Monday, July 7, 2014

HAVE A SEAT: SHEILA SEILER LAGRAND!

    Sheila Seiler Lagrand lives with her husband Rich and their two dogs, J.D. and Doc, in beautiful Trabuco Canyon, California. She enjoys serving at her church, Trabuco Canyon Community Church, gardening, cooking, and most of all, spending time with their children and nine (so far) grandchildren. She has lived her entire life in southern California, except for a year spent in French Polynesia as she conducted research for her dissertation. She doesn't understand boredom and is passionate about words, their power, their beauty, and their care and feeding. She earned her doctorate in anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles. As an undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego, she studied anthropology and literature with an emphasis in writing. Sheila is a member of The High Calling. As a young woman she published poems in dozens of literary magazines. She has also contributed to anthropology journals and contributed a chapter to the book Fieldwork and Families: Constructing New Models for Ethnographic Research.  More recently, her work has appeared in Wounded Women of the Bible: Finding Hope When Life Hurts, Paul's Letter to the Philippians (BibleDude Community Commentary Series), and a few volumes of Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has work forthcoming in Soul Bare. Her Christmas tale, Yankee Doodle Christmas, is available as part of Kathi Macias' the Twelve Days of Christmas series. The characters from Yankee Doodle Christmas live on in Remembering for Ruth, a serialized novel. The first two installments, Paul Loves Snickerdoodles and Matthew Meets Mitchell, are now available; the next installment, The Bark of Zorro, is forthcoming. She is also participating in a collaborative novel, The San Francisco Wedding Planner.

    What inspired you to become a writer?
    Nothing, I think. It may sound silly, but I'm inspired to write in the same sense I'm inspired to breathe. It's like an autonomous function. But my dad, through every phase of my life, has asked me: "And what about your writing?"

    Which one of your books do you consider your “pride and joy”? Why?

    Well. I'm fairly new to publishing (outside of academia, which was a lifetime ago, and the poetry microjournal scene, which was a lifetime and a half ago) but I'm pleased with my current project, Remembering for Ruth. It fictionalizes a situation that is so common today: caring for a parent with Alzheimer's Disease or some other form of dementia. I'm hoping the stories (it's being released in serial form) will comfort and encourage families living with dementia.

    Do you have any preparation rituals before you begin to write?

    Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
    If you had to come up with a book title to describe your life, what would it be?

    Maybe "Looking at the Stars," as Oscar Wilde wrote (and the Pretenders sang, a few generations later): "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."

    If you had a chance to have dinner with any author who would it be?

    The Apostle John (because I'd really like the inside scoop on Revelation) and if he couldn't make it, then I would like a ladies' luncheon with Willa Cather, Eudora Welty, and Flannery O'Connor.
We all have family, work and other obligations...how do you maintain balance while in the middle of a writing project?
    I don't. I have a challenging, rewarding career, nine grandbabies, and fibromyalgia. If it weren't for my husband, Rich, who is fully committed to my writing, I would never get a word jotted down.

    What is the one piece of advice you received about writing that helped you the most?

    Kathi Macias told me, at my first writers' conference (Okay, she told the entire room, but it felt that she was speaking to me): "You’re a successful writer if you’re called to write and you obediently respond to that call today.”
    Where can we purchase your books and how can we keep up with you?

    I have an author page at Amazon.com:
    When I'm feeling succinct, I tweet at https://twitter.com/SLagrand.
    When I see something pretty, I pin it here: http://www.pinterest.com/sheilalagrand/

    Last, but not least.....What and when is your next release?

    The third volume of Remembering for Ruth, which is called The Bark of Zorro, should release in April. So should my next "turn" on the collaborative novel, The San Francisco Wedding Planner. Still on the drawing board, but close to my heart, is a nonfiction book, How to Rock the Grandma Gig.

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