Indie Author Spotlight – Lisa Temple and “Illuminating Gracie”

Indie Author Spotlight – Lisa Temple and “Illuminating Gracie”

I’ve got another great indie author to introduce to you – she’s Lisa Temple, and her novel is “Illuminating Gracie”.

Here’s Lisa…

1st choice

 

Lisa Temple is a lifetime resident of Montgomery, Ala., where she lives with her husband, Dana, with whom she has one son, Temp. She also has two stepchildren, Candice and Chad. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Huntingdon College and a Juris Doctorate from Thomas Goode Jones School of Law. Lisa also shares her life with her beloved animals: Phebe, Flash and Minx. You can follow her blog through the website www.illuminatinggracie.com

And her book is “Illuminating Gracie”

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As an old woman’s lifeless body lies on a cold stone floor, her soul stands before an angel who offers her a miraculous opportunity: the chance to do it all again. But that is easier said than done. In order to change the path her life has taken, she must put aside years of self-loathing and pain, so she can help the young girl she once was become the woman she should have been.

At 17 years old, Grace Bennett is a bitter young woman. Though blessed with a loving family, looks and brains to spare, she hides her light under a bushel, spending most of her time in the darkness of her mind with little more than sarcasm and self-pity to keep her company.

But things are about to change for Grace. While delivering food for her family’s bed and breakfast, she turns onto a desolate dirt road and drives straight into her destiny.

It’s on this isolated country lane that the damaged girl meets a strangely familiar old couple and two mysterious young men. Together the group fights the demons that surround Grace, and they teach her what it means to let her light shine.

“Illuminating Gracie” is, at once, a metaphorical tale of the fight between good and evil and a spiritual saga of one girl’s journey from darkness into the light. If you liked “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games,” you will love the story of Gracie.

You can find the book at Amazon, right now.

Here’s an article telling more about Lisa, and her book…

Although she had never written fiction before, about two years ago Montgomery native Lisa Cheek Temple found she had a story inside her that couldn’t be contained. The result is Illuminating Gracie, a story of hope and redemption with a supernatural and spiritual twist.

The novel, classified as Young Adult Fiction, tells the story of 17-year-old Grace Bennett, a lonely and bitter young woman on a path of depression and self-destruction. Her life changes when she meets a mysterious old woman, Mrs. B., her dedicated manservant Willem, and two enigmatic young men who together struggle to bring Gracie into the light and give her the strength to fight her demons – as it turns out, both figuratively and literally.

Temple says she was spurred to begin writing the story shortly after her beloved father was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. He passed away earlier this year. As she struggled to come to terms with his illness, she says she was troubled by regrets about her past, and the trials her parents went through as she tried to find herself.

The story is not autobiographical, although Temple says there are definitely parts of herself in Gracie.

“To say I put my parents through their paces in my younger years is an understatement,” she says with a rueful chuckle. “But through it all, they were always there for me. My dad was very much my hero and stood by my side and helped me get my life together, so it really threw me for a loop when he was diagnosed,” she says. “I had a tough time with the guilt and feeling bad about it and wishing I could go back and change things.”

Without giving too much away, Illuminating Gracie delves into this idea of the ultimate “do-over.”

One evening, Temple says, she simply picked up a pencil and paper, and began to write. She spent the next several months writing the story out by hand. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she says, she started writing the book as a sort of self-help book for young adults. She started thinking about how to write something that might impart a message – “You’re not alone. Look inside yourself.”

“I had this idea of it also being kind of a warning, like be careful about the decisions you make. But what 18-year-old is going to read a self-help book? At that age, you know everything,” she says with a laugh. “But because I’d never put pen to paper on it, it was just an idea. So how could I get this type of information to kids, without it coming across as preaching?”

Influenced by popular Young Adult Fiction that has been embraced by people of all ages, and which she herself enjoys, like the Twilight series and The Hunger Games, the story began to take an otherworldly turn. However, unlike some other fiction that takes its inspiration from those types of stories, Temple’s characters are much more based in faith.

“I’m not really sure how this came to me, except that it grew out of this idea of the literal and figurative ‘fighting your demons.’ It just leant itself to the idea of angels and demons,” she explains. “I wanted to impart a source of light and hope as opposed to a lot of the dark stuff I was seeing out there. This book certainly has dark elements in it, in Gracie’s depression and her negativity, so helping her to overcome that. I really think the Lord put it in my heart and in my head and that’s what came out on the paper. Every day I got up, the only character I knew was Gracie, and I almost didn’t know what was going to happen to her until it came out of my pencil,” Temple says.

She doesn’t define the book as strictly Christian fiction, but does hope it can be inspirational.

“There’s got to be a gulf between clearly Christian fiction and then on the other side, no spiritual value – drugs, sex and rock n’ roll,” she explains with a laugh. “Maybe there’s room to fill that gap between the two. Illuminating Gracie is not written in a way that would alienate someone who isn’t necessarily a Christian from reading it and getting something out of it. But there’s a spiritual message to it, and it’s something that kids are interested in – this otherworldly type subject, and where do I fit in in the world?”

She hopes that young people like the book, but also feels that people of all ages would enjoy the story.

“First and foremost, I just hope readers have a good time. I meant it to be fun and entertaining, and I hope kids that read books like Twilight read it and enjoy it just on the top level. And then I hope that people both young and old read it and if they need to see something else in it, if they need to see themselves in it, or hope in it, or that it’s never too late to change, they can.

“Who hasn’t, at some point in their life, wished for a chance to do things differently?” she says. “It’s something sort of universal in us.”

Illuminating Gracie is available through Amazon.com, Booksamillion.com, BarenesandNoble.com and many other online booksellers.  It is also available for the Kindle. Temple already is working on a sequel, which will follow Gracie into high school and explore issues of popularity, peer pressure, and the challenges young people face trying to be accepted and figure out who they are.

And, last but not least, here’s an excerpt that Lisa has given us, to whet your appetite for the book…

As anxious as I was, I would have had to be dead to be oblivious to the guy’s looks. I had really just caught a glimpse of him, up close, in my headlights, but it was enough to know that he was tall, dark and handsome. When he leaned over to look in my car window, my interior lights allowed me a slightly better view of his face, and what I saw confirmed my earlier instincts – he was exceptionally gorgeous. I wasn’t stupid. I wouldn’t let down my guard just because he was hot. After all, I’d heard of Ted Bundy and was savvy enough to know that not all crazies looked like Charles Manson. But there was no denying that beauty had its privileges, and I felt some of my tension slip away in the wake of the beautiful boy’s extraordinary green-gold eyes.

For some reason, my mind was operating with exceptional clarity in the crisis. I was scared, but not panicked – really almost calm. My underused gray matter categorized my fears and weighed my options, spending no time on needless counting or multiple cortex conversations. I decided to risk cracking my window just a bit and when I did, the boy, sensing I felt threatened, backed up a bit from the side door before saying his first words.

“Well, hey there, gorgeous! It must be my lucky night! You seem to be a damsel in distress.”

He again leaned in slightly toward the window affording me a longer look at his unusual eyes that appeared, at once, bright green and butterscotch gold, mile high cheekbones and movie-star- white smile accented by a single perfect dimple. He was dressed in faded Levis and a black T-shirt – nothing special really – but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I lived to be a hundred, I would never see another boy as pretty as the one that stood before me now.

Pretty – that was the word for him, but not in a feminine way – far from it. There was an indefinable quality about him that raised him above mere “handsome” status. Millions of guys had dark wavy hair, white teeth and beautiful eyes, and many guys were gorgeous. But this boy, he was something different – something that couldn’t be printed on a page or described with words. His looks transcended such futile characterizations.

And when this other-worldly creature – this angelic Adonis – leaned in my window, flashed his bright smile and called me “gorgeous,” that’s when I knew with absolute certainty that this was all just a dream. The isolated mansion, the strange old folks, the new job, the cleansing catharsis, and the sexier than sexy boy were all just a part of my slumbering subconscious.

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