Throughout April and May 2019, hundreds of readers read and discussed the 2019 Fauquier Community Read selection, BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by Lisa Wingate. Selected for its broad appeal and ultimately uplifting story, BEFORE WE WERE YOURS circulated over 700 times from a Fauquier Library, two dozen “pass along” copies exchanged hands at various locations throughout the county and over 250 attended An Evening with Lisa Wingate on May 16, 2019, the Fauquier Community Read 2019 capstone event. Ms. Wingate discussed the surprising success of her work Before We Were Yours and its unanticipated impact. While many books make the New York Times best seller list due to celebrity recognition or movie endorsement, BEFORE WE WERE YOURS was shared via book clubs and word of mouth. Well over half of those in attendance at the event were members of area book clubs. The following day, Ms. Wingate met with high school student writers and discussed the craft of writing. While BEFORE WE WERE YOURS has garnered the most attention, Ms. Wingate has written over 30 novels. She explained that writing and telling stories does not necessarily equate to fame and fortune but that storytelling has value of its own. Ms. Wingate thanked the student writers for valuing storytelling, discussed some of the practical aspects of writing and publishing and answered their questions about the creative process.
We were thrilled to host Lisa Wingate at Books in Bloom on May 20, 2018, in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Lisa Wingate’s talk focused on her inspiration for writing and the culture and background of the historical period in which her novel, Before We Were Yours, was set. She noted that inspiration for a story could come from anywhere, at any time; hers for her most recent book struck when she saw a television program that featured “dangerous women” and it included Georgia Tann. Georgia Tann ran the Tennessee Children’s Home Society from 1924 through her death in 1950, during which time babies and children were effectively stolen from their poor families and sold via adoption to wealthy people. Lisa gave a summary of what life was like for the poor who lived on and around the Mississippi River from the 1920’s through the 1950’s. She also described the prevailing attitudes regarding adoption, particularly of infants, before and after the time in which her book takes place. The audience asked questions about Lisa’s writing practices, research methods, adoption, and Georgia Tann. The author had a very good rapport with the audience, and was very engaging, relaxed and relatable. She was an inspiring presenter, engaging her audience immediately. The hour slipped away very quickly.
Lisa’s books, BEFORE WE WERE YOURS, is powerful book that deals with a difficult subject in a delicate and compassionate way. I thought it dealt with the “black eye” on our society in a thoughtful and sensitive way. When Lisa read an excerpt from the book, she gave it the exact inflections that I thought the characters would have when I read the book. Excellent speaker. Very engaging and inspirational.
Lisa was by far the easiest author to work with – she drove in herself, didn’t need a moderator, no demands whatsoever. And even though I’m sure she’s done dozens of such events, she talked about the book like it was the first time anyone asked her about it.
We welcomed Lisa Wingate to the Southern Voices Festival in 2018. She was a lovely, engaging speaker who left many audience members in tears when talking about Before We Were Yours.
Lisa Wingate could be the poster child for the perfect author. She’s gracious, kind, generous, super talented and knows how to engage an audience. The Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Clubs adore discussing her books. There is a good reason we invite her year after year; she sets the standard for great books to place in the hands of real readers. We are so thankful she continues to educate, enlighten, and tell a great story. Lisa Wingate is giving voice to those who could not tell their own.
Lisa Wingate was wonderful to work with as she moderated a book club luncheon on her New York Times bestseller, BEFORE WE WERE YOURS at our National Conference. As a master story-teller, she wove us through the gripping story, discussed what inspired her to write it, and even read a chapter from the novel. This surprising treat held the attendees captive and you could hear a pin drop in the room where an otherwise lively discussion was taking place. As impressive was her knowledge of the real-life scandal in the book—Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children’s Home Society—and Lisa’s ability to entertain a lengthy question and answer session on the topic. Lisa Wingate is not only a fantastic author, but a kind woman and total crowd pleaser.
Lisa Wingate was one of the most successful authors at our annual author luncheon. The Four Seasons of Manalapan Women’s Club had 397 women in attendance, at Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club, and all sat in perfect silence as Lisa addressed the audience. Lisa spoke with confidence and with great knowledge of her material. The women were very impressed with her reading of a section of the book, as she appeared to immerse herself in the character. Her dialect, her voice, her mannerism portrayed the individuals with perfection. Lisa also told us about her own background which helped her to bring this book to life. Her knowledge of information about the time and place of BEFORE WE WERE YOURS, was well researched. We are all looking forward to hearing about a new book to which she alluded. Clearly, Lisa’s charm, intelligence and warmth enveloped all of us. We are all still talking about her and Before We Were Yours.
Lisa Wingate’s BEFORE WE WERE YOURS was one of our most popular St. Johns Reads titles ever. The many themes, such as music, elder care, adoption, southern culture, politics, appreciation for the natural environment and more allowed us the freedom to offer programming for everyone. Whether you were old or young, conservative or liberal, it was able to unite the county together in a shared experience. The icing on the cake was the grand final author visit by Lisa Wingate. Ms. Wingate is a wonderful and warm speaker and she was able to bring together the very large audience and make them feel like they were in a cozy, fireside chat. This was our first experience working with a New York Times best-selling author; Ms. Wingate made it a smooth, trouble-free, and joyful experience.
Lisa Wingate discussed her NY Times Bestseller, Before We Were Yours at the annual Cold Spring Harbor High School Literary Luncheon. Or luncheon was SOLD OUT and Lisa was amazing! The audience was fascinated as Lisa read from Before We Were Yours and took us through her journey of writing the book. Lisa shared stories of the interactions she has had with real life survivors of this tragic time in our history. Lisa Wingate is a wonderful writer who is also a very warm and genuine person - we could have listened to her talk all afternoon!
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