The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Interview with Regina Russell, Author of "LOVELY STRINGS"

Lovely Strings by Regina Russell
Author:  Regina Russell
Publisher: Abner Publisher
Release Date:  December 2012

About Lovely Strings
Seven women all receive a letter from a law firm stating that each is a beneficiary of a bequest from an anonymous person. They are all summoned to a cabin in the woods for the reading of a will, but there is a bad storm. The bridge into the cabin is blocked by a fallen tree and they become stranded. They are an eclectic group of women who are thrown together in a cabin, but have no idea how their lives might tie together. Who is the benefactor? What, if anything, do they have in common?

Interview by Wanda
I would like to welcome Regina Russell, author of Lovely Strings, to And the Story Unfolds ---
Please share with us a brief synopsis of Lovely Strings
Seven women, strangers to one another, are drawn to a cabin in the woods for a reading of a will, but they are stranded there by a storm. Since the lawyer hasn't arrived yet, they decide to get to know one another in the attempt to deduce who has died and why they were chosen.

What inspired you to write this book? 
I love telling stories where the psychological components of personalities who are forced by unusual circumstances to relate to one another come into play. 

What do you feel are the three most important ingredients for a good book? 
A good story. Good writing. Truth in the fiction.

What challenges did you face when writing this book? 
Keeping the details of the different characters lives straight when I went back and forth in time was challenging.

Who was your favorite character in this book and why? 
I liked Debra because she represented someone who knew what it was to struggle, even in childhood, but she still refused to give up. She made wrong choices at times and became disheartened, but she kept looking for a better way. She had spunk but because of her appearance (nose-stud, tattoo, striped hair) some might not expect her to be grounded and strong.

Who was your least favorite character in this book and why? 
I disliked Miriam the most.  I've known people like her whose one agenda is pleasing their own ego to the point they become so blinded to the needs of anyone else, they think nothing of stepping on others to get what they want. I wanted to show the choices that helped her to become that kind of person, so though I did not like her, I enjoyed exploring "how" she came to be a manipulating blackmailer.

Who is your favorite author? 
Luke (as in "The Gospel of,") and Jane Austen.

Are you anticipating a new book?
I've always got two to five books going although my concentration is on one at a time. When I finish the first writing, I will skip over to one I've completed several chapters on and re-read it, do some revisions and then go back to the new book with a fresh eye to begin revisions. At the moment, I have four other books started that I'm several chapters into, but one I am working on that I estimate I am two-thirds of the way through. I do not think I will ever finish, in my lifetime, all the books I want to write.

When you started writing this book, did you already know the ending?  
Yes, I knew the general ending, but because so many dots had to be connected from the lives of the women, there were many of the end details that came to fruition in my mind as I worked.

What kind of books do you read?
I love non-fiction books about people who have struggled to accomplish great things. I enjoy reading about missionaries from the past who saw miraculous things happen because they stepped out in faith. I love all of Jane Austen's books where ladies and gentlemen from another era have scintillating conversations and romance that lasts a lifetime. I also relish mysteries and legal thrillers but cannot find many that suit my taste. I don't like to read vulgar language, and I see no good in reading about the bedroom antics of others.

What is your favorite pass time? 
Writing and music. The two go together for me.

Did something happen in your life to inspire you to write this book?
There was not one significant happening that influenced me but a million tiny things throughout my life that spurred my imaginary cabin in the woods and the women who occupied it.

When were the seeds of this book planted?
I remember thinking how it would be interesting to put strangers together who would be forced to interact so they could figure out why they were there.

Do you allow your storyline to just evolve or do you have an outline?
I do not have a written outline but I have the story figured out before I begin it. However, as personalities are developed more thoroughly, some happenings evolve naturally within the perimeters of the original idea.

How did the title of this book come about? 
One of the characters in the book remarks about the strings of manipulation she recognizes she uses to accomplish what she wants. When she expresses her desire to one of those she has manipulated, she says she hopes the strings are "lovely strings" because of the good she is trying to do as she makes up for the past.

Are you anticipating a sequel to this book? 
I am several chapters into the sequel already. It is titled, "The Tapestry," and I wrote a prequel (just sixty pages long that I give away free on my website) titled, "Threads of Regret."

Why should people read this book? 
I enjoy reading books where I can't guess everything that is going to happen and I like getting to know characters and finding out what makes them tick and exploring their dark secrets. If someone enjoys a plot that has many twists and turns, a little romance and is based on truth, I believe they will enjoy "Lovely Strings."

What are the blessings in your life? 
My salvation, my children, my husband and being able to play musical instruments and to sing and worship and write.

Do you already have the characters set in your mind before you begin the storyline or do they sometimes happen as you begin to write? 
I do know my characters pretty well but as they take on a life of their own, sometimes they surprise even me. 

Author Regina Russell

Regina Russell
After my children were grown, I went to college where I majored in creative writing. Now, I have the opportunity to focus on my writing and use my learning and life experience to mold the characters in my books.

I've published three novels, one novelette, a book of short stories, a book of poems and a children's book. All of these are available in paperback and as Ebooks. I have published a couple of small books of short stories too that are only available as Ebooks. Currently, I am working on another book in a series. Every time I finish a book, I will a post a free sample of it on my website: so you can see if it's something that will interest you.

I think writing is a lot like balancing on a tight-rope. If I lean away from my center, I fall. I've read books where I did not believe certain things in the book rang true. I could tell the author was a good writer, even a great one but something about the way plots turned out or the feelings certain characters exhibited let me know the author did not have a world view that gave him or her insight into why people act as they do.

Then there are those who believe writing realistically about something means the writing must contain descriptive sexual material and curse words. I don't believe I have to insert that kind of writing into my books to make them exciting or interesting. I believe I am able to give the readers the gist of what is going on without making the book titillating sexually. I do deal with adult themes though and recommend my novels to adults and mature teens. If it would be realistic for one of the characters in a novel of mine to curse, I have no problem inserting a blank to show an expletive was used. Those blanks can be brushed over; the reader gets the idea and it's all done without planting vulgarity in the mind of the reader.

It's important to me to leave a legacy of books behind that I would be proud for my children and family to read. 

You can obtain free samples of my writing on my website.