Charlie’s Girl by Mary-Helen & Daniel Foxx

Authors Mary-Helen & Daniel Foxx

Mary-Helen Foxx retired in 2009 after a long career in public education with the Peoria Unified School District where she worked primarily in library services and IT. She has written widely on genealogical topics and has authored four books on the histories of prominent Southern families. Mary-Helen was also a contributing editor for three years with “Georgia Genealogical Magazine” and has won awards for her writing.

Daniel is Professor Emeritus of History at Ottawa University in Phoenix and has been published in various academic and historical journals. He is the author ofI Only Laugh When It Hurts (Reissued by Pelican Publishing Company, Gretna, LA, 2009). His latest book, Nathan Bedford Forrest: In Search of the Enigmawith Eddy W. Davison (Pelican, 2007) was a National Book Awards nominee, received the 2008 Arizona Book Award for biography, and was finalist for the 2008 Independent Book Publishers Association Benjamin Franklin Award.

Website

Interview with Mary-Helen Foxx

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Charlie’s Girl illustrates how conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sometimes negatively impacts a family strongly rooted in the faith of their fathers, and examines the feelings of both the convert and the hurt and disappointment of those who cannot accept their decision.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
The sequel is nearly finished and I am working on a children’s book about a former Revolutionary War surgeon from Scotland and his little daughter who travel to Augusta, Georgia to see George Washington during his tour of the South. A third work in progress is the story of a boy struggling to adjust to moving to a new town and school.

What inspired you to want to become a writer?
Plots and characters that kept coming and wouldn’t leave me alone.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Doing readings at a retirement and assisted living home.

What was your favorite children’s book?
Walter Farley’s series of horse stories

If you were a super hero what would your kryptonite be? 

Being in a crowd

What’s your favorite season/weather? 

Autumn

Favorite music? 
Christmas music

What is you favorite way to spend a rainy day? 

Eating popcorn and drinking hot chocolate

Favorite historical person? 

George Washington

Hobbies?
Jigsaw puzzles and counted cross-stitch

How did you go about publishing your book?
We submitted it to a single publisher as a test balloon, and were shocked when that publisher, Cedar Fort Publishing, Inc. wrote that they wanted to publish it.

Who or what inspired your last book? 

Experiences of being a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the South, and those of my husband on his mission.

What’s your biggest challenge as a writer? 

How did you overcome it, or how are you working to overcome it? Forcing myself to set aside the piles of other paperwork or chores to settle down and put my writing first. I’m still working on it.

What makes your novel standout from the crowd?
It shows life in the 1960s in a small South Carolina town with its attitudes and bigotry toward “Mormons.”

Scariest moment? 

While driving on a freeway, being sideswiped by a semi-truck, knocked through a guardrail, barreling down a twenty-foot hill into a river with alligators.

What is your view on self publishing? 

Seriously considering it. I’ve done it in the past, before all the great technology of the Web.

How do you juggle writing & family life? 

It helps that my husband and I are retired with individual computers and separate “offices” in our home.

Do your characters really talk to you?
They live on in my mind and I miss them and wonder about them.

What is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process? 

Opening that box of my books hot off the press.

This or That

TV or Movies?
TV

Night owl, or early bird?
Definitely an early bird

Print or Ebook?
Print

Chocolate or Vanilla?
Chocolate

Horror or Romance? 

Romance

Action or Drama?
Drama

Pizza or Pasta?
pizza

Skittles or M&Ms?
M&Ms

Summer or Winter? 

Winter. We live in Arizona!

PC or Mac? 

Mac running Parallels

Beach or Pool?
Pool for swimming but beach for the sights and smells and breezes

Introvert or Extrovert?
Introvert

Things you wish you knew before you published? 

How much work it is to market your book.

Things that bring a smile to your face?
Babies, children

Hang on a little longer. It does get better.

Interview with Daniel Foxx
If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?

I’m a historian, so I would wander through the past. 

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

It is a story about the power and eternal nature of love.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?

We’re now completing a sequel to “Charlie’s Girl.” The working title is “Rosalind’s Roots.”

What inspired you to want to become a writer?

I’ve always enjoyed telling stories.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

Write every day and read a wide range of stories.

If you could be one of the Greek Gods, which would it be and why?

Adonis. Why indeed.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

Right here in the good, old USA
What is your favorite Quote?

“We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?

When I was little I thought it would be wonderful to fly airplanes when I grew up.

How do you react to a bad review?

I go back and read at least one really good review.

If you were a bird, which one would you be?

I think I’d be a hawk. Have you ever seen a hawk hanging almost motionless against a mountain breeze?

Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is….

One book I wish I had written is “To Kill a Mocking Bird.”

Favorite music?

Music from movies.

Favorite smell?

Orange blossoms

In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with?

I couldn’t ask for a better co-author than my wife, Mary-Helen.

Favorite quote from a movie?

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

That I grew up poor.

Do you prefer to write in silence or with music?

Silence

Favorite historical person?

George Washington

Hobbies?

Painting and building model airplanes

Where do you write?

I write in a spare bedroom converted to my “office”
How did you go about publishing your book?

Choosing publishers I thought would be a good match for my work.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Which scene or characters were the most difficult for you to write and why?

My favorite scene is when Grace awakes from a three-day coma following her accident and realizes that she has been visiting with her departed husband, daughter-in-law, and her beloved son, Charlie.

Do you write as you go or do you have the book all planned out from page 1?

I write as I go.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

If I’m blocked on my current project I write a page or two on something, no matter what.

This or That
TV or Movies?

Movies on TV. It has just become such a hassle to go to the movies.

Night owl, or early bird?

Night owl

Print or Ebook?

I may be old fashioned, but I like to hold a book in my hands and smell the ink.

Skittles or M&Ms?

M&Ms

Summer or Winter?

Since I live in southern Arizona I like winter best. But as a boy in the South I loved summer.

City or Country?

Country

Gum or Breath Mints?

Mints

PC or Mac?

Mac

Beach or Pool?

Pool. I like to be able to see what’s swimming with me.

Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook

Introvert or Extrovert?

I think of myself as an extrovert, but I like my space.

Pieces of Advice you have for aspiring writers.

Never let a rejection stop you.

Things you wish you knew before you published

I wish I had known all the little marketing tricks that I continue to learn.

Places you would consider paradise

Home, any place my family members are

Things that bring a smile to your face

Little children

Words you try not to use.

Uh, and dude

Words you love.

Freedom, Liberty, Home

Places you’d like to take your laptop to and write.

A cabin in the mountains

Favorite desserts

Carrot cake

Pieces of advice you would tell the “teen”you

You’ll be grown up day after tomorrow and all that teen stuff won’t matter any more. You’ll meet new people who didn’t know you before you were the you they know and you can create your life anew.



Games you like to play

Big Boggle, and most board games

Movie you watch over and over again

“She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”

Favorite series

Lately I can’t resist Vince Flynn and Brad Thor’s novels

Guest Post

          You asked some questions that took me back to my boyhood and reminded me of an excerpt from my first book, “I Only Laugh When It Hurts”:

          I seem to do my best thinking in late summer. It is a good time of the year for it. The sky seems bluer. The clouds pile up like mountains and tower into silver-edged thunderheads while the distant sound of lazy thunder gives voice to the afternoons. I never get through these days anymore without thinking back to my boyhood and reflecting on that time in my life when the days were like velvet.

          When I was a boy my true religion was wasting time. Clouds swirled for hours into hundreds of familiar shapes as I lay on my back in the grass, a partner with God, identifying the cloud sculptures He had created for my amusement alone.

          No more appreciative audience of one ever attended the concerts of half a dozen different streams. Summer hours on end I spent in rapture to their music.

          I took the wind at its word and was rewarded by the scent of flowers from afar and sent my kite nearly out of sight on its breath.

          The delicate, purple chinaberry blossom of spring was a universe in which I often became lost as I anticipated the joys of a new summer. Its promise came true on those late summer days when I enjoyed more freedom than I have ever known since.

          And the days seemed so much longer then, when the sun warmed everything and there was always time to spend doing that all-important nothingbetween sunrise and sunset.

          There were the long hours sitting on the back steps on August evenings, the concrete, still warm from the day’s sunshine, radiating into my backside as I read volumes from the night sky.

          It is remarkable to me now how I spent my entire boyhood never consciously realizing that I had discovered one of the great truths of the universe: nothing is learned or enjoyed unless you are really willing to wastea lot of time on it.

          Somewhere as my boyhood slipped away I passed the marker that told me the gospel of youth has no place in the grown-up world. I accepted this rule without protest and conformed to a world where everyone must be continually engaged in the act of doing and attaining; a world where wasting time is a liability.

          Sometimes I think that is why my manhood has often seemed somehow less glorious and fulfilling than my boyhood.

Excerpt
“. . . the telephone rang.

          It was a bad connection, but through the static, Grace could make out the voice on the other end of the line. It was an officer with the highway patrol calling from somewhere in Arizona. There had been an accident she thought she heard the voice say. He was calling because her name and phone number had been taped to the dashboard of the car in case of emergency. Her son, her Charlie, was dead . . . and Nellie too. Only the baby had survived, and she was lying in a hospital somewhere out there in a coma.

          Grace let the receiver slip from her hand, oblivious to the repeated questions from the other end of the line. She stood there in the big empty house, listening to the ghosts of the past whispering of days gone by. A breeze gently passing through the open kitchen window seemed to sweep the present away. Dazed, her soul reaching, stretching for a better time, Grace escaped the unbearable revelation she had received from Arizona. Without notice she left the present behind. She would not completely return for a long time.

          In her mind, she seemed to hear the screen door slam, and through her glazed eyes Grace saw young Charlie tossing his schoolbooks onto the sofa with careless abandon. How many times had he been told to take care of his things?

          “I’m home, Mom. What’s for dinner?” he said with a wide grin.

          Her eyes closed, and he disappeared. A tear etched a glistening path down her cheek. Through a mist she saw Charlie coming down the stairs in his best Sunday clothes with an oddly wrapped package and a handful of half-wilted daises. Giving her a big squeeze and a kiss, he said, “Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I’ll love you forever.”

Charlie’s Girl

Fourteen-year-old Rosalind has always been a foster girl without a past, until she’s sent to live with her estranged grandmother in a house full of memories—and secrets. Soon Rosalind discovers that there’s more to her family history than she ever dreamed. Set in 1960s South Carolina, this unforgettable story of family, friendship, and faith is perfect for readers of all ages.

Giveaway Details
1 copy of Charlie’s Girl
Open to US only
Ends 2/7/13

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