Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Author of Note: Denise F. Buckley

Our Author of Note this month is Denise F. Buckley. I’m thrilled to have her here on The Bookshelf.

Q. Welcome to The Bookshelf, Denise! I know my readers want to know all about you as a writer, and we’re going to get to that right away. But first, we’d like to know who you are outside your office. Tell us about Denise Buckley, the lady next door.
A. I am a lover of nature and the outdoors. Living in the foothills of California, I am given the opportunity to experience a great abundance of nature. A typical Saturday is getting up at 4:00 a.m. to feed the horses, cockatoo and dogs, then going for a mid-morning ride. It is not out of the norm for me to be napping on a grassy bed some time in the afternoon, listening to the birds and watching the Turkey Vultures hunting overhead. Paradise!

Q. Sounds like you’re living the dream! That said…I remember creating a bookmark last year for your novel, The Burial of Emily Waters. I loved the cover, and if the synopsis is any indication, it’s an exciting book. Tell us about it.
A. The Burial of Emily Waters is a fast-moving, detailed story about a young woman forced to come to terms with a dark past through the investigation of a grave site located on her newly-purchased property. It is action packed and takes the reader through some unexpected turns. The story has a deep, meaning, however. It is meant to make the reader think about what is truly important in life and to not waste time looking outside for answers that are only found inside us. I call it “the little book about putting things to rest…”

Q. What inspired you to write this book?
A. Writing a novel was always a dream of mine. After some career changes left me feeling unfulfilled I decided it was time. The story ended very differently than it began. Thank God for an overactive imagination.

Q. I believe Emily Waters is your debut novel. How long did it take you (on average) to write the book, from first word to putting it in the publisher’s hands?
A. From first word to the publisher’s hands it took approximately 10 months. Fast for a novel! I tend to be a little obsessive and when I am struck with an idea I can write for hours at a time (with a little help from Starbucks).

Q. Starbucks—ahhh, yes! :) So what’s next, Denise? Can you talk about what you’re working on now?
A. I’d love to! My next novel is very different from the first and focuses on a topic I feel very strongly about: prejudice. My main character is a present-day Assistant D.A. and great granddaughter of the executioner that worked in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in the early 1930’s. She receives information that her great grandfather may have been in the center of a conspiracy to stop the first white execution in the penitentiary. All she knows is that it should have been Paul Cole, convicted murderer and white man, executed that July day in 1931. The newly found information, however, says otherwise. She is persuaded to travel to Oklahoma and find the truth, no matter how strongly her family begs her not to. Who was really executed that night in 1931? Hang on for the ride!

Q. It sounds truly dynamic. What do you enjoy most about writing? Least?
A. I enjoy that moment when the last word hits the page and you know you have just created a masterpiece! I hate deadlines!

Q. And because inquiring minds still want to know...where do you get your ideas?
A. Every author adds some element of personal experience into their writing. I am no different. My novels are a mixture of true life experiences and a wonderfully overactive imagination. And I will never admit which parts are true and which parts are fiction...however, I am the great-granddaughter of the executioner at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in 1931!

Q. How has your life changed since becoming a published author?
A. I could never have imagined the overwhelming sense of excitement and fear I felt when I found out my novel was being published. I was very humbled and very thankful for the experience. My father passed away a few years prior and I remember lifting my chin to the clouds and smiling, knowing full well he was smiling back down at me. It still takes a little getting used to when someone asks if they can have their photo taken with me!

Q. Take us through a day in the life of Denise Buckley. What kind of schedule do you keep?
A. I am up at 4:00 a.m. to feed the horses. My husband and I just bought a new “fixer-upper” so we are dabbling in “do-it-yourself” home improvements on the weekends. I grow my own vegetables so that also takes up a large amount of my time. I have a regular 8-5 in the city so I spend a lot of commuting time. My husband and I carpool together, which gives us 2-3 hours of quality time a day, for which I am grateful. With chores completed I am in bed by 8:00 p.m. It is a wonderful life!

Q. What books are on your nightstand right now?
A. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet and Charles Dickens The Pickwick Papers.

Q. I know that interviewers often don’t ask the questions an author would really like to talk about. What would you like to say that I haven’t touched on?
A. I guess it would be my love of books and the written word. It doesn’t so much matter to me if you love my novels. What I want to know is that they somehow made the reader think about things they normally wouldn’t have thought about or feel things otherwise unfelt; and that they inspired people to keep reading!

Denise F. Buckley was born on a small farm in Fresno, California. Under the watchful and loving eye of her father, she was introduced to animals of all sorts and cultivated a strong love for horses. Denise has dedicated most of her life to the enjoyment and care of animals and has had the pleasure of working as a veterinary technician and zookeeper. Denise F. Buckley currently resides in Squaw Valley, California, with her husband Greg, four horses, two dogs, four chickens, and three cockatoos. An avid conservationist, Denise enjoys her mountain home and all that nature has to offer. Her favorite pastime is riding horses with her husband through Kings Canyon National Park.

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