Monday, July 25, 2011
Make a Wish Fulfillment Blog
Hello Marlayne. Please tell us about your new book, Make a Wish.
What a wonderful idea! Where did you get your inspiration for this book?
Make a Wish had a very innocent beginning. A good friend of mine, Henry, who has been a quadriplegic since the age of 14 (and is now in his early 50s at the time of this writing), was really down in the dumps. He had been stood up for a fishing trip, and because of his condition, he is subject to the schedules and whims of others. He wouldn’t get out of bed, wouldn’t do anything and his wife Vicki had given up trying to coax him. Henry and I had become good friends ever since Vicki reviewed my book, The Victor, on her blog.
I had already spoken with Henry several times before this so I was distressed when I heard how low he was feeling. But what could I do? I lived on the west coast and he lived on the east coast. How could I possibly cheer him up? Then a light bulb went on over my head and I thought, “I can write him a story”…and that’s exactly what I did. I wrote “A Gift for Henry” in about one hour and then emailed it to them that night. The first thing the next morning I checked my email to see what the response was. Well…it was amazing! Vicki had written me and told me that they had wept for 20 minutes after reading it. That it had truly been inspired of God because of the details I put in, which I was not aware that were perfect for Henry. Such as the smell of orange blossoms being his favorite, how he was always trying to wiggle his toes to see if they had started working and that all he wants to do when he gets to heaven is to run, run, run for the Lord. I would have to say that 99% of the stories I have written for people received the same reaction. Everyone has felt as though they have been personally touched by God through their story and even those who don’t know any of the people and have read the book have told me how deeply touched they have been by the book.
Already I’m intrigued with this new book of yours. A Reviewer wrote about the stories in Make a Wish, “While many make you smile, you must have LOTS of Kleenex available, for you will cry rivers after reading some (or, in my case, ALL) of them.” Tell us your thoughts about this.
I am personally amazed at the reactions on the part of those for whom I have written these stories. I pray before I write each one and ask God for inspiration. After 40+ stories I have come to trust the still small voice that puts the words onto the page that it will be just what the recipient needs to hear. I honestly wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested in reading the book who didn’t know the subjects of any of the stories but I have been pleasantly surprised by the reactions and wonderful reviews. The most common reactions are: “How did you know that?” “This had to be inspired by God” and “This was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.” I seem to be inspired with specific details for each story that only the person for whom it was written knows about (and I don’t find out about til later). The responses have been intensely emotional; my only regret is that I really never get to be there when they are read; I only get to hear about it afterwards via email so it loses some of the emotional impact of the reaction.
What stories touched your heart the most as you wrote them?
“Three Wishes” is the One that made me cry the hardest as I was writing it. I am a deeply empathetic person so I can ‘feel’ the emotions when I am writing and even when I reread this one I still cry. The other three stories that have special meaning for me are “More Than a Memory,” which was written for the sister of my first love, Barry, who died of a brain aneurysm in 1981 and has been gone for so long that hardly anyone remembers him. The next would have to be “Something New Under the Son” because the wish was for the person to win the lottery. I was very conflicted about how to “answer” this wish. My purpose is not so much to be a literary “genie” but to touch the heart of the person I wrote it for in such a deep and meaningful way that they sense it is God speaking to them. I really struggled with this one and so asked a mutual friend some questions about the requesting person to see if something would spark the needed inspiration. I got it when I found out that she worked at Sun Trust Bank and…well…read the story and you will see what the Lord gave me. I was told that after she read her story it worked a true change in her attitude about life and she stopped trying desperately to win the lottery. The third one would have to be my own true-life wish fulfillment story, which appears at the end of the book called “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” (after the Disney song in Cinderella).
Wow! So you wrote your very own “wish fulfillment story” about yourself. How awesome is that! Okay, it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.
Three years before I met my husband I wrote a story (which I illustrated) for myself where Jesus takes me out on a date and introduces me to the man he has chosen for me. I used to pray for my husband by name (it was always Michael) and had a very detailed list of what I hoped to get in my future husband. The Lord answered my prayers right down to his name, looks and everything on the list. On our first date a total stranger, who was part of our six-some, told Michael and his sister that I would be his future wife. To read the details, they are all in my story “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”.
Thank you so much for such a wonderful interview. Okay, Readers! If you would like your own "Wish Fulfillment" story, you may email Marlayne directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org. She will need to get a short bio paragraph that tells about you, what your wish is and why. If she has any further questions, she will contact you via return email.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Hello Paulette. Please tell us about your new book, Completely Whole.
You show readers how to overcome suffering caused by alcoholism, substance abuse, poverty, and other obstacles that prevent a happy life. Do you have any stories you would like to share where you have helped someone?
One reader made this statement “After reading Completely Whole, I had pages and pages of notes. I felt completely whole after I finished reading it. I'm not saying that after reading this book everything will be perfect in your life. But, it will help you focus on what is important in your life. ‘Regardless of your current condition, there is a better place that God has for you (Chapter 3).’ When I read those words, all I could do was cry and cry. I thank God for using Paulette Harper-Johnson to write a powerful book.”
What a wonderful comment about your book. What are your suggestions in helping people who have alcoholism and substance abuse problems?
For those having to deal with these life altering issues, I suggest one if not all of the following:
1. Admit that the issue exists and you are willing to seek help from either a spiritual leader, licensed counselor or program.
2. Church support groups are a great way to discuss and find solutions to help one with a step-by-step approach in getting victory.
3. Depending on the severity of the problem, one may want to commit to a program that requires a person to stay for an extended period of time.
4. Determine what in your life triggers those compulsive behavior patterns. Take a look at events, people, and the environment around you that may push you to resulting back to those destructive lifestyles.
That is great advice, Paulette. What does your family think about your writing?
My family is ecstatic about my writing journey. I am the first published author in my family which makes it even more of blessing to have achieved such a tremendous accomplishment.
Thank you for this lovely interview. I know you must be helping many people. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.
Wow, Linda. I remember when I was about 4, I was very inquisitive about the use of scissors. So I decided to use them to do my first haircut. I cut about 4 inches of my bands off and immediately hid my hair in our family bible for fear of getting a spanking. My mother didn’t spank me and that was the first and last time, until I grew up that I cut my hair. My granddaughter followed in my shoes, she at 4 years of age decided to do her first haircut. She cut her bands as well.
That is so funny. I think we all can relate to that situation in one way or another. Just a while ago, my little granddaughter Amber cut her own hair, but she butchered the whole top of her head…from her bangs to her crown. My daughter, Diana, couldn’t even trim her hair so it would blend in. All she could do was put a hat on her when they went to town. Hahaha! It was sad but funny.
Monday, July 11, 2011
“If you love Jane Austin, then you'll love this.”
Hello Joanne! Please tell us about your new book, Mr. Shipley's Governess.
Anastasia has an illness that has prevented her from ever attending school and makes her father, Sebastian, over protective. When Sophie first meets Sebastian, she cannot deny the intense attraction she feels toward him. When an unexpected romance begins between them, she starts to rebuild her relationship with God, with the help of a certain little girl.
I love the plot to your story. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?
I am a huge Jane Austen fan and love her classic romantic stories. I wanted to write a contemporary love story with a classic feel.
I, too, am a Jane Austen fan and so are four of my six daughters. A Reviewer wrote, “This novel by Joanne Troppello, will have you enthralled throughout with its delightful characters and combination of humour and heart stopping moments. If you love Jane Austin, then you'll love this.” Why is your book compared to Jane Austen books?
Since Jane Austen is my inspiration for this book, I tried to set the tone of the novel to mirror the classic feel of her stories. Like the characters Jane Austen created, the ones that spoke to me most are Emma Woodhouse and George Knightley from Emma. My characters are witty and the storyline is true to life, yet sweetly romantic. I’ve had readers tell me they felt like they were reading a book from the Regency period, but also knew it was a contemporary story; so I guess I achieved my goal.
Ooooh! I loved Mr. Knightley. He was awesome. Your first book was a mystery/romance. Was it hard to switch from mystery to contemporary/romance? The plot lines are so different because of adding something mysterious.
There were adjustments I needed to make, but there were several years in between writing both books, that it was not too difficult to switch gears. I’m currently working on two manuscripts now, a women’s drama and a romantic suspense novel so I’ve had to switch gears again, but I actually enjoy diversified writing.
I know what you mean. I began with historical/romance and switched to mystery/adventure. For me it was quite a change, though, because I had written 5 romances in a row. Then I turned to mystery as soon as I finished my last romance. It was an interesting change for me. Okay, now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.
Ever since I was little, I’ve had a habit of making faces and being very expressive when I talk. When my husband and I were on our honeymoon, we walked through the lobby of our hotel and saw a display of the “many faces of Buddha.” There were different statutes with varying facial expressions. My husband stopped and laughed. He said that they should have “the many faces of Joanne” instead. We chuckled and that little incident made it into my current manuscript, Island Honeymoon.
How fun! I love it. Now we know all the many faces of Novelist Joanne Troppello! You sound like a fun person to be around.