On Monday, I shared my review of The Wood’s Edge, which you can read here. Today I have the pleasure of hosting the author herself, Lori Benton. Keep reading to learn more insights on The Wood’s Edge and we also have a giveaway! You can find instructions to enter at the end of this post.
Please welcome Lori to the blog!
When Major Reginald Aubrey makes the decision to switch his dead baby with a healthy newborn, a piece of his soul breaks. Why, beyond the obvious reasons, do you think he took a child that was not his? And how does that moment play into the man he becomes as the years progress?
The deeper answers to those questions are woven into the story, so I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read it yet. Suffice it to say that moment has huge impact upon the man Reginald becomes and puts a terrible strain on every relationship he holds dear.
Reginald took the child in a moment of desperation, when he was blinded by his grief and need, unable to hear God’s voice or receive His comfort. I’ve certainly experienced such moments. I’ve acted out of pain or hurt or disappointment and tried to “fix” what it seemed God wasn’t setting right fast enough to suit me. And ultimately made a situation worse. Thank God for redemption—he can even use our mistakes to bring about lasting good.
Anna was one of my favorite characters. She endures so much pain and rejection, but also experiences love and friendship. What inspired you to write her story the way it unfolds? How is her connection to both brothers the same? How is it different?
Anna’s open and embracing heart is very dear to me. I’m not sure there was anything specific that inspired me to write her story in a certain way. It’s a complicated alchemy at work when it comes to weaving together so many characters into a single story. Often the characters form in my mind so fast that it’s not unlike meeting someone in real life for the first time. They are who they are when they show up and shake your hand, and continue to show you who they are over time. While we all influence those whose lives we touch, not often are we able to drastically change a person from who they are when we met them. That’s not to say I don’t have ultimate control over my characters. Sometimes they need to be tweaked for the sake of the story, but it wasn’t that way with Anna. She showed up with a steadfast and hopeful heart, and that’s how I hope she appears. Those very qualities will be greatly tested in A Flight of Arrows, next spring’s sequel to The Wood’s Edge.
Anna derives deep friendship from both William and Two Hawks, but with William they were separated before either emerged from childhood. With Two Hawks, their friendship was allowed room to grow and deepen as they did. Anna loves them both, but in very different ways. I’ll let readers discover those differences though!
Two Hawks and William grow up separately, in completely different worlds. How intentional were you about juxtaposing the two brothers?
I had a lot of fun writing these two, in showing how the way a person is raised has such influence on the formation of character. One of the few instances where I consciously tried to give glimpses into ways they were alike despite their different upbringings was the bow shooting. That was intentional. But mostly I let them be who they became and enjoyed discovering each character individually, without trying to manipulate them into reflecting or contrasting each other to any great degree.
Overarching themes of the consequences of sin, the willingness to extend forgiveness, and the opportunity for reconciliation play a large part in telling the story of these two families. Do you think your portrayal of the emotional upheaval each character experiences is true to what we experience in our own lives? What can we learn from these characters?
Absolutely l do. I always try to write characters that readers can relate to emotionally. We’ve all sinned knowingly. We’ve all done things we wish we can undo. We’ve all grieved losses. We’ve all wished we could alleviate the pain or heartache of a loved one. We hunger for wholeness, redemption, connection, friendship, love. Whether living in the 18th century or the 21st, the human heart as God created it is the same.
I hope readers will be reminded through reading The Wood’s Edge that God does not stand afar off in times of grief and pain. It may feel like it, but I pray for readers, and myself, that we will press in closer to Him in those times of vulnerability and need, not pull away and let the walls of separation rise between us and God, and between ourselves and those who love us.
Now for the giveaway! Lori is giving one copy of The Wood’s Edge to one lucky reader. To enter, leave a comment and answer this question: What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year? Don’t forget to leave a valid email address so I can contact you if you are the winner. No purchase necessary. Giveaway open to legal US residents only, must be 18 years of age or older. Giveaway ends on 5/6/15 at 11:59 PM PST. Winner will be selected by Random.org and notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Void where prohibited by law. Good luck!