Sunday, July 23, 2017

Welcome, Author Debbie Kaiman Tillinghast!

            This week I am so excited and happy to welcome author Debbie Kaiman Tillinghast to "Gina's   World of Good". Debbie is a fellow member of the Association of Rhode Island Authors     (ARIA). Debbie Kaiman Tillinghast began writing as she embarked on a quest to reconnect with her island roots. She has also authored a cookbook for her family, A Gift of Cookies, A Gift of Love. Debbie, a retired teacher and nutrition educator, now devotes her time to volunteering as well as writing, gardening, cooking, biking and spending time with her children and grandchildren. Debbie will award a copy of her memoir The Ferry Home to a lucky visitor this week - leave a comment (with your email address) to be eligible to win.

Welcome to my blog, Debbie. What is your newest book about?
The Ferry Home is a memoir about growing up in the 1950s on a small island in Narragansett Bay. We lived there year round, my dad ran a store in the summer and my mother was the teacher in the one room school. It is a step back in time to a simpler life, the story of island living, its rhythm, simplicity and the sense of community it fosters. I lived there until I was nine, when a hurricane changed out lives forever, and we moved off the island.

Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

Prudence Island ultimately provided the inspiration to write about my life there. Ten years ago, after my mother died, I returned to Prudence for a visit in her honor. Childhood memories began to trickle through my mind, and I realized how much I missed the island. It seemed to be calling me back, urging me to remember, and I felt compelled to return again and again. As more memories surfaced, I knew I wanted to preserve them for future generations.

What kind of research did you do for this book? I did research to confirm a few factual dates and times, but most of my research was exploring my own memory. Prudence Island lives and breathes through the book and returning to the island allowed me to recapture my childhood there.

Did you put real experiences from your research in this story?
I never knew what current experience would trigger my memory, it might be a smell, a sound, the change in seasons or a walk on Prudence Island. Each chapter begins and ends with the experience that momentarily sent me wandering back in time. For example, I found an autograph album that belonged to my mother, and one particular entry reminded me of my mom and her relationship with my dad. The discovery inspired me to write the chapter called, Sol and Mrs. Kaiman.

How did you decide what stories to include in the book?

I wrote the stories that wanted to be told, they demanded their turn like children waiting for a swing. Sometimes there were several vying for my attention at once and I wrote about each one until it was satisfied.

What intrigued you most about writing these stories?

I didnt plan what I would write, but the memories that unfolded as I wrote were so vivid the stories told themselves. Once I started writing the events played in my head like a movie, and the details of things I didnt know I remembered were provided.

Which of your memories is your favorite?

It is difficult to choose since each one was my favorite as I wrote about it. I love Sleds and Sundays.
The island was more isolated in the winter, and our family spent more time together. My dads store was closed so he worked shorter hours and my sister and I had fewer friends nearby. My winter memories are cozier and more intimate than summer ones.
Sometimes my mother attached the sled ropes to the rear bumper of the car and drove to school while my sister and I rode on our sleds. I watched the snow covered road slide under the runners as I clung tightly to the sled and felt the icy spray sting my face. Where else could you experience this marvelous winter adventure, except on Prudence Island?

How did you get started writing? Thoughts of writing a book about Prudence Island often flitted through my mind; there were so many memories I wanted to save. A few years ago I saw a notice highlighting a memoir writing class held at a local library. It peaked my curiosity, and I decided to attend. I started with thoughts of why I wanted to write about Prudence, and every month I returned with a new Prudence Island story. The leader of the class encouraged me to keep writing until I completed a book. It was serendipity. The desire, opportunity and encouragement to write all occurred simultaneously.

What else have you written? Are you working on another book?

A surprising benefit to writing my memoir was the discovery that I not only enjoy writing, but I also find it deeply satisfying. I continue to write poetry and essays on a variety of topics. My poem, Island Summer Housewas published in the 2016 Rhode Island Authors Anthology, Shoreline, and I have also been published in Country Extra magazine. I am currently working on a romance novel.

When you have time to read, who are some of your favorite authors?
My favorite book, one that I have read many times, is A Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I am also fond of Jan Karon and Rosamunde Pilcher. I find their characters engaging and their stories so real you feel like you have opened a door and walked into their lives.

Lets get personal for a moment: Please share with us the most daring thing youve ever done.
Last September I hiked the Angels Landing trail in Zion National Park. The trail climbs 1500 ft in 2.7 miles, as it corkscrews across the face of the mountain and descends back along the same steep route.
It was a challenging and thrilling adventure, but not as daring as deciding to write a novel.

Favorite meal? City you would love to visit and why?

I love homemade ice cream, lobster and dark chocolate. Im happy with any meal that includes one or more of them.

I would like to return to Sedona, Arizona. I have been there once and was captivated by the scenery and the magical color of the sunsets. There were also many incredible places to hike and explore.
To learn more about this author, visit her Facebook page at __

Thank you so much for visiting Ginas World of Good”, Debbie. Your book is absolutely fascinating. I wish you many sales!!

Be sure to leave a comment (with your email address) to be eligible to win a copy of Debbie's book!

Visit "Gina's World of Good" next week when our guest will be author Linda Weaver Clarke!!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Welcome, Authors Sadie and Sophie Cuffee!

This week I am delighted to welcome authors Sadie and Sophie Cuffee to "Gina's World of Good". The sisters grew up in the midcoast region of Maine and are avid nature-lovers. They will be talking about their book, Blind Man's Bluff as well as their other work...and the fascinating topic that all writers address: inspiration. Leave a comment to be eligible to win a hardcover copy of their book, Blind Man's Bluff. 

Welcome to my blog, Girls.  What is your newest book about? Ever feel like you’re stuck on the merry-go-round of beige and you’re given one moment to jump off into a totally different life -- the ultimate makeover? Would you take the leap if it leads to murder?
Gwen jumps off the ferry and onto the rocky shores of Candle Island still reeling. To go from lifetime-kindergarten-teacher to heiress, with the slit of an envelope, is heady stuff, but the sticker shock at the sight of the mansion on Blind Man’s Bluff turns to culture shock when the clannish islanders slam the door in her face.
As she gets sucked into island community life, Gwen’s up to her neck in opulence and inconsistencies, and knows she’s rubbing elbows with a murderer—a murderer who’s become a friend. But she’s lost her heart to Candle Island and faces the heartbreaking choice of doing the right thing and being hated for it, or protecting a fragile soul in trouble.
Life on the playground never got this serious, and this time a BAND-AID™ and a kiss won’t make it all better.

Where did you get your inspiration for this novel/book/work?
When we were kids our dad was the pastor of two small island churches. Although the islands were connected to the mainland by bridges, there was something special about the people and the places. Those friendships and the experiences are a big part of who we are today.

What kind of research did you do for this book?
Almost every summer we ride a ferry out to one of the coastal islands and bike/hike/camp around it. It’s an opportunity to be transported to a unique way of life, and to disconnect from the blaring noise and pressures of twenty-first century culture. And it’s wicked fun! As for technical research for specifics of everything from high tides to how to murder someone in weird ways– Sophie’s our go-to girl. She’s not afraid to dig deep and get the minute details right.

Did you put real experiences from your research in this story?
We hesitate to say “yes” because when we do, people immediately try to see real-life individuals and specific places in the fictional world of Candle Island. It’s all a figment of our imaginations, but all fictional writing has a thread of the authors’ life experiences and personalities running through it. If our books didn’t have that “real experience” woven into the fiction, they wouldn’t feel authentic or hold together with believable characters and setting. (We make no such claim on the plot!)

What intrigues you most about writing these stories?
We enjoy the opportunity to mess with the lives of our characters. The fictional world of Candle Island is like a blank canvas. We get to throw on as many colors and textures as we like (and scrape off some of the paint when it gets too thick and distorted), and sometimes even we’re surprised at what picture emerges when we write “The End.”

Tell us a bit about your other books.
Our first novel, Hard Country, was also a mystery, but more dark with multiple murders, set in Texas in the 1980’s. We have a historical series: The Wainwright Family Saga (set in the Civil War era from Maine to Virginia to Kansas) which features a different setting, plot, and member of the Wainwright family in each novel.

A Woman Like Me is rip-your-heart-out women’s fiction highlighting a year-in-the-life first-person POV from—you guessed it—the woman we all strive to be; the woman we are, and the woman with battered heart and scars who battles the storms of life but doesn’t always win.

For quick fun reads we also have multiple novellas, mostly inspirational historical tales that offer a variety of characters, plot twists, and glimpses of history from epic forest fires (taken from the real-life 1947 fires of the year Maine burned) to the orphan train phenomena that relocated thousands of children to new lives out west.

Our newest series, Blood Brothers in Christ, is due out soon and features an ongoing dark suspense plot set in the deep woods of western Maine.

Which of all your characters is your favorite?
That’s a tough one because it tends to change with the current book we’re writing, but our all-time favorite is Susanna Jacobs from A Woman Like Me – her authenticity, her struggles, and her heart always get to us.

How did you get started in this genre?
We wanted to write a lighter mystery than some of our other books, but we still wanted to feature a character that our readers could appreciate and enjoy, someone with a quick wit but not annoying or tstl (too stupid to live), and we wanted to write a series set on a coastal island. We combined the three and came up with a cozy. Blind Man’s Bluff is our first cozy mystery, and the first in the Candle Island series, so we hope to revisit the characters and commit a few more “bloodless” murders on the island before we finish.

When you have time to read, who are some of your favorite authors?
Regina Andrews, Jodi Picoult, Madeline L’Engle, K. M Weiland, Madeline Brent, Sarah Graves, Max Lucado, CS Lewis...

Let’s get personal for a moment: Please share with us the most daring thing you’ve ever done. Sadie: In my twenties, I drove out west on a solo road trip with my dog and worked for a short while on a South Dakota ranch. Sophie: Skied down a mountain in Germany where I missed the bunny slope and took a much steeper trail to the bottom. If sitting on one’s skis is technically called skiing. LOL

Favorite meal? At the moment, homemade pulled pork.
City you would love to visit and why? Dublin to explore our Irish roots. (Or Edinburgh to explore our Scottish roots. Or Auckland to explore New Zealand and pat a platypus...)

To learn more about this author, visit their facebook page.  You’ll find all their books there. And here are their links:

Thank you so much for visiting “Gina’s World of Good”! I wish you many sales!! Thanks so much for letting us visit Gina’s World of Good! It’s always fun hanging out with you, Sister!

Remember, leave a comment (and send me your email) to be eligible to win a copy of Blind Man's Bluff. 

Be sure to visit next week when our guest will be Deborah Tillinghast!