LOL! If you can tell me what “kind” of books I write, then maybe I can tell you why I write them.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Any day I get to play with a puppy.
How has being published changed your life?
I’ve been a working writer for so long I’m not sure I remember . . . but I do remember the night I learned that I’d sold my first book. I lay in bed, sleepless, thinking and feeling that a heavy weight of responsibility had just been placed on my shoulders because books have the power to change lives. That’s awesome, a bit intimidating, and humbling.
What are you reading right now?
Swamplandia, One True Thing, and books on near death experiences.
What is your current work in progress?
Five Miles South of Peculiar.
What would be your dream vacation?
A week in a mountain cabin.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
Sometimes the setting is dictated by the plot; sometimes it’s simply a place I’d like to visit, so I do. Research, you know.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I have several really good friends that I’d love to spend more time with. Any one of them would do. Why? Because that would be a tiny taste of eternity.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Plots come naturally to me; character struggles don’t come naturally. I usually depend on other people, directly or indirectly, to give me ideas.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Get thee to a writers’ conference post haste.
Very good advice. Tell us about the featured book.
The Fine Art of Insincerity springs from my real life—I am the eldest of three sisters and I did have a multi-married grandmother who used to do all the things Grandma Lillian does. But from that starting point, the rest of the story is fiction. Really.
Please give us the first page of the book.
“You can’t tell your sisters,” my grandmother once told me, “what I’m about to tell you.”
I listened, eyes big, heart open wide.
“Of all my grandchildren—” her hands spread as if to encompass a crowd infinitely larger than myself and my two siblings—“you’re my favorite.”
Then her arms enfolded me and I breathed in the scents of Shalimar and talcum powder as my face pressed the crepey softness of her cheek.
My grandmother married seven times, but not until I hit age ten or eleven did I realize that her accomplishment wasn’t necessarily praiseworthy. When Grandmother’s last husband died on her eighty-third birthday, she mentioned the possibility of marrying again, but I put my foot down and told her no more weddings. I suspect my edict suited her fine, because Grandmom always liked flirting better than marrying.
Later, one of the nurses at the home mentioned that my grandmother exhibited a charming personality quirk—“Perpetual Childhood Disorder,” she called it. PCD, all too common among elderly patients with dementia.
But Grandmother didn’t have dementia, and she had exhibited symptoms of PCD all her life. Though I didn’t know how to describe it in my younger years, I used to consider it a really fine quality.
During the summers when Daddy shipped me and my sisters off to Grandmom’s house, she used to wait until Rose and Penny were absorbed in their games, then she would call me into the blue bedroom upstairs. Sometimes she’d let me sort through the glass beaded “earbobs” in her jewelry box. Sometimes she’d sing to me. Sometimes she’d pull her lace-trimmed hanky from her pocketbook, fold it in half twice, and tell me the story of the well-dressed woman who sat on a bench and fell over backward. Then she’d flip her folded hankie and gleefully lift the woman’s skirt and petticoat, exposing two beribboned legs.
No matter how large her audience, the woman knew how to entertain.
I perched on the edge of the big iron bed and listened to her songs and stories, her earbobs clipped to the tender lobes of my ears, enduring the painful pinch because Grandmother said a woman had to suffer before she could be beautiful. Before I pulled off the torturous earbobs and left the room, she would draw me close and swear that out of all the girls in the world, I was the one she loved most.
Not until years later did I learn that she drew my sisters aside in the same way. I suppose she wanted to make sure we motherless girls knew we were treasured. But in those moments, I always felt truly special.
And for far too long, I believed her.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
www.angelahuntbooks.com Facebook: Angela Elwell Hunt
Thanks, Angela, for the fun interview.
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