Friday, January 25, 2013

the thing with feathers by Anne Sweazy-Kujul - Interview & Book Nook with Glowlight Giveaway

Welcome to BK Walker Books Etc. I'm so happy you could join me today at Pacific City, Oregon.

BK: Please tell us a little about yourself...

Okay, but just a little…I’m not nearly as interesting as my writing. I live on the Oregon coast with my husband and my Pit Bulls. We have a grown daughter who’s a vet tech and part-time model, living in Bend, Oregon. When we first came to Oregon, we rehabilitated a 1906 Victorian farmhouse and carriage house, and turned it into a Bed & Breakfast Inn. Within a year we had won the award for Best B&B in the state, and we were manufacturing our granola cereals (Wholly Cow) for the specialty food industry. Fun times! We did that for five years, but then were involved in a car accident that required us to sell the mansion and the businesses. I wrote my first novel while recovering from my first (of many) surgeries.

BK: We have pit bulls too :). Sorry to hear about your accident though. Please tell us a little about your book....

The hero of the story, Blair Bowman, is a young girl just sixteen years old, in 1927. She’s growing up without a mother on the wild and sparsely-populated coast of Oregon…and she’s pregnant. Imagine you’re Blair, and your father is the town’s fire-and-brimstone Baptist preacher. And then imagine he is the rapist. Oh, and he’s crazier than a submarine with screen doors, too.

Blair survives her desperate circumstances with the unexpected help from a wealthy dairy farmer’s youngest son, and some strangely comforting words from a favorite teacher. Ironically, the preacher just isn’t the forgiving sort. He’s not happy when Sean Marshall interferes in his and his child-wife’s affairs. Bowman sets his sights on the Marshall family, and everyone else who might oppose him. Fortunately, evil doesn’t always win. It has a sweet (maybe bittersweet) ending.

BK: What inspired you to pen this particular novel?

While we were restoring our Victorian farmhouse, we found an early photo (1920’s) of a girl standing on a rock. She was smiling, but I had the unshakeable impression the girl was horribly sad. I thought about that girl’s sad eyes for weeks before I finally told my husband I was going to write a story about her.

BK: It sounds like it was meant to be. When did you first consider yourself a writer?

That would have been when I received my first acceptance letter for a short story I’d written. But I did not consider myself an “author” until I had sold my first novel.

BK: It's a great feeling, isn't it?  How do you keep your story flowing?

I’ve never run into a problem with that, because I don’t actually start writing until my outline is well fleshed-out and my characters are all “born” (i.e., structured writing). I always know where I’m going from the start.

BK: Do you ever run into writer's block, and if so, what do you do to get past it?

I don’t believe I ever have. I mean, there have been times when I’ve finished a chapter and I’m not sure how I want to start the next one, but I don’t panic and refer to it as a block. I think about some of the other scenes that will need to be a part a of the story, even if it is quite a bit further into the book. If any of those “scenes” gets my juices stirring when I think about it, I’ll work on one of those, instead. There’s no rule that you have to write each chapter in its consecutive order. In fact, sometimes I’ll even put the novel away for a while and goof around with poetry or flash fiction. I love the story I’m writing and I love the characters I’ve created--I know I’m coming back to it, so I don’t worry.

BK: That's not the first time I've heard about writing out of order, then putting that piece of the story in when it comes time. What is your writing process like? Do you have any quirks, or must-haves to write?

I have quirks--maybe one or two “must haves.” I need noise--I don’t really care what it is. It can be loud music, my Pit Bulls horsing around, the TV blaring or appliances whirring--or all of them at once. I just can’t concentrate if it’s quiet. As for the must-haves (you would ask me this, B.K.!), I have severe and chronic pain, 24/7, but I do not like to take pain pills. So, I need my champagne Mimosa and my cigarettes…and, no, I don’t smoke tobacco. Nuff said.

BK: LOL, well I happen to LOVE Mimosas :). Where do you hope your books/writing will be in the future?

I’m really hoping I get the chance to write every story idea I have in my notebook pocket before I kick the bucket! I also have begun writing the screenplay for “Bodie.” I’m at a stop right now because my books are taking front burner, but I’m looking forward to writing the screenplay with the collaboration of a talented writer friend, who happens to be an award-winning screenwriter. Beyond that, I would love to help others someday, perhaps by starting a writer’s workshop summer program, but I don’t have the educational requirements to teach. Maybe after I’ve authored ten books or so, they’ll let that slide…?

BK: I'm sure, or if I decide to come to Oregon we can plan on a workshop together :). What do you hope readers will take away from your books?

I included Christian themes and principles throughout my books, which I think are pretty easily absorbed. They all lead back to a common theme of hope (thus the title, from the Emily Dickinson poem, “Hope”), or a faith in God‘s love for us. Life can be pretty sad and meaningless without it. My heroine, Blair, is demure and tiny, and horribly victimized. But armored with Hope, she’s a survivor who manages to accomplish the difficult-side of impossible. I would love it if the story helps my readers, women especially, feel emboldened.

BK: Well, you already know I can't wait to read it. It sounds amazing. Sadly, I found I had a deadline with another book due this week, so the thing with feathers is next in line. What is one piece of advice you received that you carry with you in your writing?

I’ll give you three! One: don’t become a journalist--I tend to bury the lead; Two: always proof-read my manuscript aloud. It’s the only way to hear syntax, rhythm and pace; and, Three: grow thicker skin. If I can’t take criticism, I will never make it in this business.

BK: Excellent advice! What is one piece of advice you would give to new and aspiring writers?

If you have not yet written your masterpiece, I recommend you first read as much as you can of literature (traditionally-published) in your own genre--try to absorb the quality of styles that got those authors published. If you’ve already written your debut manuscript, then my one piece of advice would be, figure out your platform and get a firm grip on it, before your book hit’s the market. Marketing is tough! And every publisher expects the author’s help. This will put you ahead of the game.

BK: This was brilliantly said and awesome advice for a newbie. Thank  you Anne. Are you currently working on any new projects? What can we expect from you in the future?

My next manuscript, “Bodie,” is in the final read-through at Tate Publishing, before we arrange typesetting and cover art. The release date is TBD, but it’s running ahead of schedule and should be in early spring. I am currently writing my third, “Grog Wars,” about the first beer brewers to come to Portland, Oregon--Shanghai capital of the world (and a pretty dangerous place to be a drinker!)

BK: Where can readers find you?

I can always be reached through my website: or, via my Facebook Fan Page, on, GoodReads, LibraryThing, Tate Publishing’s website, and Twitter. I’m also on Pinterest, StudioVox, Google+, and I am a member of several writers’ groups on LinkedIn, where published authors and industry professionals try to help aspiring writers, and each other. Please feel free to contact me!

Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today. It's been a pleasure having you and I wish you much success in the future.

Thanks, B.K. This is my first virtual tour, and it has been a great experience!

the thing with feathers
By Anne Sweazy Kulju

About Anne:

ANNE SWEAZY KULJU has won awards for editorials and honors for short stories, but now she writes historical fiction adventures, exclusively. Her debut novel, “the thing with feathers,” was released by Tate Publishing in September 2012. Her book, “Bodie,” a total thrill ride, is expected to release in early 2013, and she is currently busy on her next book, “Grog Wars,” set in 1850’s Portland, Oregon, the Shanghai capital of the world. Anne lives near Pacific City, Oregon, and divides her free time between the beach and Mount Bachelor. Readers may learn more about Anne and correspond with her on her website at .

the thing with feathers by Anne Sweazy-Kulju

Genre - Historical Fiction/Saga
Publisher - Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC
Release Date - 9-11-2012
Buy: Amazon


It was the ugliest photo he had ever seen.
And nothing would be the same again.

As the inhabitants of Cloverdale, Oregon, welcomed in the twentieth century, they were not unaccustomed to hard times and thorny situations. Small communities banded together for protection and hope. Heroes and villains were often difficult to decipher.

When an itinerate Baptist preacher arrived with his baby daughter and a wife lost on the trail, there was no one prepared to suspect what lurid secrets and heartbreak he might be concealing. As the preacher sets his sights against those who might oppose him, the names and the lives of the good people of Cloverdale may not be spared.

Yet in the midst of the machinations of a mad man, virtue and valor can persist. The Thing with Feathers is known to fly through wars, depressions, and natural disasters. Will the Marshall clan and the good people of Cloverdale find it in time?


Seems she don’t much care for song leaders neither.” The musician reached for another piece of the pie.

On the contrary.” Preacher Bowman gave the man a knowing look.

Serious? Naw. Pull my other leg, it has bells on!” he’d told him.

I never knew a young girl who didn’t attempt to lure a man she’s interested in away from the prying eyes of her father.” The preacher pushed his platter away from himself and smiled. “You’ll probably be wanting your payment now. I believe I promised you better pay than you’ve ever had before. Well, my man, it waits for you in the canning shed out back.” Bowman nodded his head toward the kitchen window. He encouraged the music man to get up and take a look.
The musician followed Bowman’s gaze out the window that hung over the kitchen sink. He spotted the side of the small shed and his eyes caught barely a glimpse of Blair’s floral skirt moving within. He tossed a confused look to the preacher, who gave the man a surreptitious wink and then resumed his seat at the table.

A lecherous look registered in the music man’s deep-set eyes about the same instant the preacher’s intentions reached his cramped mind. The musician reached for the back door handle and opened it, looking back at the preacher once more to be sure that that was what the preacher intended. He was rewarded with a silent nod.

Preacher Bowman reached for another slice of pie.


Nook Book Glowlight
Character Name chosen by one lucky winner

Also - grab bags will be randomly given away during the tour!

December 18 - Meet & Greet at VBT Cafe' Blog
December 20 - Interviewed at Reviews & Interviews
December 22 - Interviewed at Oh Chrys!
December 27 - Guest Blogging at Reviews by Dee
January 2 - Interviewed at Unnecessary Musings
January 4 - Guest Blogging at Wise Words
January 7 - Review & Interview at Impressions of a Princess
January 9 - Review & Guest Blogging at A Book Lover's Library
January 11 - Guest Blogging at Lori's Reading Corner
January 14 - Book Feature & Excerpt at The Official Blog-Zine of Terra Little
January 14 - Review & Interview at The Book Town
January 16 - Review & Interview at Central Bargains and Giveaways
January 18 - Guest Blogging at AZ Publishing Services
January 21 - Interviewed at House-Of-Books
January 23 - Interviewed at Books & Tales
January 25 - Interviewed at BK Walker Books Etc.
January 28 - Review & Character Interview at Where Fantasy Meets Reality
January 30 - Review & Guest Blogging at Books, Books, and More Books
February 1 - Reviewed at Turning The Pages
February 6 - Guest Blogging with Monique Morgan
February 8 - Reviewed at The Self Taught Cook


Unknown said...

Good point about the thicker skin. I'm developing it and it is painful.

Unknown said...

This was a fun interview! Loved it!

Teddy Rose said...

Great review! I love the cover!