Monday, May 2, 2011

Interview with Romance Author Celia Yeary

 Celia Yeary is a native Texan, a former science teacher, and a graduate of Texas Tech University and Texas State University. She is the mother of two, grandmother of three, and wife of a wonderful, supportive Texan. Celia and her husband enjoy traveling, and both are involved in their church, the community, and the university. She is also the author of five books. 

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?

Well, first I might explain that I am nowhere near thirty-nine anymore, but I remember turning forty. At that age, I felt ready to explore the world outside my teaching position, my nice home, my loving husband, and my grown children. I learned more after the age of forty than I ever did before--such as how to play golf.

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.”


Celia Yeary said...

Good morning, Linda--I couldn't wait to pull up your blog and see the interview. I appreciate your generosity so much, and will be around this week to answer commments or questions. Thank you--Celia

Maggie Toussaint said...

There are so many things I love about this blog post. First you have one of my favorite authors here, so that's fun. I love reading about golf, so points for that. And Celia's excerpt is so fun. I can just imagine a woman who's lost everything, started to live, and feels a bit discouraged.

Enjoyed it!!!

Maggie Toussaint

LK Hunsaker said...

Celia, I loved the "kiss him and he apologizes" line when I read it in the book. :-)

Nice interview. Making The Turn is a fun read!

Laurean Brooks said...

Celia, you are one of my favorite authors, too. You know how to spin a tale and keep the reader hanging on the edge.

An you always have at least one spunky lady who is no stranger to her own shoe leather. LOL. It makes for lively humor story, lightening any sorrowful scenes.

I love the story, excerpt, and am glad you are treading into Womens' Fiction. I'm mustering up the courage to try it, too. Gulp.

Joni said...

I haven't read one of your books before but I am looking forward to reading this one. The excerpt was entertaining and I thank you for a great interview.

My Hyer Space said...

Enjoyed your interview. Would love to read your book. thanks agent3547ataoldotcom

Gail Pallotta said...

I enjoyed your excerpt, especially the last line about him apologizing for the kiss. It sounds like a fun book to read. I wish you much success with your writing and the book.

Kat said...

Great interview! I haven't read any of Celia's books, but would love to read this! Thanks!
katsaddress AT gmail DOT com

Mona Risk said...

Celia--I always enjoy reading about your accomplishments. Learning golf after forty and winning trophies is amazing. I took golf lessons and tried, but couldn't make it. You are a perseverant and successful woman. Your books are the best proof of success. I am sure many of us will identify with your characters.

Laurean Brooks said...

OOPS! Didn't know I could win this book. Here's my email.

Celia Yeary said...

MAGGIE--I don't know about you, but I am truly grateful I did not have to start over at age 40. I know some who did, and bless them every's not easy. But I did want a little humor about such a situation. You never know when something will turn out for the best. Thanks for visiting...Celia

Celia Yeary said...

LK--I've never had anyone to apologize for a kiss, but I think it would hurt. Thank you for reading Making the Turn. Celia

Celia Yeary said...

Laurean--oh, I wish you much success. I know you'd write a very good women's fiction. They're not easy to promote, though....everything revolves around pure romance, so something called WF--not so easy. I have more than one, but I ended up calling the others light romances. Please do write one--especially Inspirational readers will love your women's fiction...and be sure in include one of those "spunky" women you and I love to write! Let me know about your venture...Celia

Celia Yeary said...

JONI, I'm glad you were entertaining. I hope this entire book entertains readers and makes them laugh a little. If you live in a small town, it might be funnier for you. Thanks! Celia

Celia Yeary said...

My Hyer Space...I hope you do read it. I appreciate any soul who reads something I wrote...Thank you for coming by...Celia

Celia Yeary said...

Thank you, Gail. You're very generous with your compliments, and I do appreciate it. Celia

Celia Yeary said...

Thank you, Kat--I appreciate your visit and hope you do read it...Celia

Celia Yeary said...

MONA--I guess we have a mutual admiration society. I don't know how my accomplishments could stack up to yours. But you're right...I'm persistent, hard-headed in some ways, but not in everything. Just when I really want something I'll knock myself out trying. Celia

Gayle said...

Enjoyed the interview! And the excerpt is great -- it sounds like a great book!

Celia Yeary said...

Thank you so much, Gayle--I appreciate your reading it. Celia

Sandy said...

Your excerpt was very sweet, Celia.

Well, I had no idea you have a killer instinct. Smile.

RaNae said...

An excellent interview Linda. Celia, loved the excerpt, sounds like a fun read.

Celia Yeary said...

SANDY--yes, you did. You have one, too! Glad you liked the excerpt. Celia

Celia Yeary said...

RaNae--glad to meet you. I'm happy you liked the excerpt, and yes, Linda does a good job with her interviews. Thanks for visiting...Celia

Caroline Clemmons said...

Celia, I loved the apology line at the end of your excerpt. I also am happy to find this blog. My husband and I love anasazi stories. So, this was a treasure trove day for me.

Celia Yeary said...

CAROLINE...GREAT--on both comments. I'm always happy when someone likes an excerpt.
I know Linda will be thrilled, too--hope she sees your comment. I like her site, too...since I do have a story or two that aren't true/pure romance. I'll be on here again later in the summer. Celia

barbjan10 said...

Oh my! I'm going to like this lady author a whole bunch. You got me, Celia, on that line "First kiss in ten years, and the man apologizes." I've not read your writings before, and after reading your excerpt, I know I'll enjoy reading them. I tried golf once, and I must have fanned the ball 20 times before I hit it off the tee. Your interview with Linda was great. Thank you for offering your book as the giveaway; and thanks to Linda for giving the opportunity to win your terrific novel. I hope I win!

Grace & Peace,
Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

Celia Yeary said...

BARB--dear heart, you made my day. Thank you so much for the compliment, and I do hope you like my stories.
Golf? I began at age 40--and knocked myself out to learn, and I did a pretty good job, won a few things, and got my handicap down to a respectable number for amateurs. I had so much fun playing with my buddies. Making the Turn is dedicated to my three women friends, the best golfing buddies in the world. Oh, man, did we have fun!
So glad to meet you....Celia

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Congratulations, Caroline Clemmons! I know you'll enjoy this book. Thanks, everyone, for stopping by. Every Monday I interview a new author and have a book giveaway for that week. Stop by often and see what new book we're talking about.