Today Anne Sweazy-Kulju stops by for an exclusive Oh, Chrys! interview. Check out her Historical Fiction novel, The Thing With Feathers. Get familiar with Anne. When you are through, test your luck in the giveaway that boasts a Nook Book Glowlight, and a Name the Next Character Contest.
How cool is that?
Title: The Thing With Feathers
Author: Anne Sweazy-Kulju
Genre: Historical Fiction / Saga
Publisher: Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC
Release Date: 9-11-2012
Release Date: 9-11-2012
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It was the ugliest photo he had ever seen.
As the inhabitants of Cloverdale, Oregon, welcomed in the twentieth century, they were not unaccustomed to hard times and thorny situations. Small communities banded together for protection and hope. Heroes and villains were often difficult to decipher.
When an itinerate Baptist preacher arrived with his baby daughter and a wife lost on the trail, there was no one prepared to suspect what lurid secrets and heartbreak he might be concealing. As the preacher sets his sights against those who might oppose him, the names and the lives of the good people of Cloverdale may not be spared.Yet in the midst of the machinations of a mad man, virtue and valor can persist. The Thing with Feathers is known to fly through wars, depressions, and natural disasters. Will the Marshall clan and the good people of Cloverdale find it in time?
1. Tell us a little about yourself
I was born in 1959, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where my dad practiced as catcher for the Red Sox ball team. He played just 2 major league games when he suffered an accident that ruined his throwing arm. So, I grew up the daughter of a teacher and High School football coach, in Southern California.
I moved with my husband and daughter to Oregon’s coast in early 1990, where we restored and remodeled a 1906 Victorian farmhouse, and opened a Bed & Breakfast (the Inn is the setting for my first two novels). But after operating the inn just three short years, I suffered serious injuries in an auto accident; I wrote my first two novels while recovering from surgeries.
2. What inspired you to venture into the world of published writing?
I eventually became disabled from my injuries. I had always worked one or more jobs since I was fourteen years old, so the disability was wreaking havoc with my sense of self-worth. I had to do something, and there are few professions a woman can work from her bed (I did not want to be a telemarketer - smile).
3. Describe your writing 'space'.
It is bright and noisy, just the way I like it. I can’t write if everything is quiet. So I sit at the breakfast bar between the kitchen and living area, crank on the television or stereo, get the Pit Bulls playing tug-a-war, sip champagne and orange juice, and…away I go.
4. Which writer(s), dead or alive, do you highly esteem?
Wow, there are just so many. This list won’t be all-inclusive, but here goes: Jack London, Elmore Leonard, Margaret Mitchell, Ray Bradbury, Louis L’amore, James Patterson, Nelson DeMille, Kathy Reich, Michael Connelly, John Grisham, John Sanford, Patricia Cornwell, Robert Ludlum…
5. What has been your favorite read this year?
I haven’t had time to read anyone else’s work this year! I had my debut novel released, my 2nd novel just made it through final editing, and I am in the middle of writing my 3rd. (So, I guess it would have to be my own work, “Bodie.”)
On "The Thing With Feathers"
6. How did you come upon the idea for The Thing With Feathers?
While we were restoring our Victorian farmhouse, we found an early photo (1920’s) of a girl standing on a rock. She was smiling, but I had the unshakeable impression the girl was horribly sad. I thought about that girl’s sad eyes for weeks before I finally told my husband I was going to write a story about her.
7. What was your favorite aspect of writing this novel?
All the reading about my home community and its people, and all the photos I combed through, from the turn-of-the-century forward. The Pacific Northwest is an incredible, mysterious, and simply gorgeous place.
8. Why did you choose to write this genre?
After my dad‘s baseball career ended, he became a history teacher; my father’s unique way of teaching history--by event (or story), rather than by date-- is how I found my genre in historical fiction. I love being able to blur the lines between history and creativity, so the reader is never certain how much is fiction. That’s fun!
9. Describe The Thing With Feathers. using 7 words.
Tragic, heroic, inspiring, bittersweet, tightly-paced, haunting
10. If you could invite any 5 people to a dinner who would you choose and why?
Kevin Costner, because he was my big brother’s big brother at Delta Chi, and I haven’t seen him in more than 30 years;
Ronald Reagan, because he was brilliant, a patriot, and he was quick-witted--which is great at dinner parties;
Dorothy Parker, for all the same reasons as Ronnie’s, plus she was a brilliant writer;
My Grandpa Pauley, because he was a story-telling Irishman who always was so supportive of me, and because I miss him so much; and,
Ernest Hemmingway, because I would love to pick his brain, but also because he was opinionated and a drinker, and throwing that into the above mix would be such fun fireworks!
11. If you could live in the world of any book, which would it be and why?
Valley of the Dolls, by Jacqueline Suzanne. I love the fashions of the 40’s and early 50’s, and I liked the way Hollywood was a class-act back then, versus the cesspool it is now.
12. Any message for the readers?
Put more wrinkles in the brain…Read more next year!
ANNE SWEAZY KULJU, her husband and daughter, transplanted from Southern California to the Oregon Coast in 1990. They landed in the coastal hamlet of Cloverdale, where they completed restoration-slash-conversion of their 1906 Victorian farmhouse into a Bed & Breakfast Inn. Ms. Kulju published a recipe book for the Inn that also provided local history, stories and facts. Later on she contributed a series of articles about the area to a regional travel magazine. This earned her the award for Best Editorial Contribution.
Her two short stories, “Not Quite Dead,” and, “A Party Favor,” were published and later earned inclusion in the anthology for horror fiction, Agony in Black. Recently, Ms. Kulju took honors in a flash fiction contest held by The Source Magazine, for her short story, “The Dog Sniffer-er“. Ms. Kulju and her husband of twenty-four years, live in Pacific City, Oregon.
Connect with Anne:
Nook Book Glowlight & Name the next Character Contest
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