Sarah's Secret
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Interview Excerpts

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message 1: by Beverly (new)

Beverly I am looking forward to your comments this week. I will be giving away three print copies of "Sarah's Secret" randomly selected of those who comment during the week. And who sign up for my VIP Reader's List on

For the first post I thought I would share some edited excerpts from a couple of interviews. Books and Benches and Family Locket

What makes “Sarah’s Secret” special or unique to you? Can you give us a little story behind the story?

B: I heard the family rumors about my grandfather at a family reunion about twenty-five years ago. I was intrigued and wanted to learn more. When my career wound down, I began a genealogy search to find information about my mysterious grandfather. My grandfather’s hidden life became my grandmother’s devastating secret. I sorted through the yellowed pages of forms, correspondence and depositions at the National Archives since my grandfather was a Civil War Veteran. Then I pursued the search through seven states. When I discovered I could not find information needed to tell his story, I was encouraged to turn it into fiction. “Sarah’s Secret” is the result.

What was your greatest pleasure in writing “Sarah’s Secret”?

B: My greatest pleasure has been to write a story inspired by my grandmother who was a strong courageous woman. When I concluded the story needed to be fiction, I wanted the main protagonist to be modeled after my grandmother whom I knew until she died when I was in the seventh grade.

As I wrote the sections focused on Sarah, I felt I was channeling my grandmother. Although I had little factual information about her life during the time of the story, the qualities of Sarah’s character, her dialogue and both her strengths and weaknesses flowed easily. I wanted to tell the story of an amazing woman who bravely faced her own fears and over-came many challenges to become an inspiration and role-model at a time when women had few options to support their families. She managed to successfully raise her children as a single mother faced not only with poverty but with a debilitating and crippling disease.

Although I knew my grandmother when I was growing up, I only knew her through a child’s eyes and, of course, I didn’t know her at the time she was raising her children. Sarah’s personality is close to my memory of my grandmother. When I wasn’t channeling her, I just imagined how my grandmother would handle the situation.

I am pleased with the character Sarah became. She is not my grandmother but I am confident, she would like Sarah too.

Not ever knowing your grandfather, how did you bring his character to life in Sarah's Secret?

B: Developing the character based on my grandfather was a challenge, partly because I knew so little about him but also because he needed to be likable and understandable to the reader. Why would “Sarah” marry someone who abandoned a pregnant wife and five children? I searched for reasons why he might have abandoned his family. I tried various versions, I searched for acceptable rationalizations for abandoning his family and I explored how he might have justified not telling his second wife. Since it was the time of the “wild west,” I imagined scenarios from that time period and how he would handle them. The section of “Will” went through many re-writes as I addressed these issues of his character. My writing group, beta readers and my editor were all very helpful with feedback. I am happy with my final story and have gotten positive response from readers.

What impact has writing Sarah’s Secret made on your life?

B: Following the genealogy trail related to my grandfather was on my bucket list. But writing “Sarah’s Secret” has been my retirement project. It has given me structure, required discipline, offered me opportunities to be creative, to learn the craft of fiction writing and to expand my marketing muscles. I have had a non-paying job. I was highly motivated to tell my grandmother’s story so I treated it as my work.

Completing the book and publishing it has given me more satisfaction than I expected. There is a real rush in the recognition that I completed this goal from my bucket list. And it warms my heart when readers let me know that they have enjoyed the book.

I must admit that the promotion and marketing tasks demanded to sell my books have been the least favorite activities of being a self-published author. When I have more of the promotion and marketing behind me, I plan to delve more deeply into other branches of my family tree…and write some short stories. But I don’t think I want to write another book.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

B: I have learned many things through my own experience that colors the advice I would give to my younger self or others.

I grew up at a time when most girls were expected to get married and have babies. Fortunately, my parents encouraged me to get a college education and pursue a career. But my aspirations about career choices were limited--- to becoming a teacher, a nurse, a social worker or a secretary. I loved learning and my primary interests were learning about people and groups so I was attracted to psychology and sociology. I decided to go to graduate school. But I had no idea what I could do with the Master’s degree in Sociology. Even as I was encouraged by mentors and bosses, I believed I just needed to acquire the experience that would enable me to find a job where ever my husband landed. My horizon and my dreams were limited.

Over time, my aspirations grew, but in some cases, it was too late. Or perhaps I still believed it wasn’t possible for me to achieve. For many years I believed that I could not write fiction. I wasn’t creative enough. I am glad I have moved beyond that self-imposed limitation.

My advice to my younger self would be to dream big and to believe that you can do anything you set your mind to accomplish. Don’t be restricted by what others think you can do. It doesn’t mean it is simple or easy. But if you want something and work hard for it, you can achieve it. That is my advice today to young women I mentor and to my grandchildren.

message 2: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Cox | 122 comments Wonderful interview, Beverly! Thanks for sharing with us!

message 3: by Aurora (new)

Aurora | 19 comments Beautiful answers :) and am happy that age hasnt played as a barrier to stop your dreams.

message 4: by Carol (last edited Sep 03, 2018 09:59AM) (new)

Carol | 87 comments Enjoyed your interview. Looking forward to read
this intriguing & interesting story.
Thanks for sharing.

message 5: by Beverly (new)

Beverly Thank you for all your warm comments. We are off to a great start.

message 6: by Terry (new)

Terry Collins | 27 comments You did good with your first novel. It's pretty consuming when you take on a project like that. I didn't think I would ever write a novel, but as I uncovered the interesting story about my great great grandfather, it kept coming to me; "no one else is going to write this story."

message 7: by Kari (new)

Kari (karibovee) | 98 comments Mod
This book sounds fascinating Beverly! I look forward to reading it.

message 8: by Beverly (new)

Beverly Terry wrote: "You did good with your first novel. It's pretty consuming when you take on a project like that. I didn't think I would ever write a novel, but as I uncovered the interesting story about my great gr..."
Terry, I can really identify with your feeling that "no one else is going to write this story". Have you written it? If not I hope you do it sounds intriguing.

message 9: by Beverly (new)

Beverly Kari wrote: "This book sounds fascinating Beverly! I look forward to reading it."

Thanks Kari. Always nice to here that people are interested in the book.

message 10: by Debbie (new)

Debbie | 78 comments Great interview! Sarah’s Secret sounds really good!

message 11: by Eileen (new) - added it

Eileen Sanchez (goodreadscomeileen_sanchez) | 16 comments Getting into this conversation a few days late. I finished reading Sarah's Secret on, Monday, the last day of a week at the beach. I enjoyed learning about your fictionalized grandparents story. Despite Sam's deceit and the pain he caused Sarah you created a likable and complex character in Sam. I liked him although he made me angry.

message 12: by Beverly (new)

Beverly Debbie wrote: "Great interview! Sarah’s Secret sounds really good!"
Glad you are intrigued, Debbie. More to come.

message 13: by Beverly (new)

Beverly Eileen wrote: "Getting into this conversation a few days late. I finished reading Sarah's Secret on, Monday, the last day of a week at the beach. I enjoyed learning about your fictionalized grandparents story. De..."
Eileen, I am envious of a week at the beach! I appreciate your comments about Sam and finding him likable. It was a challenge to create his character as I will talk about this week. And I am not surprised that he made you angry. I was angry with my grandfather after I found out about his deceit.

message 14: by Eileen (new) - added it

Eileen Sanchez (goodreadscomeileen_sanchez) | 16 comments Beverly, our paths have paralleled. I am retired after a 40 year career in education and when I retired I also started writing. It wasn't my intention to write historical fiction. l but I did. It will be published by She Writes Press in fall 2019. I'll share more about that soon. Perhaps someday I can host a week as you are. I'm so pleased to be part of this group to learn from authors and readers. Best is to find some great books!

message 15: by Beverly (new)

Beverly Eileen, thanks for sharing how our lives have paralleled. Writing is a great retirement pursuit. I wish you success with your novel. This is a great group and offers so much opportunity to learn from others as well as to identify books to read. My list keeps getting longer!

message 16: by Carol (new)

Carol | 87 comments My books to read list seems to grow daily. Reading all the post does offer learning opportunities and a glance of other customs and other ways of living from both the authors and those that participate. An enjoyable part of my day!!!

message 17: by Beverly (new)

Beverly Carol,
I agree that reading the posts in this group is an enjoyable part of my day. Since I joined the group, I look forward to scrolling through the posts, learning about new books, how authors approached their research and writing and the historical backstories. And participants ask great questions and offer interesting perspectives too.

message 18: by Angela (new)

Angela Sanford | 82 comments I loved reading your interview. My grandmother was a strong and courageous lady and I always loved listening to her talk about the past. It amazes me what women in those days had to endure. I would love to trace my family tree and see where I have come from.

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