Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Rosemillion by Pat Garrett-Miller: Interview & Excerpt

Remember fairy tales? They’re back….

The strangers came first for the timber. Next they came for the coal. Now, they’ve returned—for Widows Hollow.

Elements from Forest Walk Kit JasO Designs.

Pick McKinley is cursed with a fear of strangers. The strangers taunt mountain people and call them Hillbillys. Now, newly orphaned, illiterate, and impoverished, Pick must leave her mountain home and go among the strangers in town to find work if she and her younger siblings are to survive. Maybe it won’t be so bad. Her mama had worked among them, cleaning and mending.

Pick could not have been more mistaken. Her first encounter with Dr. Stephen Stalworth, Ashford’s favorite son and one of its wealthiest, most powerful citizens, almost cost Pick her life and would have but for intervening fate and her rescuer, Jan Vandeventer, the handsome Bluegrass Son of wealthy, world famous horse breeders.

Pick is no hillbilly. She’s a survivor who has survived against all odds. She must save herself, her siblings, and her community from Stalworth who has vowed to destroy them and she must do it with the only weapons she possesses; faith, and a fairy tale-- called Rosemillion.

In her debut novel, Pat Garrett-Miller has crafted a tale of struggle and survival that transcends reading. Rosemillion is a tale to experience and Widows Hollow, despite its poverty, is a place you will want to return to time and again;

To fish with the feisty and unapologetic mountain man, Samuel Llewellyn Simpson, “Stump”; “Pay ‘em no mind, Miss, they’s hollower ‘n a cane pole and not nearly so useful.”

Or to laugh at the fiery- tempered Early Mae, “Mama- John Johnson”; “What is you up to, Old Man? You a’grinnin like a possum in a hen house!”

Or to commiserate with Jan who is caught between his world of ivy-league universities and world champion thoroughbreds and her world of illiteracy and poverty; “Jacques, if you want to end our friendship here and now, you call her a hillbilly one more time! I’m sick of it! You and any one of the rest of our so-called peers pick a label, any label, and it’s official! Margaret and Victoria call Pick a hillbilly, so she’s a hillbilly, right?”

Rosemillion will leave you cheering and wanting more.  Fortunately, there is more.  Return to Widows Hollow, book two of Miller’s The Appalachian Trilogy is scheduled for release in Fall 2012.

Kindle  |  Goodreads  |  Paperback (BN)

          “Shut up Beanie, nobody want to hear about Moose.  Let your friend speak, she is guest here.”   
Bennett accepted Moose’s jibe with a grin and turned to Rose.   “So Rosie Mac, tell us what’s going on at home.” 
Rose pulled a hand to her face.  “Where do I begin?  There’s so much to tell.  Of course everybody sends their love and best wishes.  They all miss you.”  She brushed at a wayward curl as she continued.  “Things are changing so fast I can hardly keep up myself.” 
“Patsy graduates from high school this spring.  I think she and Willie and Buddy would sleep in the barns if we’d let them.  They love the horses so much.  I never dreamed they would become skilled so quickly in caring for them.”    
Moose wrinkled his brow and directed his gaze at Suzanne.  “She has children who sleep in barn?”   
Suzanne laughed.  “No, Moose.  Rose has no children but she did raise her sister and three brothers.  Their parents died when Rose was sixteen.  She was oldest so she raised them.”
“How old are they now, Rose?”  Bennett asked.
“Buddy’s twenty, Willie is twenty-two, Jimmy Joe is twenty-six and Patsy’s eighteen.”  
“I can’t believe they’re all grown up,” Bennett said, shaking his head.  He looked at Mustafa.  “As Rose was saying, her younger brothers, Buddy and Willie, raise thoroughbreds at home on Rose’s horse farm.”  
“They had a great teacher, Rose’s father-in-law-to-be, Klaus Vandeventer.  Klaus is a famous breeder known all over the world.  Klaus and his family raise some of the finest racing horses money can buy.” 

“What’s Jimmy Joe doing?”  Suzanne asked.
“He’s building.  He loves building like the other boys love raising horses.  He has his engineering degree, now he’s a design-builder.  I think he’s remodeled every home in Widows Hollow and just recently, he completed some spec homes in Ashford.  In last year’s Parade of Homes, he made a name for himself.  People love his designs.” 
“And how are Klaus and Olga?”  Suzanne asked.  She swatted Bennett who had tied her bootlaces together.
Rose’s face turned serious.  “They’re fine, but they’re worried.  They haven’t heard from Jan either.  We’re hoping it’s just the mail, you know, with the war.”  Her voice trailed off, she furrowed her brow.  “Maybe the mail is just slow.”  
Suzanne felt a tug of apprehension.  No news from a war zone in a month was not good news.  Rose’s concern showed in her face.   
Hurrying to change the subject, Suzanne asked, “And how are Mama John, Jimbo, Mule and the family?”   
Rose had to smile.  Mama John was the closest thing Rose had to a mother after her own had died.  Rose adored the sweet old black woman, her husband, Mule, and their tribe of kids.  Rose loved Mama John better than she loved anyone on earth-- with the possible exception of Jan.
“Mama John?  Oh, she’s wonderful!  Olga keeps her busy baking for the folks in Ashford and Mule still makes the best jerky in all of Kentucky!”  
Rose let out a sudden gasp.  “Oh, that reminds me, I have fresh bread, ham, and all the trimmings in the truck.  You know Mama John wouldn’t let me leave home without enough food to feed half of West Virginia.” 
Bennett wasted no time unfolding himself from the floor.  “Yeah, and I know Mama John’s cooking!”  He bounced his brows at Mustafa.  “And, my little Mooslim friend, you are in for a treat!” 
Bennett stretched his lanky frame, noticed the light outside the window, and reached a hand to Suzanne.  “Hey, daylight!  Looks like another rainy day.  Oh well, if you’ll make another pot of coffee my love, I’ll go fetch the goodies and bring in Rosie Mac’s stuff.”
Bennett gave Suzanne a peck on the cheek and headed for the door.
Suzanne and Rose gathered coffee cups and continued their conversation.  They had a lot of catching up to do.      
Mustafa followed Bennett.  “I help you, O.K?”
“No thanks, Moose, no need getting your jammies wet!” 
Bennett darted out the door with Mustafa close behind.  Bennett suddenly turned and shoved Mustafa backward.  Sheer horror twisted Bennett’s face.  He pushed Mustafa and screamed, “Oh my God, Moose!  Rose!  Suzanne!  Run for your lives!  Run for your lives! Get in the truck now!”          

I'm thrilled to welcome J Helen Elza to my blog today. Helen has Rosemillion currently released under the name of Pat Garrett-Miller.  How did you start your writing career?

I started writing as a kid.  I was one of eleven and reading and writing were a couple of the things that we could afford.  I did a lot of both, AFTER the chores were done.

Does travel play in the writing of your books?

I may be the only author alive who wrote every book through Rosemillion in the bunk of a moving semi while my co-driver was driving.  I was owner/operator of a 2001 Freightliner Classic XL that we bought new in 2001 and retired in 2011 with almost two million miles on it.  I drove one million of those miles and wrote books on a bouncing laptop the other million. 

How do you describe your writing style?

I don’t have a writing style.  Whatever works when I sit down to the keyboard is how I write.  Since I write women’s novels, children’s books, essays, and poetry for kids and adults, I employ whatever feels right to me.  My books must teach something of value and they must make my readers feel.  If any of my writing fails to accomplish these goals that writing remains in the file cabinet.

Do you use a pen name?  If so, how did you come up with it?

Oh yes! I use a pen name.  Now.  If you Google my name you get photos of the Wild West lawman, Sheriff Pat Garrett.  I have been dealing with the Pat Garrett association since I was in junior high.  The pen name J. Helen Elza began as a joke when my significant other told my sister that I had a Jekyll-Hyde personality.  I didn’t think that would do for a pen name but I liked the J and the H so I kept the J, and I like the name Helen.  Jim Elza took me to my senior prom, and 45 years later, he is now my significant other.

If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?

As I said earlier, I want to teach, to reveal truths with my writing.  I’ve been reading a lot about noetics and about the power of the human mind.  I am fascinated by Edgar Cayce and by Lynn McTaggart’s The Field and The Intention Experiment.  My brain is tinkering with an adult series in which the romantic interests study and employ noetics, or perhaps Willie and Johanna will return in a sequel to Miracle, my novel for ages 8 to 12.  Excuse my laughter, but either way, I intend to write the series.

What makes you happy?

Learning makes me happy.  I believe that every day is a good day if you learn something new.  Knowledge is great security.  And knowing the source of all knowledge is greater yet.  Books are great.  I love books, love writing them, but real knowledge comes from deep within and every human being was born possessing that knowledge. I hope with my writing to help my readers make that discovery.

I’ve been writing since the sixth grade in Hurst, Texas, when a poem that I wrote was published inthe Mid Cities Daily News. Since then, writing has been a companion sideline, always there, but never the priority.

Life and a very large family claimed the greater part of my time while manuscripts, essays and poetry collected dust in my file cabinets.
A few years ago that little voice in my head got louder. It insisted, “You’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing.” That led me on a search. “What am I supposed to be doing?” And, “What is truth?”
The journey has been fantastic, the rewards-- priceless. And, fortunately for me, literature offers the best avenue for sharing knowledge and truth. Truth can be shared with humor in children’s books, with rhymes and free verse in poetry, with drama and inspiration in novels and can be laid bare and point blank in non-fiction and in essays.
Writing is a powerful tool and truth is a growing, breathing thing. I have delighted in mixing them up with meters and feet, with iambs and trochees, and with fictional characters that are hard to leave behind once they’ve been introduced.
Robert Frost said that a good poem was at least three levels deep. I believe that good writing enhances and changes lives. It raises questions, broadens horizons, and stirs in us a desire to discover beyond our five senses, beyond our borders, beyond our woefully limited knowing.
“Every day is a good day if we learn something new.”

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Gale Nelson said...

Thank you fir this giveaway. It looks like it will be a great read. Gale

Gale Nelson said...

Thank you fir this giveaway. It looks like it will be a great read. Gale

Helen said...

I would love a chance to read this

Dana said...

I would love to read this book!