Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Get Lost with Author Lisa Y. Potocar & Sweet Glory

Get Lost in a Story Readers.  Lovers of history and young adult are in for a treat today.  Author Lisa Y. Potocar joins us to talk about her debut novel, SWEET GLORY!

Reluctant to shed her riding trousers and fully submerse herself in her role as a growing woman, Jana Brady joins the Union army in the fight for her country. Hoping for Sweet Glory, she cuts her hair and disguises herself as a young cavalryman, eager to fight the Rebels, aided by Leanne Perham, another girl from town who has donned the Union blues. Disguised as Johnnie and Leander, Jana and Leanne form a close connection with other misfits in their unit, twelve-year-old Charlie, who's hidden his age to provide for his ma, and Irishman Keeley, who inspires men to abandon their inner conflicts and band together. Jana comes to greatly admire Keeley, who frequently needles Johnnie about the occasional appearance of feminine attributes.

While Jana enjoys the camaraderie within her unit, soldiering and nursing severely test her notions of glory in war. And the possibility of dying as a man hits home when she witnesses a man and his disguised bride die hand in hand on the battlefield. Jana determines to find a way home, with the blossoming incentive of renewing a relationship with Keeley once she is again living as a woman. But this possibility seems even more unlikely when Keeley is captured and Jana is hit by a bullet. Will she be able to rescue him from the Confederates' clutches? And will Keeley love her for her true self? Lisa Potocar masterfully interweaves a moving love story with a sweeping portrayal of the heartache of the Civil War and the courage of key figures in history.

'This book combines historical accuracy with romance and a suspenseful narrative that will keep readers hooked.'

—Publisher's Weekly

Sweet Glory won First Place in the Young Adult category of the 2009 Maryland Writers' and SouthWest Writers' Novel Contests.

And now GLIAS followers, let's learn about Lisa Potocar:

DONNELL:  Lisa, welcome to Get Lost in a Story.  You’ve had some success with Sweet Glory:  So, tell us briefly what you’ve learned since entering the arena of published author?

LISA: I’m honored to be your guest, Donnell! Thanks so much for hosting me.

The key thing I’ve learned is that, for me, it’s just as important to connect with my readers up close and personal as it is to have an online presence and social media platform. I took my marketing rep’s words to heart when he told me to identify the niches where enthusiasts of Civil War history hang out and then to get out there and hang with them. I trusted my instincts, which told me to do it with pizzazz. I created a brief presentation about “women who disguised themselves to fight as soldiers in the American Civil War” during which I encourage and hand out bookmarks for audience participation and even silliness. Four-foot Billy Bear, dressed in his authentic cavalry garb, accompanies me wherever I go, and I’m thrilled to say that we’ve been received with gusto. I’m having a ball—not to mention selling more of my books this way.

DONNELL:   You combine young adult and one of the most divisive eras in our country’s existence.  What made this era such a poignant era to write about, and why in the eyes of a young adult?

LISA: Hmm…a very “poignant” question, Donnell—LOL! In my opinion, there was never a greater hotbed in the history of the United States than that surrounding Civil-War times. From it abounds so many exciting human-interest stories set against a backdrop of battles and advances being made in communication, transportation, industry, medicine, the military, social reform, the beginnings of civil rights, etc.—the perfect ingredients for an explosive story to bust through today’s vast social stimulation and  grab a teen’s attention.

DONNELL:  When not writing, where will we find you?

LISA: Mostly on a mountain top, enjoying  the views of the lakes and forests below and the company of my hubby, two cuddly keeshonds, and a great big hunkin’ sammich! I just love being in the outdoors—hiking, biking, boating, fishing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing—combine these with a picnic and I’m a happy camper. Though, I’m not much on gardening. I could kill a cactus. No lie! I killed three, much to my green-thumb granny’s disbelief. I’m happy to say no one entrusts me with their plants, but they do entrust me with their pets. I love animals—especially dogs. And, fortunate for me, you can’t really kill a pet from overwatering or overfeeding… can you?

DONNELL:  What’s in your refrigerator right now?

LISA: UGH! Thanks for reminding me, Donnell. I had company for dinner last night, and I’ve been struggling ever since I finished a bowl of raisin bran w/milk & banana, only a few minutes ago, to gnaw on some of the yummy leftovers in the refrig. It’s going to be harder to restrain myself after I recite the menu (pardon the drool down the page): 

Appetizers: Rice-stuffed grape leaves; blue corn chips w/homemade salsa.

Entrée: Pork tenderloins rubbed w/Dijon mustard, rolled in Panko crumbs seasoned w/rosemary and parsley, & the slices topped w/French’s cheesy fried onions; fresh green beans in lemon butter sauce & sprinkled w/sesame seeds; baby spinach & mushroom salad tossed in hot mustard dressing; mashed potato casserole w/leeks, broccoli, & melted crumbly blue cheese sauce; homemade Challah slices spread w/artichokes and asiago & parmesan cheeses. All complemented by Cabernet Sauvignon.

Dessert: Pumpkin cheesecake.

Are you getting that I love food yet?

DONNELL:  I'm getting the hint, and I'm getting hungry. ;) High heels, tennis shoes, hiking boots, or other?

LISA: I’m sure you’ve already guessed—hiking boots all the way! Every so often, I force my feet (kicking and screaming) into pumps, though with low, chunky heels. You don’t want to see me in high heels—picture a newborn foal on its feet for the first time. Ahhh…you get it.

DONNELL:  What is something that people don’t know about you, but you wish they could know?

LISA:  I love silly! Only my hubby glimpses my true acts of silliness, which would be lost to most audiences and embarrassing for me. Though, my twin sister also appreciates the depth of my silliness.

DONNELL:  What inspires you?

LISA: Laughter! I love to laugh, and I love to make people laugh; though, I’m not much of a comedienne. Usually, the moment has just passed within seconds when a funny retort comes to mind.

DONNELL:  What is the number one thing you want readers to take away from your books?

LISA: That they’ve been thoroughly entertained while they’ve learned something new and amazing about the historical period.

DONNELL:  What is the most unusual thing you have in your closet?

LISA: An old hat box. It has no hat in it ‘cause I don’t wear them. Are you wondering why I have it then? Drum roll, please! Sorry to disappoint, it stores nothing exotic or exciting, just all of the “occasion” cards my hubby ever gave me from our courtin’ years up to now. I’m running out of room, though. SIGH. Where does the time go? Anyhow, the “hat’s out of the box” (pardon the poor pun…I told you I was no comedienne): now you know I’m wicked sentimental too.

DONNELL (HERE MAY BE A HARD QUESTION FOR YOU.)  If you could meet anyone, past or present, who would it be?

LISA: Not a hard question at all! I’ll bet you think I’m going to say Clara Barton or some Civil War hero/heroine. Nope! My answer will definitely prove that I’m genuinely a sappy sentimentalist. I wish I could go back in time and know my husband from when we were in our cribs.

If you don’t mind, Donnell, I’d love to leap-frog off of your question by asking readers: What’s your favorite piece of history (worldwide) and who would you want to meet from that time?

About Lisa Potocar: 

Lisa Potocar lives in Upstate New York with her husband and two cuddly keeshonds. Her passion for writing and research stems from her former work in health care administration and as a professor. When not tracking some morsel of history to shape into a story, she is a tomboy at heart who loves to hike and bike and has traveled the world to do it.

Links where to find her:

Readers, questions and/or comments will enter you in a drawing to win Lisa Potocar's SWEET GLORY. Be sure to leave an e-mail where we can contact you. 

Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only unless specifically mentioned in the post. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address.



Donnell Ann Bell said...

Lisa, I can't wait to read Sweet Glory. What an education. I never knew that women fought in the Civil War. I feel as thought so much is stripped from our history texts. What a benefit to have authors writing fiction but incorporating historical facts. Thanks for joining us today!

May said...

Sounds great! :)

I think I would like to meet Dorothy Sayers. Love her boooks. I have been fascinated by the French Revolution BUT it's too sad and tragic for me to go and visit!

Lisa Potocar said...


It was fortuitous that I stumbled upon this little-known fact. It finally gave me the seedling for the story that I had always dreamed of writing. But the more I dug into this period of time, the more I was amazed to learn about all of the roles women turned out en masse to pioneer their way into--perhaps more seedlings for stories.

Ingeborg said...

This sounds like a great read. I love anything to do with the Civil War.

Lisa Potocar said...

Your visit is doubly welcome, May! You have reminded me of the lovely Dorothy Sayers and her incredibly talented and diverse works in poetry, mystery series, for stage and radio, and later as regards theology. As much as I also find the French Revolution tragic and sad, it seems it was as necessary as our American Civil War--SIGH! Actually, thanks to you, I've discovered another version of the Scarlet Pimpernel in movies (starring Jane Seymour). I can't wait to get my hands on it. I'm sure you've seen the original version with Leslie Howard, but have you seen the 1999 A&E series starring Richard Grant and Elizabeth McGovern? I found it thoroughly entertaining even though it apparently departs from Baroness Orczy's original plotline with Lady Blakeney's accompanying her husband on some of his crusades.

Lisa Potocar said...

Hello Ingeborg! This is my very favorite period in American history too...I guess that's obvious, given the story I've written. Do you have a favorite person from this period that you'd love to meet? There are so many great ones, I don't know if I could narrow my own question to name just one. But if I were forced to say, I'd probably name Clara Barton--who worked incredibly hard on behalf of the soldiers. Early on, she recognized the army's shortage of supplies, she went on a crusade to gather them and get them to the front. She courageously scoured the batttlefield to tend to the wounded with bullets whizzing all around her, and she was nearly killed for it when she took a bullet in the skirt. Post-war, she toiled to locate the dead and missing in order to bring some peace of mind to the families.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Lisa, I didn't answer your question about who I would love to meet. DQing myself from the drawing, of course. Where you love the civil war era, I love the founding of our country. My favorite musical is 1776 and I've read John Adams books of this timeline. I'd love to meet people like John Hancock, John Adams, Betsy Ross, Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson -- I know I've listed too many, but this era fascinates me.

Lisa Potocar said...

No worries, Donnell. As the hostess, you could've gotten away with not answering the question, especially since you DQ'd yourself from the drawing. But I'm glad you did. Also, as the hostess, you're allowed as many answers as you wish--LOL! The founding of our country is my second most favorite time in history, and I'd love to meet all of the same people you list--especially Thomas Jefferson. Although, I'm not confident that I could converse with him on his level--what a genius!

Donnell Ann Bell said...

So true!

bn100 said...

Fun interview. I like the 1800s and would like to meet Jane Austen.


Lisa Potocar said...

I'm honored that you enjoyed my interview, bn100! Thanks for dropping by. Gosh, you've just reminded me that I love British history too. I'd also love to meet Jane Austen. If you haven't already, you've got to see the movie, Lost in Austen. It's a really whacky but super fun twist on Pride & Prejudice.

Linda said...

Congrats on your debut book Lisa! Unfortunately for me i'm reading this just before lunch & getting very hungry.

I'd love to meet Beethoven. That era must hv been so inspiring musically. I always hv this picture that Vienna must be a living, breathing music city.


Sparkle Abbey said...

Lisa - Congratulations on Sweet Glory! It sounds like a great book and it also sounds like you're having a lot of fun with it! I have to say I'm very interested in the Civil War era mostly because it was such a difficult time for people and their families. I wod want to meet some of my ancestors from that era and find out what they were thinking during such a turbulent time.

Panama-mama (Michelle) said...

Sounds like a wonderful story! I can't wait to read it.

Julie Masse said...

As an all out history lover it's hard to pick a favorite period, but lately the early 1900's are especially interesting! So many changes taking place in industry, society and life! Who would I like to meet? Mmmmmmm, I would love to meet some of my deceased relatives. My grandparents all died when I was very young, I would love to sit and hear all their family stories! Looking forward to reading your book!

Lisa Potocar said...

My mother-in-law is a huge fan of classical music, and after being around her for....well, I won't say as it will definitely give away my age...she has taught me such a great appreciation for it too. We try to get our local performing arts center here in Saratoga, New York every summer for Beethoven's 9th done with fireworks after the New York City Ballet performs. It's such a blast--pardon the pun. I hope you get to Vienna one day...it is a living, breathing music city.

Lisa Potocar said...

I'm honored that you stopped by, Sparkle Abbey! What a unique answer. I have ancestors who lived during and fought in the Civil War. Unfortunately, none left behind any records to afford us a glimpse into their battle experiences or even news from the homefront. However, having combed through so many personal journals and letters--which all seem to envelop the same themes--I suppose I probably do have a pretty good notion of their perspectives of this time. I'm still waiting for time travel to become an option--how about you?

Lisa Potocar said...

Awwwww....thanks, Michelle. I had fun writing it, so I hope that if you ever read it, you find it thoroughly enjoyable. I'd love to hear your feedback. Thanks for taking the time to come chat with me.

Lisa Potocar said...

Hi Julie! Funny you should mention the early 1900s. In writing the sequel to Sweet Glory, my current research is taking me from the end of the Civil War into your favorite period. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were nearing the end of their lives, but they were still pretty much moving and shaking for woman's suffrage up until. (The singular form of "woman's" is no mistake; it was commonly used during this time in reference to the suffrage movement. I'm glad I know to write it this way; I can't have historians catching me writing such an inaccuracy--LOL). Anyway, it's a shame that these two pioneers never got to see the fruits of their labor. I wish I could go back in time and be a fly on the wall for some of their fireside schemes. I also wish you could've met your grandparents. I knew my paternal great grandfather and my maternal great grandparents, not to mention my grandparents on both sides. And, yes, their stories were amazing and are cherished!

Lori R said...

My favourite book has always been "Gone With the Wind". I made a trip in 1988 to Georgia to walk the same streets as Scarlett. It was mind blowing. I am also very interested in the Tudor/York era of Britian. I would like to meet Elizabeth Woodville from that time. I think her story is fascinating. I love strong women and how they have contributed to what women are today!

Chanpreet said...

There are so many eras and civilizations I'd like to visit. At the forefront of my mind right now is finding out who the true assassin of JFK was.

And Lisa, I too have held onto almost every single birthday card and letter I've ever received, although not in a hat box.

eyeballlucy said...

Oh yes..I would love to win a paperback copy of Lisa Y. Potocar's new book 'Sweet Glory'...sounds like a wonderful romantic history fiction book...and one that is on my to-read list for sure........babyruthmac16ATyahooDOTcom

Lisa Potocar said...

Thanks for your visit, Lori! I have always cherished "Gone with the Wind" too. I understand the magical feeling of visiting the places in a historical novel. In order to write Sweet Glory, I visited the majority of places, including the battlefields, featured in my novel. My goal was to make the readers feel as though they were there, and I hope I've done justice to this work. I haven't read much in the Tudor/York era of Britian's history, but I've been wanting to. I admit, though, to having to look up Elizabeth Woodville. I have to thank you for making me research her--as the spouse of King Edward IV, she was surrounded by great conflict, particularly after his death in 1483. Her strength seems to have come from her great devotion to her children. It would be fun to travel back to medieval times, but I don't think I'd want to dwell there too long. There was so much jockeying for power, it was a constant struggle to know friend from foe.

Lisa Potocar said...

I'm so glad to have found a comrade in sentimentality--thanks for sharing that, Chanpreet! You are right--there are far too many eras and civilizations that would be fun to read about and then visit. I'm being reminded by everyone who has visited this blog, including yourself, of all of those time periods I'd love to study. Unfortunately, there isn't enough time, for me, at least to do justice to them all. It's amazing that JFK's assassin, after all the years of probing, really still remains a question. That's one mystery I'm not sure will ever be laid to rest. Thanks for your support, Chanpreet.

Lisa Potocar said...

Awwwwww, thanks eyeballlucy! After your kind declaration, I'd love to say I hope you win too. I fear if I do, and you win, people will think the drawing is fixed--LOL! Instead, I'll just wish you good luck as I do for all the other entrants. Thanks for your interest in Sweet Glory, and I appreciate your stopping by!

Lori R said...

I don't think it was very easy being a woman in those days. If you were Royal, you were used as bargaining chips, and if you were a commoner, you're life was full of hardships that we have no idea about today. It was a hard enough life for a man, but brutal for women. That's one of the reasons that I love to read about strong women, who helped us to get to this point.
We went to the battlefield at Chattanooga on our trip in '88. It was a very mystic place. I swear that I could see the soldiers climbing the hill. My friends thought I was going to faint, it was so real to me. Walking through the streets of Charleston was so amazing. It was like I knew what was going to be around every corner. I haven't been back, but would love to go again. I am looking forward to reading your book. I put it on my list and tucked it under hubby's pillow!

M said...

I'd love to win a copy! The Civil War is facinating and this sounds like a good read :) Thanks for the opportunity.

Lisa Potocar said...

My pleasure, M! Thanks for taking the time to come by and drop a line. If ever you read Sweet Glory, I hope that you'll enjoy it! Good luck with the drawing.

Christina Lasswell said...

Wow, I've known you for a little while, but didn't realize you were so into cooking and gourmet menus (to me it's gourmet, anyway). I love the period of Western Expansion in the U.S. Since I recently visited the Lewis & Clark Museum in St. Charles, MO, I'd love to meet Sacagawea or anyone else in that expedition. I've always wanted to be someone who found something first, or an explorer or archaeologist.

Massimo Marino said...

Lisa, heartfelt congratulations. If one wins Sweet Glory can we also receive some of your dishes and sweets too? :)

I imagine the amount of research you must have put in the book too.

All the best

Lisa Potocar said...

Heck, Christina, I've been with my hubby for a very long time, and just the other day, some new great story came out that I'd never heard before--LOL! Yes...I love to cook!!! And I'm really into using company as guinea pigs for new recipes. In fact, the potato casserole I mention above was a first experiment. Thank goodness, the company really liked it. But I think a little doctoring will turn it into a culinary delight. I can't wait to try it again. Odd that you should mention Sacajawea...I recently ran across her in my research to do with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. After Elizabeth's death, Susan carried on their woman's suffrage work. In 1905, at the age of 84 or 85, she opted to travel across country to Portland, Oregon for the National American Woman Suffrage Association's annual convention (NAWSA). While there, she was asked to be involved in the unveiling of Sacajawea's bronze statue--the first to be dedicated to a woman for bravery. The period of Western Expansion in the U.S. is another one of my favorites too, and my most favorite television series of old to do with this very subject is "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman." I too always wanted to be an archeologist. Whereas I love to study past cultures, my hubby loves to study the present (anthropology). I've always said that we would've made a great team with National Geographic. I dig up the past, and he makes sense out of how it impacts today--LOL!

Thanks for your tremendous support throughout the year, Christina, including dropping by here today.

Lisa Potocar said...

Knowing that you're probably busy writing your next novel, Massimo, I appreciate your efforts to come join me in this fun! I will definitely share my recipes--just let me know which you'd like.

Although I was steeped in research for Sweet Glory, I loved every minute of it. I'm lucky that I enjoy my work. I just love digging up things, probably why I always wanted to be an archeologist--see comment above.

mpcean said...

I am torn between the Civil War and WW II. Isn't it terrible that we all think of wars when asked about periods of history? As a kid though I was obsessed with Greek mythology...anyway, I would love to meet Dorothea Dix, especially because I work in the mental health field. And I live in Upstate New York as well!

Lisa Potocar said...

Oh my goodness, mpcean, I've finally found a comrade in arms as far as Upstate New York and healthcare goes--how exciting!. And, yes, it's pretty terrible that we think of wars when we ponder any period, but was there any period in history that wasn't filled with some kind strife--even the romance period? I don't know... Anyhow, in school, my two very favorite subjects were Science and English, the latter of which Greek mythology was a subset. I envy Rick Riordan for coming up with the idea for his Percy Jackson and the Olympians--what a fantastically creative idea!!! Dorothea Dix was an incredible mover and shaker--she bullied her way into (in a good way) creating the very first female nursing corps in the U.S., and it paved the way for women to pioneer their way into so many other roles that were thus far reserved for men during the times. Come to think of it, I haven't run into any research thus far that indicates what Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton might've thought of Dorothea Dix. Thanks to you, though, mpean, I'm going to dig further.

Donnell Ann Bell said...


Jolene Ballard Gutierrez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jolene Ballard Gutierrez said...

Hi, Lisa, I'm coming late to the giveaway but wanted to post anyway. I've had the pleasure of reading your book and loved it. :) I'm very drawn to Native American history and would love to read and learn more about strong Native women leaders like Pine Leaf, Running Eagle, or Glory of the Morning. Now, I need to go find something to eat because your interview made me HUNGRY! ;)

Lisa Potocar said...

Thanks for having me, Donnell. You are a gracious host, and I had a blast!!


Lisa Potocar said...

As the saying goes, Jolene: Better Late Than Never. Thanks for supporting me by reading Sweet Glory and dropping by to say so. I love Native American history too but haven't read much of it. I remember as a kid loving watching movies on this subject. I'm familiar with only Glory of the Morning through my readings to do with the French and Indian War. She was an amazing leader as the chief of her tribe and in bringing about peace in the waning hours and aftermath of war. I'm off to check out the other two women.

Thanks for your visit and comment. I appreciate your support.