Welcome to my Friday blog! As you know, I host authors on Fridays. And we are entering December with no exception. But with a real treat. I have author Lauren Brandenburg on today. I met Lauren through the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). She is the President of our local chapter, but I actually met her in Dallas at a national ACFW conference about three years ago. Lauren is a gifted writer, has a warming personality, and flawless taste. I really wish I could introduce you in person! But I know you will get a peek at how great she is through her honest interview.
Lauren is also offering a GIVEAWAY!! The details of the giveaway are below. Enjoy!!
Thanks for coming on my blog today, Lauren. First, can you tell us a little about your novel?
Orlo: The Burdened is the second book in the Books of Orlo series, which is actually the second trilogy in The Books of the Gardener. In the first book (spoiler alert!) Orlo wins a tournament allowing him access to a more extravagant lifestyle than the simple life he had as an orphan in book one. Orlo now has everything he ever wanted—the tall tower, the fine clothes, the lavish dinners, and an assignment of prestige as an inventor’s apprentice. The only piece missing is the people he once called family. With his guardian released back into the World, and her husband rumored to be lost, Orlo is now under the watchful eye of a talented, but manipulative inventor. When an unlikely artist uses his unique ability to show Orlo the Way that he has forgotten, Orlo will set out on a quest to the World to restore truth and return his household to the Conclusus.
As with all my children’s books they are appropriate for ages 8+ and are totally cringe free (no inappropriate language, relationships, etc.)
I like the sound of that (“cringe free”). Sounds like an intriguing story. Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?
Oh yes! I always dreamed of being Jo March from Little Women. I also dreamed of being an archeologist, surgeon, and Solid Gold dancer (true story). But at the end of the day, I saw myself teaching and writing stories . . . and then falling in love with a man I didn’t even know I loved (just like Jo!). That all happened . . . cue “When You Wish Upon a Star”.
Love it!! You’re own fairytale come true 🙂 But you and I both know it’s not all rainbows and sunshine 24-7 in the writing world. There are somethings we enjoy more than others. What part of the writing process do you dread?
The first draft! I really should be throwing down a chapter right now instead of doing this interview. But, this is a lovely distraction . . . First drafts are the worst! Even though I tell my writing students over and over how the first draft doesn’t matter, you just have to get the clay on the wheel (thank you, Tosca Lee), I’m still a horrified mess as I force my fingers to get those words on paper.
I’m the same way, my friend. That perfectionist in me just wants to edit as I write! What is that?
You mentioned Tosca Lee…(love her, by the way)…and I know that it is true we are always learning from each other, whether it be through workshops or just intuitively picking up from what we read. Stephen King even says “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.” Apparently, he thinks learning from other writers is very important. So, I always ask…what are you currently reading?
This time of year my reading list is all over the place. I am about to dive into A Christmas Carol – Dickens is my classical go to (and it’s almost Christmas), and I am nearing the end of A Cricket on the Hearth. I just finished up Sara Ella’s Unblemished. I try to keep a book in play—you know, a book with more of a non-fiction, Biblical worldview feel. Currently, I’m picking at The Reason for God by Timothy Keller. And because, again, it’s Christmas, I’ll re-read Letters From Father Christmas by Tolkien.
You’ve got it going on for sure!! I am a fast reader, but there is so much on my plate, I can only juggle two books at a time (like you, a non-fiction and a fiction).
Now, when I go to write, I have to get the set up. For me, that includes music. What about you? What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?
Movie sound tracks! I have a whole playlist for each series! Orlo likes to listen to the soundtrack from Sherlock Holmes—it has that steampunk kind of feel, the instrumentals from Edward Scissor Hands, Chocolat, Big Fish, Stardust, and the 2003 version of Peter Pan.
Oooohhh…I think Orlo and I share a similar taste in music!
Let me see if I can be a bit sneaky here and get you to tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
Orlo: The Burdened is the longest of all of my children’s chapter books. I believe it comes in somewhere around 71,000 words. One of my most favorite parts in when a character from my second novel, Boone: The Forgotten, makes a needed appearance. Fans of The Books of Boone will know him instantly and Orlo fans will enjoy meeting this unusual character for the first time.
Neat! I’ve heard you’ve got something neat in the works, but I’ll ask for the readers: Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?
Yes . . . I’ve written my first novel for adults, and I love it so much! It’s not speculative like my children’s novels, but it is a bit quirky. I’ve titled it The Death of Mungo Blackwell, but that could change should a publishing house find a better fit. (Fingers crossed . . . not for the title change but for the publisher.) More so than anything else I have written, I can’t wait to get this in the hands of readers. It’s just fun, and true (um, err, some of it), and oh so lovely!
I am excited for it! Thank you again, Lauren, for coming on my blog! I am eager for my readers to get a better look at Orlo: The Burdened, so I won’t ramble on. I will, however, encourage everyone with middle-grade readers in their houses to check out these books. Lauren is just fantastic!!
Orlo: The Burdened
A new gardener has entered the Hall of Keeping, removals have ceased, and a ban on using giftings in public has been put in place. Despite the changes, Orlo has everything he ever wanted—the tall tower, the fine clothes, the lavish dinners, and an assignment of prestige as an inventor’s apprentice. The only piece missing is the people he once called family. With his guardian released back into the World, and her husband rumored to be lost, Orlo is now under the watchful eye of a talented, but manipulative inventor. When an unlikely artist uses his unique ability to show Orlo The Way that he has forgotten, Orlo will set out on a quest to the World to restore truth and return his household to the Conclusus.
Enjoy an Excerpt
“Quickly, Orlo! We must hurry!” The layers of Evangeline’s red dress flashed in front of Orlo. The doors opened and then shut behind them, one after another as they ran through. “Hold onto your thoughts. She is listening for you!”
Orlo did as the messenger instructed. He blocked every thought of books, the Gardener, and the people of the Liberum from his mind. He had chosen to come back to the Conclusus to bring the truth of the giftings to the people. They had a choice, to live free from the law, and he was the proof.
Orlo passed through another door, hoping this was the one that led to the Hall of Keeping with its gigantic hidden tree and single red apple. He prayed it still grew safely in the middle of the empty shelving where he had last seen it. Out of breath and fighting with everything in him to suppress his fear, he reminded himself . . . he chose this.
More About the Author
Lauren H. Brandenburg is a speaker and advocate for home education, as well as author of the middle-grade series The Books of the Gardener (Boone: The Ordinary, Boone: The Forgotten, Boone: The Sanctified, Orlo: The Created—a 2017 finalist for the Selah Middle Grade Novel of the Year—and Orlo: The Burdened.) She is also the creator of the creative writing curriculum The Engaged Writer, designed to encourage hesitant young writers. Her novels are recognized as a “Top Safe Read” and “Top Read Aloud” for young readers in the homeschool community. Lauren blogs about her family’s journey through The Doubling Project—a homeschool project turned family lifestyle started by her husband Jamie with their two children in 2016—and considers herself a collector of lovely things. Lauren and her family live in Nashville, TN.
Connect with Lauren and her books
Lauren will be giving away a copy of Orlo: The Burdened to one winner chosen by way of the Rafflecopter below. You can gain entries by posting comments, following it to and liking Lauren’s Facebook Page, and following it to and liking my Facebook page. Entries will be accepted until Thursday, December 7, 2017, at 11:59 pm. Good luck!!