Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Author Behind the Story Series - Penny Shane Richards

Greetings from the sunny South! 

It's the second Wednesday of the month. That means it's time for another page in our "Author Behind the Story" series! This marks Interview #4 of the series. I hope everyone has enjoyed this series so far as much as I have. It's fun getting to know new people. It's even more fun getting to know the authors behind the titles I see on Amazon, Facebook, and elsewhere. A book title and cover is great, especially when it's a great cover. But who is the person who wrote the pages in between? That's why we're here! So, when you finish reading this page, you can scroll down and catch the rest of the series!


This month, we welcome - to the blog "Where imagination meets eternity" (drum roll, please...) - Penny Shane Richards!




Give us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is Penny Richards? 

Among a few other things, I’ve worked as an interior decorator, store clerk, short-order cook, caterer, B&B owner, and florist’s helper. I love my God, my small town, learning new things, forensics, and anything creative. I believe in all the old-fashioned values of hard work, respecting people and property, fairness and honesty.

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?

I was in high school, had always been a voracious reader, wrote poetry and liked to draw.

What educational background do you have?

I finished my first year of high school in Illinois, and then my family moved to Hot Springs, AR, my sophomore year, where I graduated. I had no desire to go to college, plus, back then, mostly the smart/or rich kids went. I had the grades, but I would have hated it. I was extremely shy back in those days. My high school offered something called Diversified Occupation, and you could take several different things for very little money.  I thought I wanted to be a nurse, but my grandmother was horrified and said, “I’ll pay for beauty school if you take that.” I said, “Okay!” LOL So I went to beauty school my junior and senior years in the afternoons and a month in the summer. It’s come in handy through the years.

I also finished a two-year long correspondence course from Chicago School of Interior Decoration when my kiddos were small. Very intense, but I could work at my own pace. I’ve used that a lot through the years, since my husband and I flipped mobile homes and houses before it was the going “thing.”

I’m also a Master Gardener.

Ugh. Gardening. Lawn Work. Landscaping. Those are all four-letter words to me. I know some people love it. They say, "Oh, it's my therapy working in the garden or the yard." After I work in my yard, I need therapy. Physical. Psychological. Spiritual. The gamut. So, my hat's off to you if your a Master Gardener. Now, next question. I'm going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. List your favorite in each category and then tell us in one sentence why it is your favorite:

Favorite Food: Country cooking, though I don’t turn down much of anything.
Favorite Drink: Sweet tea. I may be Northern born, but am a Southerner through and through.
Favorite Song: “Poeme” by Giovanni. It is so beautiful it makes me cry when I hear it.
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible): DEVIL IN A WHITE CITY
Favorite Bible Verse: In His favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Psalms 30:5
Favorite Movie: ROB ROY. It is the story of an honorable man and shows what true love is.
Favorite Actor or Actress: Paul Newman
Favorite Novel (other than your own): THE MISTRESS OF THE ART OF DEATH. It’s rich in historical information, has a very different, complicated heroine, mystery and story line.
Favorite Novelist (other than you): Ariana Franklin. Author of the above book.
Favorite Sport: Baseball or golf. I had grandsons who played both.
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): St. Louis Cardinals, baseball
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: English
Favorite Subject Now: History
Favorite Teacher in School: All of my English teachers.
Favorite Time of the Year: Autumn. I like the colors, and the fact that the earth is getting ready to rest for a time.
Favorite Place to Vacation: A lake somewhere. I’m not a fan of the ocean, hot sun, or rugged, rocky mountains. I like green, and shade and lakes and creeks so clear you can see the bottom.


           
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?  

That’s a hard one. Margaret Thatcher?

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. I’d like to know what He was like as a child.

Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author?

Trying to keep my career going while also helping my husband with his business. We were always self-employed, and I worked side by side with him most of the time. Also, trying to balance my work and family. I didn’t always do the best job with that.

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done?   

This was VERY scary to me. In 1991, my agent contacted me and said he had a client who had started a mainstream novel about a woman trying to break through the glass ceiling in big business. This man was a world renowned seventy-something scientist/businessman (helped develop the intercontinental ballistic missile, TRW to name a couple of his accomplishments) who wrote non-fiction books related to his work. Would I be interested in working with him since he had no idea how to write fiction? Uh, yeah! At that time, my mainstream novel about horse racing had won the Reader’s Choice Award for Best Single Title. So, we read each other’s work to see if we thought we would be compatible. He flew me to Los Angeles for four days, and we worked together, plotting and working out the kinks.  This was HUGE for me, since I am a fraidy cat when it comes to doing something like that.  I don’t think  I left my room unless it was to have breakfast with him. The work was a true collaboration. He provided all the business/technical/ “insider” type of information to me on cassette tape, and I transcribed what I needed and did the actual writing.
            We spent six months getting about 140 pages and a synopsis ready. It was sent to various houses, but unfortunately our agent got very ill, was out of the office for almost half a year and the agent handling his clients didn’t do us a very good job. Meeting and working with Dr. Simon Ramo (shameless name dropping) was one of the highlights of my career and my life. I could call him at any time and get put right through…unless he was talking to Bush the first which he did every day during the Gulf War. My brush with true fame.

Why do you live where you live? 

I live in a small Arkansas town of less than 300 people and LOVE it! I don’t like cities and traffic and hustle and bustle. I can leave my UPS packages at the local printers to pick up. People know you by name. This place is very supportive and has some wonderful people.

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? 

My son gave me a copy of JESUS CALLING by Sarah Young almost five years ago. There is nothing in it that I don’t know as a Christian, but it helps remind me of certain things, and it’s relevant every year, no matter what’s going on in my life. There are days it is so on target that I sometimes think God shuffles the devotionals so I’ll read a certain one just when I need it! I can’t tell you how many I’ve bought the book and given to others.

When you look for a new home, what are the things that are important to you? 

No subdivisions! Trees, trees, trees! A little land is good. I’m not too picky, because I can see the potential in any wreck of a house and love working on them.

When you look for a new car, what are the things that are important to you?

Nothing new. Dave Ramsay made a believer out of me. As long as it looks reasonably okay, has four wheels, air and heat, I’m good to go. I’m not one who is after status in home, car, clothes, etc. I’m just simple, plain old me.

When you are looking for a book to read, what are the things that are important to you?

I like to read almost anything, including non-fiction. I love reading Medieval historical mysteries, and psychological thrillers. I’ll pick up a genre I don’t normally read if it’s recommended.

Are you married? Single? Have kids?

I’m a widow for more than 4 years now. My husband and I were married 50 ½ years. I’m the mother of two boys (both of whom are grandparents now) and one daughter (ditto), grandmother of nine, and great grandmother of 3 ornery, precious little boys, 4, 7 and 9.

I’m sorry for your loss, Penny. I'm sure the Bible has helped you over the years deal with your loss. What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why?

“My grace is sufficient to you.”

This line seemed to be spoken in my mind at a time I was going through a very difficult time. I was having a lot of trouble forgiving someone who had hurt me and mine badly. I cried almost all the time, and didn’t sleep. When I heard those words in my head out of the blue, my world seemed to shift back into place and I was able to forgive and move on.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover? 

Even after writing and selling more than 40 books, I’m still very insecure about my work and worry that it will fall short.  As a dear friend of mine once said, “the book in my head is never what comes out on the page.”


I like that because I can relate. You always feel like it could be better, too. Well, Penny, it's been a pleasure having you on my blog site. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and give us a picture of the person behind the many titles you have produced so far. Take care, and may God continue to bless your writing!

Dear Reader, if you want to get to know Penny more, you can visit her here:


Twitter: @pennyRwrites

Facebook: Penny Richards, Author, Lilly Long

Until next time, God Bless you, and may you Bless God!

Kevin




Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Author Behind the Story Series - Debra Webb Rogers


How do you like my glasses?
They belong to my granddaughter.
Greetings from the sunny South! Hope everyone is thawing out up north.

It's the second Wednesday of the month. That means it's time for another page in our "Author Behind the Story" series! I hope everyone has enjoyed this series so far as much as I have. It's fun getting to know new people. It's even more fun getting to know the authors behinds the titles I see on Amazon, Facebook, and elsewhere. A book title and cover is great, especially when it's a great cover. But who is the person who wrote the pages in between? That's why we're here! So, when you finish reading this page, I've listed the page linl for our previous authors, in case you missed them! 

This month, we welcome - to the blog "Where imagination meets eternity" (drum roll, please...) - Debra Webb Rogers!

Welcome, Debra! Give us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is Debra Webb Rogers? 

I spent the first decades of my adult life working as a professional ballet dancer. I danced with the Birmingham Ballet, The Israel Ballet and the Florida Ballet. When I left the world of performing, I began my current job: teaching dance at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, a public performing arts high school in Jacksonville, Florida. When I’m not writing, my hobbies include genealogy and various artistic endeavors, from tatting to art.


That's interesting. I would never have equated tatting and ballet dancing, So, 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?

I wrote little stories and poems when I was in elementary school! I actually thought about becoming a writer at that time, when a professional writer came to my school and talked about how he wrote books. I was fascinated!


What educational background do you have?

I went to Pompano Beach Senior High School in Florida, and then to Florida State University where I received a B.S. degree in Education. I also performed with their dance department. I chose FSU because of their education program, their dance program, and because it is such a beautiful place.

  
You know Debra, I'm a Gator fan. We have two favorite teams: The Gators and anybody playing FSU. So, to invite you onto my blog is definitely a God thing (J/K). I do think we're gonna get you guys in football in 2017, but I digress. Are you married? Single? Have kids?

I am married (for 22 years) to my wonderful husband Sam. I have an equally wonderful adult stepson, Chris. Sam and I share our home with two cats and one dog.

  
I’m going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. List your favorite in each category and then tell us in one sentence why it is your favorite.

Favorite Food: Anything chocolate
Favorite Drink: A glass of merlot on Friday night
Favorite Song: Ghost in This House by Alison Krauss, and The Dreaming Fields by Trisha Yearwood
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible): Books on historical unsolved mysteries – like the Lost Colony of Roanoke.
Favorite Bible Verse: Matthew 6:25-27 (Because I am a worrier!)
Favorite Movie: Somewhere in Time
Favorite Actor or Actress: Christopher Walken
Favorite Novel (other than your own): The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Favorite Novelist (other than you): Terry Kay
Favorite Sport: Ice skating and gymnastics (as an observer, not a participant)
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): Jacksonville Jaguars
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: Art
Favorite Subject Now: History
Favorite Teacher in School: Victoria Leigh (ballet instructor)
Favorite Time of the Year: Spring
Favorite Place to Vacation: North Carolina Mountains


           
Debra writes under the
pen name Violet Rightmire
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?

I’d like to meet Serge Diaghilev. He wasn’t a dancer or choreographer but he changed the face of ballet in the early 20th century, and influenced many dancers who became famous and went on to pass on his legacy.



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?

I have always wondered about the unnamed woman Jesus forgives for adultery. I’d like to meet her and learn her name, find out more about her, and what her circumstances were. I think she would be a fascinating person to meet.


I heard a comedian say once he thought the reason why the Jewish leaders tossed their stones to the ground when Jesus said what He said ("Let he who has no sin cast the first stone") was because Jesus was writing their girlfriends' names in the dirt. Wouldn't you love to know what He was doodling in the dirt? Okay, besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author?

This is an interesting question for this particular moment in my life. Last month my husband almost died of a double pulmonary embolism. But God was with us every step of the way, and I am so thankful for the miracle we received. My husband is home now and recovering well. It makes me remember that everything is in God’s hands and in His time. As far as how this relates to writing, I remind myself about this when my latest manuscript collects rejections.



Ugh. We all know about rejections. Been here. It's simply part of the business. On that sour note, what’s the craziest thing you have ever done?  

Accepting a one-year contract to join the Israel Ballet when I was barely 22 years old. I’d never been out of the United States, didn’t speak the language, and had no idea what I was getting into!

  

Why do you live where you live?
Debra's writing assistants

I live in Jacksonville, Florida, because I accepted a contract to dance with the Florida Ballet. I stayed because I love Jacksonville’s unique combination of big city amenities tucked into a small town atmosphere. I live in a 1923-era cottage in a lovely, walk-able historic district called San Marco.


  
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?
           
I read My Name is Maude by Katherine Murray Steele. It is the true story of a young woman who taught in a one-room schoolhouse in a remote mountain community in the 1920s. The author’s matter-of-fact details about the difficulties of everyday life in such a remote location made me think about (and appreciate!) all the things we have today that we take for granted – like indoor plumbing and central heat!

  

When you look for a new home, what are the things that are important to you?
  
A new home must have the right “feel.” It would be an old house with character – floorboards that creak, windows that rattle, angled ceilings, and a potential for secret hiding places. In other words, it would be very much like the house I have now!



When you look for a new car, what are the things that are important to you?

I just purchased my dream car this past summer: a blue Subaru Forester. My husband and I spend lots of time in the North Carolina mountains and an all-wheel drive is a necessity.


  
When you are looking for a book to read, what are the things that are important to you?

I look for something different. In fiction I love a story with some mystery, some historical basis, and also a hint of the paranormal. I also love non-fiction books in history, biography, or science genres. Any books I think about long after I finish them are the best! I love being haunted by a book.



What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why?

 John 3:16

  
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover?

Just as I love being haunted by a book, I hope my novels do the same for my readers.

To find out more, please visit my website: www.debrawebbrogers.com


Thank you, Debra, for taking the time to visit with us! We hope your writing dances to new heights, and we pray your husband continues to recuperate fully.


And may God bless all of you, our readers, as you bless God.

Kevin


PS - If you missed the first two ABTS entries, click below:



   

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

My Author Interview on Kathy Harris's Divine Detour Blog




Had the wonderful opportunity to do an interview with Kathy Harris on her website's blog: Divine Detour.  Click HERE for the interview.

Thank, Kathy!






Monday, February 27, 2017

Conferencing for Christ (An MTL Magazine Blog)




I don’t understand quilters, gardening enthusiasts or salesmen. Making patchwork art, a necessity for colonial winters, doesn’t thrill my soul. Neither does pruning flowers in the sweltering heat of a swamp-like Florida. Forget sales as a career. I’m not wired that way.
Though I don’t understand the excitement about such things, I do understand why they do what they do. It’s something they love.
Read the rest of my article, Conferencing for Christ, at MTL Magazine


Friday, February 24, 2017

A Legacy of Writing (A Seriously Write blog)




It wasn’t too long ago. I was sitting in my office, tapping away at the keyboard, trying to meet a deadline, when the doorbell rang. Our oldest daughter and her family had arrived. An expected visit to drop off our two grandsons so Mom and Dad would go out and remember why they started this whole plan years ago.

I could hear my grandson, Landon, ask my wife, “Where’s Papa?”

“He’s in his office.”

He bebopped in, a big smile on his face. “Hey, Papa.”

“Hey, buddy. Did you come to see me?” I extended my arms for a hug.

“Yep.” He gives me a hug and looks at the computer screen. “Whatchadoin’?”

Wanting to see how the wheels would turn in that over-imaginative head of his, I said, “Papa is writing a book.” (I knew it would spark interest because he’d just started learning how to read, and books were such a new, “cool” thing to him.)

“You’re writing a book?” The look on his face was precious. The wonder in his eyes and the astonishment in his tone said it all.



Read the remainder of the article HERE!





Followers