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Monday, September 6, 2010
Giveaway and Author Interview: The Perfect Blend
Thanks, Casey. It’s my pleasure.
What has changed in your writing life since you were last here?
The release dates for The Tea Shop Series were moved closer, so the first book, The Perfect Blend, just released on September 1, and the second, Tea for Two, will release in April. I’m so happy with both romantic stories. I hope readers will be, too.
Here’s a quick description of The Perfect Blend:
Kendall James, one of the kindest and most eligible bachelors in the area, meets Steph and proceeds to pursue her. But by the time Steph feels able to consider dating again, her runaway fiancé returns and tries to win her back. Steph is wary, but she and Rick always seemed to blend so well. Are they truly meant to be together? Maybe God has something else in mind…
And now I have a few more releases coming in the spring. I’m currently writing Unforgettable, a 1950s romantic comedy for Summerside Press’ new line, When I Fall in Love. Unforgettable is about a ballroom dance instructor who becomes involved with a former World War II fighter pilot (now a newspaper reporter). Their mutual experiences bring them from Arlington (just outside Washington, D.C.) to Manhattan, and they discover love along the way. My other release in the spring is a devotional I wrote with four fabulous authors (Kristin Billerbeck, Sandie Bricker, Diann Hunt, and Debby Mayne), called Delight Yourself in the Lord . . . Even on Bad Hair Days (Summerside Press). That was such a fun project, and I think it will be well received.
Sounds great! What recent read stood out to you as truly spectacular?
I’ve read so many novels lately! I’m tempted to highlight The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, but on my own site so many people cite that book. I figure you’re hearing that, too. So I’ll give you another impressive recent read. I thought Andrea Levy’s Small Island, about Jamaican immigrants in post-WWII England, was beautifully and painfully moving. And the BBC made a pretty faithful film version of it. But I would caution that, like The Help, Small Island isn’t written for the Christian reader.
Do you have favorite authors?
Many, in numerous genres. I always expect to enjoy books written by Jennifer Weiner, Tosca Lee, Tony Parsons, Anne Tyler, Graham Greene, Lisa Samson, P.G. Wodehouse, C. S. Lewis, Helen Fielding, Evelyn Waugh, Khaled Hosseini, Cathy Gohlke, David Lodge, Laura Zigman, Phillipa Gregory, . . . I could go on and on! I love reading all kinds of novels, both heavy and light in mood.
What do you find the most enjoyable part of writing or connecting with readers?
I love the writing process and hope to actually get back to read some of my own novels that have been out for some time—it would be fun to read them with that much distance, as if someone else wrote them. I just hope I give myself a good review on Amazon.
But my favorite part of writing is that connecting with readers you mentioned. When a total stranger writes to me and tells me how one of my books touched her, how it was exactly what she needed to read at that point in her life or how it made her laugh out loud, I feel so blessed and satisfied. That’s like having God give me a pat on the back. A terrific reward.
What do you find the most ideal atmosphere for writing? Do you ever get those surroundings?
My favorite conditions are right here at home, in front of my computer, preferably alone, hearing absolutely no sound other than my excited little fingers running all over the keyboard (okay sometimes they merely stroll across the keyboard, and sometimes they just sit there, ten stupid digits). I struggle to write in any other surroundings than the ideal ones! I mean, I can hammer it out elsewhere, but it never feels particularly inspired. And I can’t stand writing when someone can read over my shoulder. Planes are the worst! I know how to write in shorthand, and I’ll sometimes resort to that so nosy neighbors can’t tell what I’m writing. There’s always the concern, though, that I won’t be able to read my own shorthand later.
Okay, something fun for those writers out there: In what point of your writing career did you surprise yourself by writing the most words ever in the shortest amount of time?
I may be in that position right now! I thought I had six months to write one book, but I ended up getting contracts for three within that general time frame. The situation has taught me that I can be far more disciplined than I realized, if I press my nose closely enough to the grindstone. And I honestly don’t feel the quality of my writing has suffered. Rather, I feel better about what I’ve written. I know part of that efficiency is just because of the experience after several years of publishing, but I’ve also had to keep myself in this chair more diligently. Sometimes that’s all it takes to write more than you thought you could. That, and a whole lotta prayer and groveling for divine inspiration.
Thanks for being here again! It has been a joy and we wish the very best with your novels.
Thanks so much, Casey. I enjoyed visiting your pretty site again.
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