Welcome back, Sibella. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
Raleigh Harmon adventures. She has much more room to run, and many more cases to solve.
Tell us a little about your family.
My birth family has some interesting origins. My great-grandparents moved to Alaska in 1884. They were Orthodox Jews. Our family stayed in Alaska for another 110 years. My own family now lives in Washington state. My husband is a very funny and talented Italian-American from Queens, New York. We have two lively boys, a neurotic dog, a silent parakeet, and a Russian tortoise with a dangerous attitude.
Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
It would be an understatement to call my reading tastes eclectic. I read a lot of odd non-fiction, since I'm constantly researching topics related to geology, geography, or criminal behavior.
What are you working on right now?
I'm writing the next Raleigh Harmon adventure. Actually, two of them. One novel goes forward, the other goes back to her beginnings in Richmond, Virginia.
What outside interests do you have?
My main interest is my family. So whatever my husband and kids are into, I'm right there. Currently that's lacrosse, golf, episodes of "Psych," learning about "Halo," and listening to Blues music. None of which I would otherwise do.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
Some places haunt my imagination. I can literally see a world behind the world -- an imaginary place with characters moving through it. And because my protagonist is a geologist, I'm drawn to places with interesting geological features --- mountains, rivers, volcanic activity.
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
Teddy Roosevelt. He lived such an enormous life yet combined his accomplishments with salt-of-the-earth wisdom. He also loved books and was devoted to family. In one night, he could probably dispense words that would last me a lifetime.
What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
That each book works like a bead on a necklace. No single one is the crown jewel because writing is a never-ending apprenticeship.
What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
Each new lesson is a variation on His great theme: Love. Right now He's teaching me new ways to love people. Unlikeable people. Abandoned people, shunned. Outsiders. It all comes down to supernatural love.
What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
1. Consider your motivation. Are you writing to become rich and famous, or because you feel a story burning in your heart? The burning story is a great motivation; fame and fortune is not.
2. What are you willing to sacrifice? No book gets written in ordinary time. Each day holds 24 hours and books require vast amounts of contemplation and hard work. Personally, I gave up watching television (unless it's something my kids want me to watch with them) and I say no to many social events that I'd like to attend. For books to get written, sacrifices must be made.
3. Don't give up. When it comes to writing, persistence is more crucial than talent.
Tell us about the featured book.
The Stars Shine Bright begins with Raleigh Harmon coming back from an FBI suspension. her first assignment is undercover at a horse track, to discover who's fixing the races. But she soon realizes something even sinister is going on -- because horses are dying and somebody's trying to kill her.
Please give us the first page of the book.
The glass skyscrapers towered over Puget Sound, like crystalline prisons for office slaves. I stood at the corner of Third and Madison and watched the hurried workers, toting their Starbucks and battered briefcases, while down the hill, between the city's steep reflective walls, a basin of salt water sparkled under late-summer sunshine. Puget Sound looked dappled and calm, nothing like the busy people. Nothing like the emotions warring inside me. And nothing like the woman who walked beside me, gripping a strand of pink pearls.
"Don't do this," said Aunt Charlotte. Her pudgy fingers worried the silken beads. "Come work in my shop."
"It won't help."
"I'll pay you double minimum wage."
I waited for the crosswalk light to change. Hurry up. The breeze tunneled through the buildings, bearing scents of wet salt and city pavement and the close of summer. A city bus wheezed to a stop on Madison and belched diesel fumes before releasing more serfs. They lurched out, sighing like pneumatic doors.
I glanced at Aunt Charlotte.
She had switched the pearls to her other hand, presumably because her fingers were fatigued from all that rubbing. It had started early this morning, when she told me I needed some geological magic to save my job. I looked back at the light. It refused to change.
"I'm fine," I told her.
"I'll send you to all my rock shows," she said. "You're a geologist -- they'll love you."
I was a geologist, a forensic geologist. but I doubted the poor . . . .
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you, Sibella, for the interesting interview.
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The Stars Shine Bright (A Raleigh Harmon Novel) - paperback
The Stars Shine Bright (A Raleigh Harmon Novel) - Kindle
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