Can you share some examples of how your faith impacts your storytelling?

With every book, I hope to change people, to lift them up, to leave readers better off than I found them. I never want a reader to leave one of my stories feeling down, depressed, or hopeless. I want readers to come away with a sense of God’s grace. For me, if a story doesn’t bolster faith and create hope, it hasn’t done its job.

Every once in a while, I’ll hear from a reader who says, “Your stories make me want to be a better person.” That’s my goal in writing—to reinforce the belief that it is possible to reject the bad and cling to the good, that good is ultimately stronger.

It’s not just my goal for the reader, it’s my goal for myself as a writer. Every story is an opportunity to grow and refocus the spirit, and show God working in both worlds—the one we imagine within a book, and the one we live in beyond the pages.

What are the best things readers can do to support their favorite authors?

Oh, gosh! The list is long…

Support your local book places… bookstores and libraries, those places where you wander in to find a certain book and end up hours later with an armload of books. Fill your shelves, buy books as gifts, donate books to your library, senior citizen facilities, the corner in the church that can become a library… any nook and cranny where books can draw readers. Release books “into the wild” by leaving them on a park bench or a bus seat, one by one to delight another person.

Start a book club or join a book club and lobby for your favorite books to become a club reads.
Write reviews at online retailer and reader sites. Browsers want to know what other readers say about a book.

Recommend books on your social media pages. Share pictures of your favorite reads, your reading places, your bookshelf.

Drop a note to the author and share your experiences with the book. Storytelling is, at heart, about building human connections. It’s hard to express, as a writer, how much it means to hear from readers.

Visit Lisa Wingate’s Author Page:

The Book of Lost Friends
Lisa Wingate
Ballantine Books
Buy the book from our store!

The dramatic story of three young women searching for family amid the destruction of the post–Civil War South, and of a modern-day teacher who learns of their story and its vital connection to her students’ lives.

Bestselling author Lisa Wingate brings to life startling stories from actual “Lost Friends” advertisements that appeared in Southern newspapers after the Civil War, as newly freed slaves desperately searched for loved ones who had been sold away.

Louisiana, 1875: In the tumultuous era of Reconstruction, three young women set off as unwilling companions on a perilous quest: Hannie, a freed slave; Lavinia, the pampered heir to a now destitute plantation; and Juneau Jane, Lavinia’s Creole half sister. Each carries private wounds and powerful secrets as they head for Texas, following roads rife with vigilantes and soldiers still fighting a war lost a decade before. For Lavinia and Juneau Jane, the journey is one of stolen inheritance and financial desperation, but for Hannie, torn from her mother and siblings before slavery’s end, the pilgrimage west reignites an agonizing question: Could her long-lost family still be out there? Beyond the swamps lie the limitless frontiers of Texas and, improbably, hope.

Louisiana, 1987: For first-year teacher Benedetta Silva, a subsidized job at a poor rural school seems like the ticket to canceling her hefty student debt—until she lands in a tiny, out-of-step Mississippi River town. Augustine, Louisiana, is suspicious of new ideas and new people, and Benny can scarcely comprehend the lives of her poverty-stricken students. But amid the gnarled live oaks and run-down plantation homes lie the century-old history of three young women, a long-ago journey, and a hidden book that could change everything.

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About The Author

Lisa Wingate is a former journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the bestselling author of more than twenty novels. Her work has won or been nominated for many awards, including the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, the Oklahoma Book Award, the Carol Award, the Christy Award, and the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. Wingate lives in the Ouachita Mountains of southwest Arkansas.