I'm thrilled to have two of my favorite people on the blog today. Welcome, Debby and Trish. How did your story for the collection come about?
Debby: Trish and I wanted to write a generational anthology for Summerside, so we brainstormed ideas. North Carolina is such a beautiful state with a rich history and people who love to share what they know, making the research fun and interesting. After we presented the idea to Summerside through our agent Tamela Hancock Murray, we expected to have to wait at least a year to hear back. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that what we proposed was exactly what our editor was looking for.
Trish: Yes, it was such a blessing the way that all played out. And Debby was the one who came up with the setting. She visited Cary, NC and sent me pictures so we could both have a good feel for where our stories took place.
Are these stories connected in some way? If so, how?
Debby: There are several connections. Trish’s heroine is related to mine, the family home plays an important part in both stories, and an important event happens on Christmas morning.
Trish: One fun connection came about without our planning it. Both of our heroes turned to our heroines for help in decorating and furnishing the family home. So the creative bent trickled down through the generations without our even thinking about it.
What are you reading right now?
Debby: I just finished The Help, and now I’m reading Kristin Billerbeck’s A Billion Reasons Why. These books are very different, but I love both of them.
Trish: Oh, I loved The Help. I just finished Dan Walsh’s shipwreck novel, The Deepest Waters, and am now reading one of Wanda Dyson’s older novels, Shepherd’s Fall (a suspense novel). As Debby says, both books differ quite a bit from each other, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading them!
I don't read a lot of fiction that's not published by Christian publishers, but I did read The Help. I found it very interesting. I actually lived through that time. How many other books have you had published?
Debby: I’ve had more than 30 books and novellas published, with 3 more books coming out in 2013.
Trish: I have nowhere near the experience Debby does! I’ve published nine romances, most of which have a thread of comedy running throughout them.
What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a collection?
Debby: Working on a collection isn’t hard, as long as both people are willing to share and accept ideas from each other. This was a joy to do with Trish.
Trish: Ditto! I think it would be far more difficult to write a single novel with another writer, just because I can’t imagine trying to work the logistics out. But a collection of separate but connected novels can be great fun, as this was. I’m ready to write more of these!
How did collaborating with this team impact you?
Debby: Trish and I were already friends, so it gave us the opportunity (and excuse) to chat even more.
Trish: Yes, Debby and I have actually pitched ideas for a few more collaborative efforts. I hope one or more of them will come to fruition someday!
What did you want the reader to take away from your story?
Debby: My story, “Deck the Halls” set in 1926, is about a wealthy farmer falling in love with a woman from the “wrong side of the tracks.” I want readers to enjoy going on a journey with these people as they both realize nothing is as it seems, and they have more in common than they initially realize.
Trish: My story, “’Tis the Season,” is contemporary, about a young woman who accepts a lucrative job as personal chef to an eccentric billionaire back in her hometown, hoping to buy back the family home she so loves. She loses that opportunity when the house is sold to the one man who has also managed to steal her heart. Besides feeling entertained, I hope my readers get a good grasp of how important emotional transparency can be in relationships, if you want them to be healthy and loving.
Please give us a peek into your story.
Deck the Halls
Lillian Pickard shifted from one foot to the other to take some of the load off her aching feet. There always seemed to be one customer who lingered at the end of the long day, keeping Lillian from locking up Joachim’s Five and Dime and going home. She took a couple of deep breaths and tried to remain pleasant as Mrs. Gooch carried her handheld basket of odds and ends to the counter.
Lillian rang up the woman’s selections and bagged all the items then handed them to her. “Have a nice evening, Mrs. Gooch. See you again soon.”
“You are a mighty sweet girl,” Mrs. Gooch said as she took her bag. “It’s a shame you have to work such long hours. Give my regards to your mama.”
As soon as Mrs. Gooch made her exit, Lillian scurried to the door and locked it, just in case anyone had the notion to walk in. She counted the money in the cash drawer, tucked it inside the deposit envelope, and slid the envelope into the slot on the side of the safe.
Finally she was ready to leave for home. The tiny house she shared with her parents was less than a half mile away, but on evenings like this, it might as well have been ten miles. Her feet throbbed and her mind raced over all the things she still needed to do when she got home.
Her daddy’s factory injury five years ago had rendered him incapable of working most of the jobs he was qualified for. He’d needed Lillian’s mama nearby to take care of him in the earlier days, so it had been up to Lillian to support the family. She didn’t mind at first, but as time went on, it became painfully obvious that her lot in life wasn’t what she’d always wanted.
The first raindrop plopped smack-dab in the middle of her head as she crossed the road. Lillian groaned. As if her situation weren’t already bad enough…
She heard the rumble of an automobile coming toward her, so she jumped back, closer to the building. She turned to see which of the rich people were out riding around. There weren’t many automobiles in
, and it was after
business hours, so Lillian assumed it was someone showing off. Cary,
The automobile pulled to a stop, and the man driving it leaned over and cranked down the window. “Hey, gorgeous! Need a ride?”
Thank the Lord the sun wasn’t shining or William Tronnier would see the redness of her flaming cheeks. “Mr. Tronnier!” But before she had a chance to say anything else, the occasional raindrop progressed to a steady downpour. “I always walk home from work, but thank you for the offer.”
He laughed. “You shouldn’t have to walk in the rain when I have this perfectly fine automobile. Get in before you drown.”
She only hesitated for a few seconds before deciding that taking him up on his offer was much better than getting drenched. As she stepped up into the automobile, her ankle wobbled.
“Whoa there, Miss Pickard.” He leaned across the seat, opened the car door from the inside, and reached for her hand, which she gave without a second’s hesitation. He pulled her up to the seat and quickly let go.
# # # # # #
‘Tis the Season
(Early March, Modern Day)
“Have I ever told you why I stole you away from Armand, Nikki?”
Nicole Tronnier dusted a trace of flour off the tip of her nose and gave old Mr. Fennicle a smile. “Of course you have, Harvey. I amazed you with my culinary prowess and sparkling personality.”
She placed a basket of warm rosemary biscuits near his plate. The pumpkin-potato puree and veggie medley looked perfect next to his rack of lamb, if she did say so herself. The rich winter colors were almost as important to her as the fragrance and taste of the food she served. “If anyone deserves the very best personal chef in
, it’s an
absolutely spoiled multi-millionaire like you.” North Carolina
She saw him fight against the twitch of a smile.
“I resent your insinuation about me, young lady.”
“I call ’em as I see ’em, Harvey.”
“I’m an absolutely spoiled billionaire, at the very least. And that’s not why I lured you away. I’ve always been very fond of Armand and his fine restaurant. It’s one of the reasons I opened a plant in Charlotte, so I could visit him and still make money. Pilfering his star chef gave me no pleasure, and I could have found an equally gifted chef elsewhere, I’m certain.”
“But?” She crossed her arms. She adored this old man and had taken so little time to settle into her fond banter with him once she joined the staff in his spacious
mansion almost a year ago. Cary, North Carolina
He closed his eyes and swallowed his bite of lamb, ecstasy in his expression. “Perfect.” He breathed a satisfied sigh. “But I saw you do something that put you over the top, in my book. I don’t suppose you even know what that was.”
“I gave you an extra large slice of my mango-coconut terrine for dessert. Was that it?”
“Didn’t hurt, but no. Do you remember that odd fellow who made off with a dish full of food the day I met you?”
She frowned. “Odd fellow. No. What do you mean he made off with—oh, you mean the homeless guy in the fake waiter suit.” She chuckled at the memory.
“I was outside in my limo when that happened,” Harvey said. “I hadn’t yet entered the restaurant and was on the phone with one of my more boring advisors. I saw that fellow rush out of the restaurant, glancing back, forth, and behind. He was protecting that plate of food as if eagles would swoop down and carry it off.”
“Poor guy,” Nikki said. “I think he just wandered in off the street, fully intending to beg from our customers or from the restaurant, I don’t know for sure. But he was in that old black suit, and a customer handed her dish to him to bring back to the kitchen for reheating or something. She thought he was a waiter. And he thought he hit the jackpot.”
“You never told me you saw all that,
“I did indeed.”
“Yeah, I remember it now. It was just like you said. He was so hungry he didn’t even run beyond the front stoop. Broke my heart.” She shrugged. “I had to redo the customer’s order anyway. No sense in wasting food.”
“I saw you pat his head, Nikki. Not only did you let him eat, you weren’t afraid to touch him.”
She sighed. “And that’s why you hired me?”
He focused on cutting his lamb. “Says a lot about a person, the things they’ll do when they think no one else is watching. If I’m going to have someone join my live-in staff, I want to make sure she’s made of the right stuff, not just able to make the right stuff.”
“Yep.” She nodded. “I’m pretty special all right.”
What is the best piece of advice you received as an author?
Debby: Don’t give up and don’t take anything personally—the good or the bad.
Trish: Write the stories God gives you—don’t chase the market, because the pendulum is constantly in motion.
I can hardly wait for my book to come. Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
www.debbymayne.com (I’m working on revamping my blog, and it should be ready sometime this fall.)
Thank you, Debby and Trish, for the fun interview.
Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)
Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.
The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.
If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.