Saturday, April 10, 2010
Interview with Gail Sattler and Book Giveaway
Today I'd like to welcome fellow Canadian (fellow British Columbian, too!) author Gail Sattler, author of over 30 books. Her newest novel, The Narrow Path is due to release from Abingdon on May first. I was happy to receive a free copy for the purpose of posting a review.
VC - Gail, could you tell us a little bit about The Narrow Path?
GS - When modern Mennonite Miranda enters Old Order Mennonite Ted’s church and community she feels like she’s been transported back into Little House On The Prairie, with cars. Ted’s head spins when Miranda reads her Bible on her cell phone. Ted is supposed to help Miranda fit in, and Miranda is supposed to help his church reach out into the community. Can these two somehow meet in the middle and still accomplish their goal?
VC - Where did the idea for this novel come from?
GS - That's a tough question. While some of my stories do have a specific jumping off point, most don't. While this book has incorporated a lot of things from around me, I didn't have one of those 'flash' moments where an idea struck me. Of course I know a lot of Mennonite people from both old and modern backgrounds, and I am very involved in the music ministry of my own church, and over the years I have written and directed a few Christmas productions, although not to the scale in the book. But a big inspiration in the story was Ted's hat.
VC - Okay, that begs the question. What was it about Ted's hat?
GS- It's sexy. Am I allowed to say that? Think of what you do when you see a handsome man walking down the street wearing a hat. It attracts my attention because it makes a man enigmatic. Ted's hat is a part of his personality as much as it's a part of who he is as a Mennonite.
VC - Tell me about your church. Is it more like Ted's or more like Miranda's?
GS - I think my church is a combination. It's small, it was a church plant a few years ago and continues to grow with the city. While there are many non-Mennonite people in our membership, there are many from both modern and older and more conservative Mennonite backgrounds. I love the blend between the old and the new cultures.
VC - I totally understand that. I think historically being Mennonite was equal parts culture and denominational affiliation. My parents were traditional Mennonite, but I wasn't raised in it. However, my parents clung to much about the culture even when we lived far away from its influence.
You're a Canadian writing a story set in the USA. Do you think this affected the way you told the story? Would anything have been different if a Canadian setting had been an option?
GS - No. I was born and raised in Winnipeg Manitoba, which also has a very large Mennonite population - the area from Winnipeg south to the border has many towns and cities that are Mennonite based, just as the whole area down the Red River, extending through North Dakota and into Minnesota, where the The Narrow Path takes place. So nothing would have changed because it's so very close to where I would have set the story if I'd set it in Canada.
VC - I was born near Winnipeg myself, and lived in the area until my parents moved to BC when I was 14, so I know the area you refer to. I'm curious about the goat. How did she get in the story?
GS - I have no idea how the goat got there. She just kind of snuck in. That's how goats are.
VC - Thanks for the idea of reading the Bible on my cell. I got a chuckle out of Ted's horror at this concept, even while getting sucked into enjoying it himself. I've downloaded three different version apps and really enjoy being able to read and compare with a flick of my finger. Did you model Miranda after yourself? How often do you read your digital Bible compared to your leatherbound?
GS - As far as the techie stuff, I have modeled Miranda after myself. As to my digital Bible, I don't have it on my cell phone, but my Palm Pilot, and my program includes a concordance, cross references, teaching notes, and the ability for me to add my own notes during the sermon and highlight versus in different colors. I think people who don't know me think I'm playing games during Pastor's sermon. As to how often do I read my leatherbound... uh... I don't remember the last time I touched my leatherbound. Everything is in my Palm Pilot, all my notes, fave verses; it's even got a daily reading plan. It's backlit and easy to read in bed or anywhere dark, and everything is all backed up on my PC. It also weighs a lot less and goes in my purse, so it is with me everywhere I go.
VC - Anything else you'd like to tell us about Ted and Miranda's story?
GS - Not really. It's a fun read, and I just hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. You can check out the first chapter here.
Would you like to win a copy of The Narrow Path? If you live in North America, you may enter in the comment section. I'll be drawing one winner to be announced in The Sunday Edition April 18.
"Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws."
Valerie Comer writes novels of romance, fantasy, and faith from a farm in Western Canada, where she and her husband keep bees and raise beef cattle. Over the years their farm has housed sheep, goats, geese, chickens, turkeys, and pigs. The goats are the only thing they will absolutely never do again, no way, no how.