Guest Post by Ciji Ware + Giveaway of LIGHT ON THE VERANDA

I am a big fan of author Ciji Ware and am very excited to host her on my blog. She has graciously stopped by Passages to the Past today to talk about where the idea for her novel, A LIGHT ON THE VERANDA, originated. 

Also, thanks to Sourcebooks I have one copy of Ciji's latest release, A LIGHT ON THE VERANDA, up for grabs!
And now for Ciji Ware's guest post...
The publishing history of A Light on the Veranda began one April when the dogwood and roses were in full bloom. My close friend and fellow novelist, Michael Llewellyn, then based in New Orleans, urged me to consider the Town That Time Forgot as the perfect setting for the stand-alone sequel to Midnight on Julia Street — an earlier novel I’d published with Sourcebooks/Landmark that takes place in the Big Easy.

“If Daphne Duvallon ever dares to show her face again down South,” my Archangel Michael advised, “send her to Natchez!”

I replied, “Where’s Natchez?”

I was happy to learn from my Tennessee-born friend that the town was in Mississippi, due North of New Orleans, about a three-hour drive. The minor character in the previous novel to whom he referred had blown off her wedding—along with the groom--in front of five hundred guests at the celebrated St. Louis Cathedral…and most of her family refused to speak to her in the two years that followed. I pondered what possibly could convince her to return south so I could write a book about her?  Suddenly the proverbial light bulb went off in my head: another wedding!  That of her beloved half-brother, King who would finally get hitched to the love-obsessed-but-marriage-averse heroine in Julia Street –Corlis McCullough!
In his sales pitch on setting a book about poor Daphne in Natchez, Michael had commented that the gorgeously restored Monmouth Plantation, now a hotel, played host to scores of weddings and that its wonderful owners, Ron and Lani Riches, would undoubtedly welcome two writers with open arms, providing us each with our own stunning suite while I soaked up atmosphere and got to learn Natchez history and about the music scene—which is considerable in the town.  

 Home to Biscuits and Blues, the Under-the-Hill Saloon, and a number of other “jazz joints” –I began to get excited.  What if my Juilliard-trained classical harpist Daphne, exhausted by the brutal competition she’d encountered in her life as a symphony and chamber orchestra musician in New York City, returned to her southern roots for her brother’s wedding and took up jazz harp in an all-girl band as a profession? Woweeee, I was definitely on to something!

Michael, as it happened, was working on his own novel set in Natchez, The Goat Castle Murder, based on a true (and truly Gothic) tale in 1934 and due to be published later this year.  He promptly arranged for the first of numerous “location scouting” trips that allowed him to recline on the veranda at one of his old haunts, the beautiful mansion, Dunleith, while simultaneously introducing me to many of the sites I eventually used in A Light on the Veranda.

Once we arrived in this town of some 22 thousand souls with dozens of “tour-able” mansions like Stanton House (pictured here where the fried chicken is sublime) that hailed from the Golden Age when “Cotton was King,” my dear southern pal opened doors to other Mississippi landmarks like the Governor Holmes House, the Cover-to-Cover Bookshop, and restaurants as wildly various as the Pig Out Inn (“Swine Dining at its Finest”), Pearl Street Pasta, the Magnolia Grill and the West Bank Eatery (“Fantastic Cookin’ & Big River Lookin’”). 

As you can see here, there wasn’t a restaurant we didn’t eat in on those research sojourns, including the “politically incorrect” but totally scrumptious Mammy’s Cupboard located a few miles outside Natchez proper.  I gained a good ten pounds, alone, lunching there, I expect, but loved every morsel of such southern classic cuisine as broccoli cornbread, Hummingbird Cake, and blueberry lemonade. 

But who was going to be the hero of this southern tale?  Ex-bride Daphne was a very sophisticated, well-educated and talented young woman and at first I was at a loss as to what sort of man was worthy of her, especially since she’d endured the humiliation of her former fiancĂ© cheating on her prior to the buildup of the “Wedding of the Season That Never Happened” in New Orleans?  Then I got it, proud Mama that I am.  “Simon Chandler” would be a photographer, like my grown son Jamie, shown here.  

Someone along the way had mentioned that John James Audubon had spent time in Natchez in the 19th century painting the birds of the Mississippi flyway. Bingo! I’d make the hero a nature photographer retracing Audubon’s steps in the region for a coffee table book that would feature images he’d shot of all the native birds that had been painted by America’s first “naturalist.” So there I was, the basics of the book in hand. “All” I had to do was write it, which I did with great pleasure.  

My husband, son, sister, nephew, fellow-author Michael, and I even returned to Natchez to host a fabulous book launch party at none other than the Monmouth Plantation Hotel where much of the action takes place!  The novel is a “time-slip” story, weaving back and forth between Daphne’s modern era and an age nearly two-hundred-years earlier when her namesake ancestress was in a peck of trouble and--  Well, you’ll just have to read A Light on the Veranda to get the whole story…

Lovely being with you on one of my all-time favorite blogs: Passages to the Past! Thanks for inviting me to be your guest. 

Ciji Ware enjoys hearing from readers at and on Facebook.  


 Publication Date: March 1, 2012 | Sourcebooks | 480p


A secret may hold for a hundred years... and then it's time for the past to take revenge 

Daphne Duvallon vowed never to return to the South years ago when she left her philandering fiance at the altar. Now family has called her back to Natchez, Mississippi, a city as mysterious and compelling as the ghostly voices that haunt her dreams.

From a time when the oldest settlement on the Mississippi was in its heyday and vast fortunes were made and lost, Daphne begins to uncover the secrets of an ancestor whose fate is somehow linked with her own. In a compelling and mesmerizing tale, now Daphne must right the wrongs of the past, or follow the same path into tragedy...
Giveaway Information

- To enter, please leave a comment below and include your email address (only comments with email addresses will be entered in the giveaway).
- Giveaway is open to to US and Canada ONLY.
- +5 additional entries become a follower of Passages to the Past. If you are already a follower you will automatically receive the bonus entries. 
- +3 additional entries join the Passages to the Past FB Page.
- +3 additional entries follow me on Twitter.
- +1 additional entry each, please help spread the word by blogging, posting on sidebar, tweeting or posting this giveaway on Facebook or Google+.  You can use the SHARE buttons below.
- Giveaway ends on March 16th.

Good luck to you all!


  1. A Light on the Veranda sounds very interesting. I'd love to win it.

  2. What a wonderful and facinating post. This novel is a treasure. Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. Love to win this one! Thanks!!

  4. What a great giveaway! Please enter me!
    +5 additional entries become a follower of Passages to the Past.
    +3 additional entries join the Passages to the Past FB Page
    +3 additional entries follow me on Twitter

    bethsbookreviewblog2 AT gmail DOT com

  5. What a great adventure doing the research and soaking up the atmosphere! I'd love to read Ciji's book.

  6. Wow! This book sounds very intriguing!

    +5 I am a GFC follower
    +3 I follow on FB
    +3 I follow on twitter

  7. Sounds so interesting. Thanks for the giveaway and thanks for always introducing us to great books.


  8. email subscriber, like you on FB,


  9. follow you on twitter @maynekitty


  10. tweet!/maynekitty/status/176752006449475584


  11. Would love to read this. Thanks.


    +5 follow with GFC (now via Google reader)

  12. I love books set in the South, and I've enjoyed other books by Ciji Ware. Thanks for the giveaway.

    +5 Google follower

  13. My first Ciji Ware book was "Race to Splendor" and I really really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to this one.

    +5 GFC follower
    +3 Twitter follower (Fieryna)


  14. This one sounds really interesting. And I'm a follower.

  15. ...and my e-mail is shoshanahinla(at)gmail(dot)com

  16. This sounds like a good book to read.

    +5 for following (griperang)
    +3 for following fb page (Angela (Newcomb)Holland)
    +3 for following on twitter (@griperang)
    +1 blogging -
    +1 twittered -!/griperang/status/177009801178517504
    +1 facebooked -!/permalink.php?story_fbid=358245650882376&id=100000589520359

    Thank you for the chance to win

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

  17. I've read Ciji Ware before and can say she is a very talented author. This area of Mississippi has always been its own little world rich in history, fables and witchcraft. I'm very interested to see that Ms. Ware chose this area as the location for her new book. The plot sounds very intriguing and I am looking forward to reading "A Light on the Veranda."

    Connie Fischer
    +5 - Follower of PTTP
    +3 - Follower of PTTP on FB

  18. Thanks for the detailed outline of A Light on the Veranda. I'd love to win a copy.
    and look at all the extra entries I get!
    - +5 additional entries for following the blog by email.
    - +3 additional entries for having joined the Passages to the Past FB Page (Carl Scott).
    - +3 additional entries for following on Twitter (@carlrscott).
    - +1 additional entry for Tweeting about the giveaway.!/carlrscott/status/177065406954094592

    I'm rich!

  19. Wow! I really enjoyed reading this fascinating post by Ciji Ware. How interesting to learn the process by which she created this wonderful book! The photos were a treat. Thanks, Ciji! I'm really looking forward to reading A Light On the Veranda.

  20. Sounds like another great book from this author. I have not read one yet though so maybe I'll be lucky to win!

    +5 follower
    +3 member of fb group
    +3 follow on twitter
    +1 shred on google+


  21. I love Ciji's books but I was so full this month I couldn't fit it in for review! I would love to have it to read at a later date.

    +5 additional entries become a follower of Passages to the Past. Of course I am!

    - +3 additional entries join the Passages to the Past FB Page. You know it baby!

    - +3 additional entries follow me on Twitter. I do, I do!

    - +1 additional entry each I shared on facebook, twitter and google+

    thank you!
    kaiminani at gmail dot com

  22. Always intrigued by books set in the city of my soul, New Orleans, and environs. Best wishes for the success of this novel.

    cowgirlsue at aol dot com

  23. I got hungry reading your blog!
    I follow on GFC
    I follow on facebook
    I get your email
    i tweeted joekathbia
    I shared on facebook kathleen bianchi

  24. This book sounds really good! I read A Race To Splendor by this author and loved it! Would be great to have another one of her books to read.

    +5. GFC follower (Colleen Turner).
    +3. Facebook member (Colleen Turner).
    +1. Shared on Google+.


  25. This sounds like a good read. Have never read any of Ms. ware's books but they are on my TBR list.

  26. I love time slip and time travel stories--sign me up!

    +5 follower
    +3 Facebook follower

  27. Thanks for the gorgeous pictures! I really want to go there and visit now!

    +5 blog follower
    +3 FB fan (both Julie Witt)
    +3 Twitter follower: @jwitt33
    +1 tweeted:!/jwitt33/status/177188413827588096

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  28. I've heard her previous book just raved over so I am curious to check out her writing. I have to admit that the setting is what piqued my curiosity. I'd love to go visit the area as well.

    I'm a follower of your blog, facebook, twitter, and am sharing this now. Cheers!!

    libraryofmyown at gmail dot com

  29. thank you for this giveaway!!!!

    +5 follower of Passages to the Past
    +3 'liked' Passages to the Past FB Page
    +1 posted this giveaway on Facebook

    cyn209 at juno dot com

  30. Not sure I would have given this book a second look based on the title page but the synopsis sounds promising.

    nanze55 at hotmail dot com

  31. I would love to read this book!

    +5 I follow via gfc-mamabunny13
    +3 I follow on fb-mamabunny shelor
    +3 I follow on twitter @mamabunny13

    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  32. I would love to read this book. It sounds very good and interesting. Please enter me in contest.

  33. I'm a follower- thanks for the giveaway!

  34. I loved a Race to Splendor, so I'm sure this book is just as great!
    +5 Following (Love_er_girl)
    +3 for facebook (I requested to join- Nicole Andrea)
    +3 for Twitter (@Fireflyflames)

  35. No need to enter me - I'm just trying to get caught up on my blog reading. I love this guest post - it is great knowing how the book came to be. It must have been so wonderful to visit all of these places and soak up the atmosphere. It must have worked because it oozed from the pages!


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Passages to the Past
All rights reserved © 2013

Custom Blog Design by Blogger Boutique

Blogger Boutique