Bookshelf: Return to Eden Blog Tour & Giveaway

Welcome to What’s on the Bookshelf and the “Return to Eden” Blog Tour with author G.P. Ching. Today I have a Q&A with the Soulkeepers Series author and a chance to win great prizes from G.P.

Each week of the tour, G.P. will award one prize per blog she visits, including a $10 customized Visa Debit Card. She will give away ten of these throughout the tour. Or, the winner’s choice of an eBook from either G.P. Ching or any of the Indelible authors along with some signed Soulkeepers bookmarks.

The grand prize at the end of the blog tour will be a signed set of paperbacks (“The Soulkeepers,” “Weaving Destiny” and “Return to Eden”), so make sure you visit each blog on the tour for chances to win. (Open to US residents only)

 Interview with G.P. Ching

Q. How did you come up with the idea for the Soulkeepers series?

A. I’m not sure where the idea came from but several experiences contributed to the story. My husband was born and raised in Hawaii and has a similar background to Jacob’s. After he moved to Illinois and we were married, I was in a meeting where the facilitator said he was waiting for some “oriental chic” who was late and read off my name. I was so offended by the way he said it. Of course, I am Caucasian. My last name is not. I think most people would be surprised how some people react to even that.

Around the same time, I was living in the Bible belt and took part in a nondenominational Bible study. I soon discovered that my interpretation of the passages often differed from the programs. The Bible is a sometimes scary and often confusing book and the story of Adam and Eve raised a lot of questions for me. How did the devil end up in the Garden of Eden? I think The Soulkeepers bloomed out of that questioning.

Q. When you started the series, did you already have a vision of “Return to Eden” in mind? If so, how did that vision change?

A. I had an idea of what Abigail’s journey would look like but I didn’t know the details. Before I write a book, I usually plot it out on index cards but the story never progresses exactly as I plan. One major surprise was the concept of Eden. I hadn’t planned for that in the beginning.

Q. As the third book in a series, “Return to Eden” needed to pull several threads from the series arch together while still telling Abigail’s story. What aspects of her story did you struggle with?

A. I had to let go of preconceived notions of what an angel would act like versus what a demon would act like. An early reader thought some of the scenes with Gideon and Abigail were too hot. But Abigail and Gideon have free will and readers needed to see their struggle, their temptations, their desires. That meant when Abigail is tempted, she actually considers acting on that temptation and even she isn’t sure how things will go in the end. That was a hard road to walk as a writer.

Q. When you were writing the series, what made you go forward with the religious elements despite religion being one of the topics most authors avoid?

A. Religion is a part of life. I understand that some people want to escape to a world where religion isn’t a factor. But I am extremely interested in the clash of traditional cultures, often religious, with modern secular society. In America, religion has been politicized to the point of alienating some people. My books don’t try to convince the reader to believe one way or another. What they do is lend themselves to conversation about what it means to be human and the role spirituality plays in our lives, good or bad. Also, I feel my characters are more multidimensional by having a spiritual life.

Q. What has been the response from your audience regarding those elements of faith?

A. I’ve had atheists, Muslims, Pagans, and Christians write to me to tell me they enjoyed and connected to the story. I’ve also had people say they thought about believing in God for the first time after reading my books. I think writing is art, and just like a painting, people’s perceptions and interpretations are personal and individual.

Q. Did you learn anything about yourself while writing this series? If so, what was it?

A. I have a thicker skin than I thought. Most people have liked my books but some, mostly people who don’t actually read them, have attacked me. The book is too preachy or not preachy enough, they say. (Seriously, I’ve gotten both of these on the same day.) I’ve had people admit to giving me a one star review without reading the book because in their estimation I am trying to pander religious messages to kids. Luckily, these types of attacks have been few and far between and some of them have given me a good chuckle.

Q. Looking back, would you do anything different with the series?

A. I try not to look back. We can only live forward. I could say I wish I’d hired an editor earlier on, but the truth is I couldn’t afford one in the beginning. I did the best with what resources I had and it worked out for me.

Q. Do you have a favorite character in your series? If so, who and why?

A. Abigail. I loved to write her character because she is filled with internal conflict. My favorite scene in “Return to Eden” is the soliloquy in the Garden with the remains of Oswald’s tree.

Q. What books or authors have influenced your writing?

A. Some of my favorites are “Water for Elephants”, “the Thirteenth Tale,” and “Memoirs of a Geisha,” but I also read James Patterson, Dan Brown, Suzanne Collins, Meyer, Rowling, King, Gaiman, as well as more literary work and many indie titles. I think every book I read stays with me in some way, but I can’t pinpoint a single influence.

Q. What’s your next project?

A. Grounded!

Life hasn’t changed much in Hemlock Hollow, the traditional Amish community where seventeen-year-old Lydia Troyer was raised, in hundreds of years. But when her father suffers a stroke and is secretly taken to the English world for treatment, Lydia and her boyfriend, Jeremiah, pose as Englishers to visit him. Lydia’s first experience with a light switch thrusts her into a world where energy is a rare and coveted commodity, as she discovers she has the power to manipulate electricity at her will and becomes the government’s most desired weapon. Lydia struggles to reconcile her electrokinesis with her plain roots, but soon learns that her own personal history is more complicated than she ever imagined.

Grounded is a paranormal thriller with strong romantic elements and will be the first in a trilogy.

Check out the rest of the tour

To enter the giveaway, visit one of these participating blogs above on their tour date and/or fill out the entry form below. Must be 13 years old or older to enter. International entrants are not eligible for the grand prize.

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