Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pump Up Your Book Presents Rosemary Opens Her Heart Virtual Book Publicity Tour 2012 Author Interview

Another spring reminds the Amish of Cedar Creek, Missouri,
that for everything there is a season.
Zanna Lambright is finally marrying Jonny Ropp, and friends and family have come from far and wide to celebrate. Among them is young widow Rosemary Yutzy, mother of toddler Katie, whose husband was tragically killed last fall. With a willing heart Rosemary has taken over care of her in-law’s family and continued to run a baked goods business from home, but privately she still mourns her lost Joe…and is unprepared for the changes that are coming…
Rosemary’s father-in-law wants to merge his lamb-raising business with Matt Lambright’s—a move that will require the Yutzys to relocate from their nearby town to Cedar Creek. Moreoever, it will bring Rosemary into constant contact with Matt, who is making no secret of his romantic interest in her. The challenges of contemplating a future unlike any she expected are overwhelming for Rosemary. And although Matt is strong and kind, his courtship is so persistent, she often wants to run the other way. As Rosemary struggles to see beyond her immediate joys and sorrows, will she embrace the outpouring of welcome and support from the people of Cedar Creek…and accept this new chance to open her heart to a more abundant life?

1.     Describe a typical day in your life.  Add in the time periods as you are able.
        Most days here are rather quiet, thank goodness, because writing these two Amish series with back-to-back deadlines every three to four months means I have to spend a lot of time focusing on my work. I'm an early bird, up at 5 when the CD/alarm starts playing, so I can shower and putter in the kitchen, take my dog Ramona outside, and then eat breakfast with my husband by 6:30. Then Ramona and I take a walk, rain or shine, unless we've got ice underfoot.
        When I've got no quick errands, I spend an hour or so praying and meditating and then I sit down at the Mac, check email, and then begin to write. Lots of days, because my brain seems to compose better this way, I write on my iPad for several pages and then email the doc to my Mac to edit and add to the manuscript in progress. (Are you yawning yet?!) What with Ramona wanting to play some Frisbee on nice days, and times when I stall out and then wander to the fridge or put in a load of laundry, I take several little breaks throughout the daywhich is a good thing! Keeps the carpal tunnel and the lead butt away.
        I currently have a quota of at least 30 pages per weeknot nearly as many as a lot of authors produce, but nobody ever said full-length books would come fast! This pace allows me time out for family trips, church and choir, vacations, guitar lessons, cooking and keeping up the house (NOT!) In other words, Real Life.
        By 5 p.m. I'm in the kitchen rustling up supper, and most likely after we eat and walk with Ramona, I'll spend some time on Facebook or doing other promotional stuff. By 9 I'm usually sitting in bed reading somebody else's story, and by 9:45 the lights are out. Yawn. Not much of a glamorous life, is it?! But it keeps me sane and healthy and it gets my books written.

2.  When you were growing up, what did you want to be when you grew up?
        I can recall, one day when I was preschool age, believing that Mom and I could just up and write music! I had these visions in my mind of Disney-like illustrated pages and notes just magically appearing on each musical staff as Mom wrote them in for me! (Heh... there are folks who believe that words magically appear on the page if you call yourself a writer, too!)
        While I did indeed go on to take piano and organ lessons, and diddled around on several other instruments, my very pragmatic dad informed me he would be supporting no starving artists. So, I got my teaching degree with a double major in library science and English, and a minor in French. I was in my 30s and getting out of teaching before it occurred to me I could try to publish the stories I was scribbling in my spare time. Who knew?

3.  Describe the biggest struggle in your life (that you feel comfortable sharing with us).
        After Mom died, fourteen years ago now, my dad became even more cantankerous, impossible to please, and difficult to deal with. Always had to make a scene at restaurants and talk everyone down until he got his way. Always had to be *right*. As years went by, let's just say some difficult secrets were revealed (one of them an illegitimate daughter) and after he died last year his sister and I came to the difficult realization that Dad had been a pathological liar all his life.
        While it was true he missed my mom desperately, some of the surprises that came out of the woodwork after she died were pretty startling. But once we saw the lifelong pattern of his hurtful actions and tall tales, we could at least conclude that he wasn't picking on us or Mom, personally--he told *everyone* these stories, and he told everyone *different* stories. Suffice it to say, I don't miss dealing with his behavior. I've come to realize that there are a lot of men in the world with this sort of personality, and my heart goes out to the families they put through the wringer. Nuff said!

4.  If you could go on a vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go, and why?
        My husband and I LOVE to travel, and since Someone You Know has a really big birthday coming up next spring, we've booked a two-week cruise to Hawaii to celebrate! As Neal retires and has more time for longer trips, I anticipate that we'll venture into the Mediterranean, the South Sea islands, and I would love to visit Australia and New Zealand if it didn't mean an 18-hour flight to get there.
        I also enjoy short chick trips with my best friend: our birthdays are close together, so instead of exchanging gifts we pick a little town to visit for a day or two each year. This year we went to Pipestone, MN, which is where, for centuries, Native Americans have quarried for the red stone they make their ceremonial pipes from. Even though it was cold and rainy, we had a wonderful time! Let's just say there's never a dull moment and never any dead air once the two of us get together! We've known each other since we were eight...I won't do the higher math for you, but it's been a loooong time since we met in Angel Choir at church, where her mom was our choir director.

5.  What is your favorite kind of food?  Favorite restaurant?  Favorite thing to cook/bake?
        Oh my, what's NOT my favorite food?! About the only things I refuse to eat are sushi, okra, and Brussels sprouts.
If we're out for breakfast I like pancakes, because they're always better than I make at home In recent years I've taken to ordering more broiled fish and snazzy salads because the bread and pasta just aren't doing me any favors. I'm short and I sit all day, and when the metabolism went south with the hormones several years ago, it got a lot harder to keep the weight off.
        You'll read later about my Christmas cookie habit, as I love to bakeand I'm big on making muffins and homemade soups, too. Several months ago when the doc got concerned about my blood pressure, though, I went on the EAT TO LIVE diet at her recommendation. Yup, I went vegan for about eight weeks. Dropped about 20 pounds, but the biggest thing I did for myself was get off the sugar, the Sweet-N-Low, and most processed foods.
         Once I got out of that "sweetness" habit, I found it MUCH easier to stay away from those cookies I love to bake (my husband, bless him, is NOT into bean cuisine or platefuls of salad and veggies) and to forego the bread. My cholesterol went down a lot, my blood pressure improved, and my doctor is ecstatic. I have to say I feel REALLY good, and while I've added back things like yogurt and some fish and poultry, I'm still pretty much vegetarian except when we go on vacation. Even then, I'm not the party girl I used to be! But you knowchocolate is a plant-based food!  ;)

6.  With the holidays coming up, tell us what a typical holiday celebration looks like in your house.
        I am SO tickled that we will be having family here for both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year! After decades of being the couple without kids who were able to make the long drives to other relatives' homes, it's really gratifying to be off the road and in the kitchen! We'll be having Neal's parents here for Thanksgiving (he'll go fetch them and take them back to IA, as they can't make that drive anymore) and my aunt and uncle from Kansas City are coming up for Christmas, which is also my aunt's birthday! Don't know what the Birthday Girl will request for her dinner or cake, but for Thanksgiving we're rolling out the traditional turkey with all the trimmings...maybe downsized a little because there will be only be the four of us.
        And probably the day after Thanksgiving, I'll haul out the boxes of Christmas decorations. I ADORE Christmas! In the living room we'll have the bigger tree--always trimmed with decorations either I or someone in my life has hand-made--and the skinnier tree in the entryway. We trim that one with ornaments we've collected on the many fun trips we've taken. I have a lot of other stuff to put around, too, including a nice Santa collection and some angels.
         I also have this really cool jewelry tree: it's framed like a picture and made on blue velvet, with scads of old bracelets, brooches, earrings and other baubles, all formed in the shape of a Christmas tree. Neal's mom asked if I wanted it when they moved from their farmhouse into an apartment, and I didn't give her a heartbeat to offer it to anyone else!

7.  What book or series of books has been your favorite to write and why?
        About 10 years ago I began a series, Angels of Mercy, which were sweet historical romances set when Kansas was becoming a state--reminiscent of Little House on the Prairie. Unfortunately, the publisher cut that series off after the first four books, when I had planned seven. Come to find out, that publishing house was getting into a financial struggle that has since bankrupted them.
        So now, these two Amish series I'm writing are even more rewarding because with the advent of online Amish-interest groups and digital books (and yes, this virtual tour I'm on, doing this interview for you!) I'm getting a lot of emails from readers and response on my two Facebook pages. One of my publishers recently told me my Seasons of the Heart series is selling really well in WalMart, which is HUGE these days, far as print books go.
        And even if I weren't getting so much immediate feedback from readers, I really do enjoy writing about the simpler Amish lifestyle. While we envision Plain folks as having fewer problems and less stress, their religious restrictions are fodder for plenty of stories. ROSEMARY OPENS HER HEART concerns a young widow who feels trapped by the men in her life, and it takes some real soul-searching and speaking outto the point she'd rather not remarry!before Rosemary finds a way to run her own baking business. Once she satisfies that inner need, she can decide whether Matt Lambright would make the right husband for her and the right dad for her little Katie. It's very satisfying to write happy endings for my characters, considering how we can't always make them happen in real life!

8.  And, of course, the biggest question of all.  When do you start your Christmas shopping, and have you finished, or when will you finish?
        You know, Christmas shopping ain't what it used to be in our family. Long ago the adults went with drawing names for a gift exchange (even as an adult, I was the youngest in my immediate family because neither my aunt nor I had kids), and now those older generations are gone. We have seven nieces and nephews, but the youngest ones are now sixteen and CASH IS KING. Not even gift cards--cash money. While Aunt Charlotte misses buying these kids all the stuff she would love to play with herself, giving money at least assures me they spend it on stuff they really want.
        So mostly these days, I send boxes of GOODIES. I bake nearly 100 dozen cookies (down from my all-time high of 150 doz.) and make a few kinds of candy, and my cousins, my aunts, my two editors, my agent, and various longtime friends are so accustomed to getting their boxes that I don't dare announce I'm not going to bake any more. At our church in Missouri, I provided about 25 doz. cookies for our Christmas Eve service for probably 20 years, until we moved to Minnesota...and I've decided not to set myself up for that gig here. Now that I'm writing two different Amish series with such tight deadlines, it's good to downsize on the baking thing. 
        And on that topic, let me wish you all a wonderful, warm Thanksgiving and your most blessed Christmas season ever! Thanks so much for your interest in me and my books, featured at www.NaomiKingAuthor.com.

I’ve called Missouri home for most of my life, and most folks don’t realize that several Old Older Amish and Mennonite communities make their home here, as well. The rolling pastureland, woods, and small towns along county highways make a wonderful setting for Plain populations—and for stories about them, too! While Jamesport, Missouri is the largest Old Order Amish settlement west of the Mississippi River, other communities have also found the affordable farm land ideal for raising crops, livestock, and running the small family-owned businesses that support their families.
Like my heroine, Miriam Lantz, of my new Seasons of the Heart series, I love to feed people—to share my hearth and home. I bake bread and goodies and I love to try new recipes. I put up jars and jars of green beans, tomatoes, beets and other veggies every summer. All my adult life, I’ve been a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and we hosted a potluck group in our home for more than twenty years.
Like Abby Lambright, heroine of my new Home at Cedar Creek series, I consider it a personal mission to be a listener and a peacemaker—to heal broken hearts and wounded souls. Faith and family, farming and frugality matter to me: like Abby, I sew and enjoy fabric arts—I made my wedding dress and the one Mom wore, too, when I married into an Iowa farm family more than thirty-five years ago! When I’m not writing, I crochet and sew, and I love to travel.
I recently moved to Minnesota when my husband got a wonderful new job, so now he and I and our border collie, Ramona, are exploring our new state and making new friends.
To find out more about Naomi, please visit her at http://www.naomikingauthor.com/.
Visit her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/NaomiC.King
On Goodreads at: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5163868.Naomi_King

Be sure to come back later on this week for a review and guest post.  And follow the entire tour here!


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