What is your book about?
My first novel entitled Bye For Now is the first installment in a young adult series. The story begins with Callie, the book’s main character, a woman, presently in her midyears. She is our narrator. During a quiet moment of mundane daily activity, as Callie is partially attuned to TV, a real life American tragedy begins to play out on the screen. It’s a traumatic—a horrific—event with unspeakable impacts on the human psyche. To escape the horror on the TV, Callie’s subconscious triggers the narrative and the book’s story commences to unfold, in detail.
Callie’s escape into her subconscious takes her back to her high school years. She’s on summer vacation at her grandparent’s lakeside cottage in northern Vermont, within spitting distance of the Canadian frontier. Life is slow. Life is rich. Pastoral Vermont scenes are carefully crafted with vivid imagery straight out of Callie’s memories of her youth. There’s the first hot flush of young love. There are soul nourishing family scenes of meals and recreational events. Each character is carefully painted in true-to-life brush strokes.
The character descriptions validate the youth Callie has experienced. There is special emphasis on the power of family connection to influence our future life in positive, uplifting ways. Later on, as Callie matures and the tale flows into her college years, troubling events are resolved in ways that hark back to the power and influence of her early family life. As the story proceeds, the pace picks up and the emotions conveyed take a tighter grip on the reader’s attention. Intensity grows as awkward social situations are recalled and irreconcilable adult enigmas are replayed.
How much of you is hidden in the characters in this book?
Much of this book is loosely based on my life growing up and visiting my grandparents in Vermont each summer. The lines blurred with fiction to grow this tail of love and loss.
What inspired you to write this particular story?
I have always wanted to write a book about youth and young love. My friend and fellow author, Sharisse Coulter, helped push me in the right direction to get this book started. When the Newtown Massacre took place on that fateful day December 14, 2012 I knew I had to incorparate that into my story. This town was my hometown and it struck a chord deep inside me releasing this tragic tale.
Who is the most unusual character or likeable character?
Aunt Marilyn is the quirkiest in this story. She tends to talk to inanimate objects throughout the tale giving the reader the willies while Maddie gives the reader the laughs. Maddie with her colorful language and Italian phrases will have you laughing out loud.
What challenges did you face writing this book?
I have three very active boys at home ages 17, 14, and 11. Between getting them to their practices, games and music lessons at home it was difficult at time to carve out writing time.
Why would people relate to your characters?
I believe everyone has a story to tell of love and loss. The world was impacted by Sandy Hooks tragic event and I feel everyone can connect on a certain level with these characters that are involved.
What are you working on right now?
Currently I am finishing up some interior design of my second book, Even Willows Weep, the second book in this trilogy. It should be published by the end of May, 2016
How long did it take you to write your book?
This is an unusual answer to this question. Two weeks. Yes, you read that right. My friend, Sharisse, challenged me with writing a book in 14 days. This required writing 5,000 words a day to have a finished product in two weeks with 75,000 words. I had no idea what that entailed until I agreed to do it. What an undertaking, however the words just flowed. I enjoyed every second of it because I was prepared having had this story in my head since I was 14.
What advice do you have for other authors?
I would say just sit down and get started. Just write and let the words flow not worrying about sentence structure or grammar. Then when you edit make sure you find an editor that gets you. I mean really gets you. My editor, Keltin Barney, has been a god-send. He truly understands what I’m saying and where I’m going with my characters and plot.
Who did your designed cover?
I found Ivan Terzic from Czechoslovakia, on a website called 99designs. He was a great find and has produced the cover of my second book as well. I plan to continue working with him on future covers as I have one last book to write in the trilogy. I also have a non fiction book in the works.