Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Veil of Fire, by Marlo Schalesky

VEIL OF FIRE
By Marlo Schalesky

A Raging Firestorm . . .
A Light in the Hills . . .
And a Mystery Rises from the Ash.

In 1894, the worst firestorm in Minnesota history descends on the town of Hinckley. Heat, flame, and darkness sweep through the town, devouring lives, destroying hope. In the aftermath, the town rises from the ashes, its people determined to rebuild their lives.
But in the shadows, someone is watching. Someone is waiting. Someone who knows the secrets that can free them all. A rumor begins of a hermit in the hills - a person severely burned, disfigured beyond recognition. Doubts rise. Fear whispers. Is the hermit a monster or a memory? An enemy or a love once-lost?
Based on historical events, Veil of Fire beckons to a time when hope rose from the smoke of sacrifice, when trust hid behind a veil of fear, when dreams were robed in a mantle of fire . . .

Reading Veil of Fire is like feasting on a banquet of rich words and vivid images.
─Tricia Goyer, award-winning author of five novels, including A Valley of Betrayal

Moving. Heartbreaking. Compelling. This beautiful, sensitive story of pain, loss, and, ultimately, healing touched the deepest parts of my heart.
─Laura Jensen Walker, author of Miss Invisible and Reconstructing Natalie

Veil of Fire may be purchased at Amazon.com or at your local bookstore. Visit Marlo at her web site: www.marloschalesky.com


Speaking with Marlo:

Q: Where did you birth the idea for this book? When? How did it come about?

A: People often ask where I get my ideas for my books. My answer? You never know! For Veil of Fire, the idea was birthed at my favorite Mexican restaurant in the mission town of San Juan Bautista. There I was, sitting with my family, nibbling chips and salsa, when a wedding party came by.

The bridesmaids were dressed in beautiful turn-of-the-century style gowns. As they passed, my mother-in-law began to tell me of the dresses that her great grandmother, who lived in Hinckley, used to sew for the rich ladies in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

From there, came the story of the great Hinckley fire and the rebuilding that this woman, my husband’s great-great-grandmother, was a part of. And finally, I heard the tale of the mystery figure in the hills, a person burned beyond recognition. A person never identified, living as a hermit until one day he just disappeared.

At that moment, the first inklings of the story that would become Veil of Fire were born in my heart.

Q: Can you explain the research process, since this is such a historical novel?

A: The research for Veil of Fire was particularly fascinating not only because of its link to my personal family history, but also because of the incredible first-person accounts of the fire that were written by people who were actually there.

These stories are compiled into a book written entirely by survivors who recount their personal experience of living through the firestorm that swept through their town. I read about a man whose hat lifted from his head and exploded above him as he ran through wind and fire.

Those eyewitness accounts, as well as information gathered about the fire from other sources, created the realistic feel of the fire and its aftermath in Veil of Fire. Today, a number of books about the fire, as well as artifacts, photos, and other articles can be seen at the Hinckley Fire Museum in Hinckley.

Q: What takeaway points do you hope your readers pull from this book?

A: Life happens. Failure, discouragement, pain, loss. Somewhere, somehow, life burns us all. And we realize that this life we live is not the one we once dreamed. The realities of life scar us. Doubts rise. Fear whispers that hope is gone. And what was once a simple faith can fail in the face of that fear.

So, for those burned by life, for those who carry scars that cannot be seen, for those who have retreated for fear of more pain, this story is for you, this journey from the hidden places of pain to a new hope in the unhidden truth of Christ’s love.

Q: Can you share with your readers something God has been teaching you lately?

A: Through some recent tragedies and through writing Veil of Fire, God is showing me that I cannot measure his love by my successes and failures, or even by my happiness. Who I am on the inside, how I am being shaped into the likeness of Christ, the character of my life – the color and beauty of it – are what are important to God. And to create that color and beauty, sorrow is necessary. Hurtful things happen.

Q: What book are you currently reading?

A: Why, the New Testament, of course . . . in Greek! Now, before you start thinking that loving Greek makes me too scholarly to write a decent novel, you should know that even though I just completed my Masters at Fuller (that’s a Masters in Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary – so cool!), it wasn’t my desire for an “A” that made me fall in love with New Testament Greek.

Q: What book project can we expect from you after Veil of Fire?

A: After Veil of Fire, I’m writing 3 contemporary novels for Waterbrook-Multnomah. All of them are “Love Stories with a Twist!,” a new type of story that I think will knock readers’ socks off.

The first, Beyond the Night, releases in May 2008.

BIO

Marlo Schalesky is the award winning author of five books, including her latest novel VEIL OF FIRE, which explores the great Minnesota firestorm of 1894 and the mysterious figure who appeared in the hills afterward.

She has also had over 500 articles published in various magazines, had her work included in compilations such as Dr. Dobson’s Night Light Devotional for Couples, and is a regular columnist for Power for Living.

Marlo recently earned her Masters degree in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary and is currently working on three contemporary novels for Multnomah-Waterbrook Publishers, a division of Random House. She lives in Salinas, California with her husband and four daughters.

3 comments:

Rel said...

Lovely interview, Marlo and Rachel - thanks :)

Cherie J said...

Love these interviews! They give good insight into the author as well as the book.

Carol said...

Thanks for the interview! I enjoy reading about authors where they get their ideas.