What is your favorite Bible verse, Translation too, please! And why?
Micah 6:8 (NKJV)
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?
This has always resonated with me as the way that Jesus lived out his life, that God showed us through his son the way we should conduct ourselves. I love that it’s not a grand set of things that I have to do, but merely to be compassionate and walk alongside the Savior and trust that He will give me the answers to life’s tough questions. A simple formula for the Christian life.
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
In a nutshell: I believe in Jesus, doing the right thing, the power of the written word, and a good cup of coffee. I’m a country girl living now in a mid-sized city with my engineering husband—my college sweetheart with whom I’ll celebrate forty-one years of marriage this month. We’ve had great adventures and learned “life” together as the parents of four boys. I worked as an RN before kids and then later when they started college. I’d always harbored the desire to write, novels in particular, and the year I turned fifty, I began to pray in earnest about that. My mother passed away that year and I realized my dream could slip away if I didn’t get started. We’re empty-nesters now which is perfect for my writing, Max’s love of golfing, and being able to enjoy our six grandchildren. I can’t imagine doing anything else at this stage in my life and have a heart of pure thankfulness for the amazing people I’ve met on this writing journey.
How did you choose the 1962 time frame for Sweet Dreams?
I’ve long wanted to write a book that paid homage to my teen years—the glorious and turbulent sixties. It was the dawn of a cultural revolution, a decade of contrasts and change. The music was a huge part of that, so once I’d formed the basic story, I knew that the songs of Patsy Cline would be one of the backdrops. I chose to have the book coincide with the year she died in a plane crash (March, 1963). Since Sweet Dreams covers a school year, it begins in 1962.
How involved are you personally in the story and the storyline? Which girl are you…or is there a little of you in both Paisley and Dusty?
A little of both. While I am most like Dusty, the cousin who grew up sheltered in a small town, I was always drawn to people like Paisley, her cousin who grew up with a free-wheeling, vagabond mother. Sometimes it was wanting that sort of freedom, but at other times, it was having compassion for people who were “different”. While nothing in Sweet Dreams is my story, I grew up around the petroleum industry so having Dusty’s dad be an oil tycoon was my nod to that part of my life. Unfortunately, my dad wasn’t a millionaire like hers!
I did try to bring into the story the emotions and misadventures of being a teen—the sting of betrayal by a best friend, thwarted dreams, the awkwardness of fitting in (oh boy! Haven’t we all been there?), and then the dawning awareness of a first love. In the end, I know there’s more of me in this book than any I’ve written. It’s the story of all of us—our hopes, our dreams, our journeys.