Acorn Hills Book 5
By Grace Augustine~*~*~*~*~*~*~ BLURB: War and its remnants are cruel. Just ask Richard Dempsey, a Vietnam Vet.
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Talking with author Grace Augustine
Talking with author Grace Augustine
Thanks for stopping by to talk a little about your writing! Let's jump right in. When did you begin writing and why?
I started writing when I was in junior high because in grammar and composition it was required. I had to take a summer school course because back then I was afraid of my own shadow and refused to do oral book reports. That only made me love the written word all the more! I had an incredible English teacher in 10th grade. Her encouragement was life-changing. I put together a poetry anthology in the early 80's and dabbled with other stories here and there...that to this day remain unfinished. It wasn't until a wonderful relationship went sour that I put my feelings on paper. It was very therapeutic...hence Bittersweet was born.
Do you have a favorite genre?
I am such a romantic at heart. I do love a good love story. However, I do read other genres...biographies, auto-biographies, self-help books, etc.
Is it the same genre you prefer to write?
So far I've written a series...The Acorn Hills Series...for the over 50 year olds; a metaphysical romance trilogy, a poetry collection, and a stand alone that was part of a 7 author ebook collection with the common theme centering around Independence day.
Do certain themes and ideas tend to capture your writer’s imagination and fascinate you?
I'm intrigued by the human interaction/relationships...how certain people meet/get along/marry/stay forever together. I'm a people watcher, too, and have a very vivid imagination. I tend to spin stories in my head. It seems there are always characters talking to me. lol
Do you have a favorite author who introduced you to the genre?
I was a Janet Dailey junkie in high school. I read everything of hers I could get my hands on. I enjoyed Grace Livingston Hill, and more recently Debbie Macomber, Donna Kauffman, Kristan Higgins, and Joanne Jaytanie.
What advantages or challenges does a writer in your genre face in today’s fiction market?
Oh gosh, the market is so flooded with people who write. The challenge for me is to put out the best product in the genre that I write that will make readers want to continue reading. There aren't many books out there for the over 50 year old people. Younger writers seem to think when we reach this age, romance, dreams, and life just stop. They don't...and I hope to convince readers of that with what I write.
What's on the top of your TBR pile right now?
At the moment, I have two books going...no, three...one for fun...Sugar Cookie Swap (a collection of Christmas stories), Even Gandhi got Hungry and Buddha got Mad is my self help book, and for meaty reading to challenge my thinking, I'm on book 2, The Book of Love, of Kathleen McGowan's novels that explores Mary Magdalene.
Tell me a little about the characters in Richard’s Relics.
Richard's Relics is the 5th book of my Acorn Hills Series. Richard Dempsey was an all star, high school athlete. He, like so many others, were drafted to serve in Vietnam. He lived next door to Drs. Bob & Sylvia Stevens and their children Jillian and Chris. Upon returning from Vietnam, Richard took on the responsibility of caring for his aging parents, but also went to college on the GI Bill, got his BA in business, and served as the VA Counselor at the local community college. When the local antique store was up for sale, Richard jumped at the chance of buying it. Throughout all of these years his nights turned into nightmares of the remnants of war, of what happened in Nam. the PTSD was so bad he'd continued counselling long after his return home. With two of his best friends, Toby Henderson and David Turner,who also happened to serve with him in Nam, they embark on a life changing trek back to modern day Saigon. Their hope is to put the demons to rest. Each in his own way slays the dragons that have been haunting sleep for years. Each in his own way has life altering experiences. This is so much more than a recollection of events in a senseless war. It's about courage and strength in the midst of adversity. It's about unconditional love of friends and family who support you regardless of what you're going through. This by far was the most difficult of the 11 books I've written...but I also feel it is my best work.
Where’s the story set?
The story is set in my fictitious town of Acorn Hills and in modern day Saigon and Phnom Pehn.
How much influence did the setting have on the atmosphere/characters/development of the story?
I did a lot of research on Vietnam, Cambodia, the war...how things were today vs. how they were in the early 1970's. I did a lot of research on a few other places as well...in a couple chapters the women in the book go on their own journey to California. I think the atmosphere and characters carry through the entire series.
If you had to write your memoir in five words, what would you write?
Can't isn't in my vocabulary.
How often does your muse distract you from day to day minutiae?
Oh gosh, my squirrel moments are more and more frequent these days. I've taken the entire month of December off from writing after putting two books out in a short amount of time. I had oral surgery to remove a wisdom tooth and that set me back physically ten days, now am going back to work tomorrow for the first time since before New Year's Eve. I've been slowly getting back into writing. lol
What do readers have to look forward to in the future from you?
2016 sees the completion of the Acorn Hills series with Book 7, Special Occasions...Jillian's story. I also have another series (a spin-off from Acorn Hills) that will be a sweet/Christian genre based collection. After that I have Acorn Hills the 2nd generation...and a few other short stories in the works as well as collaborating with a few of my bestie authors.
Thank you so much for visiting with me today. Such a pleasure meeting you, Dawn. I wish you the best of luck with all you do!
Richard served his turn in Vietnam, but came home a changed man. Plagued with nightmares of the past, Richard and his friends go on a life changing trip back to modern day Saigon. Their hope...to slay the dragons that stole so much of their lives.
Each deals with his own demons. Each has life changing experiences. Each finds out the importance of friendship and family. Buy Links: Amazon | B&N
~*~*~*~*~*~*~ EXCERPT: “Johnny! Goddamn it! Get down!” Richard yelled from his belly, the brush barely hiding him and the other four men on this clusterfuck of a mission. Just as the sound of gunfire erupted, Johnny hit the ground, not even a twitch from his body as bullets whizzed by like a thousand angry, deadly bees. Richard kept his stomach French-kissing the ground as he crawled over to the young man who was in his charge. Blood covered Johnny’s chest and head. “Sonofabitch! Johnny, don’t you dare die on me! Do you hear me? Johnny!” Richard sprang to a sitting position and looked at the clock. The red digital numbers 3:00 am stared angrily back at him. He ran a shaky hand through the small stubble of hair on his head. Like so many other mornings he woke up drenched in sweat from undying memories: memories of gunfire, yelling, children crying. Memories of clear unblinking eyes and permanent looks of fear frozen into faces as still as marble. The stench of death. Vietnam.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Meet the Author: Internationally known author, Grace Augustine, was born in Shelby, Montana and grew up in Cut Bank, Montana (dubbed as The Coldest Spot in the Nation). Her work career has taken her from title and abstracting to administrative assistant church work to co-owning a small town weekly newspaper to her current profession as a floral designer.
Grace thinks of herself as a "Jill" of most trades and is not afraid to learn new things. "If you can't learn something new each day, there's something wrong," she says.
The ideas for her Acorn Hills series stem from her growing up years as well as the issues she has had to overcome along the way. "I've developed a new romance category...for the over 50 crowd...I'm calling it the salt and pepper genre. My books deal with real life issues, overcoming adversity, maintaining a positive outlook, and so much more. Just because we are 50 yrs old or older doesn't mean that life stops. We all still want attention and affection and adventure! We want to experience all life has to offer. We use our age as wisdom to share with those around us. We are sexual,sensual, and sensible," Grace explains.
Augustine was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in July of 2003. Her thoughts on that "It may slow me down, but if I can at all do it, I will. Sitting and feeling sorry for yourself isn't the answer...living your life with an open, joy-filled heart is."
Grace's Links: Website | Facebook | Acorn Hills on Facebook | Twitter | Mailing List | Amazon Author Page
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