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Scroll below for a chance to win a paperback copy or audiobook (winner’s choice) of Rachel Linden’s Ascension of Larks!
What was your favorite book as a child?
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. The plucky, kind, and intelligent March sisters were inspirational. Also any story where girls were having grand adventures!
Growing up homeschooled in rural Ohio, I had plenty of time to devour books by the dozen. Those stories gave me a thirst for adventure that significantly influenced my life’s direction. I just got my 50th country stamp in my passport last year (I think it was Morocco) and have lived for the past 7 years in Europe working with a faith based organization.
This summer our family relocated from Budapest back to our beloved Seattle. This week we finally unpacked our 14 boxes of books. (That’s after we pared down a lot!) In one box I found my tattered copy of Little Women. It was like being reunited with a childhood friend.
What book did you read that first made you want to be an author?
Little Women for starters. As a little girl I wanted to be a writer like Jo and even wrote my own books with scintillating titles like Beans! that I bound in cardboard from cereal boxes.
Also Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. When I read it in college it was like a light bulb flickering on in my head. Lamott describes the inner life of a writer so perfectly, and I thought “Oh, this is me! I can identify with this.” It gave me permission to call myself a writer.
What was the last book you read, just for fun?
My motto when writing my novels is to present truth in a beautiful way that illuminates lives. I try to read books that do the same thing for me as a reader. I just finished Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. It’s a heartbreaking look at a little known chapter of American history.
What books are currently on your nightstand?
Given our recent international move and my darling and exuberant toddler son and infant daughter, my formerly luxurious hours of reading are now confined to a few hasty minutes with a headlamp before sleep, but I’m still a confirmed bookworm.
Currently on my nightstand: With by Skye Jethani which is a spiritual breath of fresh air. The stunning Pulitzer Prize winner All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I’m managing to read about 2 pages at a time but I’m savoring it! And my beloved Kindle. It saved my literary life living in Central Europe where English language books are rare and expensive. My Kindle has traveled on plane, trains, buses and boats to about 35 countries with me.
What upcoming release are you most looking forward to?
My second novel, Becoming the Talbot Sisters, in May because that means I’ll be done with edits and have more time for reading all the great books waiting out there! I’m also looking forward to The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay, which comes out in November, and the next novels by Jodi Picoult and Kristin Hannah.
More about Ascension of Larks
When globetrotting photographer Magdalena Henry loses the only man she’s ever loved, she risks her stellar career to care for his widow and young children on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest.
Free-spirited and fiercely independent, Maggie adores her life of travel and adventure. But she has a secret. She can’t let go of her first and only love, renowned architect Marco Firelli, now married to her best friend Lena.
When Marco drowns in a kayaking accident, Maggie rushes to the Firelli family’s summer home on San Juan Island. Once there she discovers that Marco was hiding something that could destroy his family. As fragile, perfectionistic Lena slowly falls apart, Maggie tries to provide stability for Marco and Lena’s three young children.
When Maggie is offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance to compete in the world’s most prestigious photography competition, she thinks she’s found the answer to their problems. Then Lena makes a choice with unexpected and devastating consequences, forcing Maggie to grapple with an agonizing decision. Does she sacrifice the golden opportunity of her career or abandon the Firellis just when they need her the most?
Gradually the island begins to work its magic. A century-old ritual to beckon loved ones home offers hope in the midst of sorrow. And a guilt-ridden yet compelling stranger hiding on the island may offer Maggie a second chance at love, but only if she can relinquish the past and move forward to find joy in unexpected places.
Rachel Linden spent her childhood in a magical world of make-believe, enjoying countless hours playing pioneer house under a towering blue spruce tree, mixing potions for enchantments, and pretending to be a member of the French Resistance in WWII. These early adventures prompted her to write stories with such exciting titles as Beans!, which she fashioned into books bound in cardboard from cereal boxes.
Rachel’s taste for adventure and her interest in the world led her to a career as an international worker with a faith-based charity, and her experiences living and traveling in forty-seven countries around the globe continue to provide excellent grist for her stories.
Rachel holds a BA in Literature from Huntington University, an MA in Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College, and studied creative writing at Oxford University in England during her undergraduate education. She currently splits her time between Seattle, Washington, and Budapest, Hungary, where she lives with her husband and son on the banks of the Danube River.
When she is not dreaming up a new story, Rachel spends her time traveling on trains across Central Europe with her family, enjoying good food and wine with friends from around the world, and exploring the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest and the history and architecture of Europe.