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Friday, August 15, 2014

Author Interviews--Sweetland Series: Kathi Macias and Sue Badeau

Anne: Sweetland Interviews! We have two series, one out and one beginning in less than a month. The one is Summer in Sweetland, the last volume of which was released yesterday, Summer Song, by Kathi Macias. The second will be 'Tis the Season in Sweetland, and the first volume, Unseen by Linda Gilden, is scheduled to release on September 11. The first series will also be out in hard copy in a couple of weeks.


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Our first interview is with our noble leader, Kathi Macias. Kathi gathered us all together, provided the final edit on all the manuscripts, and in general kept us in line.

Kathi, what inspired your Sweetland story?

Kathi: As for the Sweetland series, you (Anne Baxter Campbell) and I were throwing ideas back and forth and realized how much we enjoyed the last compilation we were both involved in, and somehow Summer in Sweetland was born. My particular story was the one to pull together the entire series, so I decided I needed a quirky character passing through town and briefly touching base with someone from each of the seven stories, as well as tying them all together.

Anne: Who is your favorite Sweetland character and why?

Kathi: Definitely Opal Barnett, the lovable, quirky old lady in my Sweetland story, Summer Song. I absolutely adore developing characters like Opal, an elderly lady who can be a bit cranky at times but deep down is really quite lovable.

Anne: What is your favorite scene?

Kathi: In my story it had to be when Opal meets up with the Evers’ family at the park. What a lovable clan! Makes me wish I lived next door to them.

Anne: What do you want people to "get" from your story?

Kathi: I hope people will “get” what Opal got—that you’re never so old that you’re useless or no longer have a purpose or a place to belong. So long as we still have breath, God can use us wherever we are.

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Anne: Our next interview is with Sue Badeau, who has a story in each of the series. The first she wrote, the third volume in the Summer in Sweetland Series, is called Never too Old. She and her husband have (drum roll, please) twenty-two children, most of whom are adopted. She is also one of the eight authors in the 'Tis the Season in Sweetland.

Sue, what inspired your Sweetland story? (You can choose which one to talk about one or both--except Kathi M and PeggySue, since you each only have one.)

Sue: My stories in both Summer in Sweetland and in the sequel coming soon are inspired by a passionate belief that all children need and deserve to have a family of their own – a family for a lifetime, not the temporary status of foster care. There is sometimes a stigma associated with children in foster care or juvenile justice, so I wanted to give my readers an opportunity to experience the realities of day-to-day life with young people involved with these systems and the adults who love them. So they can become real, flesh-and-blood people with feelings, spirit, hopes and dreams too, not just statistics. Secondarily, I was inspired to write about the life of a family in a small town because I grew up in one and for the first decade of my life as a parent, we lived in a very small town in Vermont.

Anne: Who is your favorite Sweetland character and why?

Sue: I am really coming to love many of the characters, not only in my volumes but those created by my fellow authors. As for the characters in my story, my two favorites are Jackie, the teen who was adopted by the Evers family and Hal, the grandfather of a boy in the juvenile justice facility. I love both of them because in spite of their own human fears and insecurities they step out of their comfort zones to stand up and speak up for others and in doing so they make a difference. You will see more of both of them in my installment of the winter Sweetland story as well!

Anne: What is your favorite scene?

Sue: So hard to choose! Again, I love many scenes from all the stories. I just read Volume Seven and loved the scene when Frankie took a tumble on her bike! And in Peggy’s Volume Four, I loved the dialogue between Rozene and Misty. As for my volume, I am partial to the scene at Misty’s bedside in the hospital when the other girls rally around her with genuine and raw emotions.

Anne: What do you want people to "get" from your story?

Sue: I do hope that people will come away from my story seeing that children who end up in the foster care or juvenile justice systems and the adults who foster, adopt, or otherwise care for them are ordinary people in our communities with hopes, dreams, and value. And that every person can do something to make a difference in the life of at least one other person if you are willing to get out of your comfort zone and reach out. Finally, I hope that the message that every child needs and deserves a “no matter what” family for a lifetime, even a young person already in his or her teen years, will come through loud and clear!


Anne: That's it for today, but next week we'll have two more authors sharing bits about their volumes. Stay tuned!