Sunday, July 7, 2013

Author Interview with Laura H. Rhodes

Laura H. Rhodes
Kila, Montana

What have you written?
The First Snowflake of Winter

What is your favorite genre to write?
My favorite genre of books is Bedtime Stories, which might not be a separate genre, but it should be.  Some books were just made to be read with a freshly bathed child in your arms who is wearing cozy pajamas preferably with “footies” and a zipper.  Ahh, I can smell the bubble bath and feel the snuggles just writing about it!  A good bedtime story should have a pattern that the little snuggle bug can slightly predict, but it should also have a bit of a surprise for the little one, too.

Favorite food.
My favorite food is - Italian anything! I was raised with a big Italian extended family and food was the center of time spent with them.  We ate homemade raviolis, lasagna, cannoli, Italian cream cake, you name it!  The Italians have a saying, “at the table one never grows old” which means that over a great meal with great friends and family, time stands still.  Indeed it does!

Where would you like to visit?
I would love to visit Jerusalem.  It’s the place with the most history on earth; a place where some of our most dramatic events have not just been dreamed or imagined, but actually lived out by meek, humble characters and bold, vivacious ones as well.  It’s a place where even the dirt has a story; as they dig they find the layers of fire destruction like lines on a page and the layers of building upon building like pieces of an eternal puzzle.  I would like to walk amongst the ancient olive groves on the Mount of Olives, visit the sheepfolds in Bethlehem, and see the sun glint off of the storied limestone at daybreak.

Favorite musical artist.
My favorite musical artist is my big brother, Mark Hathaway.  He has music notes in his DNA, not letters.  He has a perfect ear and can recreate any music he hears.  He plays complex guitar pieces by ear.  He performs with his drums in a Brazilian drum corps.  He played “The Entertainer” after watching a player piano perform it – once!  He also sings well and makes up funny songs about things around him.  He’s the best!

How old were you when you started writing?
I used to write poetry when I was young – pre-K all the way through my 20’s.  Once kids came into the picture, I began to tell the kids stories.  My first two children were eleven months apart.  I started telling stories to the kids in my sleep-deprived state, which only involved describing places I have explored around the world that I knew they would find interesting.  When I ran out of places, I began to tell the kids stories about characters that they could relate to (which was cheaper than going on more adventures and less time-consuming).  The kids enjoyed them so much that after retelling certain ones many times over, my husband suggested that I write them down since all of the kids could read by then.  And that was just the beginning ….

Where do you get your inspiration?
Inspiration is all around us.  If we slow down from the pace of modern life while becoming aware of our surroundings, we can find inspiration even in small moments.  Characters are all around us.  We come into contact with so many people each day – the cashier at the supermarket, the gal at the front desk at the gym, the librarian, the butcher, the baker – well you get the idea!  Everyone has a funny uncle and a crazy aunt to use as a character in their latest story.  If not, then surely there are in-laws worth writing about.  I live in a beautiful area of the country with scenery every direction you look, but cities can provide great settings as well.  Imagine all of those things on another planet and you might really be on to something!

What do you do when you get a block?
I walk away.  When I clean or do some other menial task, I have time to think and the writing has time to “cool.”  When I come back to it, I am refreshed and the ideas flow (plus my house is clean).

Who is your favorite author?
The author I most admire is Tricia Goyer.  She weaves very complex tales in historically accurate times and places all while being a home school mom like me.  She has the same “glamorous” life that I do, taking a break from writing to make lunch for hungry kids.  I wrote a screenplay (as a collaboration with my filmmaker husband) and laughed when I had to stop at a highly suspenseful scene to help with Math homework.  I knew that Tricia Goyer could relate!

What the best book you ever read?
The best book I have ever read is the Bible.  It was written in such rich and complex languages that one word on the page in the original text would take a paragraph to explain.  It tells the rich history of very real humans in the hands of a very real God.

Who is the one person who has had the most influence on your
life and why?
My Dad was the biggest influence in my life.  He loved me deeply and unconditionally.  As a former perfectionist, I appreciate that he always told me to do my best.  I would get disappointed if perfection wasn’t achieved, and he always graciously walked me through those moments.  He helped me to realize that my best effort was just the perfect thing to apply to any situation and the outcome would be something that I could be pleased with.  I was very blessed to have been given such a wonderful father.

What person, living or dead, real or fictitious, would you like to sit 
down and have a conversation with?
I would love to have a long conversation with the apostle Peter.  I appreciate his uncanny bluntness and ability to say what everyone in the room was probably also thinking.  He was Jesus’ right hand man and was in most of the pinnacle moments of the beginning of Christianity.  His perspective combined with his personality would make for one fascinating conversation.

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