Friday, February 20, 2009

Age Before Beauty by Virginia Smith

My good friend Virginia Smith has a new one out in her Sister-to-Sister series that's sure to bring on the chuckles and the sighs and the knowing nods. Here's an intriguing interview with her. Leave a comment to win a copy!

*What was the inspiration behind Age before Beauty?

Allie is a typical older sister, used to controlling everyone and
everything. Okay, I admit it – I’m the oldest of three sisters, so a lot of
Allie’s struggles came straight from my own life. Also, my middle sister
gave birth to a baby right before I started writing Age before Beauty,
so of course some of her thoughts and feelings had to show up in the
story as well. I had a lot of fun blending characteristics and experiences
from both of us.

 *Do you often put yourself into your stories?

There’s a piece of me in every character I’ve ever written. If I’m going to
write a believable character, one that resonates with a reader, I have to
be able to get inside her head, and in order to do that I have to find
some common ground with her. But often it’s just a minor element of
commonality, and pretty soon the character’s personality begins to
grow and take on unique qualities. Allie, for instance, is the ultimate
problem solver, and that comes directly from me. But some of her
conflicts—like with her mother-in-law, for instance—are all her own.

 *When a ‘rash’ appears on Joanie’s face, Allie panics. Have you ever
overreacted to a situation involving your child?

Yes, that’s one of the things I pulled from my own life. My ‘baby’ is
twenty-six years old, so I had to dig into some pretty old memories. But
I still remember how embarrassing it was to sit in the doctor’s office
after an emergency phone call and have him tell me my infant was not
dying of a terrible disease, but just had a case of gas.

 *Eric and Allie were raised in vastly different environments, and that
affects their marriage. Do you think that happens in real life?

Definitely. Children build expectations about their own romantic
relationships based on what they saw growing up. So when our parents’
marriage fails, as Allie’s did, that’s bound to affect how we approach
marriage. In Allie’s case, she sees similarities between Eric and her
father, and she leaps to the conclusion that that Eric will one day leave
her, as her father did. I had the same fears in the early years of my
marriage. It took me several years of counseling and prayer, but I know
I serve a God who overcomes obstacles. Today my husband and I have a
strong, thriving marriage.

 *Allie jumps head-first into a home sales business, selling makeup and
cleaning products. Any basis in reality from that situation?

Not personally. That element of the story came from the accumulated
experiences of several young moms I know. One is my sister, of course,
who yearned to stay home with her new baby. And one is a friend of my
daughter’s who did quit her job and launched a makeup sales business
in order to stay home with her infant. I’ll be honest about something –
When I first got the idea for this story, I intended to poke a bit of fun at
the ‘pyramid scheme’ type businesses. But a funny thing happened. This
young mom loves her business, and she’s become wildly successful at it.
She credits her business for changing her life in many ways. I interviewed
several others who told me the same thing. My perception of that type of
sales job totally changed. So the story became less about poking fun at
that industry, and more about the extremes an obsessive personality will
go to in order to accomplish her goals. I think the story is much better this

 *Is there an overall message in Age before Beauty?

Well, I didn’t set out to write a book with a message. I wanted to write an
entertaining story with realistic characters that people can identify with.
But I’m a Christian, and I write from a Christian worldview, so the hope I
have in the Lord comes through in all my books. In Age before Beauty,
I hope readers walk away with a renewed sense of assurance that God is
in control, and that no problem is too tough for Him to handle.

 *Age before Beauty is the second book in the Sister-to-Sister Series,
following Stuck in the Middle, which was about the middle
Sanderson sister. But there are three sisters. Will there be another

Absolutely! In fact, I just finished writing the first draft of Last but
Not Least, which will hit bookstores in February of 2010. The central
character is Tori, the youngest Sanderson sister, whose life is completely
different than the other two. She’s a professional girl, a real ‘chick’ with
a fetish for designer clothes. There are some really funny escapades in
that book, and of course more of the heartwarming family relationships
that I loved in the first two. Last but Not Least will wrap up the
Sister-to-Sister Series, and I’ve thrown in a couple of surprises that I
think readers will enjoy.

To BUY IT NOW! click on the link below:
Age Before Beauty


Bethany said...

I think my mother would love this book - sounds like a fun read for her while finishing her foot recovery. Please enter me in the drawing, and thanks so much!

Jill said...

Congratulations, Bethany! The book is yours!! Jill