Friday, April 5, 2019

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: The Girl From the Lighthouse by Willard Thompson

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for The Girl From the Lighthouse by Willard Thompson. This tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt as well as a guest post. There's also a tour wide giveaway. Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more excerpts, guest posts, interviews, reviews, and more. Enjoy!
Title: The Girl From the Lighthouse
Author: Willard Thompson
Publication Date: March 20th 2019
Genre: Historical Literary Romance
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The Girl From the Lighthouse tells the compelling story of Emma Dobbins.

Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she was raised by her father, a lighthouse keeper at Point Conception in California, where early on she discovers her artistic talent. At the age of 17, Emma travels to Paris with a chaperone, to attend art school but is separated from the chaperone when the woman becomes ill. Emma arrives alone in Paris with no money, no language skills, and no friends. A chance meeting with a young working girl in the train station becomes her first Parisian friend.

The setting is Paris in the 1860s-70s, the start of the Belle Èpoque. France soon is involved in the Franco/Prussian War and the Commune Uprising; difficult times for Emma and all Frenchmen. Initially rejected by art schools, her determination keeps her moving toward her goal in the art world, where the Impressionists are starting to change the world. Frenchmen fall in love with her beautiful face and lustrous dark hair. Some wanted to paint her, others to court her, but either way, she does not abide by the rules they try to impose on her because she never learned them. She grows into an accomplished artist but never gives up her own principles... even when someone steals something precious to her and she fights to get it back.

The story is told in the first person, present tense, allowing the reader to enter the story and feel a part of it as it unfolds, sharing with Emma her highs and lows, loves and rejections, all focused in the art world of Paris. The novel is filled with vivid characters, both fictional and real people, and the story unfolds gracefully from the 1870s until 1912, just prior to the start of WWI.

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EXCERPT:
"It's been several months," I tell Berthe Morisot, "and I still copy with pad and pencil and sometimes watercolors. I think I have learned a great deal, but I'm still not ready for oils."

"You should try," she encourages me. "Jacque-Louis David is a good artist for you to copy. His portraits are beautifully executed, especially the one of Madame Recamier you are working on. Portraits like that are the kind of commissions you are likely to get when you are ready."

"How so?"

"There is always demand for portraits of wives and children that are best done by women artists."

I study the wine in my glass, using the pause to consider Berthe's recommendation. "I hope to paint landscapes one day," I tell her.

"Difficult for a woman," she replies. "Traveling alone to paint a landscape is often..." She pauses, "How do I say, looked down upon? There are not many buyers for the work of a woman landscape artist.

"I want to be free to paint whatever I want."

She cuts a slice of cheese from the wedge on her plate and adds it to a piece of baguette before taking a sip from her glass. She looks at me with her doleful dark eyes the whole time. "That can be difficult," she says at last. "Consider your decision carefully. It is easier for us to paint in a boudoir than side-by-side in a world with men." She pauses again and picks at a piece of ham.

Feeling frustrated, and looking for a response that won't offend my friend, I stab my fork at a mushroom. "It seems to me women in Paris have only limited freedom. Do you find it that way, Berthe?"

"I have never thought much about it, but yes, I do. It's just the way life is for women.”
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Willard Thompson is an award-winning historical fiction and romance writer living in Montecito, California with his wife Jo. His newest historical romance, THE GIRL FROM THE LIGHTHOUSE was published in early 2019. His previously published three novels of historical fiction DREAM HELPER DELFINA'S GOLD, and THEIR GOLDEN DREAMS are part of his CHRONICLES OF CALIFORNIA trilogy. The Independent Publishers 2009 Book Awards selected DREAM HELPER for a gold medal as the best fiction in the Western/Pacific Region.

Thompson is a past president of the board of directors of the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. He is a native of Manhasset, New York and a graduate of Colgate University in Hamilton, New York.

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GUEST POST:
- If you could visit any moment in history what would it be and why?
Writing The Girl from the Lighthouse, I became fascinated by the history of France. France has gone through so many different beautiful and difficult times. From the 16th and 17th century monarchs, wars and the persecutions of protestants, the reign of Louis XIV, the French Revolution, and Napoleon's conquest of Europe, there isn't a period of history that wasn't filled with drama and excitement. But I choose Paris in the second half of the 19th century as my favorite time. That's why I wrote my novel that takes a young woman from California and thrusts her into the exciting Parisian world of the 1870s.

The last quarter of the 1800s is often called the Belle Èpoque, the beautiful time. And beautiful it certainly was. Under Emperor Napoleon III, the original Napoleon's nephew, Paris was being rebuilt from a dirty, rat-infested city of slum dwellings into the beautiful modern city we know today. There was a lot of disruption, of course, poorer citizens were driven out of the heart of Paris, but in the end, Paris had wider streets with parks and handsome new buildings, tree-lined boulevards, hundreds of bistros and cafés, and better water and sewer systems. It also had a group of young artists that would soon capture the world's attention as the Impressionists.

But there was also a dark side to Paris at this same time. The miss-guided emperor declared war on Prussia in 1870, and was almost immediately soundly trounced, not to mention sent into exile by the Prussian army. That army didn't stop with a victory; it marched on Paris and strangled the city in a siege that starved the people. Horses and zoo animals were slaughtered for food, not to mention dogs and cats, and possibly many sewer rats. What followed after France surrendered was an even uglier conflict called the Paris Commune Uprising, when Frenchmen fought Frenchmen in bloody skirmishes, and as many as 20,000 were killed.

My protagonist, Emma Dobbins, experienced all this and more. In pursuit of an art education, she painted alongside many of the Impressionists and also posed for them. She modeled gorgeous evening gowns designed by Charles Frederick Worth, the leading fashion designer of the day. And she rode in a hot air balloon as a guest of Sarah Bernhardt, the world-famous actress. She attended L'Opera on the arm of handsome young men, went to theaters and restaurants with others, attended the horse races at Longchamp Racecourse, and was invited to many soirées and salons where she rubbed shoulders with the haute bourgeoisie of Paris. She was courted by several handsome young Frenchmen, one of whom was one of France's richest men. So why wouldn't I pick Paris in the 1870s as one of my favorite historical periods and write a novel about it?
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GIVEAWAY:
Willard Thompson will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter after the tour. Be sure to leave a comment on a different tour stop each day to increase your chance of winning. You can find a list of blogs participating in the tour here. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

73 comments:

  1. Another great book to discover. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

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    1. Thanks for following my book tour, James. Cheers Willard

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  2. The book looks like an amazing read & I love the cover. Thanks for your great generosity.

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    1. Thanks for looking at my new book, Linda. Glad you like it. The cover was designed in the UK by Bespoke Book Covers. Hope you like the inside as much. Cheers, Willard

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  3. This looks like and interesting read :)

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    1. Thanks for following me, Ana. Hope you like it. You can time travel back to a beautiful time in Paris. Cheers, Willard

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  4. This cover is gorgeous! I love what I have read about this book & I cannot wait to read more!

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    1. Hi Amy. The cover was designed in the UK by Bespoke Book Covers. I hope you enjoy reading what's inside those beautiful covers, too. Cheers, Willard

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  5. Thanks for hosting my book blog tour today. I apreciate your support. Cheers, Willard

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    1. Hi Rita. Thanks for following me on my book blog tour. The Girl from the Lighthouse grew up in California, not that far from where you live, at Point Conception. Cheers, Willard

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  7. Happy Friday, thanks for sharing the great post!

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    1. Thanks for visiting my blog tour Victoria. Hope you enjoy reading my new book. Cheers, Willard

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  8. This sounds like an interesting book that I would enjoy reading.

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    1. Lori thanks for your comment. My book is a great time travel back to the beautiful days in Paris. Hope you read. Cheers, Willard

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    1. Hi Kim, the cover was designed in the UK by Bespoke Book Covers. I like it a lot too. I hope you enjoy reading whats inside the covers as much! Cheers, Willard

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  10. Ahhh this is on my TBR list for 2019! It sounds like my kinda book and id go nose deep in it

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    1. I hope it is "your kind of book" because I think you will enjoy the time travel to old Paris as well as the story of the young woman from California's experiences. Cheers, Willard

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  11. What do you most enjoy about writing?

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    1. That is a very tough question, Caryl, because there are so many good parts. Fact is I have been writing stories since I was in 7th grade. The real enjoyment is when I know that what I have written resonates with other humans. Cheers, Willard

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  12. The book sounds good can't wait to read this.

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    1. Then don't wait, Jean. It is a strong story, fiction of course, but filled with history. My character, Emma, associates with many of the famous people of the period, including Inpressionist artists, Sarah Bernhardt and Charles Frederick Worth, the greatest fashion designer of the time. Cheers, Willard

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  13. Hi Ashley, Amazing is a good description of what happens to Emma, a young woman from California when, as an orphan, she arrives in Paris in the 1870s. Cheers, Willard

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  14. Thank you for hosting my book tour today and for all your great followers who have offered their comments. Cheers to all, Willard

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  15. I've never really thought about visiting France. I'm afraid that I would be completely lost because I know so little about French culture!

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    1. Hi Dianna, thanks for looking into my book. It is a great way to understand Frencch history in the last quarter of the 19th century. Don't take my work on that; check out the reviews already posted on Amazon and Goodreads. Cheers, Willard

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    1. Hi Marisela, thanks for looking at my new novel. I hope you read it; it's a great way to time travel back to Paris in the beautiful 1870s and a great story to boot. Cheers, Willard

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  17. I lived in UK for 13 years but never ever made it to the continent. Spent all time off flying back to USA to see kids, grandkids, and great grandchildren....so will be back in UK soon...and I won’t come back without a trip to the continent....especially want to see the family burial tomb in Paris....and I am looking forward to reading your book

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    1. Hi Renee, France is my favorite stop on the continent (almost my only stop). The beautiful Paris we know today only came about in the 1860s and 70s where my novel is set. Perhaps read in before going to give you an idea of what it was like then. And, of course, a good story. Cheers, Willard

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Nancy. The cover was designed in the UK by Bespoke Book Covers. I hope you find what's inside those covers to be as good! It's a great story and a fun time travel to an earlier time in Pais. Cheers, Willard

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  19. Author question! When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

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    1. That's a great question. My first novel was written in the seventh grade. That's right, seventh grade. Of course it was never finished because growing up got in the way, but the fact is I've always wanted to write. Writing was the key to some business successes, but I didn't have the opportunity to devote full time to fictiion writing until about 10 or 12 years ago. Moral of story is pursue your passion, follow your dream! Cheers, Willard

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  20. This sounds like a good story with a great historical backdrop.

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    1. Thanks for viewing my book tour. You are right in both respects. It is a great story set in a specal historical setting--Paris in the beautiful time of the 1870s. I hope you chose to read it and give it a positive review on Amazon and Goodreads. Cheers, Willard

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  21. Nice book cover and the book sounds interesting.

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    1. Hi Dev, thanks for commenting on my new book. The cover was designed in the UK at Bespoke Book Designs. I hope you enjoy the historical setting of Paris in the 1870s Cheers, Willard

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  22. The cover is so lovely.. Have always been fascinated by France and its history....

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    1. Michele if you are fascinated by France in the 1870, what is called the Belle Epoque, The Beautiful Time, this is the book for you. A great way to dive into history. The cover was designed in the UK by Bespoke Book Designs and I think it sets the mood for the book perfectly. Cheers, Willard

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  23. Question for Author.... Do you believe in writer’s block?

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    1. That's a great question, tdk. Simple answer is I don't believe in writers block. When a writer gets bogged down I believe it is a signal that something is not right in what he or she has written and needs to go back and fix whatever it is before proceeding, either in the actual writing or in the overall plan for the work. Cheers, Willard

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  24. Question for the author. What does literary success look like to you?

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    1. Another good question. I think there are more than one definition. Some writers find success with a book or theme and keep repeating the same thing over and over becauss they believe the audience likes the familiar. For me success is writng a novel that connects with readers either by theme or style or something else. But writing the same story over and over to get on a best seller list is not the kind of success I am looking for.

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  25. The cover is pretty and it sounds like a good book. Thanks for the chance!

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    1. Hi Julie. The cover was designed by Bespoke Book Covers in the UK. I feel they really captured the feeling of a young woman arriving in Paris. Please give the novel a read and let me know if you agree. Cheers, Willard

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  26. I like the cover. Sounds like a wonderful read.

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    1. Hi Antoinette. Glad you liked the cover. It was designed by Bespoke Book Covers in the UK. I think you will like the story inside the covers just as much. Please give it a read and let me know. Cheers, Willard

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  27. Another question for the author ... How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

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    1. Hi tdk. No one ever has ugly children! My favorite books are all the ones I've written If you are looking for a different historical experience read The Chonicles of California, three novels covering the Spanish, Mexical and America periods. Titles are DREAM HELPER, DELFINA'S GOLD and THEIR GOLDEN DREAMS. All are my favorites along with The Girl from the Lighthouse.

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  28. Describe a typical writing day? Whats it like to be an author?

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    1. tdk no such thing for me as a typical writing day. I don't do formulas; I take lots of time to get my story right. I don't believe in writer's block but I do believe in taking my time. Cheers. Willard

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  29. I am already a fan of Williard Thompson. I will be reading this since I love every thing he writes.

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    1. Hi Audrey. Thanks for your nice words. It is great to have fans like you. Stay in touch and let me know how you like The Girl from the Lighthouse. And please post positive reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

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  30. Born and raised in various parts of Europe; love it all. New to me author, however I truly enjoy the genre and look forward to reading his work now. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Michelle. Thanks for your comments. Paris in the Spring is wonderful. You can time travel there with my book and wonderful young woman, Emma, Cheers, Willard

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  31. How do books get published?

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  32. I can't wait to read this. I live on the coast in South Carolina and I have lighthouse art and lighthouse candle holders.

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    1. The Point Conception Lighthouse, where Emma grew up, is one of the most remote spots on the California coast. It was one of the first built by the US in the 1850s. Hope you enjoy my book. Cheers, Willard

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  33. looks like a fun one

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    1. Hope you enjoy reading my new book. Cheers, Willard

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  34. What do you feel gives you the most inspiration for writing?

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    1. Hi Michelle. Inspirations comes when you least expect it from the most unusual places. You just have to stay open to whatever thoughts come along. Cheers, Willard

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    1. Hope you enjoy my new book, Danielle. What a lovely name, maybe I will use it for my next character. Cheers, Willard

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  36. What did you aspire to be growing up? Did you always want to be an author?

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    1. Hi Michelle. I always wanted to be a writer. Stated my first novel in 7th grade. The road was not straight or smooth but I perservered. Always follow your heart. Cheers, Willard

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