As an old woman’s lifeless body lies on a cold stone floor, her soul stands before an angel who offers her a miraculous opportunity: the chance to do it all again. But that is easier said than done. In order to change the path her life has taken, she must put aside years of self-loathing and pain, so she can help the young girl she once was become the woman she should have been.
At 17 years old, Grace Bennett is a bitter young woman. Though blessed with a loving family, looks and brains to spare, she hides her light under a bushel, spending most of her time in the darkness of her mind with little more than sarcasm and self-pity to keep her company.
But things are about to change for Grace. While delivering food for her family’s bed and breakfast, she turns onto a desolate dirt road and drives straight into her destiny.
It’s on this isolated country lane that the damaged girl meets a strangely familiar old couple and two mysterious young men. Together the group fights the demons that surround Grace, and they teach her what it means to let her light shine.
“Illuminating Gracie” is, at once, a metaphorical tale of the fight between good and evil and a spiritual saga of one girl’s journey from darkness into the light. If you liked “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games,” you will love the story of Gracie.
Praise for Illuminating Gracie:
“A well-paced fantasy story of redemption and self-improvement.” ~Kirkus Review (Sept. 1, 2013 Magazine)
“Just the right amount of love story to the action packed plot line left this book a perfectly balanced read.” ~Maryann (Amazon “Top 1000” Reviewers)
“The story also contains little mysteries that keep you turning the pages, as gems of insight turn up along the way. It is a story of hope and redemption, and a beautiful request of each of us to let our light shine brightly.” ~Kimberly Raadt Higgins (Amazon Review)
“On a personal level, I can relate to Grace in so many ways. As I read, a lot of memories and feelings from my teenage and young adult years have come flooding back, some a little painful, others fun and exciting, even hopeful. Yet it also has me contemplating where I am today as a middle-aged adult; am I who I thought I would be, who I want to be?” ~N.J. Collar (Amazon Review)
“The plot is masterfully drawn and keeps the reader guessing until the end. This book tells the story of the fight between good and evil in a young woman’s life. It is brilliant in its use of humor and emotion to draw the reader into the characters.” J. Pitts (Amazon and Goodreads)
On thirty-nine Senior scrolls, the Headmaster of author, Lisa C. Temple’s, small, private school wrote “Good Luck and best wishes for a prosperous future!” On the fortieth and final scroll, which was Temple’s, the Headmaster penned the words, “Lisa, I can’t wait to see to what use you put your unusual talents!” Temple spent the next 30 years trying to assuage her former leader’s curiosity – and her own.
She sold BMWs in her hometown of Montgomery, Alabama, and hillbillies (as a booking agent) in Nashville, Tennessee. In an effort to escape the enforced servitude of the Junior League, she even attended and was graduated from law school and passed the Alabama State Bar exam in 2002. Through it all, she battled problems and illnesses, many of her own making. But, it wasn’t until her father – her hero – was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), that Temple found her true calling – the “talent” that she finds joy in putting to use.
“Illuminating Gracie,” is loosely autobiographical and born from a desire to, if only, metaphorically right the wrongs of Temple’s own past. It tells the story of a miserable old woman who is given the opportunity – by an angel – to go back in time and help the young girl she once was become the woman she should have been. “Illuminating Gracie,” is the first book in a four-book series. The second book, “Instigating Gracie,” is due for release in December 2013.
Temple laughs when saying she has a loving and complicated husband she deserves, and a wonderful son and two loving stepchildren that she does not. She also shares her life with her beloved pets: Pomeranian, Phebe; Bordernese, Flash; and Tabby cat, MInx.
If you could invite any five people to dinner – who would you choose?
I would choose my father – who died in January, Jesus Christ, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and my 7th grade Algebra teacher (My Algebra teacher said I would never do anything with my life because I didn’t take anything seriously. I’d want her to see who I was “breaking bread” with.)
If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you? A bible, an excellent weapon and a working satellite phone.
What is one book everyone should read?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Alabama author, Harper Lee
Meanness in any form for any reason.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I had a young woman contact me after she won a copy of “Illuminating Gracie,” through one of the book clubs online. I don’t want to go into personal details, but she told me that she really identified with the main character in “Illuminating Gracie” – Gracie Bennett – and that the book gave her hope that she could change her life. We began communicating on a regular basis, and I eventually helped her to hook up with a group in her area. She has now made some significant changes in her life and things are going very well for her. We continue to talk often and I feel very fortunate to have her as a friend. I’ve also had the opportunity to speak to several groups of young women. I feel incredibly blessed that I’m getting to use the negative experiences in my young life to help other women.
Is there a song you could list as your theme song for your book or any of your characters?
Yes, Worn by 10th Avenue North. I can hear the song playing in my head when I think about certain scenes in the book. It absolutely could be Gracie’s theme song.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I’m living exactly where I want to live – Montgomery, Alabama. Now, that isn’t to say I wouldn’t enjoy having a cottage in the Italian countryside and a chalet somewhere in Switzerland, but as far as home is concerned – I’m home in Montgomery – with my family.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wasn’t much different then than I am now in that I wasn’t a planner. I never gave much thought to what I wanted to be. I was lucky to think an hour ahead!
Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
Absolutely! Gracie is very much some variation of myself, and while we don’t share every, single trait (I’ve never been an introvert) her general attitude and view of the world was taken straight from my teenage mind. I had a very poor self-esteem as a young woman, and I obsessed constantly over my weight and looks. School came easy for me but I was lazy and didn’t try – just like Gracie. In the book, Gracie will learn she has powers far above what she knows – she will learn to let her light shine. She – unlike me – will not have to wait half a lifetime to learn that true strength comes from within and above!
What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?
My friend and I were going to write a book together called “Etiquette for Rehab.” Drug and alcohol rehab has become so popular in our area, we thought it might be a good idea wto write a book to answer questions like “Should I introduce my in rehab boyfriend to my real world boyfriend on family day?” and “Is it okay to wear the same outfit to 2 different AA meetings on the same day?”
What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
My father always said to listen twice and much as you talk. I think that’s about right.
What’s your favorite season or weather?
As strange as it sounds, I love stormy weather. To me, there is nothing better than curling up with a good book or a scary movie while its raining hard outside. As far as seasons go – again, I’m weird. I like the winter time, probably because I prefer cold weather clothes – boots, tights, sweaters, etc.
What do you do in your free time?
I’ll let you know when I get some. Honestly – I don’t have much of it, but I spend time with my family – my son, husband and mother. I also talk to my BFF every day on the phone – and I try to have lunch or, at least coffee with girlfriends when I can.
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