Laura Nelson Selinsky stops by today with an interview for her newly released Christmas novella: Season of Hope.
A Season of Hope
By Laura Nelson Selinsky
Release Day: November 1,2019
Book link https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZWB2WK5
The Christmas lights in the mission’s front window are burning a little dim. So is Pastor Nick Mayfield’s hope. Managing a down-on-its-luck mission in a tough neighborhood in Philadelphia isn’t easy, and not for the first time, he questions his decision to leave a promising law career to follow his calling.
Across the street, Claudia Delacorte works day and night in her abusive stepfather’s store. She’ll do anything to assure her beloved half-sisters have a happy and safe future, even sacrifice her own happiness. So when the new pastor shows interest in her, she scoffs at his naïve overtures—she doesn’t have time for love. Or Christmas.
But when a series of crimes throw the neighborhood into turmoil, Claudia becomes an easy target. During a robbery gone horribly wrong, Nick and Claudia must work together to save her sisters, the store, and each other. Will this tragedy restore hope to their community? Or will they lose everything they’ve fought so hard to keep?
About the Author:
Author Laura Nelson Selinsky teaches Shakespeare, Chaucer, and myth at Hill Top Prep. She loves free time with her husband and her adult children and their partners. For twenty years, she’s chased second graders through Hope Church. She makes excellent Scotch shortbread—it’s perfect with tea and a book!
You can find Laura at the following locations:
Facebook: Laura Nelson Selinsk
What is the inspiration behind your writing?
The first inspiration for Season of Hope was the urban neighborhood of many alternative education students whom I’ve taught. The second inspiration was the historic Salvation Army facility in that same neighborhood; for a few years, my husband and I volunteered by cooking and serving meals in the family shelter there. I loved the people and their neighborhood, and I felt that they were undervalued in a lot of fiction. And if you should write what you know…well, that’s a world I know.
Do you have a favorite author or book?
I am a high fantasy lover, so my pleasure reading tends that way, starting with Tolkien and branching out from him. I esteem and teach Shakespeare and Chaucer; I find that writing about literature makes students think more clearly. I’ve been fascinated by this decade’s research that shows that thoughtful reading makes readers measurably more empathetic. We all read for pleasure, but pleasure isn’t all our brains do when we read.
How have you surprised yourself during your writing journey?
The biggest surprise for me was how much I enjoyed the editing process, especially working with Cimone and Kara from Anaiah Press. I learned so much about my characters and plot events while meeting those tight deadlines on the various rounds of edits.
What’s next for you as an author?
I am juggling several writing projects, as well as teaching high school students with learning differences. Besides promoting Season of Hope, I’m promoting Beach Dreams, a short story anthology to which I contributed. I’ve got two works in progress: the third novel of a time travel series and a stand-alone historical fiction with fantasy elements. The latter is very hush-hush. Only my husband knows the real people portrayed in the historical. Even my critique group sees that manuscript with character and place names changed; knowing whose life they are critiquing would color the way they read the draft.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love traveling with my husband. Last summer, we were in Scotland, where I saw the burial place of the ancient Scottish kings, including Macbeth. Attending plays is great fun for me. I have a smidgen of theatre training and ran my church’s drama team for a while. I gave that up to have time for writing (and on rare occasions, sleeping).
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
My career has meandered since my childhood. At thirteen, I volunteered at the state park in my hometown, thinking to pursue work in the forest service. I got a paying job as an interpretive naturalist for the state park system at sixteen. By then, I wanted to pursue pastoral ministry, a bit unusual for a girl in the 1970’s. After a number of summer ministry jobs, I became a United Methodist pastor for a few years. Then came the time for my job to put less pressure on my family, so I reviewed the skills I had developed. Seeing the theme of teaching in my earlier jobs, I decided to teach literature and writing. I didn’t begin to write fiction until I was fifty. Since then I’ve written and published short fiction and nonfiction. Now I’m excited to release the novella Season of Hope with Anaiah Press.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I am a member of the RealmMakers, a consortium of Christian speculative fiction writers. At their conference last summer, I met with several publishing professionals for career guidance. They all recommended that, if I sell my time travel fiction, I publish it under a pen name with a separate social media “life” to distinguish it from other works. I plan to follow that advice.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
There’s always a need for authors to be humble as they don another’s gender, skin color, or culture to write for a character who differs from them. That said, I am in an unusually good position to write from the point of view of a male character. My jobs in the park service and in the ministry were both in primarily male worlds (in the 1970s and 1980’s—Those are less male-dominated fields now). During my twenty-four years of teaching, 80+% of my students have been boys. Male students are far more likely than female students to be displaced from public school, whether for delinquency or for learning differences.
Does your family support your career as a writer?
Yes, and I support them as writers. My husband Barry, daughter Rachel, son-in-law Kyle, son Peter, and his fiancé Margy are academics, so they all write fabulously complex research. I’ve edited a lot of academic work…even when I haven’t the faintest understanding of what the subatomic particles do, I can tell where the comma goes. Though our tasks as writers are very different, my family values and supports my writing in the same way. Which is lucky for me, because Barry’s helping me get through two different release parties for two different books in two different states in one week.