Monday, May 23, 2016

Special interview with novelist Shelly Brimley

Today I have a special interview with novelist Shelly Brimley.

As she does a virtual book tour for her new historical fiction, Take Me to the Willow, Shelly will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Shelly Brimley was born in Flagstaff, AZ, where she lived most of her life until moving to Mexico to study abroad. After graduation, Shelly did some volunteer work in Africa and completed her graduate degree while working in an adolescent drug treatment center. After acquiring her master’s degree, she worked as a counselor at a residential shelter for children who had been smuggled and trafficked into the USA from different countries around the world. She also taught English to adult refugees before resigning to raise her children. Shelly wanted to use her experience working with others as a source of inspiration in her writing, offering a voice for those who are not typically heard or considered.

A little bit about the book:
In defending his life-long friendship with Charlie, Will may have inadvertently had a hand in the growing chaos that leads to the horrifying night when his familiar world is shattered.

When Will Wright, the eighteen year old son of a small-town Arkansas sheep herder in 1905, begins reading his mother’s journal, he is inspired by its startling content to start putting his own experiences to paper for posterity. An unsophisticated but principled young man, Will is becoming increasingly aware of the hatred that exists in the world. When he begins his own journal, Will can’t know what events are to take place in the next five years – from his mother’s battle with a life threatening illness, to his embarrassments of learning how to be in love for the first time, to witnessing Charlie’s fate at the hands of the bigoted townspeople. While part of him wishes the pain in those pages didn’t exist, he knows that the original purpose for keeping the journal has been realized - to show his kin how he became the man he is. He will probably never go back through and read again the pages he’s written, but someday, someone will, and they will see that along with the hurt, Will’s life had been one that knew true joy, absolute love, and undying friendship.

Tell us about your main character and who inspired him/her.
Will is his own man, but he took on some characteristics of a few different people in my own life. The innate and abiding goodness in him as well as his work ethic makes him very similar to my husband in that way. His absolute loyalty to family and loved ones is a trait that I see in my father and grandfather. I didn’t intentionally create Will in the likeness of someone else, but there are some similarities.

Excerpt from Take Me to the Willow:
"Men and women are different," Will, he said.

"I know that," I said.

"Now don’t interrupt me, son!," he said, his voice rather abrupt and a bit on the nervous side. "Just let me say what I got to say."

"Sorry, I said," feelin’ startled.

Daddy scratched the back of his head and started again.

"Men and women are different," he said.

We’ve already covered that, I thought to myself but didn’t dare share that with him.

"And when they come together as husband and wife for the first time, it’s real important for the man to be sensitive to the woman so she feels comfortable… because the woman might feel uncomfortable if the man ain’t sensitive," he said.

I just sat and listened, not sure where he was goin’ with it. He didn’t seem to be goin’ anywhere except around in circles. All I could seem to grasp was that I’m supposed to be sensitive — about what… I had no clue. And Hannah is gonna end up feelin’ comfortable or uncomfortable – I’m not sure which. And speakin’ of bein’ uncomfortable, Daddy looked like a lone rabbit in a coyote’s den. I don’t believe he looked at me the whole time he was talkin’, just fidgeted and looked at the ground.

"You understand?" he asked.

I couldn’t bring myself to tell him I had no idea what in tarnation he was talkin’ about. So I just nodded instead.

"Uh huh," I said.

"Good," said Daddy as he put his hat back on and stood up to leave.

"Thank you, sir," I said. "This was real helpful."

Daddy stood there for a minute, not sure what to do next. He nervously shifted his weight from one foot to the other, and at one point, I thought he might shake my hand, but then he just said, “Alright then”, and went back in the house.

Have you ever had an imaginary friend?
Not that I can remember.

Do you have any phobias?
The only thing that comes to mind is being confined in really tight spaces for any length of time. It takes my breath away just a bit when I imagine it or if I see it on a movie. I watched a trailer once about spelunking and couldn’t believe that people actually enjoy that!

Do you listen to music when you're writing?
Sometimes I listen to classical music before I write, but I always prefer to write in quiet.

Do you ever read your stories out loud?
Always. I frequently read passages to my husband, and I will read to my writer’s group for critique.


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Unknown said...

Thank you for hosting me today, Lisa!

Unknown said...

Lovely cover I can't wait to read more

Nikolina said...

I really enjoyed reading your interview, thank you!

Mai T. said...

Do you write full-time or part-time?

Unknown said...

Thank you, Curtis! Contact me when you've read it and let me know how it went for you. I'd love to hear!

Unknown said...

Thanks again, Nikolina!

Unknown said...

Good morning, Mai T! I write part-time. My kids are still small and require most of my time. I'll shift from part-time to full-time as they grow and are in school. Thanks for following the tour, and good luck with the give away!

Anonymous said...

Fun interview!


MomJane said...

What a fun excerpt. I really liked it.

Rita Wray said...

Thank you for the excerpt.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Trix, MomJane, and Rita!

Unknown said...

Thanks, Victoria.

Unknown said...

I appreciate you hosting me today! Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great read.

James Robert said...

I appreciate you bringing us this giveaway, thank you

Unknown said...

I enjoyed the interview. Thank you for sharing!