Circle of Quiet, Trails of Solace

June 17, 2014 at 6:37 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

circle of quietTitle:A Circle of Quiet
Author: Madeleine L’Engle
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Memoir/ Spirituality
Length: 229 pages

A Circle of Quiet is powerful.  So powerful it inspired me to write nearly 10,000 useable words, to writers you may note the awe I have when I say useable.

Some were used for the sequel to my novella, a novel that is supposed to come out in the fall of this year – fingers crossed.  But most of the words were for a new book, stories about my trails in the woods that are itching to be told but I’ve not known how to tell them because it’s all still happening, my trails are still real.

What is most impressive to me about A Circle of Quiet is not how many beautifully quotable quotes there are, but how completely relevant L’Engle’s story is to me.  So relevant, I didn’t noticed until 3/4 of the way through the book that it was published in 1972 and the things she writes about occurred in the early seventies if not the late sixties.

I was baffled to discover this.  A Wrinkle in Time and the rest of her children’s books are as fresh to me as the Harry Potter series.  I read them as I child without the impression that they were old.  In my mind, L’Engle has been an author of the 80’s who would be around as long as C.S. Lewis once the years had passed.  I did not realize that the books were much older than that and that the years had already passed.  A Wrinkle in Time was first published in 1962.

How is this possible that every moment, every ache, every joy (aside from winning the Newberry of course, as I’ve won nothing) is one I feel in every fiber of my being as a thirty year old in 2014? When she was born in 1918.  What struck me most is that A Circle of Quiet is timeless.

Madeleine L’Engle is timeless.

This is a must read for any mother, any writer or creative, any soul searching for God, any person trying to balance their introversion with their extroversion, and ultimately any person.

She published these from her journals, which she admits were written for publication, but still I am honored to have been allowed a peek into the window of her thoughts.

 

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Plagiarism

June 10, 2014 at 4:20 pm (The Whim) (, , , , , , , )

Plagiarism sort of fascinates me.  Mostly because I am a reader, I think.  And as a reader I absorb.

I absorb thoughts, ideas, fairy tales, story lines, dialogue… and sometimes when I’m writing I find that I can’t remember if what I’m writing came from a dream I had, a book I read, or a an actual idea that I am actually formulating as my ink pours from my pen.

I am re-reading The Mortal Instruments series, and with a re-read comes more review reading, more research, because I no longer fear a spoiler.  So long after the scandal, I discovered this morning that Cassandra Clare was accused of plagiarism on a fan fiction site for a Harry Potter spin-off series about Draco.  Not only accused, but her account was cancelled because of it.

I’m not defending plagiarism, it’s not ok.  The idea that someone would purposely just copy someone else’s work turns my stomach.

But what if it is purely accidental?

What if you have internalized a work so completely in your youth that as an adult an idea, dialogue, plot points, come to you so wholly formed and you recall that it was inspired by something, but not necessarily who or where the inspiration came from?

I can see that happening to me.  I read so much as a child and I cannot remember it all, but I do have to say that I don’t think a single idea I’ve ever had could actually be attributed to myself.  They aren’t my ideas.  They are the ideas of those who came before me.  They are the ideas that came from authors I loved, and characters who became my friends.

I distinctly remember writing a story once, I was maybe seventeen at the time, and I was so in love with it.  I thought, man, I’m good – this story is fantastic.  I re-read it, I worked on it avidly.  Then I realized, about a month later, that it wasn’t mine.  I was re-writing The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley.  Perhaps slightly in my own words, but the essence of it was entirely hers and I was forced to throw it away.

It was the first time I became doubtful that I would ever publish anything.  Until then, I had been completely convinced that no matter what happened in my life, I would at least become an author in some capacity.  It was in my veins since the first time I picked up a book and could decode the letters that made words and sentences.  I had been writing stories and ‘books’ since I could manage to scrawl out a readable letter with my number two pencil.  But right then, as a teenager, I realized my biggest fear – that perhaps I didn’t have any words of my own.  Perhaps they all came from elsewhere.

That is when I realized what the biggest challenge would be for me to become an author – writing something original.  How do you sort through all that you’ve read, all that you love, and find something that doesn’t already belong to someone in some way?

Because of this, my novella doesn’t have much in the way of plot points.  The characters came to me, yes.  I can write their essence, yes.  But ultimately, I am terrified of plot points.  I feel like they’ve all been written before.  But people, people are always capable of being their own.  Characters are easier to write than plots, because I’m surrounded by characters – they live in my head.  Plots, on the other hand, only live in books that have already been written.  Real life doesn’t seem to consist of plots so I can’t rely on life to deliver inspiration that hasn’t already been had by someone.

Logical fallacies, of course.  But that’s how I feel.

And I can’t help but wonder if Cassandra Clare felt the same way from time to time.

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Little Tiny Novels

January 30, 2014 at 5:17 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Newton LetterTitle: The Newton Letter

Author: John Banville

Publisher: David R. Godine

Genre: Fiction

Length: 81 pages

After publishing my novella (roughly 130 pages long), my editor and I decided to make the sequel to my novella much longer.  The publisher wants a full length novel, but in our attempt for length we started to believe that length would equate higher quality.

Reading through drafts we found that for the sake of propelling the story and actually achieving the higher quality work we were looking for, large chunks of filler might have to be scrapped.  So I set out to read some great short work, to make myself feel better about not being Kate Morton.  And though I am no where near ever going to have the talent of John Banville, Panlo De Santis, John Steinbeck, or William Kennedy, there’s something to be said about reading these and knowing that a finished product is all about quality over quantity.

“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.” – Stephen King, “The Horror Writer Market and the Ten Bears,” November 1973 WD

 

John Banville makes me crazy jealous.  I want his brain in my brain ever so briefly… just long enough to write something amazing.  Because everything he touches is amazing.  Even just an 80 page bit of story written before I was born reads like his full length prize winners.

The lesson in this for me (because almost every book I read teaches me something) is that while doing these edits for the second edition of my novella, I also need to edit in some breaks between paragraphs.  Visually there are some things that don’t flow.  I can thank my first edition readers for pointing this out.  Even if I pout a little bit, I am so grateful for all the criticism on my first work.  I’m pouting that I wasn’t more diligent about catching these things before you read it, not that you caught these things.  Anything any reader of mine tells me is something I truly do ponder in great detail.

“The worst advice? ‘Don’t listen to the critics.’ I think that you really ought to listen to the critics, because sometimes they’re telling you something is broken that you can fix.” – Stephen King

I want even my first work to be better.  I want my second work to be even better than the first.  Whether I achieve the length of a traditional novel or not, I hope the second book achieves the complete story arch of a traditional novel.  Hopefully, one day, when I’m old and gray, I can write something I’m happy with.  It won’t be John Banville, because I’m not him, but in the meantime I can adore him a lot and work a lot harder.

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Aspects of a Novelist

October 28, 2013 at 12:10 am (In So Many Words, Reviews) (, , , , , , )

aspects-of-the-novelTitle: Aspects of the Novel

Author: E.M. Forster

Genre: Literary Criticism

Length: 176 pages

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a very small child.  So small that I don’t recall the first revelation or declaration.  I simply always knew it was something I wanted to do one day.  I also have always enjoyed books. I remember loving to read before I was even any good at it.  I remember devouring books before my peers had even mastered their letters.   This is not because I was smarter than them, not by a long shot.  This is just how much passion I had for the idea of language and the written word.

Naturally, I also love books about writers writing… like Stephen King’s On Writing and John Steinbeck’s East of Eden Letters.  I even like authors who get bossy about it like Umberto Eco and E.M. Forster.  They deserve to be bossy, as they are brilliant.

I fell in love with E.M. Forster in high school when my favorite English teacher of all time told me to get a copy of Howards End.  I remember devouring it almost over night and spending nearly a half hour after school discussing it with him.  I remember being utterly blown away by Howards End for reasons I cannot even vaguely recall now, but things amaze you at sixteen for no particular reason at all, it is a habit I have tried to keep as I age too.

My debut as a novelist comes out this week – a novella, actually – called The Bookshop Hotel.  I’m about halfway through writing the sequel, a book that will be a full length novel twice as long as the novella, and I’m already paranoid about potential reviews hailing my inferiority as a writer.  So, I’m consulting one of my heroes for advice, writerly wisdom from the talented author of Howards End.

As I read Forster’s famous lectures, it is becoming clear to me that I will never be E.M. Forster, John Steinbeck, or even an Audrey Niffenegger! I will never be a best-selling New York Times sensation.  I’m ok with that, it was never my intention to be infamous.  I have other aspirations.

What I would like to do, though, is to tell a few good stories, make some income for my family, and have the satisfaction of stumbling across my books on shelves in unexpected places.  That will be enough for me.

In the mean time, I’ll work as though my goal is to be the next Stephen King (on the prolific level anyway), because even though I am not the most talented, I don’t ever want to be accused of being half-assed.  I’d rather be untalented than lazy.

So here I am on a Sunday night perusing Aspects of the Novel, munching on every tidbit, taking notes, wondering if Forster himself would have anything positive to say about my stories because the vital elements to a novel he points out are vital indeed and I’m unsure as to whether my characters can live up to that vitality.

“Forster’s casual and wittily acute guidance… transmutes the dull stuff of He-said and She-said into characters, stories, and intimations of truth,” Jacques Barzun is quoted.  Let’s hope he’s right.

Whether it transforms me into something wonderful or not, the book is amazing.  Every student of literature, lover of books, or budding author should give this one a go.  Then again, I am partial, remember, I fell in love with Forster ages ago.

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Oh the fabulous things…

March 26, 2013 at 9:02 pm (The Whim) (, , , , )

we find on facebook.

Mission Statement

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Music To Write To

January 19, 2013 at 12:42 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

writing-and-musicEvery writer has their zone, and sometimes the zone changes.  Due to the nature of my sucky laptop, I’m prone to laying prostrate across the floor so I can pile things on the charger to make it stay plugged.  Currently, said pile consists of my husband’s bible, my journal, whatever book I happen to be reading, and a Noah’s Ark statue of my daughter’s.

It’s not a comfortable way to write, but I’ve made it work… with music.

Nothing reminds you of college like being too poor to buy yourself new tech gadgets, laying on the floor writing half the day, and eating sandwiches off chipped plates while laying and writing.  So, when writing this way, what other music would I listen to than the artists of my so-called youth?

I bought this album as a wide-eyed freshman in college.

I bought this album as a wide-eyed freshman in college.

David Ramirez, Tito Ortega, and Christine Hand were all musicians that filled my college years.  (Select any of those links to check out their music on Amazon.com)  All former students of the university I attended, they often performed in the coffee shop downstairs from my dorm room.  That coffee shop was where I journaled, talked, did homework, came up with story ideas, avoided homework, made friends, hung out with friends, and inhaled a whole lot of sugar and caffeine.  And it’s where I fell in love with these artists and their wonderful contribution to the musical world.  I’ll take them with me everywhere forever.

That’s a long term commitment as far as music loving goes.  As a moody listener, there are a lot of musicians I’ve outgrown over the years.  Some songs just aren’t the same when you’re not twelve, or eighteen, or a newly wed, or whatever it was you were when you were in love with something that just can’t move you anymore.

Girl on a String

Click here to download from iTunes.

Christine Hand will grow with you though.  At least, she grows with me.  We’re roughly the same age, went to the same university for awhile, have liked the same guy, and though we’re in no way the same, I feel like whatever music she has out that’s ‘new’ in the moment, always falls in line with my own existence.  Her latest album has a beautiful maturity that I hope I’ve reached.  It definitely puts me in the mood to strive to write with that same beautiful maturity.

In addition to Christine’s own songs, there is a Bob Dylan cover on Girl on a String.  Who doesn’t like Bob Dylan? And who doesn’t like hearing his songs performed well?  This album can feel comfortable sitting on your shelf with the likes of Norah Jones and Joni Mitchell, and like John Mayer at the Crossroads concert playing with the likes of B.B. King and Eric Clapton, you’ll be impressed with how well she fits right in and holds her own with the greats.

dallas does eaglesChristine Hand plays along side her husband, my friend, Adam Jones, and her father.  The dynamic is pretty neat, but I’m a sucker for family bands, as you’ll see if you ever check out my cd collection from the ’90s where I thought Rebecca St. James was the coolest for bringing her brother on tour with her and I was distraught to discover that the White Stripes weren’t married anymore.  I’m also a long time fan of The Jackson 5 and a completely head over heels for the fact that Nine Inch Nails moved on to become How To Destroy Angels, only to include Trent Reznor’s wife.

Check out Christine’s website here: http://www.christinehand.com/

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Author Karen Rose Smith Guest Blogs

August 15, 2012 at 10:49 pm (Guest Blogger) (, , , , , , , , , )

I find interacting with authors on Twitter to be very exciting, and it’s always fun to share my twittering adventures with my fellow readers and blog subscribers.  Karen Rose Smith is a best-selling, award-winning author.  Her 80th novel will be published in 2013.  Below, she shares a little bit about her life as a writer.

What Inspires Me

Writing and living are interchangeable for me.  They are so glued together that I realized while writing this blog that whatever inspires me for one inspires me for the other.  Peaks and valleys in one affect the other.  So when I think about inspiration for either writing or living, I can lift my heart in these ways.

Ever since I was a young girl, music has made a difference in my life. (That is probably why one of the romances in my new series revolves around music.) Until I was five, my parents and I lived with my grandfather and my aunt.  After that they lived next door.  I come from an Italian heritage, and my grandfather was an immigrant.  He played the mandolin beautifully.  On weekends friends would stop by with guitars and an accordion, and he and his friends made music.  That music brought into the house fellowship, fun and a sense of well-being.  Also in my grandfather’s house was a player piano.  We inserted what was called a “roll” and a melody magically played while my mother and I would sing along.  She played the piano herself, and I would accompany her, too.  It was natural for me to learn to play the piano myself.  Through the years I learned to express emotion through the playing.  I found joy and inspiration in the music.  With this history, I never just listen to a song.  I feel it.  Today I listen for artists and music which can stir that deep creative part of me, whether it does that by bringing back memories, lifting me to a mountaintop, soothing pain and stress away, or urging me to write a particularly emotional scene.  Music lifts me over the writing bumps or life’s bumps.

Traveling to a place with power also renews me.  I believe everyone can find places that fill them with peace and an overwhelming sense of well-being.  When I was a child, I had access to a relative’s farm.  There was something about the fields of grass, the scent of orange blossoms and honeysuckle, the playfulness of kittens around the barn and the beauty of horses in the corral that always washed over me in a particularly healing way.  I loved just being there and soaking it in.  As an adult I feel drawn to places where I can feel a power greater than myself–the ocean, the cliff dwellings in the southwest, the Appalachian mountains, the big blue sky over Santa Fe, Sedona and the Grand Canyon, a memorial garden my husband and I created in memory of my parents in our own backyard.  All of these places, as well as the memories from being in them, fill me up when I am empty and help me to keep going.

Since emotion and my creative energy are also integrally linked, the people I love and who love me also inspire me.  My husband reminds me that I always say each book is different and eventually my characters show me the way.  Talking to my son long-distance reminds me the bonds between a mother and child are never-ending.  When my BFF’s daughter runs to me for a hug, I am inspired to look at the world through her eyes–in a more innocent, unspoiled way.  My writing friends listen and help me get unstuck when a scene or character is being stubborn.  Also my three cats, Ebbie, London and Zoie are constant companions who remind me to be playful.  Ebbie joins me when I work or listen to music.  London curls on my lap or beside me for an afternoon break.  Zoie exhibits pure kittenhood. Their presence fills me with a sense of  joy and contentment.

Inspiration surrounds me in many forms.  I just have to know how to listen, where to go and whom to turn to in order to find it.  Somehow I always do and life and writing flow on.
Buy Her Books Here!

Readers can visit her websites:

http://www.karenrosesmith.com/

http://www.karenrosesmithmysteries.com/

http://twitter.com/karenrosesmith/

Facebook (Karen Rose Smith author)

Access her e-zine In Touch at karenrosesmith-ezine.blogspot.com for new releases and contests.

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Political Statements in Art

August 7, 2012 at 7:02 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Title: Animal Farm

Author: George Orwell (real name: Eric Blair)

Length: 80 pages

“Political Statements in Art” sounds a little scary, intimidating.  I grow weary of political statements.  But I am a reader, and among the list of most amazing authors of all time, though, great activists can be found.  Ayn Rand, Victor Hugo, Lewis Carroll, all had agendas when telling their stories, and whether you believe in their worldview, their stories were rather beautiful and undeniably artistic.  George Orwell is one of my primary examples of someone who managed to pull off making a political statement as a beautiful work of art, with the book 1984.  The book itself, is a long time favorite.  So when I saw that 1984 was on Bauer’s Well-Educated Mind: Novels list, I was very excited.  Yet, when the time came to read it, I found myself choosing Animal Farm instead.  Until this week, I had never read Animal Farm.

Although I had a general understanding of the novella, and the statement it was going to make, I was surprised when the animals all had real names.  Silly, I know, I just hadn’t expected that.  Not that I expected them to be called pig, horse, or dog, it was just one of those things I hadn’t thought to think about prior to reading the book.  Of course, I should have anticipated nothing less from Orwell, after all, the man was a genius.  In good literary form, Napoleon represents a villain, Boxer is strong, Snowball is the opposite of Napoleon, Squealer is the epitome of propaganda, and Mr. Jones is a typical neighbor you might love to hate – the human.  It is allegory at its finest.

Yet, I pretty much hated it.  How did this happen?  I adore Orwell! I do, I really do.  I just could not get into the anthropomorphism.  When I read animals personified to represent people, I find I don’t want them to be JUST like people.  I want my fuzzy mole to be a fuzzy mole who talks (Wind in the Willows), I want my mice to still live under floor boards and not have day jobs, even if they cook and clean (TumTum and Nutmeg), and so on.  Obviously, Orwell’s intent was for us to see ourselves as we are, “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which,” along with the dangers of communism and totalitarianism.

But who wants to be reminded of that?

Just kidding.  Truly, I see the merits of Animal Farm, and at another time I just may enjoy it.  But today, right now, this moment… I did not.  Still, I love Orwell.  I (usually) love to read his work, and (always) aspire to be more like him.  In Why I Write, he said:

“From a very early age, perhaps the age of five or six, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer. Between the ages of about seventeen and twenty-four I tried to abandon this idea, but I did so with the consciousness that I was outraging my true nature and that sooner or later I should have to settle down and write books.”

Nothing speaks to me more.  I have been journaling, writing stories, and using the written word as my own catharsis my whole life, since before I could do much more than copy letters.  Perhaps I will never be the caliber of writer I’d like, but always and forever I shall write.  So because I write, also shall I read.

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Work Like Steinbeck… Journaling My Novels

August 6, 2012 at 12:28 am (In So Many Words, Reviews) (, , , , , , )

When I first started reading Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath, I was a bit disappointed.  Already having read Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters, I was searching for more of Steinbeck’s words and was met with mostly outside commentary.  There is still a great deal of Steinbeck’s journals in Working Days, I was simply being impatient.

Although I find the East of Eden Letters to be more intriguing, a representation of a more beautiful life; Working Days is more inspirational.  Working Days takes you step by step through the trials of being a diligent writer, of actively being purposeful, of learning a routine.  The act of learning dedication to the craft was refreshing and encouraging, Working Days reminded me “See, even Steinbeck had to work for it.”  Where as East of Eden Letters just seemed like a magical dream, the routine having already been discovered and maintained properly.

Although I would never dream to compare my work to Steinbeck’s, I found pleasure and familiarity from his entry:

“This must be a good book.  It simply must.  I haven’t any choice.  It must be far and away the best thing I have ever attempted – slow but sure, piling detail on detail until a picture and experience emerge.  Until the whole throbbing thing emerges.”

Is that not what we writers say to ourselves every day?

This picture features about half my journal collection.

Although I have always kept journals, both personal and story related, more often than not a mixture of the two; reading Working Days has put me in a new mindset.  My first novel is in a place where I feel comfortable with putting an absolute deadline in motion.  Sure, I’ve said this before, but I mean it more now than I have in the past.  I’ve written about 1500 to 3000 words a day my whole life, on various different stories, some for my novel, many for writing warm ups.  AJ and Ivy’s Bookshop Hotel, link found on the right, is one of my many writing warm-ups.  The problem with many of my warm-ups is that I find them easy and cozy and their stories have no direction so sometimes I opt to linger there rather than get real work done.

So now I have a plan.

From now until December 12th, my deadline of choice, I am going to write one journal entry page per one page of work dedicated to completing my debut novel.  Parts One and Two of my novel are currently in the editing process, and Part Three will be complete in time for this deadline.  Copies will then be made and submitted to a selection of friends and family to read over.  This time next year, I plan to be published.  This time next year, I plan to be making a new plan to complete my next novel, many are half written in one of those journals you see on display to the left of the screen.  Smashwords, here I come.  Dutton, look out, I want you.

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Interview with S. Smith

June 15, 2012 at 4:07 am (Interviews) (, , , , , , , )

I’m excited to share with you all an interview with S. Smith, author of Seed Savers.  The book is my top favorite pick for young adults this week, this month, this year, and possibly this decade.  The interview may contain some spoilers.

1.       This is quite a political statement, was that your intention?

Not so much.  I think it was more about my love of good food.  Seed Savers is a love story starring home-grown food.  I love food—growing, harvesting, cooking, eating, and sharing it.  And I think a lot of people these days maybe are missing out on that.  I grew up on a small family farm and we always just ate what we grew, putting the fruit and veggies up for the winter and enjoying the goodness of how much better everything tasted than the “store kind.”  Sure, politics obviously comes into the book, but it’s much more than that.

2.      I read on your blog that Senate Bill S510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, inspired the story line.  But what made you choose to tell the story through the eyes of children for children, instead of writing a piece more geared towards adults?

Actually, although I mention Senate Bill S510 as being the idea behind my story, I believe I wrote Seed Savers prior to hearing about it.  I started writing Seed Savers in April of 2010, and most of the internet frenzy on the bill came out after that.  I think a friend told me about the bill after reading a draft of my story—it’s hard for me to remember exactly.  The inspiration for the book and the reason I wrote for children is covered in the blog titled “How It All Started”(May 2012).

3.       There are many documentaries floating around about the habits of companies similarly described in the history of your futuristic world.  Have you seen any of them? If so, which ones did you consider the most inspirational or informative? (I’d like to watch them.)

Here in Salem we enjoy the Salem Progressive Film Series, which is a “volunteer organization dedicated to educating and raising awareness of important current events.”  They bring in great documentaries and speakers once a month.  I have enjoyed going to many of these.  I’ve watched movies on water, dirt, food, urban gardening, MONSANTO, etc.  As mentioned in the “How It All Started” blog, Food, Inc. truly was a part of the inspiration for my book.

4.       You must be a gardener! What are your favorite household ‘crops’? (Mine are lemon balm and rosemary  – for the smell, of course.)

Oh my gosh.  Well I do live right in the center of town, so I only have a very limited amount of space for my own little garden, but I do love growing tomatoes—I’ve been starting my own from seed for about the last four years—and yes, the fresh herbs are wonderful (cilantro, basil, sage, rosemary, thyme, parsely, dill, oregano….).  I also have strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and one boysenberry bush.

5.       The lupines are a symbol of safety for the children during their flee from oppression to knowledge and fruitfulness (both literally and figuratively).  Why the lupine? Does it hold special significance for you?

Well, I think that’s covered in the book.  Mt. St. Helens is sort of in our backyard here in Oregon, so we get a lot of coverage about whatever is going on up there.  I either heard on t.v. or read somewhere that lupines were the first plant life to come back after the devastation of the volcanic eruption and I jotted it down to use in my book.  I still have the scrap of paper on which I wrote it down.

6.       Seed Savers is reminiscent of titles like The Giver and Invitation to the Game.  Do you often read dystopian society literature? What are your favorites?

The Giver is one of my favorites.  I also really love Fahrenheit 451 and The House of the Scorpion.

7.       Your book is peppered with verses from the Bible as well as symbols regarding Mother Earth.  Do you mind me asking about your religious beliefs? What’s your life’s mission statement? (This is something I find particularly fascinating about writers in general, how C.S. Lewis’ beliefs seeped into The Chronicles of Narnia, the infrastructure of Orson Scott Card’s science fiction and that of Mormonism, and so on…)

“To act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly…” 🙂  I am a Christian, but more importantly, I had to be true to my characters.  I didn’t want flat characters, and children at that age often do go to church and have strong beliefs.  My two favorite books, Peace Like a River and The Secret Life of Bees, both have spiritual themes running through them.  And let’s not forget that Twilight begins with a quote from Genesis.

I certainly hope the book can be viewed for all of its layers and not dismissed on account of some Bible verses.

8.       When can we expect Book Two in your series?  Have you written the whole series and just timing their releases or are you writing as you go? (I’m dying for the next installment already!)

Thanks! Book two, Lily, will probably be out sometime in August.  It is completed and in the editorial process right now.  Treasure will be available on Kindle devices soon (in process right now).  I have not written the entire series yet, but do have a brief outline.  I am currently about one quarter of the way through the first draft of book three.

9.       The kids do a lot of traveling as they run away from home to Canada, in the last third of the book.  Do you enjoy travel? Have you been to Canada? What are your favorite things about both your hometown and your favorite place to visit?

Is this a spoiler?  Yes, I enjoy traveling a lot, but as I get older, I dislike flying more and more.  I have been to Canada, but only British Columbia, not Quebec.

Oregon has often been referred to as “the Eden at the end of the Oregon Trail,” and for good reason.  It is very green here, and we have gorgeous lakes, rivers, and forests.  I live in the Willamette Valley, so when I go to a place without mountains in the horizon, it’s a bit disconcerting.

My favorite place to visit is Logan Pass on the Continental Divide at Glacier National Park in Montana.  Even though I live in a valley, I absolutely love standing on the top of high places and looking down.  🙂

10.   Is there anything you’d like to share about yourself or your work to your readers and fans that hasn’t already been discussed?

I think Seed Savers is very timely in regard to topics such as the urban garden movement, food deserts, childhood obesity, school gardens, etc. The science teacher at my school (who also has a gardening class) was very much of a help and encouragement to me as I was writing the story.  We like the idea of kids having a novel to read in science or gardening class for that literacy tie-in.  In regard to my writing process, I don’t always know what my characters are going to do next.  They often surprise me as much as they might surprise you (perhaps even more so!) 🙂

Thank you for interview!

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