Monday, June 15, 2015

What Let Me Die in His Footsteps Is Really About by Lori Roy + Giveaway! (US/Can only)

Let Me Die In His Footsteps
Lori Roy

In the spellbinding and suspenseful Let Me Die in His Footsteps, Edgar Award–winner Lori Roy wrests from a Southern town the secrets of two families touched by an evil that has passed between generations.

On a dark Kentucky night in 1952 exactly halfway between her fifteenth and sixteenth birthdays, Annie Holleran crosses into forbidden territory. Everyone knows Hollerans don’t go near Baines, not since Joseph Carl was buried two decades before, but, armed with a silver-handled flashlight, Annie runs through her family’s lavender fields toward the well on the Baines’ place. At the stroke of midnight, she gazes into the water in search of her future. Not finding what she had hoped for, she turns from the well and when the body she sees there in the moonlight is discovered come morning, Annie will have much to explain and a past to account for.

It was 1936, and there were seven Baine boys. That year, Annie’s aunt, Juna Crowley, with her black eyes and her long blond hair, came of age. Before Juna, Joseph Carl had been the best of all the Baine brothers. But then he looked into Juna’s eyes and they made him do things that cost innocent people their lives. Sheriff Irlene Fulkerson saw justice served—or did she?

As the lavender harvest approaches and she comes of age as Aunt Juna did in her own time, Annie’s dread mounts. Juna will come home now, to finish what she started. If Annie is to save herself, her family, and this small Kentucky town, she must prepare for Juna’s return, and the revelation of what really happened all those years ago

A Writer's Intentions

I’ve been thinking about intentions lately, specifically an author’s intentions. Actually, I’ve been thinking about the subject since my second novel was published a few years ago. A week before Until She Comes Home hit shelves, I was Skyping with a writer friend of mine who lives in Swede... we’ll call her The Swede. During our conversation, The Swede told me of an experiment she had recently read about that studied the effects of being cast out. It would seem that the need to belong is deeply ingrained in each of us, likely because it was—and still is in many ways—a matter of survival. The findings showed that a person experiences physical pain upon being cast out, and I realized that this very issue was at the heart of Until She Comes Home. How far would a person be willing to go to avoid being cast out? The book had been written, edited, housed in a beautifully designed cover and was due to hit shelves shortly, and I finally understood what it was really all about. And I first began to think about an author’s intentions.

There are many theories on the subject and they’ve evolved over the years. Some theories reason that an author’s intentions are paramount to a true understanding of her work. Others hold that an author’s intentions are entirely immaterial and only a reader’s interpretation is relevant. One of my favorite theories cautions against relying on an author’s intentions as her work may or may not have been the product of a rational mind.

One of the arguments for disregarding an author’s intentions is easily understood. The author cannot be present to explain her intentions, reasoning or motivations to each and every reader, so the work must stand entirely on its own. An argument that is a little tougher to fully understand, and one that I find a bit disconcerting, is that an author may not fully understand her own work and so is unable to fully articulate her intentions. This line of reasoning is based, at least in part, on the assumption that both the conscious and subconscious of the author are hard at work as she writes her novel, and as such, themes may emerge that even the author will have to study in order to understand and appreciate.

And so the question has haunted me these last few years. As my third book gets ready to hit shelves, I’ve had an experience similar to the one I had prior to my second novel coming out. This time, instead of The Swede raising an issue that ignited my understanding, it was the copyeditor for Let Me Die In His Footsteps... we’ll call her The Copyeditor. Instead of a comment over Skype, my enlightenment came this time from a short comment in a balloon that floated in the manuscript’s right margin. I stared at the comment, which I won’t share because I’ll leave it to readers to discover, and then realized I’d once again found the heart of the novel well after I’d completed it.

So, was it my intention to create these themes? Was my subconscious at work, and is that why it took some time for me to fully understand the novel I’d written? Was I of sound mind when I wrote the book? The answer to the last question is yes, I assume so. As to the other two questions, I’m not certain. But I have come to appreciate that for me, the most significant elements of my work rise up from authentic, warm-to-the-touch characters challenged to take action within the confines of a plot. These are the two elements of the craft I focus on as I work, and from this process arises those themes I’ll likely not discover until long after I’ve typed... THE END.

About the Author

Lori Roy was born and raised in Manhattan, Kansas where she graduated from Kansas State University. Her debut novel, Bent Road, published in 2011, was awarded the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best First Novel by an American Author, named a 2011 New York Times Notable Crime Book and named a 2012 notable book by the state of Kansas. It has also been optioned for film.

Her second novel, Until She Comes Home, was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice, and was nominated for an Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best Novel.

Her newest novel, Let Me Die In His Footsteps, was published June 2nd.

Lori also serves as treasurer for the Sisters in Crime organization and is a liaison to the Author Coalition. She currently lives with her family in west central Florida.


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of Let Me Die in His Footsteps—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What's the most valuable thing you've learned from one of your past mistakes?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Lori and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher—a huge thank you to TLC Book Tours and Dutton Books!
Giveaway ends June 29th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada readers only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for the list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
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Good luck!