Monday, July 25, 2011

Interview With Grace Greene

Today I have the pleasure to introduce debut author Grace Greene.

Grace writes women’s fiction with romance, suspense, and inspiration, always with a strong heroine at its heart, and a happily-ever-after ending—most of the time. Grace is also an artist and photographer. She is drawn to houses and landscapes that ooze character and is fascinated by history and human nature. When she’s writing all of these interests show up on the page. She’s been honored with a number of writing awards over the past years as a finalist in The Golden Pen, Linda Howard’s Award of Excellence, Fool For Love, and other's. Grace is a member of Romance Writers of America, Virginia Romance Writers, International Thriller Writers, Faith-Hope-Love, and ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). A Virginia native, Grace lives in central Virginia with her husband of many years who is also her biggest fan and supporter.

KATHY: So Grace, we met during the first Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. You were one of the sane voices on those crazy loop discussions. It was instant friendship for me. Then I read your excerpt, which rose pretty high in the rankings as I recall. I remember you as an atmospheric writer, creating a real chilling mystery with your unforgettable character Kath Havens.
Recently you’ve gotten your coveted first contract. How did that all come about?

GRACE: Those Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contests were pretty crazy! We were kind of like pioneers being in the first ones, weren't we?

About that first contract - I was looking for a small press that offered print in addition to e-format. It was especially important to me to have a print edition for my first book. When Kim Jacobs at Turquoise Morning Press offered me that opportunity, I was thrilled - after I recovered from the shock. When I realized she was offering a contract for my second book, too - well, I was nearly overwhelmed. This was the opportunity I was looking for, the chance to share my stories and hopefully, to find readers who'll enjoy them and look forward to more.

KATHY: I am soo excited to celebrate the release of your debut novel! Tell me about Beach Rental.

GRACE: BEACH RENTAL takes place on Emerald Isle, an island off the coast of North Carolina, also in Morehead City and Beaufort. The heroine, Juli, grew up in foster homes, dropped out of school and worked hard to get by on her own. She was proud of her self-reliance - until she begins to realize she's worked herself into a dead end and all of her hard work won't build her a future worth living. The central theme is about trust and faith - learning to trust other people and having the faith NOT to do it all on your own, but to put your life in God's hands.

Here's the blurb:

On the Crystal Coast of North Carolina, in the small town of Emerald Isle…
Juli Cooke, hard-working and getting nowhere fast, marries a dying man, Ben Bradshaw, for a financial settlement, not expecting he will set her on a journey of hope and love. The journey brings her to Luke Winters, a local art dealer, but Luke resents the woman who married his sick friend and warns her not to hurt Ben—and he’s watching to make sure she doesn’t.
Until Ben dies and the stakes change.
Framed by the timelessness of the Atlantic Ocean and the brilliant blue of the beach sky, Juli struggles against her past, the opposition of Ben’s and Luke’s families, and even the living reminder of her marriage—to build a future with hope and perhaps to find the love of her life—if she can survive the danger from her past.

Something else that's important about this novel is the source of the inspiration. In recent years, several of my friends died of pancreatic cancer. They lived their lives to the fullest until they couldn't, doing everything in their power to ensure their families were provided for and important decisions were made to the best extent possible. They inspired me. One of the primary characters in BEACH RENTAL is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and he, like my friends, lived his life for the quality of each day and directed his care and concern toward his friends and family. These brave, selfless people inspired the plot and I couldn't think of a better setting to frame the story than with the peace of the beach at dawn and sunset, and the eternity of the ocean.

KATHY: Wow, Grace, that sounds like a powerful story. How many years have you been writing? What are your completed novels to date?

GRACE: I've been writing on and off for many years. Aside from the first completed one many years ago which I don't count, I've completed three and am well along with the fourth. The third, BEACH RENTAL, is the book that was just released. The second, KINCAID'S HOPE, is due out in January 2012.

KATHY: What do you enjoy reading, and how do you feel your books are similar or different?

GRACE: I enjoy books in almost every genre. I prefer a strong female protagonist and I must have a happy ending, or at least an ending with hope.

KATHY: Who or what are your muses?

GRACE: Muses...everything, I guess. Story ideas are around us all the time. Muses inspire us with ideas, right? And also help propel us forward when we flag? For overcoming obstacles, my muses are my writing friends, activities that reset my brain like bike riding and playing the piano, and prayer. All things are possible with God.

KATHY: Besides writing, what are your guilty pleasures? (mine are chocolate, Hobby Lobby and flea markets) :D

GRACE: My guilty pleasures? Sometimes certain foods or electronics, especially new computers or camera gear. My guiltiest pleasure (and my best re-charging) is to spend an entire day with a book, or watching movies with not one productive action to show for it.

KATHY: I love it! Lazy days can be so energizing. What are your wildest dreams? (skydiving, digging for buried treasure, a weekend at the spa, joining the Olympic equestrian team . . .) And have you done any of them?

GRACE: My wildest dreams are growing a readership and seeing the sights around the world (ie pyramids, Louvre, Hadrian's Wall, ). Seeing BEACH RENTAL in print and holding the book in my hands was like a dream come true. Better than that is hearing from people that they enjoyed reading the book. I'd like to compose and snap the perfect photograph that takes my breath away, paint the painting that speaks to others, write the book that lingers with the reader and maybe changes something in them - for the better, of course.

KATHY: What are you working on next?

GRACE: I love the old gothic and romantic suspense novels - those treasures from Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, Dorothy Eden and so on. I still re-read them when I want to visit old friends. In KINCAID'S HOPE, I bring that genre in as a thread throughout the story. In my current WIP, I'm writing a contemporary version of the crumbling, atmospheric mansion and the dark, brooding master with a mystery. I'm loving it!

KATHY: Tell us how we can order or purchase BEACH RENTAL.

GRACE: BEACH RENTAL is available in eformats and print at the usual retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble Online, Smashwords, etc. I have links to some of these options on my website -

KATHY: It’s been a joy to have you here, Grace. I am sure I join my readers in wishing you all the best with Beach Rental and all of your future endeavors.

Grace has graciously offered to give away a copy of BEACH RENTAL to one lucky commenter. Please leave your email addy with your comment, and we will draw a name Friday evening.