INTERVIEW WITH CHERYL CAMPBELL
Today, we sit down with author Cheryl Campbell and learn a little more about her writing.
How long did it take to write your first book?
My first novel took me about three years to write. Five years if you could the first two of it rumbling around in my head and scribbled notes before I actually started putting something with substance down on paper. I pantsed my way through that first novel, so it ended up with loads of revisions and taking a while to pull together. I have since tweaked my writing style, so I'm much more organized and can complete a novel in right around a year's time.
What do you love most about your current novel?
I love the evolution of the protagonist, Dani Ireland. She's a survivor and fiercely independent (to the point of pushing others away to her own detriment) with a foul mouth and a hot temper. Her life circumstances change change and though she is a non-human, she exhibits a level of humanity and kindness that some of the actual humans in the story don't possess. Dani is an expert at surviving as a scavenger on a war-ravaged Earth, but she begins to learn how to live.
What is your quirkiest hobby?
I recently decided to teach myself how to paint with oils using paint knives, no brushes. I was struck by the beauty of it, and I've played around with learning how to do it myself. I end up with more paint on me than the canvas, but that is okay. I have a blast making a mess.
What are some of your favorite authors/books?
N.K. Jemisin has world building like I've never seen done before. The Broken Earth trilogy ranks up there with some of the best books I've ever read. I'm also a huge Martha Wells fan. Tolkien was my first trip into ready fantasy novels, so there's a soft spot in my heart for anything Tolkien.
INTERVIEW WITH PATRICE LOCKE
I am pleased to bring to you the input from a recent interview with the lovely Patrice Locke, author of several wonderful works of women's fiction.
Is writing your first profession?
Yes it is. I have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University. I worked as a reporter and editor for newspapers and radio stations for several years. Then I taught English from mid-school to college level. I'm now writing full-time--fiction, which allows for the happy endings journalism sometimes doesn't.
What are the favorite bodies of your work and why?
I have published three books. The one I'm working on is always my favorite. I think it has to be, though, I loved each project as it worked itself out. I'm not a planner when it comes to writing, so the process can be slow for me. I do lots and lots of rewrites and revisions, because the story takes shape for me as I go along. I always start with a big idea, but the roads to form that idea into a story have many forks and construction zones during the process. It's challenging, but one of my favorite things about writing.
From where do you derive writing inspiration?
My ideas just occur to me. The pivotal scene in EXIT SIGNS came to me in the Denver Airport where I was waiting for a flight. I imagined what would happen if two former lovers ran into each other and revealed some secrets that changed everything. For FRESH START, the initial idea was to write a character completely unlike myself--she's so confident that any sort of defeat isn't even in her vocabulary. Until she blows it all and has to change everything about herself. HAPPIEST MARRIAGE happened when I couldn't stop thinking about the EXIT SIGNS characters and wondered what they were up to three years later.
Tell us a little about your newest work.
My newest book is called THE HAPPIEST MARRIAGE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. It was released May 1st by Soul Mate Publishing. It's a story about a woman who seems to "have it all," but can't stop worrying that she could lose it all at any minute. Despite that dire sounding predicament, it's mostly a comedy.
INTERVIEW WITH VIRGINIA MCCULLOUGH
I sat down with Ms. Virginia McCullough to discuss her experiences and her books. She's a remarkably successful individual with some fantastic literature out there. Below is an excerpt from our conversation together.
Tell us something interesting or quirky about you.
For years, my friends have seen me as an eccentric ghostwriter of nonfiction books, and the keeper of all kinds of tidbits of information I've picked up from my clients. I worked with experts on an amazing array of topics from scientific studies on the sense of smell to near-death experiences to cancer treatments. On the other hand, it always comes to a surprise to people that I spent seven years living on a sailboat and had a sailing adventure with my kinds and their dad. I wouldn't trade those supertanker/sailboat ocean adventures for anything, and I've found ways to bring sailing/boating into books, most notably ISLAND HEALING, and LOVE, UNEXPECTED.
Where do you find your inspiration for writing?
It sounds like a cliche, but I've always considered myself lucky because I love to write- I enjoy the process itself, which provides inspiration. It can get tough to get a book right, but there's nothing quite like taking an idea and running with it. Ideas come from living and observing. Other writers inspire me, too. I try to capture ideas, and I force the books to line up and wait their turn before I can give it all my attention.
What is the most interesting writing project with which you have been affiliated to date?
My novels are all sources of fascination to me, of course, but one of my coauthored nonfiction books, THE OXYGEN REVOLUTION, was a true labor of love. It's about hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), and my coauthor, Dr. Paul Harch, is a pioneer in the field. His passion about HBOT drew me into the project. He and others have expanded uses of the technique to include traumatic brain injuries, stroke, and other neurological conditions. He's conducted studies with our returning soldiers suffering with post traumatic stress disorder, with important and truly life-changing results.
At what age did you begin writing novels?
It's easier to say I started reading novels as a little girl who brought a small, very beat-up suitcase to the library to carry her books back and forth. I started writing nonfiction first, then dabbled in fiction here and there in my 30s and 40s, but those bad drafts aren't fit to read, let alone publish. I'm happiest when I'm writing fiction, so I'll always make space for both women's fiction and romance- and now I'm contemplating a historical series.
If you could choose only one non-essential item (Essential = food, clothing, etc.) to retain for six months, what would it be?
I've been told that sodalite, such a beautiful blue stone, is associated with communication and writing. I love stones. I already have a lovely chunk of it on my desk.
Tell us a little about your upcoming book release.
I'm excited about the August release of A FAMILY FOR JASON, Book 1 of my new series for Harlequin Heartwarming, Back to Bluestone River. Bluestone River is a town that's been down on its luck for too long, but it may be ready for a comeback. A FAMILY FOR JASON is the story of Ruby and Mike, high school sweethearts with big plans. A tragedy- some also called it a scandal- ruined their chance for a future. But twenty years after graduation, Ruby and Mike each have a reason to return to Bluestone River. At its heart, the book is a reunion story. Books 2 and 3 also tell the stories of a few of Ruby and Mike's classmates. Each of the three books ends on a holiday, which is a fun element to use.
As an aside, A FAMILY FOR JASON is a favorite book of mine, as is Book 1 of my previous Two Moon Bay series, GIRL IN THE SPOTLIGHT. I got to use my love of figure skating to create a different type of reunion story.
Thank you, Virginia, for sharing your thoughts with us. Her books can be found on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, or at many of your local book sellers.
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