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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Time-travel back to the American Revolution

A warm welcome to Lisa Belcastro.

Hi Lisa, and welcome to Adventures in Authorland. Please get comfortable and tell us about your adventure.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?


Lisa Belcastro
Well, let’s see, Jean.  I’m quite certain I considered myself a writer when I was in elementary school and jotting down stories. Not necessarily good stories, and fortunately none remain in existence today. In reality, though, the urge to write more than unedited ramblings hit me in college.  I switched from a teaching track to journalism. I graduated and went to work for The Chronicle of the Horse, a weekly sporthorse magazine. Get this – they paid me to travel the world writing about something I absolutely loved! I was in Heaven. Until I held my daughter in my arms. Then, the idea of jaunting off to Europe or even the next state didn’t sound so appealing. I found a stay-at-home job and focused on being a mom. A few years went by and I toyed with the idea of getting my masters degree in creative writing. From that moment on, the urge to write fiction became a goal. Seeing my books published is a dream come true. Some days I still can’t believe something I wrote is on the shelf in our bookstores or on Amazon.com.

What book are you reading now?

I just received The Noticer Returns by Andy Andrews. I love his books! The Traveler’s Gift is one of my all-time favorites, as was The Noticer. I’ll be flying across the country this weekend, so I’m hoping to make a serious dent in The Noticer Returns. I just know Jones is going to have more amazing advice and insight that I’ll need in my life.  When I’m done with The Noticer, I’ve got a stack of books on my nightstand, with Callie by Sharon Srock, Pieces of the Heart by Bonnie Calhoun, and The Seduction of Lady Phoebe by Ella Quinn piled nicely waiting for me to open them.

In which genre do you prefer to write and why?

Romance! Jean, I am a sucker for happily ever after. One of my top ten movies is Ever After with Drew Barrymore. In fact, all of my top ten movies are romances with happy endings.  Though I’ll read non-fiction and enjoy some of it immensely, I need at least one heart-pounding romance a week.  My current Winds of Change trilogy is historical romance with a time travel element, but the next trilogy I’ve outlined is contemporary romance set on modern-day Martha’s Vineyard with disgraced, devilishly handsome movie stars, independent women, bad boy news reporters, a rock star, a Broadway hopeful, a widow newly arrived on the Island, and a few impossible dreams. 

When you are not writing, what are your hobbies, passions, etc?

My most healthy passion is running. Now, please don’t get some silly notion that I’m 5’6” and one hundred pounds. Ha! I’m fit, not thin. I just love running. A few years ago my stepdad suggested that I run a marathon (26.2 miles) in every state. I was 45 then. I decided that I would take that challenge and try to run all fifty states before I turned 50. Today, I’m 49 and eight months with forty-six states finished and only four left to complete. This weekend, October 6, I’ll be in Oregon running my 47th state. I hope to finish the last three before the end of the year.  Then maybe I’ll write a book about my quest. Fictionalized, I think, but with lots of true stories thrown in. We all know that truth is often stranger than fiction and we can’t make up some of the experiences we have or our friends tell us about. 

I am also an avid gardener. I have a large vegetable garden that provides us with plenty of fresh organic produce: tomatoes to make and freeze tomato base; beans, summer squash and zucchini to blanche

and freeze; and bushels of onions, garlic, potatoes and winter squashes to store in the cool basement.  In ten days, I’ll be cutting herbs and hanging them to dry for use throughout the winter months. Though many of my flowers are still blooming, the days are not too far away when I’ll be digging up gladiolus bulbs, dahlias, calla lilies and canna, and putting the beds to rest. My hours in the gardens are pure joy.

Have you ever travelled to a place and come away with a story unexpectedly?

OMGosh! Yes!!  My first three books were all inspired from one amazing adventure. I live on Martha’s Vineyard, and our six elementary schools send the graduating fifth graders on a weeklong sail aboard the schooner Shenandoah.  The magnificent ship is a true sailboat - - no electricity, no motor! The students board minus their cell phones, Gameboys, iPods and any other modern-day electronic device. The children are, for all intents and purposes, on a moving, working classroom. They learn about life at sea two hundred years ago. The kids serve as members of the crew and must weigh anchor, raise and lower the sails, work in the galley, scrub the deck, polish the brass and silver, learn knot tying, rigging plans, ship terminology, wind direction, nautical speed and more. It is the chance of a lifetime for these children. One year, I volunteered to organize the trip and serve as the female parent chaperone. Best decision of my life! While onboard Shenandoah I imagined how cool it would be to travel back in time and live on a ship during the American Revolution. As the days passed and my mind kept drifting through time, I began to make notes.  My notes became sentences, which eventually became Shenandoah Nights. I signed up again the following year, secretly planning to research Shenandoah Crossings. I had no clue when I volunteered to chaperone that my journey would lead to an altogether different journey in the publishing world.  A school trip! Who knew??!!

Do you have any advice for new writers beginning their adventure?

Dream, write and don’t stop dreaming and writing! Even if you’re juggling a family, a job, caregiving, school, whatever distracts you from writing, just do what you can as much as you can. If you can only write for ten minutes a day, those minutes and words will add up and soon you’ll have your first manuscript completed. Just keep at it.  I also find writer’s conferences incredibly helpful and a great place to meet and interact with authors, editors, agents and publishers. I’ve met author friends, my agent and publisher at various writing conferences, so I highly recommend attending one or two a year.

Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?

I own stock in all the tissue companies!  Just kidding. Sort of. I don’t think I could count all the movies I’ve cried in. And, if I could, I’d take up a week or two of your blog time listing them.  On that, I’m not kidding!  I cry at happy movies, sad movies and even some funny movies. I’ll share with you and your readers a classic moment in my theatre crying life:  Years ago, when Beauty and the Beast first came out, my family came down to Virginia to celebrate Thanksgiving in my home. My oldest niece was four at the time. She had already been to see the movie, but none of us had and she was eager to go again. So, the Friday after Thanksgiving eight of us walk into the sold-out theatre and sit down to watch Disney’s latest masterpiece. When the Beast tells Belle that she can leave to go save her father, my heart is breaking for them and the tears are streaming down my face. My sweet little niece stands up (in the packed theatre, mind you) and yells, “Auntie, it’s okay, stop crying. She comes back. Belle comes back to the Beast. It’s going to be okay.”  Umm, can we say “mildly to highly embarrassing” as dozens of heads turn to see whose Auntie is sobbing hysterically over the cartoon characters! I love a good cry, and attend every movie with popcorn, water bottle and a large handful of tissues.  J 

What’s your favorite tearjerker – movie or book? Any embarrassing moments as the tears flowed? Please share, I cant be the only one!

Leave a comment about your favourite tear-jerker and be in to win a copy of SHENANDOAH NIGHTS and SHENANDOAH CROSSINGS by Lisa Belcastro.

Book Blurb:

Tess Roberts may live on Martha's Vineyard, vacation spot for movie stars and presidents, but the Island feels anything but idyllic. Tess has had it with lousy dates, lying, cheating men, and the rules that forbid her from working on her family's centuries-old schooner, Shenandoah. Lucky for Tess, she knows a secret-the Shenandoah has magical powers. Her best friend, Rebecca O'Neill, once stayed in Cabin 8 and discovered a time portal that transported her to 1775. A month after Rebecca's "disappearance," Tess's father, brother, and Shenandoah's annoying first mate, Hawk, plan to shut down the time travel for good by dismantling the cabin. But what if Rebecca might someday need to come home? What if Tess isn't ready to say good-bye forever? Sneaking onto the ship late at night, Tess slips into Cabin 8 and drifts off to sleep. She wakes anchored off the New England coast amidst the American Revolution in 1776. The British frigate HMS Greyhound has seized Shenandoah and taken the crew, cargo, and all on board hostage. To make matters worse, Hawk is relentlessly tracking her, determined to bring her back to the twenty-first century against her will. Sparks begin to fly, from more than cannonballs and gunpowder....

Excerpt from SHENANDOAH CROSSINGS

Tess shook her fist, barely containing her desire to smack someone or something. “How many more jerks are there like him walking around? And you wonder why I don’t want to date! Creeps—way too many of them! Can you imagine how hollow Megan must feel, telling someone her dad is lying while her father is standing there actually lying to the guy! If he’s the example of single men on the island, Shenandoah, take me away!”
“And what about Hawk? You’ve had a crush on him for the last two years. Don’t bother denying it.”
            Tess snapped her head to the right, ignored her know-it-all brother, and stared out the passenger-side window. The coffee shop was closed, the gym looked empty through the big glass windows, a few cars were moving at a snail’s pace down Main Street, the yellow and orange mums in front of the bank were in full bloom. She thought about Hawk and his wavy blond hair and gorgeous blue eyes and the way he smiled when the sails were being raised and the sound of his laughter as he joked around with the crew or her father. And then she pictured every single moment she’d wished he had talked with her or smiled at her, but all he’d done was look away and ignore her.
Tess kept her eyes on the passing scenery and spoke softly, the slight tremble in her voice giving away her feigned disinterest. “What about him? He barely gives me the time of day. Only nice guy around for miles and two years later he still can barely speak to me, never mind ask me out. Rebecca had the right idea. Maybe Ben has a friend.”
            Andy glanced in the rearview mirror, and then slammed on the brakes. “Don’t even joke about it, Tess. If Dad didn’t kill you, I would. The boards are getting changed tomorrow, and that will be the end of any and all time travel from the Shenandoah. Got it?”
            Tess didn’t reply. She reached over and turned up the radio before slouching down in her seat. Arms crossed, heart saddened, and jaw set, Tess closed her eyes. She thought about Rebecca and considered the idea that maybe Captain Benjamin Reed, in his Colonial Boston sailor’s suit, was a knight in shining armor. And maybe all the knights live sometime prior to 1800. Rebecca had been gone a month. Surely she would have come home if she was unhappy.
Tess exhaled into a long sigh. She’s probably married by now and blissfully happy. She did mention Ben had a younger brother. Wonder if she’d like a visitor?

About the Author

     Lisa Belcastro lives with her family on Martha’s Vineyard.  She loves chocolate, reading, writing, running, working in her gardens, including weeding, and almost all outdoor activities -- as long as the temperature is above sixty degrees! Being on or near the water is pure joy for Lisa.
     When she’s not at her desk working on her next novel or writing the cuisine column for Vineyard Style Magazine, Lisa is volunteering at her daughters’ schools, serving in her church community, gardening and cooking up those vegetables, trying to run a marathon a month, or walking the beach with her husband looking for sea glass.
     It’s October in New England so I’ve got to say -- GO RED SOX!


Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Shenandoah-Crossings-Lisa-Belcastro/dp/1602903794
OakTara link: https://www.facebook.com/OakTara/app_200829146697795
www.lisabelcastro.com
www.facebook.com/belcastrolisa

20 comments:

  1. Of all the historical romances I have read, I have never read one set in the American Revolution! This book sounds great! Thanks for the interesting interview Lisa and Jean :-)

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    1. From Lisa

      Thanks Lani. Hope you enjoy Crossings. I had a blast writing it. :-)

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  2. Lisa, Your books sounds fascinating. I can't wait to read it. Best of luck with it!
    Barb Bettis

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    1. From Lisa

      Thanks Barb! I've had so much fun writing them.

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  3. Jean, thanks for hosting Lisa.

    Lisa--I enjoyed learning lots about you :) All your novels sound wonderful, especially all the delicious elements in your WIP. Blessings.

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    1. From Lisa

      Thanks for stopping by, Elaine! If I had more time, I could spend hours writing all the stories in my head. I keep waiting for some genius to invent a computer I can plug into my brain that will download my ideas while I sleep - lol.

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  4. Great interview! One of my favorite movies is The Bucket List and I cry every time he crosses off "Kiss the most beautiful girl in the world." You'd have to see the movie to understand.

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    1. From Lisa

      OMGosh, Pam, I'm crying just thinking about it! Between Morgan Freeman dying and Jack kissing his granddaughter, I was a total goner.

      Excellent choice!!

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    2. Hi Pam,

      Jean here. You have won the two books by Lisa Belcastro. Can you please email me, jeandrew@xtra.co.nz to claim your prize
      Many thanks


      .

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  5. Nice getting to know you better, Lisa. Your books sound very intriguing (added to my very large TBR list!!). As for movies, I avoid anything I think will make me cry. But Monsters, Inc caught me off guard. I still cry at the end, knowing that Boo will grow up and forget about Kitty. Geez, I'm tearing up just thinking about it!!!

    Best wishes on the marathon mission :-)

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    1. From Lisa:
      Thanks for stopping by, Tammy. Monsters Inc. - a totally awesome movie! We own it, of course - lol.

      I went on the Disney birthday site, where they match a character up to every day of the year. My character is Boo. I thought that was perfect!

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  6. Ha! There's another Lani that left a comment! Small world!

    Yes, that was a great interview and excerpt! And I love American Revolutionary novels. Write them myself!
    -Lani

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    1. Lani, the American Revolution is my favorite period in history. Maybe because I grew up in Boston, but I love the honor and valor of the men who sought freedom back then. It's almost too easy to create wonderful male leads!

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  7. How lovely! I especially enjoy stories set during the American Revolution and your books sound thrilling! I must confess that I avoid watching most sad movies,but sometimes I make exceptions.. Beauty & the Beast has been a favorite since childhood..Thank you for sharing with us!!

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    1. From Lisa,
      Thanks for stopping by Julianna. Isn't Beauty and the Beast awesome? The older Disney movies (and some of the new ones) are simply wonderful. Nice to meet another fan of the American Revolution! Wouldn't it be great to be able to time travel back to that period and meet some of the men and women who shaped this country?

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  8. Lady and the Tramp is the first one I cried over and still do, Bambi I cried also.

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    1. From Lisa:
      Hi Cherie,
      Two awesome movies! When my daughter started watching movies (back in the days of VHS), I made a second copy of Bambi and totally cut out the fire scene and anything scary. I did that quite a few movies until the kids were older. Lady and the Tramp is just down right sweet.

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  9. I've always said chaperoning school trips was eye-opening, not to mention exhausting! But the Shenandoah really does sound like a life-changing experience! Good luck with your last push to complete all 50 marathons! Yes, great material. All your book ideas fascinating!

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    1. From Lisa:

      Thanks Sara! The Shenandoah was the best trip ever to chaperone. Who knew a week with all those students would be so inspiring?!

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