Book Nerd Interview
Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
Oh, well actually, I wanted to be a ballet dancer! I studied for 10 years and was a member of the Miami Ballet Company. When I grew too tall to pursue the art further at 15, I turned to fine art. I eventually grew frustrated in people misinterpreting my art, so I turned to words. The logical first leap was to picture books, with a combination of art and text. And then when an editor told me my picture book manuscript was really a novel (Loose Threads), I began to write wholeheartedly.
That said, I did win awards for my writing and poetry as a child and in early adulthood. Yet, I only perceived the skill as normal or a part of me I took for granted. Finally, I evaluated everything and discovered my love of the craft of writing.
Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
Coming off super nerdy, I have to say Pilgrim’s Progress. I read it usually once a year. It’s my touchstone which reminds me fiction holds great truths. The complex symbolism is brilliant and knowing Bunyan’s 12 years of imprisonment for his convictions is inspiring.
In terms of contemporary work, Karen Hesse’s Out of the Dust was the book I needed to lead me into the art of novel writing. It will always reverberate in its beauty, poignancy, and how it held me by the hand into verse.
In your book; Firstborn, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
Tiadone is born into an oppressive, military society. Not valuing firstborn girls, parents have the right to leave their females in the wilds to die or declare them male to function as such in society. Tiadone is one of the first girls to be declared male. As her service to patrol the Perimeter approaches, along with puberty, she begins to question the power of the amulet that is suppressing her feminine traits. Longing to be accepted and valued, she sets off to prove herself as a male with her bird, Mirko. Her heroine’s journey will take her exactly where she needs to go.
For those who are unfamiliar with Tiadone, how would you introduce her?
She is a girl, publicly living as a male, for the right to live. With her gender suppressed, she is fighting to show her value and find her true worth.
What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
Next up is my contemporary novel, Hit, which releases from Blink YA Books in October! It is inspired by my daughter’s best friend who was hit in a crosswalk on the way to school. The story arcs over just 2 days as she endures brain surgery and discovers she knows the person who hit her.
And then in my first year of marriage, I lived in South Korea. Reflecting on that experience, I’m converting a work-in-progress from verse to prose and finding the sheltered protagonist’s voice as she witnesses student unrest, communist threat, and legal prostitution. I hope to have an opportunity to share the novel.
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Well, the protagonists in Loose Threads, Hold Me Tight, and On Pointe are all me. Seriously. Those are so closely based on my life, she is me. So I guess I’d love to meet Tia, with Mirko in tow. However, the weakest parts of Tia are me, and the strongest parts are my daughter, while Mirko is my new son-in-law. I guess, we’ve all met. How confusing is that?
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
No! I’m always looking for any lie trying to snake out to smash it. I’ll say I attended the University of Miami, without getting to say I graduated. The move to Korea interrupted my degree, and I never returned to school for credit to finish. With 2 ½ years done. Argh.
What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?
My summers were full of ballet, so I didn’t have one. I’m re-reading the previous question, squashing some fabulous summer jobs I could invent. J
Who was your first boyfriend?
There was finally a boy in my senior year, who had already graduated, who was able to see past my height (5’11 ¾”), and we dated 2 years. He took me to prom so my principal was off the hook. The latter had promised if I didn’t have a date, he’d escort me. Which wasn’t as scandalous then as it sounds right now.
Tell me about your first kiss
I’d say one of the most memorable was Burt Reynolds. I waited in an audition line for 3 hours in the hot Fort Lauderdale sun, to say hello and get my kiss. I didn’t want the movie part, I just wanted to meet him. And I did. The guy who showed up, hoping for a date afterwards with me, never had a chance.
When was the last time you cried?
That is a funny question for me. I have lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjorgen’s Syndrome. The last dried up all my tears, maybe ten years ago. So, now I just get red and puffy. Which is not attractive or persuasive. I’m in the midst of moving, so I’m pretty sure I got red and puffy yesterday.
What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
I think I would have loved the forties. Jitterbugging all over the place!
What is your greatest adventure?
Probably moving to South Korea my first year of marriage and living in a building half-filled with missionaries and half-filled with prostitutes. I did move to Puerto Rico at 8 months pregnant and delivered our daughter at the top of a mountain with a Mennonite midwife and nurses who only spoke Spanish. It was quite an adventure homeschooling for 14 years. And I just went to my number one bucket list destination, Santorini, Greece. With lupus, it was an adventure in the sun. Hopefully my greatest adventure is just around the corner!
Vlog Post with Lorie Ann Grover
You can purchase Firstborn at the following Retailers:
And now, The Giveaways.
May 13th Tuesday: A Reading Nurse REVIEW
May 14th Wednesday: Fictionally Obsessed 7 FAVORITE BOOKS
May 15th Thursday: The Cover Contessa REVIEW & THIS OR THAT
May 16th Friday: Beauty and the Bookshelf DREAM CAST
May 17th Saturday: Once Upon a Twilight REVIEW
May 18th Sunday: A Dream Within a Dream REVIEW & TENS LIST
May 19th Monday: To Read is Divine REVIEW & GUEST POST
May 20th Tuesday: TTC Books and More REVIEW & MUSIC PLAYLIST
May 21st Wednesday: Chapter by Chapter 5 RANDOM THINGS
*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*