Good morning, readers! For September’s interview, it’s a little different – it is apart of the blog tour for “If Only It Were Yesterday”! So there is a lot of extra fun going on here, including a giveaway, facebook party, and my review. So let us get on with this fun-filled post, shall we?
Liz Cooke has two problems in life: Her social media is filled with brewing political conflict and her idea of a perfect man seems to have gone extinct a century ago. Inspired by the contents of an antique trunk, Liz dreams she time-travels to 1885. As she sets out to enjoy the Victorian era in all its glory, armed with knowledge gleaned through historical novels and period dramas, will she find the past to be all that she thought? And does the right man for her exist only in her dreams or has he been in her life all along?
Loosely inspired by Alice in Wonderland, A.M. Heath brings you a fun read chock-full of humor and whimsy with a special message for the avid reader in all of us.
*Happy sigh* This was a perfectly delightful read! The first I’ve read by this author, but it most certainly won’t be my last!
I read this as an e-copy, but I made quick work of securing a print copy for myself, because it was that enjoyable and I wouldn’t hesitate to read it again.
Main character Liz Cooke was real and quirky and lovely, and also very relatable. Starting in present day, we get to know Liz and see how she struggles with believing that times past would be a better place to live instead of this trial-torn present day world. Owning an antique store, she comes across a very special trunk that throws her back in time…
There were so many pleasant nods to Alice in Wonderland, and I love the quotes scattered throughout. The Bible verses at the beginning of the chapters was a joy as well, and it was fun seeing how they were interwoven into the chapters.
“If Only It Were Yesterday” portrayed the historical timeline in a realistic way, showing the beauty as well as struggles that we find today too. I loved the encouraging faith message in this book, and the reminder that God is in control and has placed us in the time period He knows is right for us. Being content where we’re at, and serving Him here.
I was just thoroughly impressed with this novel, and eagerly anticipate the following books in the series! Such a good read <3
(And on a bit of a fangirl note…I loved Scott. He was the best ‘best friend’, and he was adorable. I want to see more of him…XD)
Welcome to my “Peculiar” Blog! I’m so happy to have you here :) Would you please introduce yourself and the genre that you write:
Thanks so much for having me! My name is Anita and I write under A.M. Heath. I write Christian Fiction. Most of what I pen is historical or historical romance. But I have some Contemporary/contemporary Romance under my sleeves as well. ;) But all my stories carry a message for the soul and a bit of clean romance.
What inspired “If Only It Were Yesterday”?
Me. Lol I inspired the novel. Seriously though, I had to learn the hard lesson about the trap of idolizing history and/or fiction. Once I saw reality a little more clearly, I couldn’t help but notice how many avid readers had fallen into the same trap. I wanted to reach out to them. I wanted to remind them that most of what we see in fiction is an illusion. While there ARE elements of reality, there are also a great deal of unrealistic elements. It blessed me abundantly to hear back from the early readers who admitted to being a little too much like Liz. But it’s an easy trap to fall into, especially when there’s so much around us that makes us discontent. From there, it’s only a matter of longing for that contentment elsewhere … never realizing that it doesn’t exist in our settings but ind Christ.
Of your characters, is there one that you relate to more than the others? And if so, why?
Definitely Liz. I basically just allowed her to become me in many ways. Her natural curiosity. Her need to know what really happened. Her fixation on history and all things Austen. All of this comes from me. And because of that, this was probably the most natural story/character to write. She is her own person in other ways, but she also a great dose of myself.
Do you have a special process for how you choose your character’s names?
Lol I’m probably the most laid back person you’ll talk to about naming characters. It seems that everyone has a system except for me. I literally just start tossing around ideas, just whatever pops in my head. I also thumb through a list of era-appropriate names and jot down whatever jumps out at me. At that point, it’s just a matter of calling out names until the character answers to one of them.
LOL Okay, I’m aware that this explanation makes me sound a bit crazy. But if you’ve seen The Man Who Invented Christmas, you’d understand. Dickens’ method in the movie actually IS my method. It’s worked well for me so far! And the characters really do come to life when you stumble upon the right name.
I have heard that many authors have their own interesting writing quirk – do you have one? If so, would you mind sharing?
I have a specific playlist that I like to play while I’m writing. I’ve found that most songs outside of that list tend to annoy me and distract me from my writing.
Oh! Here’s another that I never knew was odd, but the more I talk to other authors, the more I find that it’s rare. When a new book idea is conceived (we’ll have to call it the plotting process because it’s typically the only real plotting I do) I tend to work with the last things first. Almost immediately, I’m hashing out title ideas, naming main characters, and visualizing my cover options. Once these things are established and I have a basic sense of my plot, I’m ready to start writing. And I don’t go far before I’m writing the clincher and ending scenes. I think for me, the most vital part of the plotting process, is to be able to visual the final product. To see those characters in their most crucial scenes and to have a solid idea of a the cover and title gives me a sense of direction that a detailed outline gives to a seasoned planner. I’ve tried several times to formally outline a story, but I can’t seem to do it. I use that finished imagine in my head to guide me. Knowing the title helps point me toward my goal and purpose for the story. I typically know the starting point and the end result, so I just wing it from there.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Typically, it energizes me. I actually get weighed down if I don’t get to write for long periods of time. Editing and formatting drains me to no small degree, so I keep another draft in the writing process, so I can slip away and refuel with some creative time.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
SLOW DOWN! So many new self-published authors rush to finish their first book that it suffers as a result. I was one of those. I ended up revising my first book and re-releasing it the following year because I wasn’t completely satisfied with the outcome as the reviews started rolling in. With a traditional publisher, an author doesn’t have a choice except to wait until they’re picked up. But with self-publisher, the author is in charge of everything and it’s all too easy to let your eagerness put something out when you and the story isn’t quite ready.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
There’s a great network of authors who have helped me in various ways, some of which I’m just beginning to get to know. But Alicia G. Ruggieri, Amanda Tero, and Krista Noorman have worked alongside of me for several years. They’re always there to encourage me as well as help critique and line edit my work. I highly value their lovingly honest opinions. They, along with others on my team, push me to craft a better story. And there’s no substitute for talking shop with someone who knows what you’re going through.
How important to you is the faith-element in your writing? Is it central to the theme or more of a sideline plot?
Normally, when I craft the plot, the spiritual theme is in clear view and a central part of the story. There have been a couple of times when the faith element was hidden and had to be layered on in order to bring it into focus properly. But, for me, it really is the heart of the story and the reason I’m penning one at all.
What does your family think of your writing?
They’re very proud. Some of the women in my family read my books. And my kids are always thrilled to see Mommy’s books in print. Lol My husband isn’t a reader so I think the whole tedious process baffles him. He’s told me multiple times that he doesn’t see how I sit in front of the computer as long as I do. Lol But I love it.
And lastly, would you recommend a book that my readers might like if they’ve read, or plan on reading, your latest, “If Only it Were Yesterday”?
I’ve given this a lot of thought. The character, Liz, is such a fan of Jane Austen, so I don’t think you could go wrong by picking up one of her novels or any classic. But another would be Lynn Austin’s Wonderland Creek. The fact that it has Wonderland in the title is a fun coincidence. But I would recommend it because they’re both written in the first person and both main characters have an unfortunate addiction to fiction which leads them astray and brings them to some tough lessons.
Thank you for the wonderful interview, Anita! I so enjoyed your answers, and you’ve been a joy to get to know!!
Besides being an Indie Author, I’m a wife, mother of four, children’s Sunday School teacher, sweet tea drinker, history fanatic, romantic, bubbly, lover of broccoli, and cake decorator who has a soft spot for Christmas trees, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What I’m not is a laundress (or at least not one who keeps up very well), a duster, tall, or patient in a doctor’s office.
You can visit me online on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and my blog. *Note: I’m most active on Facebook and my blog.
Whether you’re on social media or not, you can ensure that you never miss one of my sales, giveaways, or new releases by signing up for my newsletter. I’ll send you a direct link to your email anytime something big happens. http://eepurl.com/dDbVNz
Facebook party! Click on the graphic below to join!
And don’t miss out on the give-away!! Click on the graphic below to go to the giveaway and enter!
Also, catch up on the other stops of this blog tour!
Release Day Spotlights:
Amanda Tero @ With a Joyful Noise
Becky Dempsey @ Blossoms and Blessings
Alicia G. Ruggieri @ A Brighter Destiny
Reviews for If Only It Were Yesterday:
Laura Wilson @ Blue Eye Books
Alicia G. Ruggieri @ A Brighter Destiny
Karen Hadley @ Karen Sue Hadley
Becky Dempsey @ Blossoms and Blessings
Virginia Winfield @ Bigreadersite
Heather G. @ Blue Jeans and Teacups
Raechel Lenore @ God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae
**I also did a Character Introduction post featuring Liz Cooke from “If Only It were Yesterday” – you can check that out here!