Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fayette-A Time To Laugh by Donna Winters

Donna Winters' Fayette A Time to Laugh:

The greatest passion of Flora McAdams’ life has always been her love of animals. From girlhood she has made it her mission to care for orphaned wild creatures and hurting family pets in the pig iron town of Fayette. Now, at age eighteen, she has no lack of four-footed patients needing her skill, and no time or thought for romance, until a quiet Norwegian machinist comes to town.Sven Jorgensen hoped his first encounter with the feisty Flora McAdams would be his last. Whether at the village vegetable garden or the town racetrack, he can’t seem to avoid her. But time works miracles. And after witnessing her transform neglected and homeless canines into healthy, loving pets, his thoughts of her are altered as well. Can he somehow convince her that he has more than friendship in mind for their future?

Interview:
1) How did this story come to you?
My story is based largely on the information about the setting gleaned from historical accounts in newspapers and archives. I have a microfilm reader and purchase microfilm of historic newspapers when they are available for the location of my story. Against the true history about the time and place, I set fictional characters which often interact with true historic figures of the era.
2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
This book was the fifteenth romance novel I’ve had published and the second story about the remote iron smelting town of Fayette, Michigan that operated during the period from 1867-1891. My writing career began in 1982 with my first title being released by Thomas Nelson in 1985. Though younger writers will find this hard to believe, there was a great lull in the Christian fiction market in the late 1980’s which forced me to become resourceful in getting my work into print. I took control of the process by developing my trademark series, Great Lakes Romances, and from 1988 on I have developed titles for this series.
3) What do you love most about being a writer?
What I love most about writing is the complete sense of escape from reality into the world of my characters and their joys and challenges.
4) What frustrates you about being a writer?
The most challenging aspect of writing is expanding my readership. I hope through this interview, readers who have not heard about Great Lakes Romances will discover historic stories they can enjoy.
5) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
Some aspects of myself that would surprise many, if meeting me in person (I’m a slight-built lady), are that I was a trumpet major in college, and I am a hobby weight lifter with exceptionally large biceps. Additionally, I took up cross-country and downhill skiing at the ages of 57 and 58.
6) What are you working on now and what's next for you?

At this time I am working on expanding my readership through social internet contacts and (soon to come) a rebuild of my website at http://www.greatlakesromances.com/. Concerning writing and publishing, I have in mind to develop a cookbook based on the heritage of historic Fayette, Michigan.
7) Parting comments?
I’m new to the social websites and am profoundly grateful for the supportive nature of my contacts there. I pray God’s blessings for all who touch my life via the web.

Love Finds You in Holiday Florida by Sandra D. Bricker


Interview with the author:

1) How did this story come to you?
I received a call from Rachel Meisel, the senior editor at Summerside, asking if I would be interested in writing something light and funny for a town they thought had a cute name. It was Holiday, Florida. Living in Tampa, I’m sorry to tell you that I didn’t even know I was only 30 minutes from Holiday! So my friend Marian and I went on an exploration trip, thinking we’d spend the day there. But when we arrived, we quickly learned that a whole day in Holiday was a pretty funny idea. There wasn’t much to the place! But we started driving through the residential streets there, trying to find some inspiration. Just when I was feeling a little light on creativity, I turned a corner (literally and figuratively!). Two elderly women in spandex and fanny packs were power-walking down the street in front of my car, showing no signs of moving to the side. I kind of groaned while I waited, glanced over at the front yard of one of the houses on that street, and there were these two ridiculous pink flamingo lawn ornaments staring back at me. The connection was made right then and there! Love Finds You in Holiday, Florida turned out to be filled with quirky characters in a hysterical community of people.

Bostonian Cassie Constantine is only in Florida long enough to use her Christmas break to get the vacation house that she’s always despised ready for the real estate market. But her widow status is like a target on her back, and the elderly matchmakers around town manage to sidetrack her mission at every turn. Holiday is a land mine of golf tournaments, ballroom dancing competitions, shuffleboard and day trips. But the biggest obstacle of all? Nope, not Sophie the crazy Collie. It's Richard Dillon, the stuffed shirt she’s paired with on the dance floor. He makes her heartbeat tap faster than the rhythm of The Quickstep.

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
Due to some fairly poor planning on my part, as well as some accidental scheduling hiccups that were out of my control, I had three contracted books come up with deadlines very close to each other. Since I also work a full-time day job, it was an extremely delicate balance to meet all three of those deadlines. I ended up taking some vacation time for Holiday, or we might not be talking about it right now. I did a lot of fretting, praying and brainstorming during those weeks, but when both Summerside editors came back telling me how much they loved the end product, I could breathe easier. Now that I’ve gone back and read it all the way through, I’m really excited about the finished product.

3) What do you love most about being a writer?
The process. I really love storytelling. I have a very visual style, and most of my stories are character driven. That gives me a wonderful opportunity to really get to know my characters as I’m writing. I’m often sad to see my friends go when I write the final lines of a book.

4) What frustrates you about being a writer?
Rules. Don’t get me wrong, I do know that those RULES FOR WRITERS are there for a purpose, and it’s important to know them. But when you come up with a strategy to break them, and it’s really working, it can be very frustrating when other writers want to cling so vehemently to their rules that they take the adventure out of it!

5) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
Hmmm. Well … I suppose #1 would have to be that I’m very, very shy. People who have met me are often stunned by this admission because my characters are so quirky and out there, but it’s true.

#2: I’m a cancer survivor. More people probably know now than they did before because my devotional coming out this month (Be Still … and Let Your Nail Polish Dry) has been earmarked for a portion of the royalties to be sent to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Because of that, I’ve done several interviews about my battle with the disease, and I’ve begun talking about it for the first time. I’m 5-1/2 years cancer-free now though!

#3: I spent 15 years as a publicist to soap stars. I had my own business in Los Angeles and had clients on General Hospital, Days of Our Lives, Bold & Beautiful, etc. It was a whole other life than the one I live now.

6) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I’ve got The Big 5-OH! coming out in February, and I’m just finishing Always the Baker, Never the Bride, my second comedy for Abingdon Press’ new fiction line, which will be out in the fall of 2010. It’s a funny account of a diabetic baker who can’t eat her own confections. After this, I’ll have a couple of months before I have to start writing my next Love Finds You book. Between now and then, it’s promotion for Love Finds You in Holiday, Florida and NAPS. Lots and lots of naps.

7) Parting comments?
I’ve been so blessed over the last couple of years. Although I’ve been writing for a very long time, I finally broke into the inspirational market last year with Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas, and that was a benchmark book for me in my personal mission to deliver uplifting, Christian-based fiction that can touch a reader’s spirit as well as make them laugh out loud. Especially after cancer, I know firsthand the importance of finding something to laugh about in times of challenge and struggle. I live my life by that scripture that says that a merry heart is like good medicine, and I’m so grateful to the many readers who have encouraged me in finding my voice and living this dream of mine. There’s just so much bad secular fiction out there, and I’m committed to the ministry of painting my little corner of the world with Godly hues so that people have something to turn to. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who have helped me do that, and to all of you who are just starting to join me in the cause. I’m continually humbled and thankful for the turns my life has taken on this road, and every time a reader tells me they laughed AND cried through one of my books, I know that God is doing what He promised. It’s life-changing, and I’m so grateful.

Web site: http://www.sandradbricker.com/
Personal blog: http://sandradbricker.blogspot.com/
Group blog: http://bestilldevos.blogspot.com/

NaNoWriMo Success!


I'm happy to say that perseverance paid off. I finished NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) about a week early. The book I wrote during NaNo is an inspirational romantic suspense called Queen of Hearts. It will be released through Desert Breeze Publishing in April 2010 if all goes as planned.
This book was particularly fun because my husband helped me brainstorm the plot. He's not much of a reader, but wants to read it. I have a really hard time coming up with titles. He gave it the title, Queen of Hearts, and threw in some ideas that helped move the plot along. It's pretty suspenseful. Even scared me at times.