Friday, August 12, 2011

Perhaps She Really IS a Backwards Gal...

Have you ever heard of a backward interview? I just kind of activated my brain and made one up. And why not?

Some of the fine authors who contribute here at A Pen for Your Thoughts  will this time ask ME some questions about my new August 15th release of Say Goodbye to Yesterday. (Of course, some of the questions will be tweaked a little by me. Just a hint.)  We will have a question for you at the end of this backwards thing, so  one of you will get a free e-copy of my book. I hope to draw YOUR name! Please join me in seeing what the others have to say for now.

(Thanks to Linore, Mary Ann, Sandra, Linda, and Anne for your intriguing questions!)

Linore Burkard: What is the best thing about having your book come out after all the work you put into it?

Shirley: It gives me a great excuse to eat chocolate with nuts, and not feel guilty? Well, not exactly. Perhaps, Linore, it's just in knowing I finally accomplished something that I worked so hard at doing.

Linore: What is the biggest benefit readers get from reading your book?

Shirley: That they might see a little of themselves or someone they know in the characters they read about. And with that, they can see how none of us are alone in the mistakes we make throughout life.  The clue is what we do about it.

MaryAnn Diorio: (Okay, it's my turn.) When and how did you know that God wanted you to write this book, Shirley?

Shirley: Thanks for joining us, MaryAnn. I knew God wanted me to write this book even before I finished my last historical romance, Flame from Within that was gratefully picked up by Vinspire Publications. I saw much of the story happening around me, I wanted to start writing about it. So I did some research, and sure enough, the same kind of stuff was happening back in 1800s as well. So I wrote.

MaryAnn: In what ways did you sense Holy Spirit’s guidance as you wrote?

Shirley: Oh, I sensed it all right. It was in sensing something NEEDED to be said. Not only during the pre-writes but also during the re-writes. When the Holy Spirit boosts me on, I can't seem to stay away from the story. I guess I just know.

MaryAnn: How did your past experiences prepare you to write Say Goodbye to Yesterday?

Shirley: As a pastor's wife for years (my husband still ministers, but more in support now than as the lead pastor he once was), we both did a lot of counseling. I still counsel women in my Koinonia Community on a regular basis. Throughout the years, I've come across many who have gone through experiences similar to what this story is about. How I shared with them helped me work this story, deal with the conflict, and come to my ending.

Sandra Byrd:  (That's long enough MaryAnn. I want to get in on this. Okay, Shirley:) Tell me more about why the 1880s fascinated you enough to set a novel there. And how did you go about doing your research?

Shirley: After our great visit earlier this week, Sandra, I'm glad you asked decided to join us now. I love historical romance, the Victorian age, the classics that go all the way back to the Regency era and before. Not only do I love reading about that time in history, I love the preparation that goes with it through learning about that time period. I mostly love finding those hidden stories in peoples' lives that make for some pretty great stories. You wouldn't believe what you might find in some of those old diaries from way back when. I research by reading books, going online, asking questions at Hearts thru History Romance Writers, and Googling.

Sandra:  What makes a good hero in your eyes?

Shirley: A good hero will be loyal, loveable, nice to look at, strong, full of faith, or end up that way, funny, not afraid to make mistakes and then be willing to admit his wrongs and move forward. He will be VERY romantic.

Linda Ford: (Let me jump in here.) What was the hardest thing about writing this particular book?

Shirley: Getting it JUST right, Linda. Why is it that it gets too easy to think something is never EXACTLY how you want it?

Linda: (Okay, then,) what was the most fun?

Shirley: Seeing the cover when it was finished, and getting the email from my editor with the ARC attached.

Anne Albert: (Loud ahem…) You must be ready for MY questions by now. When did you first realize you were destined to write romance, Shirley? I'm dying to know.

Shirley: Well, it was either when my hormones changed, or else it was when I read my very first romance book, Anne. Actually it was way back in the 70s. I read some Civil War romance that was set in New Orleans. It had a pretty heroine on the cover kissing some guy. Kind of like a soap opera in words, I suppose. But something hit me. Then Kathleen E Woodiwiss came along, and I was a goner.

Anne:  Is there a message in Say Goodbye to Yesterday that you want readers to grasp?

Shirley: That we all make choices, and those choices we make are very affecting, but not only to us and our lives, to everyone with whom we are involved. When faith enters the picture, it speaks to an even deeper part of us. Say Goodbye to Yesterday is all about the decisions two people make, and what happens to the good and bad after they make them.

Anne: FINAL QUESTION. Of all the characters you’ve created, does one hold a special place in your heart? Why?

Shirley: The one that comes to my mind right now is Geraldine, Annabelle's youngest daughter in Say Goodbye to Yesterday. Readers will see she has an amazing pull on both her mother and the hero in this story. I didn't know that would happen till I wrote it. Shows how certain people can truly have an affect on others. Amazing how important it is for us to take good care of who we listen to and why. (I believe it's discernment.)
Thanks to all of you for the great and thought worthy questions!

NOW COMES MY QUESTION TO ALL WHO ARE VISITING…How About You? Of all the characters you've read in a book, or created in a book you wrote yourself, which one holds that special place in YOUR heart, and why? Write your answers! We'd love to hear from you.  I'll be sharing a copy of my new ebook with the winner of the drawing.
(Please come visit me at my new website, and drop me a hello to say you came by. It shows there all the places where you can pick up my book. CLICK HERE: Also, check out where else I'll be on my blog tour with opportunities to win.  CLICK HERE )

Congratulations to Dorothy Carver of Highland Falls, NY. I look forward to sending you one of the first copies of my brand new book, Say Goodbye to Yesterday. I really hope you enjoy it. Blessings, Shirley


  1. Excellent interview, and I loved the backward one. Your book sounds like one I'll want to read. Sweet blessings for success, BJ

  2. Thanks, BJ. I hope you'll get a chance to read it. I'm really looking forward to seeing it out and about. Hey! Backwards interviews are REALLY fun!
    I'll stick your name in the basket!
    Blessings Shirley

  3. Great interview. There are so many characters I've enjoyed when I have read books. It's awfully hard to think of a favorite. Maybe it would be the cousin to the heroine in Gone With the Wind. And also I really love the heroines in the Jane Austen books. Put me in your hat to maybe win. Thanks.
    Dorothy Carver

  4. Thanks for writing in, Dorothy. Yes, you are right. That's not an easy question. That was Anne's question. I like the ones that make you think, too. But I also enjoyed your answer. I'll add you to the list. Thanks so much.

  5. In honor of backwards my answer will be that way.

    Eno to ym tsom etirovaf sretcarhc si. Wehttam.

    Matthew is From When Shadows Fall. He's tough when necessary, but gentle and loving.

    Tina Pinson.

  6. LOL! Now it would have been REALLY weird if we would have done the entire interview that way, Tina! I am going to have to check out this Matthew character! In the meantime, I'm a good backwards reader, so it will be interesting to hear what others might say about YOUR comment. Thanks for writing in! Adding your name to the list.

  7. Good and interesting interview. Thanks. I really like the book cover. And I'm anxious to read your book. Thanks
    Janice Ian

  8. Such fun, Shirley.

    (Says she with a loud ahem!) ;-)

  9. Someone ALWAYS grabs my heart in every book I read and enjoy. Would be hard to narrow it down. Loved this. Never saw it done before. Good luck on your book, Shirley.
    Betty F.
    Windsor, CA

  10. Thanks for writing in, Betty and you too, Anne. Love having you both here! Hope your weekend is fantabulous!
    In Jesus

  11. Hi Shirley, good questions concerning your upcoming release. Bet you're down to counting hours now. I LOVE the title.
    I have to say that I'm in the head of each heroine I am reading or writing. (If I'm not, I either put the book down in hopes of coming back to it, or I give it away.) Sometimes I really get emotionally caught up, other times I go, WHAT?
    Thrilled for you.

  12. Thanks so much, LoRee!That's great to stay in the head of the heroine. It pulls you along quickly. Good thought. Thanks AGAIN

  13. How about Father Tim in the Mitford series? He's a good guy, but so very human. I also like Brother Cadfael from Ellis Peters' medieval mystery series.

  14. Oh, I like Father Tim too. That's a good one! And I don't know Brother Cadfael from Ellis Peters' medieval mystery series. Will have to check that one out. Thanks.

  15. Loved this intereview. It was fun to read. Never saw a backward one before. I have lot of favorite characters. You made the question too hard. smiling. But I still hope yo'll put my name in your box. good luck on your book. I'd love to win it. Ann Baylor, Indianapolis.