Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Win both of these books by leaving a comment
on this post September 24-30! (Details below)

Lisa writes:

I came up with the [Gifted] series concept after reading The Da Vinci Code, and thinking long and hard about the things I both loved (pacing, mystery, suspense) and hated (heresy that made me want to throw it against a wall). I also was heavily influenced by the Lord of the Rings trilogy on film—the grandeur of an epic story, with a cast of characters, deeper symbolism, adventure. So I started talking to my friends who know Scripture, and I asked them about a good biblical mystery…two mentioned the “previous letters” mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians and I was off and running.

Considering that Paul talks a lot about spiritual gifts in his letters to the Corinthians, I gave my characters all the unique and powerful spiritual gifts he mentioned in the Scriptures—healing, prophecy, wisdom, faith, miraculous powers—and placed them in perilous times, the 14th century, pre-Reformation, pre-Renaissance. My Gifted are hunted both by the Church, who seeks to control them, and forces of evil, who wish to kill them. All in all, I think it makes for a classic Good vs. Evil read—with inspiration and application for us in the 21st century.

Karen's Interview with Lisa Bergren:

Lisa, whatever got you started on the topic of illustrators/illuminators of Scripture and the icon controversy? You mention the DaVinci code and Lord of the Rings, but you've chosen such a specific art, one of the more unusual subjects I've seen for a novel or a series.

The best part about research is that it turns up excellent plot points for a novel. Because of the furor about icons (pictures of Jesus and saints, apostles) and illuminations (the glorious gilt illustration that monks used to put in the margin of Bibles and other books) throughout Church history, it was a natural device for me to use. At various points in history, the Church either glorified these art forms or outlawed them--burning a massive number and forbidding anyone to create more. So for some to survive over time...and to hold prophetic illustrations for our Gifted to's almost like God's treasure hunt, don't you think?

How did you learn to write suspenseful fiction? I picked up The Begotten just to browse, and I had trouble letting go.

I love a good novel that keeps me up too late reading. Suspense is what flows most easily from me. Although I've written contemporary romance, historical women's fiction and general fiction, scenes that have an element of danger or intrigue are those that are fast and easy for me. So...with a series that is jam-packed with suspense, I'm rolling!

What truths from this series are most relevant for people today?

The main theme for The Begotten is really embracing God's supreme love, and finding total healing through it. The main theme for The Betrayed is perseverance and faith through trial. I'm thinking those are truths I need to be reminded of every year...and hope readers are ministered to through those lessons (even in the midst of a fast-paced read!)

What did you enjoy about writing these two books?

I love getting lost in this group of characters. They begin to feel like family to me, and alongside them, I learn more about the God we serve, battle evil, travel the world and inspire others, as if I'm in each of their heads, living each of their lives. Oh, and I got to go to Italy THREE times (and the South of France for a bit, too) to research for this series--how cool is that?!?

What can we look forward to in the future from the pen of Lisa Bergren?

As soon as I email this off to you, I must return to The Blessed, book 3 in the Gifted Series that comes out Fall 2008. After that, I think I'll write about 4 sisters in the Colorado frontier and am considering a Barbary Coast pirate trilogy. I just released The Busy Mom's Devotional and a book/Bible study called What Women Want, so we'll see if that nonfiction front bears any fruit--I may do some more. And I continue to write kids' books--I've written God Gave Us You, God Gave Us Two, God Gave Us Heaven (Sept 2008), How Big is God? (Jan 2008), and From God to My Arms (Jan 2009). So after a writing hiatus of 4 years, I'm back at it!

Four things you might want to know:
1) The Gifted Series has been featured in Target stores since September 4th on the Breakout Books display
2) For more info on me, go to
3) A Reader’s Guide is included in the back of each book—making it a possible choice for a book group.
4) The Begotten was a finalist for this year’s Christy Award, one of three finalists for the Best Suspense of the Year award. It didn’t win (sniff, sniff), but it was an honor to rise to the top of 31 entries.

Blessings on your heads!

Lisa T. Bergren


Lisa Tawn Bergren is the author of 28 books, with over 1.3 million sold. She is a publishing consultant, writer, Bible study leader, mother and wife. Her hobbies include travel (mostly from an armchair), reading, watching movies, cooking and exploring with her family. Lisa's most recent books include The Begotten, The Betrayed, God Gave Us Heaven, What Women Want and The Busy Mom's Devotional. She resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado. To sign up for her monthly email (which includes a new, unpublished devotional) go to and join her newsletter list.


The Begotten:

The Betrayed:

To win your copy of both The Begotten and The Betrayed, leave a comment on this post by September 30, midnight. Be sure to give a website or email address so I can contact both winners. One of you will be delayed, as I'm not letting go till I read the books. Sorry, it's that good. I'll mail the first one the minute I finish!


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

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. Who was the hermit in the hills? What happened to him? And how would I solve the mystery if I could? As I pondered those questions, I knew that I had to write the hermit’s story.

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

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. I read about another whose horse raced beside the Eastern Minnesota train as fire billowed around him. The horse swerved into the smoke, and the man was never seen again. I read about a boy racing down the tracks, falling, and surviving as the fire roared over him. 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.

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

In the midst of life’s disillusionment, choices appear. Do we retreat? Hide our hurts far from probing eyes? Do we embrace bitterness and cynicism? Do we use deceit to try to obtain our goals? Do we give up, give in, forget that we ever dared to dream?

Or is it possible to reach the high places of faith in the low valleys of life’s reality? Can we still live a life of bold faith, of fierce hope, when fairy tales don’t come true? How do we live this life that God has given us when it’s not the life we dreamed?

These are the questions I wanted to explore in Veil of Fire. These are the questions which underlie each character’s journey in the aftermath of the great fire of 1894.

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.

What book project can we expect from you after Veil of Fire? Can you give us a sneak peak of the storyline?

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. With groovy 70’s trivia and a whopper of an ending twist, this one was as fun to write as it will be to read. Here’s a blurb about it:

They say love is blind. This time, they’re right.
A poignant love story . . .
A shocking twist . . .
Come, experience a love that will not die.

Nicolas Sparks (The Notebook) meets M. Night Shymalan (The Sixth Sense) in this moving story of two people trying to find love in the dark. A woman going blind, a man who loves her but can’t tell her so, a car crash, a hospital room, and an ending that has to be experienced to be believed. Watch for it next May!


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.

Visit Marlo at her website and blogs: