Monday, May 2, 2011
Interview with Romance Author Celia Yeary
Hello Celia. Welcome to my blog. Please tell us about Making the Turn.
I thought you'd never ask! For all the non-golfers out there, "making the turn" means the player has finished the front nine and begins the back nine. The player records separate scores for each of the nine holes, but adds them together at the end. Most players feel as though the 'back nine' is a chance to make a better score, a new beginning, if you will.
Now, before you think this is a novel about golf, let me say it is not. Yes, it begins with four women playing golf, and I've begun each chapter with a golf rule or quote. The story is really about a thirty-nine-year-old socialite from Dallas who loses everything overnight due to the death of her philandering, absent husband. The lower economic level she finds herself in means she must return to her childhood home of Del Rey, Texas, live with her mother, and…gasp…find a job.
This book sounds fun! You call this “Women's Fiction” but you usually write Western Historical romances. What inspired you to write about a 39-year-old woman who is trying to find herself once again?
The inspiration for this story is my three very close friends I played golf with for many years. I really just began writing a scene about the four of us playing, because we had so much fun. I used the characteristics of my real friends to create the three fictional ones. That's all I intended--write a funny scene about us playing golf.
But I came to a point in the scene where I gave Sara--the main character--a serious problem. Honestly, I didn't know what Sara's problem was until halfway through the scene. By then, I knew I had an entire novel in the beginning stages. I wrote this manuscript almost without stopping. Has this happened to you? It just rolled out, right onto the computer screen, as if it had a life of its own.
One of my real friends sang this song to us at the end of many rounds: "Those were the days, my friend, we thought would never end….." But they did end for my character, Sara, and I sent her on her way to the small farming community of fictional Del Rey, Texas, somewhere southwest of Fort Worth, to begin a new life.
Already your novel sounds intriguing. You have added a cantankerous mother to this story. Does this character add a little humor to your book?
Humor? Yes, you might laugh, or you might want to cry. As I wrote this story, I had my own mother in mind. Even though I used phrases she used when she explained something or scolded someone, the mother in the story--Dorothy--became her own character--not really my mother at all.
Dorothy runs the little community and the church. Other older women depend on her for organization and help. But when Sara comes home, Dorothy realizes she's just an old woman living alone, behind the times, unable to do anything other than those tasks she's done for fifty-plus years. Enter Sara's college-age daughter, Laney, who immediately recognizes that her grandmother Dorothy's cantankerous attitude is due to insecurity, and her mother Sara's insecurity is due to fear of rocking the boat. The young woman, in her unique wise way, becomes the instigator of change for everyone.
So Laney becomes an important part of this story, then. You have also added a “a handsome distraught widower.” It seems that you can’t get away from romance. Would you say this is a romance, also?
Of course, there's a sweet romance in this novel. But the story doesn't revolve around the relationship between Sara Daniels and the handsome widower Dr. Richard St. John. Rick has problems of his own, and yes, he becomes involved with not only Sara, but Dorothy and Laney, as well. We've forgotten another important character--Aaron St. John, ten years old, mourning the death of his mother just as his dad mourns the loss of his wife. Aaron quickly becomes attached to Sara, which creates another source of angst and indecision.
Making the Turn is about five people of different generations, who all need a second chance. I hope I've injected humor along with the atmosphere of "small-town Texas."
Oh yes! A bit of humor with this kind of setting is important. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.
Okay, I'll confess--I have a "killer instinct." No one knows this, though, unless the person is a close friend. Oh, I think my husband probably knows because he's watched me in action over the years. This revelation is sometimes shocking to those who think they know the real me. Actually, it's just one faction of my personality. Overall, I look like, act like, and am a retired teacher, a Bible lesson teacher, a good grandmother, a loving and loyal wife, a devoted friend to those who love me, and a quiet-spoken average woman with silver hair and glasses. After the age of forty, I learned to play golf enough to win trophies, tournaments, and prizes. Writing is another recent accomplishment, and as with golf, I learned fast. Seems like the killer instinct kicked in midlife because I want to do well--at least I'm never bored.
Now we know the real you: An author with the killer instinct! Thank you so much for this interview, Celia. For those interested, I added an excerpt below from Making the Turn. I instantly became interested after reading it and wanted to find out more:
After a moment of hesitation, he said very softly, “Sara. I apologize. That should never have happened.”
Shaken by the kiss, Sara turned and gripped the door handle without replying. Instead of opening it, she turned back around, holding the cake platter against her chest with crossed arms. Managing to keep her voice under control, she said, “Well, it won’t happen again, that’s for sure. You won’t be seeing me anymore anyway, probably, unless we just happen to run into each other. I start work tomorrow, and besides, I won’t be staying in Del Rey very long.”
“You’re not moving here?” he asked with some surprise.
“No, I told you from the beginning I was visiting.”
At this juncture, Sara stood as stiffly and silently as Rick.
At last, Rick spoke softly. “It’s mainly about Aaron, Sara. Don’t you see? He needs a lot of things, but right now in his life, I’m the one to supply everything for him—physically and emotionally.”
“Oh, I understand,” she began in a low voice and leaned toward him. “Having your life change drastically is traumatic on anyone, especially a child. But we adults can just suck it up, can’t we, Rick? We carry on, no matter whom we lose, or how much the loss endangers our well-being, or how the circumstances destroy our self-concept.” She paused and looked toward the house and bit her bottom lip. “I need to go.”
Sara drove away. She looked in her rear-view mirror and could barely make out Rick through the near darkness, still standing in the driveway with his hands shoved deeply into his pockets, watching after her as she turned onto the highway.
“Damn,” she whispered to herself. “I can’t please anybody. First kiss in over ten years, and the man apologizes.”