Monday, August 25, 2014

Sautee Shadows by Denise Weimer ends September 1st

Please welcome Denise Weimer to my blog. Denise is a first time visitor so please give her a warm welcome. She is graciously giving away a copy of her book Sautee Shadows. Ask Denise a question to be entered in the drawing. Don't forget to leave your email address and let me know if you are a feedburner follower for an extra entry.

Where are you right now (LVR, DR, Bathroom) and what are you wearing? You have to tell the truth.

In my basement where my PC is located, wearing capris and a t-shirt.

What is the funniest, strangest, or most interesting thing you have learned when doing research?  

I really don’t have a funniest or strangest. I suppose the truth that penetrated me the most after spending over a year strictly in historical research is that we cannot make history turn out like we want for our novels! So many times I’d go into a topic with preconceived notions or a desire to make the situation meld with my story. I learned history is the firm framework you must bend your story around instead, letting the real life events shape the characters. I also learned we cannot be afraid to tell the truth of history, even when it isn’t pretty or packaged with political correctness. There were good and bad people of all races, eras, classes, etc. So the challenge as a historical fiction writer is to bring the reader a balanced but honest view of history and through that to show how any one person can rise above their circumstances through faith and integrity.

What is something that very few people know about you? 

I very nearly became a historical preservationist rather than a writer. Because of my love for beautiful architecture and the way mysterious old buildings would whisper their pasts to me, I almost became that person who helped take them back to their original. Instead I uncover their secrets through writing their stories, the stories of another time, bringing to life the type of people who once passed through their halls.

What is your favorite material item that you own (examples: ipod, Gone with the Wind book, grandmother’s rocking chair)
I don’t attach a lot of sentimentality or hold material goods too closely. Of course I have prized items that belonged to grandparents, but one thing that holds special meaning would probably be the framed original prints of all four of my book covers of The Georgia Gold Series. They are dear because they symbolize the trust one person can put in another and the value of mentorship. That is what my historical mentor and cover artist gave to me. He lent me his family letters and diaries and helped open doors for me with his excellent reputation as a historian and artist, but most of all he gave me the confidence to write such a big and sweeping series. Even though I was a new author, he believed I could capture the spirit of the time period and tell the story of Northeast Georgia. He was a true Southern gentleman, and his prints are all the more valued because he passed away this year. Seeing his prints hanging on my stairway remind me of where I began and the power of encouragement.

If you could live in any time period other than the one we live in, past or future, when and where would that be and why? 

Since I spent many years doing living as a Civil War buff and led a mid-1800s dance group, for years I would have answered that question by stating the 1850s before the war broke out. Now, I don’t think I would want to have lived through that conflict. People were always people, and life in any historical era was definitely physically harder. While I love the idea that we like to capture in our historical romance novels of residing in a simpler time with better rules of etiquette … I truly think now that beauty of life we are seeking will only truly be found when the Lord Jesus returns for His peaceful reign! So I’ll just hold out for that!

If you were writing a book about your life what would the title be?

A Work in Progress. Or maybe, more creatively, Evolution of a Southern Belle. Because I’m on a journey of so much change, and I have no idea where God is taking me next. I know it’s likely to be beyond any borders I once set for myself.

What one novel did you read that made you want to be a part of the story?

My first thought when I read this question is that there is actually a MOVIE version of a novel that made me want to jump in with the characters – SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, the version with Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson. I often got the same feeling when I was growing up and would watch the TV ANNE OF GREEN GABLES movies. I wanted to marry Gilbert Blythe! … Book-wise, a novel that really made me feel transported recently was THE FRONTIERSMAN’S DAUGHTER by my online friend, Laura Frantz. It was her first work, and you can tell she really put her heart into it.

What is the biggest secret you ever kept (of course it can’t be a secret anymore)? 

I think it will stay a secret. J

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done? I told God I’d do anything He needed me to. Word of warning: He will take you up on your offer.

 Sautee Shadows

Book One of the Georgia Gold Series is the sweeping saga of four families whose lives intertwine through romance, adventure, and murder, linking antebellum Georgia's coast and mountains during the economic expansion of the 1830s.

Richard Randall's family moves from New York to Savannah to establish a shipping company. Richard's son, Jack, finds the Southern city alien. His struggle to fit in intensifies with the death of his mother. Eventually, the Randalls follow the example of many other coastal elite like the rice-planter Rousseaus, customers of Richard's, by building a summer home in Habersham County's foothills.

 Attracted by the possibility of future railroad tourism, Jack decides to purchase a hotel in Clarkesville, where he meets an unexpected competitor young, lovely, and spirited Mahala Franklin. Orphaned daughter of a Cherokee mother and a man murdered for his gold, Mahala was raised by a farm family in the Sautee Valley, only to be torn from them by her maternal grandmother as a teen. Mahala's life has been focused on the clues left in her father's strongbox and trying to discover if his murderer is still living in the same town. Separated by age and class, Mahala and Jack refuse to acknowledge their attraction.

As the country hurtles toward division and civil war seems imminent, Habersham's "summer people" must choose sides and alliances that could sustain or destroy them in the coming decade.

Upcoming release September 1

More about Denise:
Native Northeast Georgia resident Denise Weimer earned her journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. In addition to the historical fiction books she's authored, her magazine articles about her home region have appeared in numerous publications. Denise is also a wife and the "swim mom" of two daughters, a life-long living historian, and for many years was the director of a mid-1800s dance group, The 1860s Civilian Society of Georgia.


  1. Sounds like this will be a great series! Because I live in the South I think this will be even more interesting.


    1. Thanks for coming by, Patty. I love books set in the south! Good luck.

    2. Hi, Patty, have you ever visited GA?

  2. Where did you come up with the title, "Sautee Shadows"?
    Janet E.

    1. Great question, Janet. Thanks for coming by and good luck!

  3. Hi, Janet, the Sautee Valley near Clarkesville and present-day Helen is partly where the story begins (pronounced "Saw-tea"). Also I wanted to reflect light and color in the titles of all four novels. The choices have something to do with the emotions of the books. Since a murder mystery begins in book one, that casts a big shadow my protagonist grows up under. In Book Two, The Gray Divide, the country is torn and a lot of difficult decisions are made. The Crimson Bloom reflects the bloodshed if the Civil War years and also the flowering of love. The final novel, Bright as Gold, has to do with coming out of the emotional refining of Reconstruction's difficulty. Thanks for asking!

  4. I apologize for the typo! I was on my phone, and it didn't allow editing! 😊

  5. This sounds like a wonderful family saga. I really enjoyed the interview and all of Denise's comments. I have always loved Georgia. I think I became enamored with this southern state, first as a child, when I lived there briefly. I'll always remember the tall trees and the whispering winds. I loved being outdoors. Thank you for offering a copy of Sautee Shadows.

    1. You're welcome, Kay! Good luck! Your comment made me think of a scene in my book when one of my characters is trying to decide whether to stay in GA or return to the North. He's in Laurel Grove Cemetery in Savannah. When he hears the breeze whisper through the Spanish moss in the live oaks, he remembers his mother asking before she died: "Do you love me, Jack? Then you've got to love the South, too" ... because it was so much a part of who she was.

    2. Sounds wonderful! Yes, me too--love the South!