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Friday, September 26, 2014

Author Interviews, CHRISTMASES PAST Series: Diane Huff Pitts and Doris Rapp

This is the second grouping of interviews for the new Christmas series, Christmases Past. One of this short story series, The Gift, was released last week. Next in the series will release in a week or so. Meanwhile, if you'd like to read the previous two interviews, double-click HERE and select "open in new tab." To go to this week's authors' web pages, click on the name of Diane Huff Pitts or Doris Gaines Rapp.

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The first interview today is with Diane Huff Pitts: wife, mother, and mother-in-law(!). She celebrated her twenty-eighth wedding anniversary in Scotland.

Her writing promotes life and health in a faith context. She's a physical therapist and lifelong learner and says she's constantly learning more about the writing craft and her profession. She tries to learn from others and mentor when the opportunity arises. She says she's astounded that a person's hurting spirit is so often such a major player in physical illness and movement disorders.

My first question: What inspired your Christmases Past story?

Diane: One generation's approach to life shapes the lives of another. In The Hidden Song, I used the context of British parents shaped by World War II—disciplined, little emotion, but dedicated. Their daughter Melody is a musical prodigy. In the story, Melody reflects upon Christmas incidents that changed her life, her purpose. We all have a song. Will we sing it? play it? live it? Perhaps poor theology, deprived parenting, or childish misconceptions have hindered our journey toward God, but He is big enough to fit everything into His purpose, which is to reach us with His love, life, and purpose.

Anne: Why do you write?

Diane: I want to provide someone, anyone who searches for God like I have— like I do—with a voice to speak what they cannot articulate. Perhaps they only grapple internally with questions. Perhaps they are so overwhelmed they cannot name the inner struggle. I write to point people toward the God who looks for them. But I want to challenge those with the struggle to stay on the journey and not give up.

Anne: What is the most tense scene in the story?

Diane: I love to create emotional moments in a story, which is difficult when you want a multi-layered character in a short piece. The scene where Melody revisits England, trying to reconnect with her childhood but also presenting herself as an adult to her mother. . . this is a pivotal scene where past and present relationships collide.

Anne: What would readers find surprising about you?

That's a fun question. I enjoy good movies with a tub of popcorn(shared! but not always) and a diet coke. I don't often go to the theatre, but did recently see "When the Game Stands Tall." My kind of movie! Real, riveting, and life-changing. So, I guess my movie fetish, although not a frequent indulgence, is definitely a drawing card for me.

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Anne: Next on the interview list is Doris Gaines Rapp, author, psychologist, speaker, and former educator. She directed the Counseling Centers at Taylor University in Upland and Bethel Colleges in Mishawaka, Indiana. She earned her undergrad degree from New Mexico State University, her Masters and Doctorate from Ball State University in Indiana. Rapp has enjoyed spending the last two years as a full time writer and is the author of four novels, all available from neighborhood bookstores and online. A fifth novel will be out in the late fall. Her work with prayer therapy is posted each Monday on her blog: www.prayertherapyrapp.blogspot.com. She and her husband, Rev. Bill Rapp, survived the rearing of six children. They live in Indiana. www.dorisgainesrapp.blogspot.com, https://www.amazon.com/author/dorisgainesrapp, Facebook.com/pages/Doris-Gaines-Rapp-Author-Page

What inspired Christmas Feathers, Doris?

Doris: I had written Smoke from Distant Fires  (released in April 2014) with the backstory that Tecumseh's brother, The Prophet, was buried in my great-great-great grandparents' (James and Rachel Bryson) apple orchard. I wondered how Rachel would have felt when she found out the Shawnee Indian Chief would lie beneath the farm of her soon-to-be husband.

Anne: Why do you write?

Doris: I write because I have always written. My first poem appeared in the school newspaper when I was six. I come from an artistic/creative family.

Anne: What is the most tense moment in your story?

Doris: When Morning Flower, the Shawnee woman, came staggering up the road in the snow, carrying Rachel's son. Although Rachel feared her, the woman sacrificed being exposed to the bitter cold to bring Tommy home.

Anne: What would folks find surprising about you?

Doris: We had three birth children, then adopted a boy who was nearly ten. Then, when those four children were reared and adult, we adopted two babies. So . . . our oldest grandchild, a boy, is thirty-one, and our youngest grandbaby, a girl, is two!

Anne: That's it for our interviews for today. Tune in again next week, and I'll have two or three more.

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