Thank you for giving us time for an interview today. First off, I love your name. How beautiful! and fits you, too! Can you tell us what genre you write and a little of your writing journey?
I write fiction and nonfiction, memoir, short stories and poetry. I am also presently working on a novella and a novel. I started writing when I saw the land of my birth, Cuba, from a cruise ship after many years of being away from the island. The emotional impact that this caused me made me want to write.
What book are you featuring today and what story can you tell us that has something to do with your book?
Today I am featuring my book, The Chairs (http://amzn.to/2dL6NNf). It is a story of love, faith and spiritual warfare that takes place in the charming seaport town of Dunedin, Florida. I designed the book with questions for discussion. The book can be read as a play at women’s get-togethers. The included material lends itself for reflections and stimulating conversations for a book club. The book has a biblical study of angels and extra interesting information about Dunedin, Florida. I was inspired to write it because of photographs taken by a friend of four Adirondack chairs in that town and because of my involvement with spiritual warfare. I imagined angels, with a mission, coming to that Scottish town of Dunedin, Florida, laboring around four colorful Adirondack chairs.
Can you give us a short summary or back copy blurb about the book you are featuring today?
A battle rages in the spirit realm. A battle we can’t see. In the seaside town of Dunedin, Florida, Carlton and Margaret are prayer warriors who want to provide protection and guidance for their neighborhood. Could the power of prayer bring heavenly help to Alan Adams’s family? Will Gabriella Adams have her daddy home for Christmas? When the curtain lifts and another realm unfolds, what supernatural drama will be revealed around The Chairs?
What do you do when you sit down to write? Do you listen to a certain type of music or eat
chocolate or exercise? Anything special?
When I sit down to write the first thing I do is pray and then I try to get into my characters using some techniques that I learned in an acting class. I study pictures of my characters that I have compiled and I read carefully their backstory. The acting class recommended that in order to get into a character one should focus on the moment the character experienced before the scene to be acted or written and the moment a character experienced after that scene.
What is something unique or amusing about yourself or your life that we would like to know?
I married my high school history teacher! He called me after I graduated and I was so surprised I thought maybe I had failed to return a book. He accepted my parents’ rules on dating. I was to date only with a chaperone and after they knew the young man I was allowed to go on double dates with him. We have been married for forty-six years.
Give us a short biography about yourself and tell us how we can contact you (fb, twitter, website).
I was born in Havana, Cuba. I am one of the 14,000, children who escaped Cuba through a United States clandestine program called, Operacion Pedro Pan. It had the code name of Peter Pan because the children came in flights to the United States, on a special visa, without their parents. I have written about this in my first book, Cuban-American, Dancing On The Hyphen, which has been used for course material by Oregon State University. In the past, I was involved with the occult and experienced traumatic demonic oppression. I share my story with the Body of Christ and other groups that request to hear it. I am currently writing my memoir, Beyond The Veil, which tells the story of my deliverance through God’s grace. I have counseled with those wanting freedom from spiritual oppression for over thirty years. You can contact me, Amarilys Rassler, through Facebook, Twitter, or email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
*GIVEAWAY!* One free book of this same title will be given to
the winner of a drawing. Anyone who makes a comment on this post on my blog (lindarodante.com) will be put in for a drawing. On Monday, following this blog, a winner will be drawn and their name will be given to the author who will contact them and arrange for the book to be sent.
Please give us the first chapter of your book:
Chapter I – The Gifts
Carlton Anderson brushed a leaf from one of the chairs. “Come, they’re dry.” Would she like them? The screen door creaked. He slapped a gnat away and breathed in the scent of his freshly mowed lawn. He viewed the street before him. Too early in the day for the neighborhood to sparkle with its Christmas lights. Deflated Santas and Snoopy and Charlie Brown figures remained on front lawns on long siestas.
Carlton stared into the stillness. Most of the neighbors vanished early in the day. They jumped into their cars and strode away on the treadmills of their lives. Just the chirping of a cardinal here or there. No children playing. Maybe at home with grandparents or sitters, enjoying the holiday break? But, where were the girls?
Carlton glanced at the bungalow home down the street, his heart heavy. What kind of Christmas will Gabriella and Belinda see? He shook his head, wishing he could shake some of his thoughts away. Well, he’d finished the chairs, tomorrow the Christmas decorations. The screen door creaked, demanding oil again. He grinned. One more thing on the list for mañana?
“Help me down. I can’t wait,” Margaret said. His hand steadied her. He guided her down the steps, lifting her cane. He let his mind roam while her fingers held tight to his hand. Her beautiful hands, now speckled. Once, they competed in color with the smooth ivory keys of her piano. But today, the fingers were yet his, to hold and to cherish. Fingers that placed the wedding band on his, fifty-five years ago.
Carlton’s nudge to reality rolled under his shirt and down his back. Transient drops of sweat. He freed one hand to pull his shirt away from his back. This year the heat had stayed. The Dunedin sun shot blazing darts even on this December day. He brought his Blue Jays cap lower on his forehead.
Margaret tottered through the grass, still relying on his hand.
“We can’t stay long. It’s two. Still hot. Christmas in Florida,” he said.
“I know. But I want to see them. My present.”
He’d painted them just like she wanted them. One orange, one green, one lighter orange, one celestial-blue. A reason behind every color. The Adirondack chairs on their front lawn, the gift she said she wanted for their anniversary.
She paused in front of the chairs, her mouth opened wide, her cheeks on each side like drawn curtains on a stage. Full of pleats pressed by age.
“Oh, they’re amazing. You brought them back to life,” she said.
His lips brushed hers. “For you.”
Margaret touched his cheek, her hand a trace of silk upon his face. “Thank you, dear.” She searched for his blue eyes where she settled her gaze.
“I’m glad you like them, Kitten.” He beamed.
“Like them? I love them.”
“Come, sit down then. We don’t have time to buy green bananas, you know.” He chuckled. “So, which color? You pick.”
“The light orange one,” she said and winked. “It looks happy. And I want to feel happy-young again. With you, today.”
Carlton’s throat tightened. He guided her hands to the arms of the wooden chair and helped her slide into the seat. He sat in the green chair next to her.
“Do you remember Niagara Falls?” The gentle tremble in her voice tugged at his heart.
Carlton caressed his wife’s face with his eyes. For a moment memories transported him to their honeymoon. Once again, he embraced his bride, the shy brunette in lacy-white within his arms. He tried to hold back, but one unruly tear managed to escape. His vision returned to his bride of today, sitting on the Adirondack chair. So many visits to the doctor this year. Another runaway tear slipped through its narrowed gate.
“More than you know.” He sought her hands.
Margaret’s eyebrows joined, two slim roads covered with snow. She cocked the left road. “No tears today, my love.”
Carlton held tighter to her hands. “No. You’re right. This old tabby, he’ll be happy-young today, Kitten. For you.” He smiled and winked.
“Carlton.” She called out his name in a soft whisper.
“I’m so concerned for the neighbors. Those little girls and….”
Carlton bent down and kissed Margaret. “We can’t carry it, love.”
“If only their daddy….” She drew his hand up and pressed her lips upon it. “Everyone should be home for Christmas.” Her eyes filled with tears.
“No tears today?” He smiled. “Let’s use the chairs like we used to. Want to?”
They held each other’s hands and bowed their heads. They took turns to whisper their thanks to their Maker as they had done for so many years on their front lawn.
Toward the end of their prayers Margaret’s voice grew stronger. “Oh, Lord, please use these chairs in Your own way to bless someone. Let your angels always feel welcome here. Let them help our neighbors, Lord. Send them to protect us all. Oh Lord, send them to guide us. Heavenly Father, rescue Alan. Please, give the girls and their mom the desires of their hearts.
Carlton cleared his throat. “And Father, help those two lovebird neighbors of ours to realize the richness of their love. Bring them happiness … as You have given us. Now Lord, please grant Kitten and me a special time to remember. Answer her prayers. I know You, Father. I know You will give her Your best.” Carlton’s voice lowered to a gentle whisper, his face now very close to Margaret’s. “Father, thank you for the years with my Kitten.”
Margaret squeezed his hands and Carlton tightened his grip on hers. He raised himself to help her up.
“Come on, Kitten.” He smiled. “We can use a nap.”