Sunday, July 31, 2011

Spotlight Interview with Christine Nolfi

Author Bio

Christine Nolfi owned a small public relations firm in Cleveland, Ohio. Her articles and press releases have appeared regionally in northeast Ohio. Her short story, Night Hour, appeared in Working Mother magazine.

She closed the firm fifteen years ago after traveling to the Philippines and adopting a sibling group of four children. She has been writing novels fulltime since 2004. Treasure Me is the first book of the Liberty, Ohio series, available at Amazon.

The second book in the Liberty series, Second Chance Grill, will be released summer, 2011.




Petty thief Birdie Kaminsky has arrived in Liberty, Ohio to steal a treasure hidden since the Civil War. She’s in possession of a charming clue passed down in her family for generations: Liberty safeguards the cherished heart.

The beautiful thief wants to go straight. She secretly admires the clue’s author, freedwoman Justice Postell, who rose above the horrors of slavery to build a new life in Ohio. According to family lore, Justice left South Carolina at the dawn of the Civil War. Heavy with child, she carried untold riches on her journey north. As Birdie searches for the treasure, she begins to believe a questionable part of the story: a tale of love between Justice and Lucas Postell, the French plantation owner who was Birdie’s ancestor.

If the stories are true, Justice bore a child with Lucas. Some of those black relatives might still live in town. Birdie can’t help but wonder if she’s found one—Liberty’s feisty matriarch, Theodora Hendricks, who packs a pistol and heartwarming stories about Justice. Birdie doesn’t know that an investigative reporter who has arrived in town will trip her up—as will her conscience when she begins to wonder if it’s possible to start a new life with stolen riches. Yet with each new clue she unearths, Birdie begins to discover a family history more precious than gems, a tradition of love richer than she could imagine.

AN EXCERPT OF TREASURE ME

Birdie lowered her nose to the bowl and sniffed. “What is this? It smells funny.”
“Squirrel stew.”
“Made with real squirrels? The kind that hide acorns?”
Theodora feathered a hand across her brow. “What other kind of squirrel is there?”
“Can I order a pizza?”                                                            
“When Justice came north, you can’t imagine what she ate to survive. Foraging through the woods, with ne’er a pot to cook a decent meal or a weapon to bring in game. Now, eat your stew.” Theodora waited with her dark gaze snapping until Birdie brought a spoonful to her lips. After she’d gulped it down, the old woman said, “Now, where was I? Justice came to Liberty with nothing but the clothes on her back. A kind woman on the Underground Railroad outside Columbus wrapped the slave’s bleeding feet with strips of cotton. Those were her shoes.”
Birdie spooned around the chunks of squirrel meat and captured a wedge of potato. “I couldn’t survive without my shoes.” A good thief didn’t trust much but her instincts and a fast pair of Nikes. With her feet bleeding, Justice would’ve been in a lot of pain. “She walked all the way from Columbus?”
“A man picked her up in Marion and hid her in the back of his wagon. Like the woman on the Railroad, he was the right type of white folk. He took her all the way to Liberty.” Pausing, Theodora looked off into the past. “Imagine, child. You’re a young woman and you arrive in a town without a soul to welcome you. Lonesome, tired—imagine how you’d feel.”
Birdie’s heart shifted. Had it been any different on her first day in town? There’d been the overwhelming déjà vu, the feeling she’d stood in

Liberty Square
at some time in the past. The sensation had made her irrepressibly sad. She’d been lonely and tired, a stranger in a small town. Like Justice.
“The man Justice loved was still down south," Theodora said.  "She was heartbroken, wondering if she’d ever see him again.”
What if I never see Hugh again? Birdie lowered her spoon. “How did she go on?"
“The way our kind always does. She found other women to cling to, women who befriended her. They put food in her belly and hope in her heart. They made her laugh when she was down and they found her work—honest work that didn’t pay much, but it was enough to help Justice take root in a new life. A better life than the one she’d known.”
Birdie lifted her spoon, I’m eating rat. The kind of rat that lives in a tree.
It wasn’t bad. The meat was spicy and wild, with a tart aftertaste. She swallowed it down.
“And if you think Justice was some kind of saint, think again,” Theodora said. “Before she met the preacher’s son and settled into a respectable life—even before she learned to trust the women who became her friends she was . . . Lordy.”
The old woman hung her head, revealing thinning wisps of hair on her scalp. She lowered her palms to the linen tablecloth and heaved a sigh replete with shame. Birdie grabbed Theodora’s wrist as her fingers curled with agony. The tablecloth bunched in rippling waves.
“What? What did she do?  "Was she a prostitute? No. Not Justice.”
“Worse,” Theodora croaked, the top of her head bobbing with the word.
What would be . . ? “No way.” Birdie yanked her hand back. “If you think I’ll believe she murdered someone, I won’t!”
The sound was terrible, from the bowels of hell. “Worse.”
“Oh, man.” Birdie wracked her brain for possibilities.
Floundering, she glanced at Theodora. If the old woman bent her neck any lower, she’d put her nose right into her stew. Was she crying?
“I give. What did Justice do?”
The gnarled hands flew off the table, scuttling Birdie's pulse.
Theodora lifted her head with a snap. “She betrayed the people who loved her the most. She was a thief.”

----------------------end of excerpt--------------------                                      

         
MY REVIEW
I just recently had the pleasure of reading Treasure Me for review with CoffeeTime Romance & Moreor you can read the review here on my blog.

Buy it on:



INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTINE NOLFI 


How did you start your writing career?

All writers begin as avid readers. Throughout childhood I gobbled up every book within reach. In high school I was the “go to” kid if you wanted a love letter written for your latest crush, and my short stories received top billing in the school’s literary journal. By the time I’d finished freshman year of college, I’d written my first novel. It sits dusty and unloved in my basement.

I owned a small public relations firm in Northeast Ohio and dreamt of the day I’d trade press kits for leisurely stints at my computer writing fiction. Life rarely plays out as planned and mine surely didn’t: when my marriage fell apart, in 2004, I decided it was “now or never” as far as my dreams of becoming a novelist were concerned. So I took the plunge despite every logical thought that warned the risk was too great. In retrospect, it was a smart decision.

Tell us about your current release.

Treasure Me, the first book in the Liberty series, is a blend of comedy, romance and mystery. Petty thief Birdie Kaminsky arrives in Liberty, Ohio to steal a treasure hidden since the Civil War. She’s in possession of a charming clue passed down in her family for generations: Liberty safeguards the cherished heart.

The beautiful thief wants to go straight. She secretly admires the clue’s author, freedwoman Justice Postell, who rose above the horrors of slavery to build a new life in Ohio. As Birdie searches for the treasure, she begins to believe a questionable part of the story: a tale of love between Justice and Lucas Postell, the French plantation owner who was Birdie’s ancestor.

If the stories are true, Justice bore a child with Lucas. Some of those black relatives might still live in town. Birdie can’t help but wonder if she’s found one—Liberty’s feisty matriarch, Theodora Hendricks, who packs a pistol and heartwarming stories about Justice. Birdie doesn’t know that an investigative reporter who has arrived in town will trip her up—as will her conscience when she begins to wonder if it’s possible to start a new life with stolen riches. Yet with each new clue she unearths, she discovers a family history more precious than gems, a tradition of love richer than she imagined.


Tell us about your next release.

With luck, the women of Liberty, Ohio will catch fire with readers, allowing me to extend the series indefinitely. The next novel in the series, Second Chance Grill, will appear on Amazon in August or September. The third novel, The Impossible Wish, will be released in early 2012. I could easily write ten novels about the town—Meade and Finney have their own stories and romances, and I have a very poignant plot worked out for Theodora and her nemesis, the fluttery Ethel Lynn. Of course, the history of freed slave Justice Postell is woven through many of the books—two bags of rubies and a diary aren’t the only items she left behind.

I’ll also release a stand-alone novel in July, The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge.


Who is your favorite character in Treasure Me?

Must I choose only one? Theodora is my inspiration of how all women should age—with fire and sass. Birdie? She simply arose from my subconscious one morning, dangling from a window ledge. I can’t help but admire her desire to rise above her past.

Hugh’s hard edge came from my years in journalism when there was always another deadline. Ditzy Ethel Lynn and the skillet-wielding Finney … they’re probably the bits and pieces of women I’ve known and loved in my life. Landon and his all-consuming depression arose from my experiences helping friends who’d struggled with mental health issues. And who wouldn’t be partial to Meade? She’s every woman who has experienced great loss but hides her pain behind perfectly coiffed hair and immaculate clothes.


What is the hardest part of writing your books?

Any mother reading this post will understand: time is always at a premium.

The writing, per se, isn’t difficult—all those years in public relations taught me how to work on deadline. What I find difficult is the guilt. If a story is going well, nagging thoughts intrude. “Am I taking away too many hours from the kids?” “Should I stop now, even though the scene is flowing well?” And my all-time favorite: “If I don’t take a snow shovel to the laundry pile, will we all run out of underwear?”


Tell us about your family.

I’d always felt strongly about adopting a sibling group—preferably a boy and a girl—because sibs are hard to place. Going from “two sounds perfect” to “Oh, gosh, four!” came about quite by accident.

One day in my late 30s, I did something awful: missed the deadline for a company’s press release. Embarrassed, I rushed the copy over to the president’s house. His wife answered with the couples’ seven—count ‘em—seven Filipino children crowding around her. She gave me the name of a social worker in the Philippines.

One week later, I received the case studies for about twenty sibling groups. Midway down the stack, I stopped at the photograph of a little girl. She was trying to get her younger brother and two younger sisters to stand properly for the camera. What got me was the look in her eyes—anger, hurt, defiance.

I fell in love with my oldest daughter, Christian, on sight. After that, I closed my PR firm, hung up my high heels, and flew to the Philippines. Today Christian and my son, Jameson, are in college. Marlie heads for college this fall and Marguerite will be a senior in high school.


Christine loves to hear from readers:



Twitter: @christinenolfi

Thanks for Looking!

1 comment:

Christine Nolfi said...

Laurie, a thousand thanks for hosting Treasure Me on your site.