Author Interview: Lori Benton

16142057We are thrilled to welcome Lori Benton, author of Burning Sky to the blog!  Her novel has been shortlisted in the Debut Fiction Category.

from Goodreads

Abducted by Mohawk Indians at fourteen and renamed Burning Sky, Willa Obenchain is driven to return to her family’s New York frontier homestead after many years building a life with the People. At the boundary of her father’s property, Willa discovers a wounded Scotsman lying in her path. Feeling obliged to nurse his injuries, the two quickly find much has changed during her twelve-year absence—her childhood home is in disrepair, her missing parents are rumored to be Tories, and the young Richard Waring she once admired is now grown into a man twisted by the horrors of war and claiming ownership of the Obenchain land.

When her Mohawk brother arrives and questions her place in the white world, the cultural divide blurs Willa’s vision. Can she follow Tames-His-Horse back to the People now that she is no longer Burning Sky? And what about Neil MacGregor, the kind and loyal botanist who does not fit into in her plan for a solitary life, yet is now helping her revive her farm? In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, strong feelings against “savages” abound in the nearby village of Shiloh, leaving Willa’s safety unsure.

Willa is a woman caught between two worlds. As tensions rise, challenging her shielded heart, the woman called Burning Sky must find a new courage–the courage to again risk embracing the blessings the Almighty wants to bestow. Is she brave enough to love again?

Lori's Writing Desk

Lori’s Writing Desk

What led you to writing?    The deepest and truest answer to that question is God. I believe He leads us all in every aspect of our lives, when we are seeking Him and His will for us. But if you’re asking what sparked my interest in writing in the first place, that was my childhood friend, Leah. She wrote a story first, and told me about it. Epiphany! It had never occurred to me that anyone could write a story, whenever, about whatever. It seemed like the coolest idea ever, so I gave it a try. That was 1978. I’ve been writing stories ever since.

Favorite book ~ favorite movie ~ favorite tv show?    What I might call a favorite changes month to month, year to year. The Summer of the Danes, by Ellis Peters, is one of my favorite books. Amazing Grace is one of my favorite movies. Leverage is one of my favorite TV shows.

Tell us a book you feel epitomizes quality faith-driven literature.   My mind instantly floods with dozens of titles. Picking just one is impossible, because quality faith-driven literature is a broad and encompassing descriptive. And of course my choice is entirely subjective, based on my particular tastes. But since you ask… Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It’s stood the test of time and has become a classic.

Lori's Inspiration for Writing ~ the History in Her Research Books!

Lori’s Inspiration for Writing ~ the History in Her Research Books!

What were the challenges (literary, research, psychological, theological, or logistical) in bringing the book to life?    Writing from the point of view of any character who isn’t a middle-aged white woman of modern American culture is a challenge. That means every character I write, because even a white woman living in the 18th century isn’t going to view the world as I do, practically, emotionally, and theologically. Getting inside the mindset of characters who are male, or of a different race and culture than me, requires thorough research and a stretching of my imagination and empathy. It also takes realizing that human beings have certain things in common, down through the ages and across all cultures—our basic nature (sinful) and need of a Savior.
What do you hope readers take away from Burning Sky?    I’ve heard it said that no two people who read the same book, read the same book. Each reader brings to the pages a lifetime of experience (opinions, wisdom, burdens, questions, preferences, and dislikes). It’s a wonderful, unpredictable chemistry that happens between the reader and the story world. But if a reader should turn the last page of Burning Sky and find herself reminded that through trials and tears we have a heavenly Source from which we can draw comfort, courage, and strength to help in time of need, I’d be thrilled.

Thank you for joining us Lori!  I don’t know that there’s ever been a truer statement about reading than “no two people who read the same book, read the same book.”  One of the reasons book clubs are so popular!

Visit Lori on her website to learn more about her books.

  • Staci

    Loved, loved Burning Sky!!! The history woven into the novel was fabulous. It’s been a bit since I read this one, but I do remember really enjoying the letters in the novel, which is unusual for me. Great novel!