As a writer we spend a lot of time alone with our keyboards. I recently had the chance to attend a festival and while my goal was to sell books, what I received was even more valuable. First, the connections I made prior to the festival by doing promotions for myself and other participants by reposting and engaging with the other attendees helped me to be seen on other Facebook pages while sharing my page with others. Part of promoting ourselves requires us to reach out to others and share our space. In my case, the Fish and Farm Festival was a local event which I wanted to promote not just because I was going to be there, but because of the work these folks have been doing to help restore our town.
The second thing I received was the chance to get to know my fellow Pamlico Writers’ group member, friend, and the lady who has taken on the task of event programming, Mandy Monath. When we’re at a meeting or event there are the demands and expectations of other people and as leaders of PWG it is up to us to made sure everything is done, having a few minutes to talk candidly and get to know each other was a real boon. We were able to share personal information as well as make plans for upcoming events. Taking a few minutes to really get to know your fellow authors, group members, and even readers is a luxury few of us take time to enjoy.
Thirdly, meeting readers and writers and being able to help them discover something they need or would enjoy even if it’s not your book. Having a writer-friend come out just to buy your book and be able to introduce her to your other writer-friend. Sharing information and learning from each other, taking the time to listen as well as impart.
Over the years of engaging with other writers I’ve discovered that everyone has something to share and no matter where we are on the scale we need to stop and listen because things are changing too quickly to believe that even as an experienced author we have all the answers. I have learned as much from a new writers as I have from a seasoned author.
My advice, such as it is, if you have the opportunity to attend an event make the most of it and remember selling books is only a small part of what it’s about. Being an author, especially an indie author is about building a strong foundation–make connections and friends, get your name out there–these are all important parts of the process. Like building a house, we first have to dig down and place footers, pour a foundation, we need to start strong in order to build a viable author career.
I have a confession. I’m a nerd. I geek out over the strangest things. I love research and learning new things. With the past couple of years’ Covid restrictions I have done most of my research and learning online. As y’all know, I follow several authors online. I love YouTube especially for learning from other authors, but I recently discovered I can find research information like steamships from late 1800s and early 1900s, what life was like in the Victorian era, and assorted household items look like when they explode or catch fire.
I also enjoy taking classes both in person and online on everything from writing craft to research details and even marketing. Okay, maybe I don’t exactly enjoy marketing but as an indie author, marketing is a necessary part of the game. Last Saturday I attended the Heart of Carolina Spring Conference with Molly Maddox and Lucy Lennox. I followed that program with a webinar on Goodreads by Alessandra Torres of Inkers Con. I feel I have been inundated with information, good, much needed information but maybe more than I can process at the moment.
One thing I learned while raising our sons is that we each absorb information in different ways and regurgitate that information through our own filters. As I review the recordings one more time, I know that I will have to choose one or two things to focus on and do my best to implement those lessons before I can attempt to use any of the other great knowledge. That’s why for me, I don’t mind listening to a lecture more than once, sometimes multiple times. I happily attend classes and programs I’ve attended before or are similar, because review helps renew or remind me of things I might have forgotten or become lax with.
Craftsmen, no matter if they are woodworkers or painters, seamstress or authors, we each continue to learn in order to stay current. When we stop growing and learning, we then begin to die. On that ominous note, I urge each of you and myself to learn something new and find the new nugget in the old.
Of course, I’m a nerd, I love to learn. I geek out over dress fashion changes from the 1800s and inventions of the Victorian era. I get all excited watching glass blowers design a vase or a blacksmith make a knife. I want to know how it’s done.
This week my gal-pals and I will be going to Carteret to listen to mystery author, Tom Kies and while we’re there, I’ll do a little research at the maritime museum. With two books in two different series in different genres and different time periods, this trip is more than just a fun adventure, it’s a necessity. But there will be laughs, good food, fun times and learning all combined. It’s so good to be able to go to in person events again.
I will be learning to Haiku with poet, author and bookstore owner, the Heart of the Pamlico Poet Laureate, Michelle Garner-Flye. Check out http://www.pamlicowriters.org
Today I’m with Christina Howerin, the host of the upcoming Valentine’s Popup Vendor Event at the newly opened, The Venue, Main Street, Aurora. Hello, what are you hoping to accomplish with this first vendor event?
Christina: Hello, thank you so much for being a vendor and this interview! I recently joined the Aurora Leadership Counsel, and was trying to find a fun way to help local vendors and attract people to come see some of the talent we have here in Aurora.
Sherri: You have several jobs and a couple of independent businesses; how do you juggle everything plus serve on several community organizations?
Christina: Juggle is the magic word… lol I work 40 hours weekly for Pamlico County DSS in the food stamp dept., I have a vendor booth at The Backyard Bee’s in New Bern, I recently changed beauty companies. I am now with VIC Beauty from California and I am also with Park Lane Jewelry.
Sherri: What is the name of your business?
Christina: I was thinking of nicknaming myself Backwoods Barbie.
Sherri: I love it.
Christina: After getting the coffee mug, it just fit.
Sherri: The Venue is the Chamber’s new venture. Are you part of the Chamber of Commerce? Who is handling The Venue rental?
Christina: I have not yet added the Chamber of Commerce to my “Juggle list” yet. I will hopefully be doing that soon. Denise Bonner (252) 670-3711 is a member and she handles the Venue.
Sherri: The town of Aurora has had a bit of a revival lately. It is so good to see the community coming together to make changes. You’re a part of that change.
Christina: Thank you! It’s so nice to see people coming together. I invite everyone to come out to any of the Aurora Leadership Council meetings. Aurora events and happenings can be found on www.auroralife.us. Make sure to sign up for the “Community Life” newsletter also!
Sherri: I’ve invited my fellow writers from the Pamlico Writers’ Group to bring their books to the Popup Event. Who else is going to be at The Venue?
Christina: I started the vendor adventure with my former beauty company about a year ago. I have made some awesome and talented friends. There will be MT’s Cupcakes, Ms. Mary Jenkins, & Funnels of Love, we also have Scentsy, East Coast Customs, 2 Creative Sista’s, handmade wood crafts, purses, towels, jewelry, Colorstreet, Tulaxii, a wide array
Sherri: You were talking of doing other events; what else do you have in mind?
Christina: I plan on trying to have a popup once a month. Next month is set for March 12th. Vendors can sell their items and/ or have a yard sale table. Space is limited, so first to pay gets a spot. If interested, please contact me (252) 375-0915 to be added to my Facebook group of vendors.
Plus Pure Romance representative, handcrafted items and jewelry designer, Bridgett Bonner
Don’t miss this holiday event at The Venue. Find great gift ideas or something for yourself.
I’m here with L C Larsen the author of the new novel, Some Men Deserve to Die. Lars is a member of the Pamlico Writer’s group. After years of working as a doctor and instructor, why would you embark on yet another career?
Lars: I had wanted to write a short novel for about two decades before I retired because of the joy I’ve experienced from reading them during times of stress during my life and career. I mean, we all have difficult times in our lives or times when we’re just overwhelmed and there’s no better way to escape those pressures than to curl up in a chair and read a good novel. I retired and decided to try writing a novel and, hopefully, provide some happiness to my readers. It also would provide a meaningful project I could work on with my adult children—I spent so much time working as a physician that I hadn’t worked with them as adults on any projects where we could function as peers, to interact as equals and strengthen our relationships accordingly. However successful the novel turns out commercially, the final outcome in that regard has been fantastic.
Sherri: That wonderful Lars. My husband and sons have all helped me with my novels and it’s so much fun being able to share our passions and learn from each other.
What genre is your new novel?
Lars: Murder mystery, with a physician-detective protagonist. It could also be classified as “murder mystery adventure.”
Sherri: Why did you choose to write a murder mystery?
Lars: I have always enjoyed classic murder-mystery stories, those with thoughtful and observant protagonists like Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes. As a former physician with roughly four decades of clinical experience caring for patients from all walks of life and hearing their deepest secrets, I felt my medical knowledge and insight into human behavior would provide a solid foundation for weaving an interesting story about the worst of crimes, about killing a person, and how possibly to get away with it.
Sherri: Tell me something about your main character, Jack Damen, that is not in your book?
Lars: An important aspect about Damen that’s not explicit in the book is that while he’s different from the great majority of readers, he is similar in a very human way: he’s flawed with a dark side but works hard to overcome it and be productive in his life. Also, he has done terrible things in his life and has sought redemption but it seems to escape from him time and time again because of the choices he makes, as it often does for many of us. I named my self-publishing company, Three Choices Press, after that phenomena: we all make choices, some good and some bad, and many times we make choices that don’t neatly fit into either category but work out for us nonetheless.
Sherri: How did you come up with your title, Some Men Deserve to Die?
Lars: I’ve always been an observer of people and their actions. As a physician and in my non-medical life, I have witnessed firsthand the depravity in humankind’s soul; in my experience, it’s been primarily in males.
Sherri: How long did it take you to write this book? What was your process?
Lars: Five years, writing two hours daily, five days per week, nine months each year. The best time for me to think and write creatively is in the morning after breakfast before reading the news or being distracted by anything else. I have a comfortable chair in our family room where I would sit with my “lap desk” and laptop, coffee on the side table, and go at it until mentally exhausted about two hours later. That’s also the maximum amount of time I could isolate myself from Pat, my wife, without negatively affecting our relationship.
Sherri: In crafting your characters, do you fashion them on people you know?
Lars: No, not really, not on individuals I’ve known. All of my characters are blends of people I’ve met or observed with imaginary attributes I assign to them for their roles in the novel.
Sherri: What do you wish you’d known before publishing this book?
Lars: How difficult it is to be a creative writer and how long it would take to write this novel. I had done a fair amount of scientific and academic writing in my career but transitioning to creative writing was the hardest thing I’ve done since medical school. The first three years of writing this story were trial and error, learning my mistakes and studying to correct them. Coupled with the time and mental effort required each day to just “put the story down on paper”—conceptualizing scenes and typing them—it was a major challenge but one I enjoyed as I progressed through the process.
Sherri: What do you hope to do different with your new book?
Lars: The plot will be better established before I begin writing. In Some Men Deserve to Die, I initially formulated the beginning and end of the novel but the body of the story and its characters evolved as I wrote it. Also, it was designed to be the first in a series of Jack Damen books so writing the sequel should be easier now that the characters have been developed. In fact, I’ve already determined a plot for it—so exciting!
Sherri: What would you tell a new writer?
Lars: Be prepared to work twice as hard and long on your book as you anticipate and be prepared to learn unexpected things about yourself, aspects of your personality that will help and hinder your creative writing. For me, having had narrow focus and linear thinking allowed me to be successful as a physician, but these are traits I’ll always have to compensate for as a creative writer.
Sherri: What character was the most difficult to write? Which one was the easiest?
Lars: My protagonist, Jack Damen, was the most difficult because his personality is so multifaceted. Also, I wanted readers to discover more about him as the novel progressed, personal traits that would resonate with them. I felt really good when one reader sent me a letter with their revelations about him.
Dr. Michelle Lewis was the easiest because I’ve known so many people like her: really smart southern women who’ve been underestimated because of their genders and communication styles.
Sherri: Is there a scene you removed from the final edit of the book? Why did you take it out?
Lars: Yes, I removed a scene about an abusive, alcoholic father and his subsequent relationship with adult children. I took it out because one of my preliminary readers felt it cluttered up the plot. It was a powerful segment, though, and I’ve saved it for a sequel.
Sherri: Did you do the publishing yourself? Was it difficult?
Lars: I did the publishing myself through KDP Amazon. It wasn’t difficult but learning how to do it took quite a bit of time. KDP provides a software tool, Kindle Create, that can be downloaded onto your personal computer along with a working copy of Pride and Prejudice that you can practice on—editing, formatting, etc. After that has been mastered, you enter your manuscript into the software, edit it, and upload the final product into the KDP server. Choosing a book cover is the final step, one made easy by software on the KDP server. Having already done it, I feel it will be a piece of cake the next time around.
Sherri: Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story.
My website is www.lclarsen.com My business email is email@example.com My business page on Facebook is L.C. Larsen (found most easily in Facebook by searching my username: L.C. Larsen@ThreeChoicesPress)
to my virtual café, Kathryn, I’m so glad to have you here today.
Kathryn: Thanks, Sherri! So happy to
visit you in your cozy café. And feel free to call me Kate.
Thank you, Kate. I’m excited to have you here for the holidays. You really go
all out with decorating and baking, don’t you?
Oh, I do. In addition to a couple “faux firs,” we always have a live
tree we decorate with treasured family ornaments we’ve collected over the
years. Two ornaments feature photographs of my parents so, even though they
have passed away, their spirits join us in our celebration. In addition to
honoring our beloved family traditions, I have a creative itch that demands
attention on a daily basis and, one way of satisfying it, is celebrating with
decorations and baking. As a matter of fact, last year I combined decorating
and baking with a Buche de Noel. So much fun to create, and we all enjoyed
eating the fruits of my happy labor.
I follow you on social media and I love the posts you share of your home and
how you have it decorated for each season.
Thank you! Decorating for special days is one of my joys and our sweet, old
cottage is the perfect setting for it.
We met at one of the Pamlico Writers’ Conferences several years ago, is that
Yes. I was introduced to Pamlico Writers’ Group in 2017 when I received second
place in creative non-fiction for their anthology, Reflections. I had the pleasure of meeting you at the March
conference and have enjoyed following you through social media. Speaking of
writers’ groups, I must give a shout-out to my own special critiquing group
family: Wordsmiths of the Inner Banks. We are a small group that meets twice a
month to share and critique each other’s work. Their suggestions and support
have been invaluable to me.
2017, truly, we’ve only known each other a very short while and yet I feel we
are great friends. You are so supportive of me, my writing and the Pamlico
Writers’ Group on social media, I guess that is what makes it seem like we’ve
been friends longer.
Absolutely! It’s amazing how social media allows kindred spirits to connect,
even when we don’t often have the chance to meet in person. We can follow one
another’s life journeys and be there for each other in a very real way.
You were born in Washington, North Carolina where we host our annual conference
but where did you grow up?
Kathryn: Lots of places, actually. My
father’s varying job opportunities had us move from eastern North Carolina to
one snowy winter in Utica, New York, to Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia (several
moves within those two cities,) to a two-year stint in New York City, and back
to Virginia. I changed schools seven times in seven years. But when I hit
seventh grade, I remained in the Virginia Beach/Norfolk, VA area, graduating
from Kempsville High School in Virginia Beach and Old Dominion University in
Norfolk, until I moved to Edenton, NC seven years ago. Hmmm, that’s a lot of
“sevens,” isn’t it?
Wow, you’ve moved around even more than I have. How has growing up on the east
coast influenced your writing?
Kathryn: From the sandy beaches and
historic lighthouses of the blue Atlantic, to the Spanish moss-shrouded coastal
forests and swamps, I’ve been surrounded by story-telling inspiration my whole
life. The history, mystery, and rich culture of the region form a deep
reservoir of writing material.
Your first book, Sea Snow is a paranormal, historical romance? Tell us a bit
Kathryn: I think of it as historical
fiction with a supernatural twist. Sea
Snow- the gentle haunting of a 19th century lighthouse has romantic
elements between the main character and her husband but cannot be cast in the
traditional romance genre. It’s written in journal form by Rose, a young, 19th
century woman from Norfolk, Virginia who falls in love with and marries a young
man as he leaves the U.S. Navy and becomes the keeper of a lighthouse one mile
off the Massachusetts coast. Throughout her journal, Rose prefaces several of
her entries with excerpts from the work of one of her favorite poets, Christina
Rossetti. As Rose experiences the joys and challenges of lighthouse life in the
late 19th century—facing storms and illness, new and surprising friendships,
New England village life, and the excitement and concerns of first-time
pregnancy—she discovers their lighthouse is haunted (quite literally) by the
sad but gentle spirit of a former occupant who needs her help.
Was any of this story based on real people or events?
Kathryn: Not real people or events, per
se, but based upon my extensive research into lighthouse life and New England
at the turn of the 20th century. One of the challenges, as well as
opportunities, of writing historical fiction is the research necessary to
ensure accuracy in the details. You have to be certain that any references to
books, music, clothing styles, terminology, etc was in use at the time,
especially when the book is written in the protagonist’s own words. For
example, you can’t have someone zipping up a dress prior to 1913 and you can’t
refer to young people as teenagers until the 1940s!
I love doing research but can often get lost in it. But I agree that to make it
more authentic, you have to know it even if you don’t use it.
are you working on now?
I’m very excited to announce that I have a completed Middle Grade contemporary
supernatural mystery, Zephyr Stone and
the Moon Mist Ghost, under contract with Raleigh publisher, Blue Ink Press,
due to be released in 2021. It’s about a 12-year-old girl from the Outer Banks
of North Carolina who encounters the three-hundred-year-old ghost of a Native
American woman paddling her canoe in the midnight mists of the Great Dismal
Swamp. While the grieving spirit begs for Zephyr’s help in finding her
long-lost child, the spirits of the ghost’s cat and Zephyr’s beloved dog
exchange places and cannot resume their natural (supernatural) existences until
Zephyr returns with an answer for the distraught spectral mother.
I’m 62,000 words into an approximately 80,000-word adult contemporary fantasy
based in Edenton and Scotland that has a working title of Murmuration. And, yes, I’m having a blast with it!
I understand that one of your passions is photography, in fact, you have won
awards with your photos. Would you share that with us?
Kathryn: I love how photography trains
the mind and eye and heart to see the beauty and intrigue around us every day.
After several years of actively selling and exhibiting my photographs in art
shows and galleries and picking up many awards along the way, my creative
energies are now focused on my writing. I’ve had many chapters in my life
story. Some open and close pretty quickly, while others linger on in some form
for many years. Photography is certainly one of my more enduring chapters. I
think it’s because I see photography as another form of story-telling. And I
just love a good story! By the way, my husband is also an award-winning
photographer and my book cover for Sea
Snow is based on one of his photographs, which I altered with Photoshop to
reflect the look and mood of my fictional lighthouse.
I understand you are also a newlywed. I believe you got married shortly before
we first met. How has marriage changed your life?
Kathryn: Bill and I married in Edenton
on June 16, 2012 on the front porch of our newly purchased1895 home we dubbed
“Buttercup Cottage.” The ceremony was graciously performed by the
minister of the church across the street from us. Having both been through
problematical marriages in our pasts, we were—are—so grateful to have found one
another. The wedding present I gave Bill is a sign that hangs in our living
room: “It’s Never Too Late To Live Happily Ever After.” I believe
this, with all my heart, and that realization has extended to every part of my
life, including my career as a writer.
I love your philosophy. I believe in happily ever after, as well.
you husband love to travel, and you share your pictures on social media. I love
seeing all of your adventures. Do any of the places you visit influence your
Kathryn: Yes. Every place has a magic of
its own and I’ve sought to capture that magic in my photography. In turn, those
photographs spanning North America from North Carolina to Alaska and across the
Atlantic to Scotland, stir memories and emotions that play directly into my writing.
What is something people might not know about you that you’d like to share?
I’ve worn many hats in addition to writer and photographer. Teacher. Social
Worker. Television re-enactment actress. Church choir soloist. Nationally
certified massage therapist. Enthusiastic home baker. Check out my favorite
tried-and-true baking recipes on my “Kate’s Giving Plate” Facebook
You know I love recipes. I’m a Food Network junkie. With the holidays
approaching, do you have a recipe you’d like to share?
Yes! In Sea Snow, Rose prepared an 1890s version of a festive confection
and called it “Red Cupid Cake,” since she baked it for Valentine’s
Day. My recipe is for a classic Red Velvet Cake, but I went for a red and green
Christmassy combo and called it:
cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 Tablespoons unsweetened, cocoa powder
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 cup vegetable oil such as canola
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1-2 oz food coloring of choice, more or less depending on how deep you want
• ½ cup plain hot coffee, prepared
• 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. Generously grease and flour or line with baking parchment paper, two 9-inch
round cake pans. Set aside.
you wish to make two different colored cake layers, simply divide all the
ingredients in half, using a different food coloring for each layer, and use
separate mixing bowls for each layer. All of the ingredients easily divide by
3. In a
medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder,
and salt. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and vegetable oil.
5. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and food coloring until combined with
the sugar and oil.
6. Stir the hot coffee and white vinegar into the wet mixture.
7. Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, a little at a time, mixing
after each addition, just until combined. Batter will be thin. (Over-mixing
makes for a denser cake.)
8. Pour the batter evenly into each pan.
9. Bake in the middle rack for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in
the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it. Do not over bake as the
cake will continue to cook as it cools.
10. Let pans cool on a cooling rack until warm to the touch.
11. Slide a knife or offset spatula around the inside of the pans to loosen the
cake from the pan.
12. Gently remove the cakes from the pans and let them finish cooling on racks.
(The warm cake will be very delicate.)
13. Frost the cake with cream cheese frosting after the layers have cooled
completely. I leave the sides bare so the colorful cake layers can be seen.
garnished the top frosted cake layer with cracked peppermint candy pieces.)
ounces cream cheese, room temperature
-8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
-1 cup confectioners’ sugar (yep, that’s all!)
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl and beat until smooth
and soft. Gradually add butter, and continue beating until smooth and well
blended. Sift in confectioners’ sugar, and continue beating until smooth. Add
vanilla, and stir to combine.
This is beautiful and sounds delicious. I’ll have to bring my daughter-in-law
over and see if we can make on ourselves.
to say goodbye, but I know you are a busy woman. I look forward to spending
time with you again soon.
enjoyed this interview with Kathryn Louise Wood, check out her book on
Amazon.com and follow her on social media, the links are below.
wishes Kate, I’m excited to see what you do next.
Thank you, so much, Sherri. I’m honored to have been interviewed by you. Warm
wishes of the season to you and yours!-
Louise Wood was born in Washington, North Carolina and received her BS in
Education from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Having spent her
life on the coasts of North Carolina and Virginia, she grew up with the ever
present beauty of regional lighthouses: the twin lights of Cape Henry in
Virginia Beach, Virginia, the Old Point Comfort Light in Hampton, Virginia, the
Assateague Light on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, and the Cape Hatteras, Bodie, and
Ocracoke Lights on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Having developed a
particular fascination with lighthouses as stalwart guides to ships at sea, and
as timeless sentinels of mystery, adventure, and romance, they were the natural
inspiration for her first novel, Sea
Snow- the gentle haunting of a 19th century lighthouse .
Another of Kathryn’s interests is the supernatural, born of her own experience
and the experiences of friends and family. She has always held a soul-deep
feeling that there is more to life than what is obvious to our physical senses.
As a life-long learner, Kathryn has worked as a teacher, social worker,
television re-enactment actress, nationally certified massage therapist, and
writer, and is an award-winning photographic artist.
She lives with her husband and kindred spirit, William Francis Ahearn, in a
little turn-of-the-20th century cottage (that makes up in quirky charm what it
may lack in size) in the beautiful, historic town of Edenton, North Carolina.
They share their home with their dogs, Minna and Sophie, and the memories of
loved ones with whom they shared their lives, there.
Kathryn has a Middle Grade supernatural mystery under contract with Blue Ink
Press and is currently working on an adult contemporary fantasy set in Edenton
and the Highlands of Scotland.
Sea Snow- the gentle haunting of a 19th
wedding night, Rose Martin, the young bride of a 19th century lighthouse keeper
is awakened by a phantom fragrance, compelling her to leave her sleeping
husband’s side and climb the 102 steps of the light tower. What she encounters
there startles her, but is just the beginning of the unnerving experiences that
guide her through the unlocking of a secret that haunts not only the
lighthouse, but many of the nearby villagers, as well.
In Sea Snow, we open Rose’s journal
and read the words of a southern woman transported by love and distance to a
rocky island lighthouse, one mile off the Massachusetts coast. There, we
discover the details of daily life at the turn of the 20th century: the
challenges, the joys, and, in Rose’s case, the love and supernatural forces
that part the veil between the living and the dead.
LaDonna Holloman to my virtual café. It is so nice to have you with me today.
LaDonna will be one of the authors signing and selling books at the Aurora
Fossil Festival, Saturday, May 25th. I’m so glad you stopped by.
LaDonna: Yes, thank you for inviting me.
Sherri: LaDonna is a member of the Pamlico Writers’ Group, she joined about the time we were planning our Carnival of Books. I feel as if I’ve known you forever, I was surprised to learn that you are not originally from North Carolina.
LaDonna: No, we moved to Washington four years ago. My husband is the pastor of Snowd Branch Church of God. I was born in beautiful West Virginia but grew up in Maryland.
Sherri: So, you are still new to the area. Wow, that’s exciting. Do you miss your home?
LaDonna: I do miss my home state, but I love North Carolina.
Sherri: I was very close to our former pastor and his family. I know it’s not easy being a pastor’s wife. I admire you.
LaDonna: I was a Children’s Church pastor for over ten years. My husband and I have been in the ministry most of our 45 years of marriage.
Sherri: Forty-five years, congratulations. David and I will celebrate twenty-eight years this July.
work influence your writing?
LaDonna: I was always a story teller growing up, but never wrote them down. As Children’s Church pastor, I wrote my own clown and puppet skits. I’m a retired Registered Nurse, working in Labor and Delivery with the Newborn babies. Miss those babies, but love the change in my life, writing.
Sherri: Two admirable and demanding professions, along with being a wife and mother. Retired now, does that mean you are able to write full-time?
LaDonna: I’m a Senior Pastor’s wife so my time is divided three ways: church, family and writing.
Sherri: So, there is still a big demand on your time?
have you been writing?
LaDonna: I have only been pursuing writing for one year.
Sherri: Wow, then I really am impressed. You have gone all out with publishing and marketing. It’s not easy for a new author to get noticed. What kind of books do you write?
LaDonna: I have written and published through Christian Faith Publishing, my first book, “Where Have All the Children Gone?” The genre would be Christian mystery/fantasy.
book, which is almost complete, will be Indie Published.
I also have
the outline for a clean romance that takes place in Ireland. I recently was
invited to a wedding while visiting Ireland and my mind has taken off with the
I am also
working on a children’s book but probably will not write many of them. I found
our it isn’t my favorite genre since getting older.
Sherri: Sounds like you are going to be busy. That’s great. I have met your husband and your daughter, and they seem very proud of you and very supportive. I believe that is important. We can write on our own but having the support of family and friends makes a better experience.
compelled you to write your stories?
LaDonna: I’ve always wanted to write down my stories but just never had the time, until now. As a pastor’s wife I’ve always wanted to share my faith without being overbearing. What better way than writing a story?
Sherri: I agree, sharing our stories allow us to inspire and educate without beating someone over the head. I believe it is important to have stories that allow us to see ourselves and others in a different light. Earlier you mentioned several genres you were already writing, do you have plans for anything different in the future?
LaDonna: I would like to write a romance and a time-travel story.
Sherri: Right now, you are busy promoting “Where Have All the Children Gone?” But what other projects are you working on?
LaDonna: I am working on the second of three series, “Journey to the Dark Island,” The Island Journeys series. Nicole returns to what she believes is the island of her childhood, but in time, discovers it is totally the opposite.
I am also in
the process of self-publishing my first children’s book, “Luke and the
Sparrow.” Luke loves learning about birds. He finds a sparrow with a broken
wing and has to defend it from bullies. With the help of Nicole, he learns that
God cares for even the sparrows, if he only prays and believes.
Sherri: Is this the same Nicole from the Island Journeys series in the children’s book?
LaDonna: Yes, it started out following the boy in the island story, but it just didn’t fit right, but I kept the same characters.
Sherri: What do you enjoy about writing?
LaDonna: The fun part is not knowing how the story is going to end until you get there!
I have had
the opportunity to be interviewed on three different radio stations. Two of
which have been in Ireland. They’ve invited me back when my second Island book
Sherri: Now that is so cool. How did you get invited to be on the radio?
LaDonna: I did an interview with K-Love radio through CFP and my daughter is a co-host on a radio station in Ireland and arranged for me to be interviewed. They liked it so much they invited me back with my second book and then Spirit radio station heard me and invited me to do one with them.
Sherri: That is awesome.
What do you
despise about being a writer?
LaDonna: Distractions! And definitely the marketing.
Sherri: Oh yes, don’t we all. Marketing is that necessary evil we all have to face if we want to make back at least some of our investment. What have you tried besides being on the radio? Which I think is super cool and you get double points for being on the radio in Ireland.
LaDonna: Marketing is so hard. I’ve been trying to build a social media platform but I’m not the world’s best computer person. I’ve been to a few book signings but need to do a few more.
Sherri: What are some of your other hobbies or interests? Do these show up in your books?
LaDonna: Reading and adventure. I’m willing to try anything once. I even went skydiving and have had several pilot’s lessons. Since moving to North Carolina, my husband and I have bought a boat and enjoy cruising. I love to go to the Outer Banks and spend the day at the beach, but I’m just as happy on the porch with a good book or curled up on the couch in front of a fire.
Sherri: Who are some of your favorite authors or what genre of books do you like to read?
LaDonna: I love Christian Fantasy/mystery. Ted Dekker is one of my favorites. Jennifer Pierce, Rachel Starr Thomson, and lately I’ve been reading clean romances by Abby Ayles, Carole Towriss and a local author from Greenville, Jennifer Conway.
Sherri: It looks like our time is running out. LaDonna, thank you for stopping by my Creekside Café. I look forward to our book signing at the Aurora Fossil Festival, May 25th. Y’all look for us there.