Welcome back, Camille. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I write faith-inspiring love stories and relational dramas for women who might like to read authors such as Deborah Raney, Susan Meissner, Karen Kingsbury, Debbie Macomber, Jenny B. Jones, Robin Jones Gunn, Rachel Hauck, just to name a few. In my books, I hope you'll find love, heart-tugging drama, hope, inspiration, entertainment, and subtle sprinkles of wit and wisdom.
How has being published changed your life?
Being traditionally published, for me, is only one (but gratifying) step in a continuing journey. The fact that I realize and accept this perhaps shows one of the biggest changes—which is a far deeper level of patience. Publishing doesn’t bring instant fame, fortune, adoration, validation, or credibility. By the time these things began to trickle in, I no longer wanted or needed them. I have grown far more confident through much hard work and perseverance, have grown to distinguish the difference between constructive and dart-game criticism.
What are you reading right now?
I am barely able to read for fun right now because I’ve been going over edits on the audio version of Like There’s No Tomorrow (book #1), final edits and launch preparations for my next release, Like a Love Song (book #2), polishing up for submission The Memoir of Johnny Devine (book #3), AND working on a screenplay. And preparing for my son’s May wedding. But when I have a moment, I’m digging into Grace Intervention by Bill Giovannetti (non-fic) and Macy novel, by April McGowen. Recent reads include an ARC of the 1920s A Flying Affair (coming out June 2015) by Carla Stewart. Fascinating read!
What is your current work in progress?
My third book, which I hope to contract soon, is a story set in 1953 called The Memoir of Johnny Devine. A WW2 widow hired to write an exclusive memoir lands on McCarthy’s hit list and must clear her name while trying not to fall in love with the born-again, ex-Hollywood heartthrob whose scandalous past keeps him too busy to notice her. Too busy, that is, until she discovers something he never meant for her to see.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I used to bake but the kids are grown and my hubby and I don’t need that stuff. Now, our ten-month-old granddaughter is my favorite hobby. We get to hang out with her on Sunday afternoons.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I am my own worst critic. I have to work through disgust and despair and keep writing even if I’m sure what I’m writing is dumpster slime. Because it probably isn’t, and even if it is, I love to edit so it will be great eventually.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Read, study craft, read, study story, read, write, read. Study story and craft until your fingers bleed. Read good writing to train your instincts. Then trust your instincts.
Tell us about the featured book.
When she finally surrenders her heart, will it be too late?
Sue Quinn, an ex social worker turned surrogate mom to a bunch of outcast teens, is desperate to save the group home she’s worked hard to build in Oregon’s outback. But now, she faces a dwindling staff, foreclosure, and old heartaches that won’t stay buried. Her only hope lies with the last person she’d ever turn to—a brawny handyman with a guitar, a questionable past, and a God he keeps calling Father.
Like a Love Song is a romantic drama about a fiercely loyal woman, some cast-off kids, and finding the courage to believe in a Love that never fails.
Like a Love Song received a 4 ½ star *Top Pick* Romantic Times Review (May).
That’s wonderful. Congratulations. Please give us a peek into the book.
Adoption disrupted … undisclosed behaviors … inability to bond …
Susan Quinn squinted at the new girl’s bio as the words on the page swirled in a taunting blur. She rubbed her eyes and refocused on the meager document. She was in no frame of mind for processing the information about Juniper Ranch’s newest resident. Not after the unsettling confrontation she’d just had with her handyman. Or rather former handyman.
“Sue?” Bertie padded into Sue’s office, her footsteps muted by Birkenstocks. In spite of her hunched frame, the old woman got around like a flower-powered ninja. “She’s here.” Bertie peered out the window. “The new girl. But … I think you’d better come take a look.”
Sue dropped the sheet on her desk, adding it to the mounds of paperwork and overdue bills. What limbs she wouldn’t give for this transfer to go smoothly. But experience had taught her to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. With a sigh, she headed for the office’s outer door. “Wish me luck, Bert.”
Bertie offered her a waiver form. “Holler if you need me.”
Sue frowned at the paper. “Why do I need this? We’ll take care of everything in the office.”
“Wouldn’t bet on it.” Bertie nodded toward the window. “Look.”
Sue opened the door and peered outside.
A late model Escalade sat in the drive beyond the front lawn, engine still running. A man, barely visible behind tinted windows, remained in the car while an athletic-looking woman in designer warm-ups dropped two pink suitcases on the front porch of the main entrance. A black-haired girl stood beside the bags, shoulders cinched up so tight they nearly touched her ears.
Jasmine—the new girl.
Sue’s heart tripped.
The woman hurried back to the SUV. Halfway across the lawn she turned, said something to the girl, and then pointed to the front door.
Sue’s breath caught and stung. No. Please don’t. Not like that. Don’t just dump her and go. She rushed outside, down the steps, and across the lawn. “Hi, Mrs. Walker?”
The woman turned with a start. “Is this Juniper Ranch group home?”
“Yes.” As Sue approached, she glanced at Jasmine. The girl was as stiff as a fence post.
“We got lost trying to find the place.” Mrs. Walker crossed her arms like a shield. “Where do I sign?”
Sue couldn’t answer, could only gape. Bertie was right—the woman was ready to sign away her child on the hood of a car. Sue stole another look at Jasmine, who stared at the hot pink bags in silence.
Beyond the girl, curtains twitched in the den window, partially revealing the curious faces of Cori, Edgar, and Tatiana.
While Mrs. Walker signed papers, the man remained at the wheel, shoulder belt still fastened. It took the woman all of six minutes to complete the paperwork.
A new Juniper Ranch record.
Then the couple drove away. The Escalade’s brake lights didn’t blink once.
Sue joined Jasmine on the porch, feeling oddly connected to a girl who hadn’t uttered a word. Closing her eyes, she forced herself to breathe. She’d done this countless times and still didn’t have the words. What could she possibly say to a kid who had just been dumped off on a total stranger?
I’m sorry, sweetheart. I know the feeling. But you’re among friends here.
Sue inhaled the dry, sage-scented air, opened her eyes, and made a quick study of Juniper Ranch’s new girl.
Wafer thin. Cambodian, maybe Vietnamese. About eleven or twelve. Jasmine’s paperwork was a long maze of inconsistencies—which was not uncommon—so Sue would have to best-guess her age.
“Well, Jasmine.” Sue summoned a bright smile for a moment that was anything but. “You hungry? We’re not serving dinner for a while, but I bet I can find you a snack.”
The girl turned her gaze toward the long driveway leading away from Juniper Ranch. The ribbon of dust disturbed by the Escalade rose and spread slowly, drifting in the afternoon sun, bound to settle in some other place.
The pair of suitcases flanked Jasmine’s feet, price tags still attached. A couple of bags that held everything. And nothing. Much like the beat-up green Samsonite that had once followed Sue to more foster homes than she could count.
Sue’s stomach growled as she grabbed a suitcase. “All right, kiddo. Let’s get your stuff inside. We’ll get you set up in your new room.”
Jasmine turned then, her eyes almost level with Sue’s.
No shocker there. At five-two, Sue was used to meeting pre-teens eye to eye.
The girl’s face had no remarkable features. Some might even call it plain. Wide nose, small eyes. No abnormalities, no physical handicap that Sue could see. No sign of the kinds of imperfections that often made Mr. and Mrs. Disenchanted back out of an international adoption.
What fears haunt you, little friend? What coping quirks couldn’t they handle?
“I no need room.” A frown creased the girl’s brow. “I no—I not staying here.”
“Well, we can discuss that. Just not here on the front porch. Okay?” She softened the question with a gentle smile.
Jasmine’s frown deepened. Thick tears pooled, glittering in her dark eyes.
Oh, honey, no, please don’t do that … A quiet ache squeezed Sue’s heart. It wasn’t the first time she’d stood here on these weathered steps, a silent witness to the aftermath of a “disrupted” adoption. It came with the job. But no matter how many times she’d done this, she still couldn’t get used to watching a young heart break in the middle of her front porch.
Sue shifted the girl’s bag to her other hand and motioned with her head. “C’mon, kiddo. This way.” She opened the front door and went inside. If she hesitated or looked back, it wouldn’t work. “It’s not
Disneyland,” Sue called over her shoulder, “but at least
it’s a place where you can fit in.”
The door hung open, letting in the cool October air.
She headed for the stairs. “Fitting in” might be aiming a bit high. But Sue would do whatever it took to make Jasmine feel like there was one place in the world where she wouldn’t be an outsider. Sue reached the staircase and paused.
The tangy aroma of spaghetti sauce wafted through the foyer, sending another jab to her stomach. No sounds of footsteps came from the porch.
Dragging a girl inside and forcing her to stay wasn’t high on her list of favorite things to do.
Come on, Jasmine. I’m offering you some dignity here. Please take it. Fighting the temptation to look, Sue took a deep breath and headed up the staircase, straining to hear sounds of Jasmine following.
Fourth step. Sixth.
Take it from me, little one. The sooner you learn to stop longing, the sooner the pain will go away. Trust me.
The urge to look back reached a cresting point.
Then, shuffling footsteps and the click of the front door.
Sue exhaled, turned, and gave the skinny girl with the pink suitcase a smile. “C’mon, slowpoke. Follow me.”
Heartbreaking. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Like a Love Song on Amazon: ow.ly/K88dU
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