Good morning, Blog Studio Friends! I believe that spring and warm weather is finally here to stay! Woo hoo!! I love the sunshine. It has perked me up sooooo much and I actually slept last night pain free. Today I walked much better as well. I'm definitely on the mend.
This is going to be a special week with extra interviews to compensate for my being out ill. Today we have a very special guest. She is a fellow author with my publisher, THE WILD ROSE PRESS. Several months ago, a new series was launched...the Celtic Brooch series. But I won't spoil the interview. Instead, if you'll put your hands together to welcome Sarita Leone, I'll let her tell you all about it!
**audience claps and hollers**
**Sarita steps out from between the maroon curtains wearing a beautiful navy blue dress with rhinestones around the plunging neckline. **
CAROL ANN: Sarita, welcome! You look stunning today as always.
SARITA: Thank you! I'm so happy to be here.
CAROL ANN: And I see you brought a copy of your book. Audience, isn't it beautiful?
**Camera pans in**
CAROL ANN: Please tell me about your book.
SARITA: Freedom's Touch is the second book in the Legacy of the Celtic Brooch series, the American Rose title. My book picks up a few hundred years after the first story, The Pendulum by Tarah Scott, leaves off.
By 1863, the brooch has made its way to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Kay Lane wears the treasured brooch pinned above her heart and uses it to exchange messages with others who are also involved in the Underground Railroad. Although Kay is determined to be strong during the war and to keep the homefires burning, she misses her beloved Marsh. Now that he's gone, Kay wishes she and Marsh had married before he'd left for the war. With soldiers marching through their town, all seemingly intent on reaching the tiny spot called Gettysburg, she wonders if she and Marsh will ever have a chance to experience the type of love that wedded bliss can bring.
Freedom's Touch is a tale of endurance, sacrifice and endless love. It is a story that is true to the period, highlighting many of the hardships that were endured during the Civil War. Still, it is a tale of love -- love that neither war nor sacrifice can ever diminish.
CAROL ANN: Where did you come up with the idea for this book?
SARITA: The idea for my part of the brooch series came about while I was researching the battles of the war. I love to read about history, love to learn how those who came before us lived, laughed and loved. So I wanted Freedom's Touch to have an actual connection to a battle in the war. Gettysburg is such a pivotal battle that it seemed perfect for the story. And once I had the setting, the story came easily.
CAROL ANN: I envy you having a love of history. I hated reading history when I was in school. It all seemed so boring, but now it really interests me. I know that sometimes stories come to me from a scene or setting. Putting that aside, for you which comes first: plot or characters?
SARITA: Ah, that's a hard one. Honestly, it varies. Sometimes I'll have a character in my head so completely that I'll wonder, What would so-and-so do? What happens to her? And that will start the whole thing off! Other times I'll get the idea for a story, a loose plot and "find" characters in my mind to come into the story and play. So really, for me either comes first. And I never know which it will be with each new story!
CAROL ANN: I believe that's true for all writers. We never know what might trigger a new story. I think the hardest thing for me has been selecting a title. How do you decide on titles?
SARITA: They just happen. A random thought, most often. And frequently the title comes before the story. Way before.
CAROL ANN: That's interesting! I guess a title could conjure up a certain picture which would spark a story. I may have to try brainstorming titles and see what happens. **laugh** Sarita, we both write for a romance publisher. What does the word romance mean to you?
SARITA: Hmm...I think romance is a feeling. That wonderful, shivery feeling of early love. The deep, satisfying warmth that comes with secure, solid, soul-shaking, committed love. Romance is the way your knees wobble when you think of that special someone. It's also the sigh that comes when the laundry is folded--and you haven't folded it. Romance is the feeling of being loved, and the warmth of loving. That's romance for me.
CAROL ANN: That paints a lovely warm picture for me. Let's say that your life is about to become a movie. What will the title be?
SARITA: I think the most accurate title for a movie about my life would be "Mission: Nothing's Impossible." A little action, some adventure, lots of kissing, and in the end nothing is impossible. I believe that if you want something enough and are willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish your goal, nothing is impossible. Nothing. All opportunities are open, all mountains can be climbed.
CAROL ANN: I love your optimism! Sometimes I like to delve into a writer's more personal life to let the audience know that we are just ordinary people, too. Care to share what a normal day is in your life?
SARITA: Most days I get up while it's still dark and write for a few hours. Then, there is no normal. My husband is retired, which is great, so we spend our days together. Every day is different, every day is wonderful. We love the outdoors so we spend a great deal of time gardening or hiking. In the winter we hike and play in the snow. Once I've got my daily writing done, every day is open to whatever new experience comes our way.
CAROL ANN: Oh, that sounds so perfect. I envy you, truly I do. So, do you ever get to feeling a bit depressed, and if so, who can make you laugh?
SARITA: I'm never really down. I'm very content with my life, very happy and thankful to be who I am and where I am. I couldn't ask for anything more than what I've got. I'm truly blessed. An amazing husband, wonderful family and friends...what more could I ask for? And how could I possibly be unhappy when I've got such great people in my life? But I'll admit, my husband is a funny, funny man. He makes me laugh every day and I'm sure he could make the Sphinx giggle. If I ever were down, I'd look for him. He's the one.
CAROL ANN: You are a very lucky woman! **audience claps** Sarita, do you collect anything?
SARITA: I collect Fiestaware, the old, colorful china made by Homer Laughlin. They still make it, but I collect the old stuff, the stuff our grannies used. I have always loved the colorful pieces. When my husband and I were first married we were on vacation in Pennsylvania, poking around an old barn sale. I spotted a chipped red fruit bowl and we bought it. That was my first piece of Fiesta, and although it isn't the most valuable piece it is still my favorite one.
CAROL ANN: And, finally, I have one more question. This is one I pose to all my guests. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword? Why?
SARITA: Ah, you've saved the truly challenging question for the end! The pen? The sword? Hmm... I think Bulwer-Lytton was right nearly two hundred years ago when he wrote that line. The pen can do what swords cannot. It can open minds, fill hearts and change opinions--and all without shedding a single drop of blood. So yes, I do believe the pen is mightier than the sword. And I'm very glad to be part of the pen-wielding mob!
CAROL ANN: Sarita, thank you so much for stopping by today. It has been my pleasure, my friend to have you here.
SARITA: Thanks so much, Carol Ann, for interviewing me. I read your blog often and have enjoyed listening to these author interviews. I am so pleased that I've gotten the opportunity to be a guest! I've loved spending this time with you!
CAROL ANN: Audience, here is the link to purchase FREEDOM'S TOUCH.