I’ve always found hobbies to be exciting, fascinating, a way to escape life at times. My mother, an avid reader who ‘gobbles’ up books every week, is the one responsible for turning me on to reading. When I was young, she always had a book in hand, or lying on the coffee table. At 11 years old―the same age as Sarah Richardson at the beginning of Whale Song―I was a serious book collector. As I grew older, I went from collecting Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twins, to Harlequin romances, to Barbara Cartland romances, then Stephen King. Yeah, quite the range in interests and genre, I agree. I used to keep my books filed on shelves by collection, and then by number if a series, or even alphabetically. (I think they have a name for that now.) I don’t really collect books anymore, but my house is still full of them. Of course now, some of them are ones I’ve written―Divine Intervention, The River, Whale Song. (Filed alphabetically, of course.) J
As a pre-teen I tried my hand at leather craft, since my father was very good at it. There is something to be said for pounding designs into strips of leather. I still remember the smell of the leather, the scent of the stains used to color and gloss. I made bookmarks, necklaces, wallets, belts, even a small purse. Next, I joined the lapidary club―finding agates and other rocks on the beach and learning how to cut, polish and set them, making my own jewelry. Then I learned to play guitar. I even won first place in a talent show, and second place the following year. These hobbies were influenced by my father.
My father was also an avid stamp collector. So of course I tried my hand at that too. I loved getting letters from people and soaking the stamps in water so I could remove them from the envelopes and display them in my stamp album. But I didn’t have the patience to learn about the stamps, to learn dates, history, country statistics. I just liked the way they looked. My artistic eye saw them as works of art. And they are. I even collected first day plates, some from Bermuda. I still have my photo album. And I have inherited my brother Jason’s album too. I believe that there is a hidden fortune in them. I just have to have them inspected and appraised. Or I can always sell them on e-Bay!
As a teen my hobby turned to something cheaper, yet more satisfying than all the others. I started to write more seriously. But it was a short-lived hobby. And I say that because once I started to receive encouragement from teachers, I became more driven to write, to learn everything about writing…and publishing. It became a passion and something I wanted to do as a career. At 16, I wrote my first novel. It was stolen. And that was long before MS word. There was no copy. Anyone see a novel called Beckoning Wrath? Perhaps translated into Zimbawean?
So here I am today. An evolved hobbyist. Writing now is my life―my every day, every waking thought, every breath. I am as fascinated by the story concepts that come to me as my readers seem to be in reading them. Characters like Sarah, a young woman who is forced to look at her life, at her past and the tragic death of her mother, are a blessing to create because they have a life of their own. Sarah is in many ways very much like me. Some people have asked if Whale Song is my life story. I have to say, ‘No’. But there is more of me in that novel than in any other I’ve written to date, and Sarah and I share one fascinating hobby: the love of a great story!
Thank you so much for inviting me here. This month I am giving away free books at some of my virtual book tour stops, so be sure to check my schedule and drop by. http://www.whalesongbook.com/virtual-tour-2007/
Please note: A portion of my royalties for Whale Song is going to 3 nonprofit organizations to help combat social issues like poverty, homelessness and addictions, in honor of my brother Jason who was murdered last year.
To order Whale Song, please order from Amazon.com this month. If you order on my birthday, August 12th, you may qualify to win one of 44 prize packages. For more info on this special contest, please see 44 Prizes. Also, if you order Whale Song plus two other Kunati titles, you can qualify to enter Kunati’s Great Summer Reads Contest.
~ Cheryl Kaye Tardif, bestselling author of Whale Song