A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to do a “GEM“(Guest Excerpt Moment) with Author Grace Augustine and featured her second book in the series. At that time she was extremely busy where she works and couldn’t do an interview. Today I boarded my virtual plane and flew to Iowa to meet with her. She took just a moment away from designing and creating the most beautiful flower arrangements, corsages, wedding bouquets and other expressions of floral love. We met in a coffee shop just down the street from the flower shop.
I give her a hug when she arrives. I would know here anywhere and have so looked forward to meeting her. She laughs and hugs me back. We settle at a small table by the window. I have her book with me and lay it on the table.
“Hi Grace. I feel as if I know you. This interview is a treat for me.” The coffee shop offers some healthy snacks and I decide we both could use the treat. “What’s your favorite fruit?”
“Well, before I was diagnosed with Atrial Fib and put on medication for it, ruby red grapefruit was my favorite. Now, because of other issues, the only fruits I enjoy are berries….but I do enjoy a glass of wine now and again. lol”
I grin. Okay. Berries it is!
I come back to the table and we relax with our coffee and fruit. Since I live near Seattle, I have a latte. “Tell me…what are your current writing projects?”
“The Acorn Hills series continues with book 3, Sultry Sensations. This is Denise Berrie’s story. Denise comes from the “wrong side of the tracks”, over comes many obstacles and in so doing is a successful business owner. There will be 2 more books following, Book 4…Richard’s Relics and Book 5…Special Occasions. I have plans for a 2nd generation series as well.”
“I have both of your books in my To-Be-Read pile. I find it interesting the special niche you are writing in. Have you ever read or seen yourself as a character in a book or a movie?”
She takes a long sip, enjoying the warmth before answering. “Truthfully, Holly, the issues in these books are real issues that I’ve struggled with. I’ve been on the end of a relationship where my partner had to have multiple other women to be satisfied. I was a victim of physical and sexual abuse as a young teen. I’ve dealt with the loss of good friends in Vietnam, aging/dying parents, being a business owner, having children who march to different drummers. Each character in each book is a facet of me, with a whole lot of imagination tossed in as well.”
It’s interesting how every writer’s style is as unique as we are. My heart warms with her honesty.
“Grace, what do you consider your biggest failure?”
“I think my biggest failure has been the insecurity of never being enough. After having it drilled into my head for so long that I wasn’t enough in any area of my life, it’s been a challenge to take that concrete block off my back and confidently stand on it in victory…but I’ve done it….even though there are shards of concrete that fall on me now and again.”
My smile is a bit sad as her answer resonates inside me.
I lean forward. “Are you making some influences on the world or constantly being influenced by the world?”
“I certainly hope I’m influencing. I believe it is my life path to encourage and love and help as many as I can to see their life paths. I wouldn’t change a thing in my life or a time either….everything I’ve seen, everything I’ve experienced make me who I am today…and that allows me to speak with knowledge and wisdom (contrary to what my children would tell you! lol) I want others to see that life doesn’t end at 50 or 60….it continues….it is rich and filled with hope and possibility..”
She has to go back to work and I need to board my virtual plane and get back to my work and my own writing. I give her a long hug. “Grace it has been a joy meeting you. Thank you so much for sharing your time with me.” She waves and disappears back into the floral shop.
Here is an excerpt from Bittersweet:
The town of Acorn Hills nestled snugly at the base of the Cascade Mountain Range with the Klikatka River meandering through the middle of town. It was a community that was booming with businesses; top ranked schools and friendly, welcoming people. The economy was stable. Dairy and fruit farms dotted the land and the citizens, for the most part, took pride in what their town had to offer. The welcome sign at the entrance to the city summed it up well… “Acorn Hills, home of 35,000 amazing residents with a few nuts mixed in for good measure!”
Jake Evans had driven past that sign so many times in his life. Now that he was home again, he’d drive by it a couple times a day, at least. He smiled as he remembered more of why he was back in Acorn Hills.
Living on the East Coast opened Jake’s eyes to a lot of differences between the big city and his home town, but now he had to return to Acorn Hills. The death of his father brought him back. Because of that fact, he now not only owned a business but also ran a business; he a new life to live, new people to meet. And, this would allow him to check up on Jillian Halloran, the woman of his dreams.
Jake’s mind had wandered back to the day they had first met. He had taken a few vacation days and had come home to visit his folks. His dad, John, invited him to attend a Chamber of Commerce luncheon and Jillian was also in attendance.
He couldn’t take his eyes off of her. From the moment he entered the Oakdale meeting room where the luncheon was held he seemed to watch her every move. There was something so wholesome, so pure and unexplainable about this woman. Jillian Halloran. His dad had told him she owned and operated a floral shop in the new district not far from Austin and Evans. He made a mental note and would definitely have to explore that further.”