Bold and Strong: Coffee Chat with Connie Biewald

Connie Biewald, Author of Truth Like Oil

Most writers have been advised at one point or another to write the book they want to read. Connie Biewald, author of Truth Like Oil, did just that. Fill your mug with something delicious, and join Connie and me as we talk about balancing a writing life, the joys of publishing, and the complexity of motherhood.

Me: Are you a coffee drinker? What are your favorite drinks and snacks when you’re writing?

Connie: Yes! I don’t drink a lot of coffee, but I definitely need that one large, strong cup when I get up. I like salty snacks–chips and salsa, especially–and leftovers. I love leftovers.

Me: Describe your inspiration for Truth Like Oil. Why did you feel compelled to tell this story?

Connie: My fiercely independent, white, racist grandmother was laid up in a nursing home being cared for by people of color. This dynamic interested me. I began to write the relationship of Hazel and Nadine. I went to Haiti to learn more about Nadine’s background and culture and ended up going back multiple times over the next decade. At that time in my life (2005) my younger son began making some risky choices. I’ve always used writing as a way to explore human behavior and relationships. I realized Nadine and Hazel were also mothers of sons and Chance, Henry and Gary entered into the story. I wrote the book I wanted to read–about Nadine coping with the terrible feeling of helplessness, as her son, a young person she is responsible for, makes his own scary decisions, and about how, as parents, we inevitably have to accept that our children’s lives are their own, not ours. We can’t (and shouldn’t try to) make them bend to our will, especially when they’re adults.

Me: How did you decide on this title? Were there others that were in the running?

Connie: The working title right up until a few months before publication was Heart of the Yam, a phrase from another proverb, “Only the knife knows the heart of the yam.” A thoughtful friend of mine pointed out that if I’m concerned about being a white author writing a Black main character in this current social/political climate, I might not want to have the word “yam” with its strong African associations so front and center. Truth Like Oil, another proverb used in the book, works well, and I like the fact that it’s from a proverb used in many cultures around the world.

Me: Are there any parallels between your life and the characters in your novel?

Connie: Yes–many, many parallels. As I said, I can certainly relate to the stresses of parenting.  When I sat in a courtroom with my own son who is white, I saw a room full of people of color, including many who appeared to be recent immigrants. I thought about my own struggles navigating the system and wondered what it must be like for someone who doesn’t speak English fluently or feel as comfortable and privileged in the dominant culture. I have two sons and am always marveling at the complexity of their sibling relationship. I’m also dealing with an aging mother living in an assisted living situation. Then there’s the setting of Cambridge, MA. When people think of Cambridge, they often think Harvard and MIT and all that goes along with those institutions, but there’s so much more to our city. After setting my last three novels in a version of the Connecticut mill town where I grew up, I thought I should write about the city that’s been my home for the last 30 plus years.

Me: What has been your favorite part of this publishing journey?

Connie: My work with the developmental editor was very satisfying. She helped me cut 60 pages and the edits made it a much better book. Another great moment was when I first saw the cover design. I think it’s beautiful! I also appreciated reading the endorsements people wrote for the book–very affirming.

Me: What has been the biggest challenge? 

Connie: The biggest challenge for me isn’t as much about publishing. It’s always how to keep the world at bay enough to sit down and write and to quiet the voices in my head that question the value of a  writing habit. I spend hours and hours and hours and end up with a decent book, but I know I’ll never be a great writer, like the writers I admire. Shouldn’t I be doing something else with all that time? Yet I always come back to the reality that when I am writing regularly, I’m a happier person and more productive in all areas of my life.

Me: How has this differed from publishing your other books?

Connie: This was my first traditionally published novel. I self published my three previous novels with iUniverse. They did well enough, even won awards, but I always felt I hadn’t “really” been published.

Me: How do you juggle teaching, writing, and family obligations?

Connie: Grace Paley, my most important writing mentor, says that there’s no such thing as balance when it comes to these things, which takes some of the pressure off. During the school year it’s harder to carve out writing time. During the summer I might go to a residency where I can write all day. When my kids were small, I had one morning a week for writing, and I used it well. Now they’re grown. In theory I could write every morning for an hour or so since I only have to worry about getting myself out the door. Still, there are some stretches of time, when I can’t get myself going. I hope to establish a morning routine that will take me through this next school year. A daily habit keeps the characters and the book alive in my mind so that my subconscious is working on it all the time.

Me: What is the most helpful writing advice you have received to date?

Connie: Grace, again, said, “Keep your expenses down and never live with someone who doesn’t support your writing.” That advice has worked for me.

Me: What is a piece of advice you ignored in life that you are glad you did?

Connie: This is a very interesting question and I’m having a hard time thinking of an answer. I’ve always loved traveling and when I was younger and adventure was way more important than comfort, I took chances that now I might want to advise a young person not to do, but I don’t remember anyone actually telling me not to travel with barely any money, climb mountains in gold sandals, accept free meals from any religious cult that offered, bicycle alone down the Oregon and California coasts (no helmets back then), etc. No doubt there were people who would have advised me not to do this sort of thing, but they probably knew not to bother. I wouldn’t have listened.

Me: Is there anything else you would like readers to know? How can they find you?

My website is:www.conniebiewald.com

A short interview with me about Truth Like Oil is available in the Here and Now archives.

https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2021/06/16/truth-like-oil-connie-biewald

Bold and Strong: Coffee Chat with Author Libby McNamee

Libby McNamee, Author

This month I am thrilled to be chatting with my friend and fellow Bookish Road Trip administrator, Libby McNamee. Libby is the author of Susanna’s Midnight Ride: The Girl Who Won the Revolutionary War and the newly released Dolley Madison and the War of 1812. Join us as we chat about Libby’s writing life, research process, and plans for future writing projects! Huzzah!

Me: How often do you drink coffee? What is your favorite beverage?

Libby: I drink coffee every morning, but rarely ever finish a full cup.  Although I love the aroma, taste, and ritual itself, it bothers my stomach, so I’ve got to pace myself. My favorite drink is seltzer water, any flavor, but I especially love grapefruit. At night I love an oaky (is that a word?) chardonnay.

Me: What about Dolley Madison? Would she have had coffee with us?

Libby: Oh yes, absolutely! Dolley loved socializing more than anything else in the world and believed in “politics by people.” Back during the War of 1812, America boycotted British tea for years, the second time around after the American Revolution. That is how coffee became firmly established as our national drink of choice! Huzzah!

Me: Tell us a little about your new book and how this time around feels different from your debut. Or does it?

Libby: When I wrote Susanna’s Midnight Ride, information on 16-year-old Susanna Bolling was extremely limited. However, there were tons of books on the American Revolution. With Dolley, it was the exact opposite. There was lots of information about her and fewer resources about the War of 1812. It was much easier to learn about her and put her in the context of the era in which she lived. 

It feels easier in some ways because I am familiar with the process, but I find it just as anxiety-producing. Three years have passed, and things have shifted with the pandemic, so it’s been a much slower process, requiring a lot more planning and coordination. This time I am also releasing a Study Guide at the same time and including a number of blurbs at the front of the book, so that’s been a lot more to juggle. 

Me: What was the research process like for this book?

Libby: It was fascinating!  I never knew much about Dolley or the War of 1812, so it was quite eye-opening to learn about life in brand-new Washington City and the many challenges facing the Early Republic, only thirty years after the Battle of Yorktown. 

I loved reading about Dolley and the time period, but I also had a blast visiting many historical sites–Montpelier, the James Madison Museum, the White House, the Octagon House, Fort McHenry, the Daughters of the War of 1812 Headquarters, the Navy Yard, Fort Washington, Scotchtown, Riversdale, and the Flag House Museum, among others. 

Me: Why Dolley Madison? Why did you decide to write about her? What did you learn that surprised you? Is there anything you would still like to know about her?

Libby: I attended a lecture at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture on Dolley Madison given by the CEO of Montpelier, and I was hooked!  Of course, I had always heard about her legendary hospitality, but I never realized her brilliance in dealing with politics at a time when women’s roles were so limited. She was so much more than just a sociable wife. In fact, President Polk coined the term “First Lady” to describe her enormous role while giving her eulogy at her funeral.

Me: What age group are your books geared toward? What do you like about writing for younger readers?

Libby: My books were originally geared to upper middle grade (4th grade through 7th grade), but I’ve found they appeal to history-loving adults just as well. I only discovered my love of history when I was in my 40s, so I write for younger readers to draw them in at an earlier age. I want to show them that history can be very exciting and suspenseful. It’s not all boring memorization of dates, places, and people’s names.

Me: Tell us a little about your earlier experiences with writing. What did you work on before Dolley and Susanna?

Libby: I’ve always loved to write! Before writing full-time, I was a practicing lawyer. I served in the US Army JAG Corps for six years, living in Seoul, Korea and Tacoma, WA, with a stint in Bosnia. Then I worked in a large firm, a small firm, and a corporation before becoming a freelance writer. I wrote a traveling-with-kids column, as well as humor and cooking columns, along with lots of feature articles.

Me: What are your favorite snacks to have when you are writing? Do you keep a regular writing schedule?

Libby: Great question! I usually drink water (preferably seltzer) or Gatorade and eat fruit. Then when I take a break, I raid the pantry! Watch out, chocolate, here I come!

Me: What is a time period or individual from history that you would like to know more about?

Libby: I would love to know more about Elizabeth Van Lew, a high-society woman from Richmond, Virginia, who operated an extensive spy ring for the Union Army, reporting directly to General Grant during the Civil War. She also helped Yankee prisoners escape the notoriously horrible conditions and even hid them in her home, losing her fortune and becoming an outcast. She will be the subject of my next book!

Me: What are your favorite genres to read?

Libby: Historical fiction is definitely my favorite genre, followed by contemporary women’s fiction and literary fiction. When I’m craving some lighter reading, I love to escape into cozy murder mysteries.

Me: How can readers learn more about you and your books?

Libby: The best way to keep in touch is through my newsletter, Libby’s Monthly Dispatch, which has historic tidbits, quotes, recipes and reading recommendations.  Please sign up on my website,  www.LibbyMcNamee.com. I’m also on Facebook at “Libby McNamee Author” and on Instagram @LibbyMcNameeAuthor.

Order your copy of Dolley Madison.

Purchase I Love You More Than Coffee by Melissa Face.

Bold and Strong: Coffee Chat with Author Gail Ward Olmsted

Gail Ward Olmsted, Author of Landscape of a Marriage

In her novel Landscape of a Marriage, Gail Ward Olmsted (Yes! A relative of THE Frederick Law Olmsted) quotes Fred as saying, “…in a civilized country, no man should be expected to walk, let alone interact with others before consuming a sufficient amount of coffee.” I have never felt so close to someone I’ve never met before! But unlike Fred, I do not typically have black coffee and pickles for breakfast. Perhaps that is the secret to years of enjoyable and productive work?

I am honored to have Gail with me for this month’s Coffee Chat. I hope you will pour a cup of coffee, however you enjoy it, and join us as we talk about the research process for an historical work, why it’s important to keep the reader in mind, and Gail’s definition of literary success!

Enjoy!

Me: Are you a coffee drinker? What is your go-to beverage when writing?

Gail: I adore coffee, black and strong! I would drink it all day long if I could, but these days if I want to get a decent night’s sleep, I switch to decaf or water by early afternoon. I usually keep a Yeti mug of water nearby at all times.

Me: When did you first feel like a writer?

Gail: My first book is titled Jeep Tour, set in beautiful Sedona, AZ. I started writing it on a lark following a trip there with my family. It took me years to really focus and get it published. When that first shipment of printed books appeared on my doorstep, I knew I wanted to have that amazing feeling again and again. It never gets old!

Me: Describe your writing process. Do you outline? Does it change depending on the project?

Gail: Landscape is my fifth novel and the first historical work I’ve written. Since I was telling a story about real people set in a time I knew little about, I was very careful to learn what life was really like in the second half of the 19th century. I researched everything, and I created an outline to plot out the story –  to keep it moving as it spans more than 40 years. 

Me: In this book you give voice to a character who was hidden in the shadow of her husband. What was the most interesting thing you learned about her?

Gail: There has been very little written about Mary Olmsted, so I chose to create a compelling main character who could keep up with her workaholic visionary husband, give birth to seven children and figure out how to thrive in such a chaotic time. Landscape of a Marriage is the story of Mary’s journey which begins with a marriage of convenience, borne of duty and obligation, not romantic love.  I needed to reveal her strength and compassion and love for her family and friends. I wanted to give her the passionate union that I felt she deserved. 

Me: How long did you spend researching this project? What was the process like? Did you ever consider putting it aside?

Gail: I read every book and article I could find about Frederick Law Olmsted, and there are plenty. He wrote several himself! I tried to focus on his personal life but as he involved his family in everything he did, it was impossible to not get caught up in all of his professional accomplishments. I found myself writing a scene (actually a chapter) then going back to research the details- what Mary would be wearing, what the family ate for dinner and how they spent their time. Then I would make the needed changes or enhancements and move on to the next chapter. I never put it aside for more than a day or two for nearly three years!

Me: In your Author Note, you mention “writing the book you want to read.” Is the final product what you intended, or did some aspects change along the way? What is it like to read your own finished book?

Gail: I originally wrote Landscape in the third person, but I found I connected so much better with Mary and her life by rewriting it in the first person. I also edited the final manuscript and reduced the final word count by about 10%. I’ve since read sections or individual chapters, but never the whole book from start to finish. I am fairly certain that I never will. 

Me: What other books do you want to read? In other words, what are some stories you still need to tell?

Gail: I’m working on a contemporary story about a disgraced assistant district attorney. She is attempting a career comeback as a legal advice blogger and is about to host her own daytime TV show. I love stories about redemption, second chances.  This will be my sixth book and all of my main characters share that goal, that search for their ‘happily ever after.’

Me: If you could have coffee with Mary Olmsted, what would you ask her? 

Gail: That would be a wonderful conversation! I would ask her to share some of her memories of traveling and some of her favorite places. She spent a good deal of time in  Europe, went to California during the Gold Rush, and to Chicago for the World’s Fair in 1893. She lived in New York, Washington DC, California, Maine and Boston, moving her growing family along with her each time. I would ask her,  ‘Where did you get your energy? How many cups of coffee did it take?’

Me: If you could offer your younger self some writing advice, what would it be?

Gail: I would remind myself to always keep my focus on the reader. At the end of the day, it’s all about them- their enjoyment, their connection with the characters and the story. Save the self-indulgence for journals and diaries, I would advise myself.  Tell the story you want to tell, but make sure it’s one your readers will want to read!

Me: What is your definition of literary success?

Gail: For me, success is not about sales or rankings or how much money I earn, although I’ve got no problem cashing royalty checks. I do love to read a good review from a reader who ‘gets’ me and I have this fantasy that I’ll be sitting somewhere on a plane or a park bench and I’ll look over and see a total stranger reading one of my books and smiling. That would be fabulous!

Purchase Landscape of a Marriage by Gail Ward Olmsted (Available July 29, 2021).

***Authors and publicists: if you would like a book considered for an upcoming Coffee Chat, please email melissaface2008@gmail.com.

Order I Love You More Than Coffee by Melissa Face.

Happy Mother’s Day! A Special Coffee Chat with Author Rachel Medel Cabalse

Rachel Medel Cabalse

It’s May, the month for celebrating moms, and I am thrilled to have a coffee loving mom with me for this special coffee chat!  Rachel Cabalse and I met through social media when we teamed up for a fun coffee-themed book giveaway. Since then, Rachel and I have been cheering each other on from across the country as we spread the word about our debut books. Grab your favorite mug; fill it with something delicious, and join Rachel and me as we talk about coffee, motherhood, and enjoying the writing journey. 

Me: Describe your relationship with coffee. What is your go-to beverage? What about if you are relaxing? (haha!)

Rachel: My relationship with coffee is an ongoing love affair.  We have grown together over the years –  from being a child who just enjoyed the aroma as her parents brewed a pot every morning, to a young adult who used it solely for the caffeine element, to a budding entrepreneur who opened a kid-friendly coffee shop (Java Mama) back in 2013, and now full- circle as the parent whose children learned to pull a perfect double shot of espresso during the distance learning days of 2020 lockdown. My go-to coffee is usually black, unsweetened cold brew – or if I’m feeling frisky a cafe au lait. I don’t comprehend the last question.  😉

Me: When do you feel like a good mom?

Rachel: Very rarely. I am always worrying if I’m not enough, or at other times too much.  But maybe if I have to pinpoint those moments, it’s probably when I hear my kids giggle. Or, when I see them help each other out. Those moments where I am fully present, away from my phone or work, and could just focus on them are probably when I feel good enough.  

Me: What has been most surprising to you about motherhood?

Rachel: How much I learn from them. My kids have taught me to be patient and compassionate. Above all, they have made me a better listener which doesn’t come naturally to me. They see the world so pure; and, as they discover and ask questions, I gain new insight to things I would have never even wondered about before.  

Me: Ask your kids to describe you. What did they say? 

Rachel: 9- yr- old – “Kind, hard-worker, a never give up kind of person…yah like that.”

5 -yr -old – “She is so much fun and likes to play with me. I love her because she’s the best mom ever.”

Awww…thank you for making me do that exercise.  I’m feeling a little teary-eyed now – let’s go back to question 2.  My new answer is right now.  

Me: When did you first feel like a writer? When did you first refer to yourself publicly as a writer?

Rachel: I didn’t actually refer to myself publicly as a writer until my book was published and available for purchase.  That was November 3rd, 2020.  Honestly, I’m not certain I even feel like a writer now! 

Me: What was the first thing you ever wrote/published? How did you feel?

Rachel: The first thing I ever wrote was probably my Senior Honors Thesis on a study I did back in 2004.  It was titled, “IM Online: Instant Messaging Use Among College Students.”  Looking back now, especially knowing how much computer-mediated communication and social media has taken over our livelihood, it feels exciting to know I wrote about it nearly 20 years ago. My mentor actually utilized my findings and got published in the Communication Research Reports shortly after I graduated. It makes me feel accomplished, but not quite finished.  

Me: How did your current project move from idea to actual, tangible book?

Rachel: Lockdown 2020. With all of the extra time on my hands, and with the kids getting older, I wanted to complete the book while they could still relate and appreciate the story. I had been sitting on the manuscript for nearly 4 years (after Java Mama closed) – so if there was a time for this to become tangible, it was now.  

Me: Who is your book for? 

Rachel: My family and all the Java Mamas.

Me: What do you want to work on next?

Rachel: My book, This Mommy Needs Some Coffee, was such a heart story for my love of coffee and my kids (who I love a little more as Melissa Face puts it!) that it’s hard to even think about another project. If anything, it’d have to be something as enjoyable for the parents AND kiddos like this one was. Until then, I’m just going to enjoy this next stage of life with my “babies!”

Connect with Rachel:

You can find me on Instagram @thismommyneedsomecoffee; Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thismommyneedssomecoffee/ or online at linktr.ee/MommyNeedsCoffeeBook

Order your copy of I Love You More Than Coffee for Mother’s Day.

Bold and Strong: Coffee Chat with Author Trisha Faye

Trisha Faye

Trisha Faye and I have never met in person, but we connected years ago when she was editing an anthology, and I sent her a submission. Since then, we have floated in and out of the same writing circles, and this month we both have stories in the same Chicken Soup for the Soul collection! Grab a delicious drink, make yourself comfortable, and join us as we chat about story inspiration, justifying purchases, and much more!

Me: What are your earliest memories of being a writer?

Trisha: Let’s not talk about my earliest memories of being a writer. It wasn’t pretty. I remember an early college creative writing class. I don’t recall what I wrote about, but I entered class with my first story, and it got ripped to shreds! Young college students are not always the kindest with their critiques – at least these weren’t. And I was very bashful and had very thin skin. I never returned to that class. 

It was probably about twenty years later before story nuggets began pestering my brain. But I still didn’t feel confident. So, I settled. I started a little newsletter about herbs – growing them, using them in the kitchen, and crafting with them. I think the nonfiction element of the topic made it safer for me. I didn’t feel like I was venturing out into dangerous waters.

About 12 years ago, I moved to Texas. And the stories kept prodding me. Since they wouldn’t leave me alone, I decided that I’d better start following that writing muse and see where the journey took me. I ended up submitting some articles to our small local newspaper. As each one was accepted, my confidence slowly grew. I joined a local writer’s group. And with the practice, and the monthly feedback and critique (in a much friendlier manner than the early class experience) my skin gradually thickened and I kept writing and growing.

Me: Tell us a little about your writing routine and your workspace. What is essential for you?

Trisha: I don’t have a regular routine because I also have a part- time job, with hours that vary from week to week. So, I juggle writing around that. Early morning, before I head to work, I use some of that time to interact on Facebook or work on planning. I find that I write better in the morning – but not too early. I need that first hour or so to clear the cobwebs, so it works best to use that for tasks that I don’t need all the circuits working in unison.

Since I don’t work on the weekends, I try to use those two days to accomplish a lot. Sometimes I’m successful; sometimes I’m not. I think one thing I’ve learned over the past few years (with a lot of reminders about it from a dear friend!) is to be easier on myself and not beat myself up if I don’t accomplish everything I set forth to do. Sometimes we are harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else.

One thing that is essential for me is semi-quiet and peace. It doesn’t need to be absolutely silent, but when others in the household are blaring a TV all day long (I’m not mentioning any names!), it disrupts my thoughts. Once we cleared out a room for my ‘office’, so I wasn’t working in the main part of the house, my writing focus improved, and I became better at chipping away at all the projects I wanted to work on.

Me: What is the most unusual topic you’ve written about?

Trisha: I have a collection of journals that I’ve created. Three journals have been out for a while: My Historic Home Journal, My Museum Journal and My Family Heirloom Journal. Two others just became available last week: My Gratitude Journal and My Blessings Journal. But probably the most unusual topic I’ve written about will be in two others scheduled for this fall – My Cemetery Journal and Cemetery I Spy.

Yes, I’m the oddball in the family – the one that loves to spend time in old cemeteries, whether I have family members there or not. Luckily, here in Texas I fell in with a group of friends who also love to explore these remnants of our past. I’ve had an idea for a few cemetery books in relation to this, but I have a feeling that they may find themselves on the ‘B List’ of books that I don’t ever seem to find the time to work on. We’ll see. Time will tell on that topic.

Me: What is it like to publish an anthology? Any unusual experiences working with other writers?

Trisha: I’ve published four anthologies: In Celebration of Mothers, In Celebration of Sisters, Mothers of Angels and Mothers of Angels 2. That experience has been most interesting. What I’ve enjoyed most about it is meeting so many other phenomenal authors. I’ve been blessed and many have become treasured friends. You and I met through the Sisters anthology, with your story, A Sibling Thing, about your sister that you lost due to a car accident.

The Mothers of Angels anthologies are stories about losing children, in honor of my stepson that we lost to cancer at 23 years old. Those two books hold my heart, as it goes out to all the people who shared their pain and heartache with us in their stories.

Me: You have a story in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book that will be out later this month. Can you give us some hints about your story?

Trisha: Yes, I’m in the Be You volume that is releasing April 6. My story is ‘Seventeen Words’. It’s about how a phrase entered my life and ended up shaping many of my actions.

“Let go of anything inauthentic and all activities that do not mirror your brightest intentions for yourself.”

In my story, I talk about how this phrase entered my life and how it came to mean so much to me. I started using these seventeen words as a magnifying glass for what I wanted. Those words changed so much in my life. It ended the five virtual farms I had going at the time – Farmville, Farmtown, and I don’t recall all the names. But I sat on the computer so many hours of the day, farming, farming, farming – while a whole yard in back sat dormant and ignored. These words forced me to look at my life and examine so many aspects, measuring them against this yardstick of authenticity.

Me: What do you like about Chicken Soup and other story collections?

Trisha: As a reader I enjoy the Chicken Soup collections because they have such a variety of stories in each volume. Plus, they’re short enough that you can sit and read a few stories, and then sit the book down and continue on with other tasks, not needing large segments of time to read.

As a writer, I like the topics that they have. In my venture to get more acceptances (I’m still far, far, far behind how many stories you’ve had accepted by them!), it keeps my mind spinning to think of ideas to write about, and it keeps me striving to improve my writing.

Me: What are your biggest sources of inspiration?

Trisha: What I’ve been having a lot of fun with is writing historical fiction short stories based on items from the past. I’ve gathered items from different antique stores, such as books with the flyleaf inscribed by the owner of one hundred years ago. Or I have a collection of letters written by a soldier in World War 2 to his then girlfriend, who he ended up marrying until their deaths many years later. Sometimes it’s a photograph, or an embroidered dish towel and I simply think of who might have owned this, or who might have sat and lovingly stitched the dish towel or quilt square. And then I spin a tale about who I think might have been connected to this piece from the past, and what might have happened. And the story grows from there.

Or, am I simply trying to justify all the wondrous items that I purchase in antique stores and flea markets? Possibly.

Me: What do you enjoy outside of writing?

Trisha: Oh – so many ways to spend the days. I never get bored. There are grandchildren to visit (that I haven’t seen since Covid entered our lives). At home there’s the yard and the masses of flowers to tend to. I’ve given up on vegetables since moving to Texas. They just haven’t cooperated with me here. There’s crafting – stitchery, weaving, glass fusing, papermaking, soapmaking, so many things I enjoy creating. Although the past few years I think I’ve crafted more with words than fibers.

Me: Tell us about some upcoming projects or a piece you are currently writing. 

Trisha: I’m excited about a Christmas book I’m planning for 2021. I’m still researching and developing the characters I want to use to tell the story. I should begin writing it by the end of the month. It’s a story that I ran across while researching a short story that was set in Iowa. In Algona, Iowa, during World War 2, there was a POW camp there that housed several thousand German soldiers.

Several of the German POW’s created a nativity scene their first Christmas there and held a special Christmas Eve service, singing to God in their native tongue. The camp commander asked them to make a larger nativity scene for the next year. Four POWs worked all year on it. The war ended before they were quite done with it, so they stayed several months longer to finish it up. When it was completed, Christmas 1945, there was a special service, and they left the nativity scene to the town of Algona. All these years later, the nativity scene is still there and still viewed every year. Last year, 2020, was the first year that the display wasn’t open to the public because of Covid.

Me: What else would you like readers to know about you? What is the best way for them to find your work?

Trisha: I often joke that I was born on the cusp of Gemini/Cancer. My heart loves and nurtures with a true Cancer spirit. But my writing – my writing is pure flighty Gemini. Sometimes I wish I had one interest and passion and all my writing efforts went into that. But, alas, I don’t. There are so many things I like to dabble in with my writing. A little inspirational, a little bit for children, a lot about pieces from the past, a dab of this, and a smattering of that.

You can find out more about me at www.trishafaye.com. Or you can find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/trisha.faye.5/

I have a monthly newsletter – Trisha’s Tidbits – where I share publication news and story snippets. You can sign up for that here and get a free copy of Following Your Dreams, a workbook with reflections and affirmations. https://my.sendinblue.com/users/subscribe/js_id/2r4s4/id/2

Thank you for having me here today, Melissa. You asked some of the most interesting questions and I’m excited to be able to share with your readers.

Order a copy of I Love You More Than Coffee in time for Mother’s Day.