Do you write with a pen name? If so, what is it?
I’ve never considered using a pen name even though my name is quite common.
In which country were you born, and which one do you live now?
I was born in Canada and have lived here all my life.
Which genres do you write in?
I started out writing short stories for adults, but slowly began writing for children. Much of what I write is historical.
How many books have you had published? (feel free to name a few of the most recent)
I’ve had one novel published.
Bitter, Sweet was my first published novel.
Which is your most current published novel?
My most current is Bitter, Sweet.
What’s the working title of the next book you plan to publish?
At the moment, the working title is “To Fly With a Broken Wing.” My editor and I have discussed the title. While I feel fairly confident this title will stick, one never knows what will happen during the editing process. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Do you read hard cover, paper books, ebooks or audio? Or a mixture?
Most of the books I read are soft cover, but I also read hard cover.
If you could be a character from a book (not one you’ve written), which would you choose?
I’d love to be Mary Poppins. Imagine having the ability to clean the house with the snap of a finger. All that extra writing time would put me in seventh heaven.
What is the first 300 words in you latest novel (ending with a period)?
That has to be the law, thought Pru Burbidge the day a strange car stopped in front of the house. It was late January and bitterly cold, even with a fire burning in the kitchen stove. The bottoms of all the windows were decorated with sheets of frost frozen so solid that Pru had just a small patch of glass to see out through. An icy wind had whipped across the crest of the snow all that morning and shut the house completely off from the main road. Although a wide white expanse separated the house from the driver of the car, Pru was frightened. She wished Jesse were here. She had considered this exact situation many times in her mind, wondering what her reaction might be if the law came calling while she was home alone with Flora and Davey.
The car was sitting just a few feet past the row of maple trees and it might have been completely hidden had it not been for the fact that one of the trees had snapped in two during a big windstorm late last summer and had to be removed.
Reese Buchanan helped Jessie cut the tree up for firewood—they worked all day cutting and splitting. The air was cool and a light breeze was rustling through the treetops. Mama said it was perfect wood-splitting weather and it couldn’t have been more perfect for working than if they had ordered the weather up special. Then she said they would have to celebrate the firewood later when she was feeling less tired.
“Reese has been a good friend to us, Pru,” said Mama as she sat beside the window watching them work up the wood. “I don’t know what we would have done way out here in Dalhousie without him.”
Who is your favourite character in this most recent book?
Izzy Burbidge was my favourite character in Bitter, Sweet possibly because I’m a mother and could easily relate to her. I loved her wisdom and strength, as well as her ability to put a positive spin on life even during the most tragic times. Her determination to pass down her knowledge to her children helped them to be self-reliant. She left behind a lasting legacy. I’m sure, if I were in Izzy situation, I’d never be that strong.
The questions from a to l are for your main character in your most recently published novel:
a) Name: Pru Burbidge
b) Male or Female: female
c) Age: 12
d) Where were you born? I was born in Annapolis, Nova Scotia. Mama said we didn’t live there long before Daddy got restless. We lived in a lot of places until we finally settled in Dalhousie.
e) What is your favourite colour? Gold. Each time the teacher brought out her big box of crayons I’d hold my breath, hoping she’d pass the gold crayon to me. I always imagined it possessed some special power to make us rich.
f) Are you married? If so, what is your spouse’s name? I’m far too busy to think of boys let alone dream of one day getting married. But if the time ever does come I’ll be more than ready to run a household. I’ve been doing it since Mama got the sickness.
g) Do you have children? How many? I have no children, but Jesse and I look after our younger brother and sister. It’s a promise we made to Mama. We’re doing the best we can.
h) Are your parents dead or alive? I’d rather not answer this question if you don’t mind. I know that sounds rather strange but I have very good reasons.
i) Who is your best friend? My brother, Jesse, is my best friend, and not just because Mama didn’t want us to make friends with the children here in Dalhousie. We’re responsible for the family. We share each other’s secrets. Best friends do that.
j) Who is your worst enemy? My worst enemy is the law. Knowing the authorities could show up at our door at any time is something I think of often. The law holds the power to tear our family apart. If we’re discovered we won’t stand a chance.
k) What is your favourite flavour of ice cream? I’ve never tasted ice cream, but I’ve imagined having it many times while playing the “If only” game with Mama. “If only I had a strawberry ice cream,” I’d say. Strawberry sounds delicious.
l) What do you fear the most? My deepest fear is being sent to the orphan house or placed in foster care. If that happened I’d never see Jesse or Davey or Flora again. I couldn’t bear the thought of that.
Now, back to you. A few quick questions:
Favourite colour: I’m quite partial to green in all its many forms.
Favourite movie: I don’t watch many movies at all, but I’ve always considered “Ghost” my favourite.
Favourite song: I love music. It would be impossible for me to pick a favourite song. However, I’m quite partial to my two-year-old granddaughter’s version of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”
Favourite musical artist: I really like Jan Arden. She’s usually the one who comes to mind when I consider a favourite.
Favourite ice cream flavour: It’s a toss up between black raspberry cheesecake and hoof prints.
Biggest dream you hope to accomplish before kicking the bucket: I don’t tend to dream. I tend to have many smaller dreams. However, one thing I often imagine is visiting Ireland. Not only did some of my ancestors come from Ireland, but I’ve felt a connection to the country after seeing a film way back in grade nine. The countryside looks breathtaking.
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Others: Twitter: @laura_a_best