One of the blessings of authorship is sharing with other authors. People I never would have met I now count among my friends. Take, for example, Clarice G. James, who was the 2nd place winner in the 2014 Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel contest. Join us as we chat about her debut novel Double Header.
Hi, Clarice. Thank you for joining us today.
You learned at the Writer to Writer Conference last January that you were the 2nd place winner in the Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel contest. How did you feel when you heard your name called? How and with whom did you first share the news?
Numb is the word that best describes how I felt–mainly because I’d been sick the whole weekend and had not slept much at all! The first chance I got, I called my husband–my biggest supporter.
What’s the story behind your award-winning novel? And when did the idea begin percolating?
A rising Boston sports columnist (who shares a by-line with her brother) fears losing the unblemished memories of her late father when she learns she has a half brother no one knew existed. In her search to identify this walking threat to her father’s reputation, she learns God’s playbook is less about her well-ordered plans and more about His.
The idea flowed from my first book entitled Party of One, which is the prequel to Double Header. Although a stand-alone novel, the protagonist in Double Header is the daughter of the protagonist in Party of One. I entered my first book in the Operation First Novel contest twice. I was a semi-finalist, then a finalist. The third time, I entered Double Header hoping for better results. It worked!
Reviewers have labeled Double Header as “a mystery of the heart,” a humorous women’s contemporary, a “breezy romp,” and a “refreshing change from the usual chick-lit.” Which of these descriptors comes closest to your own?
Definitely not a breezy romp. It does have humor and a bit of mystery, but I think a “refreshing change from the usual chick-lit” is a more apt description.
On your website you quip, “First I change your name. Then I put you in my book. What happens to you next depends on whether I’ve had my coffee.” (Tweet That!) Are there people in your life or past who might recognize themselves in Double Header?
My daughter and three of my friends have all said the protagonist, Casey Gallagher, reminds them of themselves–all for different reasons. I definitely utilized my daughter’s work ethic, athletic interests, and relationship with me to develop Casey. I also incorporated my two sons’ back and forth humor and wisecracking. But some of Casey’s control issues are more me than anyone else.
I smiled and sometimes chuckled as I read your bio on your website. One reviewer referred to the “snappy repartee” between characters Casey and Griffin; another, to their “humorous bantering.” Have you always viewed the world through a lens of humor?
Yes, my brain automatically goes there–even when it’s not totally appreciated or appropriate. If I can make someone laugh, we both feel better. (Tweet That!)
Tell us about baseball’s connection to your life. Are you a lifelong fan of baseball or sports in general? Did you interview professional baseball players for Double Header? What other connections exist between your life and this story line?
As a child, the only person I knew who liked to watch baseball on TV was my paternal grandfather. And since he always fell asleep during the game, I assumed it was boring. Any connection to or interest I have in baseball or any other sport came much later through my husband and children who are avid fans. I didn’t interview professional baseball players, but I read a lot of blogs, did a lot of online research, and then ran my “facts” by those I knew would correct me if I was wrong.
I grew up on Cape Cod, and my daughter lives in Plymouth, so I know the area. When I was a teenager, my sister and I would go to the Cape Cod Minor League Games, more to see the cute college boys than to follow the game.
Thank you for sharing your story with us. Where can readers learn more about you and your special brand of fiction?
Find me on my website, www.claricejames.com. I blog from there weekly, too. You can also catch me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and GoodReads. Thanks for the opportunity, Linda! I look forward to reading the 1st place winner: The Calling of Ella McFarland.
Readers, next week I’ll interview the 3rd place winner of Operation First Novel, Christy Brunke, author of Snow Out of Season. Subscribe to this blog so you won’t miss it!
Lord, we pause to thank You for the gift of sharing. Where would we be without it? In poverty of spirit. Lonely. Discouraged. And afraid. Teach us to share better tomorrow than we did today. For Jesus’ sake. Amen