Happy Monday, Reader Friends!
I hope you had a blessed Easter. My kids are back in school after their spring break and I’m ready to blog!
Today I’ve got the awesome Sally Bayless visiting. She’s allowed me to interview and talk about her novel, Love, Lies, and Homemade Pie. I adore the title, don’t you?
Grab a cup of tea (or coffee) and chat with us!
About the Book
When a woman who’s keeping secrets falls for a journalist who’s digging for the truth, does the attraction between them stand a chance?
Toni: Welcome, Sally! I’m so excited to talk about Love, Lies, and Homemade Pie with you. How ever did you come up
with the title?
Sally: Hi Toni! Thanks so much for having me as a guest on your blog!
Titles are always such a challenge! To come up with this one, I spent several hours scribbling ideas on paper with my favorite turquoise pen. Row after row of ideas, most of them bad. I looked at titles with the word “secrets.” I looked at old song titles, which seems to be a trend in romance book titles. I even considered naming this book “I Honestly Love You.” But it seemed…a little too Olivia Newton John. Not that I don’t like Olivia, but the book isn’t about her.
Thinking about the word “honestly,” though, made me think about honesty and about the opposite—lies. And lie rhymed with pie, and pie is right there in the middle of the romance plot. All of a sudden, I had a title!
Toni: I think I need to hear more about this turquoise pen. The story takes place in Abundance, Missouri. Tell us about it. What makes it special?
Sally: Abundance is very dear to my heart! It’s an imaginary small town in north-central Missouri and all my books are set there. Abundance has what I love most about small towns—people who care about each other and pull together to help each other. It also has Cassidy’s Diner, where the specialties include cinnamon rolls and homemade pie. (Yum!) And, just like any small town, it has people who know everyone else’s business.
Toni: Gotta love small towns! Your hero, Will Hamlin, is a newspaper editor. What kind of research did you do to weave his job in the story?
Sally: I studied journalism in college and later worked at a newspaper in North Carolina, so some things, like the values of a real journalist and the energy of a newsroom, were easy to write.
The hard part was that I wrote the whole book as if it took place at the time when I worked in a newsroom, the early 1990s. After the first draft was done, I realized that part was wrong. This novel is a prequel to the rest of my series and the ages of the characters in the rest of the series were set. I had to change this book to 1980 to make it fit.
In the early 1990s, in the newsroom in my mind, reporters used computers. In 1980 in a small town, reporters used typewriters. I’d never worked in a newsroom that had a typewriter. I didn’t know exactly how a story got from the typed page to being typeset. Luckily, a friend’s dad had purchased a small-town Missouri newspaper when he graduated from journalism school in the 1970s, and he was kind enough to explain things!
Toni: Awesome! If your characters’ had to choose a life verse, what would it be and why?
Sally: John 8:32. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
In the end of the book, I think this verse has a two-fold meaning for my characters. Knowing the truth about Jesus makes a big difference in their lives, especially in the life of the heroine, Cara. But both the hero and the heroine’s lives are also affected by steps they take to be more honest with each other and with the world.
Toni: Great verse! Tell us a little about yourself. What made you start writing?
Sally: I’m happily married to a guy I’ve known since before I can remember, and we live in a little town in Appalachian Ohio, almost in West Virginia. We have two grown kids—a son who works in Seattle and a daughter who’s in college—and a wonderful church family. After a brief stint in journalism, I worked in corporate communications, then as an at-home mom. All the while, whenever I had a free moment, I was reading.
Because of that love of reading, in 2009, I made a New Year’s resolution to write a novel. I had tried a time or two when I was younger to write fiction, but never put in the time to finish a book. But ten years ago, in 2009, my kids were in school full time. My at-home mom duties mostly involved getting everything ready so that from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. the family could run like clockwork from the orthodontist to swim practice for both kids to dinner waiting on the table at 7:30. But I had a little time in there each day while they were at school, and I took it! I started writing in January and by the end of April I had a book! It was a really terrible, meandering book, but it was a book—and I was hooked. Then I just had to learn how to make it better.
Toni: I did something similar in 2014. Woohoo for New Year’s resolutions! What does your writing space look like? Do you listen to music when writing or need complete silence?
Sally: I have a home office that is filled with books, a large computer monitor, and an emergency supply of chocolate. And earplugs, for those days when the neighborhood isn’t perfectly quiet. I’m definitely a fan of silence.
Toni: Chocolate is definitely necessary when writing (or editing, especially editing). And last but not least, how can readers help you on your writing journey?
Sally: The best thing readers can do to help me on my writing journey is to join my email newsletter, which comes out every couple of months. I include information about my new releases, fun stories about being a writer, and suggestions of Christian fiction that I’ve been enjoying reading. New subscribers receive a free “Insider’s Guide” to my books, as well as a family tree for the people who interconnect my series, the Hamlins. I also invite newsletter subscribers to keep in touch, which is so vital. Being a writer can sometimes be a bit lonely and hearing from a reader is the best! To subscribe to my newsletter, please visit http://bit.ly/NewsfromSally.
Toni: Great! Readers, do you have any questions for Sally?
About the Author
Sally Bayless writes contemporary Christian romance that features compelling characters, real-world problems, and uplifting endings filled with the power of love. She lives in the beautiful hills of Appalachian Ohio and has two grown children. When not working on her next book, she enjoys reading, watching BBC television with her husband, doing Bible studies, kayaking, and shopping for cute shoes. For updates on her writing and a free insider’s guide to her books, subscribe to her newsletter by visiting http://bit.ly/NewsfromSally.