Hear ye, hear ye . . . Haven't read The Shaking yet? Enter the Goodreads Giveaway for a chance to win:
I am not a morning person. This is something everyone knows about me. Dragging myself out of bed in the morning is the hardest thing I do all day. But a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. After unsuccessfully trying to find time for Bible study, and a little subconscious prompting by a friend's #5amwithgod hashtag, I realized maybe getting up at 5 a.m. was what it was going to take to spend some quality time with God.
Of course, I negotiated my way there. I tried #6amwithgod. And then #545amwithgod, then #530amwithgod. And then I threw in the towel and set my alarm to start electroshocking me at 4:50. I am bleary, but I am upright and I am there. I shouldn't say this, but coffee helps. Don't judge me, y'all. I'm trying.
While wakey-wakey is the hardest part, I had to go one step further and admit - I'm going to be honest here, this is painful - I really have no idea how to STUDY the Bible. I've read a lot of the Bible, but no one ever showed me how to study it. Two things changed this for me and made Bible study not only a reality but so exciting that I'm not having as much trouble actually reaching the "upright and locked position" every morning. If you need a little direction in this area, read on:
The first thing that really helped (and I'm not even finished with the book yet, but I couldn't wait to get started) was Jen Hatmaker's book A Modern Girl's Guide to Bible Study. That gave me the practical tools to get going. Of course, I had to go on a scavenger hunt around my bookshelves to pull it all together. Bible dictionary, where did I put that? NLT study Bible, I know I have one. Notebook - check. Colored pens/pencils - check.
The key for me was to start small, and when I say small, I mean minuscule. Jen recommends taking one of the subheadings and just studying those verses - roughly ten at a time. Even that was too fast for me. One of the problems for me when trying to study the Bible in the past was that I was trying to understand too much at once. It was like taking a huge bite of granite and trying to chew it. Not only was it impossible, but it left a bad taste in my mouth. Frankly, it left me feeling too stupid to study the Bible.
Instead, I go verse by verse. Here's my formula:
Read a verse
Look up any cross-reference texts
Read any footnotes
Look up any confusing/vague words or concepts in Bible dictionary
So far this is working great. Mind you, I'm only mostly done with Jude, a book that spans a whopping two pages in my Bible, but I know a LOT about Jude and what he was writing about.
The other thing that has really helped me is discovering First5. The premise is to give God the first five minutes of your day. It's an app on your smartphone. (Don't get me started...aside from the camera...and Fitbit...and the alarm clock feature...okay, never mind...I'm a smartphone convert. I'll just admit it.) There's a short teaching on the Bible portion for the day and people can leave comments (which are often moving and/or enlightening). That's it. But it's not a devotion...it's BIBLE STUDY. You can purchase their study guide as well, but I haven't done that yet.
Admittedly, they move too fast for me, but I like it because it's more of a broad sweep through the books we're studying, and it's usually not more than a chapter, which I usually read in a different version (Harper Study Bible - RSV). But they provide significant insight into the Bible, and I mean, if you can do that in Leviticus, well, I'm going to tag along with you because this obviously isn't your first rodeo.
I started making notes and rewriting significant quotes from First5 on the blank backs of my journal pages because the information and teaching was just too good to read once and forget. This keeps everything in the same place, which satisfies the OCD part of my brain. And the act of journaling or copying directly helps me to hang onto stuff. Probably the writer in me. Studying the First5 portion for the day and tackling a few verses on my own seems to be the right balance for me between studying micro portions of Scripture and larger chunks so I feel as though I'm actually making some serious progress. Cause studying the Bible at my snail's pace, I might finish the New Testament by the time I'm 100. But, ya know, I got nothing but time.
My #5amwithgod friend posts pictures of her decorated Bible pages and a recap of what she learned each morning on Instagram. I don't draw during Bible study, though I do have an art Bible as well. Instead, I highlight and underline and journal, so I have started taking a picture of something significant from my study and posting it to Instagram as well.
If you'd like to join me, here are the hashtags I'm using:
* A note about #goodmorningglories: I created this hashtag to specifically set these morning reflections apart so anyone who wants to join our community of early risers can see what their friends learned from their time with God. It has a double meaning. Good Morning Glories is the name this group of people, but it's also what we receive when we rise up early in the morning to meet with God...we receive His glories. Since morning glories are beautiful flowers that close up at night and open with the first kiss of the sun in the morning, I thought they were an appropriate association for this group.
If you want to follow me on Instagram, I'm cperrinowalker. I can't wait to see what God shares with you during your #5amwithgod.
"I rise early, before the sun is up;
I cry out for help and put my hope in your words." Psalm 119:147, NLT
"Very early the next morning, Jesus got up and went to a place where he could be alone and pray." Mark 1:35, CEV
I was hoping someone might respond when I kicked the hornet's nest and claimed Christian fiction was dead. My co-author, Glen Robinson, did give his own take on the subject here. But the few people I did manage to rouse seemed to miss the meaning of my parting volley: Christian fiction is dead. Long live Christian fiction.
When the king dies, a new king is crowned...so it is with Christian fiction. The old (sweet, churchy) form has gone; long live the new, gutsier form, the one that seeks to challenge people's perception of God and His place in their lives. No, I do not believe Christian fiction--fiction written about how Spirit-filled people approach the world and its problems--is dead. But I do think the old way of writing it has had its day. There's a new wind blowing. It's no longer enough to tell people, "God loves you." It's time to show them exactly how He does it through stories that reveal people's witness.
Are the people fictional? Yes. But fiction isn't created in a void. All fiction has root in reality, whether it is the author's own personal reality, their creative view of reality, or the reality of others. What isn't fictional is God and how He empowers Christians. That's the story it's time to tell.
Which might be a strange intro to a book that isn't about God at all. Leaving is the first book of my Crossroads Series. It's not about a Christian woman. It's not about how she finds God and her life changes. It's about the woman next door, or even you, who reaches her breaking point and decides to leave her old life and her old problems behind looking for something new, fresh, and exciting. It's about what she learns along the way, and it's about what it really takes to love life in all its messy, aggravating, beautiful ugliness.
There's a lesson in the story alone, of course, but for people who are looking for more "meat", there will also be a short article at the end of the book tying the message to the Christian perspective. Take it or leave it. That is the crossroad.
These Crossroads books will all be short. They are novellas. The price point for the digital version will only be .99 and the print version will be as low as CreateSpace will allow. That's because they are meant to be shared. Here, then, is a first peek at the cover for Leaving.
I'm hoping to release it by the end of February. I'm taking the month of January to rest and reflect. It's been a wild ride since I published The Shaking, closely followed by The Disciples, Salome's Charger, and Life & Death. Four books in just over a year. My workload is shifting, and I need some time to plan what's coming next. There are probably audio books in the near future and an omnibus or two. Oh, and a couple children's books. For now, I'll leave you with the beginning of Leaving, which starts just below the cover.
“Mom. Mom!” A rough hand shook Olivia Kendrick awake. “Rufus laid a dukie in the house.” This was teen-speak which meant that the dog had taken a dump in the house. Again. “It’s stinking up my room.”
The shadowy form shuffled back down the hallway having delivered its message. Olivia groped for her glasses and heaved herself out of bed. The older she got the more aches and pains she had every morning. She groaned as she squinted at the clock. Four o’clock. Great. Up early and by the time she got the mess picked up, she’d never be able to go back to sleep. On the other side of the bed, her husband Doug snored blissfully. Why didn’t the kids ever wake him up at the crack of dawn to deal with problems?
The dog gave her an apologetic look as it slunk around the corner at the end of the hallway. The smell alone led Olivia to the accident site. It had been a blowout of epic proportions. Not simply feces, but diarrheal feces extending in one long line from where she stood to the closed door at the front of the house.
At least he tried to get outside, she thought morosely.
After cleaning up, an ordeal she gagged through using nearly an entire roll of paper towels and copious amounts of cleaning solution, Olivia washed, dried, and folded two loads of laundry, dusted the living room, made menus and compiled the grocery list, and put a chicken in the crockpot for supper all before the rest of her family began to stir and squabble over the shower. She started making breakfast, but was beginning to feel sleepy by this time and managed to burn the toast and scorch the eggs. Doug stared at her forlornly when she set them down in front of him, and she stared back, daring him to complain.
He sighed patiently and began eating, the newspaper propped up on the table in front of him.
Only one of the kids, the youngest, Jake, ate a normal breakfast anymore. The other two couldn’t be bothered. Olivia would have been concerned about anorexia—they were at that worrying age—except that they ate plenty of other stuff, mostly junk food. They were both thin, but not unreasonably so.
“Mom, where’s my jacket?” Brianna demanded, as if Olivia was her valet. “I left it on the chair last night when I came home.”
“Then it’s probably in the closet,” Olivia retorted, “where it’s supposed to be.”
Brianna stomped off to the closet just as Keith, her middle child, dashed through the living room and flew out the door. “Bus!” he threw back over his shoulder, making the other two scream and scramble after him, Jake dragging his backpack as though it was filled with bricks.
Olivia looked around for Doug. “Where’s Daddy?” she asked Brianna as she blew past.
“Gone,” her daughter answered helpfully.
The door slammed behind her and Olivia sat looking at the disaster area they’d left behind. “Goodbye. Have a nice day. Love you, too,” she muttered under her breath. She thought—very strongly—about spending the rest of the day supine on the couch. Every molecule in her body screamed for rest. But then the phone rang.
Christian fiction is dead. There, I said it again. I wish it wasn't true, but I have proof. The first inkling I got was when I was visiting a Barnes and Noble - yes, an actual brick-and-mortar store with shelves. It was glaringly obvious because then you can see it all in one place, can't you. Like a tiny microcosm of literary content. In an entire two-story bookstore (with an escalator, mind you), do you know how many shelves there were with Christian books on them? One and a half. And a lot of that was Bibles.
Then there was the Goodreads Best Books of 2015 list. Twenty categories and Christian Fiction wasn't one of them.
Which makes me wonder...are Christians not reading? Or are they just not reading books with Christian material? And if they are reading secular books...why? Why are they choosing secular books over Christian books?
I get that Christian fiction, by and large, has been a little sugary: too much fluff, not enough substance. The label "Christian" on fiction is often nothing more than just that...a label slapped on for marketing reasons. The characters are no more deeply spiritual than anybody else, the Christian part of their activities limited to having church-going friends or a scene involving a potluck or a church-based craft bazaar.
But does this really explain why the genre has no pulse? I don't have any answers here. I'm just asking questions. Rubbernecking at a funeral. Wondering if it's too late. Can Christians care again about fiction that seeks to probe deeply into the human condition and unmask the culprit of all suffering and pain? Do they want to read about men and women who are striving to develop a real relationship with God? Who hurt but know Who heals, who fall but know Who to turn to for the strength to get back up?
Do you? I'd love your feedback. Leave a comment below to add your two cents.
Christian fiction is dead. Long live Christian fiction.
So excited to be featured on the Writers and Authors Facebook page today, as well as the website of Author Sharon K. Connell where you can find many other author interviews. Here's everything you ever wanted to know about me and my writing and probably a bit you didn't:
September 30, 2015
Today, I would like to introduce you to…
Céleste and I met Goodreads where she was looking for Christian authors to share whether or not they wrote Christian or secular material for her blog post.
I hope you enjoy getting to know more about her as much as I have.
When did you know you wanted to become and author, and why?
I knew I wanted to be a writer long before I equated that with a profession, or in my case, a writing ministry. My parents advised me to write as a hobby, and train for a “real” job. So I became a nurse, but continued to write constantly. About four years after I graduated from high school, I started submitting stories for publication, and I began to get published.
It took a long time to feel like a legitimate author. I think I felt as though I’d “arrived” when my first book was published. But really, writers ultimately write for themselves. I “arrived” when I first put my thoughts on paper. Getting them published was great, but writers write, and from the moment I began writing, I was an author.
As for why…I didn’t have any visions of fame or glory. I write all the time; whether or not it gets published is kind of secondary for me. I mean, if suddenly I couldn’t get published, I’d still write. I don’t know why. I just always have. It’s like breathing in that way.
But in terms of publishing, I do have a very specific agenda for my writing. I decided when I started out that my writing should be a means of sharing the gospel. It’s my vehicle for fulfilling Jesus’ command in Mark 15:16: “ ‘And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone’ ” (NLT). I have to say, being in partnership with Jesus writing books is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life. I can, literally, hardly wait to get up in the morning and start writing.
What adjectives would you use to describe yourself as an author?
Tenacious. Determined. Stubborn. I really think you have to be all of these things to make it in writing. The most common scenario I see among new writers is that they give up when the going gets tough. But that’s the time to dig in and keep going. I can say that with confidence because I’ve been writing and publishing for about 26 years now. I wouldn’t still be here if I let every setback and bump in the road derail me.
Everyone wants instant results, but with writing, patience pays. Nothing sells your frontlist like your backlist and nothing sells your backlist like your frontlist. So the best thing you can do is staple your pants to your chair and write.
How long did it take you to publish your first book?
I’d been writing about a year when I had my first book proposal accepted. It took me about six months to write the book, and it came out a year or so later. (One of my favorite aspects of indie publishing is getting my book out within weeks of finishing it. With traditional publishing I could be finished with another book before the previous one was released. And then I had to wait until the following spring for my first royalty check. That’s a LONG time. And the first royalty check is usually slim to non-existent because the royalties have to exceed the advance before you receive any. So it was usually the NEXT year before you saw much money at all.)
Are you published through the traditional method, or are you an Indie author?
I’m both, so I’m considered a hybrid author. I started out publishing traditionally. I have 17 books published traditionally (twenty-one altogether.) I was extremely excited when the platform opened for indie publishing. As much as I love publishing traditionally, it’s hard to watch someone else in control of your brain child. My publishing houses changed book titles on me, commissioned artwork, and made those executive decisions without even taking my input into consideration. The first I usually saw of the artwork was when I got my comps in the mail!
I admit I’m a control freak, but it was hard to sit by and watch my work get changed. So when I had the chance, I decided to explore the indie publishing platform. While I can’t say it’s been easy, it has been incredibly rewarding. I’m about to release my fourth indie published title, and I’m extremely pleased with each of them. (And I LOVE the covers!! LOL!)
What are the problems you face while writing, either with getting your story down or with interruptions during the process?
Interruptions are tough. I wrote during my children’s entire growing up period, and I thought it would get easier now that they’re grown. But one of the dynamics of family is that they constantly “touch base” with you when they are home. We’ve all got different schedules now, so the interruptions can come at any time. In addition to which, I often have to deal with sick animals. I find the older I get the harder it becomes to regather my focus after being interrupted.
(Case in point: as I’ve been working on these questions for the last hour, my family has interrupted me at least half a dozen times. And I am working in the back of the house, so they have had to come and seek me out to do it!)
The other type of “interruption” that I find difficult to deal with is the social media interruptions. Writers have to be a lot more “social” than I am typically comfortable with. Left to my own devices I’m not sure I’d even have Facebook. But as a writer, I have Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, About Me, LinkedIn, and probably others I’m forgetting. They are a lot of work and contribute significantly to interruptions. But they are also vital, so you have to find a balance in order to deal with them.
When do you know you have the story the way you want it to read?
I’ve always been a little odd in this sense. I could never figure out what a first draft was. The way the story comes out of my head is the way it is. Period. I may tweak a word or two here or there, rearrange a sentence structure, or clarify something, but I rarely make big changes after it’s written.
That said, I do write slowly compared to some authors who just try to get their thoughts out on paper and worry about editing and correcting later. That method would be too confusing to me, and I would end up going back to tidy something up before moving on.
For me, a book is done when I’ve read it through and haven’t found any inconsistencies, and I’ve made all the little adjustments to eliminate redundancy, etc.
What would you most like to see changed about your own writing, if anything?
I’ve always wished my language was more poetical. But for the most part, poetry baffles me. However, there is a lyrical form of writing I really admire. A book such as The Wind in the Willows captures it well, I think.
What is your genre? Do you think you may write in another at some point?
I sort of created my own genre. I call it Indie Christian. It’s a very bold form of Christian writing. I try to create practical demonstrations of what Christianity looks like when it’s lived out. I want to show people what happens when we have a relationship with a living God and His power in our lives.
So many Christian novels are little more than ordinary novels with characters who are supposed to be Christians. They act like pretty much any other non-Christian character. I wanted to smash that stereotype.
How many books have you written?
I’m just completing my 21st book. I’ve lost track of how many articles and stories I’ve written. Hundreds for sure, probably more than a thousand by now.
Do you have a biggest fan?
LOL! Yes! There’s a woman in Australia who says she’s my biggest fan.
Do you have a favorite character in any novel, including your own? Why do you call this character your favorite?
My two favorite characters are rather similar. One is Jane Eyre. I admire her for being a strong, Christian character who is faithful to her convictions. She has a strong moral compass. The other is a character I created, Brooke Merrill, from The Shaking. I admire her for her faith, her humility, and her tenacity in seeking God.
Do you have aspirations of your work becoming a movie?
I have mixed feelings about this. I think it could be fun, but the one time I was approached by a producer who wanted to make two of my books into a movie it didn’t go well. He kept changing the contract and wanting strange things. In the end, he wanted me to relinquish my “moral rights” to the material. I refused and the deal folded. But I would love to see my novels become movies. One of them was recently turned into a play, and while I can’t attend in person because it’s too far away, the director said she would send me a video of the production. So that’s kind of the same thing. Sort of.
How much time do you spend writing each day?
I write books for at least two hours a day. That’s my scheduled writing time from 6-8 in the morning. I also keep a notebook in my purse and write a lot when I’m in waiting rooms. I wrote at least half of Salome’s Charger in my vet’s waiting room. (I ended up dedicating the book to him!) Aside from scheduled writing time, I write whenever and wherever inspiration strikes.
I also line edit a weekly magazine and write several magazine columns as well as other magazine articles, otherwise I’d spend more time on my books. All told, I probably write or edit for 6-8 hours a day.
Where do you like to write?
My writing space has migrated and transformed over the years. I used to write laying on my stomach on the sofa with a notebook and pen. Learning how to compose on a keyboard when I made the leap to computer was difficult. I often returned to the notebook and pen to compose and transferred my writing to the keyboard. It took time to adjust to the new method, but I’m glad I did. I’m a lot faster on a keyboard (something I used to lament when my thoughts got ahead of my scribbling), and I don’t have to stop periodically because of writer’s cramp.
These days I write in a corner of my bedroom that’s been set up as a tiny office/oasis. My husband put up an antique cupboard to hold all my “office stuff”, and I am surrounded by my very favorite paintings. I have everything set up to be not only efficient, but aesthetic, which is important to me. Although I have a radio and a record player, I never listen to music when I write or edit, but I often do while performing other office chores.
When do you think your next book will come out?
August 31, 2015. LOL! That’s when Salome’s Charger releases. The next, Life & Death, should be out sometime in September or October.(Note from the interviewer: This interview was received prior to the date she gave for the release of Salome’s Charger.)
Do you have any words of wisdom for future authors?
Nevah, nevah, nevah give up. Seriously. Beyond that, find your own voice. Be willing to stick it out if you want to succeed. And don’t ask everyone and their brother to read your writing and tell you what they think about it. Everyone’s a critic, and more often than not, they’ll just end up discouraging you. (Writing groups can be helpful or destructive. Be wary of them. Search until you find one that is constructive in their criticism and supportive.) Develop the confidence you need to trust your own voice and put your work out there. Don’t rest on your laurels unless you keep them under your desk chair. When one book or project is finished, start the next one immediately. Keep moving forward, it’s the only way you’re going to make progress.
Where were you born, where did you grow up, and did this have any bearing on how or about what you write?
I was born at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, DC because my father was in the Navy, and we lived there until I was six months old. But my family is from Vermont, and that is where I grew up. When I was ten, we moved very close to the border of Canada, near my mother’s relatives. This factored into my writing for my Toussaint, Vermont Series, which is set in a fictional town that shares a lot of similarities to the one I lived in. It has a French-Canadian flavor, and I drew heavily from my French-Canadian heritage to write it, even though it’s highly romanticized.
What experiences in life have contributed to your writing?
The most significant experience in my life that has contributed to my writing is without a doubt my relationship with God. I’m a practical person; esoteric concepts don’t mean much to me. I grew up in a Christian family not having much idea about God outside of a concept. It was only after I came to know God personally that I began to understand how He communicates with us, how He helps us, and how He changes us. God is dynamic and our relationship with Him should be dynamic, too! It’s interactive and affects every part of our lives. With my writing, I try to demonstrate my characters having that practical, honest relationship with God that changes their lives. That’s what the Good News is all about!
Tell us a little about yourself personally.
I live on a small farm (Reindeer Station Farm) and have a fiber studio (Spindrift Studio). On my farm, I have a few textile animals: sheep, angora rabbits, a llama, and an alpaca. When I’m not writing, I can usually be found spinning, weaving, knitting, felting, designing knitwear, or bunny cuddling. I also play traditional music, primarily on my fiddle though I do play other instruments as well, and I enjoy Sacred Harp singing which I do with a group at a nearby college. I’m avid about being outdoors and love to hike, bike, kayak, and walk. I live very close to a section of the Appalachian Trail as it passes through Vermont and have started a group of “trail angels” (The Bright Wings Trail Angels) who give food and assistance to hikers passing through.
Where can our readers get in touch with you?
My website is cperrinowalker.com.
My farm blog is at email@example.com.
My author Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/cperrinowalker
My farm Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/spindriftstudioatreindeerstationfarm.
On Twitter I’m CelestePWalker.
On Pinterest I’m at https://www.pinterest.com/cperrinowalker/
On LinkedIn I’m at: www.linkedin.com/in/cperrinowalker.
My Amazon author page is at: http://amzn.to/OxG00i.
Here is another of Celeste’s published books. Hope you all enjoyed the interview.
Again, thank you for your time and the opportunity to present you, the author, and your work. It has been a real pleasure to get to know more about you,
So, it's almost time to unleash Salome's Charger on the world. Glen Robinson and I are probably even more excited about that than you all are. (At least we hope you are.) We're so excited, in fact, that we're going to spend next week celebrating the upcoming release (September 1). We're each giving prizes away EVERY DAY. So that's, like, twice the chance to win something! How can you win? Sign up for our Reader's Groups here and here. If you're already signed up, you're in. If you haven't signed up yet, what are you waiting for? Time's a wastin'.
We're giving away some awesome stuff. Like what? Like Amazon gift cards, a dog tag USB (how cool is that?), a Limited Edition set of 24 Electric Pop Ultra-fine Sharpies, chocolate, and more. To find out what's being given away each day, follow our Facebook pages here and here. I hope you win!!
And hey, if you believe the kind of books we write are valuable, please show us some love and share our posts far and wide on social media. As indie authors, we rely on you, our readers, to help spread the word about our books. Thank you so much! You rock!!
So a couple weeks ago, I was interviewed on LifeQuest Radio by Dwight Lehnhoff. It was surprisingly painless. I'm not a big fan of being interviewed on the radio because I get nervous (and don't even talk to me about TV), but I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. Anyway, we talked about my new books The Shaking and The Disciples. Click below if you'd like to listen. Just...you know...no judging.
Glen Robinson and I have completed work on Salome's Charger (yay! wheee!! yippee!!! huzzah!!!) You can already pre-order the digital version on Amazon right here. We're hoping that by release day we'll have a print version ready to go as well.
Writing Salome's Charger was fun!! And challenging. And more than once we both wanted to strangle Dropbox for dropping our work down some digital abyss. But co-authoring has a different energy than writing solo, and it's just plain fun to have someone else to bounce ideas off of and run things past before you commit them to paper.
Unfortunately, publishing waits for no man. I've already packed up my laurels and moved on to the next project, which is finishing up Life & Death. I'm hoping to release it by the end of September, which will make 4 books I've published in the last year. Yeah. I haven't completely wrapped my head around that, either. In the meantime, here's my official cover reveal for Salome's Charger in case you missed it elsewhere.
Didn't Lori at Wicked Book Covers do a fantastic job? That's the Commander above the charger. She's the leader of a group called the Nihilists who really want to get their hands on the charger, something that turns out to be harder than it initially seems.
Both Glen and I will be giving stuff away every day the week before the official launch. Like our pages on Facebook here and here to see the daily prizes and subscribe to our reader's groups here and here to automatically be entered. (If you've already subscribed, you're good to go. We draw the winners from our lists of subscribers.)
And then can I ask you for a big favor? Share the stuffing out of our posts. Indie publishing is a fantastic gig. I love everything about it. But my voice is small. If you believe in the kind of writing I'm doing, please tell people you know who might also be interested or blessed by reading it. Thank you so, so much!!!
Glen Robinson, my co-author for Salome's Charger, has bravely interviewed our two main characters, Stevie Sloane and Ezra Huddleston.
Before the launch of Salome’s Charger on Sept. 1, fellow author Céleste and I decided it would be a good idea to introduce the two main characters in our story. Stephanie Sloane is the proprietor of Spero, an antique store in downtown Dallas. Ezra Huddleston is investigative reporter for the Dallas Daily.
GR: Maybe I should start out by asking how the two of you met.
SS: He ran over me.
EH: What? What are you talking about?
SS: Remember? That day in the gym? You were leaving the pool and almost knocked me over without as much as an apology.
EH: Ouch. Well, I don’t remember that, but in those days, I don’t remember much beyond being angry all the time. But I wouldn’t call that meeting. I’d say our first meeting was when you barged into my office claiming to have information about the charger and then actually stole information from my desk.
SS: Stole it? It was right there in plain sight. I might have looked at it. I mean, I have eyes. They do look at things. But stealing…that’s just your natural cynicism speaking.
GR: Is that when you two decided to become partners?
SS: I’m not his partner. I never agreed to be his partner.
EH: Are you going to be this annoying the whole interview?
SS: (laughs) Probably. Actually, Ezra messed up his hands–.
EH: Bad chemical burns. Really bad.
SS: Not that bad. But he kept bugging me for help on the case, so I finally gave in. We ended up traveling to Alaska together.
EH: On a DC-3! Those planes were retired decades ago. And in a blizzard.
SS: You were the one who had to get to Alaska like yesterday. I found you a ride. Quit complaining. We got there in one piece, didn’t we?
EH: True. (sighs) I wish that was the worst part of the trip.
SS: Yeah, it was pretty scary.
GR: Tell me about Alain Brassard.
EH: (serious) The media called him a professional thief, but he was a lot more than that. He was a professional killer as well. Bad news. I’ve dealt with drug lords before, bad guys on death row, that sort of thing. He was in a different league.
GR: But you survived your encounter with him. He tortured you, didn’t he?
EH: Next question.
GR: Tell me about Ellen Smithie.
SS: (laughs) Ellie Mae Smithie is beyond description. She’s a millionaire, but she doesn’t let that get in the way of her having a good time. She’s pretty much done everything at one time or another. She’s a pistol.
EH: (puts on nasally Texas twang) She’s so country she thinks a seven-course meal is a possum and a six-pack.
SS: (laughs again) Yes, that’s her. But don’t let that fool you. She’s as smart as a whip.
EH: (Texas accent continues) She’s got some snap in her garters. (accent disappears) The girl is the most underrated weapon in Texas’ war against crime.
GR: So are either of you from Texas?
SS: No. I’m from New York.
GR: What was the worst part of your experience?
SS: Almost losing my marriage.
EH: (sighs) Torture, death threats, a burning apartment, jail time, almost drowning in a pool, freezing to death in Alaska. Take your pick.
GR: What was the best part of your experience?
SS: I know what Ezra will say. Two words. (singsong) Mad-die.
EH: (embarrassed) Yeah, that pretty much says it all.
GR: Last question. Why would someone want to read this book?
EH: That’s obvious. I’m in it.
SS: (snorts with laughter) That’s probably the last reason to buy it. Best reason? It’s a good example of how God can use two very imperfect people to do great things. I grew through the experience, and I know Ezra did too, whether he will admit it or not.
EH: Plus, I’m in the story.
SS: Plus, he’s in the story.
GR: Thanks for talking to me. And there it is from those who experienced it. Be sure to read the story of Ezra Huddleston and Stevie Sloane, Salome’s Charger available online on September 1.
(In the background…)
SS: Why did he say Ezra Huddleston and Stevie Sloane? Why didn’t he say Stevie Sloane and Ezra Huddleston? Why are you always first?
EH: I’m not always first. But I should be.
SS: (dramatic sigh)