Monday, November 28, 2011

Interview with Children’s Author Mary Ruth Weaver

Mary Ruth has lived in Tennessee, Illinois, California, and finally settled down in sunny Arizona. With a degree in English, she has taught kindergarten in Christian schools. She and her husband share five children and 17 grandchildren. Mary Ruth works at Arizona Western College, coordinating and working with the winter visitor population; and her husband, who is a retired Marine, assists her with the activities. They are both active in church and the community. They love to travel and have visited all 50 states throughout the years; and, several of them many times.

Hello, Mary Ruth. I’m so glad that you’re on my blog. We met in Yuma a few years ago and I absolutely love that part of the country. It’s so beautiful in the fall, winter, and spring. Please tell us about your new book.

The Forgotten Trolley is not only a cute children’s story, but it appeals to adults as well. The lesson learned in this book is what to do when life disappoints you. You can either give up on life and be miserable, or do what Al did. He humbled himself, was reborn, and started a new phase of his life as a working cafĂ© instead of the former transporter of passengers. He learned that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

What a wonderful lesson to teach our children… a lesson to remember ourselves! Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

My inspiration for The Forgotten Trolley was inspired by my husband, Gary. He grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and rode the trolleys with his parents during the 1940s. He remembers his mother putting him on the trolley at age five, and sending him across town, by himself, to visit his grandmother! Having heard many stories throughout our 34 years of marriage, and our family visiting and riding on several trolleys housed in trolley car museums, the idea of trolleys out of commission and rusting away in scrap yards prompted me to write a children’s story.

Wow! The inspiration behind a book is so interesting to me. Are there very many cities that still have trolleys?

Some of the trolleys of the past have been refurbished and are in trolley car museums. They are either on display or are working examples that transport passengers around the museum grounds on a limited route. Recently, some cities, such as Phoenix, Arizona, and San Diego, California, have built light-rail systems that are similar to trolleys that transport passengers throughout the city on scheduled routes.

What does your family think about your writing?

My family, especially my husband, has been very supportive of my writing throughout the years. My daughter, Vikki, has been my “go-to” person for any kind of support I have needed. When I finally decided to publish this book, I called her at work and said, “Vikki, I want to be immortalized!” She asked, “So, what do you want me to do?” I said, “Help me find an illustrator for my book.” “Okay,” she answered, “I’ll get back to you.” Forty-five minutes later she called back and said, “Here, talk to Jeff.” “Who’s Jeff?” I asked. “Your new illustrator,” she replied, and the rest is history.

Your daughter sounds like she was just as excited about your new future as you were. Okay, now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I am a lucid dreamer. My dreams consist of flying, tasting, smelling, vivid colors, and seeing words or sentences written on walls, blackboards, or anywhere throughout my dreams. I can change the way the dream is progressing by changing the storyline myself during the dream. I can make sure the outcome is to my liking by simply willing it so. One of my favorite reoccurring dreams is that of dancing. I will have the whole dance floor or hall to myself, and I will twirl and leap and spin to my heart’s content. My flying dreams allow me to either fly within an airplane, or fly solo, without a vehicle. I have dreamt that I flew alone, just my body, and as I was landing, slowed down my feet, so as to gently land on top of a bookcase! During college, I wrote a research paper on lucid dreaming and not only received an A+, but was asked by my psychology professor and my English professor for a copy for their files. So, I not only enjoy my lucid dreams, and they not only paid off for me during college, but I have written several stories based on ideas I have received in my dreams.

I would love to be in control of all my dreams. That would be great. When I was a kid, I used to have flying dreams and I remember how much I loved those dreams. But when I grew up, I stopped having them. Hmmm! Now I know the real you! A Dreamer, a Child at Heart, and an Author all rolled into one!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Interview with “Sweet” Romance Author Caroline Fyffe

I’m an equine photographer turned historical romance author. I have to say I think I’ve had two of the most enjoyable jobs a person can have. I’ve spent 20 years photographing horses and now I get to write about them. What could be better? I’m married and have two amazing sons, of whom I’m very proud. My oldest has just obtained his MBA and a good job. My youngest is part of the United States Army now serving overseas. A mother could not be prouder. Caroline's website:

Montana Dawn has everything. Readers will taste the dust, smell the gunpowder and feel the passion.” --Cheryl St. John

Hello, Caroline! Your novels are considered “sweet romance” for all ages. Montana Dawn won the Best Western Romance 2010 Award by Love Western Romance. What a wonderful accomplishment! I absolutely love your book cover. In fact, this book is part of a series called "Home Fires of the West" and each book cover is absolutely beautiful. Please tell us about it.

Hi, Linda. I’m very happy to be here with you this week. Thank you for having me! MONTANA DAWN is set in Y Knot, Montana in the late 1800s. The McCutcheons, a cattle ranching family, have carved a dynasty from the wilderness by the sweat of their brow and honorable values. Luke McCutcheon, the third brother and hero of this story, is the only one who was sired by an American Indian, when his mother was taken captive. He’s the trail boss for the once-a-year cattle drive that the McCutcheons make. It’s during the drive that Luke stumbles upon a dilapidated wagon where he meets Faith Brown, in labor and needing his help. After the delivery, he offers to bring her along where one thing leads to another and soon all the trail hands are trying to catch the beautiful new mother’s attention, much to Luke’s dismay. I love stories about big families. I wanted to give Luke as much unconditional love as he needed to battle his own ghosts about his heritage. John McCutcheon, the youngest brother, is foreshadowed in MONTANA DAWN, but you don’t actually meet him until my next book, TEXAS TWILIGHT now available on-line.

I love Western Romances. Sigh! Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

It’s hard to know where the inspiration for my books come from…. It could be they are a result of my growing up around horses and living in El Dorado, California, a little town nestled in the foothills of the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains. The famous gold mining town of Placerville was only minutes away, and provided a plethora of fodder for writing westerns.

A Reviewer wrote, “Montana Dawn is not a soft, fluffy, romance. It’s a story of real people, hard times and harder choices. I enjoyed every minute of the book and that’s about as good as a book can get!” What kind of research do you do for your novels since they’re set during the Wild West?

Even as a child I loved everything western. Everything old. Taking road trips with my family I’d ask my parents to stop at the little cemeteries along the way so I could read the headstones. They used to squish a whole lot of interesting things on them in the 1800s. LOL. Also, I read history books about the taming of the west and I always check out museums from any historic place I visit. One little item can be the spark a story is built around.

Wow! So you were born to be curious ever since you were a child. What does your family think about your writing?

They’re all very proud of me for sticking to my guns, so to speak. Besides my husband and two sons, I have four sisters and their families who are all very helpful—if I need a plotting session, a pick me up, or day out shopping—they are there for me. I wrote for a lot of years before getting the call. I quit for about four years sandwiched in-between starting and getting published. But, I found I just wasn’t happy. So, I kept at it….

“Keeping at it” is the secret! Bravo! Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget. I love this question because I get to know something new about each author I interview.

Let’s see….I’m the baby, the youngest of five girls. My childhood nickname was Bowie, taken from the popular TV show, Jim Bowie, which ran from 1956-1958. It was set in the Louisiana Territory around 1830. I was glued to the set whenever it was on, and fancied myself the star. As I got older I had to fight to get my family and friends to call me Caroline. LOL. The real me loves cows, almost as much as horses. I’ll take frozen yogurt over ice cream any day… 

Hahaha! Now I know the real you! A cowgirl at heart! And by the way, I was a Jim Bowie fan, also. I loved that show when I was a kid. I couldn’t get enough of it. And frozen yogurt? It’s my favorite. Thanks so much for this awesome interview, Caroline.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Interview with “Sweet” Romance Author Ruth J. Hartman

Ruth is a published writer, as well as a licensed dental hygienist. She and her husband of 29 years, Garry, live in a 100-year-old farmhouse. Two spoiled fat cats, Maxwell and Roxy, grudgingly allow Ruth and Garry to live in the house with them. She has written her memoir about living with severe OCD. Her hope is that the memoir will help others with OCD and depression. Ruth is known for her sweet romances full of humor, hoping to make people laugh and give them warm fuzzy feelings.

Hello Ruth. Welcome back to my blog. Please tell us about your book, Purrfect Voyage.

Purrfect Voyage started out as an idea for a short story and evolved from there. Arthur, the cat in the story, gets stranded on a ocean-bound yacht for two weeks with his owner, Kitty, and a stranger named George. George and Kitty have a hard time getting along at first, never having met, and having such different interests, but as the story moves along, they get closer. Let’s face it, two people would have a lot of time to talk and get to know each other stranded together for two weeks. Oh, and by the way, George hates cats!

Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?

Arthur, a nosy black cat, was modeled after all the cats I’ve had, personality-wise. His appearance and body language were taken from my black cat, Roxy.

A Reviewer said, “I have read thousands of books, most of them romance. But this is one that I will keep in my very small reread section.” This is the greatest compliment an author can receive. If a book is worth rereading, it’s worth buying. Tell us what you think about this review.

I loved this review! I was honored that she liked my book so much. You’re right when you said that’s the greatest compliment for an author. It made my day. ☺

What kind of research did you do for this book?

The yacht voyage takes place on the ocean between Alaska and Hawaii. I did some online research for the logistics, for example, was it possible to do that trip on a small yacht in two week’s time. Also, I wasn’t very familiar with yachts, so I did some research for that. And my sister and her husband have lived in Alaska for twenty years, so they were wonderful sources of information, too.

I enjoy learning about an author’s research. Thanks. I love it when authors add real life situations to their stories. Do you usually put real experiences in your books?

A lot of times, yes. Most of the time the heroine is somewhat based on me. Klutzy, sappy romantic with a goofy sense of humor. The heroes are usually based on my husband. Although for “Grin and Barrett” which was just released in August, that hero, Victor, started out as being way different from my other heroes. But he ended up much more like them as the book progressed.

Thank you, Ruth, for this wonderful interview. I absolutely love the excerpt from your book. When Kitty’s wayward cat by the name of Arthur jumps into a yacht chasing a mouse, she runs after it. After climbing into the boat, she believes Arthur has gone below deck. Read and enjoy, everyone! Here is what happens: 

Taking it slow, Kitty inched her way down the stairs. She tried a switch, but nothing happened. Deciding the small lever must have been for a purpose other than turning on a light, she continued on in the semi-darkness. Third step from the bottom, her foot hit the edge of the slick metal step. Her feet flew up, her head swan-dived down. Pain lanced across the back of her head as she thwacked it on the last step. Kitty groaned and rolled into a cat-like ball. As her world faded to black, she whispered, “Arthur, are you even down here?”

Art Katz carried two large cardboard boxes and a red duffel bag slung over his shoulder on board the yacht. Two weeks sailing and fishing. Unbelievable. He’d waited all year. Hoped to have formed gills by the time he reached his destination. He chuckled, remembering his dream from the previous night. He, of course, had been a fish. Salmon or halibut? He couldn’t remember. Not that it mattered. But no doubt about it; he’d been a fish.

Deciding to unpack later, he set to prepare the yacht, checking gauges and levels. After a short time, he headed out to sea. He’d spent enough time on this particular yacht to know its quirks. No doubt he could make the journey safely. But not everything in his life was so predictable. Like his business. He worked like a dog. Every weekend. Most evenings. But he still wasn’t making the money he wanted. His employees often called him a slave driver. But hey, you didn’t make money just sitting around.

He flipped open his cell phone.

“Hey, it’s me.”

“Hi,” said John. “Thanks again for delivering my yacht. I still can’t believe your vacation coincided with my move. I owe ya, man.”

“You’d do the same for me. If I had a yacht. Or a place to put a yacht. Or money to buy a yacht.”

“Yeah, yeah. I hear ya.”

“I expect to be treated like a rock star when I get there.”

“You got it. See you when you get here, then.”

“Later.” Art closed his phone and put it in his jeans pocket.

John seemed to have it all. The lucrative medical practice. The beautiful wife and kids. Not that Art had time for the family part. He wasn’t like John. He didn’t have money stashed everywhere. He had to work. All the time. That’s why this trip was so special. He hardly ever left the office.

For the next several hours he sailed, admiring the whipping green waves and diving birds. Eagles and puffins splashed about, more often than not emerging with fishy treasures in their beaks. He envied them. He couldn’t wait to start fishing himself. Although, he’d be using a pole. He wasn’t crazy about biting into raw fish.

A soft sound floated up from below deck. He turned his head.


A meow?

Perfect. All he needed was a stowaway cat for the next two weeks. He’d never been a fan of felines. Far from it. With their tiny, impaling claws and creepy purring sound, he’d been able to avoid most of them.

So far.

Ever since the incident. Putting the yacht on autopilot, he walked to the stairs. His hand reached to the light switch. Nothing. And of course, the light bulbs were in a cabinet downstairs. He sighed and made his way back to his duffel bag. Flashlight in hand, he cautiously made his way down the dimly lit stairway.