Tuesday, April 19, 2011
I don’t intend to write myself into my characters but the people who know me best (my mom and sister, for example) have found gestures or dialogue that remind them of me.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Quirky? Hmm. I don’t typically think of myself as quirky. If you ask my friends, however, you may get a different response. LOL! Oh, I thought of something. I love to play Dance Central on Kinect. Hey, don’t laugh. I can still beat my girls!
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I’ve always been creative—whether it be writing or making crafts out of things around my house. (I once made a doll for a social studies project.) In the fourth grade I won a fine arts award for a story I wrote titled “Friends Can Be So Mean.” And when I was in Junior High, a friend and I cut out characters from a JC Penney catalog and took turns writing stories. But it wasn’t until I took a course through the Institute for Children’s Literature that I discovered I was a writer. I ventured into women’s fiction in September 2007 when I prepared a synopsis and three chapters for a mentoring class with James Scott Bell. Delivered with Love is that novel.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I like to read books with happy endings—or at least hopeful endings! You can find me reading contemporary romance, historical, or suspense. I’ve also been known to read heart-wrenching books like Scared by Tom Davis.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I keep my sanity by making my life as simple as possible. I’m a mom of four children, three of them teenagers, so life can get hectic. I don’t believe in overloading my life nor am I the kind of person who signs up for everything. Balance is key. The highlight of my day is when my family is seated around the dinner table.
That is so important in this contemporary disconnected society, and so many families miss out. How do you choose your characters’ names?
I go to a popular baby name website and search for names depending on the age of my character and what strikes me. I’ve been known to change a name after the book is written. By the way, never name a character Rose. It will mess up your entire manuscript if you decide to change it. I’m speaking from experience!
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
The accomplishment I’m most proud of is my children. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom since the birth of my first child eighteen years ago. I love it!
I stayed home with my children during most of my childeren's lives. When they were older, I worked parttime, but I was always off to pick them up from school until they could drive. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’d be a dog. We have two dogs, Sophie and Bandit. Sophie is a black lab and Bandit is a mutt—part Chihuahua, part Terrier. They live the good life. They sleep, eat, take walks, and get a lot of love. Sounds good to me.
What is your favorite food?
Anything Italian. And chocolate, of course.
I don’t want to bring up the subject of money, but lets be real. Writers don’t make a whole lot unless you’re a best selling author. I’ve had to consciously make the decision to keep writing knowing I might not get paid very much. It’s a hard thing to swallow when you want to help support the family—but writing is my passion. I’m glad I have a supportive husband who inspires me to keep going. And now my dream of a published novel has come true.
Tell us about the featured book?
Delivered with Love is the story of a young woman who finds an old love letter in the glove compartment of her inherited ’72 VW Beetle. After losing her job as a waitress and kicked out of her sister’s home, Claire James leaves her life in Los Angeles and drives up the coast to the small town of Capitola, California, to find the writer of the letter and make it on her own.
Please give us the first page of the book.
The hum of well-wishers’ voices swirled around Claire James as she stood numbly in front of the brick fireplace in her mother’s cramped Los Angeles apartment. Her black dress, size six and at least two years old, squeezed the oxygen out of her lungs. Claire attempted to take a deep breath and willed herself not to cry. One minute at a time. That’s how she would survive.
She looked down at her feet to avoid eye contact with the so-called friends and family who came to pay their last respects. Where were these people when Mom was sick? Claire pushed the cynical thought to the back of her mind.
The scuffs on her black sandals were a sad reminder of her life the past few years since her mother had been diagnosed with cancer. They had spent all her college money on chemo, radiation, and natural remedies to keep her mother alive. But in the end it hadn’t mattered.
She walked across the room and stood next to the small circular table in the corner that held the punch and dessert. Haley, her older sister, had insisted on a reception, saying that their mother deserved a party. Party? Yes, Mom loved parties, but today was not a day to celebrate. Claire bought the punch, while Haley baked a homemade chocolate cake with vanilla icing. The sweet smell turned her stomach. Her sister topped each of the two tiers with daisies, their mother’s favorite flower. Claire picked one off the top and held it to her chest.
“I’m sorry about your loss.” Geraldine, the elderly lady from down the hall, startled her back to the present. She patted Claire’s hand. “She suffered a long time.”
Claire nodded and blinked back tears. She hadn’t seen her neighbor in quite some time.
“Well, it’s probably time for me to go.” Geraldine straightened the pillbox hat perched on her head. “I need to feed my cats.”
Claire forced what she hoped resembled a smile. Geraldine’s cats were fed better than some humans—including her. What she would do for freshly baked salmon instead of frozen dinners. The smell permeated the hallway every Thursday evening.
Claire glanced at the clock. Only half an hour more and she’d have the place to herself again.
Each minute was an exercise in patience. The condolences, hugs, and empty words wore on her. She rubbed her moist forehead and swallowed. Suddenly, the room spun and her hands trembled. She needed to get out of there.
I know I want to read that. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Readers can find me here:
Tween Girl’s Blog: http://www.funfaith4girls.blogspot.com/
Thank you, Sherry, for the special time with you.
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