Thank you to our readers for making our blog what it is!
To help keep that string alive, we are happy to bring to you another author of whom you may have or may not have heard about...yet. (It's what we do.)
Interestingly, our next guest on the Florida Front Porch was someone I had some familiarity with. As I researched my Blake Meyer Thriller series, which deals with many subjects, one of which is human trafficking. I read several books, numerous articles, and other writings about the subject. One of those books was called The Slave Across the Street. The copy I had acquired had the author's name on it. Little did I know that our next guest helped her write this book. Later, when I was asked to be a guest on her blog, I saw a new book cover that included her name as well. I informed her of how I used that book along with the others to formulate my Blake Meyer series.
Small world, huh?
Without further ramblings, let's introduce our next guest to ABTS, PeggySue Wells!
Give us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is PeggySue Wells?
My favorite review said, “Eminently quotable, PeggySue Wells is a tonic—warm like your favorite blanket, bracing like a stiff drink.”
I am a history buff, and tropical island votary who parasails, skydives, snorkels, scuba dives, and has taken (but not passed) pilot training. Writing from the 100-Acre wood in Indiana, I’m the bestselling author of 29 books, translated into eight languages, including The What To Do series, The Slave Across the Street, Slavery in the Land of the Free, Bonding With Your Child Through Boundaries, The Girl Who Wore Freedom, Homeless for the Holidays, Chasing Sunrise, and The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make. For five years I was a radio talk show producer and cohost, an experience I’m using for a podcast, Live Well, interviewing entrepreneurs, and exceptional voices to help people live better, together.
Before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life?
In college, I blew out my knees as a dancer and shifted to the other subject that made my eyes light up - journalism. After being the editor of the college newspaper and magazine, I went to work as a news reporter and magazine editor. While raising my children, I wrote freelance and my first book was published in 1995.
Are you married? Single? Have kids?
I am the button-popping proud mama of seven grown children. While 2020 has been goofy for the world, this Mimi is getting three grandsons this year – I call them Mimi’s Mighty Men. Of my zany crew, two are professional writers, four enjoy reading, and three are allergic to reading and writing, (“That’s your gig, Mom.”)
We have one daughter who is allergic as well and a son-in-law who would rather "wait for the movie." :-)
I’m going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. In one sentence, tell us why you like these particular things.
Favorite Song of All-Time: "PeggySue" by Buddy Holly. Yep, I was named after that song. Great drum beat. (Did you ever see the Quantum Leap episode where we learned how Buddy came up with the title? I'll let you Google it.)
Favorite Bible Verse: Ephesians 3:16-19: "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
To have God’s Spirit as a constant guiding presence and know how much God loves me is the best gift ever!
Favorite Movie: Sahara
Favorite TV Show: The Chosen
Favorite Novel (other than your own): Light of Eidon series by Karen Hancock
Favorite Author (other than you): John Erickson, Clive Cussler, Jan Karon, Richard Paul Evans
Favorite Sport: Waterskiing
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: Reading for the stories
Favorite Subject Now: History to know what people did and why they did it.
Favorite Time of the Year: All of the year
Favorite Place to Vacation: Beach and Disney
Favorite Drink: Hot cocoa
Favorite Food: Salmon and chocolate (Hopefully not together...Yuk!)
If your life was a story, and you were the lead character, what kind of role would you play?
The adventurer who surfs, scuba dives, snorkels, rides horses, sky dives, travels and can’t pass pilot training because of the math (math is my four-letter word).
I saw a meme recently of two people, a man and a woman, sitting across a small table from each other at a restaurant. A first date kind of thing. She asks, "So, has there ever been a book that has made you cry?" He replied, "Algebra 1: Math for the Modern World."
The struggle is real.
Do you have a favorite line from a movie or book?
Ha! If we removed movie and book quotes, vocabulary for my children and I would be reduced by half.
You’re killing me, Smalls. – Sandlot
But why is all the rum gone? – Pirates of the Caribbean
Don’t take trash off the cat. – Hank the Cowdog
I know practically nothing about that. – Hank the Cowdog
I don’t think this is a normal shakedown. - Sahara
No touchy. – Emperor’s New Groove
Exactly so. – Scarlet Pimpernel (with Anthony Andrews)
Clovis doesn’t like to be touched. – Apple Dumpling Gang
Coffee – in cups. – Angels in the Outfield
These mashed potatoes are so creamy. Mary mashed them. – While You Were Sleeping
Yeah, why? - Frozen
Same here. We're always quoting movies and shows. My favorite is from the Disney animated Jungle Book scene of the vultures saying to each other, "What do you want to do?" We also use that exchange when we're trying to decide, of all things, where to go out to eat. We also like the hand gesture in The Kid where he bends his finger at the first knuckle and points with a face ready to explode.
Do you have a crazy, interesting, behind-the-scenes story about the publishing world you’d like to tell your readers without boring them to death with industry gobbledygook?
I began my writing career as a news reporter and thought fiction writers were folks who didn’t want to deal with reality. Wanting to write in all the genres except horror (I get scared) and erotica (don’t want to write anything I would be embarrassed if my kids or grands read), I tried fiction. Holy smokes! It is tough to make stuff up that is completely believable, and so smart that I have to figure a way out. Penning fiction is addictive and my favorite genre.
Of all the stories/books you have written, which one is your favorite? And what compelled you to write this story?
My favorite titles are The Patent (written under a penname because the audience is guys and guys generally prefer books written by men), and Chasing Sunrise. The Patent happened because my very smart friend called with a brilliant idea.
“Write it up, and I’ll polish for publication,” I said.
“I’m an engineer,” he replied. “It has ten bullet points.”
So I turned electrical engineer and patent attorney Max Garwood’s ten bullet points into a 90,000 word novel. I’m halfway through the sequel, The Embolus.
Half of my books are co-authored. I enjoy the teamwork because I write well with others.
Tell us about what project you are currently working on.
I’m putting together a resource-rich website community titled, Single Mom Circle, as a companion to The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make. I’m also writing that epic novel that has been marinating in my brain for decades that is the beginning story for all my novels, as well as the prequel to Chasing Sunrise tentatively titled, Choice, and the sequel to The Patent, titled The Embolus. I typically write several books at a time.
What surprised you the most during the research for the book you are currently working on?
Every place I explore, experience I have, fascinating facts I learn make my writing richer and multi-dimensional. Israel became a major part of The Patent and several other titles after I traveled there. St. Croix with its mile deep underwater wall, poisonous manchineel trees, and macho jumbies is the setting for Chasing Sunrise. Learning that human trafficking enslaves more people today than when slavery was legal in the United States was a sad shock when I wrote The Slave Across the Street and Slavery in the Land of the Free.
Tell us about your writing day. How do you go about writing?
When the children were young, after teaching school, I wrote in the middle of the busiest area of the house surrounded by the comforting sounds of family and life fully lived. I took my laptop (Macbeth) to the stands at horseshows, the sidelines during soccer practice, while sitting through orchestra practice. Once, I took a college writing course and the question on a test was, “What is the one thing every writer must have for success?”
I quickly wrote, “Passion.”
The question came back marked wrong. After class I asked the professor about the correct answer.
“Solitude,” he replied.
I snorted. As the Mom of seven children on a gentleman’s ranch in the country, if I waited for solitude, I’d never write.
Currently, I rise early, journal, read Scripture, pray, read for thirty minutes, and write for ninety minutes. Next, I work on business items, then write and work until dinner. Exercise in the evening and write before going to sleep.
If you had one person you could meet (think outside the Bible here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be? (Next question deals with Biblical characters.)
Patrick Henry. He experienced failure and lived with a lot of integrity. Despite heartbreak, he was a powerful force in the creation of a new nation. And he could fiddle!
If you had one person you could meet (think ONLY Bible characters here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be besides Jesus?
Mary, the mother of Jesus. What a wonder to be chosen as the mother for God’s son. I’m certain there is lots to her story.
What’s the craziest thing you have ever done?
While having seven kids, taking them to as many places around the world as possible, giving them as many experiences as I could, it seemed natural to me, but many say that was crazy. I’m frequently surprised to meet kids the ages of my own who have not been places, had experiences, or tasted foods. There is so much in this vast world God created for us and I don’t want to miss a thing.
Why do you live where you live?
We relocated from California to a little artsy country town in Indiana in 1995. I like the elbow room, the opportunity for my children to have animals and experiences. I stay because there is plenty of space so the kids and grands know they are welcome home anytime. This is a wonderful retreat for writers to come and focus on a project.
When my bestie from California calls and asks what I’m up to, I tell her, “I just did target shooting in the backyard, chain sawed a tree, am having a bonfire roasting s’mores, and I’m not getting arrested.”
“Show off,” she replies because none of that is permissible where I used to live.
We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?
Not a book, but The Chosen - Season One has powerfully impacted my life in all the best ways. I’ve watched it five times through and probably will again. Because of The Chosen, I’m eager to read the Bible. Secondly, The Bible Project has also fed my spirit.
If you had life to do all over again, would there be any changes? If so, what would they be?
I would like to have learned much earlier to focus on the facts and not make up stories about those facts. For instance, when a publisher published two of my books, then passed on my next two ideas, I assumed that meant they didn’t want to work with me anymore. That was a story I made up in my head about the facts. However, the facts were merely that they decided to pass on my next two pitches that were not a fit for them. In this industry, keep pitching great ideas and networking.
Is there anything you'd like to share with our readers we have not already covered?
Writing permits me to possibly be the wind under the wings of another who is weary, disheartened, and disillusioned. I enjoy both the challenges and victories of the craft because it satisfies my spirit. I write because writing is an essential. Through writing I give voice to others, champion integrity, bring humor, and share stories. One in four homes is currently single-parent led. My hope is that The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make will serve as tangible tips and practical hope to help solo-parent led families be successful.
PeggySue, I want to thank you for being willing to sit down on the Florida Front Porch, sit a little iced tea, and chat for a while.
Readers, if you wish to learn more about PeggySue and her writing, you can find her at these cyber locations:
Until next time, may God bless America, and more importantly, my America Bless God, regardless of who was elected last week!
PS - Looking for a Christmas story unlike any other? One that brings hope? One that bridges the gap between the tangible world and the spiritual? The Letters may be the one for you.
THE WORLD IS A CRAZY PLACE
WHEN THE LIVING ARE DEAD
AND THE DEAD ARE ALIVE.
In the midst of spiraling depression, Rachel receives a mysterious letter in the mail. When she opens it, she becomes cautious and skeptical of its contents and discards it as a mistake, concluding it’s simply addressed incorrectly or a postal worker’s faux pas in the midst of a busy Christmas season. But another letter arrives the next day. And another the day after that. Before long, she is in possession of several letters. Each one more puzzling than the last.
Thinking that someone may be playing a cruel game, she contacts the police, and this propels Rachel and the two detectives into one of the most bizarre cases they’ve ever encountered. Is it a friend’s cruel joke? Is it some stalker’s perverse idea of manipulation? Or is it something more?