Episode 10--Interview with Hillary Sperry
Charity: [00:00:00] This is loose Leaf the podcast of an author with multiple personalities. My name is charity Bradford, lover of all things, science fantasy. I'm also river Ford writer of contemporary romance. Well, welcome back everyone. This is loose-leaf and today I'm really excited to introduce you to my friend and fellow author, Hillary Sperry.
So she's one of the authors in the Eureka and love series. And I'm super cool. Excited to have you here today.
Hillary: [00:00:33] Thanks charity. It's really fun to be here with you.
Charity: [00:00:35] Why don't you take a minute and introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about who you are and how you got into writing.
Hillary: [00:00:41] Okay. Well, mostly who I am right now is just me. I just feel like I started, I just started publishing, uh, a year ago. And, um, so I'm a mom. I love music and books and sewing and all sorts of things. Pretty much gets crafty on there. And, uh, I've always had little stories and ideas in my head going on. And then, you know, you tell yourself stories as you're going along, I'll be driving down the road and see something that inspires me along that way.
And I tell myself a story. So it's fun, it's fun. But, um, it's been really great since I moved here to Arkansas, I got to meet up with you and Tamra Heiner and, um, you guys have really introduced me to writing and how we can take those stories and. Make them into books for everyone. And it's been a really great experience.
Um, I find myself more and more in invested in what I do. And I just love it. Yeah. Well,
Charity: [00:01:40] I remember we probably met seven years ago, at least. And you were already writing. And the first thing I remember is how funny you are. Like you're writing, you have this great sense of
Hillary: [00:01:50] humor. That's awesome stories.
That's the panic. And we go, nobody's going to think I'm funny. I think you're funny. I think I'm funny too. Sometimes
Charity: [00:02:03] I remember one time, uh, there, there, there are two instances that are one of my favorites from. Our writer's group and one was with you and one was with Tamra and you were reading a rough draft and we just laughed through the whole thing.
And I love that you could laugh at yourself and not take yourself too seriously, because I think that's what has helped you just continue forward and not give up.
Hillary: [00:02:26] And. I would probably agree with that. And I remember that that night that was very entertaining. Everybody had their stuff and I, because I was so new to writing, I hadn't gotten to the point where I was writing and finishing within a week's time when we would meet.
And so I'm like, well, I have this and then I run through it and it was, Oh my goodness. There were so many mistakes. That's what we were laughing,
Charity: [00:02:49] but it was, it was wonderful. And I love that because like I said, that gave me hope and it helped me kind of calm down a little bit and not take myself so seriously.
Cause I was in a kind of a bad place at that
Hillary: [00:02:58] time. Well, and it's so easy to do that. It's so easy to look at what you do and be like, this is. This is trash. This is so, you know, this is never going to be good enough. And because I had a support group that writer's group is incredible. I mean, just having each other to build each other up and let us know that what we're writing has potential was amazing.
And that's what it was. I feel like I've, um, Found a lot of value in that and being able to write and look at it and say, there is value here. I can move forward and I'm getting there are doing that. So, yeah. Yes.
Charity: [00:03:29] And I'm so glad that you are, um, tell us a little bit about your first book for getting you it's book number two in the Eureka and love
Hillary: [00:03:38] series, right?
Okay. I'll tell you how I feel about forgetting you. I'm forgetting you is a, a sweet romance. Aye. I love the main character. Her name is Brynn and, um, she's kind of, she's not the typical, uh, main character of a romance. I feel like she's kind of, uh, into herself and what she does. And she's very busy with making sure that her life turns out the way it needs to turn out and she's, um, Just a little self-centered, especially in the beginning, but I really love her because I feel like that's kind of genuine.
I feel like as people we're very involved in what we do and that's important, we have to be right. She has got left. She grew up in Eureka Springs and she has left town to go do college. And when she comes back, she meets up with her old best friend, Nick, who they kind of had a rough partying. And it's just kind of their story of how they figure out what went wrong and how that their relationship is important enough to hang on to despite all of the external stuff in their lives.
There is a bit of a twist in it with the, some challenges that Brynn has placed on herself that she has to kind of discover and work through. And Mick is very helpful in making, helping that happen. Yeah. That's. That's kind of the forgetting you story.
Charity: [00:05:07] Just, I think there's some of you in brand, because part of why she leaves us to pursue her singing career.
And I know you have a great voice and you love seeing and yeah. Did you feel like you were putting you into her in that aspect?
Hillary: [00:05:23] I think I was putting some of my wishes into that because she was going off to study opera. I don't, I've never been a big opera fanatic, but I have found in recent years when I've gotten to attend some different things that I've gone, I haven't gotten to go to the opera and the Ozarks.
The season yet, but, um, we've had some in Bentonville and the opera in the Ozarks. People have come and performed out here. I love it. I love it. It's so much fun. I have not convinced my husband and this yet. That's okay. I'll go with you. I just, yeah, I do love it. And it was really fun to get to write about her pursuing that stuff.
I've spoken with some, uh, some people who've done that who've gone off and done training and actually been, um, Been trained to be opera singers and some of the challenges that they had as they went. And so that was interesting to kind of work those pieces together and help make bread enough for character.
Charity: [00:06:17] I like Bryn as well. Um, what people may need to know is that you and I work really well together. We sit, we talk about our characters and even though Brynn is one of your characters and like Carrie from chocolate kisses as my character, I feel like we use them interchangeably. Really well, we do.
Hillary: [00:06:33] It's a lot of fun. I find myself using your characters in my stories a lot, and it's so much fun. I always come back and be like, Hey charity, is this actually what they would say or
Charity: [00:06:43] do? And she's almost always right. So just so you know that she's got a great intuition. That's
Hillary: [00:06:48] my hair first. And you've done the same with mine.
It's really fun to see him pop up there and have part in each other's stories. It makes them feel like that
Charity: [00:06:54] real group of friends. Yeah. It was fun to watch Brynn grow from like your first draft of the story to the finished one actually loved her from the very beginning. I know some of your beta readers thought she was abrasive, but I always just saw her as this person who.
The words, just pop out of her mouth and they always came out wrong, but it wasn't the way she meant it. And I actually love that because I know people like that. And, um,
Hillary: [00:07:20] And people like
Charity: [00:07:26] which I thought was great, but I know you had to come to soften her up a little bit to, to make other people happy, but I love the realism
Hillary: [00:07:33] to help her actually finish her arc. I mean, it was, it was important that she, um, find that softer middle ground and she still has some of that in the beginning.
There's a few points where she's like, I just the words. No, no. And she does, but that way she's able to make a more full arc and come around to, um, the sweet girl. Who's just in love with this sweet boy. Yeah. And Mick is amazing.
Charity: [00:08:00] because he does, he makes me happy too. I mean, And he's like this great friend to, to all of our group of friends. So the group of friends are Brynn and Jaya who is getting a book, hopefully this fall
Hillary: [00:08:11] that we'll talk about at the end of the summer. Okay. That's my goal.
Charity: [00:08:15] We're able to talk about that in just a minute.
And then we've got Carrie. And Jen, and then Mick Mick is like the one guy in this set of girls. And he's awesome. Tell
Hillary: [00:08:25] us about him. I just love of imagining this group of friends wandering around Eureka Springs and having a blast. Mick is great, a great character. He fell in love with Brynn when Brynn first moved to Eureka Springs, uh, probably around the junior high age, I believe is what it was.
And he. Glommed onto this group of girls because of her that he adores them all. He thinks they're wonderful. And he acts like the big brother in the group. And he's just wonderful. He's kind of a hippie he's raised by his grandparents who are majorly hippies, Southern hippies, I mean thing. Um, and. He learned to, well now he does a cooking show online and he loves it.
It's great. That's one of his passion. So tell us the name of his cooking show because herbs, I thought it was great to see them running with this and thinking it was phenomenal and just laughing every time somebody had to go click on there and be like, ah, you watch my naked herbs channel. But he loves it.
And, uh, he learned to garden from his grandma. So they always had a little herb garden in the backyard. And, um, that's where he learned to do that and learn. He was trying to around the time that Bryn left for college, he started trying to have to figure out what else he could do with his life, because he was still there in Eureka Springs.
And he, uh, you obviously, you can't stop. Nobody stops. So he. Uh, started doing some things to try and help around the house more and learned that he really loved to cook. And that became what he did that became his life. And it's pretty cool. It's pretty fun. But yeah, he's a sweetheart. He's a big jokester.
He has a heart of gold and just yeah. Takes care of everyone. So
Charity: [00:10:08] he really does. He would help anyone and do anything for anyone. Let's go back to just a, uh, uh, a non-specific story question for you. Do you think being a writer is a gift or a curse?
Hillary: [00:10:22] Or both. I would probably have to say it's a gift, mainly because of all the stories that run around in my head.
And now there's a way to get them out. Yes, I haven't reached her point yet, but I imagine it could be when you get too many going on and your fingers are in every direction and you don't know what to do with yourself, but, um, I love it. I think it's a gift. Uh, I. Wake up dreaming about stories. And I have pages of stories, snippets that someday hopefully will come into fruition.
I've started so many things and I have so many it's the hardest part is taming down the goals of the realistic storylines that are actually going to happen. Right,
Charity: [00:11:03] right. Um, I know you have a.
Hillary: [00:11:07] Short cozy mystery out. Ideal. Do
Charity: [00:11:09] you want to tell us a little bit about that
Hillary: [00:11:11] and where people can find it? Yes, absolutely.
My cozy mystery is a cozy quilting mystery. My family works with the Missouri circle company in Missouri, and I am published in their block magazine. So that's a lot of fun. And I have had a lot of great reviews from that. It's over the series of a year. This one story is being published. So it's being published in six parts.
The magazine is published every other month. And so each one has a. A portion of the story. I just, I believe, uh, part three was just released. I just got the magazine today, uh, yesterday. So that was very exciting. I opened it up and had to go show my daughter and
but it's been a lot of fun. And I just sent in the last two parts and they were starting to talk about next year. So that's really fun. That's really exciting. So if you want to find that it is at, on the Missouri star, quilt company's website and the block magazine. And you just subscribe to their magazine and it comes out a piece at a time, the magazine is pretty inexpensive.
And, um, then you get like 25 quilting patterns if you're ever interested in sewing. Right. It's amazing. There's a ton of stuff in there and they usually have videos to go along with it. So you'll know what to do. Wonderful. Yeah. All sorts of perks with that one. And then you can see that come out. This story is written around, um, Jenny Doan, who is my mother, and she it's a fictional story.
She would never do most of this stuff. She is not a little amateur sleuth, but in this cozy mystery, she, uh, takes on all sorts of stuff and it's a lot of fun. And, um, it's, it's a very adventurous and it all happens in this tiny little town of Hamilton, which I grew up in. And it's a lot of fun to help pull characters from people I knew and kind of pull these pieces together and make this community that just loves each other and helps each other and supports each other
Charity: [00:13:03] through the challenges.
So I see. And that's so much fun. Okay. I have to ask, what did you learn about writing this? Cause that's different than romance cozy mystery. And I know you also write young adult and have lots of things going on.
Hillary: [00:13:17] I would say I dabble in those because I love them and I have storylines that are waiting for me, but I have not.
Published or even finished a draft on those ones. So for me, I would say I write romance, sweet romance and, um, The cozy mysteries and it was quite an adventure. I had to look up all sorts of things about how they even go together. I love them kind of funny because I started watching one of the hallmark mysteries, right.
About the time that I realized I was going to get to write this story for the block magazine. And so that was cool. Quite timely actually, because I could go in and kind of binge watch some of these mysteries and be like, Oh yeah, I can see how this plot line comes around here. Oh, I can see how this happens.
And, um, it's been a lot of fun, so it definitely has been an adventure in trying to figure out what needs to be there and what doesn't. Um, I think mostly I it's learning to lay the clues in the right places because otherwise a lot of the cozy mystery, it does have kind of it's about relationships. It's about the development of the characters because you're learning about them and they're going to carry on through the series as they go.
I also got approval to work on some separate knob, full length novels, Jenny Doan character. So that's going to be fun. That
Charity: [00:14:29] is going to be a lot of fun. And I can't wait to
Hillary: [00:14:32] hear exclusive content right there. Yes. Yeah.
Charity: [00:14:35] So I heard it here first. Oh my goodness. Well, I know you're trying to get out of town and I have at least two more stories of yours that I really want to talk about.
I know July 1st, we both have short stories coming out in the love under lockdown series, but out by enchanted quilt press. Why don't you tell us about your story? Um, For never and always, and it's part of the Eureka
Hillary: [00:15:00] Springs since I'm finding that most of the things I do, my brain ties them to Eureka Springs kind of, no matter what, like it's true.
Um, but for never, and always has written about a couple who broke up. Probably I think it was two years ago. And they both happen upon the same place in Eureka Springs, through different circumstances and Noah, they, the young man, older man, the adult man, Noah gets hurt and, um, Lizzie is there and she jumps in to try and help him, despite some of the hard feelings that they've had and they get locked up together in this spring.
And then it's just there a process of. Being stuck there all night together and figuring out that they both still care about each other and what happened to make it so that they. They broke up in the first place and that they still want to keep pushing it forward. It's it's an interesting story.
There's lots of, there's a couple of secrets. I shouldn't say lots. It's a, it's a short story. So there's only so many you can have, but, um, there's some secrets that they have to reveal and there's some life changes that make a difference and figuring out. What they need out of life, because they were fairly young when they first met and they're still fairly young, but they have had some opportunity to learn and figure out a little bit more of what they want.
Charity: [00:16:28] uh, was lucky enough to get to read it. Earlier, and I loved that these are two new characters for our series. I'm like, Ooh, how can we pull them in later?
Hillary: [00:16:38] That'd be weird. I haven't actually figured out where in the timeline name and fall. Right. So
Charity: [00:16:42] they may never come back.
I love it. Okay. And then finally, uh, how do we talk about Jaya without giving away too many
Hillary: [00:16:54] spoilers? Oh, um, I think we're going vague.
Charity: [00:17:01] Cause I love Jaya Jaya. My heart just breaks for her and she's this great character and I can't wait cause I haven't read anything yet, but I can't wait to see her.
Finally get her happily
Hillary: [00:17:12] ever after. Yeah. I'm still in the beginning stages of her story. So that's part of the reason we're being vague because you never know how it's going to change and what she's going to tell me needs to be there. Right. So that is still happening, but I love Jaya as well. She is a fairly soft-spoken, she's kind of the peacemaker of the group of girls.
She's, she's very chill. Um, and she had her heartbroken, her, her fiance died in the. Beginning of forgetting you and the end of chocolate kisses. Yes. So where they overlap right there on those last, in first scenes, her fiance passes away and in a car accident and she is just broken. She's just broken. She had dated him for a long time, um, all the way through high school.
And they were just deeply in love and she is just broken. And it's the story of her finding. Being able to let him go really and finding that she can still love.
Charity: [00:18:12] Yeah. Which has got to be extremely
Hillary: [00:18:14] hard. Yeah. I mean, it's kind of an excruciating process, but she also cares so deeply about people and she has the peacemaker.
She wants people to be happy. And so she still puts herself out there, but just in a reserved way. And, um, the young man who she meets, uh, is someone that she'd never met before. He he's from out of town and he comes and. Is basically working with her. And so they're kind of forced to be together a little more often.
And when you have those kinds of relationships with people where you're constantly seeing each other things come out and, uh, he helps her resolve stuff and it's, it's a sweet process to see that she can still, uh, She can still love, probably find
Charity: [00:18:59] love without feeling like she's being unfaithful to Aiden.
And yes, that's that to me, would I think be the hard part in that process?
Hillary: [00:19:08] Well, yeah, when she loses him, it feels like the book has closed for her. She feels like, okay, well that was my chance. That was my love. And it was wonderful and now it hurts, but shut the door, you know, it's, we're done now and she's just kind of trying to find ways to move on.
And, um, Levi is the name of her, of her love interest. And, um, when he comes up to Eureka Springs, he also has suffered a, a heartbreak recently. And so they, I don't think they ever really talk about it too much and especially not in the beginning, but they're having these same struggles. And so they kind of connect on things then they understand, right.
They're coming from. I
Charity: [00:19:49] know I'm forgetting you. Brynn and Mick's story is, is it out
Hillary: [00:19:56] an audio? Yes. That one just got completed and I got the approval to. The notification that it's out. I have codes, I have all the things it's wonderful. I had Julie Hinton narrate that and she did an amazing job. It's a lot of fun.
I'm so excited to have it, have it there and available. So we're working on getting that advertised and helping people find it. That's that's exciting. Well, so
Charity: [00:20:22] that's on audible so they can find it on Amazon, correct. Okay. So right now on Amazon, they can find forgetting you. And did you say ghost of love brand story is up for pre-order?
Hillary: [00:20:35] Yes, it is. It is. It's set. It's the pre-order date is August 31st. So nerve wracking a little bit. I've already got it written. I just, uh, I'm working through the edits of it and. I know it's soon, but I think she's ready. Right. I'm so excited.
Charity: [00:20:55] Okay. Good stuff. So Amazon, they are in Kindle and paperback. And then for getting you as on audible.
Yes. And then, uh, tell us once again, where we can find,
Hillary: [00:21:06] what's the name of your cozy? Oh, it's called the mystery and the old quilt and it's a Missouri star mystery is what it's going to be called. Um, I don't know if they've used that title on there, but. That's what I've been calling it to. So I brought that up to them the other day and Missouri store mystery.
And it's found on in block magazine at the Missouri star quilt company website. Okay.
Charity: [00:21:29] Anything else you want everyone to know about you or your books?
Hillary: [00:21:34] Um, I know that's very good. Sorry about that.
Charity: [00:21:42] Okay. One last thing, because this is something that I love, like at the beginning you said, you know, you're kind of just a mom, you're a new writer, but you do so many more things because I know you're an excellent seamstress.
Um, but. One of the things that I'm impressed with is you, are, are you head honcho for the Midwest story makers and indie author hub
Hillary: [00:22:05] writers conferences? Sure. Yes, actually, I guess so I, we have several of us on the committee. I am one of the co-chairs with Don Kerry of the story makers, indie author hub, uh, writers' conference.
We shorten that to smile and, um, It's great. It's a great conference. We have it set up. It happens in September every year, and we have amazing speakers this year. Our lineup of speakers and presenters is incredible. It always is. I'm just so excited of all the different circumstances in the world. Right now, we have adapted it to be a hybrid conference.
And so we will have the in-person conference happening, but for those who can't come or choose to stay at home, that we're also going to have it available via streaming and then downloadable, um, talks, presentations, presentations. So that's going out everywhere and it's going to be great.
Charity: [00:22:59] Okay. So if we have any writers listening, that would be interested in that, where can they.
Hillary: [00:23:04] Find information, the smile writers conference.com. You can find us on Facebook. You, we have a website. Uh, it's just my writer's conference.com is the website, but it searches smiles. S M I a H since that's not very intuitive
Charity: [00:23:22] and I'll make sure the links are in the production notes also as well. Is your Amazon author page.
Hillary: [00:23:27] Oh, you're fantastic. I'm so
Charity: [00:23:28] glad. That you were able to, um, come last minute before you head out of town and join us today. Um, Hillary is one of my best friends and that's not why I asked her here because she's also an amazing author and I hope that things go well for you and that all these ideas in your head continue to get on the page so that
Hillary: [00:23:48] we can read.
I'm so excited. Thanks, Jerry. It's been good to be here. It's
Charity: [00:23:53] great having you. Make sure you check out Hillary Sperry on Amazon and all the great things that she has coming out. You'll also notice down in the links that love under lockdown. The boxed set with 25 authors and 25 short stories comes out today.
July 1st, 2020 Hillary has a story in there called for never, and always, and I have a story in there as river Ford called swept away. Just remember to be kind to one another because we have more in common than we ever choose to see.