Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Lisa Lickel's The Last Detail

The Last DetailMissionaries. How do they choose the mission field? How does God choose them? What do they do when the mission is taken away from them through no fault of their own? Do God's people also deserve love and happiness?

Merit and his family have sacrificed much on mission for God. The older brother Worth died on the mission field; Merit served the same people but was injured in an attack on the clinic where he served and was sent home to recover; and the younger brother Justice disappeared at age 17 but ended up serving refugees from the same mission field. Merit feels that everyone he loves has been taken from him, so when he meets Amalia, he is afraid she will also die if he allows himself to love her.

Amalia's business The Last Detail helps grieving families take care of the final details following the loved one's funeral. She does a great job caring for others, but not so great taking care of herself.

Lisa Lickel has done a great job of placing Amalia and Merit in juxtaposition and helping them overcome themselves in order to be one in their marriage. The story has twists and turns including instances where God clearly has stepped into the picture to help them become the servants they need to be for him.

Questions I asked Lisa concerning her book, The Last Detail.
Have you had a relationship with the Nehrangestan people?
I love this question, Diane. It’s always an author’s goal to make the setting as true as possible, even when it’s fictional. So, in a way, yes, I do have a relationship with these people who, essentially, I made up. They are a combination of people I’ve read about and some people I’ve met and spoken to, and I even made up the language as a combination of dialects I looked up and took liberties with.
Was there a reason you named the brothers Worth, Merit, Justice?
Yes, this was my first experiment with meaningful names of characters. I have heard of these names in either public, or among friends, and with their background, coming from a strongly faith-based family, it just seemed like something their parents would do. We’ve all probably heard of parents giving names to their children that they hope the child would grow into, whether a way or life, a job, or a celebrity; however that practice is much more prevalent in Asian countries. The children are named after qualities, which I think they strived to earn.
How is this book similar/different from your previous books?
That’s hard to say on the surface, Diane. This manuscript started life seven years before it was published as a book written specifically for a group of themed books about weddings in different states, then it was rewritten for a themed group of romances taking place in unusually-named real communities in the US, then it was just a genre romance, and by the time five years of “no thanks,” six other published novels, and two agents passed, I simply took the story, revised it the way I wanted it to look and feel, which was not intentionally a genre romance that ends with a happy proposal or a wedding, and sent it out as a mainstream novel exploring what happens after the wedding. It’s similar in that I am asking my readers to think about what makes a family, and how unusual relationships work out, and it’s different in that the publisher allowed me to have a little more control over where I wanted the story to end.
When researching for this book, what was the single most interesting thing you uncovered?
It is gruesome, but fascinating to me, about the murders that took place at Starved Rock State Park in Illinois. The park is so beautiful that it’s such a shock to find out about this sensational and senseless act. I was intrigued about the police work that went on to discover the murderer and the subsequent trial.
What questions would you like to answer that I didn't ask?
Thank you, Diane, for hosting me! I would like the readers to know about the setting of the book, that while Fox Falls is fictional, Starved Rock park is very real. You can visit the following websites for more information, as well as take a virtual tour:
Lisa Lickel's profile photo 
Short bio: Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives in a hundred and sixty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. A multi-published, best-selling and award-winning novelist, she also writes short stories and radio theater, is an avid book reviewer, blogger, a freelance editor, and magazine editor. Visit


  1. I love Lisa Lickel! How lovely to find her hear and what a great review!

  2. Interesting! BTW, I read "The Last Detail" and really enjoyed it.

  3. Interesting questions and intriguing answers. Good job, ladies!

  4. This sounds like a great book. I love the names of the characters. Thanks ladies for the nice interview.

  5. I've read The Last Detail, and it's one of the most beautiful love stories I've ever read. It's definitely not a romance as we think of the romance genre.

  6. Lisa's books always have intricate plots and good character development. I need to read this one!