Cup-A-Tea-Poetry Corner - 'Prayer for Purity'

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

photo taken from Stradbroke Island, in 2012 during a family vacation. It was beautiful.

It has been a long while, but today, the thought came to me to write up a 'Cup-A-Tea-Poetry' post with a special poem I have been blessed and challenged by lately, by Zinzendorf. It is one of those poems that really worked its way into my heart - sometimes, I find myself praying stanzas from the poem during prayer time! Long, long ago, I might have shared it in a post, but since it was so long ago now, there is no harm in featuring it again. I pray you are blessed, and captured by the spirit of these words so that it would be your heart's prayer too. Be Thou my Light, be Thou my Way...

Prayer for Purity

O Thou, to whose all-searching sight
The darkness shineth as the light,
Search, prove my heart; it pants for Thee;
O burst these bonds, and set it free!

Wash out its stains, refine its dross,
Nail my affections to the Cross;
Hallow each thought; let all within 
Be clean, as Thou, my Lord, art clean!

If in this darksome wild I stray,
Be Thou my Light, be Thou my Way;
No foes, no violence I fear,
No fraud, while Thou, my God, art near.

When rising floods my soul o'erflow,
When sinks my heart in waves of woe,
Jesus, Thy timely aid impart,
And raise my head, and chear my heart.

Saviour, where'er Thy steps I see,
Dauntless, untired, I follow Thee;
O let Thy hand support me still,
And lead me to Thy holy hill!

If rough and thorny be the way,
My strength proportion to my day;
Till toil, and grief, and pain shall cease,
Where all is calm, and joy, and peace.

- Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, 1700-1760
Tr. John Wesley, 1703-1791

Top Ten Tuesday {My Autumn Book Pile}

Thursday, 20 March 2014

While these days I might be a little bit of a lazy writer, I have, as a counterbalance, been doing a lot of reading! Probably not as fast or ferociously as I should like (schoolwork, you know), but the little I have indulged in has been a great source of delight and enrichment to me. Lately I have been ecstatic over the amount of good books I've discovered (mostly from authors long gone by). But with a good dose of Tolkien, Sayers, and Jane Austen under my belt these past weeks (please tell me I am the only one suffering from Emma's meddling insufferably-ity!), I have been feeling a need to refresh myself on books out and about these days that are wholesome and interesting; and relevant to the genres I write in too. Despite my usual book-snobbery and sad cynicism of modern literature at large, I have met with some wonderful exceptions. And thankfully, with so many fresh 'spring' releases, I have indeed found some books to catch my interest from modern authors.

After all, 
one should not toss the babe' with the wash-water... 

The other day I stumbled across a blog that does book-reviews, The Broke and the Bookish, and they had this 'Top Ten Tuesday' list meme that they host weekly, with links for people to join a post with 'literary lists'. It sounded like a deal of fun, and as this week's topic is the books in our pile for the season (Autumn for me), I felt like I could give it a whirl. 
So without any further ado, I present to you the books I have on my pile for this Autumn:  books newly released, classics by authors of the past, and those in between. Hopefully, in between assignments and chores, and long-car-drives, I will be able to read at least a few of these titles :).

Shadow Hand by Anne Elisabeth Stengl: 
She will take your own two hands
to save your ancient, sorrowing lands.

By her father's wish, Lady Daylily is betrothed to the Prince of Southlands. Not the prince she loves, handsome and dispossessed Lionheart, but his cousin, the awkward and foolish Prince Foxbrush. Unable to bear the future she sees as her wedding day dawns, Daylily flees into the dangerous Wilderlands, her only desire to vanish from living memory.

But Foxbrush, determined to rescue his betrothed, pursues Daylily into a new world of magic and peril, a world where vicious Faerie beasts hold sway, a world invaded by a lethal fey parasite . . . .

A world that is hauntingly familiar.

Having read and enjoyed the other published novels in The Tales of Goldstone Wood, I am definitely looking forward to reading Stengl's latest release in her series, especially as this book carries off with secondary characters (Daylily and Foxbrush) from Moonblood which was one the books I especially loved in the series. Besides, don't you think the cover is absolutely gorgeous? 
The Shield Ring by Rosemary Sutcliff: 
The story takes place in England shortly after the Norman Conquest. High up among the mountains of the Lake District is a secret valley where the Northmen (Vikings) have their last stronghold - or shield ring. The Normans want to crush this last group of Northmen and bring the whole country under their control. To this end they build a castle in Carlisle and send an army north.

Life goes on in the valley: lambing, shearing, spinning, harvesting, and singing and storytelling in the great hall in the evenings - as narrated by two young people. Frytha is a Saxon girl, who fled to the valley after the Normans burnt her home, and Bjorn, the Bear-Cub, is the foster son of the old harper.

As the people of the shield ring go about their lives, they stay ready for a Norman attack. Bjorn's foster father teaches him to play the Sweet-singer, a special harp that the old harper owns, and despite Bjorn's enthusiasm, a secret fear burns inside the boy: if the Normans capture Bjorn, he may succumb to torture and reveal the path to the hidden valley.
When the Northmen need to scout the extent of the Norman army, Bjorn volunteers: he speaks enough Norman to get by and a harper can go anywhere. The young man sets out for the Norman camp, not knowing that Frytha, an ally, follows him. He does know that if the Normans discover his espionage, though, he will be tortured, and his secret fear from childhood may become a reality

This book has been sitting patiently on my shelf for more than a year, waiting eagerly to be read. I started reading it a while back, but somehow got caught with other books, and avoided this beautifully rich story - from the start, I felt it required the sort of emotional commitment that The Children of Hurin by Tolkien required and wasn't quite ready for that. Now that I've read more of Sutcliff, especially the much-loved book 'The Shining Company', I really, really want to go back and dig into this story and be swept away by Sutcliff's rich prose!
All God's Children by Anna Schmidt:
Beth Bridgewater, a German American, finds herself in a nightmare as World War II erupts—a war in which she takes no side, for she is a Quaker pacifist. Just as she gains opportunity to escape Germany, Beth decides to stay to help the helpless. Meanwhile, Josef Buch, a passionately patriot German, is becoming involved in his own secret ways of resisting the Nazis. . . . Despite their differences, Beth and Josef join together in nonviolent resistance—and in love. Does their love stand a chance. . .if they even survive at all?

The Peacemakers Series:
Book 1: All God's Children - Available
Book 2: Simple Faith - Available March 2014

All God's Children and its sequel, 'Simple Faith', are one of those 'newly released' books that I am very eager to read; in blind faith to be honest, since I only discovered Anna Schmidt's novels online this week. I was browsing Amazon's free Christian historical fiction books available on kindle, with a bit of an eye cocked for any WW2 era novels that looked wholesome and interesting, when I came across her Peacemaker series, which piqued me by their premises immediately. In reading the reviews of this first novel, I gathered that the story is centered around the events of the White Rose non-violent resistance, involving Sophie and Hans Scholl and the students at Munich University - events I've always been interested in for a long time but know little about. And with reading praise for how historically precise and accurate Schmidt is with her series, as well being engaging and inspiring, I thought I ought to give this author and her books a go!
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis: 
Mere Christianity is C.S. Lewis's forceful and accessible doctrine of Christian belief. First heard as informal radio broadcasts and then published as three separate books - The Case for ChristianityChristian Behavior, and Beyond Personality - Mere Christianity brings together what Lewis saw as the fundamental truths of the religion. Rejecting the boundaries that divide Christianity's many denominations, C.S. Lewis finds a common ground on which all those who have Christian faith can stand together, proving that "at the centre of each there is something, or a Someone, who against all divergences of belief, all differences of temperament, all memories of mutual persecution, speaks the same voice."

I have been meaning to read more of C.S. Lewis' non-fiction works for a while now, and being Mere Christianity is probably Lewis' most famous book outside of the Narnia books, as well as being a fundamental book on 'mere' Christianity, in the sense - the core truths, of our faith, I think this would be a good start :).
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte:
Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. 

She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed. 

With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte's innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers.

 Jane Eyre is of course a classic, one I have been eager to read for a long time now.  I had been delaying my reading of it for many years, since I knew it to contain more mature themes, and romantic elements that I would better appreciate/grasp the older I got. At last, I think I might be ready to read it now - I watched a few different movie/tv adaptions of the story already, and was greatly inspired by Jane's character and the themes presented by Bronte; it will be wonderful to gain a new appreciation of the story through the book itself.
Wars of the Realm #1: Cloak of the Light by Chuck Black:
Tragedy and heartache seem to be waiting for Drew Carter at every turn. Sydney Carlyle, a mysterious and elusive girl offers encouragement through her faith, but Drew is too logical and scientific to believe that her prayer of healing was anything but coincidental in the restoration of his eyesight. As his sight returns, he discovers that the accident has heightened his neuron activity, giving him skills and sight beyond the normal man. When he begins to see fierce invaders that no one else can see, he questions his own sanity, and so do others. But is he insane or do the invaders truly exist? The only one who can help him, his genius friend Benjamin Berg, has disappeared. In Drew's quest to find Ben, he discovers that the invaders themselves are at war, for his efforts to thwart the devastating actions caused by the dark invaders are aided by invaders with a different nature. Time grows short as the dark invaders close in on Drew. With skills that no other man possesses, and help from Benjamin and Sydney, Drew initiates a plan to expose the invaders to the world.

I have long been a fan of Chuck Black's Knights of Arrethtrae fantasy/allegory series, so while Cloak of the Light doesn't exactly fit into the genre I normally read, I am quite excited for this book in his new series and am willing to give it a go. It definitely has a very intriguing premise, and from the few reviews I have read, I get the notion that this book is quite amazing.  
Cry of Hope by Emily Chapman:
When a voyage to the New World is thrust upon young, unwilling Hope Ellison, her carefully built ideals begin to slip from her grasp. Clinging to the tattered shards of her once contented life, she embarks on the perilous journey with her family, caring not for the reason they are taking such risks in the first place and fearing the fate for her future. Yet, even her fears are unprepared for the trials ahead, and soon she comes face to face with choices that will define her view of life entirely.

Being that Emily happens to be a wonderful on-line friend of mine, I would anyway be eager to read anything she wrote. As it is, Cry of Hope, her newly released debut historical novel has highly piqued my interest on its own merits as well - it sounds like such an inspiring, history-filled story and I am very eager to read it. :)
The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis:
Only the Bible has been more influential as a source of Christian devotional reading than The Imitation of Christ. This meditation on the spiritual life has inspired readers from Thomas More and St. Ignatius Loyola to Thomas Merton and Pope John Paul I. Written by the Augustinian monk Thomas à Kempis between 1420 and 1427, it contains clear instructions for renouncing wordly vanities and locating eternal truths.  No book has more explicitly and movingly described the Christian ideal: "My son, to the degree that you can leave yourself behind, to that degree will you be able to enter into Me."

For autumn, my other choice of non-fiction was hard to narrow-down, but I've decided to stick with The Imitation of Christ. This book is one of my dad's commendations, so I know it will be good! It is also a devotional classic, and one that I know I will hopefully benefit from.
Fly Away Home by Rachel Heffington:
Self Preservation has never looked more tempting. 

1952 New York City: 
Callie Harper is a woman set to make it big in the world of journalism. Liberated from all but her buried and troubled past, Callie craves glamour and the satisfaction she knows it will bring. When one of America's most celebrated journalists, Wade Barnett, calls on Callie to help him with a revolutionary project, Callie finds herself co-pilot to a Christian man whose life and ideas of true greatness run noisily counter to hers on every point. 

The new friendship sparks, the project soars, and a faint suspicion that she is falling for this uncommon man grows in Callie's heart. When the secrets of Callie's past are exhumed and hung over her head as a threat, she is forced to scrutinize Wade Barnett and betray his dirtiest secrets or see her own spilled. 

Here there is space for only one love, one answer: betray Wade Barnett to save her reputation, or sacrifice everything for the sake of the man she loved and the God she fled. The consequences of either decision will define the rest of her life

Reading Fly Away Home will almost be like a re-read since last year I had the wonderful opportunity to beta-read Rachel Heffington's novel before she released it this February. But since it was off a computer screen and I was reading it with my critical specticles, I am all in favour of reading the published story. It is a very fascinating story, I'll give you that!
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett:
What secrets lie behind the doors at Misselthwaite Manor? Recently arrived at her uncle's estate, orphaned Mary Lennox is spoiled, sickly, and certain she won't enjoy living there. Then she discovers the arched doorway into an overgrown garden, shut up since the death of her aunt ten years earlier. Mary soon begins transforming it into a thing of beauty--unaware that she is changing too.But Misselthwaite hides another secret, as mary discovers one night. High in a dark room, away from the rest of the house, lies her young cousin, Colin, who believes he is an incurable invalid, destined to die young. His tantrums are so frightful, no one can reason with him. If only, Mary hopes, she can get Colin to love the secret garden as much as she does, its magic will work wonders on him.

Strictly speaking, I doubt I will be able to read The Secret Garden during this season; but it is such a sweet, classic story, and I am already so very familiar with it, I think I just might be able to read it in the near-future. Also, the story is set on the moors, just like Jane Eyre so I think I will be 'in the mood' for it.
Another Homecoming by Janette Oke & Davis Bunn:
In the wake of her husband's presumed death, a young war bride makes a desperate choice to give her baby a better life. However, her choice will have unforeseen ramifications for more lives than she ever expected. 
The baby girl, named Kyle by her adoptive parents, grows up with no knowledge of her humble beginnings. When a heartbreaking loss pits Kyle against her high society mother, secrets from Kyle's past come to light. Suddenly, she finds herself searching for the family she never knew and a faith she's only beginning to understand. With all that has come before, will Kyle ever be able to find home?

There now, we come to the last book in the list. Another WW2 novel, this time set in America, I have been eager to read Another Homecoming for a long time now. It deals with presumed war-deaths, war brides, and hidden secrets - all the sort of thing I am interested in these days with my own writing! And the fact that it is coauthored by Janette Oke & Davis Bunn together (they wrote The Acts of Faith series together which was really good!) makes it all the more appealing to me. 

Quite a few books! I know I won't be able to read them all in the allotted 'season', but at least they are all put here together to help me keep things organized and on-track. ^_^

Which titles are you eager to read during this season?

'When Her Fledglings are Cheeping...'

Thursday, 13 March 2014

So the way of things around here these days are a little Topsy-Turvy for me. Mary has started uni (university) and travels by bus for more than an hour every day back and forth for lectures at the city, and sometimes Sarah travels with her, usually leaving Gracie and me the only little ones at home during the day. It is all rather strange, I must say. Therefore with household chores, continued schoolwork and a current cold, and missing my older sisters nine-out-of-ten, my little stories, ideas and inspirations are bottled up painfully. As Lewis Carroll would put it, 'when her fledglings are cheeping' I think the fledglings of my pen are in similar circumstance, cheeping to get out and be written. 

I have lost little inspiration, only energy and time, I think. In vacuum cleaning, mopping floors, plowing through PACE-work and in washing dishes, I have found great inspiration and thoughtful opportunity for panning out my stories and exploring possibilities. Agatha Christie did not lie when she said doing the dishes was her best inspiration! If only I just had the time to actually write though. Currently, I have three writing projects laid out before me - but it is so hard to find the opportunity to actually work on any of them! These days, I am constantly tormented with this time factor and gauging which writerly task takes precedent in my small allotment of free hours in between school, chores, time with God and with family. Like when someone requires a writing project of you, that should come first. Right? I have chaffed over this for, important and interesting though the assignment is, I would much rather be gaining ground and writing in my beloved novel, which in turn chaffs at my absence. But when I open my A Love that Never Fails word-document I am only too painfully aware of interview questions I need to send in as promised for my blog, or a belated email to a close friend long delayed that needs to be written up. Hmm.

I dislike shadowing my blog and my readers with cries of my frustration and discouragement. I believe a blog is best a thing to mutually edify and encourage one another in. But I am also hoping that some of you may know what I am talking about (to make me feel like I am not singularly alone in this!), and perhaps can offer some tips or ideas on how one can manage time for the fledglings of one's soul. It can be difficult to reign in one's impatience when there is so much opportunity and excitement from fellow authors in their writing and yet so little time or energy on my part. Dear me! I don't sound envious, do I? I hope not for I know I am equally blessed. I just want to be able to be useful of those blessings. There is a time and season for everything. That is good to remember! 

Oh, I just remembered something. If this post feels erratic, and "a shade formal or stuffy", you may attribute it to my cold and blame Father Chisholm ;). 

I already feel the better for rambling off the top of my head! On another literary note, I am almost done withTales from the Perilous Realm - a collection of shorter stories by J. R. R. Tolkien which I am greatly enjoying, and am half-way into Dorothy Sayers' Mind of the Maker which I must add is quite excellent and thought- provoking indeed. I have also watched for the first time two versions of Jane Eyre (the 2006 version which I quite enjoyed and the 1990s version which was less than good) and the old 1970s BBC adaption of Persuasion. Not necessarily the best adaptions, but it was interesting being introduced to these classics and I cannot wait to read the original books themselves and watch the newer adaptions of both stories. 

Stories. Oh, if nothing else, stories and characters have been the best inspiration and excitement for my writing these busy days. I have been meditating/studying the book of Esther lately and have been greatly encouraged and blessed by my reading of it. Things I never quite noticed before in the story jumped at me, and old truths captured me with their message in a fresh way. I noticed points of character like how King Ahusahaurus was probably a very weak, undecided king - he basically needed the advice of others for every choice in his life except his choice of Esther herself. Veshti upset him, so he called his counsellors for advice; he wanted her back and still his advisors told him what to do; he made Haaman his prime-minister and gave him his signet ring so he'd not have to bother about all the decisions; he wanted to reward Mordecai, so he got Haaman to tell him what he should do... even when Esther and Mordecai earned his favour, he let them run the affairs of repealing the laws. Poor fellow - he was very much a king of persuasion :) 

The book of Esther, one of the most unique in the Bible, is filled with God's sovereign hand at work in the lives of His people, His infinite Providence and mercy and His care. And to think that God's name is not mentioned even once! But His hands are on all and over all - His loving acts are evident in all things. But much as this book is about God's Providence, it is also a story of Esther's faith and obedience in danger and her choice to do what is right, trusting in God's mercy and her courage that 'if I perish, I perish!'  I was watching a beautiful movie adaption of Esther on Monday, and watching it brought the story back to me in a truly gripping way, it actually brought tears to my eyes. (I've embedded the film to this post as it is really good; but a word of caution as it has one scene when Esther first meets the King which I skipped due to its mature content. Postscript: this film is not One Night with the King, but one that closely follows the biblical story). 

'Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?'
- Esther 4: 13-14

Author Interview - Emily Chapman

Friday, 7 March 2014

Hello, dear readers, I have an exciting new author to introduce to you all! Round about two years ago, I got acquainted with a sweet young writer from America, in whom I found an instant kindred spirit! We both followed each other's blogs, commented on each other's posts, flew emails back and forth to each other o'er the Seas, and encouraged each other in the business of faith and writing and of the things in-between. I knew Emily was working on a historical novel, and I was very much looking forward to reading more about it from the bits and snippets she shared on her blog.  Imagine my sheer delight when she emailed me about two weeks ago with the exciting news that she was getting her novel published!!! The book, with its premise, sounds like such a beautiful, history-flavoured tale. I think all of you will be very intrigued to learn more about Emily Chapman and her debut novel, Cry of Hope.

1. Hello, Emily, what a pleasure to have you on Fullness of Joy blog for this interview today! To start this off (because... we have to start somewhere, right?), would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself? Hobbies, personality, tea or coffee, least favourite household chore, cats or dogs...?
Thank you so much for having me, dear Joy! As for myself: well, I am a writer, of course. I am a dancer. I dabble in photography. Books are my dear friends, New Zealand wildly beckons me, and Narnia will forever be implanted upon my heart in the form of an obsession. I dislike cleaning the kitchen on most days, and I think I prefer cats over dogs. I know I prefer coffee over tea. I am a pessimistic optimist, a peppy introvert, and a dreamer.
2. At what age did you first start writing and develop a love for wordcrafting? Was there someone or something that influenced you to start this journey?
I think I was around the age of ten when I began to actually enjoy writing and put some time into it. My first “chapter book” was thirty handwritten pages long, contained practically no plot, and focused intensely on the names of the classmates, the way the desks were arranged, and the endless options of coloured folders and backpacks when school supply shopping. Important stuff, y'all.

Then came a lull for around a year or two, until I was fourteen. I attended a tutorial which Abigail J. Hartman attended, and in stumbling across her and her book, the spark of that writing passion flared up to a whole new level. Needless to say, my journey had begun.
3. Without giving too much away, could you be persuaded to tell us a bit about your newly released novel, Cry of Hope?
Of course!

The long version: When a voyage to the New World is thrust upon young, unwilling Hope Ellison, her carefully built ideals begin to slip from her grasp. Clinging to the tattered shards of her once contented life, she embarks on the perilous journey with her family, caring not for the reason they are taking such risks and fearing the fate for her future. Yet, even her fears are unprepared for the trials ahead, and soon she comes face to face with choices that will define her view of life entirely.

The short version: When a voyage to the New World is thrust upon an unwilling young girl, she must overcome the trials and tragedies that threaten to steal the hope standing just outside her grasp.

It really stinks when you prefer the short to the long, and yet it turns out to be far too short for a sufficient summary . . .
4. About the title Cry of Hope – did you get this line from a song or a piece of poetry, or was it simply born out of the novel itself? What is the history behind the title?
The title was tricky. The first title was Meet Hope (that version was written when I was twelve), the next was Hope for America (same age, I believe), then came Journey of Hope, which stuck around for a while . . . and finally Cry of Hope came to be. I love it to this day. You see, I knew Journey of Hope wasn't nearly . . . ah, interesting enough, and so I was flipping through a book of poetry one day, searching for a line that might just perhaps serve as inspiration. Interestingly enough, it wasn't a poetry line I ran across. Rather, it was a single word. Cry. I suppose you can imagine the explosion of fireworks in my head (it rather felt like that, come to think of it). Hence came the title, Cry of Hope. It fits the entire mood of the book very well.
5. Isaac Newton was known to have said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Who have been the literary giants or “Greats” that have inspired your writing and perhaps even your life thus far? 
Louisa May Alcott shall always remain on the top of the list. Little Women is one of my very favorite books (I'm most like Meg, for those who are wondering), and I think it was her strong and simple and beautiful style that drove me to bleed a hint of it into my own style. So indeed, I think it is Alcott who can claim that Literary Giant title as far as my writing is concerned.
6. If you could have been the original author of any published book, what would it have been?

This is an interesting question! Little Women would certainly be one of them. The Lord of the Rings is quite a tantalizing one in itself, as is the Chronicles of Narnia. But then, who wouldn't want to have their name attached to those to brilliant pieces of literature?
7. What part of the writing process do you dread the most? As a dual question, can you tell us what your favourite part is?
Ah . . . Writer's Block? Really, I'm pretty sure Writer's Block is what I dread the most. That, and research. Almost always research, or at least such has been my experience thus far. As for my favorites, probably the planning stage and the writing-stage-when-not-plagued-with-Writer's-Block.
8. Being a homeschooler in a large family, how do you fit writing time with schoolwork, chores and family time as well as other activities?
I write when I wanna, I do school when I wanna, and I spend time with my family when I wanna. As for chores, I kinda do that when I hafta.

Alright, maybe not quite like that. However, our family times are quite relaxed. We hang out together when we want to, however droll that sounds. The dinner table is usually full of loud chatter, however. As for schoolwork, this year for me is a fairly easy year, so I generally make time to write when I am in the mood for it. Though, due to the work toward Cry of Hope's release, I haven't been actually writing much. And chores? Ick.
9. Can you imagine your novel being adapted into a movie? How would you feel about it if they were? In the stuff of your day-dreams, who would you choose to direct the films, and who would you cast for your main characters?

Is it terrible that I was actually hoping for this question? As for actors . . . here goes! (note: this is a dream cast. Just keep that in mind.)
Hope Ellison :: Celine Buckens. Give her an English accent rather than a French accent, and she would do very, very well.
John Ellison :: Michael Anderson, Jr. The only thing I've seen him in is the old, old (okay, it was filmed in the 1960s) version of In Search of the Castaways. He starred alongside Hayley Mills (one of my favorite actresses!), and last time I saw it—about two years ago—he fit my mental image of John pretty well. I looked him up on IMDb (dratted website!) and looked at the picture again. Yep, he's pretty closely fitting to my mental image of John. We'll go with him.
Joshua Mansforth :: Jeremy Irvine. This was pretty easy, for I had originally thought of him as closer-ly matching my mental image of Joshua. He's a little too handsome for Joshua, I have to admit, but he would do.
Patience Danford :: It's awful, but I simply cannot find an actress to suit Patience. At least, she doesn't exist in my limited knowledge of actresses. I do, however, have a picture of a girl who is Patience that I snagged off another girl's blog (who, in turn, snagged it off of Pinterest). It fits very well.
10. Your novel deals with the topic of hope, if the title is anything to go by! While writing, did you find yourself learning any lessons or going through any of the journeys/struggles that your characters went through yourself?
Perhaps that God is good—and He loves life even more than we do. That was a particular line I wrote in toward the end, and I think it took me by surprise as I typed it out. It is certainly something bright to think about, however. It's one of those sorts of Truth that just makes you happy.

Those are things that I learned, though the overarching theme of the book is that of hope and that of faith.
11. What kind of scene do you find easiest to write: tragedy, comedy, or drama, romance, action, or static scenes? Do you find writing dialogue or writing description/narrative to be easier?
Probably a sort of sweet, comedy mix. Not necessarily comedy, but the sweet, everyday sort of scenes, in which banter flies freely and laughter abounds. You could call them static scenes, I suppose. Most people would. But they are the scenes that are most pleasant to write, and read as well, I think. They are the joys of life that we, as true-blue humans, like best. Static is good sometimes.

And I think that dialogue is easier for me.
12. Do you have any strange writing habits/quirks (like standing on your head for research or plotting assassinations in the shower)?
You could call this a quirk, I suppose: whenever a promising idea pops into my head, I tend to freeze where I am and stare into space until it shapes into a more substantial form. I think a hint of the hidden Amy March in my nature pops up then, for I do it partly because I feel it appears quite dramatic. It looks very fastidious, wouldn't you agree?
13. Cry of Hope is historical fiction, I presume. Is that your preferred genre to read/write in?

To write in, yes—I believe so. I haven't dabbled much in other genres, so indeed, at this point you could say that historical fiction is my preferred writing genre. I love history, particularly U.S. history. As for reading, I think you could say the same, but it doesn't have to be historical for me to love the book. I adore the characters in J. Grace Pennington's Firmament series, which is sci-fi. And naturally, I quite love Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia as well. (That's just the beginning, by the way . . . )
14. Out of all the characters you’ve created, which one do you connect with and love the most?
In Cry of Hope, John Ellison is my favorite.  I think I got a pretty good grip on his character, and besides, I just love him to death.  I wish I could hug his neck. 

But if we are talking about all of the characters I've created, including those outside of Cry of Hope, that would indubitably be Nicki Millwood, my seven year old cherub who loves big red barns and fire engines and does not like oatmeal.  She also looks uncannily similar to Little Debbie.  And actually resembles Shirley Temple as well.
15. How much of the book is historical and how much of it is fictional?
This is interesting, for I could probably create an entire post on this topic. Most of the side characters are real; I wanted to be very limited in the characters I created in order to stick to historical facts as well as possible. Then, concerning the main overall events, they are true. I believe, as far as timewise-accuracy, the order in which the events appear are mostly true as well. But it is, in fact, a work of fiction, so I daren't tell you to take it as facts down pat to heart on a history test real. (That was a mouthful . . . )
16. Can you quote your most well-beloved line in Cry of Hope? Why do you love that line so?
“As long as we have faith, hope can never die.”

Those words are repeated more than once in the book. It's an interesting twist to the Bible verse that states that “faith is substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It turned out quite fine, if I do say so myself. I'm pretty sure God plopped that idea in my head when I typed it out. I'm rather glad He did. That's the book's Line. As in, if the book had a theme line, that would be it.
17. Have you ever met any people in real life that have inspired you with any of the characters we read about in Cry of Hope?

Not 'specially. I can't think of any one person who became a model for a character in my book. Some of the mild sarcasm in John was inspired by my own older brother, however, and how sometimes Hope would laugh in spite of the vexation regarding that sarcasm. Rather familiar to me, you see.
18. Can you tell us a bit about your new writing project(s) you’re working on now?
It's all rather hush-hush at the moment. However, I'll drop you a couple words about it. I hope to write the next one set during the War of 1812. And the main character shall be a male.
19. Would you allow us a sneak peek, and share an excerpt or two from them? Could you be persuaded to share an excerpt from Cry of Hope with us as well?

As I stated before, my current possible-idea-in-progress is all hush-hush at the moment, so I'd rather not yet share about that quite yet. However, I am quite willing to share an excerpt of Cry of Hope. Here goes!

Hope sighed dejectedly, letting her arms dangle limp over the rail. “How much longer until we reach the New World?” she asked for the first time since their leaving.

John rubbed his face with his hands, shaking his head. “I do not know. I should speculate two or three more weeks, but as I said a long while ago, sea life is always full of uncertainty.”

“I do not like it,” Hope said crossly, staring at the cruel horizon shrouded with gloomy clouds. She shivered as a cold wind whipped her hair out of its knot, sending tangles into her face. She pushed them back impatiently and looked at John.

He was staring up at the sky, concern etched on his face. “I do not like the looks of it,” he murmured, slowly taking Hope's wrist. “I think perhaps—” A sudden flash blinded their eyes, and a crack of thunder swallowed his words.

Hope screamed. The ship began to rock violently, and John gripped her shoulders, saying hurriedly, “Come, Hope, run!”

20. What would you most like your readers to take away with them from Cry of Hope?
A deeper understanding of Christ and His faithfulness, and a longing to know Him. And a love for the characters and story themselves. However, if there must be but one thing to take away, then I ultimately say the former. ;)
Thank you so much for joining us today, Emily. Congratulations on the publication of your novel! I cannot wait to read Cry of Hope :).
Emily Chapman is in the midst of her teen years, very recently becoming a self-published author.  She blogs at her personal website.  Her debut novel, Cry of Hope, is an emotional historical novel targeted toward young adults.  You can purchase it on Amazon orCreateSpace.

What do you think, dear readers? Are you eager to read more about Hope and of the Pilgrims' voyage to America? As this is a scavenger hunt, with a giveaway at the end of the long chase, here is a code, and the link for the next hop on the trail! Be certain to grab a copy of Emily's book... and enter your name in the giveaway below/join the scavenger hunt for a chance to win a paperback copy of Cry of Hope.

Code: We have nothing if not belief.
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