Sunday, July 8, 2012




Hello Laila, thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview. It is a pleasure to have the chance to get to know more about you and your writing. First tell us about your newest novel and why you decided to write it.

Thanks for interviewing me. I am delighted to tell you about my novel Yellow Crocus.

Here's the short summary: Moments after her birth to the mistress of a sprawling Virginia plantation, Lisbeth Wainwright is entrusted to Mattie, an enslaved wet nurse. Mattie serves as Lisbeth’s mother, nursing her, singing her to sleep, and soothing her in the night. As the years pass, Lisbeth struggles to reconcile her love for Mattie with her parents’ expectations for her future, intent on keeping the best of both worlds—until a terrible betrayal forces her to choose once and for all. Yellow Crocus is a compelling novel of love and redemption set during one of the darkest chapters of American history.

I decided to write it after the image of Lisbeth, a white baby, breastfeeding in the loving arms of Mattie, an enslaved wetnurse came to me in a flash. I thought about what it would be like for Lisbeth to dearly love Mattie and then be taught by society that she wasn't a full person. I wondered how it would feel for Mattie to be forced to abandon Samuel, her own child, in the slave Quarters. Then I imagined what the experience would be like for Miss Anne, the birth mother, to have her own child twist away from her to get into Mattie's arms. These characters started to haunt me. Various scenes popped into my head. Though I had never written anything, I was being called to tell this story. For my fortieth birthday, I began the personal marathon of writing my first novel.

Tell us about some of your hobbies, things you like to do in your spare time. 

I like to knit, take walks with my dogs along the San Francisco Bay, have friends over to eat on the deck.

What is the one most rewarding thing in your life right now?

My daughters who are turning into such lovely adults. One is 19 and the other is 16. I am surprised and delighted by our changing relationship. I am also psyched to see the transforming conversation around Marriage Equality in our country. 

When reading for pleasure do you tend to stick to the same genre you write or do you like to read other genres as well?

I read just about anything. I love science fiction, family fiction, young adult and even children's novels. Whenever pushed to name my favorite I have to say the Harry Potter series. But I can't pick just one of them. 

When was it that you realized writing was what you wanted to do with your life?

It wasn't until that baby, Lisbeth, popped into my mind. Before that I never imagined I would write anything. But I really enjoyed the process of writing Yellow Crocus, so I have another book percolating in me now. 

When can we expect your next book out and can you give us a sneak peek?

I wish I was further along this my next novel than I am. But I am very excited about it. It is the story of a young woman who meets her husband at a fundamentalist bible college. Somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd child she realizes that he is gay. She struggles with what that means for her faith, her marriage and her children.

Back in your high school career, who was the one teacher you would say made a profound difference in your life, if any?

Mr. Cartwright came right to mind. He was funny, engaged, encouraging and he cared. I wish everyone had a Mr. Cartwright in their lives. 

What dreams do you have for future generations that you'd like to share with others?

I would like Liberty and Justice for all to be more than just words. 

One off the board question I like to ask, is what are your views as far as 2012, and do you believe in the Mayan Calendar? 

I believe the Mayan calendar is an impressive feat that like all calendars gets to the last 'page' eventually. It just had a lot of 'pages'. 

Finally, do you have any advice you'd like to give to other aspiring authors, also please leave us your links where we can find out more about you.

My advice it to write because you like the actual writing and you have something you just have to say. Don't be attached to what happens once it is done while you are in the midst of writing. Make your work the best you can. Then make it even better with the help of other. After that you can put it out to the world. Like so many things writing a novel is 20% inspiration and 80% perspiration. 

My personal website is:

You can read some lovely reviews of Yellow Crocus on Amazon: 

Thank you again Laila for the ability to do this interview with you. Perhaps we can do more together in the near future. 

I would love that. This truly has been my pleasure.

Best wishes.

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