business end of things (making sense of a royalty statement is like trying to read hieroglyphics). I write stories because that’s my creative outlet, and somewhere along the way I thought it only made sense to share those stories with others. Getting published kicked in the business side, and that’s just not one of my strengths.

Pop, Soda, or Coke? What do you call it, and what’s your favorite variety?

    I’m from the Chicago area, born and bred, and around here we call it “pop.” Although I must admit my cosmopolitan daughter calls it “soda” in spite of my training. My favorite variety is caffeine free Diet Coke, especially with pizza.

What’s your favorite dessert?

    Oh, goodness, do I only get to name one? I love sweets! But if I can only name one, I love, absolutely love, cookies. Just as long as they don’t contain coconut…

What’s the most fun/interesting/crazy/scary/unique hands-on research you’ve done for a book?

    My best memory for researching a novel was going to Belgium and Northern France for books one and two of my Great War Series (Look to the East and Whisper on the Wind). Walking along the same old streets my characters would have walked was amazingly fun, imagining them during the German occupation of Brussels. In Northern France, my husband and I were given explicit directions to find a very small plaque commemorating the spot where an English captive was shot (who, at least in part, inspired my hero in Look to the East). We felt like we were on a treasure hunt, because it was in a very rural area and not on any tourist maps. We did find it, but I must say the journey getting there was as much fun as anything else!

What’s your favorite movie from childhood?

    Oh, no! This is another one of those questions where I can hardly stop myself from naming more than one. My husband is always teasing me about having twenty movies on my Top Ten list. But choosing one from childhood does narrow it down. I loved the Wizard of Oz, of course, who didn’t? I think my all-time favorite movie when I was a little girl was Sleeping Beauty, the Disney version. I loved everything about it!

If you were to write a novel about what your life would have been like if you’d become what you wanted to be at eight years old, what kind of character would the story be about?

    I’m afraid I have a very predictable answer, because even at eight years old I wanted to be a writer. So although I would have changed quite a bit of things in other areas of my life, it would still be about a woman who wanted to tell stores. Like me.

What makes you happy?

    When stories start to take shape and characters start acting out things I haven’t told them to do.

What makes you nervous?

    Believe it or not, starting a story. Every time I finish a book that I love, I wonder where it came from and am fairly convinced I could never do it again. It isn’t until I’m about 100 pages or more into a story that the fun really starts, when I know the plot/era/characters well enough to see it slip beyond my control and let the story tell itself.

What’s your biggest dream for the future?

    Getting to tell more stories, to find security in the thought of being a writer. This is a business with too little of that, so I’d like to feel like the market and my muse won’t desert me if I blink.

Tell us about your newest release and what you’re working on now.

    My newest release is Springtime of the Spirit (featured at the top of the interview).

    And what I’m working on now? It’s quite different from the serious tone of wartime Europe, as my last three books have been. My settings have come home to America. I decided I wanted to go in a more fun, more light-hearted and romantic direction. The story I’m working on now is set in New York City, 1881, and is about a thief and the woman who wants to join him in his “adventures” — until the Lord catches both of their hearts.

Maureen’s second book in The Great War series, Whisper on the Wind, is currently available for free download on Kindle and Nook (and if you click on the book cover image below, it’ll take you to where there are even more e-reader options for downloading it). If you download it, please be sure to post reviews of it on all those sites to encourage others to read it!

In Brussels at the height of WWI, a small, underground newspaper is the only thing offering the occupied city hope—and real news of the war. The paper may be a small whisper amid the shouts of the German army, but Edward Kirkland will do anything to keep it in print. Meanwhile, Isa Lassone, a Belgian-American socialite whose parents whisked her to safety at the start of the war, sneaks back into the country to rescue those dearest to her: Edward and his mother. But Edward refuses to go, and soon Isa is drawn into his secret life printing the newspaper . . . and into his heart.

Where can people find out more about you/connect with you online?

Now it’s your turn to ask the question. What question do you want to ask the commenters to answer?

    Do you peek at the ending of books you read?


Maureen Lang is the award-winning author of several novels, including The Oak Leaves, On Sparrow Hill, and most recently, The Great War series. She has won the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest and a Holt Medallion Award of Merit and was a finalist for the Christy Award. Maureen lives in the Midwest with her husband and three children.

  1. Rebecca Booth permalink
    Monday, February 28, 2011 12:47 am

    No way! I enjoy reading books too much to peek at the ending, I love the suspense and wondering what comes next!


  2. Monday, February 28, 2011 1:07 am

    I have been known to but not that often. I know I cant enter being an aussie but loved book 2 didn’t realise I missed book one in the series and will look out for this book.
    On the pop/soda or coke. Here in aust you could add another catogory as we call it fizzy drink. Sometimes we will now call it soda.


    • Monday, February 28, 2011 12:13 pm

      Look to the East is the missing book, but it’ll be available again in a few months (August, I think!). It was out briefly but then we decided to take the cover in a whole new direction. The good news is the books don’t have to be read in order, since each one is an independent story.
      And fizzy drink! I like that!


  3. Jill W permalink
    Monday, February 28, 2011 5:22 am

    Not a chance! That spoils everything. Thanks for a great interview!


  4. Monday, February 28, 2011 6:42 am

    I confess that sometimes, yes I do. 🙂


  5. Monday, February 28, 2011 7:20 am

    Never. What’s the point? Reading the end before I finish reading the book is like eating desert before the meal.

    Enjoyed reading the interview.


  6. Jackie S. permalink
    Monday, February 28, 2011 8:33 am

    Great interview! I have to admit….I do SOMETIMES read the ending first or before I finish the book! Love to read!!


  7. Monday, February 28, 2011 8:50 am

    Although I never look at the ending, no matter how tempted (and believe me, there have been times my fingers have just ITCHED to flip to the end!) I have to admit that my daughter—whom I raised to love books as much as I do—is a peeker. She’s my inspiration for the question, because as much as she loves books it doesn’t seem to spoil it for her when she peeks at the ending. So I know there are a bunch of readers out there just like her! For me, though, I’m afraid it might ruin my study of how my favorite authors set everything up, hint, or foreshadow what’s ahead. Reading is such a learning experience for me!


  8. Monday, February 28, 2011 9:10 am

    I guess I’m the strange one here, I always look at the ending. In fact I read the beginning, flip to the ending, read it, and then flip back to the middle and finish reading the book.


  9. Monday, February 28, 2011 9:52 am

    I NEVER peek! In fact, I rarely read the blurb! Especially when it’s an author I love and know I want to read it, like this one. I don’t want to spoil anything!

    I love Maureen and this series!


  10. Monday, February 28, 2011 9:56 am

    Excellent interview, Kaye.

    Maureen, I’ve loved your Great War series so far and have been looking forward to reading Springtime of the Spirit. I love the concept of the story.

    As for peeking at the end of a book? Never. That would ruin the reading experience. I love the journey a novel takes you on, and knowing the ending would take away the mystery.


  11. Robin in NC permalink
    Monday, February 28, 2011 10:05 am

    Oh my gosh…never!!!! That would ruin the whole story!!! I love for the writer to take me where she wants me to go. If I knew the ending, I don’t think I’d be able to enjoy the journey near as much!!


  12. Monday, February 28, 2011 10:20 am

    Yes…quite often. Not always, but often I do when I think I know what’s going to happen. Sometimes I regret it though. Maureen, it’s nice to see you here! I already have two copies of Whisper, so I’m not entering the drawing. Best wishes!


  13. Monday, February 28, 2011 10:41 am

    No. I don’t peak at the end. That would spoil it.

    From the blurb of Springtime of the Spirit, it would appear that the hero was a member of the German army. Given that would make him the enemy in WWI, how hard is it to create a character like this that readers can get behind?


    • Monday, February 28, 2011 12:03 pm

      The hero in Springtime of the Spirit is most definitely German, and he would have been the enemy to anyone on the Allied side. In fact, he’s briefly mentioned as an enemy in Look to the East, which re-releases in August of this year. Hopefully, though, even as the enemy he had a sympathetic side. In Springtime of the Spirit all of the characters are German, so from the viewpoint of a German cast in Germany, I hope the reader will like him (I do!). Each of the books is an independent read, with a whole new set of characters. So for this particular book, he’s home in Germany and the only enemies now are also home-grown… Thanks for asking, Walt!


  14. Monday, February 28, 2011 11:29 am

    …this book sounds so great! I adore historical romance!
    Once in awhile I will peek at the ending of a book..curiosity I guess!

    Thanks for sharing:)


  15. Monday, February 28, 2011 11:57 am

    There are a few books I can think of that I wish I’d peeked at the ending of . . . and that way I wouldn’t have wasted my time reading them (multiple POV “romance” novels that seem to be going in one direction with the relationship, and then all of a sudden, the heroine–or hero–ends up with someone else in an unexpected “twist” ending).

    Now, with mini-series based on books, especially with those from Charles Dickens’s writing, I have been known, a few hours into the series, to look the detailed summary of it up on Wikipedia to find out if it ends the way I hope it will—because I’ve been burned with those too many times. . .you know, the heroine dies tragically of consumption at the end, the hero goes off to war and never comes back, etc. Once I’ve invested that much time and emotion into a story, sometimes I just have to make sure I’m not going to be either devastated or disappointed in the ending.


    • Monday, February 28, 2011 12:08 pm

      I know what you mean about wishing you knew the ending if it doesn’t work out the way the author seems to be pointing. A friend of mine calls books like that “wall-bangers” because she throws them at the wall whenever that happens. Me, I’m afraid I’d ding the wall and then have to repair it, so I just set such a book aside and memorize the author’s name as someone I can’t trust for a happy ending. I may not read their books again, but if I do I’ve probably been warned by someone who’s read it that I’ll either like or hate the end.


  16. Lori Altebaumer permalink
    Monday, February 28, 2011 12:02 pm

    No way! I love the roller coaster ride of not knowing what’s coming next (oddly enough since I absolutely hate to ride real roller coasters!). I will admit, however, if it’s a book I’m not enjoying I will sometimes read the ending just to see if it piques my interest enough to go back and finish reading in order to find out how it came to be.

    Thanks for the enjoyable interview.


    • Monday, February 28, 2011 12:09 pm

      I’m with you about the roller coasters! In a book, they’re great. In reality, I haven’t been able to enjoy a roller coaster since I turned about 35… and I don’t even want to count how many year’s that’s been!


  17. Monday, February 28, 2011 12:11 pm

    Excellent interview!!! I really can’t wait to read this one and check out more of Maureen’s books!

    Peek at the ending? AS IF?! No way! Though like Kaye said, after a particularly UNsatisfying story, I may wish I had instead of feeling like I’d been robbed of my time. But I’m one who absolutely runs if I see the words “spoiler alert” because I don’t WANT to ruin the experience of a good read!


  18. Monday, February 28, 2011 3:24 pm

    I sometimes “peek” a little at the end. I think I do it more often than I used to, but still not often. I can’t wait to read Maureen’s new book. She is an awesome writer!


  19. Monday, February 28, 2011 3:25 pm

    Maureen is an awesome writer! I don’t peek very often.


    • Monday, February 28, 2011 3:26 pm

      I didn’t mean to post twice. Didn’t realize how the system worked.


  20. Mary K. Johnson permalink
    Monday, February 28, 2011 5:24 pm

    I agree with Kaye. Sometimes I get half-way into a book and am really relating to a main character, but I can see that one potential ending would be very unhappy. Depending on how stable and emotionally sturdy I’m feeling at that moment, I will occasionally glance at the ending to be sure it isn’t unbearably sad. A writer’s days are hard enough–we can’t always tolerate a depressing conclusion, no matter how right it may be in terms of the story. Other days, I know it won’t bother me at all and don’t bother to look.


    • Monday, February 28, 2011 7:27 pm

      Mary, you’ve just described the everyday life of a writer! I think writers are by nature more in tune to their emotions, which is why we write about them – it’s part of processing through what we feel, I think. I’m with you on how hard sad endings can be! Which is why I’ll never write one. Oh, I suppose I’m not supposed to say never, but still…


  21. Pam Kellogg permalink
    Monday, February 28, 2011 5:36 pm

    I NEVER peek at the endings of books! That would just spoil the story for me. We have a woman in our book club who does this but I don’t understand her reasoning at all.
    Thanks for the interview. I would love to win Springtime of the Spirit.


  22. Bev K permalink
    Monday, February 28, 2011 8:01 pm

    I have to admit that occasionally I will peak if the action is intense. If I do, it is usually very brief to see if the 2 names are still there (and linked) on the last page. Then I can happily continue with the intensity.


  23. Kelly permalink
    Monday, February 28, 2011 8:46 pm

    I peek at the endings, very carefully so I don’t see much (you know, with my fingers half covering my face), but I usually do it to make sure the hero/heroine isn’t dead – I’ve been burned before. If it looks like a romance sometimes I just want to make sure it actually is! And it doesn’t ruin the story for me at all, since I always try and make it quick.


  24. Monday, February 28, 2011 9:00 pm

    Great interview! I enjoyed hearing about Maureen’s research and her novels, upcoming ones included!


  25. Rose09 permalink
    Monday, February 28, 2011 11:36 pm

    Every time I have a book in my hands, I war within myself whether to peek or not, and I always end up giving in. I actually just finished my first book where I did not peek at the ending! I can’t describe to you the feeling that thrilled through me when I did get to the ending. I was pleasantly surprised and actually more satisfied than I’ve ever been at the end of a book. I think that I can finally break myself of this habit.


  26. Tuesday, March 1, 2011 12:06 pm

    I really try not to! Have in the past especially when the book is not grabbing my attention, and I want to get on to another that is more interesting.


  27. Thursday, March 3, 2011 11:16 am

    I have been a peeker most of my life until I started reading Maureen’s books. When I got to the end of PIECES OF SILVER


  28. Eleanor Uhlman permalink
    Thursday, March 3, 2011 11:24 am

    Something happened. I didn’t get to finish my thoughts. Anyway, I was so glad that I didn’t peek when reading PIECES OF SILVER. The ending was such a surprise. I started SPRINGTIME IN THE SPIRIT yesterday and can hardly wait to read on. Keep writing, Maureen.


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