Guest Post: Writing My Heart

February Grace author photo

I’m very pleased to welcome my friend, February Grace, our first guest blogger at The Writing Life.

Writing My Heart

By February Grace

I’m always somewhat taken aback when people ask me why I wrote a particular story; but never before has it been more difficult to explain than it is with my fifth novel, published this month by Booktrope, called WISHING CROSS STATION.

You see, it’s a darker story than ones I’ve told in the past through my novels, and seeing that work, ‘dark’, in the description has given some people who are familiar with my work pause.

Why did I choose to write darker subject matter and tone than on previous projects?

Why did I choose to write a book about a time-traveling college student who gets himself into more than he ever bargained for?

After thinking of possible answers to those questions and especially the first one, “Why?” I realized the answer is incredibly simple.

I wrote my heart.

With each of my books I have written what was in my heart; and I know that’s not exactly what is in style these days, but it is the only way I can write. If I tried to write to market trends or predictions and forecasts then the magic of words; the power that the characters have to take up residence in my soul and dictate their stories to me, would be all but completely lost.

I know what they say about selling books, about branding, about… everything that authors are supposed to be paying attention to these days if they want to be successful.

That brings me to what I have, at the age of 44, come to define as success.

It is something different than I even might have thought it was a year ago; certainly five years ago, if you asked me what being a successful writer meant.

To me, now, being a successful writer is about telling the tales of those in my heart, wherever they may come from (whether from a painting I’ve done, as did Marigold in WISHING CROSS STATION, or from an event in my life that made me experience a certain feeling I needed and wanted to express in fiction in another way.) That way they have their chance at life, their chance to find hearts that will connect to them on a soul-level, even though they happen to be fictional people.

Often, I have found fictional people to be some of the most influential I have ever acquainted myself with.

Stories have power, beyond the words they are comprised of. When the characters really work together, when the strength and wisdom of one quietly offsets the youth and inexperience of another and yet both end up learning something; that is a story I feel is worth telling.

How we deal with life, loss and love in its many variations in life are the stuff of which WISHING CROSS STATION is made; and writing it was a deeply moving and also a valuable, freeing experience for me.

I can’t imagine how I would write if I didn’t write my heart.

It’s the same way when I pick up a paint brush, or a pencil to draw.

It’s the same way when I rearrange the design of my home (my poor husband has to do the actual furniture moving, but I digress) so that the cat can finally have that sunny spot by the small window he has been longing for since the day we moved into this apartment.

I decorate with my heart, just as I do all things.

It may not exactly always turn out to be the trendiest, forward-thinking creation, whatever I end up with; sometimes it may reflect times past in the way that only hindsight can; with perfect, crystal clarity.

Why did I write a ‘darker’ novel like WISHING CROSS STATION?

Because Keigan had a story that I needed to tell, and so did Marigold. Their existence, even if confined to the pages of a book, matters to me.

I hope that if you choose to read and come along with them on their journey, it will matter to you, too. That my heart will speak to yours, and in that one moment of human connection, we will have transcended time and distance itself, souls meeting on an equal plane, no matter who we are or what our place in life may be.

We will have shared something beyond a simple story. We will share, for a little while, the lives of people who came into being because my heart insisted they must; and to me, that is the very best reason of all to write anything.

~*~

ABOUT FEBRUARY GRACE

February Grace is an author, poet, and artist from Southeast Michigan. In previous novels, she has introduced readers to characters with clockwork hearts, told of romantic modern-day fairy godparents, and reimagined a legend, centuries old. Now, in her fifth novel with Booktrope, readers will board the special at WISHING CROSS STATION and embark on a trip through time. She is more than mildly obsessed with clocks, music, colors, meteor showers, and steam engines.

Find out more about her by visiting www.februarywriter.blogspot.com or connecting with her on Twitter @februarygrace

A Decent Woman is Eleanor Parker Sapia’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico. The book was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends Latino Book Club. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia where she is writing her second historical novel, The Island of Goats.

http://www.eleanorparkersapia.com

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW: ANESA MILLER

The Writing Life is very pleased to welcome, Anesa Miller, author of the debut novel, Our Orbit.

AMiller

Anesa Miller is a recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council. She studied writing at Kenyon College and the University of Idaho. Her work has been published in The Kenyon Review, The California Quarterly, the Southern Humanities Review, and others. Her debut novel, Our Orbit, releases from Booktrope of Seattle in June 2015. Anesa currently divides her time between Ohio and the Pacific Northwest.

What is your book’s genre?

That’s a question I’m especially interested in! Debate has been raging recently over what defines the various genres. Mine is a bit controversial, but I’ll claim it anyway: literary fiction. I can also call my book “contemporary fiction,” in hopes people won’t consider me a snob!

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Please describe what Our Orbit is about.

Our Orbit is set in the 1990s and follows a series of encounters between two families who’ve lived in the same small town for generations but have rarely crossed paths. They live on the proverbial opposite sides of the tracks. After losing both of her parents, the youngest daughter from the poor family enters a new world when she is placed in foster care with the educated, middle-class family. The young foster parents quickly come to love their “new little girl.” Then they meet the rest of her relatives: brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins. Connections and conflicts ensue.

How did you come up with the title?

I ran through an array of titles over the almost 8 years that the basic plot spent as a short story. I settled on “Our Orbit” because it suggests a homey routine as well as cosmic balance: Things held at a distance but in a kind of harmony. After I chose this title, I stumbled upon the phrase “our orbit” in Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird. That book focuses on children and everyday life in a small town with social problems, so I felt encouraged and stopped trying to think of a better title. You see, earlier, I had gotten some criticism that readers might assume my book was science fiction because of the term “orbit.” I finally decided not to worry about that.

What is the reason you wrote Our Orbit?

At first, I had a very intellectual purpose in writing the story. I wanted to portray conflicting beliefs among people who can’t simply ignore each other or pretend their views are compatible. The foster child in the story brings notions to her new home that could be considered far-out. For example, she believes that her uncle was abducted by aliens—her whole family supported this legend. But the foster mother feels threatened because her biological children are younger and might pick up wacky ideas.

This struck me as a serious, yet potentially comical, scenario that would be fun to explore in fiction. But over the years that it took me to draft the complete novel, I came to realize that I had subconscious reasons for gravitating to my topic. I lost my mother when I was 16 and my father when I was 26. Although I was never in a foster care system, I have a natural sympathy for children—and adults for that matter—who’ve experienced a loss of family. I wrote three novels before I really noticed that this theme runs throughout my work: the condition of being an orphan. Or of young people whose parents are alive but unavailable to care for them.

What is your favorite part of writing? 

My favorite part of the writing process is when some new insight comes clear to me—like in the situation described above, when I saw the obvious connection between my characters’ situation and patterns in my own life. On the surface nothing was similar; only the subconscious link.

And in the writing life, my favorite thing is no doubt the same as most writers’: When someone I’ve never met before reaches out, maybe through a review or a message, to say that they enjoyed my book. That’s what I live for.

What is the most challenging aspect of writing?

Keeping faith that the effort is worthwhile in times when no one reaches out.

Who are some of your favorite authors? 

Among classic novelists, I love Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Wharton, and Woolf. Among contemporaries—Alice Munro, Louise Erdrich, Kazuo Ishiguro, Barbara Kingsolver, Kent Haruf, and lots of others.

What authors or person(s) have influenced you?

I’ve had wonderful teachers. Their work and advice is in a class by itself. To mention a few, there’s Kim Barnes (author of In the Kingdom of Men); Nancy Zafris (The People I Know and Metal Shredders); Joy Passanante (The Art of Absence); Mary Clearman Blew, (This Is Not the Ivy League); and Daniel Orozco (Orientation and Other Stories).

And, of course, there were my high school English teachers, Mr. Jensen and Mrs. Grandee. Both were very dedicated and remain special to me.

But my most crucial influence in every way was my mother. She was the first in her family to attend a university. She majored in chemistry and became a medical technologist but always loved literature and all the arts. When I was little, she read poetry out loud and taught us to appreciate the beauty of language. Quite a few years after her death, I learned from my aunt that my mother’s favorite novel had been the same as mine! At that time, The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky was my favorite.

Anesa, what’s your favorite place to write?

Any quiet place but with regular distractions so I don’t forget to move around once in a while. The “sedentary lifestyle” is a killer! For the most part, I write best at home. I like to stand up and stretch, which gets awkward at a coffeehouse. I try to set a timer for 25 minutes throughout the day so I stop and do that. At least, when I’m being good that’s what I do.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

Before I developed foot troubles a few years ago, I used to be an enthusiastic walker. I would trek over a mile with my backpack to pick up a few things at the supermarket. I cut behind the big box stores to avoid busy streets. If health and urban design would permit, I’d love to live “car-free.”

Any surprises or learning experiences with the publishing process?

I never thought I would self-publish but wound up bringing out two books. I thought I would never find a publisher—then, that happened, too! So it has been a series of surprises.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you with this book?

I have a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing, and when I was looking forward to starting that program at the University of Idaho, I made a plan for my thesis: I wanted to develop my troublesome short story into a novel. At that point, I had written two previous novels, but they didn’t seem as promising. Something told me that Our Orbit could be a book readers would warm to.

Any advice for writers looking to get published?

Use every kind of writing to gain practice: emails, birthday cards, blog comments, non-fiction gigs, shopping lists—everything! It’s all grist for the mill of “honing your craft.” And don’t send anything to a publisher that you might be embarrassed to see again a few months from now. In other words, don’t rush!

Social media links:

Website: www.AnesaMiller.com

Blog: http://www.anesamiller.com/?cat=2

Pinterest  www.pinterest.com/anesam98/

Facebook  www.facebook.com/anesamillerauthor

Twitter  twitter.com/anesam98

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Where can we find your book?

Booktrope makes it available through all major online retailers. These links are available now, but iTunes and others should be coming soon:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Our-Orbit-Anesa-Miller/dp/1620157233/

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/our-orbit-anesa-miller/1119914300?ean=9781620157237

And by order from most brick-and-mortar bookstores!

What’s next for you, Anesa?

Here’s hoping I find the energy to finish another novel. I have one underway with a similar Appalachian setting to Our Orbit. And I also have a short story collection going into production soon. It’s called To Green Camp, and it presents of a diverse cast of characters who all encounter life-changing adventures. It is scheduled to be published by Booktrope later this year.

Thanks for visiting The Writing Life, Anesa! I look forward to reading Our Orbit. I wish you much success with your new release!

About Eleanor Parker Sapia

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language social worker and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. She is a member of PEN America and the Historical Novel Society. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, reads, and is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico. The book was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends Latino Book Club. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, The Island of Goats.

Author Interview: Judith Works

The Writing Life is pleased to chat with author, Judith Works.

Judith Works, a graduate of Lewis & Clark Law School, is retired from the United Nations, Rome, Italy. She is the author of a memoir about Rome, Coins in the Fountain, available as an e-book, and City of Illusions, published by Booktrope. She is currently on the steering committee for the literary conference, Write on the Sound, and is also on the board for Edmonds Center for the Arts and EPIC Group Writers. She is a member of several other writer’s groups.

City of Illusions

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Welcome, Judith!

What is your book’s genre/category?

City of Illusions is best described as women’s contemporary fiction.

Please describe what the story/book is about.

Laura’s milestone 30th birthday is fast approaching and she sees her life as stalled. No children and a marriage settled into a routine far too early. Wanting more from her life, she finds a one-year job in Rome and talks husband Jake into taking a leave of absence. But while Laura is learning to live (and later to love) in Rome, Jake becomes a trailing spouse, adrift with nothing to do. Rome offers myriad opportunities to get into trouble for the unwary and Jake falls in with a gang of antiquity thieves. As his life spirals downward, Laura moves forward. After several missteps she finally achieves her own goal of fulfillment with a new life in Italy.

How did you come up with the title?

I had an earlier title which I didn’t like. I searched for quotations about Rome for an inspiration for a new title and came across this quote written by Giotto, a pre-Renaissance painter: “Rome the city of echoes, the city of illusions, and the city of yearning.” This was written around 1300 and is still a perfect description of what it is like to live in Rome for many of the expats who come for la dolce vita and find a different path.

What is the reason you wrote this book?

I wrote a memoir, Coins in the Fountain, about my happy and fraught experience of living in Rome for ten years but there was more to tell. I knew many expats who ran into difficulties, trailing spouses who could not work, who did things that they should not have, and those who never wanted to leave Italy. A novel was the opportunity to fictionalize some of the opportunities and challenges of living aboad.

What is your favorite part of writing?

Since much of my writing is centered on Rome, I love doing the research, especially if it involves “field research.” Sadly that doesn’t happen all that frequently, so I have to say the best part of writing is sitting down with a cup of coffee and putting down words to see how they come together.

What is the most challenging aspect of writing?

The generation of viable ideas – what works for a short story, for a post about my travels, for flash fiction, and for a novel.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Hemingway, Faulkner, Sarah Dunant, Anthony Doerr, Marguerite Yourcenar.

What authors or person(s) have influenced you?

I read widely, both fiction and non-fiction. Several non-Italian authors have influenced me to think more deeply about Italy in all its variety: Frances Mayes, Elizabeth Bowen, Eleanor Clark, Iris Origo, and Tim Parks. The Italian author that I find captured the essence of southern Italy and also Rome was Carlo Levi.

Favorite place to write?

I have an office where I am surrounded by reminders from my travels: a sculpture of Dante, a watercolor of the Arch of Titus in the Roman Forum, posters from art exhibitions and items from much farther afield: a painting from Ethiopia, an icon from Bulgaria, a wood carving from Papua New Guinea. And of course loads of books.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

I’m a Canadian citizen along with my US nationality; I’m a chocoholic; and I have been to over 100 countries, crawled inside a pyramid in Egypt, hiked in Petra, Jordan, and watched the sun set and a full moon rise in Ankor Wat.

Any surprises or learning experiences with the publishing process?

My memoir was self-published with assistance from a professional cover designer and others, but still mostly of my own doing. Working with an actual publisher instead of Amazon was a good experience. When you know there are professionals available to help it give you a sense of confidence. And my publisher, Booktrope, has a network of authors that communicate with each other to offer advice and solutions. I find that is very helpful.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you with this book?

I had several early readers who were very generous with their time and advice. I think this is a very important step for any author. Learning to accept critique is essential.

Any advice for writers looking to get published?

Write, write, write and then edit, edit, edit!

Website?

www.judithworks.net

Where can we find your book?

City of Illusions is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble in paperback and electronic format, and on iTunes electronically.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/judith-works/id471795858?mt=11

What’s next for you?

I am in the outlining stages of another novel. It will open in Rome but then move to Seattle and nearby Vashon Island. There will be murder!

Thanks for visiting us today, Judith! I wish you much success with your books!

About Eleanor Parker Sapia

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language social worker and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. She is a member of PEN America and the Historical Novel Society. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, reads, and is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the century Puerto Rico. The book was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends Latino Book Club. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, The Island of Goats.

Calling Puerto Ricans to Their African Roots With the Sound of His Drum

Reblogged from Repeating Islands: Calling Puerto Ricans to Their African Roots with the Sound of His Drum

Repeating Islands

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This article by David González appeared in The New York Times.

Jose Ortiz stood on the steps of the Andrew Freedman Home on the Grand Concourse, a gorgeous Bronx palazzo bathed in sunshine, his barrel drum by his side. Before him, on the lawn, a circle of people gathered, passing a calabash or sage leaves as they blessed one another. As the faint scent of gardenia and lavender wafted through the air, Mr. Ortiz straddled his drum and played.

This was not a performance. It was life. In his case, this instrument of wood, metal and hide had transformed him into Dr. Drum, a man on a mission to reconnect Puerto Ricans with their roots, not just on their island, but in Africa. He is a leader of BombaYo, a troupe that plays bomba, one of Puerto Rico’s traditional musical forms.

This week, the city will once again…

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Julia Park Tracey

I’m very pleased to welcome author and poet laureate, Julia Park Tracey to The Writing Life.

Julia Park Tracey pic

Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning author, journalist and blogger. Julia was the founding editor, and later, publisher, of The Alameda Sun. Her work has appeared in Salon, Quill, and Thrillist. She is the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, and holds a BA in journalism and MA in English.

Her published work includes the novels Veronika Layne Gets the Scoop, Veronika Layne Has a Nose for News (Booktrope), and Tongues of Angels; two biographies, I’ve Got Some Lovin’ to Do: Diaries of a Roaring Twenties Teen and Reaching for the Moon: More Diaries of a Roaring Twenties Teen; and Amaryllis: Collected Poems.

Welcome, Julia!

What is your book’s genre/category?

Veronika Layne Gets the Scoop is the first in a chicklit mystery series about a 20-something newspaper reporter trying to fight the good fight.

Veronika book cover

Please describe what the story/book is about.

Veronika Layne. Sassy, tattooed, twenty-something newspaper reporter. Never saw herself working for the “man.” When her small weekly is swallowed up by Singh Media Group, that’s exactly where she ends up. Stuck writing fluff pieces that might as well be ads, how can she resist digging into rumors that a real estate developer is destroying native burial grounds? Warned away at every turn by her editor, she worries whether the story will see the light of day? And, dazzled by her sexy rival-turned-coworker, what is she going to do about her love life?

How did you come up with the title?

Veronika is a good Greek name (she’s Greek) that means True Image. Lois Lane was a female reporter (in Superman), so I put the two together for Veronika Layne. Getting the scoop is getting the story first, getting the inside information. She gets it – but not how she envisions it.

What is the reason you wrote this book?

I am a poet and lit-fic writer, as well as a working journalist. I put some of those pieces together and came up with the character, and wrote a lighter, fun story using my mad skills.

What is your favorite part of writing?

Finishing. Reading what I wrote and feeling satisfied.

What is the most challenging aspect of writing?

Getting started. I have to have a deadline to light a fire under my feet.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

I love Jane Austen (she’s a perennial favorite…but I just love her narrative arc.) I also love the domestic novels of WW2 and the first half of the 20th century – Monica Dickens, Dorothy Whipple, and DE Stevenson – I love these women and their fortitude.

What authors or person(s) have influenced you?

I learned a lot about chicklit and the sassy shorter form from reading Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding. I learned how to include multiple POVs from Jane Smiley. I learned the sweeping arc from Austen as well as from Nevil Shute.

Favorite place to write?

Best place to write poetry is when I’m on vacation. On the deck of a cabin or at the beach. Best place to get longform writing done is at my desk. No joke – business gets done there.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

I almost became a forest ranger instead of a journalist. I am very interested in eco-living, recycling, sustainable living, and other green topics. I have never lived in a redwood tree but we have a house in a redwood grove, and that’s close enough.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you with this book?

I kept the tone light. When I get too ponderous (too poetic), I have to remember that I’m not writing an essay or a sonnet. I’m writing New Adult fiction – it’s joyous and playful. I need to cultivate that side of me.

Any advice for writers looking to get published?

There is no easy way out. You have to do the work. No one publishes the first draft – it takes many times to get the words right. Be willing to learn and open to critiques, and just keep writing. It won’t write itself, you know!

Website?

www.juliaparktracey.com

Where can we find your book?

Any bookstore can order from Ingram; Amazon has it right this very second.

What’s next for you?

A second Veronika Layne novel is on its way to bookstores, with a drop date of June 1. That novel, book #2 in the Hot Off the Press series, is called Veronika Layne Has a Nose for News. More hijinks for our sassy heroine.

And later this year, I have a contemporary novel called Whoa, Nellie that is heading for publication as well.

Thanks for a fun interview, Julia! Best wishes with Veronika Layne Has a Nose for News!

About Eleanor Parker Sapia

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language social worker and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. She is a member of PEN America and the Historical Novel Society. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, reads, and is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the century Puerto Rico. The book was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends Latino Book Club. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, The Island of Goats.

A DECENT WOMAN available on Amazon 

amazon.com/-/e/B00U05ZO9M

Author Interview: E.C. Moore

It is my pleasure to welcome fellow Booktrope author,

E.C. Moore, to The Writing Life.

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EC Moore is the author of INCURABLE, to be released by Booktrope Publishing July 2015. When Elizabeth’s not writing feverishly, you will find her out walking or sightseeing. She’s crazy about coffee, books, cooking, good wine, cairn terriers, miniature ponies, historical houses, tapas, and witty people.

She resides in a fifties bungalow in Southern California, with her creative-director husband, a yappy blonde dog, and one feisty Chihuahua.

What is your book’s genre/category?

Historical Fiction.

Please describe what the story/book is about.

Los Angeles 1956Marilyn Palmer is a beauty with a deep dark secret. After a threatening blackmail note arrives with the milk bottles on the porch of the bucolic home she shares with her doctor husband and young daughter, she hires a private eye to keep her unsavory past hidden.

Incurable is a story wrought with impetuous and regrettable decisions made by a desperate young woman. Barely eighteen years old, and a gifted seamstress, she makes the ill-fated decision to run away from her Detroit home with a wily friend. Bound for Hollywood, and seeking stardom, the girls set out on an incredible journey.

This splendidly imagined debut explores the tumultuous life and times of a woman who suffered the ultimate betrayal as a child during the Great Depression. A tale of survival set against the backdrop of early Hollywood, misery on Hotel Street in Honolulu before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and heartbreak in Los Angeles during WWII. Incurable delivers emotional intensity with each turn of the page.

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How did you come up with the title?

The Incurable title was pulled from an overall exploratory theme woven throughout the narrative, one’s struggle to understand our own mortality and that of those we love, has always fascinated me.

What is the reason you wrote this book?

The premise was born from a documentary I watched on the History Channel about sex practices during WWII. I was shocked to learn about military condoned prostitution in Honolulu before and during the war. I wondered how all those young girls ended up prostitutes, servicing sailors and soldiers—three minutes for three dollars—on Hotel Street. I immersed myself in researching their stories, and that’s how my protagonist was conceived.

What is your favorite part of writing?

I enjoy every step—working out the initial conception, flushing out the characters, devising plot twists and relationships, and most of all re-writing. I’m an odd duck because I’m into re-writing and editing.

What is the most challenging aspect of writing?

For me, the challenge is dealing with constantly being interrupted. I could write for hours on end, if only real life could be put on hold. I have a fantasy of renting a cabin in the woods and going off to pen my next book. But I don’t think that’s likely to happen anytime soon. I settle for taping a sign on my office door reading, KEEP OUT!

Who are some of your favorite authors? 

Hemingway, Anne Tyler, Larry McMurtry, Alice Munro, Truman Capote, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and John Irving, to name just a few.

What authors or person(s) have influenced you?

My dad was a storyteller, the best I’ve ever seen. He could keep an entire room of people entertained for hours. As far as writers go, I have to choose Hemingway because when I was in high school I read The Three Day Blow, and that’s when I knew I wanted to strive to be the best writer I could be.

Favorite place to write?

Anywhere, coffee houses are a favorite. But mostly I write at home.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

I was reading at the ripe old age of three. My mother said I just taught myself somehow, but I think it had something to do with having a big brother who was eight years older to mimic. He taught me to write out my long name in cursive, and when I first attended kindergarten and showed my teacher she couldn’t believe it.

Any surprises or learning experiences with the publishing process?

You must cut, edit, and proofread till your ears bleed. And good editors are hard to come by.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you with this book?

I listened to the stories my elders told. I transformed many of their accounts into fictional people in a fictional setting.

Any advice for writers looking to get published?

Never give up. Never stop writing and never stop trying. Don’t jump the gun and send subpar work to agents or publishers. The more you write the better you’ll get. And read, read, read. Someone who doesn’t love to read can’t possibly produce a great book.

Website? 

ecmooreauthor.com

Where can we find your book?

Incurable will be published by Booktrope Publishing July 2015.

What’s next for you?

My next book, Every Big & Little Wish will be out in the late summer/early fall of 2015. I am currently writing Insatiable, a follow up to Incurable, look for it in 2016.

Thanks for a great interview, Elizabeth! I look forward to reading Incurable, and wish you much success with the book!

 

About Eleanor Parker Sapia

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language social worker and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. She is a member of PEN America and the Historical Novel Society. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, reads, and is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the century Puerto Rico. The book was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends Latino Book Club. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, The Island of Goats.

A DECENT WOMAN available on Amazon 

amazon.com/-/e/B00U05ZO9M