Join me in welcoming multi-published author, Grace Augustine, to Monday Musings.
Nice to have you here today, Grace. Please introduce yourself.
Internationally known, Amazon best selling author, Grace Augustine, was born in Shelby, Montana and grew up in Cut Bank, Montana (dubbed as The Coldest Spot in the Nation). Her work career has taken her from title and abstracting to administrative assistant church work to co-owning a small town weekly newspaper to her current profession as a floral designer.
Grace thinks of herself as a “Jill” of most trades and is not afraid to learn new things. “If you can’t learn something new each day, there’s something wrong,” she says.
The ideas for her Acorn Hills series stem from her growing up years as well as the issues she has had to overcome along the way. “I’ve developed a new romance category…for the over 50 crowd…I’m calling it the salt and pepper genre. My books deal with real life issues, overcoming adversity, maintaining a positive outlook, and so much more. Just because we are 50 yrs old or older doesn’t mean that life stops. We all still want attention and affection and adventure! We want to experience all life has to offer. We use our age as wisdom to share with those around us. We are sexual, sensual, and sensible,” Grace explains.
Augustine was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in July of 2003. Her thoughts on that “It may slow me down, but if I can at all do it, I will. Sitting and feeling sorry for yourself isn’t the answer…living your life with an open, joy-filled heart is.”
What a great attitude, Grace. And, hey, I was born in Montana, too, and I still have many relatives living in that big sky state. Do you live in a city or small town, and what places do you most like to visit?
Currently I reside in a town of 2300 people, but will be moving soon to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I love to travel! Two years ago I drove to Toronto. What a beautiful trip. This year, I will be traveling to Montana to see friends, Washington for an author workshop, and possible to New Brunswick for a music festival.
Sounds like fun. Happy travels to you. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing (and traveling)?
I have many interests. I enjoy creating one of a kind art…jewelry, paintings, calligraphy. Music is my other muse. I do online promotions for an online radio station.
A truly creative person! Do you have a favorite author? Favorite book?
I have a lot of favorite authors…Debbie Macomber, Gina Ardito, Joanne Jaytanie, Donna Kauffman, Jaz Primo, Janet Dailey, Kim Law, Kristan Higgins, Karen Hawkins. My all-time favorite book is God on a Harley by Joan Brady.
I see some of my favorites on your list. So hard to pin just one down, isn’t it? Where do you write? Describe your writing space.
My current writing space is the left side recliner of my milk chocolate brown leather couch. It sits against the east wall in the living room. When I move, I hope to create a special little nook that has things to inspire me.
I hope you get that nook one day. When did you first become published?
My first book, Bittersweet—book 1 of the Acorn Hills Series—was published on October 5, 2013.
How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?
I currently have 12 books published and 2 that are in various stages. My favorite book today has to be Moonlight & Music, followed closely by A Soul’s Kiss.
Wow, I’m impressed. You’ve had a busy three years, haven’t you? Do you do much research before you start writing?
I research as I write…that was especially true with Richard’s Relics. I grew up during the Vietnam War, so it wasn’t taught. It wasn’t history. Like a sponge, I soaked in everything I read regarding that senseless time.
Do you enjoy the process or is it one more chore to get through?
I love the research part of writing. It allows me to learn more about subjects that become fodder for stories.
Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?
The inspiration for my stories comes from my life…people I’ve met, places I’ve lived, situations I’ve experienced.
I draw my inspirations in a similar manner and find it helps to evoke the emotion of the situation. Describe your hero and heroine.
Richard Dempsey is your all American good guy…all star athlete in high school, served his country in Vietnam, took care of his aging parents, didn’t date much in school…and finally comes to terms with his lifelong infatuation with the girl next door.
Jillian Stevens Halloran is a successful business woman…owner of Special Occasions flower shop, has many friends, lost her husband in a drunk driver traffic accident, raised two boys on her own, and dealt with the death of her parents. She is strong, but emotional at times…as we all are.
How much like yourself is your character?
Each character of every book has a part of me in them…Ginger has my spunky desire for food, Denise’s character is pretty much all me, as is Jillian.
Tell us about Richard’s Relics, Book 5 of the Acorn Hills Series.
War and its remnants are cruel. Just ask Richard Dempsey, a Vietnam Vet. Richard served his turn in Vietnam, but came home a changed man. Plagued with nightmares of the past, Richard and his friends go on a life changing trip back to modern day Saigon. Their hope…to slay the dragons that stole so much of their lives.
Each deals with his own demons. Each has life changing experiences. Each finds out the importance of friendship and family.
Sounds like a very emotional story. We’d love to read an excerpt.
“War is tough. I heard stories from my dad and grandpa. When Ron and I got married, we knew he’d be drafted within weeks of our honeymoon…and sure enough, they drew his number. That left me home alone. The day Ron left I found out I was pregnant with our older son. For the first four years of his life, Ron Jr. had no clue about his daddy.
“Sure, I had photos and would tell him, but it’s not the same as being able to climb up in the lap of your parent and hug them. It was rough, Richard. Every day, several times a day, I caught myself praying that Ron would come home in one piece.
“Letter after letter that Ron sent I read with sadness. There was always a death of someone close. I vowed then and there to live my life trying to help the survivors. So, here we are…” Jackie shrugged.
“So what is it that you do, Ron?” Richard asked.
“I drive a tour bus. I guess you could say I guide people around the countryside explaining what happened where. Richard, I know this will be of help to you. It was to me. Just seeing the land and talking with the people changed my way of thinking. It’s not like it was back then. Trust me.”
Richard shook his head. That would be a good reality if it could happen. He was tired of the nightmares, of waking up drenched in sweat, of hearing the screaming, and smelling the stench of death.
Powerful stuff! What can we expect from you next?
My health has been questionable since Christmas, so that has prevented me from writing as much as I’d like…keeps me from focusing. My next project is book 7, the final book, of The Acorn Hills series. I’m sad to see this series wrap up.
I wish you all the best with your health and with that final book. Once that’s wrapped up, will you be working on something new?
Yes, I am! I’m excited about a new standalone romance/life issues story…Poppy Tuck. I also have outlines for The Lindenport series (five books in this collection) and the Second Generation Acorn Hills series.
You’re certainly one busy lady. Where can we find you and your books on the internet? Please share your links with us.
Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog. Your support and encouragement mean so much!
It was lovely having you, Grace. Best of luck to you in all your future endeavors.