Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. This week, I’m so happy to introduce you to my friend, Lisa Belcastro. Lisa and I are both Florida girls at heart, even though we both manage to live in areas of the country that get a “real” winter! Lisa is here with her book A Dream for Love – and she’s giving away two copies of it! It sounds so good! Read on to see what you need to to do enter this awesome giveaway!
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Thanks so much for having me visit on Readers Write to Know. I’m thrilled to swing through Kentucky again, even vicariously. I spent two college summers working at Churchill Downs. I’ve been back numerous times to visit, and simply love the area! I’m a New Englander by birth, and a Floridian at heart. I live on Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts, but when winter arrives I long to pack my bags and move to Florida for a few months. Maybe this year . . .
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the Vineyard! And I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else full-time. I’m merely a wimp who starts shivering as soon as the temperatures dip below 60 degrees. On the other hand, I enjoy spring and fall, and love, love, love summer on the Island. I’m an avid gardener, and right now I’m calling friends and begging them to stop by and pick vegetables and berries. This year’s crop is already amazing. And the fishing has been great, too. Stop by my website for a glimpse of my life on Island: www.lisabelcastro.com
Tell us about your current release. A Dream for Love is a story of hope and renewal. Laurel Simmons is a single mom, living on the run from her daughter’s father in the hope that he never finds out that Gracie is alive. She’s lived in fear for five years, and has recently moved to Martha’s Vineyard to work at a nursery and be near her sister Tammy. Laurel and Tammy attend the Possible Dreams Auction, an Island fundraising event that draws celebrities, CEOs and tourists. Tammy successfully bids on a week-stay for two at Hollywood bad boy Ryan Crandall’s Island vacation home on Squibnocket Beach. Tammy then gives the Dream to Laurel and Gracie. Laurel hasn’t dared to imagine a week at the beach with Gracie, never mind living in a movie star’s house. The whole scenario seems to good to be true. Six hours after arriving at Crandall’s estate, the dream becomes a nightmare. Ryan, escaping a bout of bad press after an incident on his movie set in Boston, unexpectedly shows up and demands that Laurel and Gracie leave. Laurel insists that the week is bought and paid for. They negotiate, and agree to share the house.
Laurel has no interest in men. Her marriage left her wounded and scared–for her life and Gracie’s. For Laurel, sharing a large house with too-good-looking-for-his-own-good Ryan will be easy. She doesn’t have the slightest interest in him, and he’s agreed not to flaunt his lifestyle in front of Gracie.
Ryan has known more women than he cares to count, but he has one firm rule: do not date single moms. He’s convinced that he wouldn’t be attracted to laurel if she was the last female on the planet. He can manage to avoid her and her daughter.
A series of events will bring them together, and the results of those events will tear them apart. Will the past hold them hostage? Can Laurel open her heart to hope for a life free of fear and danger? Can Ryan find new life and a renewal of faith? Will they dare to dream a dream for love?
With all those characters in your head screaming to get out how do you write fast enough to get it all down? I don’t! Unless someone invents a computer that can be plugged into my brain and then types all the stories bouncing around in my head, I’ll never have enough time. And, to make the situation completely impossible, I’m always seeing and imaging new stories and more characters. If I reach my goal of living to be one hundred-plus, I already have enough book ideas to last me the remaining forty-nine years. If I wanted to attempt the many unwritten novels stored in my brain, I’d need another ten or so hours in every day, a second pair of hands, a cook, maid, a gardener, and . . . yikes . . . I think I better be happy with what I have and enjoy the life I’ve been given. More books sounds a little too crazy busy!
Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? Oh, gosh, I’m totally going to date myself: David Cassidy. I loved the Partridge Family! Did you watch that show or listen to their music? I admit, without shame, that I still listen to The Partridge Family Christmas CD every year during the month of December. And, since I’m revealing my former crushes, I will confess that I went from David Cassidy to his younger brother Shaun Cassidy. Oh how I loved watching the Hardy Boys and then listening to Shaun’s remake of “Da Do Run Run” with my neighborhood friends. I’m chuckling as I type this. Thanks for asking! Great childhood memories.
What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? The best fix for my brain, whether working through writer’s block or personal issues, is to go for a run. I’ve run a marathon in each of the fifty states. I find my training time is the best part of my day, the moments when I pray, listen, and surrender life to God. The longer the run, the more time to offer up situations to the Lord and wait for His answers. Throughout the winter, when it’s too cold to run outside, I bring my writing to the gym and edit the previous day’s work while I’m on the treadmill or the elliptical. Many, many characters have undergone changes or revelations while I’ve been pounding out the miles.
Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? (Book series, maybe?) I devoured the Little House on the Prairie series – many times. I couldn’t get enough of Laura Ingalls Wilder. When my daughter Kayla discovered her books, we planned a family trip to the midwest and drove to each of the locations where the Ingalls family lived. We even slept in a covered wagon on their farm in South Dakota. It was one of our best family vacations! I guess we can safely say that I never outgrew my love for her stories.
I’m always intrigued by how writers get started…did you always have these books inside you and knew that you wanted to write them or did the idea just pop into your head one day and you decided to put pen to paper? All of my books have come about from life experiences. A Dream for Love popped into my head while I was sitting in the crowd at the Possible Dreams Auction, an annual fundraiser held each summer to support the Martha’s Vineyard Community Services programs. Every year the Auction sells one-of-a-kind “Dreams.” People can buy a private concert with Carly Simon, box seats to a Red Sox game – in the owner’s box, a sail on Walter Cronkite’s yacht, and so on. The idea of Dream leading to a romance seemed like tons of fun to me, with endless possibilities. I jotted down some notes, and began the Possible Dreams trilogy. A Dream for Love is the first book. With so many Hollywood stars purchasing vacation homes on Martha’s Vineyard, I thought it would be entertaining to have an average mom meet a Hollywood star, and not want to fall in love with him! If you’ve enjoyed the movies Maid in Manhattan or Notting Hill, you’ll love Laurel’s story in A Dream for Love.
Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? I write stories that call to me. I have to be fully entrenched in the characters and their lives before I begin writing their story. I spend weeks thinking about their lives, where they live on Island, what struggles they are facing, what joys they are celebrating. Once I can see and feel them, as if they are friends and neighbors, then I can begin to tell their story. As I’m developing the plot, I hope that readers will enjoy discovering the characters as much as I do.
Which of your characters most reflects your personality? My girls are going to laugh at me, but I have to say in A Dream for Love it is hands down: Gracie. I modeled Gracie after both Kayla and Starr. Gracie’s love of Disney and princess movies, and her sweet belief that she is a princess because she’s a daughter of the one true King, are attributes my girls had when they were four-years-old. At 51, I’m still a Disney fan, and I’d love to sit with Gracie and watch Disney movies and wear Princess clothes. Cinderella, Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and the Lion King are favorites that never go out of style in my home. And, like Gracie, I believe in happily ever after!!
Find Lisa online:
Find Lisa’s new book online (and don’t forget to read below to see how to win a copy!):
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