We're talking to another Summerside Press author, and you won't want to miss this book. Welcome, Irene. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
My faith in Christ shows plainly in my characters as they live out their lives on the pages of my books. I’m also a very determined, disciplined person and many of my characters are like that.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Flying in a helicopter over Niagara Falls. Also, taking a sailing boat ride with my husband during a storm when we were in Tahiti.
Sounds like you've lived an interesting life. When did you first discover you were a writer?
When I was eleven years old, I had my first nudge to be a writer. I’d read a book that appealed to me, and I remember wishing that I could do for readers what that author had done for me. The desire to write (fiction, in particular) has never left me from that day to this.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
My favorite subjects are suspense (think, Mary Higgins Clark or John Grisham), historical fiction (think Patricia Veryan), Regency and Georgian periods. I also like all phases of United States History from Colonial America through World War II. I like light mysteries, too. I read very little non-fiction, except when I’m doing research.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
I’ve been a published author since 1984 when I published a non-fiction book (Today’s Women) with Standard Publishing, Cincinnati in July, and a launch title of Thomas Nelson’s Cherish romance series in August (A Change of Heart) The publication of Love Finds you in Valentine Nebraska, will mark my 46th book title in print. Only 4 of these were non-fiction.
I have no idea how many books I’ve written which haven’t been published.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
By putting first things first. My commitment as a follower of Christ is my first priority. I believe sincerely in His promise, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.” I interpret “these things” to be my family, my writing and other secular pursuits that benefit others. I hold several offices in the local church and attend regularly. I also claim another promise, “My peace I leave with you.”
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I have books of baby names. I scroll through the telephone directory. I look on an internet site and find names that were popular in various periods of time. If I use names of people I know, then I’m very careful that the personality of that person I know doesn’t come through in my books.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Perhaps the publishing of my first inspirational romance. I’d been trying for 10 years to have a book published, and when I got the first copy of A CHANGE OF HEART out of the mailbox, it was an exciting experience I’ve never forgotten.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’d like to be a dog. In general, they’re good natured. They have a wide capacity to love others. They always seem glad to see their owners when they come home. They’re dependable.
What is your favorite food?
I don’t have one favorite food, so I’ll mention a menu that I often prepare when guests come. I’m a “from scratch,” cook. Baked steak in gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, cole slaw, hot rolls, chocolate pie for dessert, and iced tea. I like all of those things.
I'd love to be a guest at a meal like that. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I’m not an observant person by nature, and I’ve had to learn to take a lot of notes on people and places or I wouldn’t remember. I also notice descriptions in other people’s books
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
“Success isn’t given to the talented; it’s taken by those who struggle, sacrifice and reach for it.”
This isn’t original with me. I read it in a writers’ magazine years ago, and the slogan has been on the bulletin board in my office since then. I think of it often.
I've read Love Finds You in Valentine, Nebraska, and loved it. What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
My contemporary book is Love Finds You in Valentine, Nebraska. It’s one of the easiest books I’ve ever written. Normally, the first draft of a book is very difficult for me, but it seemed as if the words formed in my mind as quickly as my hands would move on the computer keys. I personally believe that it’s one of my better books. I hope it will bring as much pleasure to my readers as I received in writing the book.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I also prepare a bi-monthly newsletter which can be accessed from my website.
Irene, thank you for spending this time with us.
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