Kai Miller floats through life like driftwood tossed by waves. She's never put down roots in any one place--and she doesn't plan to. But when a chaotic hurricane evacuation lands her in Daily, Texas, she begins to think twice about her wayfaring existence. And when she meets hometown-boy Kemp Eldridge, she can almost picture settling down in Daily--until she discovers he may be promised to someone else. Daily has always been a place of refuge for those the wind blows in, but for Kai, it looks like it will be just another place to leave behind. Then again, Daily always has a few surprises in store--especially when Aunt Donetta has cooked up a scheme.
Interview with Lisa Wingate:
1. How did you develop the initial story idea/plot line for this book?
Some book ideas you search for, and some just blow in on the wind. For the past several years, dating back to Hurricane Katrina, we in Central Texas have been the recipients of massive hurricane evacuations. These massive exoduses of people, pets, and belongings are frightening, frustrating, challenging, and at times oddly wonderful. When so many are on the road seeking shelter, the worst, but also the best qualities of humanity come to the surface. Hurricane evacuations truly provide times when we ask the question, "Am I my brother’s keeper?" In answering that question, we’ve enjoyed amazing moments of friendship and fellowship, family reunions, and chances to share a food and space with strangers from other parts of the country. We’ve traded stories and recipies, laughter and tears.
One thing we’ve learned about hurricanes, living here, is that the paths are never predictable. Storms waver, hesitate, speed up, slow down, and sometimes change course unexpectedly. Evacuations needs can change and develop quickly. What better way for the beauty shop girls to find their inner strength and to show Daily hospitality, than for their cruise plans to land them smack in the middle of a sudden and chaotic hurricane evacuation?
2. Almost every author puts a little of themselves into their stories—what did you put of yourself into this one? (personality traits, life events/jobs, settings, characters based on people you know, likes/dislikes, etc.)
There’s a bit of me in the setting, of course. I love Texas, in all its variety of cultures and landscapes, but, living in a small town, I have a particular affection for little bergs like Daily, where the coffee’s always hot, and a good slide of pecan pie can cure most ills. Having watched our little town mobilize to take in hurricane evacuees several times now, I’ve been reminded that sometimes the worst things that can happen bring out the best in people. Given the opportunity and faced with the need, regular people can rise to the occasion in amazing ways, as do the citizens of Daily in the book.
Some members of the Wingate family might also claim to recognize themselves among the citizens of Daily, Texas. I would offer the disclaimer that any resemblances are completely unintentional, but that would be a bald-faced lie. When you come from a family of great storytellers and colorful characters, there’s nothing to do but make use of what you’ve got.
3. Did you encounter any interesting challenges while writing/researching for this book? Please explain if so.
The most difficult part of working on Never Say Never was researching and reliving the devastation left behind on the Texas gulf coast last year after Hurricane Ike. While interviewing family members about their experiences during the evacuation and return, we shared laughter and quite a few tears. For those who have lived in southeast Texas all their lives, talking about familiar landmarks, heirlooms, and old family places that were washed away forever, knowing some things will never be the same, is both difficult and devastating. For those of us who have so many memories of family gatherings and vacations there, it’s hard to believe we’ll never visit the old places again.
4. Why is this book/story relevant today?
Despite our best-laid plans, we all experience storms in life—whether those storms be of a weather-related nature, or due to an illness, death, or in recent months, job loss and financial misfortune. When the parameters of life and our ability to control fate suddenly change, we’re confronted with our own helplessness and need to rely on other people and God. In a culture that values independence and self-sufficiency, it’s important to remember that we all have a common need and a common responsibility for each other and that without faith we really are alone in the storm.
About the Author:
Lisa Wingate is a popular inspirational speaker, magazine columnist, and national bestselling author of several books, including Tending Roses, Talk of the Town, Drenched in Light, A Thousand Voices, and A Month of Summer. Her work was recently honored by the Americans for More Civility for promoting greater kindness and civility in American life. Lisa and her family live in central Texas.
In the third of the Daily, Texas series of books, Lisa Wingate tackles a hurricane and its aftermath. Hurricane Glorietta hits the coast of Texas, forcing evacuations north, and cancelling the cruise Donetta Bradford was going on with her Daily friends Imagene and Lucy. Along the way, the three ladies are rescued by Kai Miller, a freespirited young woman who works on the cruise ship. Daily, Texas, also becomes shelter for a couple of dogs and an entire church family from the Louisiana Bayous.
I think this book addresses more faith-centered struggles than the previous two, although again the faith issues are more subtly woven into the narrative than some readers might like. Lisa Wingate is not a preachy writer. Instead, she creates humorous situations out of slice-of-life scenarios and shows how faith--and faith struggles--can play a role.
Overall, I enjoyed this third installment in the Daily series.
LEAVE A COMMENT on this post, and you'll be entered for a chance to win a grand prize package including the following:
Donetta and Imagene's Texas Road Trip Basket (approximate total value over $150)
Take a Texas road trip, without ever leaving home!
The Daily Texas Series by Lisa Wingate:
Talk Of the Town
Word Gets Around
Never Say Never
The Blue Sky Hills Series by Lisa Wingate:
A Month of Summer
The Summer Kitchen
Beyond Summer (a special advance copy not available in stores until July 2010)
Road Trip Snacks (Straight from Texas, of course!)
Wrap it all up with a fuzzy, fleecy Texas throw blanket for those cold nights on the road (or curled up with your books!)
Special thanks to KCW Communications for a review copy of this novel, which I will be donating to my local library.