A writer inspired by nature and human nature

Archive for the ‘Author Interviews’ Category

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MEET THE AUTHOR: Karen Ingalls (Ovarian Cancer Survivor/Memoir & Novelist)

Our guest today is Karen Ingalls, author of Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir. I can’t wait to find out more about the author and her memoir and get a sneak peek into her (historical fiction) novels too. Time to MEET THE AUTHOR! ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

It’s a pleasure having you with us today, Karen. First, tell us a little about yourself.

I am a senior season writer, who had been writing for most of my life. I did not seek publication until 2012. I am a retired nurse with a master’s degree in human development and psychology. I live on a beautiful lake in central Florida where I enjoy golfing, gardening, and fishing year-round.

I am a nine-year ovarian cancer survivor from which most people do not survive more than five years. Since my diagnosis, I have dedicated my life to bringing the message about this lesser known cancer to women around the world. I give presentations, set up support groups, write articles, wrote an award-winning book, and two weekly blogs:

How about your family?

I’m a native Californian, who was raised in a dysfunctional family from which I escaped when I went to college in Boulder, Colorado. I have since lived in Waconia and St. Paul, Minnesota and more recently here in Tavares, Florida.

I have three grown sons, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandson. My husband is my rock, caregiver, and lover. We have been married thirty-years after each of us went through a divorce.

How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you generally do?  

I have been writing since I was a preteen, but kept my poetry and short stories a secret. Due to the dysfunctional family situation, I did not trust to share my writings with anyone. My first published book was in 2012. It is a non-fiction, memoir. My two novels are written about family and social issues.

I have always journaled and after I was diagnosed with the cancer, a close friend encouraged me to get the journal published. In 2012, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir was published and won two awards. I dedicate all proceeds to gynecologic cancer research.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of your memoir? 

Though it is a book specifically about my journey with ovarian cancer, it is a book to which anyone with any type of cancer or terminal disease could relate. Our emotions, tests, drug effects, bodily changes, and support/caregiver system are similar.

What prompted you to write “Outshine”?

When I was diagnosed, there were very few books available about this particular cancer. The internet had many sites, but many were either too medically technical or written by a lay person whose statements were often inaccurate, unfounded, or prejudicial.

I was hoping that my book would give women important information about ovarian cancer, share my experiences so they might be better prepared, and to offer hope and inspiration. I believe that no matter what challenge we might face, we are to learn and become better people from it.

Do you have a favorite line from OUTSHINE? 

“I have learned that any rain that falls in my life is just droplets, and it’s up to me whether I will let those droplets flood away my spirit. Sometimes we need to build up levees through more prayer, erect dams for permanent changes so the soul can grow, do a dance to pray for more sun to heal any wounds, or just take an umbrella to give temporary protection as we build up our strength and will.”

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

Writing the book was “easy,” it was the editing that was the hardest part. My editor was wonderful to work with and I cannot thank her enough for all she did to make my book a well-edited one.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? 

I do many speaking engagements locally and now more recently, nationally. I never charge for my presentations because I do not want to be denied the opportunity to spread the word because of a fee. My talks are in front of large and small groups; service organizations, churches, women’s groups, and neighborhood gatherings. My audience has included men and women, nurses, pharmacists, and community leaders.

For absolute fun and to get away from the seriousness of cancer, I play golf 1-2 times a week, belong to a card club, women’s group, and love to escape with a good book. Meditation and laughter are two very important things I do as often as possible.

Tell us about your novels.

My first novel, Novy’s Son, the Selfish Genius is based on a true story of one man’s life-long attempt to receive unconditional love from his father. In the 1980’s Robert Bly wrote “The Iron John” which prompted me to write about how one father put too many demands and expectations on one son, who did not know how to pass on the Iron John teachings to his son. This is a common social problem.

Davida: Mistress & Model of Augustus Saint-Gaudens is based on the true story of America’s premier sculptor in the late nineteenth century and his love affair with his model. They never married but their love lasted for twenty-five years from which they had one son. Saint-Gaudens is most famous for the $20 gold piece. He is my great-grandfather and Davida is my great-grandmother. My grandfather lived in shame his entire life as a “bastard” and my intention is to remove the stigma from him.

Where can readers find your books?

                My books are all available on amazon. Here are the links:

http://www.amazon.com/Outshine-An-Ovarian-Cancer-Memoir/dp/1592984622

http://www.amazon.com/Novys-Son-The-Selfish-Genius/dp/B01B02VQY

http://www.amazon.com/Davida-Model-Mistress-Augustus-Saint-Gaudens/dp/1530397871

What’s next for Karen Ingalls?

I am working on a third novel which will complete the trilogy. I plan to continue to blog twice a week.  I welcome guest posts anytime. I plan to contribute more to Rave Reviews Book Club and RWISA (Rave Writers International Society of Authors). My dedication to spreading the word about ovarian cancer, be available to those in need of support, and to do whatever I can is my top priority.

Thank you, Bette for having me on your blog. I appreciate your support.

Thanks so much for coming to share your story with us, Karen.

Dear Readers,

Thanks so much for joining us today. I invite you to chat with Karen in the comment section below. Don’t forget to grab one of her books on Amazon and get ready to enjoy a great read. I’m currently reading Karen Ingalls’s novel Novy’s Son, the Selfish Genius—a fascinating and beautifully written story.

Happy Reading!

Bette A. Stevens

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Get Caught Reading with Bette A. Stevens

YOU’RE INVITED

Friday, May 20th at 1:30 p.m. It’s GET CAUGHT READING MONTH and Annette Rochelle Aben will be interviewing me on The Magic Happens Radio Network. Come join us! ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

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MEET THE AUTHOR: Christina Steiner (children’s literature)

CHRISTINA STEINER author picChristina Steiner is an award-winning writer of two illustrated children’s books The Sad Tree and Pronuba and The Fantastic Travels of William and the Monarch Butterfly (Outskirts Press 2013, 2015). As a nature enthusiast, she likes to introduce children to the wonders of the living world around them. Steiner writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Other accomplishments include being featured in the Moorpark Review 2013, the West Winds Centennial, California Writers Club 100 year anthology in 2010, and an honorable mentioning in the 77th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition 2008.

Born and raised in Switzerland, Christina made Southern California her home and raised two daughters. When not writing or reading, she hikes with her dogs, rides her horse, makes wine with her partner and enjoys the beauty that nature offers.

It’s wonderful to have Christina Steiner with us today. I’ve fallen in love with both of her children’s books (outstanding children’s literature inspired by nature) and can’t wait to send copies to my youngest grandson to read and enjoy. Now it’s time to meet the author. Tell us more about yourself, Christina.

If I can be outdoors, I usually am. I prefer mountains to the ocean but living in California offers both. Nature in its bounty always amazes and enthralls me. A bad day gets whisked away after a walk on the beach or in the local hills.

How about your family?

My roots are in Switzerland. Growing up as the youngest of five, I learned from my siblings what was accepted and what not. Small town living has advantages and perils. Any misbehaving in the town usually reached my parent’s ear before I could make it home.

Living in America and raising my two daughters was different, everything seemed larger than life. I had the big advantage to live in a semi-rural area of Los Angeles at the time so I could instill the wonders of nature by exposing my children to the local wildlife and our domestic animals which included horses, sheep, goats, dogs, cats and even a llama. Now I live with my partner and four dogs in Ventura, California.

How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?

I always loved to write. My earliest competition was an essay for a newspaper in third grade. I did win second place. Later I wrote journals all through my teenage years which included poetry, at that time in German. My dream of writing my own book didn’t happen until much later when my children were grown. English became the language of choice as a writer. I joined local writing communities and profited a lot through critique groups and encouragements of follow writers. The dream became a passion.

SYNOPSIS OF BOOKS (Click cover images to find Christina’s books on Amazon  and take a look inside these beautifully written and illustrated children’s books.)

cover (1)The Sad Tree and Pronuba tells the story of the symbiotic relationship between the Joshua tree and the Pronuba moth.

The Fantastic Travels of William and the Monarch Butterfly is a chapter book. A North Dakota boy rides along with Anka, an eastern, fourth-generation Monarch butterfly to central Mexico and back. During the journey William learns the intricate life cycle of the Monarch butterfly, survival and friendship

What prompted you to write The Sad Tree and Pronuba

I visited the Mojave Desert and climbed Malapai Hill in Joshua Tree National Park. Fascinated by one of these strange Joshua trees, I wanted to know everything about them. The relationship of two different species, The Joshua tree and the Pronuba moth, show how exquisite and unique nature presents itself.

Favorite line: I must go—I’m so busy, I’ve got to blow. (Reminds me of our busy lives.)

Favorite character: Pronuba moth, she’s so upbeat and joyful.

William & the Monarch Butterfly CHRISTINA STEINERThe Fantastic Travels of William and the Monarch Butterfly was prompted by a suggestion from my partner. We live close to a grove that western Monarch butterflies choose for their winter quarters. Sadly the population of butterflies greatly diminished. After extensive research I decided to set the story for an eastern Monarch butterfly. For a small creature to fly the distance to the Oyamel fir forest and survive the winter in this unique environment to assure the continuation of the species is another example of the incredible natural world.

Favorite line: Anka speaking to William . . . “You and I share this world. We all have our purpose. I know mine from the get-go. You will have to figure yours out as you grow. But there is a reason why we’re here, why we’re alive.”

Favorite character: Anka, the Monarch butterfly. As she matures, she becomes incredibly sage.

What was the hardest part of writing your children’s books?

To write the stories so the readers, young or old, can see the grandeur of nature and be entertained while adhering to the facts.

Do you do anything in addition to writing books?

I assist my partner in making wine, two to four varietal per year. Together we take care of our dogs. In our household we have four large dogs, three champion Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Betsy, Harvard Girl and Boomer and Sentry, a 180 lbs. Hungarian Kuvasz. Every morning we take them to a leash-free park close by for training and exercise. Several times a week I ride my horse Xena, stabled in Moorpark. These outdoor activities balance out the time spent on the computer.

My two grandchildren, twins—a boy and a girl, spent most Sundays with me while my daughter is at work.

I attend a tutor-training workshop at the local library to become a volunteer tutor and help adults to achieve better reading and life skills.

My books are available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, outskirtspress.com and some local independent book stores.

What’s next for author Christina Steiner?

I finished a series of articles called Predators in the Backyard. Each talks about the intricate lives of insects or spiders commonly found in the backyard and the significance they have in mythology.

The first draft of a new novel is nearly completed. Untitled as of now. The middle-grade fiction deals with coming of age, loss, adjustment to inner city life and forming new friendships.

It’s been wonderful to have you with us today, Christina. I highly recommend both of your beautifully written and illustrated children’s books to our readers.

Visit author Christina Steiner and find out more about her books

Readers, thanks so much for visiting today. In invite you to join the conversation (comments below). Happy reading! ~ Bette A. Stevens 

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MEET THE AUTHOR: Ann Morris (author of bilingual children’s books)

Ann Morris (bilingual children's books author)

Ann Morris (bilingual children’s books author)

I met author Ann Morris on Facebook; and being a former ESL (English/Second Language) teacher in middle-school as well as a teacher to students from diverse cultures throughout the globe myself, I’ve had an active interest in following Ann. Today, I’m delighted to have Ann Morris join. She’ll  fill us in on a bit of her personal history and tell us about her latest book, Everything is Different. So let’s meet the author!

It’s wonderful to have you with us to day, Ann. To start off, tell us a little about yourself.

I am a small town Iowa girl (USA) and always have the mentality that I like to know people and try to make a difference in whatever I do. I was encouraged to write by my mom, who had always loved to write. She guided me with ideas, resources, and encouragement. My dad inspired me to appreciate the beauty in everything. I have learned from and continue to apply both lessons.

I was first published in a poetry magazine called Wee Wisdom when I was 10 and 12 years of age. I always enjoyed writing papers and essays.

In college at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, I had the opportunity to travel, study, and live in Pamplona, Spain. I was in Spain twice studying and living during those years, and it changed my life. I learned to see myself and my country from the outside in and experienced being a minority for the first time in my life. That was eye-opening and a valuable experience.

I taught High School Spanish for about 18 years of my adult life, including tutoring and adult education classes. I created the curriculum for an eight-week Spanish for the Workplace class that I taught for Iowa Workforce Development that was well received.

After teaching, I did some freelance translating for local businesses and began working for Iowa Workforce Development as the only bilingual advisor in the Unemployment Division. There was a lot of telephone one-on-one with Latinos from all over the country, and I learned many accents and localisms.

During this time, as well as teaching, I began to express many opinions about acceptance, diversity and inclusion, and education that were published as Letters to the Editor.

From teaching English to some young friends from Madrid in the summers and from working in the New Iowan Center, where I worked with people from all over the world seeking work and community resources to aid their employment and educational empowerment, I became interested in writing children’s books as a way to promote literacy for native speakers as well as for language learners.

How about your family?

My immediate family is local now, and all of my stories so far have featured experiences and/or characters from my family. This includes my extended family, which is spread across the globe.

How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?

I was encouraged to write by my mom, who had always loved to write. She guided me with ideas, resources, and encouragement. My dad inspired me to appreciate the beauty in everything. I have learned from and continue to apply both lessons.

I was first published in a poetry magazine called Wee Wisdom when I was 10 and 12 years of age. I always enjoyed writing papers and essays.

I now write children’s picture books in English and separately in Spanish. The stories are based on memories with a lesson. The teacher in me is alive and well! I also write posts for LinkedIn and other short pieces. I always have several projects in the works.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of your new book?

EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT by Ann MorrisTOTO ES DISTINTO by Ann MorrisEverything Is Different was inspired by a short trip taken to the Midlands in the UK for a daughter’s wedding. Through our sight-seeing and observations, I knew immediately that it was excellent material for a children’s book with an important message. Using my nephew Brett and brother-in-law Scott as the characters, Scott takes Brett with him on a brief business trip to the UK, specifically England.

Brett is amazed at how many things are different in a country that speaks the same language, and asks many point-blank questions as to why? His dad explains patiently why, and Brett continues to learn that different can be interesting, and it may not even be wrong. This is a message near and dear to my heart and especially relevant today and every day.

What prompted you to writeEverything Is Different‘?

Everything Is Different was inspired by a short trip taken to the Midlands in the UK for a daughter’s wedding. Through our sight-seeing and observations, I knew immediately that it was excellent material for a children’s book with an important message. It has received an amazing reaction from fellow children’s book writers and friends from the UK.

Do you have a favorite line from the book?

I have several favorite lines, of course.

One I like it: “Brett got quiet whenever he was thinking hard, and this trip was making him thing very hard.”

Another is short conversation between the two: “I have another surprise for you, Brett…We’re going to eat at a pub.” Brett’s response is priceless: “You’re going to take me to a bar?

The spoiler to it all is a response later by Brett’s dad: “You will learn that not everyone does things the same way we do. But if it works for them, that is what is important. Being different does not mean they are wrong.”

Who is your favorite character and why?

Oh, Bette! I can’t choose! They are both my favorites and for different reasons:

  • Brett is open and honest about his observations, as children are. He begins in the book by being startled and befuddled.
  • His dad is patient and ready to explain answers to Brett in a way that makes sense and puts things in perspective for a child. He is the key to Brett’s learning experience.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

There honestly was no hard part in writing the book. Everything depicted in the book was experienced or observed, albeit from an adult perspective. It lent itself perfectly to a children’s story.

Do you do anything besides write?

Yes, I do. I share what I read with others on social media, in bookstores, at book and arts fairs, I make school visits, I speak at events, and I review other children’s books. I also do professional translating, including other children’s books.

Where can readers find your books?

Six book covers Etsy ANN MORRIS

Several local bookstores have my books on consignment, and several book websites have them available, too!

On my personal website, there are photos, examples of my other writing, information about me and a list of links where people can learn more about me and what I do.

What’s next for author Ann Morris?

I had another book ready to go, but I needed to write about my granddaughters first. There are so many stories and fun things we have done that this is going to really be a work of love…as they all are. I have a large collection of partially completed books that are merely awaiting their turns…There will be more from me!

Find out more about Ann Morris

Ann, it’s been wonderful having you with us today. And readers, thanks so much for stopping by to meet Ann Morris. Ann and I look forward to chatting with you (comments below)! ~ Bette A. Stevens

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MEET THE AUTHOR: Barbara Ann Mojica & “The Little Miss History” series

Barbara Ann Mojica author pic

Barbara Ann Mojica, author of The Little Miss HISTORY series

After reading, thoroughly enjoying and recommending several books in Barbara Ann Mojica’s Little Miss History series to friends, I was delighted when the author provided me with a copy of her latest book. As a retired teacher, I love to spread the word about wonderful new children’s books and Mojica’s series is sure to get kids hooked on history. In her latest book, Little Miss History travels to Ellis Island, the main character takes readers through the museum where we find intriguing facts, photos and illustrations encapsulating the history of Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty while uncovering the plight of many of the immigrants who entered America through its gates. Although I had the opportunity to visit Ellis Island as a teen, I discovered aspects of my maternal ancestors’ entry into the USA that I plan to research further. The Little Miss History series by Barbara Ann Mojica is a valuable collection I highly recommend to teachers and parents as a wonderful way to explore US history and excite young readers to want learn more. And, today I’m honored to have the series’ talented author here with us. ~ Bette A. Stevens http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Welcome Barbara. To start off, tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in Queens. Proud to say that I worked my way through college and was the first in my family to graduate with a degree at age twenty. Receiving a scholarship, I went on to graduate school. After college, I worked as an administrative assistant for a short time before embarking on a teaching career. I taught in elementary school, then moved to special education, and later principal and special education administrator. In addition I taught dyslexic children using the Wilson Reading Program and Applied Behavioral Analysis with autistic children. Now that I am retired, I am loving my new career as a writer for a local news magazine, children’s book writer and book reviewer.

I can see you’re a busy gal with little time for boredom to set in. How about an update on your family and community?

Barbara's granddaughter, a big fan of Little Miss History, dresses up as her favorite character.

Barbara’s granddaughter, a big fan of Little Miss History, dresses up as her favorite book character for author day at school.

I live in upstate New York in a rural area with my wonderful husband, who is also the illustrator and publisher of my book series. We write and draw from a cozy studio in our home overlooking a pretty lake. Together we have six children and seven grandchildren, including two sets of twins. I love to keep up with our grandchildren through social media. My oldest grandchild, six-year-old Ava, is a big Little Miss HISTORY fan. She made me proud when she dressed up as Little Miss HISTORY on favorite author day in school.

We live in a community filled with historic sites, which we enjoy visiting. Victor and I support local events like the Hudson Children’s Book Festival, library events, and fundraisers for literacy in and around our community. One of my goals for this year is to increase Little Miss HISTORY’s presence in school communities by doing more classroom visits.

Your books are so well researched and designed, Barbara. And the illustrations are marvelous. How long have you been writing?

I have been doing lots of writing since by college days. Majoring in History and minoring in English and the classics involved lots of term papers and research. Pursuing graduate degrees in History sharpened my focus, but I have always been drawn to children so I found myself entering the education field. As a college freshman, one of my professors told me my research was impeccable, but that my writing style was “turgid and bombastic.” I guess that helped me to learn how to be concise. I now write one page historical articles for a local news magazine, concise blog book reviews, and children’s nonfiction picture books that generally fall within the 500 to 700 word range. Aside from an article or two for a scholarly journal, most of my published works appeared in the last five years. Ninety percent of my work is nonfiction focusing on history.

Can you give us a synopsis of The Little Miss HISTORY series and tell us what inspired you to write these wonderful books?

Get the kids hooked on history!

Get the kids hooked on history!

The Little Miss HISTORY Travel s to….. is a series of books using the Little Miss HISTORY character as a guide. She looks like a wannabe park ranger with pig tails and hiking boots three sizes too big. The aim of these books is to whet your child’s appetite for visiting these landmarks while having fun learning history. My objective in writing these books is to make learning about history something other than a series of facts, but instead the story of the people and places who have formed the heritage of America.

Do you have a favorite line to share from the series?

My favorite line does not come from a particular book. Little Miss HISTORYs motto, “If you don’t know your history, you don’t know what you’re talking about,” sums it up for me. I believe that history is our story, not a random series of events, but a process that involves the people of the past, their successes and failures, and their connections to us in the present. How we use what we learn and preserve these treasures will have an impact on what the future holds for our descendants.

How about a favorite character?

Little Miss HISTORY is the only character contained in each of the books of the series. She is a cartoon-like character based on a younger version of myself. Like Little Miss I hiked in my local area and trekked across the globe. I have visited more than fifty countries and a good number of states in America. Lately, I have been spending more time researching, revisiting and writing rather than traveling.

If I had to pick one favorite character in my series, it is Abraham Lincoln. I love the complexity of Lincoln’s character. He was a devoted father who grieved at the loss of two sons before his own death. While known as Honest Abe, he was a pragmatist who did not hesitate to use bribery to achieve his goals. Lincoln loved life; he educated himself and became a practicing lawyer. This president opened the doors of the White House to the people and listened sincerely to their ideas. He embraced technology, using the telegraph for the first time and inventing a device to move landlocked steamboats. I admire his persistence and resolve. He is a role model for me.

What do you find is the hardest part about writing your books?

For me, the most difficult part of writing is the rewrite and editing. There is so much that I would like to include in my books. While my targeted audience is children, most of the adults who use my books in the classroom or read them to children, tell me how many new things they have learned. So I do a careful research and try to bring to light information not commonly known about the historical personages, sites and events about which I write. For example, the Native American story important to Mount Rushmore, the pollution problems in Sequoia National Park, and the bravery of Alonzo Swann and his battery serving aboard The Intrepid. These things are all a part of history. The illustrations and photographs become an important part of that story and allow me to be as succinct as possible in the final word count, presenting as much information as possible in a suitable, appealing format for any age reader.

When not writing bi-weekly historical articles, researching, marketing or writing my own books, you will often find me reading other family friendly books. I post reviews twice weekly on my blog as well as review books on Amazon and Goodreads. As a retired educator and administrator, I share advice and expertise in developments occurring in elementary and special education with parents and educators.

In the evening I enjoy catching up on current events or watching movies with my husband. During the warmer months, I spend time gardening and boating. Of course I always find time to enjoy my grandchildren .

Where can readers find you and your books?

You can read about my books or contact me through my website: http://LittleMissHISTORY.COM At that site you can find reviews of my books, buying links, merchandise and more. All the books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and independent book stores.

Here are my social media sites where you can connect, join my mailing list or arrange a school visit.

SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES:

What’s next for author Barbara Ann Mojica?

MTVcvr New Book Little Miss History

                 Coming soon!

The next book in the Little Miss HISTORY Travels to series will be stopping by George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, Virginia, where readers will learn about a side of America’s first president that few know much about. I have already begun working on three other books for the series, and will leave those a mystery for now….

It’s been wonderful having you with us today, Barbara—I can’t wait to follow Little Miss HISTORY as her journey through American history continues.

Readers:

Thanks so much for stopping by for a visit. I invite you to join the conversation (comments below) and share this post with your friends and family. Barbara and I would love to hear from you.

Happy Reading!

Bette A. Stevens

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

The Stories Behind Our Books, an interview with Lois W. Stern

The Stories Behind Our Books

What Is Your Back Story?

Guest post by Lois W. Stern

72-Bette_21 TIGHT CROP basLois. you have been a guest blogger here several times before, but as a quick intro, I’ll just say that you are an author, editor, presenter, marketer and innovator. Your title for this blog post really grabbed my attention. You are inviting our readers to tell their back stories. So please explain. What exactly do you mean by back stories?

lois_charli3_lite_blueBette, as authors we work so hard to polish our stories to perfection, often working for years before our manuscripts go to press. Hopefully, our readers enjoy the fruits of our labors; but as a presenter, I find that my audiences often find my back stories particularly compelling. So I share little back stories about what propelled me to begin my Tales2Inspire project. Why it was important to me to do this. How I went about the process. What challenges I faced along the way. If I had any cheering squad of supporters or any naysayers of non-support, and how they affected me as I pursued my dreams.

72-Bette_21 TIGHT CROP basSo now it seems you are inviting other authors to share the back stories to their books?

 

lois_charli3_lite_blueYes, that’s right Bette. And I’m hoping that we can select a number of their stories to appear right here on this blog. Does that work for you?

 

72-Bette_21 TIGHT CROP basLove that idea, Lois. Let’s go for it! For those of you who don’t know Lois yet, she is the creator of Tales2Inspire, an ‘Authors Helping Authors’ project/contest. Suppose you tell us a bit about the back story to your Tales2Inspire books. For openers, what propelled you to begin this project?

lois_charli3_lite_blueActually, my first full length book had nothing to do with inspiring stories, Bette. Its title, Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery, was a ground-breaker in many ways. (It even merited a few paragraphs on a front page of the Sunday Style section of the NY Times.) I secured a contract with a NYC agent, but despite a lot of publisher interest, ultimately they all turned it down. Why? Word was that I didn’t have a strong enough platform, and I didn’t even know the meaning of that word at the time!) That’s just the first part of my back story, the wake-up call to the state of traditional publishing today and my search for alternate paths to publication.

72-Bette_21 TIGHT CROP basWow, Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery sounds about as far from inspirational stories as you can get! How did that transition happen?

lois_charli3_lite_blueActually, it wasn’t a transition at all, Bette, just another side to my personality. I always loved inspiring stories, was drawn to them with an almost magnetic force. I even started a column for a New York webzine that I titled Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives several years before writing Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery. I have a passion for sharing uplifting stories about good people and wonderful happenings because we rarely read about them. It seems that stories of heinous crimes and violence dominate the news.

72-Bette_21 TIGHT CROP basWe sure could use more uplifting stories in today’s world, so I understand your passion for writing inspiring stories. But why did you open up Tales2Inspire to other authors and turn it into a contest?

lois_charli3_lite_blueGood question, Bette, and the one I’m asked most often. After my letdown experience with traditional publishing, I began to think, this must be happening to many other authors, talented authors who are never given a chance because they lack that elusive author platform. That’s when I began to envision creating an alternate path for all of us, seeking ways to help strengthen our opportunities for discovery and name recognition.

72-Bette_21 TIGHT CROP basIt sounds like initiating this Tales2Inspire contest was just a seed of an idea in 2012. My guess is that you never dreamed it would grow in such strength and numbers as it has.

lois_charli3_lite_blueYou are absolutely right, Bette. Tales2Inspire is like a dream come true for me. I have self-published five Tales2Inspire books filled with amazing stories from an incredibly talented group of authors.

72-Bette_21 TIGHT CROP basI bet readers would be interested in the back story to how you spread the word? Did you meet any naysayers along the way?

lois_charli3_lite_blueI sure did! I first introduced Tales2Inspire on some of the LinkedIn writers’ groups, and ran into a few skeptics who challenged me every step of the way. I can think of one person whose comments were so nasty that I felt like bopping him over the head. But when that happens, you really have to take a deep breath and step back. It would be the kiss-of-death to become confrontational and feed into that negativity. So I would say something like, “I’m so sorry about the misunderstanding. Let me give you a little more information to help allay some of your concerns.”

72-Bette_21 TIGHT CROP basIt takes a lot of diplomacy when your back is pushed to the wall. What about supporters? Can you name anyone in particular?

lois_charli3_lite_blueYes, Dan Poynter, an extremely successful self-published author and author advocate, whose newsletter had a subscription base of many hundreds of thousands. I had met Dan at several writer conferences. When I spoke to him about my project, he encouraged me to write up a blurb for his newsletter. What a difference that made! The spread was enormous. I have received winning stories from South Africa, Australia, England, Canada and from across the United States, all because of Dan. And having information about Tales2Inspire appear in his newsletters certainly gave my project an air of legitimacy.

72-Bette_21 TIGHT CROP basSounds like Dan is the guardian angel every author hopes for!

 

 

lois_charli3_lite_blueYou’re right, Bette, but unfortunately now we have to use the past tense. Dan passed on several months ago, but his legacy lives on.

 

72-Bette_21 TIGHT CROP basBeautifully put, Lois. I think readers might like the back story to why you call Tales2Inspire a project as well as a contest.

lois_charli3_lite_blueI work feverishly to find new and innovative ways to strengthen my winning authors’ platforms, to give them many diverse opportunities for discovery. And I involve them in the judging phase of this contest. It’s all explained on my website at www.tales2inspire.com.

72-Bette_21 TIGHT CROP basFinally, I think our readers would be interested in your answer to this one front story question. What is the theme of your next contest and what are the entry criteria.

lois_charli3_lite_blueThis theme of this next contest is ‘inspiring animal stories’, subtitled Stories in Feathers and Fur. It’s underway right now and for any of your readers who are interested, or simply faintly curious, all the guidelines and submission details appear on my website at www.tales2inspire.com. And I guess I should mention that it is FREE. There are no submission fees to enter this contest.

72-Bette_21 TIGHT CROP basThank you, Lois, for a fascinating interview.

And now, readers, we’d love to hear from you. How about sending us the back stories to your books.

lois_charli3_lite_blueMy pleasure, Bette.

Before I say goodbye, I would like to offer your readers a gift —a FREE sampler of Tales2Inspire published stories. Just click on http://tales2inspire.com/?page_id=804 and it will be yours!

 

 My Author Links:

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

Aside

MEET #RRBC “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR Christa Nardi

Christa is our “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR for the week of October 11 – October 17

Welcome, author Christa Nardi. It’s a pleasure to host you on your Rave Reviews Book Club “Spotlight Tour.” I’m looking forward to finding out more about you and your mystery books, meeting some of your characters in today’s interview and introducing all of you to our readers at http://www.4writersandreaders.com.  On with the tour! ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

Author Photo CHRISTA NARDIA

“SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR—Christa Nardi

The Characters of the Cold Creek Mysteries Series:

Book Covers CHRISTA NARDIA

Interview with Sheridan Hendley

Thank you for meeting with me today, Sheridan. We wanted to talk today about the recent murders here at Cold Creek College.

Not a problem. What can I tell you?

Can you tell me about your role in relation to the murders here at Cold Creek College? How did you get involved?

I’m the lead faculty member for the campus crisis response team. Last fall, when Dr. Millberg was murdered, the Department Head, Jim Grant, assigned me to help the State Police Detective gather information. He wasn’t familiar with the college or how faculty interacted.

I see. Was that your only motivation?

Honestly, that was how it started out. Then, my close friend Kim was the prime suspect. Add in a healthy dose of my own curiosity, and identifying all the connections and issues became a puzzle to be solved.

Didn’t that put you in danger?

I didn’t think about that at the time. I wasn’t following people or actively involved in the investigation. I asked questions of some and others, like the student involved, shared information with me. I connected dots but had no idea I would be in danger or the complexity of the problems and motive for the murder.

And the murder of Justin Blake?

Chief Pfeiffe was looking for a scapegoat and Mr. Johnson was convenient. It was evident to many of us that he was innocent. We needed to find ways to counter the mindset that because Mr. Johnson was there to discover the body, he was the murderer. Again, I kept asking questions and connecting dots. I was more aware of the danger but my curiosity got the better of me.

In both cases, you worked with Detective McMann? How did that work out?

(smiling) Very well. With both cases, Brett – Detective McMann – asked for my opinion and listened to what I came up with in both situations. We became “friends” after Dr. Millberg’s murder; however, he is always professional. Brett and Officer Hirsch offered self-defense classes after I got assaulted. Several of the faculty, staff, and students took the class. There will be refresher classes soon.

Do you think you will be involved in more murder investigations?

I never plan to be involved in investigations, but if someone I know is involved, like Kim or Zoe, or if someone asks me to help out … even if I’m not actively involved, I’ll be trying to figure it out.

Thank you for your time, Sheridan.

An excerpt from MURDER AT COLD CREEK COLLEGE:

From Chapter 1

I nodded and then checked the next open door. Unfortunately, it was Max’s office. I knocked. He swiveled around, his black hair somewhat uncontrolled and in need of a cut. I must have startled him. His brown eyes opened wide.

“Sheridan, you wouldn’t believe. I‘m ready to get this experiment going, and somehow the materials I ordered haven’t come in. Terra told me I didn’t have enough money in my account, and that’s not right! I don’t know what her problem is,” was his opening tirade. Max was the other experimental psychologist in the department. He was by far the one most interested in research .

“Yeah, well, Terra and Ali do the books. They would know. Maybe you didn’t figure right what you had in your lab account. I bet they can give you a full accounting,” I suggested. Max tended to have these tantrums a lot. He was relatively young and had come to Cold Creek straight from graduation the year after me. He had big dreams of doing enough research to get to a better university.

“You doing okay otherwise – you know with the rec center and all,” I asked.

“Oh, I gave up on the rec center last year. Too crowded. I joined a private club where I don’t have to deal with the students. At the rec center, they always tried to talk to me. Are you looking for a place to work out?” he asked, oblivious to the excitement on campus. But that was not unusual for Max. Unless it was going to directly affect him, he didn’t seem to know about it. Now, if he had wanted to work out today, he might have been more interested.

“Uh, Max, someone died at the rec center this morning,” I offered as gently as I could.

Jumping out of his seat, he proclaimed, “I knew it, I knew there were safety problems. I knew those students would wreck something! See what I mean?”

“Max, someone was murdered. It wasn’t an accident,” I added. I wondered at the fact that he hadn’t asked the obvious question of who? It was certainly the question I wanted answered.

“Oh. Well, it better not get in the way of my lab work. I’d love to chat with you Sheridan, but I have work to do,” he responded. With that, he sat back down and turned back to his computer. Good thing or he would have seen me shake my head in disbelief. It was also probably a good thing that he did research with rats or mice, examining their use of cues, learning, and such. He sure didn’t seem interested in people and didn’t always pick up on social cues. I made my way back to my office with a wave at Kim. I also quickly let her know that it wasn’t Jim, Doug or Max who was murdered.

Check out Christa’s books:

  • Murder at Cold Creek College (mystery, women sleuths, cozy)
  • Murder in the Arboretum (mystery, women sleuths, cozy)

Buy Links:

Follow Christa Nardi:

About the Author

Christa Nardi is and always has been an avid reader. Her favorite authors have shifted from Carolyn Keene and Earl Stanley Gardner to more contemporary mystery/crime authors over time, but mystery/crime along with romance and scifi/fantasy are her preferred choices for leisure reading. Christa also has been a long time writer from poetry and short stories to the Cold Creek series, Christa has joined many other reader/writers in writing one genre she enjoys reading – the cozy mystery. The series started with Murder at Cold Creek College; Murder in the Arboretum is the second in the series. Murder at the Grill is expected to be published in November 2015. Christa Nardi is a pen name for a real life professor/psychologist from the Northeast who is well published in nonfiction and technical venues.

Murder at ColdCreekCollegeBook Blurb:

Murder at Cold Creek College

on sale 10/12-17/15

Sheridan Hendley is a professor and psychologist at a prestigious college. Although she is not a sleuth, when her colleague Adam is murdered, her department head assigns her to assist the detective and help gather information. Unfortunately, her close friend, Kim, quickly becomes the prime suspect. As Sheridan draws connections between the people in Adam’s life, she realizes many women have a strong motive for Adam’s murder. Slashed tires are the first indication that her involvement is making someone nervous. The next indication is not nearly as subtle.

***

We invite you to follow Christa Nardi’s SPOTLIGHT Tour at https://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/spotlight-authors/

Dear Readers, thanks so much for stopping by my blog for a visit today. Christa and I would love to hear from you (Comment Section below). Happy reading! ~ Bette A. Stevens

[Visit Bette’s Blog]

Aside

MEET THE AUTHOR: Sharon K. Connell (Christian Fiction)

Sharon K. Connell is the author of Christian/romance/drama fiction and it’s a pleasure to have her with us today at 4writersandreaders.

What readers are saying

SHARON K Connell BOOKS cropped

Christian/romance (fiction) novels by Sharon K. Connell

A Very Present Help by Sharon K. Connell

This book is artfully written and creatively weaves the plot from beginning to end. It is a great reminder that God is still involved in our lives. This is a must read and leaves the reader filled with hope! ~ Jennifer

It’s wonderful to have you with us today, Sharon. I can’t wait to find out more about you and your books. First of all, tell us a little about yourself.

Meet Author Sharon K. Connell

Meet Author Sharon K. Connell

I was born in Wisconsin, grew up and went to school through College in Illinois.  In 1988, I moved to Florida and graduated from Bible School in 1995.  For most of my adult life, I have worked full-time in the clerical field.  In December 2012, I decided to retire, and in March of 2013 moved to Houston, Texas.  Since then I have been enjoying every minute of retirement from the clerical/business world and I have been writing full-time.

Today, I spend my time doing many things, which I never had the time to do before retiring.  This includes at least one or two hours daily writing stories about people who discover (as I have) that God will only allow those things into your life that will help you grow and/or increase your faith.

At the age of twelve years old, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior.  There has not been a day that has gone by where I have been disappointed in that decision.  Many trials have crossed my path, most of which I brought on myself.  Nonetheless, God has been with me every step of the way.  I have never once felt that He deserted me or does not love me. 

 How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?  

The genre in which I write is Christian/Romance/Drama.  I could possibly add Mystery to the end of that list with the publishing of my fourth novel sometime this year.

While still working full-time, I began my first book around the year 2000—A Very Present Help.

In my stories, I try to bring out some promises in the Bible.  Humor always is added for entertainment, along with a good love story.  Then there is the villain who adds drama and sometimes mystery to the lives of my hero and heroine.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of your book? 

My latest book published in December of 2014—There Abideth Hope deals with the life of a former Navy nurse, Lieutenant JG Lynne Temple and the man she meets in Florida, a youth pastor by the name of Nick Livingston.  They run into a treacherous villain who recognizes Miss Temple from a murder trial during her college days, one in which she was the prime witness.  While the couple is trying to get to know each other, they wind up dealing with kidnaped teens from a local Rave gone bad, drugs and human trafficking, not to mention attempted murder.  The story goes from Chicago, Illinois to the war in Afghanistan to Pensacola, Florida.

What prompted you to write your novels, Sharon?

This is an easy one to answer.  My dear friend, Alan J. O’Reilly, author of Sound of Battle and Desired Haven, talked me into it.  I call him my adopted brother.  We have known each other since shortly after 1990.  Through the years, we have corresponded, although never met.  When I would relay a story about something that had happened, he would always tell me, “You need to write a story about that.”  After Hurricane Ivan hit Pensacola, Florida and I went through it all alone, I told him every detail.  Again, he told me that I should write about it.  This time I took him seriously.  However, I did not write about the hurricane.  A story about a girl being lonely came to mind and I was off and running.  That story actually became my second book, Paths of Righteousness, but stemmed the writing of the first, A Very Present Help.

Do you have a favorite line from one of your books? 

“You came within a gnat’s eyebrow of going for a swim with those dolphins, and you’re worried about your heel?” from There Abideth Hope.
(The heel is a high heel and the line is spoken by the hero to the heroine, after she almost fell into the water trying to get a better look at her first live Florida dolphins).  

Who is your favorite character and why? 

I guess my favorite character from my books is Kathryn Kendall from Paths of Righteousness.  She is the heroine I first thought up and started writing about.  She is honest, faithful, gentle, beautiful, and sensitive; yet with an air of pride that gets the better of her at times.

What was the hardest part about writing your books?

Keeping all the events in the lives of my characters in order and consistent.

Do you do anything besides write?  

Yes, besides all my normal house duties, I paint, sketch, blog, take pictures of nature, am a spectator at RC racetracks, I am an active birder (amateur), exercise (mostly by walking the Houston Bayous viewing the many birds that live there) and do some moon and star gazing.

How can readers get copies of your books? 

My books are sold on Amazon and Kindle.  If you look up my Author Page on Amazon, you will find all three novels.

What’s next for author Sharon K. Connell?   

Currently, I am working on my fourth novel—His Perfect Love— about a young woman who has lived a self-centered life, to the point that her family has all but given up on her.  God starts dealing with her by allowing things from her past to catch up with her causing fear and doubt.  She bounces from Illinois to Minnesota, back to Illinois and winds up in Houston, Texas.  You will have to read the book to find out the rest.

After I finish this story and it is ready for all of you readers, I will be begin my next book about a young woman trying to keep her family’s farm in Nebraska from winding up in the wrong hands after her parents pass away.

Where to find author Sharon K. Connell

Sharon also has a Group she’s created on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/writersandauthorsforum/

Video Trailers for each book

Sharon, it has been wonderful having you with us today. I’ve already checked out your books and videos. I’ve purchased and downloaded “A Very Present Help” to my kindle and can’t wait to read it. I’m a fan of Christian fiction and your books all sound great. Happy writing!

Dear Readers,

Thanks so much for stopping by for a visit. Sharon and I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to join the conversation (comments below) and be sure to take a look inside Sharon’s great books on Amazon. I think you’ll want to grab a novel or two.

Happy Reading!

Bette A. Stevens

Aside

MEET THE AUTHOR: Fia Essen

I’m delighted to have Fia Essen here at 4writersandreaders today and can’t wait to find out more about the author and her latest book:

Meet author Fia Essen and find out about her lastest novel, ARIEL.

Meet author Fia Essen and find out about her lastest novel, ARIEL.

 

Nicholas Blomfield talks about Fia Essen’s latest novel

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Fia’s work about Ariel and her struggle to find and develop herself.

Fia has a staggeringly strong descriptive style that I personally loved. It felt as though she had spent a great deal of time considering the characters, their lives, history and personal ups and downs. The vivid and life like descriptions of things gave the story a fantastic atmosphere helping to shape Ariel and her eventual triumph over life’s obstacles. I shall not spoil the plot or give too much away, I strongly advise reading it!

A truly wonderful piece of literature and well worth immersing yourself into Fia’s creative work. I have no doubt this is the start of a long and fruitful writing career – watch this space! Nicholas Blomfield

To begin our interview, tell us a little about yourself, Fia.

I was born in Sweden in 1983. My passport claims I’m still Swedish even though I left Sweden more than twenty-five years ago. I grew up in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. And I spent my teenage years living in a stable. Literally. Horses were my next door neighbors. When other girls my age were perfecting the art of applying makeup and discussing boys, I was either mucking out stalls or on horseback, having the time of my life. Now I live in Athens, Greece with Taxi Driver, my Yorkshire Terrier.

How about your family life?

There’s three of us—me and my parents. We’re a small group of nomads. I’m an only child and Taxi Driver is my only child.

 How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?  

I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember. I have an active imagination. But I didn’t get serious about writing until 2010. What I write now fits into the Contemporary Fiction genre.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of your book?

ARIEL by Fia Essen BOOK COVERAriel is about a half-English, half-American, lifelong expatriate who was born in Hong Kong and now lives in Singapore. At the age of thirty-four, Ariel is in debt and out of luck. She used to have a career, a penthouse, and a group of fun friends. Now she has a dead-end job, a rented hovel of a home, and a rising stack of unpaid bills to keep her company. Just when she is starting to fear she will never be able to get her life back on track, she is contacted by the mysterious Muse Agency. And, suddenly, she is forced to question everything she thought she knew about herself and those around her.

What prompted you to write Ariel?

Every writer has heard the phrase “write what you know” at some point. So that’s exactly what I did. I wrote what I knew. On a personal level, I know what it’s like to be stuck in a rut.

One reader called Ariel “self-help turned fiction”… That’s a genre you don’t see a lot of but it describes Ariel well. What most self-help books fail to mention is that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to self-help. Every person on the planet is a unique individual. So I began picking bits and pieces of self-help that helped me, advice that suited my personality. And then I put that into Ariel, hoping readers of the story would find something that could help them in their own lives.

Do you have a favorite line from the book?

“Think big, start small, and keep going.”

Who is your favorite character and why?

Ariel is my favorite character. The story is told from her point of view. So, as peculiar as it sounds, she and I became very close while I worked on the manuscript.

What was the hardest part about writing?

I love writing. Writing isn’t hard. The only hard part about being an author is gaining an audience. I’m working on it! I have a long road ahead of me but I’m committed to giving it my all. It’s all part of being an author.

Do you do anything besides write?

I’m the Company Administrator at Essen & Essen, which is a family owned company with interest and ownership in various companies and organizations. We specialize in activities related to business & personal growth, management consulting and interim management services.

How can our readers get a copy of ARIEL?

Ariel is available on Amazon, B&N, and from my publisher’s website.

What’s next for Fia Essen?  

More writing! Solstice Publishing will release Anna this summer. And I’m currently working on a story called Amanda, which will come out in time for Christmas. Ariel, Anna, Amanda… I have a thing for As.

GET SOCIAL with author Fia Essen:

Fia, thanks so much for joining us  today. ARIEL, the story of a young woman caught in a rut, has me tap-tap-tapping my kindle to turn the pages to find out just how she’s going to climb out!

Readers, thanks so much for joining us today. Fia and I would love to hear from you. You’re invited to chat with us (comments below). Be sure to take a look inside Ariel on Amazon and dive right into the pages of a great new book. ~ Bette A. Stevens

Aside

MEET THE AUTHOR: Micki Peluso

Micki Peluso and book signing

 

Mick Peluso is the author of …And the Whippoorwill Sang—an outstanding memoir:

“Micki Peluso takes readers along on her journey through life as she deals with the tragedy of the imminent death of one of her six children in a story that will bring tears—not only of immeasurable sadness—but also those wonderful tears of the joys and hilarity of a family’s life. As I traveled with Micki along life’s highway and byways, I not only met her wonderful family and friends, I felt like I was one of them. That’s what I call great writing! From antics to dilemmas, you won’t want to miss out on the laughter, the love, the sorrows, the courage or the tears as Peluso poignantly weaves a well-written memoir that will not be forgotten in AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG.” ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

Let’s get ready to meet Micki

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to an outstanding author; and once you’ve met her, I invite you to grab a copy of her book and get reading. You’ll be glad you did!

Hi, Micki. I’m delighted to have you with us on 4writersandreaders today. I absolutely loved …And the Whippoorwill Sang. I can hardly wait to learn more about you and your memoir and to find out what you’re up to now. To start, tell us a little about yourself.

I almost wanted to be a ‘Super Hero’ as a child, save the world and help people; perhaps as a missionary or Peace Corps worker in Third World countries. Plans for that and college collapsed along with my parents’ divorce. Instead my ‘Marilyn Monroe’ type mother talked my boyfriend and me into eloping in our teens with her and her new boyfriend. Get lemons, make lemonade. We went on to have six children and 10 grandchildren and now three great grandkids and I have become a ‘Soupy Hero,’ according to one small grandson referring to my medicinal chicken soup.

How about your family?

My husband and I (mostly me) raised six children, each a year or two apart. He came from a large family which I loved. Our kids were our life and because I kept journals off and on, it gave me lots of fodder for a writing career. It was in the late 1950s through to the mid-eighties before most of them were grown . . . Except for one, our 14-year-old daughter Noelle, the lively, comical beauty that wove the fabric of our family together, who was killed by a drunk (DWI) driver in 1981.

 How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?

Like many writers I started with poems and did a lot of creative writing throughout school. With so many kids, I put away most writing until Noelle was killed. As a family of eight we were so shocked and devastated that none of us could speak of her. I turned to writing as a way of expressing my grief. I wrote a short story of the incident which was published by Victimology; an International Journal, along with several poems. That led to slice of life, usually humorous stories about my family, which were published in my daily newspaper. I then became a staff writer and journalist for our biweekly newspaper, writing news items, analysis, interviews and commentary.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of “…And the Whippoorwill Sang”?

Whippoorwill Cover & BUY BUTTONThis lively story opens with eloping teenagers, Micki and Butch, in a bizarre double ceremony with Micki’s mother. The couple share wonderfully comical escapades spanning decades, until tragedy strikes. There has been a terrible accident in the placid valley nestled in the Susquehanna Mountains in the town of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. It occurs just blocks away from the family’s 100 year old farmhouse, complete with ghosts and visiting varmints of all varieties. Micki narrates happier days, using their delightful past to confront an uncertain future—as the family copes with fear and apprehension. One of their children is fighting for life in the hospital; in a semi-coma, hovering between this world and the next. The family embarks upon an unbearable journey to the other side of grief and grasps the poignant gift of life as they begin . . .

To weep . . .

   To Laugh . . .

       To Grieve . . .

           To Dance . . .

. . . And the Whippoorwill Sang

What prompted you to write your memoir?

It was five years after the tragedy when I began the first half of my book, a funny, bittersweet family story, celebrating Noelle’s life and keeping my deathbed promise to her as she lay dying. I was mentored by Bonnie Golightly, a Writer’s Digest teacher who had been part of the ‘Truman Capote crowd’ in her younger days. She wrote a famous best-selling novel plus scripts for several films and other novels. Life dealt another blow and I nearly died from two heart attacks leaving me with half a heart, while Bonnie contracted lung cancer which quickly took her life. The book was on hold until 2006 when I was able to break through the PTSD memory blocks of the times right before Noelle’s death.

Do you have a favorite line from the book?

I have two favorite lines from the book, one funny yet an omen of what was to come, and one which ties into the book’s title.

Noelle and her sister Kelly had just spent all their babysitting money on clothing and planned to go for a bike ride. Noelle had put all the clothes that she purchased on at the same time. Kelly was shocked and asked her what in the world she was doing. Noelle replied that she couldn’t make up her mind. Kelly told her she should be saving her them for a special day. “I think every day is special,” Noelle replied.

The other favorite line was written shortly after Noelle’s death:

“The Whippoorwill swooped down the mountains into the trees singing its mournful dirge of summer’s loss, even as I cried mine.’”

Who is your favorite character and why?

My favorite characters were my children and while I could not love one more than the other each is a different type of love. A firstborn child’s holds a special place in a mother’s heart and the last child, the baby of the family also holds a special place. Different personalities among the children also cause different types of bonding, yet the love for each of them is love for all of them. It’s common and normal to idolize a lost family member and I tried hard not to do that in this book.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

I began the story from the ICU waiting room and flashed back to when I eloped at age 17. I placed short pieces in the ICU in first person, exposing my fears and heartache up until the past merged into the present. These chapters in ICU were the hardest to write along with the ending — both of which I kept as short as possible. Actually the book ends on a good note as something special happens—something sent as a gift from Noelle.

Do you do anything besides write?

Well, I do a fairly good Elvis imitation :). Seriously, I work part time as a law assistant for Kelly, who became the attorney that Noelle had dreams of becoming when she grew up. I helped raise most of my 10 grandkids and I’m still with my husband after 50 years—a herculean feat. For the past three decades I’ve been writing and publishing short fiction, hoping to stretch one into a novel. I do professional book reviews for NYJB (New York Journal of Books) and freelance reviews. My book has won the Nesta Silver Award for Character building, 3rd place on Predator’s and Editors and 1st place in the monthly People’s Choice Awards. Many of my short stories have been published in several book collections and anthologies, including The Speed of Dark which won an International Award for fine writing.

How can our readers get a copy of your book?

My book . . . And the Whippoorwill sang is available at Amazon for Kindle and tablets for $2.99 and in print at a newly reduced rate of $12.25; it is also available for purchase or order from your favorite book store. Signed copies can be purchased directly from me or I can mail a signed bookplate to readers ordering from Amazon or other venues.

What’s next on the writing agenda for Micki Peluso?

My current WIP (Work in Progress) is a collection of humorous slice-of-life, short fiction and non-fiction essays and scattered poems, in a book called Don’t Pluck the Duck, to be released in 2015. My publisher has also accepted a children’s book called The Cat Who Wanted a Dog, also due by the end of this year. Tales@Inspire has accepted four short stories, plus several more by Creature Features and one by Women’s Memoirs. And then there’s that novel beckoning . . . sigh.

Micki, it’s been a delight having you here for an author chat at 4writersandreaders. I would love to get a signed bookplate for my copy of “…And the Whippoorwill Sang”; and, I can’t wait to get my hands on your next book!

  • Readers: Micki and I would love to have you stop by the comment section below for a chat.  I hope you’ll ‘run out’ or ‘click away’ and order you copy of …And the Whippoorwill Sang. You’ll be glad you did.

Happy reading and writing, friends! ~Bette A. Stevens

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