I AM SO DELIGHTED TO HAVE AS MY GUEST TODAY, DEBUT AUTHOR SALLY CHAMBERS, A LONGTIME (ONLINE) FRIEND. I was trying to remember when we first connected, but I think–correct me if I’m wrong, Sally–in 1995 through Sandy Brooks on AOL and her Christian Writers Fellowship International [CWFI] organization.
Anyway, I shot her some interview questions and she graciously answered them, though she said I make her work!. So sit back to learn more about Sally Chambers. Oh, we’ll talk about her debut book, The Stonekeepers, too. (See below for giveaway details.)
So, Sally, let’s chat.
When people find out we’re writers, someone will inevitably say ‘I’ve always wanted to write a book’ or, ‘I’d like to write a book someday,’ and you’re probably no exception. What is/would be your response?
My blog title speaks to that! A year ago, I named it, Everyone Has a Story, because I believe everyone does. I think God has tucked the bud of a thought into our hearts that’s hungry to bloom—that each of us have stories to tell about a time/s in our lives we think others will enjoy hearing or profit from reading about. But! If you’re serious, learn the craft of writing well and since writing is a lonely business, join writing organizations and a critique group. Find someone who shares your passion and write your heart out! Literally.
Where is your favorite writing place?
On the southeast corner of the house, away from the living areas, there’s sunshiny, airy room that’s my haven. With large windows facing south and east, when the weather permits, they are wide open. I hear the water splashing from the small fountain in the front pond, hear the birds, and feel the breeze. The area is calm, peaceful, and conducive to putting words to work.
I’m always curious about other writer’s habits, quirks, and the like background music, or complete silence? Share some of yours.
I enjoy the serenity of silence or the sounds of nature – birds, wind through the trees, splashing water, in the background as I write. In reality though, the sounds of life happen. Like the air conditioning cycling on and off or my husband working on a noisy project or mowing the yard. And I can usually tune those out.
Do you snack when you write?
It’s probably a good thing I’m not much of a snacker, especially around my keyboard! It’s been blessed with a coffee bath (and I like honey in my coffee—a keyboard killer) as well as water and it somehow survived, so I’ve learned to head for the kitchen if I get thirsty or crave something chocolate.☺
Ooh, that must have been a sticky mess. How much of yourself goes into your characters?
I think my younger self was much like the main character in The Stonekeepers, Lexi. But, at eighteen, Lexi’s smarter, savvier, and a lot more gutsy. We’re both very loyal to our friends and family, our faith and growth as Christians is a work-in-progress, pray (still working on our trusting), and we do a lot of self-talk. Like Lexi, I’m still working on training my impulse gene. She’s impatient—it makes her crazy when her friends are late. I’m much more laid back. We share an innate curiosity about everything, love to research, and are pretty much perfectionists in many areas of our lives.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I’m fascinated with names and titles. They get prayed over and chosen with a lot of care. I comb through the baby-namer sites, listen for unusual names and look up their meanings, go through the Bible for names, and more. They have to fit and feel right to me and sometimes they get changed. Each part of the character’s name has significance to me.
What genres do you like to read?
Variety! I enjoy spiritual/inspirational fiction and nonfiction, techno-thriller, mystery, spy fiction, action-adventure, thriller-suspense, historical, and romance, many of the newer light inspirational romance novels.
And what are you reading right now?
I’m finishing Terri Tiffany’s debut novel, The Mulligan, and it’s good . . . nice twists, and has me emotionally involved. I’m also a quarter of the way through Baldacci’s King and Maxwell, but I’m able to put it down much too easily.
Let’s say you’re planning a writing retreat and there’s only space/room enough for four other authors. Who would they be, and why? Where would it be? Why there?
Well, since you didn’t hem me in with the caveat that they must all be living authors, I’ll invite, Catherine Marshall, Mark Twain, Anna Sewell, and Billy Graham. I’d invite these four because I’d like to learn why they were/are so beloved as writers. I’d invite them to be my guest for a week at the historic Baker House 1650 in the Hamptons. (Since expense is not an issue when the imagination is playing!) I opted for renting the entire Baker House because it has a reputation for having luxurious accommodations, lovely gardens, spacious, and access to nearby beaches. Amidst impeccable English gardens with sweeping lawns, is an elegant landscape with matured, natural beauty. We’d meet and walk beside vine-covered garden walls and a 200 year-old wisteria, that evokes the perfection of the English countryside.
Ah, that was my mistake. But I like your choices. What is your favorite food?
Parmesan crusted chicken or pepperoni-pineapple pizza
That sounds yummy, except the pineapple part. Fun question: If you’d been born into the animal kingdom instead of the human race, what would you be, and why?
A German shepherd trained to search and rescue. I’d be on call to go all over the world to search and rescue those lost. I’d be physically fit, smart, obedient, and agile!
If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not family) who would it be, and, of course, why?
JK Rowling. why? Aside from doing so much good with her wealth and her volunteering, since her last book was published, she said openly that she was a Christian. I’d like to listen and learn how large a part her faith played as she wrote her books.
Okay, now let’s talk about your debut book. How did you come to write it?
First, a name that leapt from the page of a magazine and sparked my imagination. Then ideas that caught fire as I mentored junior high school girls to help lower the school dropout numbers in my area. I’d been writing for children and the desire grew to write for the older girls—a novel, but nothing like what they were used to reading. Through story, I wanted them to get to know a girl a little older than they were, someone they could relate to, learn from, and look up to. But . . . someone who faced the things of life from a background of faith. A girl similar to the teenaged Christian girls I was teaching in a Sunday school class, who had plenty of problems, but chose to pray about them. Girls who read the Bible and learned from it, and who loved the Lord, all just as naturally as breathing.
Fascinating! What kind of research did you have to do?
Since I wanted my protagonist to face a variety of challenges, I threw mountains at Lexi to deal with, like suddenly secretive and overly protective parents, finding herself involved with something priceless, having her life threatened, and more. That meant every time I imagined and wrote about one of those challenges, I had to make sure it was believable. That took me into researching things like airline schedules, early 19th century door handles, paparazzi, night vision goggles, papyrus, the strength of gold, and the effects of ether, Israeli Intelligence and Special Operations, shaay,—endless and fascinating research.
What’s on the back cover (the ‘blurb’)?
For the past eighteen years, Lexi Christensen has been sheltered from the truth by a soft-cushioned life of normalcy, until the contents of an envelope link her to an ancient vow. All Lexi wants is to get out from between the vise grips of her suddenly protective parents, rescue an historic mansion before she leaves for college, and stop herself from falling in love with the man her best friend claims to love. But finding the envelope thrusts her into difficult and dangerous choices. Someone knows more about Lexi’s heritage than she does, wants what she’s found, and threatens her life to get it.
As her future twists into an incredible mission that propels her from her sand-ringed island home to a foreign mountaintop, Lexi is in a race against both time and danger. Her faith may be strong, but is God asking too much?
Great teaser. That’s usually the first thing I check when I’m looking for a new book to read.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
ABOUT THE GIVEAWAY:
Sally is giving away one free paperback copy of The Stonekeepers to one of you readers. Sorry, Lower 48 States only. TO ENTER: Leave a comment below with your name and contact information, like this, zippity (at) doodah (dot) com, replacing the red words with your info. so we can notify you in case you win.
Giveaway ends at Midnight, Tuesday, July 7 Central Time. To make it fair, I require a minimum of 5 (five) entries. So, if you want to win, tell your friends to enter. Hey, one chance out of five or more, is better than no chance at all. Right?
Winner will be determined through Random.org
Many thanks to Sally for sharing herself and her time with Whispers in Purple, and to YOU READERS who visit. Be sure to come back on July 15 for an interview with Sally’s character Lexi Christensen.