Here is a little snippet of my interview over at Ladies in Defiance. I am giving away THREE copies of Plain Fame so be sure to stop by and enter!
How was one of your book heroines, “A Lady in Defiance” of the times or circumstances in which she lived?
All of my heroines are ladies in defiance, at least to some degree. However, I believe that Amanda Beiler (Diaz) is one of the strongest examples of a woman who openly resists what is expected of her. As a young Amish woman, she is governed by rules, both from within her family as well as through her church community. From the very first chapter of the book, readers will quickly learn that Amanda, while respectful of her upbringing, culture, and religion, is an independent young woman who follows her heart. When she meets Alejandro (aka “Viper”), an international rock star, her curiosity about his life and then, later, him as a person creates a lot of tension for her family and the community, all because she believes in her own decision making and will not conform to the Amish expectations of her.
The result is a five-book series that follows Amanda’s journey of spiritual growth as well as personal development in the world of Alejandro. There are times she has to stand up to her father, church leaders, the public, and even Alejandro as she transforms from one world to another. Yet, Amanda is defiant in a quiet way and one that involves a lot of self-reflection substantiated by her faith in God. She knows that He has a plan for her and she does not question it, even in the worst of situations.
What real-life “Lady in Defiance” has impacted your life or writing?
As far as real-life “Lady in Defiance” role models, I gave a lot of thought to this and, frankly, no. No one comes to mind.
All of my life, I was told that I should behave a certain why, that I couldn’t do certain things, or that I simply did not conform to societal expectations. There were times when I had to make choices that went against the grain of friends, family, and co-workers. But rather than take the easier, more traveled road, I always took the road that I believed to be the right road.
When I was younger, people around me laughed about my desire to write. In those days (that makes me sound old but, in reality, I’m perpetually 23…!), it wasn’t easy to become published. I cannot fault people for laughing at my dream. However, I never gave up. Instead, I persevered. There was a period of time in my life when I didn’t write. No…I couldn’t write. I was mocked, put down, made fun of, and all of my manuscripts were thrown out. Years of hard work just discarded without me knowing about it!
After I divorced that problem, suddenly my words came back to me. And I realized that when something or someone silences your passion, you need to remove that toxicity from your life. It was a great lesson to learn and, as always, God’s plan included my twelve years of literary silence that, in my opinion, has shaped me into a more prolific and successful author.
In 2013, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Rather than get upset about the diagnosis or ask “Why me?”, I turned it around to be “Why not me?” I kept an upbeat attitude during the entire treatment which was almost two years of surgeries, chemotherapy, hospitalizations for life threatening infections, more surgeries, etc. I encountered a lot of problems during those two years, but I never felt sorry for myself or cried about it. Instead, I found a lot of positives in the life changing event called “cancer” and refused to accept any of the negatives.