Good morning! I have the pleasure of sharing Aubrey's words with you, and I must say: I have a feeling her story will warm your heart.
I think I need to invest in an Airstream for better writing...
Do you have a certain quirk in your writing process? I do some of best writing in my Airstream camper. When we aren't traveling, it sits in our driveway and I close myself in. It has fantastic windows, covering most of the wall space, so it's light and airy (or toasty warm with the furnace on). I live in a rural area, along a river, so the view is so inspiring! From all your books, who is your favorite hero and why? Rolf from my medieval romance, Rolf's Quest. He is a descendant of Merlin, and has inherited some of the magical skills. He is so brooding, and driven, and romantic.
[WB: Amazing! Arthurian legends were some of my first entrées into "romance" as such. I was seriously obsessed as a preteen. That interest still flares up, and I'm... much older, now. *Adds another book to my To-Read pile*]
Outside of your own genre, what’s your favorite genre? I am fascinated by WWII and love stories coming from the era. Especially those based on true stories. My stepfather, recently passed at 97, was a WWII vet in His Majesty's Royal Air Force. When I helped publish his memoirs, I was smitten with this time period.
[WB: *Adds more of your books to my TBR list*] What are your favorite winter traditions? There is nothing like warm mead with a twist of lemon in front of a crackling fire. I'm also a huge Christmas fan. My tree goes up November 1 and comes down... Well, that's always TBD on any given year. How do you feel about Dickens, really? (It’s okay to dislike him.) When I researched Charles Dickens for a story, I was impressed with his childhood experiences. His stories hold so much of his own life experiences. I'm not one to judge another's actions, and I think his necessity to work as a child, and his father's time in debtors' prison affected his perspective. Though he didn't always make wise decisions as an adult, he did stay true to himself. That's an accomplishment in any era. What inspired you to write your O Night Divine story? I took a class, The Age of Madness, and it lured me into the murky world of institutions. The number of people committed for health reasons, or physical ailments not understood at the time, is heart wrenching. It made me think of some of the students I have taught that may have ended up victims of an uncaring or uneducated society, had they been born 200 years ago.
My [story is about] two sisters, one deaf since a childhood illness, who battle to stay together after their father dies. The heir and [their] guardian prefers not to deal with the younger sister's hearing issues and decides to have her sent to an asylum.
[WB: This is such good inspiration; it's appalling how close we still collectively are to these practices. Naturally, things have improved in many respects. But especially when it comes to children and anyone who has been systemically disadvantaged (due to race, disability, gender, etc.), we still have a lot of work to do. I think nuanced fiction can help!]
If you could say something kind to reassure people this season, what would it be? Enjoy the simple things in life: the laughter of your kids or grandchildren, a sunny day, your pet's wagging tail, a good meal. Recognize and appreciate the small tokens of kindness offered by others: a door held open, someone allowing you to move ahead in the grocery line because you only have a few items, your partner or roomie fixing that first cup of coffee for you in the morning. Those are the little gifts in life that puts a smile on our faces and ensures our glass is half full, rather than empty. If you absolutely had to meet the ghost of Christmas Past, Future, or Present, which would you choose? Since I adore the Christmas season, I would want to spend time with Christmas Past. I could relive past holidays with loved ones no longer here on this earth. The thought of another Christmas morning with my grandfather warms my heart.
[WB: I absolutely resonate with this. I said something similar to my partner while I was coming up with these questions. I would love to see my grandmother again.]
If your contribution is a lead-in to another series or novel, please describe the ensuing series or book. A Heart is Never Silent is the lead-in to a future series, Bedlam and Bliss. It will revolve around the couple in the short story, and follow their lives as they work to reform asylums and give refuge to those who might be unnecessarily "committed" to an institution and forgotten. There will be a different romance in each book.
I hope you're enjoying these virtual chats. I am! If you've liked what my fellow authors have had to say, definitely order your copy of the collection.
I believe you'll find a new storyteller to love and you'll get to revisit some old favorites.
Thanks, Aubrey, for letting me pick your brain!