At the Writer to Writer conference in Hershey, PA, I was thrilled to meet Clarice James–author of smart, fun, relatable fiction–and then discover we were both winners of the Operation First Novel contest!
Clarice, how did you feel when you found out you were a finalist? What about when Jerry Jenkins announced you won second place?
Truthfully, I was thankful Jerry Jenkins planned to announce the winners in Hershey instead of Colorado because it’s a lot closer to New Hampshire! In 2011, I’d been an OFN finalist with my first novel, so this time I submitted my second novel, hoping for a different outcome. To be honest, when my name was called, I was in a fog—mainly because I’d been sick that whole weekend.
Your winning novel is titled Double Header and the main characters include sports columnists and Red Sox rookies. I’m guessing you’re a baseball fan?
Living with my children (and now grandchildren) who are all avid sports fans, I didn’t have much choice but to join them. Much of my info was gained through osmosis. But when you read Double Header, you’ll discover it’s not really about baseball at all.
Library Journal called Double Header “…a dramatic and tension-filled tale.” Without giving too much away, can you tell us about some of that drama and tension?
The drama appears when marketing executive and part-time sports columnist, Casey Gallagher, discovers her late father, whom she idolized, had a son even he didn’t know about.
She’s frantic to keep her father’s reputation from being tarnished.
The mystery of who this brother is and why he hasn’t revealed himself brings in the tension.
So does both her husband and brother’s different opinions on how to handle it.
Is the relationship between Casey Gallagher and her father based on personal experience?
I loved my father, but I didn’t idolize him, especially not in the way Casey did. When people do that, I don’t think it’s healthy. And because no one is perfect, they’ve usually set themselves up for disappointment.
I love your quote on your website: “First I change your name. Then I put you in my book. What happens to you next depends on whether I’ve had my coffee.” (Tweet that!)Are many of your characters inspired by real people?
I have to confess, they are. But one character may have the qualities of four or five people I know. Recently, three different friends told me they saw themselves in Casey—all for a different reason. I found that interesting.
Clarice James thank you so much for taking the time to share with us during this busy holiday season. I’m looking forward to reading Double Header soon. Where can readers go to learn more about you and your smart, fun, relatable fiction?
Find me on my website at ClariceJames.com. I blog from there weekly, too. You can also catch me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Thanks for the opportunity, Christy! When the holidays are over, I look forward to reading your book!
Fiction fans and aspiring authors, want to read my Operation First Novel story? Check out “Birthing Two Babies.”