Author Interviews: Jessica Haight & Stephanie Robinson


We're rounding Feature Week out with our weekly dose of Author Interviews. It's a real treat to have gotten the chance to interview these lovely and always encouraging ladies. I'm excited to share their interviews with all of you. I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did. If you'd like to read more about them click here.

To my readers: Many thanks for always showing your support to my guests.

To Jessica and Stephanie: It's been a real pleasure. I wish you both blessings and success on your writing endeavors.




Brief Bio of Jessica Haight (first photo) & Stephanie Robinson (second photo):

  • Jessica: Jessica is a quintessential New Englander, harboring a desperate need to be near the ocean and a personal desire to experience the four seasons every year. Now at the age of 38, she lives in New Fairfield, CT with her wonderful boyfriend, James, her dog, Jack, and her cat, Bill. 
  • Stephanie: Stephanie is a 5th grade teacher and currently lives with her husband in a quiet town in Connecticut, though not as quaint as Ashpot. When she isn't working, she spends her time writing, reading, and traveling.












 1.) What made you want to be a writer?

  • Jessica: I have always loved stories, for as long as I can remember. I would say after I got over the devastation that I was probably not going to be an astronaut (terrible at math) becoming a writer was the only other thing there was for me to be.
  • Stephanie: Since I was a little girl I have loved reading and creating stories.  When I was younger I thought I would be a teacher during the year and spend the summer writing books (yes, that is plural).  I obviously didn’t understand how much time teaching and writing would actually take.

2.) How long have you been seriously pursuing a career in writing?

  • Jessica: I started looking for a literary agent for my children’s story, Ruby Begonia and the High-Heeled Sneakers about five years ago. Since the story has transformed into the middle grade book, The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow, the pursuit has become much more involved.
  • Stephanie: Ever since Jessica asked me to co-author The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow with her I have been actively pursuing my dreams of being a writer.

3.) If you had to choose three words to describe your writing nook/office, what would they be?

  • Jessica: Fun, inspirational, musical
  • Stephanie:  Clean, organized, inspirational

4.) Where do you draw most of your inspiration from?

  • Jessica: I would say that situations or events that have happened to me in my life, as well as the stories and characters I’ve read about that have really moved me.
  • Stephanie: Dreams, experiences, and the world of books has helped me to create Fairday’s world. 

5.) Give us a one sentence pitch for your first novel.

  • Jessica: Follow along with Fairday and her friends, as “spooky” meets “lovely” in this twisting tale of dark secrets and hidden pasts.

6.) What are some of the projects that you are currently working on completing?

  • Jessica: Almost all of my time is currently devoted to the promotion of The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow. However, Stephanie and I are also currently working on book two in the Fairday Morrow series, The Talking Library.
  • Stephanie: Along with what Jess said, we are also continuing to review books, interview authors, and showcase local bookstores in our newest feature. Visit here for more info.

7.) What are some of your recent publications?


8.) Are you an outliner or a seat-of-your-pantser?

  • Jessica: By the seat of my pants is how I roll : )
  • Stephanie: Mostly the seat of my pants, but we both spend hours talking about our ideas and characters. So technically, we do a lot of verbal outlining and occasionally we map out our ideas on paper. We change things as we write though!

9.) If you could only own one book, what would it be? Why?

  • Jessica: Stardust, Being a Romantic in the Realm of Faerie by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Charles Vess. It is the most magical story I have ever read.
  • Stephanie:  Harry Potter- if I could have the whole series. Otherwise I would have to select Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  Reading with Harry is magic.

10.) Favorite childhood book/books?

  • Jessica: The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson and The Twelve Dancing Princesses by the Brothers Grimm.
  • Stephanie: As a child I read everything I could get my hands on.  I was a huge Nancy Drew fan and read the whole series. I also loved Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, and Madeleine L’Engle.

11.) If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

  • Jessica: I have to say J.K. Rowling. I would turn into jello, but I would have to pick her. She is the master of her craft.
  • Stephanie: Sorry to be boring- but I would also have to meet J.K. Rowling. First of all because I am in awe of her writing. Secondly, because if Jess met her and I didn’t I would be green with envy (I would probably cry).

12.) If you could meet one character in a book, who would it be? Why?

  • Jessica: Morpheus or Death from the Sandman Series- it would be so cool to meet one of The Endless.
  • Stephanie: Hmmm... That’s a hard one- I want to meet so many of them. I think I would pick Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. She is so strong, clever, and brave. 

13.) Where do you hope to be as a writer in five years?

  • Jessica: Finishing up book five in the Fairday Morrow series.
  • Stephanie: Ditto!  :)

14.) Favorite quote/personal motto:

  • Jessica: You love it!
  • Stephanie: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” ~Wayne Gretzky

15.) If you could give any advice to other writers, what would it be?

  • Jessica: If you believe in yourself, and dedicate your time and energy to pursuing what you want, it will happen.
  • Stephanie: Write because you love it and you have a story to share. Once you have your work down on paper it may be a long road to where you want to be. Believe in yourself because if you don’t then no one else will.  If you don’t try, you won’t succeed!

The Adventures of Baby Jaimie by Jaimie Hope

♬ On the third day of Feature Week, I will bring to you:
The Adventures of Baby Jaimie ♬

Okay, I'm having too much fun. lol Most of you know that I mostly write adult fiction, but I've been branching out with a few budding ideas here and there for both children's books and young adult books. I'm excited to be helping promote this children's book by Jaimie Hope. I have stage fright even now, and it was so much worse when I was a kid. I hope you enjoy the post. If you'd like to read more about Jaimie or her book visit here.




Brief Bio:

Jaimie Hope was born in New York and it was in high school, when she joined the newspaper staff and decided she wanted to be a writer. Jamie received her Associates degree in 1999. Then she moved to Florida where she was an active volunteer in the local historical society and remained active in the arts. In 2005 Jaimie wrote her first children's book, The Adventures of Baby Jaimie, published in 2006 and Who Says You Can"t Go Home? in 2008. The Adventures of Baby Jaimie: Baby Jaimie Goes to School in 2010. Her Autobiography, Roll With It followed by the third volume in her children's series, The Adventures of Baby Jaimie: Baby Jaimie Gets Stage Fright, and her first Paranormal Romance, When You Come Back To Me Again were released in 2011.

About The Adventures of Baby Jaimie:

Baby Jaimie is in her first year of school. She has made a lot of friends and learned a lot of things. Now she will learn what it means to be a team player when she is in her very first play. Follow Baby Jaimie as she learns the lesson, there are no small parts, only small actors.



Excerpt:

    "Please quiet down class," Mrs. Johnson said as she entered the room.Mrs. Johnson was Baby Jaimie's kindergarten teacher. All the kids liked her, especially Baby Jaimie. The kids all quieted down and turned their gaze to their teacher. "Sorry I'm late," Mrs. Johnson continued as she put a pile of books on her desk. "I had to speak to our principal, Mr. White. I have a surprise for all of you. We're going to do a play."

    The kids looked at one another and then back to Mrs. Johnson. Finally, Baby Jaimie asked, "What's a play?"

 Mrs. Johnson smiled and wondered aloud, "How can I best describe a play to you? 

     There was a long pause and Baby Jaimie was starting to think her teacher didn't even know when she heard the woman clear her throat and say, "A play is like a story that is acted out on stage."


    "Like on television?" Dennis said from the back row.

    "Yes, just like on television!" Mrs. Johnson said. She was relieved someone in the class understood what she meant. 

    "What story are we going to be acting out?" Baby Jaimie's best friend, Jane asked.

    "I don't know, Jane. There's so many wonderful stories to choose from I can't decide. That's why I brought this pile of books in with me today. We're going to go through them, so we can decide which one we want to do. Won't that be fun?"

    The whole class cheered in reply. When they finally quieted down again Mrs. Johnson had them sit in a circle on the rug, like they did every day for story time. Today, instead of reading a book she would just read them the titles of each book and tell them what they were about. There were too many to read in one day and they still had to cover their lessons for the day.

Info: Yesterday's and today's posts were brought to you by Rebecca Camarena from Pump Up Your Book. Check out her blog here.

A Boy Called Duct Tape by Christopher Cloud

 It's Feature Week here at The Writer's Block. I have/will post Monday-Thursday great works by some talented authors. I am happy to have been asked to host Christopher Cloud's book A Boy Called Duct Tape. I hope that you'll enjoy the post. For more information about Cloud and his book, please visit here.

Brief Bio:

Christopher Cloud admits he came to literature late in life. “I was in my 60s before I developed a real interest in writing fiction,” he said. A Boy Called Duct Tape is Cloud’s debut middle-grade novel. It is a first-person account of three Latino children searching for the “lost treasure” of Jesse James.

Cloud began writing children’s fiction after a long career in journalism and public relations. He graduated from the University of Missouri in 1967 with a degree in journalism. He has worked as a reporter, editor, and columnist for newspapers in Texas, California, and Missouri. His work has appeared in many national publications, including Time Magazine.

He was employed by Sun Oil Company, Philadelphia, as a public relations executive, and later operated his own PR agency. He created the board game Sixth Sense in 2002. The game sold at independent bookstores nationwide.

Cloud said his next project is a young-adult novel. “I have written the first draft of a story I’m calling 16 And In Love,” Cloud said. “This story—like A Boy Called Duct Tape—is multicultural.”

Cloud lives in Joplin, Missouri.

Synopsis of A Boy Called Duct Tape:

Twelve-year-old Pablo Perez is a poor kid without much going for him. His classmates at his Jamesville, Missouri middle school have dubbed Pablo “Duct Tape” because his tattered discount-store sneakers are held together with…you guessed it, duct tape. He can’t escape the bullying.

The story opens. While swimming with Pia, his 9-year-old sister, Pablo finds a $20 gold piece on the bottom of the river. Pablo and Pia are tightlipped about the find until their sophisticated city cousin, Kiki Flores, 13, an aspiring journalist, comes to visit. Pablo tells her about the rare old coin. She suggests they have it appraised, and they take the gold piece to a local coin dealer, Earl Blood.

The coin dealer is without scruples. He knows the coin is valuable, but tells Pablo it isn’t worth much, and offers him a hundred dollars. No deal, Pablo says, and Blood secretly switches coins, replacing the valuable coin with a worthless one. To his horror, Pablo later discovers the deceit, but Blood is nowhere to be found.

During a local celebration, held every Memorial Day in tribute to Jesse James, the town’s namesake, the trio of would-be adventurers buys an old Jesse James treasure map for one dollar. The map shows the “lost treasure” of Jesse James located in a secret cave not far from where Pablo found the $20 gold piece. Could it be a coincidence? Pablo doesn’t think so, and he and his sister and cousin make preparations to explore the cave, even though Pablo knows there is no cave where the map indicates.

Pablo realizes cave exploration can be tricky, and he makes a deal with Monroe Huff, an eccentric spelunker: If Monroe will help them find the cave and the treasure, Pablo will share the booty with him. Pablo, however, does not trust Monroe, who has explored many of the world’s caves. Monroe’s unsightly appearance is the source of Pablo’s mistrust. Monroe’s big ambition in life is to explore the deepest cave in the world, located in Turkey.

After accidentally stumbling upon the cave, Monroe leads Pablo, Pia, and Kiki on a terrifying three-day odyssey into the treacherous network of natural tunnels beneath Bear Mountain, where the map shows the treasure is located. The subterranean journey is rout with danger.

The treasure hunters fall victim to Earl Blood, who has been trailing them in hopes of discovering the treasure for himself. At the point of Blood’s rifle, our three young detectives and their guide enter a place on the map called the Cathedral, a magnificent chamber of stalactites and stalagmites resembling more closely a futuristic city than a cave. They find the treasure of gold and silver coins in an old steamer trunk, along with a letter from Jesse James.

An earthquake suddenly rocks the cave. Earthquakes are not that uncommon in that part of Missouri, and Earl Blood dies from a falling stalactite. In what seems to be an act of madness—the cave falling apart around them—Monroe tosses Pia into an underground river.

Pia is swept away. Pablo and Kiki jump into the swirling waters in an effort to rescue Pia. All three are carried out of the cave and down a dark, limestone conduit that spills into the James River and safety. Pablo realizes his suspicions about Monroe were misguided. By throwing Pia into the river, he has saved them.

Three backpacks filled with treasure tumble into the river behind them, apparently thrown in by Monroe. They are recovered. Monroe and the other treasure-laded backpack, however, vanish. Has Monroe died in the earthquake?

Missouri claims ownership of the fortune, but our three explorers are ultimately awarded the treasure, valued at more than $10 million. Pablo and Pia receive a gift in the mail that Christmas. They immediately recognize the gift—a woodcarving found by Monroe in the cave. Pablo looks at the return address on the package: Turkey. Pablo and Pia are ecstatic. Monroe is alive and well, and fulfilling his lifelong dream of exploring the world’s deepest cave.

Excerpt:

I thought I was drowning.

I was ten feet below the surface of the water and I was out of air. Totally. My lungs were screaming at me to suck in a big breath, and the muscles in my arms and legs were on fire. Pushing through the pain and the fear, I kicked and clawed at the water like a drowning rat. I expected my heart to explode.

I didn’t remember Harper’s Hole being this deep.

I could see the splinters of sunlight glimmering on the surface of the creek above—I was only a measly breaststroke away from reaching it—when my brain flashed an urgent order: Breathe! Now! But I couldn’t. If I did, my lungs would fill with water and I would sink like a rock.

Socialpunk Trilogy by Monica Leonelle: Blog Tour

It's Monday. And I don't know about you, but it's one of those multiple cups of coffee kind of days. If you're in need of some much needed literary escape like I am, I've got just the thing for you. Monica Leonelle invited me to the Blog Tour for her trilogy Socialpunk. It's been loads of fun, and I wanted to share it with you (because y'all are my favorite people). :)

I had the privilege of having a short interview with Monica, and I think you'll enjoy it and her book.

Many thanks to Monica for including The Writer's Block.



Brief Bio:

Monica Leonelle is a well-known digital media strategist and the author of three novels. She blogs at Prose on Fire and shares her her writing and social media knowledge with other bloggers and authors through her Free Writer Toolkit.


What made you want to become a writer?
  • I don't feel like people choose to be writers; sometimes writing is just the way you express yourself. I definitely got to the point where I didn't feel like I could do anything else with my life. I mean, I love marketing and editing as well, but that's because they involve writing.

  • People who want to be writers just write all the time. They can't help themselves. I used to sing all the time in my school choir and for some reason after high school I just gave it up. I was good—I had solos, parts in the musical, etc. But I gave it up anyway. I could never make it as a singer because I didn't have enough passion. Most people can't make it as writers because they don't have enough passion.
If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be? And why?
  • That would have to be Jace from the Mortal Instruments series. He's so hot and funny. (Well, aside from the most recent book.)
Give us a one-sentence pitch for your book.
  • If you're on the fence about reading Socialpunk, the book is original and fast-paced and like nothing you've ever read before; if you enjoy stuff like The Matrix, Inception, Minority Report, or the Terminator movies, you might like this book too.

Who is your favorite character in Socialpunk? Why?
  • I would have to say Ima, as she's the main character and the book is told entirely from her point of view. What I love about her is how much she changes from the beginning of the book to the end. She feels very guilty and is constantly struggling with right vs. wrong. She's probably one of my favorite characters out of all the ones I've written.

  • However, I think I would be Ember. She's one of the Socialpunks and she's very beautiful. She has long hair that is literally rainbow-colored—each strand is a different hue. She seems kind of terrible in the first book but hopefully she redeems herself with readers in later books.

Where did you draw your inspiration for Socialpunk?
  • I wouldn't say any one thing is my inspiration, because that doesn't create anything new. You create new things by combining inspirations from all sorts of different sources and then adding your own touch or twist. But if you want to be inspired, you should expose yourself to all sorts of media—books, television, movies, radio, art museums, you name it. If you are writing one book you should consume at least ten books, ten movies, ten TV shows, ten songs, etc. to prepare. It doesn't matter if they are related or not—in fact, the more diverse, the better. And how much fun is it that I just told you to watch TV in order to do work? You're welcome for that.
What advice would you like to give to other writers?

  • Writers should inject their marketing directly into their manuscripts. Writers often think of marketing as this separate thing from writing, but it's not at all. 80-90% of books are sold through word-of-mouth and most of the marketability of a book is right there in the manuscript. So even if you are going the traditional route, if you are serious about getting published you should hire an editor to go through your book and see how marketable it is. Traditional publishers are looking for marketable books. It's a business and they need to make money.

  • Then, you launch your book by asking people to read it. If it's any good you'll start getting word-of-mouth for your book. My goal is to give away one thousand copies of the book during its launch. I'm maybe a fifth of the way there so far? It's a lot of work, more than most people realize. I write about this stuff constantly on my Prose on Fire newsletter, so if these concepts interest you, you can check it out here: Prose On Fire.

About Socialpunk:

Ima would give anything to escape The Dome and learn what’s beyond its barriers, but the Chicago government has kept all its citizens on lockdown ever since the Scorched Years left most of the world a desert wasteland. When a mysterious group of hooded figures enters the city unexpectedly, Ima uncovers a plot to destroy The Dome and is given the choice between escaping to a new, dangerous city or staying behind and fighting a battle she can never win.

You can pick up a copy here:

Contest Info:




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Author Interview: Rena J. Traxel



Happy Thursday, friends!

I was privileged enough to get to interview the lovely Rena J. Traxel. Rena writes fractured fairy tales which I think is wonderful, as I am a huge fairy tale fan. Earlier this year, I predicted in my post Midday Coffee and Fairy Tales: Trends for 2012 that fairy tales would be the "what's in" this year. What do you think?

Rena, thank you for joining us. It's been a pleasure.

Brief Bio:

  • Rena J. Traxel creates stories and poems for children. She is obsessed with fairy tales. Her obsession sparked the idea for her debut fantasy series loosely based off a fairy tale. She recently won Miranda Paul’s Mix-It Up Writing Contest for her fractured fairy tale – Totenkinder: sweet old lady or cold hearted murder? You can read more about Rena here.

1.) What made you want to be a writer?

  • I’ve always loved writing but it wasn’t until I took a class in children’s literature that I realized I was supposed to be a writer. I wrote an original fairy tale for the class and my teacher loved it and encouraged me to get it published. Writing that fairy tale reminded me how much I loved writing and I finally had the courage to pursue my dream job.

2.) How long have you been seriously pursuing a career in writing?

  • Three years ago. I withdrew from the sociology program at the University of Alberta and transferred into the Professional Writing program at Grant MacEwan University.

3.) If you had to choose three words to describe your writing nook/office, what would they be?

  • Library. Post-its. Window.

4.) Where do you draw most of your inspiration from?

  • I read a lot. I also happened to be married to an overgrown child a.k.a my muse. He works hard so that I can stay at home and write, having someone believe in you that much is powerful. Anytime I feel I can’t write another word my husband reminds me that I can and if I’m really stuck he talks the problem out with me. I also turn to my favourite books: Spiderwick Chronicles, Shifter, Black Book of Secrets, Hug Time, How to Train a Dragon and remind myself that all these wonderful authors had to start somewhere. I study their books and take note of what works and then think about what is working in my own writing.

5.) Give us a one sentence pitch for your first novel.

  • After refusing to turn over the Black Witch’s magical book, Alivia Fair finds herself trapped inside an enchanted castle where she comes face-to-face with the legendary Sleeping Beauty, whom Alivia is destined to kill.

6.) What are some of the projects that you are currently working on completing?

  • Death of Sleeping Beauty is the title of book one in my middle grade fantasy series. It is complete and I will begin the pitch process in the next couple of months while writing the sequel The Cursed Mirror. In between writing a novel I’m working on some short stories and poems that relate to my novel in someway (mostly fractured fairy tales) and getting them ready for submission to children’s magazine. But some of my poems and short stories I share on my blog.

7.) What are some of your recent publications?

  • I’m constantly posting new material on my blog. I have a handful of articles in the local newspaper (Stony Plain Reporter). I’ve turned to my attention to getting my stories and poems for children published. Recently my fractured fairy tale Totenkinder won Miranda Paul’s Mix-It Up Writing contest.  My story can be found on my blog or on Miranda’s blog.

8.) Are you an outliner or a seat-of-your-pantser?

  • I’m mostly a seat-of-my-pantser as a lot of my ideas come to me in the middle of the night and I just go with it. For my debut novel I had to go back and create an outline to double check that I didn’t miss anything and it will help keep on track when I start writing book two, three, and four in the series.

9.) If you could only own one book, what would it be? Why?

  • Spiderwick Chronicles: The Completely Fantastical Edition by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi because I re-read it all the time. The story is a simple, entertaining tale about fairies, and monsters. I get to transport myself into another world while reading these books. I want my novel to have the same effect on my readers.

10.) Favorite childhood book/books?

  • Berenstain Bears, Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene (I have my entire collection on display in my house), and Goosebumps by R.L. Stine.  I also liked (and still do) Archie and Spiderman comics.

11.) If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

  • This is a toss up between Janice Hardy and Arthur Slade. I’m constantly referring to Jancie’s blog The Other Side of the Story for help with writing my novel. Arthur Slade is award winning Canadian author. Both of these authors could provide me with a wealth of knowledge about the publishing world and writing in general. My interactions with Arthur on Twitter leads me to believe he would be an approachable and cool guy to go and have a coffee with. Janice is constantly giving back to the writing community. I have no doubt that she would be a nice, down to earth lady to talk to.

12.) If you could meet one character in a book, who would it be? Why?

  • Dark Wing Duck because he is silly and he was one of my favourite childhood heroes.  I actually met him as a child when I went to Disneyland. I still have his autograph somewhere. I remember there being long lines to meet the princesses and all I wanted was to get Dark Wing Duck’s autograph. Characters like DW remind me not to take myself so seriously and infuse my work with humour.

13.) Where do you hope to be as a writer in five years?

  • I hope to have book one and two in my fantasy series published and book three on its way to publication. I also want to have handful of stories and poems published in various children’s magazines. I’m obsessed with fairy tales and my work is influenced by this obsession. But my biggest problem with traditional fairy tales (Basile, Perrault, Grimm) is the way women are portrayed in them. I want to empower women through my writing, but I also want to encourage children to be children.  Someone once told me that Canadians couldn’t write.  Practicing my craft in a way is a reaction to that comment. In five years I’m hoping I will be a better writer and I will be known for my fractured fairy tales.

14.) Favorite quote/personal motto:

  • “Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.” – Mark Twain
  • “Remember your childhood… and pass it on.” – Mike Kunkel

15.) If you could give any advice to other writers, what would it be?

  • If you need help ask the writing community as writers are generally giving, but make sure to give back and always thank those who have helped you.

National Poetry Month: How to Write Haiku


It's national poetry month! Yay for all us nerdy poets in the world. :)

I've been learning about how to write Haiku lately, so I figured I'd dedicate my contribution to poetry month to the fabulous art of Haiku.

Let's begin. In order to write traditional Haiku, you must:
  1. Have three lines. The first must be 5 syllables, the second 7 syllables, and the third 5 syllables again.
  2. Have a seasonal reference. (i.e. Spring, Winter, Summer, etc.)
  3. Have a surprise ending (sometimes beginning).
  4. Have two sensory descriptions.
Visit here for more detailed information.

Here's an example of one of mine:

A Spring's risen sun,
A promise of hope to keep,
Too bad Mondays lie.

There I have my three lines, the seasonal reference (Spring), and my two sensory descriptions (risen sun and Mondays lie), and my surprise ending.

I was reading in my Writer's Digest that some writers of Haiku have chosen to not limit themselves with the syllable count. That's fine too, but adhering to them makes it a bit more interesting and challenging for me.

For more poetry fun, head over to Rena Traxel's blog. I was lucky enough to be a part of her month of poetry. You can read my interview here. She will be featured here in an author interview on Thursday. I hope you will stop back by then.

Writing Exercise:
Now it's time to have some fun. Take a moment and write a Haiku (traditional or not), and post it in the comment section. :)

In the beginning was the Word...



Words are immortal. Ever thought about that? They are living. Whoever coined the phrase, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me," was fooling themselves. Sticks and stones do hurt, but words cut deeper. They are powerful and can be used to bring great joy or great sadness.

I've been doing some soul searching lately about why I am drawn to words and writing so much. It's has been my passion since I was a child. I've come to realize that writing is a part of my purpose. There is a wonderful book by Max Lucado (my favorite Christian writer) entitled Cure for the Common Life that explains how to have a full, exciting life. It's all about living what you love and loving what you do. Whatever you naturally excelled at as a child, is a gift that you've been given by God. Those passions, if pursued, are what will make our lives fulfilling and purposeful.

John 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."Words were a part of my life in the beginning and have been since. I'm sure a lot of you can relate. God uses words. God uses a book. And they live.

So, too, will our words on a much smaller scale. If you asked Shakespeare in 1616 if he thought he'd still be the most famous dramatist in the year 2012, I'm pretty sure he'd say no. But, he is. There is no way of knowing how beloved our works may become after death, so it's important to choose words carefully, yet boldly.

Although, for most of you who are reading this, writing a successful book is a dream, but writing can only be rewarding if kept in right perspective. We need to always make time to spend with our family and our friends. We need to build relationships and cherish them. Great writers love deeply and choose to look at life in a beautiful way and share their beautiful vision with others through words.

I pray that this Spring offers new perspective and inspiration for your work and your life (and mine too for that matter). Life is truly good.

Blessings.

Photos by Favim.

Author Interview: Christine Rice


Brief Bio: Christine Rice is the author of: Poetry for the Heart (2007, 2012), Essays for the Soul (2008, 2012), and My Not-So-Ordinary Life (2009, 2012). She is in the process of writing two more books that are scheduled to publish in 2012. More about Christine can be found here.

1.) What made you want to be a writer?

The book The Weight Loss Diaries by Courtney Rubin. She is a journalist and the book is a compilation of her columns. It sounded like a great career and I immediately started pursuing a writing career.

2.) How long have you been seriously pursuing a career in writing?

Since 2005 when I got my own computer. I began writing essays and poems on it that later became books.

3.) If you had to choose three words to describe your writing nook/office, what would they be?

Comfortable, decorative, practical.

4.) Where do you draw most of your inspiration from?

Mostly from within - my muse, my thoughts, my feelings - and from my experiences and the books I read.

5.) Give us a one sentence pitch for your first novel.

Poetry for the Heart is a book of twenty-two poems that portray emotions and experience about writing, writers, creativity, life, self-awareness, careers, childhood, beauty, animals, and more, that will surely touch your heart.

6.) What are some of the projects that you are currently working on completing?

I am writing two books, Chronicles of a Troubled Girl and Freelance Writing Guide, that are due to be published by the end of this year.

7.) What are some of your recent publications?

Aside from writing books and blogging, I write book reviews. One of them is for the book: Get Between the Covers: Leave a Legacy by Writing a Book by Neil Shulman and Eric Spencer, available here.

8.) Are you an outliner or a seat-of-your-pantser?

Most of the time I outline, whether it’s on paper or my thoughts before writing. I think it’s important for writing to be organized.

9.) If you could only own one book, what would it be? Why?

On Writing by Stephen King, because not only is it a book about writing, which are my favorite to read, but it’s also a memoir and that makes it extra special.

10.) Favorite childhood book/books?

The Nancy Drew series, The Dolanganger Series by V.C. Andrews, and Christopher Pike books.

11.) If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

Geneen Roth, because she’s one of my favorite authors and seems like a down-to-earth person.

12.) If you could meet one character in a book, who would it be? Why?

Sylvia Plath (she wrote The Bell Jar, which is a memoir, so she’s the main character), because I understand her, and I feel like I could help her and be a good friend to her.

13.) Where do you hope to be as a writer in five years?

I hope to have many more books and ebooks published.

14.) Favorite quote/personal motto:

The purpose of life is to live, learn, and love.

15.) If you could give any advice to other writers, what would it be?

Follow your heart and do what makes you happy, because happiness is the most important part of life.