Christine Lemmon is the author of four books. She's a wife, a mother and a writer who lives in a house on stilts on Sanibel Island off the coast of Florida. She took time out of her busy schedule promoting her latest novel, Sand in My Eyes, to talk with SheKnows about writing and her new book -- which recently was announced as an Indie Excellence Awards Finalist.
Sand in My Eyes follows a politician's wife who is trying to recapture the dreams of writing a book she let slide to support her cheating husband. When Anna Holt gets a week alone away from her family, she is suddenly offered an alternate view to venting her rage through writing and an unexpected way forward from her elderly neighbor, Fedelina. Fedelina comes baring flowers, wisdom and happens to have a newly divorced son who arouses Anna's passionate side.
Women, especially mothers of all ages, will love this novel which is about the tensions between motherhood and personal dreams and women across generations inspiring each other. Order the book for your end-of-summer reading list and read on for our chat with this talented and inspiring author.
SheKnows: What are three words to describe why people should read Sand in My Eyes?
Christine Lemmon: Passion, wisdom and hope.
SheKnows: What's one word on how you want people to feel after reading your book?
Christine Lemmon: Inspired.
SheKnows: What was your inspiration for Sand in My Eyes?
Christine Lemmon: When I got the inspiration for Sand in My Eyes, ideas came fast and furious and I could see the characters, plot and story unfolding as a panorama in my mind. It would be a story about a mother so overwhelmed that she was hardly seeing the beauty around her. I scribbled it all down in crayon on a coloring book. As I took walks around Sanibel Island where I live, I noticed flowers and imagined they all had something they wanted to say to me as a woman. The daisies would mean to always spot the wildflowers hidden within the weeds. Even when overwhelmed we must try to spot the beauty. I make the most of each day I do have. The flowers inspired me and became a major part to my story.
SheKnows: What is your favorite flower?
Christine Lemmon: Because I went to school in Holland, Michigan, and was a Dutch Dancer in the
annual Tulip Time Festival, the sight of tulips makes me want to dance and scrub streets with buckets of cold water and old-fashioned brooms. They sometimes make me homesick. But roses -- the kind that look picked from the backyard -- are my favorite. I live on an island filled with tropical flowers, and oddly, there happens to be a large rose bush thriving alongside my house. Sitting on my porch and looking out at its pink blooms is what inspired me one day to write Sand in My Eyes. [I thought] that women, like roses, need rest periods of non-productivity in order to prepare for their next bloom.
SheKnows: Could you describe your writing process?
Christine Lemmon: It's a three-step process that for me includes inspiration, writing and editing.
Inspiration I get while wading in the water at the beach with my children, or biking around the island, or watching sunsets with my husband. I jot ideas down on anything -- coloring books, receipts in my purse, even a dollar bill once. When I write, I am focused and only work on one project at a time. That way, everything I experience in life can in one way or another go into what I am writing and therefore enhance it. I write lovingly, without fear. But when it comes time to edit, I take the creative hat off and put the critic hat on. I print my manuscript only once every several months and go off for a Saturday by myself, usually to the cemetery on Captiva Island, next to Chapel by the Sea. It sounds peculiar going to a cemetery to edit, but I sit on a bench surrounded by flowers and can hear the waves hitting the shore. There is no place better to go when saying goodbye -- deleting parts of my writing that I no longer feel are needed.
SheKnows: What are you working on now?
Christine Lemmon: I have been at a fork in the road with ideas coming at me for two different novels. One is more comfortable and the other more challenging. I will continue writing blogs, keeping in touch with readers via my website (www.christinelemmon.com) and also writing my newspaper column (Long Story Short) which appears in the Island Sun.
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