Please join me in welcoming Shirley Raye Redmond, author of The Viper’s Nest, Amanda’s Beau, Stone of the Sun, and Prudence Pursued. Welcome, Shirley, and thank you for sharing a little about yourself, your writing career, and your newest novel.
What inspired you to start writing?
I was in 7th grade when I made up my mind I wanted to write stories—like Jo March in Little Women. From that point on, I did everything I could think of to prepare myself to be a “real” writer: I kept a journal, I joined the school Journalism Club, and I eventually went on to earn an M.A. in Literature. My first newspaper article was printed when I was still in high school and after that, I was hooked!
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
I love bird watching. I have 36 different kinds of birds that come regularly to my backyard feeders.
Do you have a favorite author?
Too many to name, but I’m currently reading all of Jane Kirkpatrick’s historical novels.
Can you share a book that you loved reading?
Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle.
I read it every January as part of my New Year’s resolution to use my gift of writing for the Lord.
Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever had a great writing idea?
Many years ago I was visiting my parents in Arizona. They took me to Tombstone to see a re-enactment of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. While watching the noisy event—guns blaring and people shouting—I realized how easy it would be to have a REAL gunman hidden on the roof of one of the nearby buildings take a shot at a spectator standing on the sidelines. The unsuspecting victim could be shot dead and no one would really notice, thinking it was part of the “show.” I worked just such a scene into my first novel, STONE OF THE SUN—a romantic suspense.
Prudence Pursued is an inspirational Regency. Here’s a brief synopsis. Despite Prudence Pentyre’s best efforts, her cousin Margaret proves reluctant to accept Sir James Brownell’s marriage proposal, and fears being “bovinised” if she undergoes the controversial cowpox vaccination he recommends. And the dashing baronet seems more concerned about the plight of headhunters in Borneo than Margaret’s refusal. Then Prudence suddenly finds herself smitten with the man. What to do? What to do? The book is available from Amazon in paperback, audio and Kindle.
Where did you get the idea for your story?
Jane Austen’s dearest friend Martha Lloyd was scarred by smallpox for the remainder of her life. Several members of the Lloyd household died from the disease. A character in Austen’s novel Northanger Abbey is disfigured and crippled by the dreaded disease. I wanted to write a Regency novel with small pox as an important factor. In its day, smallpox was referred to as “the speckled monster. It killed hundreds of millions of people—more than the Black Death and the wars of the 20th century put together! A woman who was considered a “great beauty” during this time period was usually one who had not been seriously disfigured by smallpox. It was understood by portrait artists of the day that they were not to paint in the disfigurements and pockmarks of their subjects.
What’s next for you?
A nonfiction book about gutsy Christian women. Readers can keep up with my latest writing news through my author facebook page or my website at www.shirleyrayeredmond.com.