Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Showcase: A Fireproof Home for the Bride by Amy Scheibe


21853672Emmaline Nelson and her sister Birdie grow up in the hard, cold rural Lutheran world of strict parents, strict milking times, and strict morals. Marriage is preordained, the groom practically predestined. Though it’s 1958, southern Minnesota did not see changing roles for women on the horizon. Caught in a time bubble between a world war and the ferment of the 1960’s, Emmy doesn’t see that she has any say in her life, any choices at all. Only when Emmy’s fiancĂ© shows his true colors and forces himself on her does she find the courage to act—falling instead for a forbidden Catholic boy, a boy whose family seems warm and encouraging after the sere Nelson farm life. Not only moving to town and breaking free from her engagement but getting a job on the local newspaper begins to open Emmy’s eyes. She discovers that the KKK is not only active in the Midwest but that her family is involved, and her sense of the firm rules she grew up under—and their effect—changes completely.

Amy Scheibe's A Fireproof Home for the Bride has the charm of detail that will drop readers into its time and place: the home economics class lecture on cuts of meat, the group date to the diner, the small-town movie theater popcorn for a penny. It also has a love story—the wrong love giving way to the right—and most of all the pull of a great main character whose self-discovery sweeps the plot forward.
 


Amy ScheibeAbout Amy: I was born in Moorhead, Minnesota, but reared on a small farm in the southeast corner of North Dakota, seven miles from the hamlet of LaMoure. We raised cattle, sheep, chickens, and the occasional 4-H rabbit. After high school, I attended Minnesota State University Moorhead in the theater arts discipline for two years before taking a position as a nanny in East Rockaway, New York. Not long after, I began modeling and acting, but within a couple of years I decided to go back to school at Columbia University, from where I hold my BA in creative writing. This education provided me with the skills to make my living for many years as an editor in book publishing, where I edited such bright lights as David Rakoff, Anne Carson, Haven Kimmel, Jenny McPhee, Victoria Redel, Debra Marquart, Myla Goldberg, and Jill Soloway. With my second child came my first novel, What Do You Do All Day, and the desire to write full time. I co-wrote Laura Bennett’s hilarious memoir, Didn’t I Feed You Yesterday, and began work on A Fireproof Home for the Bride. Seven years and many free-lance projects later, I am thrilled to be back with St. Martin’s Press for my sophomore effort.

Even though I have lived in Manhattan longer than anywhere else, I’m often asked how I can stand the frenzy and population density of New York City. My consistent reply is that I carry the prairie inside of me. The vastness of that gorgeous sky, the wonder of its sunsets, the endless drives to “check on the crops,” the late August view of the Aurora Borealis—it’s all in here. How lucky am I to have been blessed with such a great start. I’m also happy to hide away in the summers in the Catskills, where I indulge my favorite hobby, community theater.

connect on twitter: @zelda64





Q.  What inspires your writing?

A.  I draw inspiration from a myriad of sources: other writers, magazines, movies, newspapers, the interwebs, conversations overheard at airports. My brain works overtime at being an idea magnet. It’s getting them to come together into a written work that’s the challenge.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

A.   Finding my pajamas under my work clothes at the end of a cold winter’s day.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being a writer?

A.   The writing. It always seems like it should come out the way I imagine it, but rarely ever does.

Q.  If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?

A.  Maybe an actor. Though that’s an even rougher road. Could I get paid to watch television and movies?

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?

A.  She Died Trying. Or is that an epitaph?

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?

A.   Of all time? As in, gun to my head pick one? Okay, then I’ll pick Light in August, by William Faulkner. It left me breathless on every page.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?

A.  I’ve always over-identified with the unnamed heroine of Rebecca. The way she acts on the outside—reserved, timid, insecure—is how I feel on the inside, even though most people see me more open, warm, and funny than she is.

Q.  What character from all of your books are you most like?

A.  Probably Dot Randall in A Fireproof Home for the Bride. Which is funny, since she’s based on my mom.

Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?

A.  The Talented Mr. Ripley, without the murders. And with Jude Law, if possible?

Q.  What do you want to be remembered for 100 years from now?

A.   Being an inspiration to others.

Q.  What is your favorite season?

A.  Autumn. I look best in layers with soft light filtering through multi-colored leaves.

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?

A.  Not sure what inspired my book cover, since the designer came up with the concept apart from all the ideas I might have had—which is usually the best way for it to happen. I really love the book cover for Harriet the Spy. I must have had five copies of that over time, and it’s still the same charming illustration on my daughter’s copy today. Maybe I’m most like Harriet!

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.

A.  On the paperback tour for What Do You Do All Day, my publicist booked me a reading in San Francisco on the last Saturday night in October, I think it was the 29th. Little did she know that the city had decided to have the “official” Halloween two days early instead of on a school night—think Mardi Gras times ten. Due to the competition, only one person turned out for my reading! Luckily it was the lovely Julia Scheeres (Jesusland author), and she took me out for sushi.

Q.  Are you working on something new?

A.  Yes, I’m knee-deep in research for the next book, which is set a dozen years earlier during World War Two. Some of the characters from A Fireproof Home for the Bride will make appearances.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

A.  Yes, I want to say thank you. It means a lot that anyone would take the time to read about me and my books. I hope that I’ve been able to inspire someone with my writing!


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