Thursday, 10 December 2009
Featured Author Interview - Marion Kelley Bullock, Christmas Stranger
Thanks for having me, Steph. I appreciate your interest in my newest novel, Christmas Stranger. I enjoyed writing it and getting to know the characters. I hope my readers will enjoy getting to know them, too, even my animal characters. Creatures like the donkey and the goat just seem to creep into my writing. Perhaps that's because my Abbie Cat often sits on my desk, or my lap, while I write.
STEPH: Abby sounds like a cool cat. hehe
#1 – Tell me about your muse. How long have you known her? Or him? (grin)
A muse has to do with Greek mythology, doesn't it? In high school and college, I read about the nine goddesses who supposedly presided over the arts and sciences. But it was all Greek to me (pardon the pun) .
I scribbled pictures in my notebooks and painted pictures. I wrote silly poems for my own amusement.
But I found my niche when assigned essays. One such effort referred to summer vacations, when my family camped out at the Morris Ranch on the Jim Ned Creek, near Coleman, Texas. I wrote: "I crawled from my sleeping bag at
daybreak and ran down the gravel beach for a plunge into the icy deep." Slight exaggeration — I couldn't swim.
It wasn't lying. It was simply a tall tale. Isn't that the very stuff that fiction employs?
STEPH: Ditto - fiction is just a tall tale you have in your mind. ;)
#2 – Where did you get the idea for Christmas Stranger?
Christmas Stranger came into being because of the germ of an idea. I read that in the old days many small towns had postmistresses. The job was ideal for women because they could locate the P.O. in their homes. I placed my heroine on a farm in Missouri, because I read of one such postmistress there. Also, my family lived there for a time. The idea grew and grew.
#3 – Cast the characters. Who is Melinda? Zeke?
Melinda gradually came alive in my mind. She loved the farm and didn't want to leave it, even after her papa died. But with only Brownie, her big lab, as company, she was lonely. She wanted God to send her a good man, one who would be content to live on the farm with her. She wanted a family.
Zeke? Well, he was more complex. A widower with a young son, he was a confirmed wanderer. One reviewer said she sometimes wanted to shake him. So did I. As a matter of fact, so did Melinda. But he declared he could never settle down again. Too much heartache in loving and losing.
STEPH: Your characters sound great, Marion. I picture a rugged, handsome devil for Zeke and a really sweetie for Melinda.
#4 – Why did you put the setting of Christmas Stranger in Missouri? Any special reason?
My family lived there for a time and I liked it. As I read up about farming and life in the 1800's, I became enamored with it. There you have it.
#5 – For those who aren’t familiar with Christmas Stranger, can you familiarize us with the plot?
Melinda lived alone at the edge of Primrose, Missouri. She farmed, sold milk, eggs and butter, and served as the town's postmistress. She'd had an opportunity to marry when she was younger. Mama had only been gone a couple of years then and Papa seemed so lost. There was no way she could have left him. Besides, she didn't want to leave the farm. So she told herself she was content, living there with her loyal dog.
When Zeke and Timothy arrived in the midst of a driving snowstorm, she swallowed her fear and invited them in. She fed them and put Timothy in Papa's room. Zeke slept in the barn, armed with Papa's warm coat and blankets. They stayed a while to make needed repairs after the storm. Gradually, Melinda began to believe they might stay forever. She dreamed that Zeke would ask her to marry him and they would be the family she yearned for. She knew Timothy shared her hopes.
But dreams don't always come true. Hopes aren't always realized. That's what this Christmas story is all about.
#6 – I see you like to read. What’s the book you’re currently reading?
I just finished reading Liam Roberts' The Y Factor. Next, I'm going to load Christmas Stranger on my Christmas present that arrived yesterday. A little Acer Netbook Aspire 1. After I read it, I'll read other ebooks by my fellow DBP authors. I've been reading them on my PC, with no problem. Now I can sit comfortably in my living room or in bed and read to my heart's content. One of these days, I plan to get one of the e-readers.
STEPH: Let us know which one you get!
#7 – I see you live in Texas. Tell us something about Texas that makes the state special to you.
Texas is a spectacular state. Its attractions include beaches, campgrounds, mountain ranges, and wide-open spaces. In a state this wide and diverse, you can find just about everything. (I'm a Texan, remember. So I get to brag). Seriously, though, Texas sunsets top the list for me. They stagger the imagination. If I got up earlier, the sunrises would probably affect me much the same.
STEPH: Texas sounds great, Marion. It's nice to see it through your eyes.