Today's VBT is part of the Pump Up Your Books Virtual Book Tours and today's authoress is Emily Sue Harvey and her book "Flavors". Stay tuned as we hear from the author herself.
Synopsis : Flavors- Emily Sue Harvey - March 2011
Emily Sue Harvey’s first novel, Song of Renewal, was praised by New York Times bestselling author Jill Marie Landis as “an uplifting, heartwarming story,” by bestselling author Kay Allenbaugh as a work that will “linger in the memory long after readers put it aside,” and by Coffee Time Romance as “a must-read book for anyone doing a little soul searching.” New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry said, “It captures your attention, and whets your appetite for more,” while Peeking between the Pages called it “quite simply a beautiful book.”
Now, in Flavors, this master storyteller of the human heart sweeps us along with twelve-year-old Sadie Ann Melton as she enters a life-altering season. The summer of 1950 will change everything for her. For in that summer, she will embark on an odyssey at once heartbreakingly tender and crushingly brutal. At times, she will experience more darkness than she has ever witnessed before. At others, she will thrill to lightness and joy she never imagined. By summer’s end, the Melton women in Sadie’s journey &ndash loving her, coaxing her, and commanding her &ndash will help shape her into the woman she becomes. And they will expose Sadie to all of the flavors of life as she savors the world that she brings into being.
Filled with charm, wisdom, and the smorgasbord of emotions that comes with the first steps into adulthood, Flavors once again proves Emily Sue Harvey’s unique ability to touch our souls with her unforgettable stories
Interview With The Authoress : Emily Sue Harvey :
1) Tell us about your book Flavors?
A. In Flavors, Sadie Ann Melton represents the child in each of us, that tangy sweet unforgettable essence that lies nestled within us, to some degree, all our lives. Her initiation into adulthood spans one summer in 1950 when she and her baby brother are dropped off at her grandparents’ farm for the season. Amongst their passel of kids that rival Ma and Pa Kettle’s brood, her experiences range from tender, to humiliating, to sometimes brutal. They are never dull. They are always challenging. Sadie Ann’s nature is tempered by a sometimes startlingly sensitivity. Undergirding that, however, lies a strength of character, an overcomer-zeal that helps the girl meet each crisis head-on. She learns from her mistakes. Not always quickly nor easily but once she gets it, it takes. Sadie Ann’s sheer zest and unflappability snares us and despite her mishaps, her gullibility makes us love her. Her aunt, Nellie Jane, only a year older, is just as appealing. Though nearly a polar-opposite of Sadie Ann, Nellie Jane’s vulnerability and wobbly integrity pulls at our heart strings. We end up wanting to rescue her from drudgery and intellectual oppression. We yearn for her the liberty to be a child. Sadie Ann, the child/woman, searches for herself and ultimately her place. She struggles with the Juxtapositions of Heaven and Hell. Good and Evil. At times she is her own worst enemy. At other times, she floats in the light, seeing beauty in others, even with their warts and warped psyches. By reducing the good, bad, and ugly down to flavors, she keeps a float her perspective above dank, troubled waters. At her darkest hour, this slice of time takes Sadie to an aloneness she’s never before faced. Ultimately , the Melton women in Sadie’s journey unconsciously help shape her into the woman she becomes. But it is Sadie herself who pulls it all together. It is Sadie who emerges a woman of her own.
2) What made you choose to set the novel in the 1950's rather than the present time ?
A. The 1950s setting was a more innocent time than the present. Life was more simple. Yet-- even so, Sadie Ann Melton had her work cut out to overcome the difficulties of her odyssey.
3) What gives you the innovation to write a particular genre?
A. I think that with my genre, mostly mainstream fiction, I flow with the sheer creativity and freedom to write real life, yet make it turn out well. Not always perfect, because real life doesn’t give us endless happy endings, but at least I can offer hope, through my characters’ examples, that one can always pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and start all over again. Perhaps because I have experienced much in my lifetime, I have a smorgasbord of survival realities to draw from and pass on.
4) Has your characters or writing been inspired by friends/ family?
A. Absolutely. I have muses lurking everywhere. Without those connections, what would life be? Yes, the encouragement of friends and loved ones is what has, at times, kept me going.
5) Did you experience writers block? If so, what did you do to get rid of it?
A. Never. Unless I’m sick. But that’s not true writers block. I think that, because of early training that insisted sit down regularly, regardless of how I felt, and write, write, write, I would eventually be able to produce automatically. It has proven to be true.
6) What are you working on now?
A. I just did a final proof read of my full length novel entitled Homefires, written from the perspective of a preacher’s wife, Janeece Crenshaw. It tells of the good, bad, and ugly that transpires in the glass houses of the clergy. It tells of the feet of clay, of exultation, joy, betrayal, heartache, forgiveness, and ultimately, it tells of the redemptive power of unconditional love. At this very moment, I am completing another novella entitled Space (you are getting the idea that I multi-task?), about a mother and father who battle the problems of having an adult, divorced, recovering drug addict daughter living with them. They must deal not only with their own opposing views on what they owe their only child—a miracle child at that—as well as the lack of peace in their golden years they must also handle endless, daily crisis of the complex, sometimes chaotic Faith. Will they ever find what they dreamed of, worked toward all through the years—sweet time together? Privacy? Their own Space? At the same time, what will happen to Faith when her parents are forced to shut her out? She needs her own space, too. But how will she get it and will it be what her heart cries out for? Will love conquer all inside the Stowe family?
7) What is your favourite scene in your book?
A. In Flavors, I think the scene where Sadie Ann lies flat on her back in the meadow, chewing on nectary sugar cane and watching the plane drone overhead is one that jerks me right back there, to that time in my life when I just knew that those little pinpoint heads up there saw me and celebrated my good will. They waved back at me. That gives me a fresh whiff of a child’s trust. The bzzz of the insects and the soft breeze that scatters honeysuckle and tiger lily fragrances everywhere accompany the memory of my deciphering the fluffy white cloud shapes. Never was a child more content. Too, I love it because it says to me, in later life, “take time to smell the flavors of life…relish each moment.”
8) I love how you have put quotes above each chapter, is there a reason why you choose to do that ?
A. I love good quotes. They pack a lot in few words. In books, they foreshadow what is to come.
9) Were there any scenes that were cut in the editing process you wish had made it into the book?
A. Fortunately, in Flavors, no scenes were cut.
10) Can you give us one fun fact we might not know about Flavors? Something about the story itself or the writing process?
A. My fun fact? Honestly? Writing Flavors was the most fun I’ve had in years. Every moment of it. I cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, call it work.
11) How did you get into writing? Did you always want to become a writer?
A. I wrote essays in elementary school that were sometimes read to the class. And even scoring straight A’s in college English didn’t convince me that I had a gift. Then as a college senior, following the tragic death of my eleven year old daughter, Angie, I wrote for therapy. Later, my passtime turned into a passion and evolved into nonfiction stories published in dozens of venues (Chicken Soup, Chocolate for Women, and etc.). Simultaneously, I began doing fiction manuscripts. I have written copiously for at least twenty-five years.
12) If you could have dinner with any three people ( famous, non-famous, dead or alive) who would it be and why ?
A. I would have dinner with my late parents and daughter to see what Heaven is like and to tell them about my writing adventures (though I suspect they know). I wouldn’t mind having dinner, too, with my Story Plant publishers (who are also my agent and editor, and friends), Lou Aronica and Peter Miller. Why? Because they’re interesting and fun and know the business inside out.
13) What are you reading now?
A. I grab the closest fiction book (best-seller) handy and take off. Right now I’m reading a historical romance by Jane Feather, entitled Rushed to the Altar. I read anything fictional that is well written.
14) Which author has inspired you most and why?
A. Oh my! That’s a tough one because so many authors have inspired me. One of the earliest was Catherine Cookson, because of her earthy, heartfelt stories of family, poverty, and the power of love in overcoming life’s darkest times. More recently, I’ve enjoyed Francine Rivers, both in her secular romances as well and her more recent spiritual books. She taught me that I could write real life, showing the unpleasant ugliness, and at the same time--by writing strong and selectively -- keep it all palatable for a universal audience of readers.
15) What advice would you give aspiring authors?
A. Believe in yourself. You will get lots of negative feedback along the way. Many rejections. Expect it and toss them out, let it roll off of you like water off tarp. Keep on writing and keep on learning. Always be a student. Study the best writers work and see what makes it work for them. Keep a pencil in your hand and mark passages that move you and analyze “why?” And when you need an agent, find one that believes in you, too. Cec Murphey, one of my favorite mentors who wrote the best seller 90 Minutes in Heaven, once told our writing class at Southeastern Writers Workshop, “Look in the mirror each morning and say to yourself, ‘I am a writer.’” The best advice I’ve ever had.
16) As a Quotes Person I always like to ask To finish off, do you have a quote or poem that has stuck with you over the years and what is the story behind it?
A. One of my favorite poems is Desiderata . A dear, dear published author friend of mine, beautiful Nelle McFather was my fellow Southeastern Writers Association Board member for many years. She became my mentor as well, always encouraging and critiquing my writing efforts. Through the years, we both served as SWA president and in many other board positions, dedicated to helping aspiring writers along that long, sometimes laborious road to publication. Nelle’s tranquility and grace smote me each time I was with her. I asked her about it and she shared this poem with me. I embraced it from then on. Two years ago, I lost this precious girl friend to cancer. Desiderata remains special to me, causing me to whiff Nelle’s sweet fragrance. Each passage is utterly beautiful but I will limit my quoting of it to the following lines:
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.