Promises, a work of historical fiction inspired by the life of the author's paternal great-grandfather, chronicles the lives of two boys the same age who grow up together. More than friends, they are buddies, constant companions, confidants, and accessories in everything they do. Joining the Confederate Army together in March of 1862 and engaging in and surviving some of the most catastrophic battles of the Civil War, the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg changed their lives forever.
1. Q. What inspires your writing?
A. I’d like to say that people I know, places I’ve been, things I’ve done, and stories I’ve read have been a big influence. However, that’s not really true. I think the biggest inspiration has come from my ancestors and what I’ve learned about them.
What actually started me on the path that resulted in Promises was the discovery of what really happened to my paternal great-grandfather in the American Civil War. He never told anyone but while researching family history on Ancestry.com, I found his records and learned the truth.
We (family members) know that he didn’t tell anyone because if he had, the story would’ve been handed down from one generation to the next. My father and his big sister were the family historians. Had they known the real story, they would’ve broadcast it all over the state of Mississippi.
My husband’s lineage offers a plethora (I’ve always wanted an excuse to use that word!) of ideas, too.
2. Q. What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
A. I believe it is being able to use poetic license to express my thoughts, to put a story on paper in a way that allows the characters to jump off the page and into the reader’s imagination. Based on the reviews of Promises that have been written, I seem to do a good job of getting my readers to become emotionally connected to my characters’ unique personalities and their circumstances. I think that should be the goal of every writer.
3. Q. What is the toughest part of being a writer?
A. For me, it’s thinking of something about which to write. I may be destined to become a one-hit-wonder with Promises. Virtually every person or situation in that book, no matter how crazy or far-fetched, is based on fact. Many of those facts came from interviews and family lore. For that reason, I had very little trouble putting the words on paper. The plethora of ideas mentioned earlier has me stymied because all I have on which to rely is research…no one to interview, no family tales handed down, no personal knowledge. I’ll be forced to give my imagination a real workout.
4. Q. If you could not be a writer, what would you do/be?
A. I’d be looking at the items on my ‘bucket list’ and wondering what to do next. I’ve traveled throughout the ‘lower 48’ but there are so many places I haven’t been. If I could, I think I’d spend every waking hour touring the USA.
5. Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?
A. I’ve written my memoirs under a pseudonym (Clementine Rhodes) and entitled it My Children’s Legacy. It was published by Sarah Book Publishing and was made available to Amazon customers on December 26, 2014. I think anyone who reads it will understand why I wrote it under a fictitious name.
6. Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
7. Q. Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A. I believe that I’m a lot like Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird.
8. Q. What character from all of your books are you most like?
A. Since My Children’s Legacy is about me, let’s go with Promises. It’s easy for me to say this since I wasn’t there and didn’t have to personally endure the hardships, but I believe I would have fit right in as any one of the women in Promises, except for one. I won’t say which one because I want people to read the book and decide for themselves. I have the spirit, common sense, and mind-set that were required of country folk in the 19th century.
9. Q. Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
A. This is a question for which I really don’t have an answer. I like to read books by writers like James Patterson, John Grisham, Mary Higgins Clark, and Nora Roberts. I can’t imagine taking a weekend vacation in any of their books, but I would like to take a weekend vacation to visit with one or more of them. I’d like to know how they take an idea and turn it into a best seller. I’d especially like to know how James Patterson comes up with some of his book titles.
10. Q. What is your favorite season?
11. Q. What inspired your book cover(s)? Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
A. The covers of both of my books are composed of my personal collection of photographs plus a few public domain pictures. The cover of My Children’s Legacy shows a 19th century barn. That barn belonged to my paternal grandfather and still stands in Prentiss County, MS. The cover of Promises is a collage of pictures. The black-and-white photo of the man in overalls who takes center-stage on the cover represents Promises’ main character. In reality, it is a picture of my paternal grandfather, the man who owned the barn previously mentioned. The rest of the pictures are of people, places, and things that have a role in the book.
12. Q. Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
A. I’ve never been on a book tour. Family dynamics and logistics stand in the way of being able to do that sort of thing. Other than contacting Amazon reviewers, book bloggers, and various others, I haven’t done anything to promote my book. During the last 2 months, I have sent out more than 550 individualized e-mails, asking people to read and review Promises. So far, I have received requests for paper books or ebooks from 60 of those individuals. Eighteen of those 60 have posted their reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and various other sites.
I spent the bigger part of 2 years putting Promises together. I lived and breathed that book and consider it a labor of love. During all that time, I don’t recall anything funny happening but believe it or not, I had fun.
13. Q. Are you working on something new?
A. The short answer is “No.” The long answer is I have several ideas that I think might turn into a good book. Time will tell.
14. Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A. I would like for everyone to take a Look Inside of Promises. They can read the first 10 chapters on Amazon for free. Even though it’s listed as historical fiction, it has a little bit of everything a reader might look for in a book. Check out the reviews that have been submitted by other readers. Some might even be interested in My Children’s Legacy. Both books are available on Amazon.