Interview with Rebecca Hubbard, author of “The Gift”

 

Rebecca Hubbard Author PhotoHello readers! I’d like to introduce you to Rebecca Hubbard. Rebecca is a native Texan, who enjoys spending time with friends and family, including her two dogs, Idgie and Sully, and her two horses, Cash and Cloud. She also loves to read, paint and garden.

Please tell us a bit about your book, The Gift:

“The Gift” is a story about a young girl, Pip, who receives a horse for her birthday and her desire to have a best friend. She believes that the horse she names Buck should be her best friend because he was given to her. She learns that in order to have a friend she has to develop a friendship. She struggles with how to do this and misinterprets Buck’s behavior. From her father she learns how to understand Buck’s perspective and how to develop a friendship with him. The story is told from the perspective of Pip and the perspective of Buck. From Buck, we learn how he interprets Pip’s behavior and how he feels about the things she does to try to make friends with him. We also learn about the things that bring him joy and what causes him to feel afraid. It is a story about understanding one another, patience and developing a true friendship.

The Gift by Rebecca Hubbard

Where did the story idea come from?

The seed of the idea came from an interaction that I witnessed between a girl who desperately wanted to be friends with a horse and the horse completely ignored her existence. Something about that interaction and the heartbreak the girl felt played over and over in my mind. My business partner at the time kept asking me to write a story about a kid and a horse but I felt I didn’t write those types of stories so I tried to ignore her request. She, however, would not allow me to ignore it. She asked me frequently when I would write the story, keeping the idea of a story about a kid and a horse in the forefront of my mind. So when my muse struck the interaction between the girl and the horse became my template for “The Gift.”

The Gift is told from two distinctly unique POVs – first from Pip’s POV and then from Buck’s. What made you decide to write the book this way?

This is going to sound silly but I never considered telling the story any other way. I feel that in order to fully understand the story you must hear from both characters. If you only hear Pip’s side of the story, then Buck appears ornery, belligerent and maybe even snobbish. When you hear Buck’s side of the story, you have compassion for him and understand his behavior and may feel that Pip is selfish and ungrateful. Having both points of view makes you appreciate the dynamic that occurs between the two of them. In addition, telling the story from two points of view gave me the flexibility to help children understand that things are not always the way we think they are, and that there are many reasons for the behaviors of others. It also opened up the ability to help children with learning perspective taking and understanding from another’s point of view, allowing for increased sensitivity and compassion.

Can you tell readers a bit about your background with horses?

I was born with the “horse gene.” Folks say you either have it or you don’t. Horses are in my blood. As a child I spent as much time with horses as I possibly could. I would ride my horse for hours pretending I lived in the old west traveling to the mountains or pretending I was a Comanche with excellent horsemanship. I grew up in a rodeo family, so I competed in rodeos on weekends. When I left home for college and started my career I wasn’t able to be around horses. That was a very sad time in my life. I remember the first time I was able to be around a horse after many, many years. I was overcome with emotion. I buried my face in his neck and cried. Later in my career I was able to marry my two loves, horses and therapy, and now I am around horses almost every day. When I drive onto the ranch I am greeted with the site of horses grazing and playing. My whole workday is surrounded by horses and it makes the day so much less stressful than doing traditional therapy.

What types of books do you like to read?

I love to read mysteries, crime novels, westerns, children’s books of all kinds, and some fantasy. When I was younger I would read anything I could get my hands on. My papa set a good example for me about reading. He was an avid reader. He would stay up all night to finish a book. Sometimes I would find him asleep in the chair when I woke up in the mornings. I love books that pull me in and paint such vivid pictures that I lose myself in them.

What would readers be surprised to know about you?

ually an art that develops with mentoring, time and experience. It takes an enormous amount of time and effortPeople who know me very well know I am extremely shy and I avoid being in the spotlight. People ask me how can I can be shy and talk for a living. Well, usually I am only talking to a few people at a time. But early in my career, even doing that was hard. This project has been so important to me that it has pushed me outside my comfort zone but it has been so worth it.

Many authors struggle with self-promotion. Has book marketing and promotion been difficult for you personally?

In August my book will have been out a year and I feel like over the last six months I have just begun to better understand the importance of marketing and how to do it. I think marketing is act

Being shy I struggle with self-promotion. It would be much easier for me if all I had to do was write the books and somehow they sold themselves. But promotion is important to do so I use Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I developed a blog, had a book trailer made, and talk about my book at events when asked. I also write guest blogs for Natural Lifemanship.

Should readers be expecting a follow-up Pip and Buck story in the future?

 When I wrote “The Gift” I did not intend for it to be a series. But after completing “The Gift” Pip and Buck continued to stay with me. I am working on the second book now, “Pip and Buck: Saddle Up!” I am considering adding to this book the point of view of the father. This book focuses on the importance of relationships over tasks and things.

How can readers connect with you?

I am on Twitter at @rebeccajhubbard. My website is rebeccahubbardlmft.com. My Facebook page is Rebecca J. Hubbard LMFT. I have a blog Hopeful Scribe and I guest write blogs for Natural Lifemanship.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

The best advice I could give is to write often, write about things you are interested in, things that make you wonder, things that make you think, and things you dream of. Practice describing what you see, what you feel and what you think. Practice perspective taking, spend time observing people and things around you and allow yourself to just feel those things in the moment. Read as much as you can. Every moment in which you are truly present makes your life richer and in turn will make your writing richer too.

MORE ABOUT REBECCA HUBBARD

Rebecca J. Hubbard is a master’s level Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over twenty years of experience working with children and their families. She began writing short stories as a child for her own amusement and enjoyment. Rebecca discovered that she could facilitate the healing of her young clients by writing stories for them.

Currently, Rebecca works at Spirit Reins as a clinician and as the clinical supervisor where she practices Natural Lifemanship, ™ a Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy™ model.

Rebecca encourages readers to connect with her via her Website and Amazon Author Page.

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“The Gift” by Rebecca Hubbard Book Tour & Raffle

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The Gift by Rebecca Hubbard

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  • Paperback:62 pages
  • Publisher:CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 23, 2015)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1515181839
  • ISBN-13:978-1515181835

ABOUT THE BOOK

All eleven-year-old Pip wanted was a best friend. When Pip gets a horse for her birthday, she’s delighted. She thinks that the horse she names Buck will be her best friend from the moment that they meet. But she finds out that friendship does not come that easily.

Pip’s father gently guides her so that Pip can discover for herself how to make Buck a true friend. Pip’s new friend, Buck, has a story of his own. After leaving his own herd, to move to Pip’s house, he is looking for a relationship that will help him feel safe. He, too, learns that making a friend takes patience and understanding.

Told from the perspectives of both Pip and Buck, The Gift is a heartwarming and valuable lesson about friendship, trust and love that will appeal to a wide variety of readers.

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AND NOW FOR SOMETHING SPECIAL

Character Interview with Pip’s Dad

What was it like for you to watch Pip struggle to make friends with Buck?

Unfortunately, I have had a lot of practice with watching someone I love struggle. Pip’s mama was diagnosed with cancer when Pip was three years old. I watched her fight for her life for two years and watched Pip grieving her loss. It was excruciating to see them both hurting so much and to know there was little I could do. That experience more than anything else, taught me that I cannot take away someone else’s pain, and the only thing I can do is control own emotions.

It’s hard for me to hear how hard things are for Pip and see her confused and upset. I don’t want her to experience any more pain in her life. Losing her mama is more than enough pain for a lifetime. When Pip was smaller I hated to see her cry. The sound of it caused my heart to break. When she was little I did almost anything I could to keep her from crying. That meant I did a lot of things for Pip that maybe she could have done herself. Pip’s mama always said, “There’s no harm in struggling. The harm is in struggling alone when you’re a kid.” I always try to remember that since she isn’t here to remind me.

The truth is it is still hard to see Pip cry but I do things differently now than I did then. I realized that by doing things for Pip I was keeping her from learning. Not only learning how to do things but learning about herself. Pip is a smart kid but she is short on patience. I reckon the way to build patience is to have things that try your patience. But it is hard to watch, that’s for sure. I know it’s my job as her dad to be supportive of her so she has what she needs to be successful in life. I could have gone down to that pasture and worked with Buck myself, but if I did that Pip wouldn’t be any closer to a friendship with him. If you want a friend you have to make a friend yourself. Nobody can do that for you, no matter how hard it is.

Did you worry that it might not be safe to allow Pip to interact with Buck alone?

 No, if I were worried about that I would have never done it. Horses are pretty good at taking care of themselves. The way I see it, if they feel unsafe in a situation they usually run. Unless a horse has been hurt by someone or has something wrong in his brain, he will run if given the chance. If they can’t run for some reason or feel that running isn’t going to solve the problem then they might strike out with a hoof kick or even bite you or run you over. That horse of Pip’s has a good head on his young shoulders. He just hasn’t had much handling, that’s all. I have no worries about Pip’s safety.

What made you give Pip a horse for her 11th birthday?

 I promised Pip’s mama that I would get Pip a horse when Pip was old enough. I think I probably waited too long, eleven is kind of old. I was worried about how hard it would be on Pip and I wanted to protect her. I guess I will always want to do that. Something about your child losing a parent makes you even more protective of them. I wanted to make sure she could handle the feelings I knew would come up and the challenges having a horse would bring. I never worried about the responsibility part of it. Pip is a responsible kid. She gets herself up in the mornings and she does her chores, but she has a hard time hanging in there when things get tough. I knew she was ready to learn how to be responsible for Buck and her eleventh birthday was the perfect opportunity.

How do you know so much about horses?

 Honestly, I don’t think I know that much about horses. My family had a few horses on the farm where I grew up. One of those horses was Kink, a black horse my daddy won in a bet. Kink and I became friends. My daddy and I had a few arguments about how I should treat Kink. He said I should show him who was boss. That just didn’t feel right to me. So I set out to have the kind of relationship with Kink that I wanted. I learned a lot about life from Kink. He taught me how to see things from another set of eyes. When I’m working with a horse, and trying to figure out what to do, I just ask myself what I’d want if I were him.

Do you think Pip’s friendship with Buck will help her throughout life?

 I strongly believe that Pip’s friendship with Buck will help her in many ways, like learning how to pay attention. Paying attention to things is important and that horse is really teaching her how to do that. In this world, paying attention to things is half the battle. If you can pay attention to what you are feeling and thinking then that’s good. If you can do that and pay attention to what someone else might be feeling and thinking then that’s even better. As Pip grows up with Buck they’re going to learn a lot from each another. That friendship will teach her things that friendships with people just can’t.

Like what types of things?

 Well, Buck is teaching Pip how she presents herself to others and what that tells them about her. He is also teaching her how to control her body, her feelings and the intensity of her feelings. From Buck, Pip is beginning to understand her impact on others.

I try to help Pip understand that inside each of us, and all around us, is energy. I think that’s important for her to understand because that’s how animals understand us. For example, when a mountain lion is hunting he has an intense focus on his prey and a strong desire to kill it but on the outside he appears calm. A horse doesn’t pay attention to the outside calm. He feels the intensity from deep inside the mountain lion. That’s the energy he’s responding to when he takes off running so he can keep himself safe.

Horses are very good at noticing when the outside of something and the inside of something don’t match. You can’t feel really angry and pretend that everything is okay and expect a horse to come to you. They won’t. They can feel the anger that’s inside of you in the form of energy. The outside of you isn’t matching the intensity on the inside of you, which makes them even more suspicious and wary of you. Buck is helping Pip understand her energy and the importance of her inside and outside matching.

You know how people are really good at taking something until they can’t take it any longer? It’s confusing for kids for an adult to accept a certain behavior for a long time then one day start hollering at them because the adult is sick and tired of it. Well, horses don’t do that. If they don’t like something from the start they let you know. They might let you know in a small way at first but they’ll keep showing you until you understand that they don’t like it. Horses are real honest and that helps us learn things from them that’s hard to learn from people.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

 Yes, just one more thing. I hear people say that horses are magic because peoples’ lives change from being around them. Believe me, it isn’t magic; it’s hard work. Really getting to know a horse and seeing him as an equal partner in your friendship changes your life. It changes how you communicate, how you interact with others and how you see the world. When you stop trying to control someone else and just control yourself things go much better for everyone. Sometimes you have to help horses learn that they can control themselves, but heck we have to teach our children that too. Relationships with people can teach us the same things if we let them. But most of us won’t let that happen with people. I suppose that’s because people hold on to things and horses give us more opportunities to do things over without bringing the past into it.

Rebecca Hubbard Author Photo 2

ABOUT REBECCA HUBBARD

Rebecca J. Hubbard is a master’s level Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over twenty years of experience working with children and their families. She began writing short stories as a child for her own amusement and enjoyment. Rebecca discovered that she could facilitate the healing of her young clients by writing stories for them.

Currently, Rebecca works at Spirit Reins as a clinician and as the clinical supervisor where she practices Natural Lifemanship, ™ a Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy™ model.

Rebecca is a native Texan, who enjoys spending time with friends and family, including her two dogs, Idgie and Sully, and her two horses, Cash and Cloud. She also loves to read, paint and garden. Rebecca encourages readers to connect with her via her website and Amazon Author Page.

 

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Stacy Harshman and Beamer, The Headstrong Lamb

I’d like to welcome Stacy Harshman, author of Crowning Glory, back to my blog with her special story of Beamer, a headstrong lamb.

Stacy Harshman and Beamer Photo

Beamer

Last year I saved Beamer, one of my best friends from death.

Beamer is a sheep.

After a period of severe depression last year, I moved from New York City to work and live on a therapeutic working ranch community in Vermont.  I needed to be around people and have a meaningful schedule, every day. While I worked on many jobs with people around the ranch the being that opened my heart the most was Beamer

I went to the pasture and hung out with the little bottle baby. He loved being around people. Due to a traumatic birth Beamer had big, bulging eyes and was knock-kneed. But he was a lovable goof. He and I would cuddle together in the field, basking in the sunshine. I was in heaven. This was the best therapy.  One day he put his head down and started backing up like he was going to charge me. I yelled, “Beamer!” and he stopped.

All was well for a while, but then he did it again and this time he rammed me, full force, right in the knees. I had to kick him away.  Then I ran away, over the fence.

Beamer had a botched castration and his hormones had taken over. He began to ram everyone and chase the lady sheep.  I wanted to be exempt from his aggression since we’d spent the summer and fall bonding, but he rammed me just like everyone else. I felt sad that my sweet little sheep wasn’t my friend any more.

The night before the ranch was going to “send him to auction” which meant slaughter, I found out and was heartbroken and responded.

 I’ve heard many accounts that Beamer will be sent to auction soon … maybe even tomorrow.  I find this upsetting on many levels.  

 I know your point of view is that an animal on a farm must be productive.  So, with this mindset, Beamer has no place here.  I disagree with that.  I know spending time with him has calmed and cheered me in a way that was not possible from other people.  That has great value.  

I also believe that a strictly utilitarian philosophy for the farm and the animals here is not in line with the greater mission of the Ranch– which is to help people heal and recover through working together.  The farm should support that mission, not that of a commercial farm, and shipping Beamer off to slaughter without having a discussion will cause distress. I know he has been ramming people, and I understand that is definitely a problem.  But I don’t think this issue is being dealt in a creative, respectful or open manner.  

 I know I am not alone with this.   I just haven’t had time to organize peoples’ voices and since I heard, late tonight, that Beamer will go to auction tomorrow I would not be at peace with myself if I didn’t speak up right now.   

I ask you not to send Beamer to auction tomorrow and open up a dialogue.

My letter worked.  Beamer was given a new home, complete with his own harem of lady sheep.

ABOUT STACY HARSHMAN:

Stacy Harshman recently relocated from NYC to Vermont where she currently works on a therapeutic farm. After a Midwestern childhood in a family of designers, antique dealers, and equestrians, Stacy traveled extensively before finding a home in New York City, which she still maintains.

Always driven toward creative expression, Stacy writes fiction, memoir and essays, and has written and recorded five albums of original music.

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Her passion for color and pattern led to the launch of Andarina Designs, a custom lighting design company. Stacy is inspired by women all over the world, working in community partnerships to produce beautiful and sustainable work. Currently, her favored form of expression is mixed media painting-collages. She devotes her time to animals and to the healing arts.

Stacy invites readers to connect with her on her website and on Facebook.

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Guest Post by Stacy Harshman, Author of Crowning Glory

Stacy Harshman, author of Crowning Glory shares her creative process.

Stacy Harshman Author Photo 2

I’m very kinetic when I create, whether it be writing, painting or making music. When I get inspired, I feel the creative, kinetic idea and energy inside my body. It is a tangible feeling. When I have this feeling, I know I’m going to create something that speaks to me. I might not even know what it is, but I follow that feeling and work until the art on the outside matches/satisfies the feeling I have on the inside.

For example, I’m very inspired by color. I create paintings on glass with dried pressed flowers, special glass paints, and encaustic wax.   I can become completely inspired by the colors in a flower and then I create a palette of paints and waxes around it. Once I have everything ready, I let loose and play. The way I paint is very fluid and playful. I actually pour the paint onto the glass and let it move around and morph into different shapes and blend with other colors. Then, I add flowers and wax and keep building form there. I know when a painting is done. I can feel it. I can also feel when I’ve over-painted it! There’s a fine line!

Stacy Harshman Original Artwork

It makes me happy to create. I feel like it completes something inside of me. When I am anxious and feeling ungrounded, creative expression is what I need. I bring something into the world and then can share it with others. It’s a way of connecting with myself and the world.

ABOUT STACY HARSHMAN:

Stacy Harshman recently relocated from NYC to Vermont where she currently works on a therapeutic farm. After a Midwestern childhood in a family of designers, antique dealers, and equestrians, Stacy traveled extensively before finding a home in New York City, which she still maintains.

Always driven toward creative expression, Stacy writes fiction, memoir and essays, and has written and recorded five albums of original music.

Her passion for color and pattern led to the launch of Andarina Designs, a custom lighting design company. Stacy is inspired by women all over the world, working in community partnerships to produce beautiful and sustainable work. Currently, her favored form of expression is mixed media painting-collages. She devotes her time to animals and to the healing arts.

Stacy invites readers to connect with her on her website and on Facebook.

UPDATE!

7/18/2016

What an honor and terrific prize! I won an original painting by Stacy Harshman and I LOVE IT!

Geri Stacy Harshman Artwork

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Crowning Glory, Stacy Harshman’s SOCIAL EXPERIMENT

An exciting interview and book you’ll want to read!

Crowning Glory by Stacy Harshman Book Tour BannerPlease tell readers a bit about your new book, Crowning Glory:

Crowning glory is a book that is a social experiment combined with a memoir. It started when I bought a long, red wig one late night on eBay. When I put the wig on, I felt transformed into a fiery, sexy and bold woman. When I wore the wig out into the world, people reacted to me very differently. Men and women both stared. One man threw his briefcase down on the ground, kneeled and asked me to take him home with me. I got a lot of attention. And I admit I loved it. I started wondering what it would be like if I had the same long hair, but different colors. How would I feel as a blond or brunette? How would people react to me?

I decided to find out and concocted a 5-week long experiment where I would live the life of a redhead, a blond, a raven-tressed woman and brunette, plus the last week was me with my own hair. I even hired an accomplice/spy to accompany me at all times and record data, like stare stats. The book is about the experiment and the adventures my spy and I have along the way, plus it is the story of my struggles with bipolar disorder and how the experiment helped me heal in ways I couldn’t have predicted.

Your book is certainly a unique one! How did you come up with the idea?

Wearing the initial red wig out and about in Manhattan and getting so much attention gave me the start of the idea. I was amazed at how different I felt — fiery, confident, and fun – which was a huge change from how I had been feeling. I had been fighting a long bout of depression, and this wig wearing was a weird miracle. It helped me feel good and gave me energy.   I decided to do the experiment out of curiosity and also give myself a steady structure and focus.

I was wondering about how I would feel and how people would react to me wearing the same wig but with different hair colors. As I pondered the idea of doing some big hair experiment and writing about it, I walked under David Letterman’s “Late Night” marquee and realized that people do “Stupid Human Tricks.” That was all the encouragement I needed!

What would you say was the most important thing you learned from your experiment?

To avoid comparisons with other people. That’s a hard thing to do. It’s cliché, but if you are jealous of someone then try to improve yourself in those areas you covet, but do it for yourself.

I’m proud of myself for doing the experiment. At the time, I was in a deep depression and a great deal of social anxiety. I needed something drastic to pull me out of it. I was isolating and stuck in my apartment and head. The experiment and spending so much time with my spy/assistant was a big challenge for me. It might sound like a simple thing to do, but it took guts on my part. I had to go against all the internal messages of “No way! I can’t! I won’t …”   I found out I was stronger than I thought. I needed the support, structure and friendship I found in the experiment. That helped me heal.

So, sometimes throwing yourself into something new and scary, even playing dress up for a month straight, can lead to unforgettable adventures and experiences that show you who you really are.

What did you learn about other people?

Other people are affected by your appearance. You are judged by your appearance. I think once someone gets to know you that judgement lessens as they see the bigger/deeper picture of who you are.

What did you learn about yourself?

I’m affected by my own appearance! I judge other people by their appearance, at first, too. I think we all do, on some level. I try to drop that judgement as soon as I have it and have an open mind.

During the experiment, I judged people less and opened up to others much more when I started to feel better and more confident about myself.   I think any negativity or criticism I felt towards others stemmed from the fact I wasn’t happy with, and didn’t have confidence within, myself. I was afraid of being judged “unworthy’ or deemed “unwanted.”

I see from your website that you’re not only an author; you’re an interior designer, an artist and a musician. Tell us a little about each of these aspects of your life:

Well, the writing manifested in “Crowning Glory.” I also have a play called “Portraits of Vivienne” which is right on the verge of being finished. I just have to dive back in and figure out the ending! I also have a children’s book in the works, called “Blub Blub the Baby Blue Whale.” Bulb’s quest is to let the world know about the noise pollution in the ocean, which severely hurts whales and other aquatic mammals.

My music adventures began when I first arrived in NYC, back in 2002. I wrote, played and recorded five albums of music. I mainly sang, but also accompanied myself on keys, which I played out with my guitar player. I had many fun and challenging experiences.

During my interior design career, I sold antique tribal rugs and also created a lighting design company. Sourcing the rugs and then selling them was so much fun for me. I really appreciate, admire and love handmade beauty that has a history. My love of it and enthusiasm carried over into my customers. They were thrilled with there finds and grateful to learn about the history and stories their new pieces of fiber art contained.

I also started a lighting company, called, Andarina Designs.   I was inspired by the antique, colorful glass swizzle sticks that I would see in vintage stores. One day, I saw sunlight shining through a bunch of them and though, “I want to make a lamp out of that.” So, I started to experiment and came up with two different lines of lighting. That was a lot of fun for me.   The first lamps were made with original vintage swizzle sticks. Then I discovered that a huge glass rod color palette was already available. Combining colors and making my own palettes was heavenly!

Where the heck do you find the time to do all these things?

I’ve actually taken a break from living in Manhattan and doing all these things. I’m in Vermont now. I volunteer on a therapeutic farm/ranch. For example, today I’ve been planting onions in the garden, and tomorrow I will be taking care of llamas. I still paint and teach people my multi-media technique here at the ranch.

You’re clearly driven. Where does your ambition and drive come from?

I want to make meaningful art and and have a meaningful connection with people. I think that desire to connect fuels my drive and ambition. Sometimes, I don’t feel connected and that is a painful place to be.

Living in NYC must have been exciting, since it put you right in the center of the arts, fashion and entertainment industry.

Well, my life is very different now since I live in Vermont and work on a farm.   I was having a hard time with depression last year, and I decided I needed to move and get help. So, I came to Vermont, and lived and worked on a Therapeutic Farm called Spring Lake Ranch. I don’t live there anymore, but I do volunteer during the week.

How much has your life changed since moving from your hometown in Illinois?

Wow. I’ve had so many lifetimes since then. I’ve lived in Central America, Europe, Canada, New York and now Vermont.

In Illinois, I lived in a very secluded community and didn’t have much news from or dealings with the outside world. Obviously, this has completely changed.   I do feel like my explorations have led me to a small, working community here in Vermont where I feel more comfortable. So maybe I’m still a country girl afterall.

Do you have any new books in the works?

I want to finish my play, “Portraits of Vivienne.” It deserves to be finished.   I’d also love to find someone to help me with “Blub Blub the Baby Blue Whale.” I really feel strongly about educating kids about the noise pollution in the ocean and what it does to whales and dolphins.

What advice would you give other writers who may be sitting on the fence about publishing their book?

Well, I would first work with an experienced, professional editor before you publish. At first, I didn’t want to do it. I thought my book didn’t need it. My book was well-served by doing this. It gives me reassurance that grammatical issues aren’t going to get in the way.

I really wanted an agent to pick up my book. I was disappointed when that didn’t happen, but I think going ahead and self-publishing is the way to go. I think you should get it out there, in whatever way that works best for you. You’ve worked this long and hard – you and your book deserve to be heard!

Stacy Harshman Author Photo 1

ABOUT STACY HARSHMAN:

Stacy Harshman recently relocated from NYC to Vermont where she currently works on a therapeutic farm. after a Midwestern childhood in a family of designers, antique dealers, and equestrians, Stacy traveled extensively before finding a home in New York City, which she still maintains.

Always driven toward creative expression, Stacy writes fiction, memoir and essays, and has written and recorded five albums of original music.

Her passion for color and pattern led to the launch of Andarina Designs, a custom lighting design company. Stacy is inspired by women all over the world, working in community partnerships to produce beautiful and sustainable work. Currently, her favored form of expression is mixed media painting-collages. She devotes her time to animals and to the healing arts. Stacy invites readers to connect with her on her website and on Facebook.

*Author Interview prepared by Susan Barton, eBook Review Gal.

 

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Q & A with Robert Germaux Author of Hard Court

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Why a novel about a private detective?

I’ve always loved mysteries, starting when I read the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books as a kid. As I got older, I enjoyed Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct novels, and eventually I also got hooked on the characters of Spenser, Elvis Cole and Myron Bolitar, among others. When I decided to write my first full-length novel, there was no doubt in my mind that my protagonist would be a private detective.

How would you describe Jeremy Barnes, Bob? 

There’s an old line about people you wouldn’t want to run into in a dark alley. Well, if you did end up in that dark alley with one of those people, JB’s the person you’d want covering your back. He’s a tough guy with a soft spot in his heart for life’s underdogs, and while he’d much rather diffuse a tense situation with his sense of humor, if push comes to shove, he’s more than capable of handling himself that way, too.

Is JB based on anyone in particular?

There’s a little bit of several people I’ve known in JB, but mostly he’s a product of my fertile imagination. Actually, other than the fact that he’s bigger, stronger, younger, smarter and better-looking than I am, we’re remarkably similar

How do you come up with the plots for your books?

It’s a combination of finding subjects I’m knowledgeable about and things I have an interest in. For example, in Leaving the LAW, JB attempts to help a young man who’s involved with gangs at the school where JB used to teach. In the early 90s, I was teaching at a Pittsburgh high school that the local cops called Gang Central, so I had some personal experience with that whole scene.

Why first person narrative?

I can’t imagine writing about JB in any other way. When I write my Jeremy Barnes novels, I’m right there inside his head. At those moments, we’re one and the same. He’s definitely my alter ego.

You’ve said you can’t see yourself ever writing a character interview with Jeremy. Why is that? 

Jeremy exists in the world I created for him, and I’m very comfortable writing about him in that world. But bringing him into this world just doesn’t work for me. It would be sort of like the literary equivalent of breaking the fourth wall in a stage production. I’m sure some authors can pull that off, but I’m not one of them.

Do you have a reading group?

Yes, and the group’s name is Cynthia. As soon as I finish writing a chapter, I give it to my wife. Cynthia knows my characters as well as I do, so I almost always end up using her comments/suggestions.

How important was it for you that Jeremy would have a love interest in the character of Laura Fleming?

I knew from the start that Jeremy would have a woman in his life, a soul mate. The scenes with JB and Laura are my favorite to write, whether they’re discussing one of his cases, talking about her kindergarten kids or just sharing a candlelight dinner at one of Pittsburgh’s hilltop restaurants.

Okay, Bob, last question. Are there other Jeremy Barnes mysteries on the horizon?

I’ve actually written three other books about Jeremy: Small Bytes, Speak Softly and the aforementioned Leaving the LAW. If there’s a demand, I will definitely publish them, too.

Robert Germaux Author Photo

ABOUT ROBERT GERMAUX:

Both my parents were readers. I’m talking stacks-of-books-on-their-nightstands readers. So it’s no surprise that at an early age, I, too, became an avid reader. Everything from sports books (especially baseball) to Nancy Drew to the Hardy Boys to almost anything about distant and exotic places.

Hard Court by Robert Germaux Cover Photo REDUCED  (532x800)Although I’ve always enjoyed putting words on paper, the writer in me didn’t fully emerge until I retired after three decades of teaching high school English. I quickly wrote two books aimed at middle school readers, at which point my wife urged me to try a novel for adults. As is usually the case, Cynthia’s idea was a good one.

Over the next few years, I wrote several books about Pittsburgh private eye Jeremy Barnes. I took a brief hiatus from the detective genre to write Small Talk and The Backup Husband. Now I’m back and I just released my first Jeremy Barnes novel, Hard Court, on April 11.

In our spare time, Cynthia and I enjoy reading (of course), going to live theater productions, watching reruns of favorite TV shows such as “Sports Night” and “Gilmore Girls,” and traveling to some of those distant and exotic places I used to read about as a child. So far, we’ve been fortunate enough to walk in the sands of Waikiki, swim in the warm waters of the South Pacific and share a romantic dinner in Paris.

I love interacting with my readers and getting their input on my characters and stories. Please feel free to contact me via my website.

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Advice for aspiring authors: write!

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Advice for aspiring authors: write!

(From an interview with Julie Tetel Andresen by Linda Lee Williams..see link below!)

If you are a writer, you have a story to tell that you can’t not tell. So, you’re killing yourself if you’re gazing at a television screen, driving around, or doing anything other than writing your story – especially because I know that while you’re doing these things, you actually have the story you’re dying to tell roaming around in the back of your head…and it’s frustrating you.

So, end your frustration and write. Of course, a new frustration will arise, namely the difficulty of actually writing. But this new frustration is better than the old one of not writing.

Your job isn’t to determine whether the story is good enough. Your job is to get it down. (Editors come in handy at this point. I would never dream of working without one.) Julie Tetel Andresen

Fascinating Interview With Julie Tetel Andresen Author & World Traveler!