Welcome to the blog of author Kathryn Cushman!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Beastly Weekend

... or more accurately, a "Beauty and the Beast" weekend. My daughter's high school put on five sold-out shows over the holiday weekend (I attended two of these). It was wonderful! The acting, the singing, the sheer depth of talent was amazing. My very favorite part, however, was the way the set pieces moved so gracefully from the floor up to the rafters (okay, yeah, I admit it, my daughter was on the rigging crew). The picture to the left shows the "Crewbies" who built the sets, including my favorite builder in the white shirt, holding a bright yellow jig saw.
Be our guest, be our guest.... (those Disney songs sure stick with you).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Interview with Sharon Souza

Today, I am talking to Sharon Souza, author of Every Good and Perfect Gift. This is a terrific book, and it really ought to come with its own box of Kleenex (if you know what I mean!).

Here's the scoop: After thirty close years, Gabby and DeeDee's lifelong friendship holds no surprises. Except for one: Thirty-eight-year-old DeeDee and her husband have decided to conceive their first child. And despite their concerns and a struggle with infertility, DeeDee finally gives birth to a healthy baby. But while the friends believe they have faced their greatest challenge, an unexpected tragedy will alter their lives and relationship forever.
In the classic tradition of movies such as Beaches and Steel Magnolias, Every Good and Perfect Gift shares a heartwarming story of friendship that overcomes all odds. Filled with laughter, tears, and everything in between, Gabby and DeeDee's journey will strike a chord with female readers of all ages.

Katie: The friendship between DeeDee and Gabby was so powerful. Are you more like DeeDee or Gabby in your own life? And do you have a close friend like the other?

Sharon: I'm definitely more like Gabby. I've gained more security in who I am over the years, but I've always struggled with feelings of insecurity. I most definitely have a close friend like DeeDee, but these two women were really patterned after my daughters. It's funny, neither has the least problem identifying themselves -- though the one whose personality is like DeeDee's is certain the "character" is far more extreme than she is in real life. To which the rest of us say, "Right."

Katie: Ha! I'll just bet. What gave you the idea for this book?

Sharon: I wanted to write a story about extraordinary friendship between two women that would ultimately take me to the health crisis that I wanted to deal with. I didn't know such a thing even existed until a close friend was diagnosed. In starting the story I asked myself how does one woman show that kind of friendship to another woman? The answer: to help her have a child if she can't conceive. So I used the issue of infertility as a springboard, and that's how the story began. Amazingly, I've had a second close friend diagnosed with the same illness since writing the book. I visited with her recently after seeing her only twice in the past decade. The symptoms are painfully obvious, and more than ever I want to bring awareness.

Katie: I have to say, the diagnosis threw me. I thought I had it all figured out, and when the truth was revealed I was stunned. What would you like us to know about your friend?

Sharon: Since there are now two I'll tell you that before the illness both of them were so much fun to be with. They were gifted in many artistic ways, they loved to entertain, were very active in their church (one is a pastor's wife), were people magnets. People loved spending time with them, myself included. Suffice it so say that neither is even a shadow of their former selves, and this illness has drastically affected their families too.

Katie: What has been the greatest challenge for you as a newly published writer?

Sharon: For me, it's learning how to promote my book(s). My publisher does that to a certain degree, of course, but every published author knows that no one can promote your work like you. So I'm having to step way out of my comfort zone and promote myself and my work. That includes learning ways to get the book "out there." Blogs like yours are a tremendous help, and I so appreciate your inviting me to provide this interview.

Katie: You are so welcome (and I totally understand the out-of -the-comfort-zone with promoting part). What has been the best surprise?

Sharon: It's been really fulfilling to get emails from people I don't know, saying the book has touched them in some particular way. I've gotten a great deal of affirmation from my family and friends over the years, and that means so much, but when a completely objective person affirms your work, it strikes a different chord. I've also been blessed by the comments from fellow writers and people involved in the writing business.

Katie: Do you have more books on the horizon? Tell us what’s next?

Sharon: My next novel, Lying on Sunday, will be released September 1. It deals with infidelity and one woman's journey to find herself after betrayal. It's written in the same style as Every Good & Perfect Gift, with enough humor to temper the tough subjects.

Katie: I can't wait to read it! Thanks Sharon for stopping by!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

And the winner is....

Thanks to everyone for stopping by and registering to win a copy of Julie Carobini's most recent fabulous book! luv2read was the winner, as drawn from the hat by my ten year old daughter. Congratulations! Please send your snail mail address via email, and I'll get that copy right out to you.
Stop by next week, when I'll be talking to Sharon Souza, author of Every Good and Perfect Gift.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Chat with author Julie Carobini

Today, I'm chatting with one of my very best writer friends, Julie Carobini. Here's a picture of her latest book cover. Isn't it the GREATEST? A beach chair and chocolate--ah, bliss.
I'm also giving away an autographed copy of Truffles by the Sea. Winner will be chosen at random, everyone who makes a comment is eligible. (Okay my blogger impaired readers--yes, I know who you are-- if you prefer, you can email me instead of commenting in the blog :-) )

Katie: Hi Julie, thanks for joining us today! Truffles by the Sea is the follow-up for Chocolate Beach. Do you need to have read the first one to understand the second?

Julie: Hi Katie and Bloggity Visitors!
No, you do not have to read the first book to understand the second (but it would be more fun that way :) Seriously, there is some carry over, but the stories also stand alone.

Katie: Tell us a little about Truffles by the Sea.
Julie: I'd love to! Truffles by the Sea is the story of a gal who has faced so many mini-disasters in love and life that she makes the declaration that she'll "be gullible no more!" After she moves into a small loft and tries to turn her life around, her motto--and her faith--are put to the test.It's a story filled with faith, gossip, romance, and of course, truffles :)

Katie: Now that sounds like an interesting combination! I know that your former job in the hotel business gave you the idea for Bri’s gig as tour host. What, if anything, do you have in common with Gaby?
Julie: Sad to say, both Gaby and I can be quite gullible :) We both needed to learn that discernment comes from putting our hope and lives right into God's hands first.

Katie: So true! Your books combine two of my favorite things—chocolate and the beach. What’s your favorite kind of chocolate? Where is your favorite beach?
Julie: Yeah, chocolate is a dear friend. I've tried so much, but I've found that I'm a nut for See's--especially their milk-chocolate covered brittle. SO yum. As for favorite beaches, do I have to limit it to one? I've enjoyed time in Nags Head, Newport Beach, Malibu...but I absolutely adore Cambria, which is on the central coast of California. The beaches there have coves and otters and moonstones...just love them.

Katie: I agree, Cambria is lovely. What Julie Carobini books can we look for on the horizon?
Julie: Speaking of the central coast , I'm writing a series of stand alone stories set in the fictional town of Otter Bay for B&H Publishing Group. I'm so excited to be able to share the rocky and majestic central coast with readers! The first book, about a woman who moves back to Otter Bay only to discover secrets about her family that destroy the fairy tale image she'd always had, will be released in summer 2009.
Katie: I can't wait! Julie, thanks so much for stopping by.
Julie: Thanks for sharing your cyber beach blanket with me today, Katie! Readers, please stop by my beachy website where you'll find info on how to obtain bookmarks, bookplates, and discussion questions for book clubs: www.juliecarobini.com. No sunscreen required :)
Remember, leave a comment (or send an email) for your chance to win a free, autographed copy of Truffles by the Sea.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A must read

Today is the official release date for my friend John Olson's book, Fossil Hunter. Here's the back cover blurb:
In the desolate Iraqi desert, a lone shepherd stumbles across a whale fossil. Initial analysis indicates that it could be a new species, a discovery that could shed light on the evolution debate.
Paleontologist Dr. Katie James is asked to lead an expedition to recover the rest of the fossil before her archrival, Nick Murad, can find it first.
But while she's there, Katie also uncovers the unexpected--a human fossil so controversial she's forced to collaborate with Nick to analyze the find before it can be destroyed by a fundamentalist faction of the Iraqi government. Their initial results fly in the face of current scientific theory, and it seems the whole world turns against them, including those they thought they could trust most.
Then the fossil disappears, sending Nick and Katie on a chase that could cost them their reputations, their careers, even their lives.

I read this book while it was still in the manuscript stage, and it is FABULOUS! (Of course, having a hero named Katie is always a good thing, too).

Note: John’s book is being co-promoted alongside Expelled, http://www.expelledthemovie.com/, a fascinating examination of how intelligent design has been swept under the rug and stomped on in academic circles. It stars Ben Stein and is at the theatres right now. Since John incorporates intelligent design as part of his book, Expelled is helping promote FOSSIL HUNTER and vice versa.

**If John’s book and Expelled do well, they’ll make FOSSIL HUNTER into a movie. Whoo hoo!