Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Visit from Marlo Schalesky

A Raging Firestorm . . .
A Light in the Hills . . .
And a Mystery Rises from the Ash.

In 1894, the worst firestorm in Minnesota history descends on the town of Hinckley. Heat, flame, and darkness sweep through the town, devouring lives, destroying hope. In the aftermath, the town rises from the ashes, its people determined to rebuild their lives.
But in the shadows, someone is watching. Someone is waiting. Someone who knows the secrets that can free them all. A rumor begins of a hermit in the hills - a person severely burned, disfigured beyond recognition. Doubts rise. Fear whispers. Is the hermit a monster or a memory? An enemy or a love once-lost?
Based on historical events, Veil of Fire beckons to a time when hope rose from the smoke of sacrifice, when trust hid behind a veil of fear, when dreams were robed in a mantle of fire . . .

Q: Marlo, I'm a native Minnesotan, so I've heard of the Hinckley fire. But where did you birth the idea for this book? When? How did it come about?

A: People often ask where I get my ideas for my books. My answer? You never know! For Veil of Fire, the idea was birthed at my favorite Mexican restaurant in the mission town of San Juan Bautista. There I was, sitting with my family, nibbling chips and salsa, when a wedding party came by. The bridesmaids were dressed in beautiful turn-of-the-century style gowns. As they passed, my mother-in-law began to tell me of the dresses that her great grandmother, who lived in Hinckley, used to sew for the rich ladies in Minneapolis and St. Paul. From there, came the story of the great Hinckley fire and the rebuilding that this woman, my husband’s great-great-grandmother, was a part of. And finally, I heard the tale of the mystery figure in the hills, a person burned beyond recognition. A person never identified, living as a hermit until one day he just disappeared.

At that moment, the first inklings of the story that would become Veil of Fire were born in my heart. Who was the hermit in the hills? What happened to him? And how would I solve the mystery if I could? As I pondered those questions, I knew that I had to write the hermit’s story. Had to explore what it would be like to lose everything, even your identity. Had to hear the hermit’s voice in my mind, and hear the story for myself.

So, the writing of the book became for me a process of discovery, as I hope it will be for my readers. I hope that as the mystery of the hermit drew me, so too it will draw others to this story of how fire can change you, take from you, and in the end, may just set you free.

What Others are Saying about Veil of Fire:
Reading Veil of Fire is like feasting on a banquet of rich words and vivid images.
─Tricia Goyer, award-winning author of five novels, including A Valley of Betrayal

Moving. Heartbreaking. Compelling. This beautiful, sensitive story of pain, loss, and, ultimately, healing touched the deepest parts of my heart.
─Laura Jensen Walker, author of Miss Invisible and Reconstructing Natalie

A truly gifted storyteller, Marlo Schalesky has woven a beautiful tale that confronts readers with truth and the character of God. Her lyrical style and deep characterization will transport you into a story populated with unforgettable characters.
─Judith Miller, author of the Bells of Lowell, Lights of Lowell, and Freedom’s Path series

Veil of Fire is a lovely, well-crafted story of love and loss, redemption and restoration. Marlo Schalesky has written an original, unpredictable story that will stay with me for a long, long time.
─Annette Smith, author of A Bigger Life

For more information, a preview of the entire first chapter, and discussion questions for groups, please visit

Veil of Fire may be purchased at amazon or at your local bookstore.

Thanks for stopping by, Marlo. Blessings on your new book!

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