Welcome, Eileen Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Are we talking percentages? Hmm . . . hard to say, but a character with obsessive-compulsive tendencies does seem to show up now and again, along with a nail nibbler on occasion. From time to time, I’ve also included some trips back to my childhood haunts.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
How much space do I have? The first thing that comes to mind is the time some friends and I ran a white enamel potty up the flag pole at summer camp. When all the campers gathered for the morning pledge of allegiance, there was no flag, only a white pot hanging high with a note attached: “CBM on pot.” It was the ‘60s after all. While none of us indulged in drugs, thankfully, we thought the prank was a hoot, unlike the senior counselors who were determined to uncover the perpetrators. To our knowledge, they never did.
I hope you’re not reading this, Miss Marilyn, ’cause I know you’ve probably been trying to solve the Mystery of the White Owl offenders for the past 40 years.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When I was a child, I used to walk to school. To fill the time, I created characters who talked to one another, creating conflict and developing a story line. Later, I delved into drama, acting on stage and writing plays. Since I received good feedback, I began to try my hand at other writing projects. However, I didn’t pursue publication until 11 years ago.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I typically read in the genre I write which includes both Christian fiction (romance, contemporary issues, women’s fiction, general) and Christian nonfiction on topics that deal with marriage, spiritual growth, and contemporary issues the Church faces in our culture today. On occasion I’ll pick up a good classic to reread, such as A Tale of Two Cities, one of my favorite stories by Charles Dickens. I also enjoy a good biography or autobiography.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
My buzz word is “margins.” (Not migraines). Gotta leave some margin to breathe, relax, and cater to the unexpected. I generally guard my time judiciously. One little word helps: “No!” Saying “Yes” to the Lord sometimes means saying “No” to others. Deep breathing helps too.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Most of the time, the names just come to me. Sometimes, however, I try a few on for size by jotting possibilities down in my journal. When writing the Born for
trilogy, I Googled Indian names and latched onto choices whose meaning illustrated what I wanted to convey in the novel. For instance, in Chosen Ones, my Nepali girl is named Punita which means “pure one.” This carries much significance and irony. Sadly, the kingpin changes the girl’s name to create a new identity as a sex slave. India
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Homeschooling my three daughters for 20 years. Each of them serves the Lord in mission work around the world.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A cocker spaniel. From age 7 – 16 I loved a dog whose soft brown eyes melted my heart. I could tell him anything and he wouldn’t talk back, naturally. A loyal friend, listener to all my woes, and protector. My Sambo. That’s the animal I would be.
What is your favorite food?
Tacos! When I homeschooled our three girls, my middle daughter and I were always the two remaining at the table on “taco day.” Just one more.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Procrastination. A desire to get it perfect from the start tended to cripple my efforts. I overcame, and continue to do so (since I still have to work at this) by learning from other writers that there are no good first drafts, only rewrites. Allotting a certain amount of time each day to write and shooting for a specific word count also helps.
Tell us about the featured book.
A couple in crisis.
A child taken captive.
is complicated. While Maggie and Gavin Munsfield adjust to a new baby, missionary friends Dan and Yvonne Pratt experience the heartbreak of infertility and miscarriage. When their lives intersect with a young girl caught up in the horrors of sex trafficking, each of them will receive a precious gift. But will they find it in their hearts to accept an outcome so different than what they expected and hoped for? Chennai, India,
Please give us the first page of the book.
Another contraction rose like a wave and gripped her abdomen. It was time. Locked in the moment, her screams sliced the air, the sheer effort of delivering her second child the only thought on her mind. Maggie tightened her hold on the sides of the bed; her knuckles turned white. Beads of perspiration dotted her forehead like raindrops on a leaf.
“The head’s crowning; push, work with the contraction,” Gavin urged from the end of the bed. She lifted her head briefly to snatch a look at her husband. Dark circles like half moons rested beneath his puffy eyes. He returned her gaze. His intense brown eyes softened. “You’re doing fine, Maggie.” He offered a smile. The pain subsided. “Try to relax between contractions.”
No sooner had the words left his month than another intense pain rolled over her, squeezing her abdomen as though someone were wringing every drop of water out of a dishrag. The contraction urged the life within her into the light of day. She gripped her knees, her face red and contorted. With two mighty exertions, she delivered the head. Gavin suctioned the baby’s nose and mouth. Another contraction. Then the shoulders, and the baby easily slipped out, wet, red, and squalling. A timid cry, then stronger. Maggie exhaled a deep cleansing breath and relaxed back on the bed.
“It’s a boy!” Gavin announced, beaming from ear-to-ear. He suctioned the baby’s nose and mouth again. Another contraction and the placenta was delivered. She peered around to see him cut and tie off the umbilical cord. A swift swipe to clean the baby and he laid him on her chest. Instinctively, his rosebud mouth made sucking movements. Maggie smiled at her little son, lost in a mother’s joy. She could feel Gavin gently clean her, then apply an ice pack to alleviate swelling and bruising. Off to the side, a blur of bodies swept across the room.
How can readers find you on the Internet?www.eileen-rife.blogspot.com
Thank you, Eileen, for this peek into your life.
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