West Michigan – beautiful in winter and heaven in summer.
I grew up here and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio in the late 70’s where I lived for twenty-five years. I returned to Michigan in 2002 and I’m happy to be back by the big lake.
Good morning, Darlene and welcome to Vision and Verse, the Place for Art and Authors. What have you written?
My novella BARGAIN PARADISE is currently available as an e-book. It’s the humorous tale of an obsessive gardener and her neglected husband, a story for those who love to dabble in the dirt and others who wonder at the obsessive qualities the activity inspires.
Anyone interested can purchase it through the publisher at http://argonpress.com/.
Sounds like my kind of book. I love gardening and my garden. What is your favorite genre to write?
Humor, historical fiction and mystery are the genres I enjoy reading and writing.
I would have to say chocolate is my favorite food. A little bit is good for you, you know. LOL
Absolutely! I love chocolate It is a for group. Tea or coffee?
I love chai tea.
Pizza or ice cream?
I can’t eat either one. I have sensitivity to wheat, yeast, tomatoes and milk, among other things.
Where would you like to visit?
I would like to see Ireland one day since some of my ancestors came from there. It’s such a lovely green land in the pictures I’ve seen that I wouldn’t be surprised if my love of the color is due to an innate memory of the place.
Favorite musical artist.
I like so many different artists and types of music that it would be difficult to single anyone out. I was listening to a CD of John Denver’s greatest hits last night. He was a wonderful songwriter. Jimmie Spheeris is one of my all time favorite singer/songwriters. Pavarotti’s voice and his ability to sing from his heart led me to love opera. Cecilia Bartoli has a beautiful voice. Vladimir Horowitz was an incomparable pianist. Of Eastern musicians, Ali Akbar Khan is my favorite. It’s their ability to touch my heart that sets them apart.
Do you listen to music when you write?
No, I prefer silence while I’m writing.
Me, too. What makes you laugh?
Most often, the antics of children and cats tickle my funny bone.
How old were you when you started writing?
I was eleven-years-old when a teacher began encouraging me to write. I’ve been a reader since age four, fascinated by others’ stories, so it was a natural progression to begin writing my own. It wasn’t until I joined the Cincinnati Writers Project (CWP) in 2001 that I thought about publishing. A few previously published short stories and articles can be found on my website at http://darleneblasing.com/stories-articles/.
Describe your perfect evening.
An evening with my friend Don is always a perfect evening.
Where do you get your inspiration?
People inspire many of my funnier stories. Several friends and family members who saw my gardens in Cincinnati, Ohio were bitten by the gardening bug with beautiful results. One woman in particular was the inspiration for Bargain Paradise.
On the other hand, some stories are inspired by events that trouble me. That’s the case with the novel I’m currently working on, Death by Cold Steel. One house I owned in Cincinnati was near railroad tracks. A neighbor told me her cousin died on those tracks decades before. The family thought he was murdered, but it was ruled a suicide. Death by Cold Steel is my way of imagining what might have happened to that young man.
Incidentally, the breath-taking cover photo for that novel was shot by David Wendt, who lived a few blocks from me at the time. You can see it on the home page of my website. http://darleneblasing.com/.
What do you do when you get a writer's block?
I’ve had so little time to write the past few years that words pile up, waiting to be released onto paper. I have ideas for historical novels that will require months of research. When I retire next year and have more time to devote to writing, I expect the words will come pouring out as they did in the past when I wasn’t working.
Who is your favorite author?
There are so many great authors of the past that I’d better stick to contemporary writers. I still find it impossible to choose only one. For historical fiction, Sena Jeter Naslund and Charles Frazier are exceptional. For her sense of humor and understanding of human nature, I like Haywood Smith.
Best book you ever read.
I read Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings when I was in high school. I liked it so much I spread the reading out over three years so I could savor it (or savour it, as they say in the UK). I read many other books at that time, but the Ring Trilogy was my favorite.
Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard is my favorite non-fiction work.
Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
My father was my greatest influence. He was a very good man: kind, generous, hard working and fair minded in his dealings with others. He was an avid reader, too, just like me.
If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
I was asked that question by a college professor many years ago. My answer is still the same. I would love to have a conversation with Jesus. In spite of the research I’ve done, I feel that I know too little about him.
What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
Find a group of accomplished writers who are willing to critique your work and help you improve. Listen to their advice, but know that ultimately you are the best judge of what you want to say.