Jamie Langston Turner, a master weaver of stories, is a well-known and respected Christian author. She was raised in Mississippi and Kentucky and lives in South Carolina. A true Southern lady. We are delighted to have her with us today. Jamie, we made Mint Tea for you. It’s a sunny day here and we thought this would be the perfect drink to enjoy.
Ingredients: 4 cups water, 3 tablespoons sugar, 4 green tea bags, 1 (2-in) piece orange peel, 8 sprigs fresh mint.
Bring the water to boil, then add sugar and stir until dissolved. Turn off the heat. Drop the tea bags and the orange peel into a teapot. Rip the mint leaves and drop them in too. Pour the water into the teapot, put the lid on and allow to steep for 10 minutes. When ready pour into glass through a tea strainer. This recipe is by Aarti Sequeira. She says it is delicious served over ice. To see more visit Read more at:http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aarti-sequeira/mint-tea-recipe.html
Your latest book release wasTo See the Moon Again.That’s your eighthbook. Tell us about it.
It’s about Julia Rich, who every day of her life lives with the memory of a horrible accident she caused long ago. In the years since, she has tried to hide her guilt in the quiet routine of teaching at a small South Carolina college, avoiding close relationships with family and would-be friends. But one day a phone call from Carmen, a niece she has never met, disrupts her carefully controlled world.
Carmen is a study in contrasts—comical yet wise, sunny yet contemplative, soft yet assertive. As she sets about gently drawing Julia from her self-imposed solitude into a place of hope, she also seeks her own peace for past mistakes.
Together, the two women embark on a journey that takes Julia far from the familiar comfort of home and gives Carmen the courage to open her heart. Together, their sightseeing trip turns into a discovery of truth, grace, redemption, and, finally, love…
I read the book, and I have to tell you, I did not want it to end. Your books have garnered some impressive awards. Your book A Garden to Keep won a Christy Award. Tell us about that one.
It’s about Elizabeth Landis. Her story is like that of a garden left untended for too long, with weeds as bounteous as blossoms and stone walkways buried beneath tangled vines and daffodils. Beauty to be found, though amidst much neglect. When betrayal strikes at the heart of her very existence, she retraces the path of her life and marriage, discovering along the way memories both painful and joyful. Pruning the garden of her life requires an honesty new to her, but it offers the promise of mercy and perhaps grace.
Publishers Weekly namedyour book Winter Birds, “One of the hundred best books” of 2006 and it also won a Christy award.
This one is about Sophia Hess, plain and dutiful, who lived most of her life without ever knowing genuine love. Her professor husband had married her for the convenience of having a typist for his scholarly papers. The discovery of a dark secret opens her eyes to the truth about her marriage and her husband.
Eventually nephew Patrick and his wife, Rachel, take Sophia into their home, and she observes from a careful distance their earnest faith and the simple gifts of kindness they generously bestow upon her and others-this in spite of an unthinkable tragedy they’ve suffered. Will she unlock the door behind which she conceals her broken heart? It’s an insightful and moving portrayal of the transforming power of love.
You’ve also written Sometimes a Light Surprises, Suncatchers, By the Light of a Thousand Stars, No Dark Valley, and Some Wildflower in My Heart. Excellent books. No wonder your books win awards.
Southern Writers magazine just did an article on you in their September/October issue. One comment you made really stood out for me. You said, “All of my novels illustrate to some extent the truth that a single faithful believer can have a positive, profound impact on those around him. This is a theme to which I keep returning”. That statement really brought home the impact authors can have with their words. I hope people will get the magazine and read your article. It is wonderful how you give some greatbehind-the-scenes insight aboutyour writing.
I want to suggest to readers they sign up for your newsletter. I just read your article about you and your husband going to Asheville, North Carolina, to seethe beautiful fall flowers at the BiltmoreEstate. It brought back wonderful memories when I took my mother and sister there about twenty years ago. The gardens were breathtaking. Just reading it, took me back there.
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Be sure and contact Jamie and let her know how much you enjoy her books. She loves to hear from readers. Thank you,Jamie,for visiting today. Be sure and let us know when your next book will release. I don’t want to miss it.
Thank you for having me,Susan, I enjoyed it.
To See the Moon Again - and Other Books
I had given up on fiction.
Especially Christian fiction.
Sure, I knew there was some good fiction out there, but mostly I was disappointed. Either they were bland or sensual, unrealistic or forgettable - mostly I regretted the time spent in its pages.
So for years I stuck with non-fiction and classic fiction.
And I'd be there yet except for a friend's recommendation.
One of my favorite questions to ask a friend is "What are you reading?" I have found many treasures through the years from answers to this question. Sheila is the one who first mentioned Jamie Langston Turner - describing her novels at far different than the typical fiction.
And were they ever. A few chapter into the first book and I was hooked. These were pages to be savored, not devoured. Instead of rushing to "see how it would turn out" I was lingering over phrases, rereading favorite passages, and saddened to turn the last page.
I'm not the best critic on writing but even I know that the literary quality of Turner's books far surpasses the usual fare. I have finished a book only to page back through wondering how ever Turner was able to weave all the various aspects of the story together. These are books that can be read and reread. The layers of the story become richer from digging deeper. The details of life and insight into human character put her books into a category of their own.
Turner takes her readers to the small South Carolina town of Derby. Each of her books stands alone as its own story and her books can be read in any order. But I highly recommend reading her books in the order that they were written. Turner's characters have a way of showing up in the pages of other books. You will want to know who is that eccentric old lady at the next restaurant table. But even better is the sneak peak into the growth of Turner's characters. The struggling main character in one book becomes a mentor in the next book - a reminder that God does bring redemption.
Redemption...if there is any theme through Turner's books it is grace and redemption. Turner doesn't hide the realities of life. Not everything is pretty and idyllic in Derby. But if there were no pain and sin, there would be no grace. Turner walks her characters through their pain into God's redemption - so that you and I that are reading can experience redemption too.
Turner is discreet and tactful but I'll add a warning here that her books are for the mature reader since they do face things like adultery and abuse. I don't want any of you handing these books to your twelve-year-old just because Gina said they were good books!
I'm going to give a brief review of each of Turner's books in order that they were written. This is the order that I'd suggest reading them - though if you can't get a hold of a particular book - don't miss out on the others. I'll try to tell you a little bit about the book without giving anything away - since I hate spoilers when I read a book!
Suncatchers introduces us to the town of Derby and Eldeen Rafferty. Eldeen's neighbor, Perry Warren left the shambles of his home to take an assignment to write about The Church of the Open Door. Through Eldeen, the reader finds laughter and Perry finds hope. Thankfully this isn't the last time that we will meet Eldeen because by the end of the book she became a friend.
Some Wildflower in My Heartis written in a unique first-person style, at times written directly to the reader like a non-fiction book. This was the first of Turner's books that I read and still a favorite. Margaret and Birdie are opposites but forge a friendship that turns Margaret's life upside down. Birdie's unassumming love challenged me in my relationships.
By the Light of a Thousand Stars focuses on four very different women. Each woman is faced with disappointments and trials but as their lives intersect, God's grace is revealed. Creating memorable characters may be what Turner does best. Who can forget Catherine and her crazy son Hardy or her sister-in-law Della Boyd?
A Garden to Keep begins with Margaret reaching out to Elizabeth in the same way Birdie had reached out to Margaret with an offer of God's grace. With Elizabeth's marriage crumbling she would need to hold onto grace - and respond with grace. It is hard to pick a favorite but I think A Garden to Keep is mine, probably because of the focus on communication, family, and marriage. Poetry lovers will particularly enjoy this one.
No Dark Valley is Turner's only book that could be termed a romance - at least the main characters are a single man and woman. But these two are not looking for romance, they are searching for forgiveness. Celia attends her grandmother's funeral in Georgia and is reminded of how far she has traveled from her grandmother's faith. Just as books are to Some Wildflowers in my Heart and poetry is to A Garden to Keep, hymns are to No Dark Valley. I love Turner's chapter titles in all of her books but with the focus on old hymns, this book is a favorite.