Tag Archive | fall

Author Interview fourth question


Fourth question for Author, Sheryl Hames Torres: Do you work any reality from your own life into your novels? If so, do you change it to make it more or less dramatic? How and why?

I’ve never heard that Peter Benchley ever out-swam big sharks, or William Peter Blatty had a family member whose hobby was spinning her head around, or for that matter that Michael Crichton grew dinosaurs in his backyard. However, like actors draw on events in his/her life to reflect emotion in a script, so does an author have to be able to connect with something in their lives to make his/her stories real.

In most of my stories you’ll find children because I believe they are the extensions of love, of growth and survival. I know what it’s like to love a child with the very essence of my cells, be terrified while praying like a manic priest the kid lands on his feet with his ankles still intact when he’s done taking flying flips off buildings.If there’s an argument between a married or dating couple I know just how to make him stubborn, and how far she can grind her teeth before she decides to thump him in the forehead. LOL I know what spring air/rain tastes like, what fall smells like. I know from spending July in Georgia what the backdoor of hell feels like, and I know claustrophobia from being stuck indoors for a couple of days when 3 feet of that horrible white stuff falls even though it’s not supposed to blanket Georgia backyards. So I put as much of that as I can in my stories.

KatesHouseCoverArt72dpi      IllusionsCoverArt72dpi    Kate’s House and Illusions now available at Amazon.com

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I. AM. SO. SPOILED.


Sunday was such a gorgeous day. Grey and overcast, a delicious breeze and the high never even reaching seventy. The smell of impending rain filled the air. My kind of day. The kind of day that makes me want to plant my rear in my chair and pound away on my keyboard. So, my first thought when I got home from lunch with my sweetheart? “First email, then Facebook, then I write the afternoon away.”
Then I remembered. No internet.
First let me say, I am not a fan of change of any kind. When I get comfortable with something, I settle in and I stay there. I don’t change willingly and never without a lot of kicking, spitting, biting, and screaming. So when I tell you we’d been with the same phone company for more than twenty years and had our internet service with them for nearly that long, suffice to say, this is the truth. Did I like it? Well for a good long time, yes. It was just enough for my husband—who had only signed on to play PopIt!—and me with my classes and such.
Then the children grew up. By the time they got into high school there were some nights we had three computers going at once—usually after dinner because I demanded we have one meal together, at the same time, in the same room. By college, well, dinners together still happen occasionally, but my son, the recluse, usually spends his time off somewhere, working, tricking (that’s a form of parkour and obstacle course free-running, not what it used to mean), or playing video games in his room. The internet, however, spent its time breathing hard from trying to accommodate all of us on at the same time. My husband has discovered that he can play his games online, and now pays bills and balances his checkbook online as well. That’s huge people.
Add to all that, we all have cell phones now, so our landline which we needed in order to have internet service was an expensive waste of money for something we never used. The only time it rang was when solicitors would call at the crack of dawn explaining to me that they were exempt from the No-Call list because we used to have Sears/JCPenny, Macy’s/fill-in-your-favorite-credit-card-company, and since those big companies have hundreds of smaller companies, they’re allowed to call us, because whateverthehell company they belong to still considers us customers. Isn’t that nice?
NO.
So, with less violence than I expected, I decided to find an internet company that didn’t require a landline. Enter one who shall remain nameless. Word of advice: If you are offered a bang up deal but it includes a data plan, RUN! When they tell you that 10GBs a month will be more than plenty of data for a family of four adults who are constantly on the internet for one reason or another, call them bald faced liars. We were doing great for two weeks, then the data report shot from “You are within your expected data use” to “You have exceeded your expected use. Would you like to buy some more? But don’t forget, you have 10GBs of bonus data that’s good from 2-6 am.”
Needless to say, we’re changing again…NO violence this time. But until then…unless I want to get up in the middle of the night, I have no internet. I was cut off from the world. I couldn’t send emails, I couldn’t get emails, I can’t reach anyone on FB or keep up with anything that’s going on—
Wait!
Smart phone!!! I can do all that on my cell phone! Thank you, Jesus!
Okay. At that point, I realized something about myself, and it wasn’t pretty. I. Am. Spoiled. Not just spoiled, but ridiculously so. I can’t go a week without Facebook? I can’t take a few minutes out of my idiotically busy days (I don’t have my own schedule—I live by everyone else’s) to call my sisters or my best friends? Apparently not. Though, I do call them almost daily, it’s usually using my cell phone in the car with the speaker on.
Whenever I am off from the house and I discover I’ve forgotten my phone, my heart starts racing and my eyes immediately go to the “check engine” light and the “you’re out of gas, idiot” light. I have the overwhelming urge to pull over and check my tires. I mentally figure out where everyone is and what they’re doing, and remember that my husband got me a cell phone because there’s no such thing as phone booths with actual working phones in them anymore. What if I get in an accident? What if someone gets hurt or sick? How will I know? How will they get in touch with me? Not to mention, if they try to get in touch with me and can’t, what will they think? We’re talking bordering on panic attack.
After my freak out, no matter how far away I am, I turn myself around, drive back and get the phone, then start over again. That can’t be normal. Normal people don’t do things like that.
What happened to the farm girl I used to be? The one who would go off for hours some fifteen acres from my backdoor, and write? I never worried about how I was going to let anyone know if I got bit by a snake, or fell out of the tree I was sitting in with my pens and notebooks, or became trapped up in that tree by one of the wild boars I never saw, but everyone claimed were in the woods. I just trekked out there with a big stick and one of our dumber-than-dirt dogs—they’d have been no help at all—climbed the tree and sat on the branch bent into the shape of a four by one of Georgia’s famous ice storms, with my back against the trunk and my feet against the bend. I’d get lost in the words until I noticed it was getting dark, then trek back to the house. No cell phone. No Bat signal. Just me and a big stick, a denim tote made out of the leg of an old pair of jeans filled with my writing, and a dumb dog.
It’s sad to lose one’s innocence. To know what dangers lurk, and be so afraid of having to resort to big stick thinking that you turn around and go back for a little 2×4 piece of technology.
Still, I managed to get more words on pa—screen than I have in weeks. The weather is beautiful and fall’s on the way. I had a lovely lunch with my husband. My daughter called to see what time she needed to wake her brother for work. I talked to two of my best friends. And my son called me to let me know he got to work okay and to tell me he loved me.
Okay, I’m spoiled. I freely admit it, but maybe this technology thing isn’t all bad. Oh, and we get new internet service…without a data plan…on Friday. Yeah, baby!

Time to make the soup…

The Last Weekend of a Lackluster Summer…


(or…The Countdown to a MUCH Better Summer…)

It’s eleven-forty-five on the first Saturday morning in almost four months that my family has been able to sleep in, and up until about fifteen minutes ago, my house has been so quiet. Everyone (including the fur balls and except Dusty) are just now waking up. It’s the next to the last official weekend of summer, and I stand and wave it off  as thrilled to see it go as houseguests who’ve overstayed their welcome.

I thought it’d never leave!

I have to say, after Spring Semester…yes, in our house we tend to count time passage in terms of semesters…which will forever be thought of as the Semester  From Hell, I had such high hopes for the summer. Best laid plans and all that. Since mid-May my husband has had a total of seven days off. Seven. SEVEN days out of the last one hundred ten to sixteen hour a day, the majority of which were at least twelve hours long. He comes home, smiles at me and says, “I remember you. You’re that girl who I see when I turn over in the middle of the night.” To say he’s exhausted would earn me the lifelong title, The Queen of the Understatement.

The beginning of summer involved bouts of near pneumonia for my daughter and I, then right into weeks of redecorating, followed by an exhausting but wonderful Fourth of July celebration with my family here at the house—one of Mark’s seven days off. I came out of that hectic pace oddly energized and ready to work, only to be informed that my publisher was restructuring their lines and was pulling two of the three book contracts I’d been recieved at the beginning of the year.

So instead of spending the latter half of the summer kicking butt editing those two books, I was thrown into a state of hardly wanting to turn on my computer. I got a lot of Words With Friends and Farmville 2 done. I guess that’s something.

Now, we are back into the school schedule. My daughter is overjoyed with her schedule and her classes. My son is back in college—Thank You, Jesus!—and loving it!—thank You again. My husband’s work schedule is winding down to some semblance of a normal human’s work schedule, and we can all say goodbye and good riddance to a very long, very dull summer. We have gone nowhere, done nothing since the Fourth, except an occasional spur-of-the-moment lunch out and one movie where the lead actress spent the entire film time staring at Tom Cruise with slack-jawed expressions that had she realized they made her so very closely resemble a camel, she would certainly have rethought the entire thing.

My husband and daughter have this weekend off. My son works all night tonight and until midnight tomorrow night, so the next two days will be spent catching up on sleep—and listening to Courtney hum while she cheerfully diagrams 50+ word sentences. (No, I didn’t drop her on her head as a baby, but I am wondering if it is a genetic condition for which there is funding or a study.) Next weekend, however, we have a three-day weekend. I will be turning off all cell phones, cross my fingers that Dusty can get Monday off, and we will head to the Smokies for a day of some much needed inspiration and rejuvenation.  Miracles have always happened for us up in those mountains. Maybe when we get back, I’ll have found my missing motivation to write again. Who knows?

What I do know is I’m so ready for Fall Soup.

Enjoy yours…