Great to have you here and I must say I love that cover.
So, tell me, what made you write ‘this’ story?
Nopeming Shores is the story of Gabe and Lily and the struggles they endure after Gabe is killed in Afghanistan by an IED. Part of the inspiration was based on current events – the seemingly endless conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan that has taken so many soldiers away from their families and cost too many lives. My father's suicide brought a lot of the anger, grief, shock, and confusion that Lily and Gabe experienced.
Andrew Lockhart's near-death experiences, after an extremely serious stroke, helped us develop Gabe very clearly and Lily's reactions to his death.
Heavy stuff, Margie. I am so sorry for your loss.
Does your cover reflect the book?
Absolutely. The lake is an actual Minnesota lake (Lake Nopeming is fictitious); Lily in the foreground seems a bit lost. Gabe, in his military fatigues, is never alive in this book so his more transparent appearance indicates his ghost state.
Describe a typical day’s writing for you.
I usually sign on at 6:00 a.m. and sign off around 9:00 p.m. During those hours I'm probably writing and/or promoting about 12 hours, 7 days a week. I don't take off many days.
Most of my writing happens at sunset or night, when my world calms down. I would say that 95 percent of my writing is done outside, regardless of the weather. So much of my poetry is connected to nature.
What inspires you?
Usually a photo or something else I see starts the wheels turning. I think about the image and watch it in my mind's eye until it turns into a fantasy. I replay it and expand it until I like what I see. Then I start writing ideas down.
Whatever is on my mind at that moment. And, like I said before, nature is a large part of it.
If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
Some type of lawyer. I like to argue and I like to be right. I have this tremendous need to see justice done.
I would be doing what I'm doing right now - teaching music to kids. I absolutely love the job and would still do it even if I didn't need the pay.
Do your characters ever surprise you?
Absolutely. Even though I'm a plotter, I can't predict every nuance of the story. Sometimes the characters have different – and better ideas. In my WIP, Drew has a lot more strength and presence than I envisioned him. I like him a lot. One of my vampires, Ladislav, is much nastier and layered than I planned, too. I think that's one of the cool aspects of this job.
In this book, I was surprised by my own connection to Gabe. I felt his emotion and his thoughts. I never had a problem writing for him.
What could not do without when you’re writing?
The Internet. I use it a hundred times a day for research and fact-checking.
What words of wisdom do you have for the aspiring authors out there?
Formulate a plan for your writing career and work the plan. It doesn't have to be elaborate, but give yourself a compass, a roadmap of what things you want to do. Then be patient. Reader awareness of who you are, and success as an author, require diligence and time.
Do you have a favourite quote?
When you get into a tight place and everything seems to go against you, don't give up. For that is precisely the time and the place the tide will turn.
What other books can your readers look forward to?
All of my books are on Amazon. Since I'm multi-published, that's the fastest way to buy them. I'm writing a m/m romance right now titled Krewe Daddy and after that, a sequel to The 18th Floor, my erotic BDSM romance. I would expect something new from me in the first quarter of 2012. This is the buy link to my current titles EXCEPT Nopeming Shores: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=Margie%20Church The link to Nopeming Shores (the book will be on Amazon in a few weeks. https://www.nobleromance.com/Books/335/Nopeming-Shores
And this is the link to my website and blog: www.RomanceWithSASS.com
Buy his book, Tangled in Wisteria on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Tangled-Wisteria-J-Andrew-Lockhart/dp/160247852X/ref=sr_1_sc_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1317772790&sr=1-1-spell
Read some of his newest work and follow his blog: http://jamesalockhart.blogspot.com
And finally can you share an excerpt with us?
We'd be thrilled to! One random commenter will receive an eBook copy of Nopeming Shores!
EXCERPT: Nopeming Shores by Margie Church with J. Andrew Lockhart.
"You want to give your two weeks' notice today?"
She brushed away the last stray tear and sniffled. For the first time since she'd gotten the devastating news of Gabe's death, she breathed normally. "I'm giving my two minutes' notice. I'm sorry if it puts you in a bind, but I have to do this for myself."
She stuck out her hand. "Thanks for everything, Arthur. I've enjoyed working with you."
"Sleep on it. If you change your mind, call me. This conversation never happened."
The tenderness in his eyes touched her, but this was goodbye. To ease his concern, she pasted on a warm smile. "Sure, thank you."
Her lunch bag crackled as she fiddled with the paper sack. "Guess you'll have to find somebody else to pick on about eating these."
Arthur smiled. "Yeah, you're one of a kind, Lily. Good luck. Whatever you do. And come back and visit sometime, when you're feeling up to it. We'd love to see you anytime."
She nodded, and walked out of the room.
Jana stood near the shelves of breakfast items, her gaze fixed on Lily.
"I'm sorry I lost my temper in the parking lot, Jana. It's been a rough few months."
Jana nodded. "It's okay. I wish I could do something to help, but I always keep steppin' in it."
She pointed to Lily's lunch bag. "Want to eat together today?"
"Okay, well, we can do it tomorrow."
Nervous anxiety made Lily's mouth dry as a wool sock. "I'm not just leaving for the day. I quit. Right now. I'm leaving for good."
Jana's eyes widened. "Really?"
Lily felt her shoulders slump in resigned defeat. She nodded.
A quivering frown tugged on the corners of Jana's lips. "I hope this is a good change for you, Lily. And I hope we'll still be friends. I didn't mean to interfere or hurt your feelings."
Emotion clogged Lily's throat. "I know you meant well. I have to work through this myself. Somehow, I have to accept . . . what happened. My life is different. Give me a few days, and I'll call you. I promise."
Jana hugged her and then patted her on the back.
"You take care now." Sadness cloaked her voice. "I'm here if you need me. Don't forget that."
* * * * *
In his spirit state, Gabe heard and watched the entire scene between his wife and Jana. He stood behind Lily while she said goodbye to Jana. He walked out of the building with Lily to the car. The wind caught a wisp of her hair, and he wished he could tuck it behind her ear. He used to love stroking Lily's soft, wavy tresses.
Not yet. She wasn't ready to know he was close by, trying to help her cope. Hell, he was trying to cope, too. God had given Gabe a chance to help Lily, and himself, but it was all in the timing. Gabe wouldn't get long. The Shepherd of Souls had been very clear about that.
Lily drove out of the parking lot, but instead of taking her usual direct route to the base exits, she drove through the grounds.
In his spirit form, Gabe followed her.
She slowed down near one of the park benches.
We met there. Gabe recalled seeing Lily with her brown-bag lunch when he'd gone jogging on the historic base. She'd caught his eye immediately. Her long, graceful limbs and full lips captivated him. When she smiled, the sun seemed to dim. Her charming demeanor wiped out all his defenses.
She'd shaded her eyes to speak to him. "I've never seen you before."
"I was in Seattle for some training, but I'm stationed here. Are you visiting your husband?"
She'd giggled this wonderful, heart-warming sound, and her face turned the loveliest shade of pink. Gabe knew in that moment, he was pretty much a goner.
"No, I'm not married. I started working at the commissary last week."
"Well, if you have lunch in the park, I'll be seeing you. I jog through here almost every day."
Gabe didn't usually take that route, but he was darn glad he had that day, and every day after. Lily had waited for him, sometimes bringing along an extra bottle of water or a piece of fruit for him. They'd talk for a little while, then he'd finish his run, although his mind was never on physical fitness after he saw Lilianna Carston.
Now Gabe sat on that same bench, remembering the delight in her eyes when he'd asked her to dinner the first time. They'd been almost inseparable after that date. They thought they'd have a lifetime together.
He turned toward her car and saw the strain on her face.
He watched her shoulders rise and fall in a deep sigh before she drove away from the curb.
Gabe didn't get off the bench and follow her. Being dead wasn't exactly halos and fluffy clouds for him.
Thank you so much for stopping by Margie and Andrew. The book sounds fantastic and I will have to add it to my TBR pile:-)
Do be sure to leave a comment, peeps, to be in for a chance to win a copy of Nopeming Shores.