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Interview with author, Jenny Colgan (part 2)

TS.  As my readers know, I am (1) a voracious reader and (2) always looking for new (to me) authors. My first exposure to Jenny was
The Cafe by the Sea. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t certain that I would continue to buy her books. So quirky; I hadn’t before  heard this particular ‘voice’ in an author.  15 books (and counting) later, I admit to being a girl-fan.  I love her stories! The characters are real people trying to stumble through life, as we all are, as best we can. So imagine my joy when this prolific and busy author agreed to be interviewed. And she was so generous with her answers! 

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

JC. You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. Lots of people think they’d like to be writers, but then just can’t get it done, and you know what, that’s fine, that’s okay, go do something else, don’t make yourself miserable. I wanted to be a stand up comedian, but I hated every single second of being onstage, and I realized I just wanted to call myself a stand up, I didn’t actually want to do the work. That’s fine. There’s plenty of books out there already, there’s absolutely no need to do it if you don’t want to, so find something else fun to do.

If you really want to, you’ll set your wordcount in your head, even if it’s only 500 words a day, and you’ll do it. Somehow. They never have to be your best words, they don’t even have to be any good. All that kind of stuff you fix in the edit. Your first draft you just have to find the momentum to get 1000 words down every day for 80 days, then look at what you have at the end.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

Husband, Andrew

JC. All over the place. Sometimes bits and pieces of people I’ve met, sometimes I just start them off and see. I’m writing a character now who is very beautiful. I wanted them to be difficult and impossible, but actually that didn’t work at all.

What turned out to be much more interesting are normal people’s reactions to someone who is extremely beautiful. It isn’t her fault at all; other people just become really weird around her when she’s in the room, and her experience of life is different from most people’s. So, they develop as you go. I worked with a scientist last year- I don’t usually meet a lot of scientists in my line of work- and he never said anything unless he knew it was absolutely a fact, the case. You could see the gears working in his brain every time he was asked for an opinion on anything. And I thought, that’s interesting, and wrote a character (who isn’t based on my colleague at all) who has that kind of rigorous thought process.

Q. What tools do you begin with? (from last week)

Sketch of Mure

JC. Sometimes I like to sketch my characters to get a view for what they look like and what they’re doing. If I’m a bit stuck, I’ll start drawing…..

Q. What first inspired you to write?

JC. Oh I was just a massive bookworm. Writing books is the closest you get to reading books your entire life. I write the kind of books I absolutely love reading and if I can’t find a book I want- eg a series for adults set amongst teachers in a boarding school- I just go write it myself.

Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

JC. The situation, generally. ‘What if you were a refugee and posted to a remote Scottish island?’ ‘What if you lost everything and could only get a really lowly job in a bakery?’ ‘What if you met an alien?’. Things I think might be interesting.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

Another favorite

JC. Yeah, sometimes. Generally near the end of something. Not always, and it doesn’t have a huge effect on the work, really, I mean I don’t think the reader could tell the points where I’ve got very obsessed with it, but sometimes I get completely wrapped up in them and can’t think about anything else. My husband can always tell. 🙂

Q. Are you working on something now or have a new release coming up? If so tell us about it.

Did you miss Part 1 of this in-depth interview?

Don’t Miss part 3 of this spectacular Interview with Jenny. Coming May 21st. 

My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg, May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy.
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Book Review~~Picnic in Someday Valley

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4 out of 5 quills   

Author, Jodi Thomas, never lets her readers down. This sequel to the Honey Creek series is a satisfying read, re-visiting Someday Valley and the strong characters that Jodi Thomas has drawn. Pecos and Brand being my favorites in this new one.  

The readers get to return to Honey Creek and Someday Valley, two small towns in Texas. While set in current times, there’s still a flavor of the old west and small town closeness and politics that you cannot escape from to this day.  The story is rich in twists and turns with vibrant, quirky characters.

I highly recommend it to my readers. 

Did you miss the wonderful interview we did with this author? 

Coming Soon! (Oct. 2021, Book 3 Honey Creek series)


My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!     December: Lauren Willig, January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg
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Book Review ~~ An Unfinished Story by Boo Walker

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing  reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing                5 out of 5 quills 

Die-hard fans of Boo Walker’s Red Mountain Chronicles really wondered what Boo would write about once he left the real red mountain wine country of Washington state. He transplanted himself to Florida, of all places. Boo knows so much about wine and growing grapes that it was hard to imagine what stories would be born out of the swampy, hot days in Florida. 

Oh ye of little faith (reviewer)!  An Unfinished Story is superb!  A bitter ‘has been’ writer and a grieving widow meet by chance and form an unlikely bond. The arc of the story is unexpected and fresh.  I loved the conflict,  the set-backs, the temporary truces, the tension, and the surprises.

Of course Boo couldn’t ignore the wine running through his veins totally so his protagonist, in this story, is a wine aficionado.  I loved the ‘nod’ to the Red Mountain Chronicles! Which is a series not to be missed. 

I highly recommend this wonderful story! 

Release date August 4th. Pre-order Now!

Did you miss my Interview with Boo Walker?


My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   May:  Joram Piatigorsky, June: Mike Maden writing for TOM CLANCY. July: Guest Blogger Desiree Villena, August: Carolyn Brown
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Poetry featured on PoetrySoup.com

Dear Trisha,

Congratulations, this is just a quick notice to let you know that your poem Remembered Love is one of the poems being featured on the PoetrySoup.com home page this week. 

Thanks again and congratulations.


Remembered Love

Ashes waft over the meadow
a jet stream of sorrow,
beckoning the widow to the
edge, down to the river.

Contented epoch, at the
creek where the wolves run,
he lived and laughed.

We watched the bright blue
stars foxtrot across the milky
way, a midnight indigo quilt
shivering with light.

Mountain men whose
toughened hands cradle their
violin and mouth harp. Music
soared amidst craggy
chiseled countenance.

We listened to the chaste
screech of a hawk, the forlorn
cry of a mountain cat,
soft snuffling of a bear,
watery splash of a fish.

You and I waltzed in the
meadow; no music needed
other than the love song that
pulsed in our hearts.

Can I have this dance for
the rest of my life?
Together it seemed so…


…happily ever after?


Time enough for us to love,
laugh, share, be silly, fight,
forgive, and cry?
To seethe and despair?


Copyright © Trisha Sugarek | Year Posted 2014     
Books of poetry:  Butterflies and Bullets  ~~ Moths and Machetes

My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   May:  Joram Piatigorsky, June: Mike Maden writing for TOM CLANCY.  August: Carolyn Brown
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Book Review ~~ One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow

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5 out of 5 quills           ~~  A Book Review 

Look up ‘beautiful prose’ in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of this book cover.  Every word is a musical note in the English language.  The book is a lyrical and yet powerful saga about homesteading on the high prairies of Wyoming in the 1800’s. But don’t let my praise about the ‘prose’ make you hesitate. This is a page-turning story with rich characters that you will come to love. 

Tragedy brings two families together for simple survival. A pasture, and an ocean of pain, divides the two homesteads. Two women battle it out so that their children might endure. 

As a reviewer, I love it when I can read for the pure pleasure of reading a good book. This book delivered in spades. The plot kept me engaged from page to page. The characters were well drawn. 

I highly recommend this book to my readers. 
And I look forward to my interview with this author in March. If you sign up for my blog, you will be reminded of the interview when it posts. 

Check out my Interview with Olivia.


MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    December: Dervla McTiernan – January: David Poyer, March: Olivia Hawker, April: Dan Sofer 
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Celebrating Black History Month!

Billie Holiday, black history month, African-American, people of colorBillie Holiday, jazz singer,one woman cast,segregation      A Tribute to Billie Holiday, in celebration of Black History Month.  It’s always a joy to hear Billie’s music again.

Scent of Magnolia” by Trisha Sugarek.……’tells the story of a young woman who rose above poverty, rape, bigotry, prostitution and imprisonment to become one of the most memorable and celebrated artists of the twentieth century. The one woman show portrays the life of a black jazz singer in America during the 30’s. The script does not dwell on the sensationalism of her addiction to alcohol and drugs but chooses, rather, to celebrate the whole woman and her music.

Billie tells not only her story, but our nation’s story. She interjects her tale with her most famous music as well as some of her more obscure songs. In her own words, she talks about her struggle to succeed in spite of the segregation of that time and the billie Holiday, black singers, musicians, jazz,difficulties she experienced singing with the great bands, most of which were white musicians. Without self-pity , she talks about the

(Note: Original song written by Gary Swindell, for this stage play.) daily slings and arrows that are a part of bigotry. Billie takes complete responsibility for her life, her choices, and her actions. Her triumph was her music and her songs that will live on forever.’                                          

Billie Holiday, jazz, stage play, one act play,

Latrelle Bright as Billie – 2004

black history month, billie Holiday, people of color,…….Ben Rafuse as the ‘piano man’


We have much to celebrate this year with people of color serving our country in the   military abroad, serving the community and nation in the political arena.  The many musicians who gave ‘birth to the blues’.

The giants and philosophers, playwrights and politicians…..authors, writers, Walter Mosley

It’s taken us over eighty years to evolve to this point, t williamssince Billie Holiday struggled as a black woman to survive in this country. …….we still have a way to go but we, as a nation, have much to be proud of. Did you miss the post about Savannah’s black orphan kids

James Baldwin, writers, authors

(Hank Aaron,  Kamala Harris, Corey Booker,

Tennessee Williams, Walter Mosley,Martin Luther King, Jr., Spike Lee,   James Baldwin, ) and thousands of others who fill our world and our history. 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~black musicians, jazz, Billie Holiday, music


Start your month off right!! DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS. “The Writer’s Corner” INTERVIEWS with other best-selling AUTHORS! March: Olivia Hawker, April: Dan Sofer 


So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  Go to the home page; On the right side you’ll see a box where you can enter your email address. Click on “join my blog”. You need to confirm in an email from ‘Writer at Play’ . Thanks!

Dust Off that Play and do Some Rewrites…

Don’t be shy about looking at something you wrote a few years ago and rewriting and revising it. Most reputable publishing platforms will allow you to change the interior files and upload a revised, improved edition. I reviewed this children’s play of mine and in doing so found some editing and new writing. 

It’s October, Halloween is right around the corner. So I hauled out a play script that I wrote in 2013. Wow!  Did it need work. So I edited, did some extensive rewrites, gave it a new, more contemporary cover and then re-published. 

Synopsis: A young family rents a deserted lighthouse so that their critically ill daughter can enjoy the sea breezes and beautiful countryside. Little do they know that, for centuries, the lighthouse has been the home and is in the ‘possession’ of four outrageous spirits.  
Ben, an eight year old boy, has no trouble whatsoever making friends with two of the spirits, Baubles and Chaos.  The story climaxes as Claire, ill with cancer, slowly fades toward death. Baubles and Chaos have no intention of letting that happen! 

Available now!

While this play has it’s serious moments, for the most part, it is a comedy and makes for great fun as the spirits romp around the stage. The adults can neither see nor hear Chaos and Baubles as they converse and play with the children and terrorize a ‘Man of the Cloth’! All in innocent fun, of course!  4f. 4m. 2 children

If you’re an aspiring playwright you might want to take a look at >>>>>>>>>>>>>


MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    July — Catherine Ryan Hyde.  August:  My interview with Susan Wiggs  September: Alan Foster (sci-fi) and October: Kristina McMorris
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Available now!

Review~~Coming Home for Christmas by RaeAnne Thayne

4  out of  5 quills     A  Review

Coming Home for Christmas is the long awaited sequel in the Haven Point series. Fans really invested and empathized with Luke, a single Dad, in previous books set in Idaho. A good man and husband, he and his two adorable kids are suddenly abandoned by his wife with no explanation. It takes seven years to find Elizabeth and bring her home to clear Luke of charges of murdering his wife. 

And that’s just for starters!  As a reviewer, I don’t write spoilers so you will not see a synopsis of the story. I have been a fan of Thayne’s writing for many years so this was a read for pleasure as well as reviewing it. The author always writes cleanly and keeps her readers enthralled in the story she is weaving. 

 I highly recommend it to my readers. 

Available September 24th at your favorite book store.

MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    July — Catherine Ryan Hyde.  August:  My interview with Susan Wiggs  September: Alan Foster (sci-fi) and October: Kristina McMorris
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Book Review ~ Oysterville Sewing Circle

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   5 out of 5 quills ~~ A Book Review 

Domestic violence is when a husband or boyfriend physically abuses a mate and only in the privacy of their home. Right? Wrong. Who would have thought that the bigger than life, extraordinarily beautiful models strutting down the runway, would be hiding a dirty little secret? And had the bruises to show for it? You don’t imagine their life filled with anything but exotic locations, Krystal Champaign, fancy yachts and handsome escorts.

In Susan Wiggs’ newest novel, The Oysterville Sewing Circle, she explores the fashion industry and the mental and physical abuse that regularly occurs there. But, oddly, this is not a dark story. It’s filled with love and hope and two of the most adorable children you could ever hope for. 

The characters are well drawn. The reader is rooting for Caroline and the two orphans from page one. Sewn into the fabric of the tale is a wonderful love story. And redemption for the survivors of domestic abuse. 

As my readers know, I don’t write spoilers in my reviews.  For me it’s all about the story and the writing. Susan Wiggs never disappoints. Her latest offering is filled with surprises, twists and turns. I highly recommend this book. 

Did you catch my Interview with Susan?

For more information about domestic violence:

MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   May: Boo Walker, June: Anne D. LeClaire and July — Catherine Ryan Hyde.  August:  My interview with Susan Wiggs and September: Alan Foster (Sci-fi)
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Interview with Catherine Ryan Hyde

TS.  I found Catherine when I stumbled across her stunning novel: Have You Seen Luis Velez?” By now most of my followers know that I am a voracious reader so it’s really something when I tell you,  …Luis Velez is the best book I have ever read.
Catherine Ryan Hyde  is the author of 39 published and forthcoming books. Of all of them, Pay It Forward seems to be the most important to other people. Catherine says it’s not the most important to her. She says she writes two books a year, because she  has always written fast, and now, “I have a publisher who is willing to keep up with me. When not writing, I ride my horse, travel, and take photos of distant galaxies and nebulae (spoiler alert: this is not easy). I’m also learning to play the cello, but not well. Yet.”

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

CRH. I write in my easy chair in the living room. When my mom was alive, and shared my home with me in her retirement, and my sister and her kids came up to visit regularly, we created a writing studio for me. We had it built over the garage. But my mom passed away in 2012. My sister is also deceased, as is one of her children. The other is a full-grown adult. So now the main house is very quiet. I have a zero-gravity chair, which is better for my back than sitting up in a desk chair at a desktop computer. It has a sort of lap-desk arrangement, and I write on a notebook computer. There’s a seed feeder and a hummingbird feeder hanging right outside the window on my right, and plenty of light. So this is where everything gets done. The studio is now a guest quarters.

Q. Do you have any special rituals or quirks when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, a laptop at the ready, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

CRH. Nope. The only thing I need is a good enough sense of the next scene. I’m not putting down people who do. Whatever works. But I think we need to be careful about stating what we “need” to write. I just need an idea and I’m good to go. If I sat down with a cup of tea it would only get cold.

PS: What exactly would a #2 pencil have to do with writing a novel? (Kidding. Half. Well… mostly kidding. No, not kidding so much at all. It’s 2019.)

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

CRH. Hmm. Let’s see. I’m a big Randy Rainbow fan, and I know his mom. She’s one of my readers, which got me all fangirling, and then she was all fangirling because I’m a Randy fan, and we fangirled our way into a friendship.
I ride classical English dressage with my horse, because I guess nothing is ever too challenging for me. I am a major glutton for punishment.
I spent a week in an ashram in Rishikesh, India, at the invitation of a very well-known and venerated swami who was (he is since deceased) a big fan of the book and foundation (Pay It Forward). 
About three years ago I celebrated my 61st birthday by flying to Nepal, taking a small STOL plane to “the world’s most dangerous airport” (Lukla) and then trekking several thousand feet uphill for a stay at the Hotel Everest View. As previously stated, I like a good challenge.
Anybody who follows me on Facebook knows I’m learning astrophotography (speaking of being a glutton for punishment) but I’m sure there are also many people who don’t know.

Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

CRH. Yes and no. If I have something ready to go, I’ll sit down in the morning. I get up in the morning, do some Yoga and deep stretches, a little bit of meditation, then one cup of coffee and I’m off. But there are mornings when I don’t write. It comes and goes in fits and starts.

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

CRH. If you haven’t started the project, make a digital file for it. Put the title and author in the header. Number the pages. Type “Chapter One.” Then challenge yourself to write a first sentence. Nothing beats an inability to start like starting.

If I have something in process, but can’t seem to get the next chapter or scene going, I’ll get into the file to just add one sentence or paragraph. In almost every

case I end up with several new pages before I close the file again. If that doesn’t do it, it might be time to look at what you’re writing. Have you lost interest in it? This may surprise you, but my advice might be to dump it. You may have lost interest in it for a reason. Don’t throw it away. Never throw anything away. Just give yourself permission to work on something new. If it’s not inspiring you to write it, it may have trouble inspiring total strangers to read it. Try to find a project that’s exciting, and that calls you back to work.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

CRH. When I have finished a novel and turned it over to my agent, and I know I need a new idea. I open up for a new idea, and I meet a character. I generally just see a glimpse of them, having some sort of life experience. Then I spend a few weeks in my head, with nothing down on paper yet, coaxing them to tell me more.

Q. Q. Where did the concept for ‘Have You Seen Luis Velez?‘ come from?

CRH. Oh, how I wish I knew. I have no idea where any of this comes from. Sheer imagination, and anyone who understands it has a better brain than mine.

Interviewer:   I so understand. Most of my stories I can identify where they have their Origins. My mother and her equally outrageous sisters are the basis for that fiction. But I also write rather bloodthirsty True Crime Mysteries and I have no idea where they came from. I just hang on for the ride.

Q. What first inspired you to write?

Continued…July 26th: Part Two

Did you miss my Review of Have You Seen Luis Velez?

MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   May: Boo Walker, June: Anne D. LeClaire and July — Catherine Ryan Hyde
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