Flame From Within:
The journey of healing begins early for young Amethyst Rose (Aimee’s) soul. Her discovery of love and faith she thought she'd never find happens when a Yankee-induced fire destroys her family and her home. Because of her loss, ten and eight year old plantation-bred Aimee Lebrun, Vicksburg darling finds herself on the run and with a desire to perhaps, give up her life. Angry towards a God she’s never known and the men in blue, she finds her only choice left is to move in with her elder, controlling sister, who runs a bordello in The French Quarter of New Orleans-a decision guaranteed to destroy her personal respect and tarnish her family name. With her bitter hatred towards all Yankees plunged into high gear, nothing seems to matter anymore. Nothing, that is, until on a riverboat en route to New Orleans, Aimee finds herself intrigued by the presence of not one, but two Union officers and a Frenchman. Each find a way to tug at the heart and perhaps soul of this woman lost. Will she respond to one of them?
Q. Tell us a little about yourself first, Shirley.
A. I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon out by a creek, so I grew up a country girl from the start. I also knew from the beginning, or almost from the beginning that I would want to be a writer someday. My dad was a mystery writer back in 40s and I guess I picked it up from him. That is why for my pen name I kept his name (Kiger) in my writing name as a memorial to him. (He passed away in the 80s.) For hobbies, I love to watch old classical movies, read literature, poetry and historical romance novels. I also enjoy teaching Bible Studies to women and speaking at and going to retreats or preparing them. Something else that inspires me is moving my furniture around… if I am not outside talking to my chickens. My husband and I enjoy traveling also (quite a plethora of things, I know). I’m kind of a lady of many interests.
Q. Does where you come from or where you live now work into any of your writings?
A. It did in my first book, Mimi, which is out of print now. And of course in all my devotionals…very much so! I should say it does in my historicals as well, because if I had not traveled to the east coast and learned so much about West Point (The United States Military Academy) where I used to work and the south where I learned about the Civil War era, I might not have finished the novel I just did! So much history back there… I loved living back there!
Q. Who is your favorite character in the book that is out now and why? Can you tell us?
A. That is so difficult to answer! I got into so many of my characters! I really did! When I worked into their situations I tried to go deep and made charts on them, their pasts, their presents, and their futures, as if they were quite real My favorite Sometimes it was Aimee and sometimes I got terribly upset with her stubbornness. There were times when I really liked her best friend and I wondered if I was giving her too much space. Sometimes it was the captain. Yet then when he got indifferent I got upset with him too and wanted her to be in love with the lieutenant. There were times when I wished…
Well, Mimi, if you haven’t yet read the book, you are just going to have to. I just don’t know who in the end was my absolute favorite!
Q. Do you write in more than one genre? If so what? And how do you make it work for you?
A. Yes, besides historical romance, straight historical fiction. And then I mentioned above I write nonfiction devotionals. I am also going to attempt Regency. I think I would like to push toward Western but that is in the future.
Q. You write for the ABA market, I see, which is a smaller and newer press. Is it harder to reach the Christian audience out there or just as easy, and is there a reason you chose that market?
A. I do. Yes, it is more difficult. Because it is new, it isn’t involved in places like Crossings or Christian Book Distributors which makes my book at the mercy of places like Amazon and Barnes and Noble and Book Stores that are willing to place me on their shelves. That makes it tougher. I don’t get into clubs like CBA books, so I don’t get the promotional opps others do The reason I chose it? Being a newer author, I just reached out, and it happened to be the publisher, who liked my work first.
Q. What irks you the most about your writing experience?
A. That’s easy! Real easy! And I’ve shared it before. It happened to me at the first publisher and now it has happened again. It is when I see my book released and I find mistakes in my book and it is too late to do anything about it. It is humbling and I realize I still have a long way to go!
Q. And finally, what will you do next, Shirley, or do you already have something in the works
A. I am working very hard at cleaning up a project I have right now before sending it out next!
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME, Mimi. THIS WAS INDEED AN HONOR and a blessing! People can come visit me at my website anytime at http://shirleykoinonia.tripod.com/ or see a recent review of my book at http://longandshortreviews.blogspot.com/2008/04/review-flame-from-within.html . The readers can also leave a comment there if they would like!
My book will be officially released on the 30th but it is now UP and available at Amazon so people can purchase it.
Here is the link. http://www.amazon.com/Flame-Within-Shirley-Kiger-Connolly/dp/0979332710/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1208975606&sr=8-1