Tuesday, 15 October 2019

I Interviews

Interview: Lisa Belcastro - Part 2

In my first interview with author Lisa Belcastro, we spoke about the first book in her Winds of Change series, Shenandoah Nights. When asked if the time travel aspect was difficult to write, she said,  “I thoroughly enjoyed writing in two time periods. The concept of time travel fascinates me.” She also mentioned that she feels the most inspired while running. “My deepest, most awe-inspiring moments with God are experienced when I’m running. My running time is my thinking time, my prayer time, my listening time.”
 
I recently contacted her again as she wrapped up the series to inquire about the third book, Shenandoah Dreams. We discussed the time travel common theme and if it became easier for Belcastro to develop, and we revisited her inspirational moments, only this time, they present in the form of prayer walks.
 
MN-Shenandoah Dreams is the third book in the Winds of Change series, but many reviewers state it is a great one to begin the series with. Does this surprise you? 
 
LB-It is totally understandable. Shenandoah Nights opens with the mystery of Melissa's drowning. We don't read about what truly happened to her for another two books. I had to write Shenandoah Dreams because I wanted to delve into Melissa's story. I think it's natural for readers to want more of a character they are interested in. My suggestion, though, is that folks read the books in order. If someone reads Dreams first, she'll cheat herself of the romance, suspense, and wonder of each women's life unfolding.
 
MN-Of the three books in the series, which was your favorite to write and why? 
 
LB-Wow, Mary, that is one tough question! Each book had different reasons that I fell in love with the characters and the story. Some days I gravitate towards Nights because it was the first book, then I start thinking about Tess and Hawk, and all the lessons Tess had to learn before she found new life, and I remember the days I wanted to shake Tess and the nights I cried with her. But when push comes to shove, I would pick Dreams. Melissa had given up on love, not with bitterness or resentment, but simply believing that she wasn't destined to share her life with another. She lived a life that she loved, filled with a job she enjoyed, friends and family she cared for, and a church community she was actively involved in. She wasn't looking to change anything. Bam! She wakes up in 1770, has no clue how to get home, wants to go home, and then finds herself falling in love with Isaiah. I often wondered when I was writing the story how I would feel. Melissa lives each day uncertain what the morning will bring. Her faith is tested. In my life, those are times when I personally wish God would say, "Lisa, you're doing okay down there, you can skip this test and move on to a rest period." Melissa's story reminded me that we as Believers are all tested, usually at many points in our lives. Melissa struggled, doubted, cried, questioned, but she always surrendered her fears to God. I love that about her! And without giving away the ending, I will admit that I was crying as I typed the final pages.
 
MN-We talked a little in our last interview about the writing aspect of time travel plots. Did it get easier with each book?
 
LB-Fortunately, it did. I found a rhythm to the sequence. Although Rebecca, Tess and Melissa each experienced the time travel differently, both physically to their bodies and in what happened in their lives, by the third book I slipped seamlessly from one era to another. I began to feel as though I wasn't creating their worlds as much as I was visiting them. I could smell the lilacs, taste the apples, hear the ocean, touch the fabric of an eighteenth century gown, and see the dust rise on the dirt roads as horses trotted by. When I wasn't writing, I longed to hurry home and get back into their worlds. It is wonderful to have so many imaginary friends to visit in far off places. :-)
 
MN-This book takes the reader back to the Colonial Days of the late 1700's. Would you have been comfortable living in that era, or is 2014 your generation?
 
LB-I confess, I can't see myself living in 1770. Though I love a more simpler life and live without television, there are many perks of the modern day that I wouldn't want to be without. Hot running water is the first! Simple things such as a toothpaste, liquid bath gel, and other female necessities are luxuries I would miss, probably daily. Don't get me started on the kitchen - a gas stove, a freezer for all the vegetables I store from the garden harvest, and a Cuisinart. And I'm just getting started.  I am too spoiled by the conveniences of the twenty-first century, Mary, to transition willingly to life without them.
 
MN-Besides writing the Winds of Change series, you also write a cuisine column for Vineyard Style. Does that mean you get to enjoy the perks of chef-created meals as many food critics do, and if so, what was the most memorable experience you've had to date? 
 
LB-One of the true perks in life is eating the delicious food we photograph for a magazine layout. My favorite interview and meal has been with Jo Maxwell and David Joyce, the husband and wife team who own and operate Chesca's. I visited their restaurant many times before my editor picked them for an article. I was thrilled, and Jo and David were an absolute delight to spend time with. They invited us out to their home for the photo shoot. It was a beautiful sunny fall day. My stomach started growling as soon as I walked in the door and the aromas greeted me long before I laid eyes on the food. My editor shot the pictures, and I dutifully did my job of holding the light or white board at whatever angle he told me to. The whole time I was wondering if going back for seconds would be piggish. Needless to say, my concern was unnecessary. After loading up our plates and heading out to their deck, Jo casually mentioned that she wanted to send us home with food to share with our families. That interview brought two of the dearest people into my life, and we've shared many lunches, dinners, birthdays and celebrations since. An incredible blessing in my life, and my daughter Kayla was fortunate to work for Jo and David this summer. Double blessing, for sure. If you visit Martha's Vineyard, you've got to go to Chesca's. And do yourself a favor, order David's crab cakes. They are the best on the planet!
 
MN-With the holiday season around the corner, have you ever entertained the idea of writing a Christmas themed time travel novel?
 
LB-Yes! And I love to. I can envision visiting Rebecca and Ben and their children, maybe centering the story around Jonah and the woman he's in love with, who I've yet to create. The only catch is finding the time to right it. Maybe between trilogies?
 
MN-You frequently mention on Facebook that you take long, prayer walks. For many readers, this is a new concept but they may be interested in going on one for themselves. Can you share how you began this adventure and what it entails?
 
LB-Prayer walks are my favorite pastime. For decades I've prayed while I run. During a marathon, I would mark each mile by praying for someone specific. My prayer walks started when I began collecting sea glass. I found myself walking along the shore, hunting for those small treasures. One day I was walking, stressing about a situation when I needed to be praying. When I bent over to pick up a piece of sea glass, I told myself to pray. Okay, I forced myself to pray, since I'm being honest. I picked up the next piece, and prayed again. I spent the remainder of that walk praying every time I found a piece of sea glass. I gathered over two dozen pieces on that walk, and believe me I felt ten times better when I left the beach than when I'd arrived. The collecting and praying became a habit. After awhile, I would head to the beach to walk and pray when I found myself worrying or when a friend or family member needed prayer. These days, I go to the beach three, four, five times a week. You don't need a beach or sea glass to create a prayer walk. Use telephone poles, street signs, collect leaves, or pebbles, or flowers, or play the alphabet game and prayer for someone or something that begins with each letter. Any walk can become a prayer walk. Whatever form a prayer walk takes, it will transform the person praying.
 
MN-If you were to inherit a million dollars tomorrow, you would most likely spend it on.......
 
LB-First, I would pay off my mortgage so I could be debt free. Then I would talk to my friend Steve Scalici, who handles faith-based investments and giving at Merrill Lynch, and I'd ask him how best to utilize the monies for maximum reach to those in need. If there was money leftover, I'd buy some new lilac bushes, a couple hundred daffodil bulbs, and three or four new rosa rugosa bushes to replace the ones that were lost last winter.

Author Bio-Lisa Belcastro lives with her family on Martha’s Vineyard.  She loves chocolate, gardening, outdoor activities, cooking, laughing, reading, traveling, a healthy dose of adventure, and her cat Ben, who keeps her company while she spends hours working at the computer. She was inspired to write Shenandoah Nights, the first book in the Winds of Change trilogy, while chaperoning two Tisbury School summer sails with her daughter, Kayla, aboard the schooner Shenandoah. The weeklong adventure, sans electricity, Game Boys, iPods and modern conveniences, kindled her imagination to dream of an altogether different voyage. In addition to writing romance novels, Lisa currently pens the cuisine column for Vineyard Style magazine. She has worked as a staff and freelance reporter and photographer for The Chronicle of the Horse and as assistant editor at The Blue Ridge Leader. She has written articles for USA Today, Dressage (London), USA WEEKEND Magazine, The Blue Ridge Leader and Sidelines. When she’s not at her desk, Lisa is living in paradise, volunteering at her daughter’s school, serving in her church community, planting and weeding her numerous gardens, trying to run a marathon a month, or walking the beach looking for sea glass.
 
You can learn more about Belcastro by visiting her website, liking her on Facebook or following her on Twitter.

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