What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done? I attended an International Wizard of Oz Convention! No doubt this would be considered quirky by most people who probably don’t even know such a thing exists. The convention ties to my interest in Oz author L. Frank Baum and my research for writing a historical fiction with him as a character. (I’m currently seeking publication for this novel.)
When did you first discover that you were a writer? The writing muse captured me in second grade. My teacher had us writing and illustrating original stories and making them into books. After tackling my first one, I was unstoppable, and churned out dozens. I decided writing stories was the way to go.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading. To Kill a Mockingbird encapsulates the kind of fiction I love: realistic and character-driven, stories that explore the complexities of hypocrisy, misjudgments, false appearances, or gray areas. I gravitate to historical fiction and some contemporary. Romance is fine if not the key ingredient. I also enjoy creative non-fiction and biographies.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world? I run to Mayberry! Watching The Andy Griffith Show reruns offers stress relief with a touch of nostalgia.
Actually, God is the only true Source of security and stability in this crazy world. But at a practical level, I maintain daily routines as much as possible, like taking walks, reading books that keep me grounded, and visiting Mayberry. I also take a yearly road trip to see new places and reconnect with friends and family along the way.
How do you choose your characters’ names? This varies. Sometimes a particular name strikes me, and the character grows from it. Other times, I’ve searched everywhere from phone directories to websites until I find something that fits. I recently picked Dutch surnames from my alma mater’s alumni magazine.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of? At a personal level, raising children was a huge accomplishment and I’m grateful for the awesome privilege my husband and I had of nurturing our four kids over the span of 28 years. But I’m also proud of wading through multiple drafts of a novel and actually finishing it. My novel was my fifth baby.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why? A cat! I asked my husband which animal he thought I would be, and he said cat without hesitation. Avoiding the spotlight, I’m cautious and size up the situation before quietly stepping in. I can disappear for hours on end up in my study.
What is your favorite food? Prime rib for a main course. Ice cream for dessert! Plus, you can never go wrong with Mexican food.
Tell us about the featured book. Are secrets worth the price they cost to keep? Ten-year-old Tina Hamilton finds out the hard way. In 1968, trouble erupts when northern exploitation threatens her southern Appalachian town. Some folks blame the trouble on progress, some blame the space race and men meddling with the moon’s cycles, and some blame Tina’s father. His hidden past collides with the present, mirroring the clash of progressive ideas and small town values.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Mom: Old Man Fuller. “He died with all those untold stories and unmade pictures still left up in his head.”
In 1968, I was ten and oblivious to changes outside my world. The radio and TV raged. The Vietnam War, hippies, flower children, assassinations, civil riots, and the space race all aroused anxiety in Americans frantically searching for answers—ones that Peter, Paul, and Mary said were “Blowing in the Wind.” But all of God’s earth to my brother Nick and me were the streams for fishing, the fields for planting and harvesting, a world snugly enclosed by the blue-misted Smokies.
Other than the seasons, nothing ever changed. Until the summer referred to in major league baseball as “The Year of the Pitcher.” In our town, some folks called it “The Year of the Suicide Squeeze,” a high risk play at home plate. Currie Hill was never the same. Most blamed my father for that.
In my eyes back then, he was omnipotent and wise. So when I first saw him empty, I was afraid. But now, over thirty years later, I realize my father never tried to be a hero. Nor was he merely a victim of his silence. I guess I’ve grown up, for now I know wisdom and weakness sometimes walk hand in hand.
I started learning that with the tale of Old Man Fuller.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website & blog: https://lauradenooyer-author.com
My newsletter—sign up for a free prequel: www.StandoutStoriesNewsletter.com
Purchase: https://amzn.to/2HF4UB9 OR
Book trailer: www.All-That-Is-Hidden-book-trailer.com
Thank you, Laura, for sharing your novel with my blog readers and me.
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