Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Heaven Scent - Review and Author Interview

I am honored to host a stop on Rebecca Talley's Heaven Scent Blog Tour.

Heaven Scent is the story of Liza Compton, a high school basketball star who deals with disappointment and tragedy when her father confuses his priorities and begins seriously neglecting his family.

Kara and I both thoroughly enjoyed reading this book together. The story starts off with an exciting and effective beginning - so effective that I was inspired to spend days reworking the beginning of my story. The characters are likable and realistic, and the story is compelling and believable.

Heaven Scent was written for the Young Adult market, and the cover is decidedly feminine, but the story will definitely appeal to male and female readers of nearly every age.

I had the privilege of asking Rebecca some questions, and her answers are below.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Ever since I was a kid, I've wanted to write. I started with "The Velt Book," a book made from felt (I do know how to spell it now), and then started a book in 6th grade that was similar to "Encyclopedia Brown." I loved my high school creative writing class and loved my English classes at BYU. I've written poems, short stories, picture books, chapter books, and non-fiction articles. I guess I've just always wanted to be a writer.

Before "Heaven Scent" you published a children's book, "Grasshopper Pie." Tell us about that.

"Grasshopper Pie" is a children's picture book (illustrated by my daughter and published by WindRiver 2003) that's based on an experience when my children tried to feed me a live grasshopper. It's a humorous story that was a lot of fun to write. I do school presentations on "Grasshopper Pie" and I love the kids' reactions when I get to the end when the mom in the story ends up with a grasshopper in her mouth. I really enjoy the school presentations.

"Heaven Scent" is your first published novel. Was this your first attempt at a novel, or do you have manuscripts hidden under the bed that you will never let see the light of day?

"Heaven Scent" is my first attempt at a novel. I worked on it for many years, on and off, in between pregnancies, nursing newborns, toddlers, kids, teenagers, and caring for my ailing grandparents (who raised me). I wondered at times if I'd ever finish it.

Were there events in your life that influenced or inspired you when writing "Heaven Scent"?

My mother wore a distinctive perfume. She passed away when I was a young girl and since that time, especially during trials in my life, I've been able to smell her perfume. Sometimes, she's felt so close, I could almost reach out and touch her. Smelling her perfume brings me great comfort.

Liza's mother wears a perfume that plays a pivotal role in the story. With the help of Karlene Browning at Urban Botanics, you have designed a fragrance that ties in to the book. Tell us how this came about.

I "met" Karlene a long time ago online and knew she designed fragrances. I contacted her to see how we could design one to go along with my book. She had me take a personality quiz as my main character's mom. She then sent me some samples based on that quiz and my family all voted on the one they thought would be what Liza's mother would wear. Karlene produced the perfume and sent it to me. She'll be giving away a bottle on her blog during the blog tour. It was fun designing it and it's exactly what I had in mind while writing the story.

Your life includes raising a large family on a small ranch. How does this setting influence your writing?

Since I grew up in a city in Califronia and now live in the country, I think I see things differently than I used to. I also like to explore how city life is different from country life and include that in my writing. I love the peace and quiet of country life.

What strategies do you use to make time for writing?

I usually schedule it in my daytimer so then I feel more committed to accomplishing some writing each day. I try to squeeze it in whenever I can and when I can't, I try not to be too hard on myself.

What should readers expect to see from you in the future, both near and long-term?

I'm currently working on revising an LDS romance with a city girl and country boy. It's been a fun story to write. I have another LDS women's novel about raising a large family also in the works. I'm shopping a children's chapter book around and am blogging quite a bit. I have ideas for more LDS YA novels and a middle grade novel for the national market. We'll see how that all goes.

What advise would you give to other writers and would-be authors?

Keep writing and never give up on your dream. Hone your craft, network with other writers, join writing and critique groups, and read as many books in your genre as you can. Most of all, write the story that's in your heart.

Thank you, Rebecca.

Thanks so much, Don, for hosting my book on your blog!

1 comment:

Rebecca Talley said...

Thank you, Don! Very nice review :)