Today I am so happy to welcome authors Sadie and Sophie Cuffe, a sister writing team from Maine. Their book, “Faith in the Shadows” is published by Desert Breeze Publishing. The generous authors will be giving away a copy of “Faith in the Shadows” to a lucky guest who comments on their visit today. Welcome, Sadie and Sophie!
First, tell us a little bit about yourself:
We’re sisters who live on a small farm in Unorganized Territory in Downeast Maine. We’ve always been close in heart, though not always close geographically. Now in our “later empty nest” years, we have the opportunity to share a home and a career. That may seem like too much of a good thing but, in a sick way, it’s like a marriage. We’re very different (think type AAA and zzz) in a lot of ways, so we like to think we compliment each other in our strengths and weaknesses. And living in an all-girl home (except for our dog, Henry) has its creative challenges and humorous benefits.
Tell us about your latest book:
Faith in the Shadows is an inspirational romance set in the year following the American Civil War. It features Hawk, a blinded war veteran, and Alice, a Yankee farm gal who struggles with self-worth issues because of a facial birthmark (port wine stain).
When they meet, Alice is all about caring for stable groom, Hawk, like one of her orphaned lambs on the farm. Hawk is angry and independent, so he bristles at her attempts to befriend him. Yet it’s Alice’s life experiences at being patronized that give her the emotional keys to Hawk’s deepest conflicts.
Their feelings and fragile friendship are shredded because Alice’s fiancé sticks it to Hawk every chance he gets. Selfish and manipulative, Joshua’s a guy you love to hate, because he’s good at being bad. He knows what he wants and he’s not afraid to go after it with everything he’s got, enjoying the collateral damage he causes along the way.
But sometimes struggle and conflict are what’s needed to kick-start the heart, and Hawk resurrects his self-respect when he stands up to Joshua and becomes Alice’s champion.
Unfortunately, Joshua knows about the skeletons in Alice’s closet and where all the bodies are buried in Hawk’s fragile psyche. He uses their secrets against them and, in a desperate attempt to break Alice free from Joshua’s clutches, Hawk risks his neck to save her.
Alice is livid at Hawk’s white-knight bravado, but sees in it, a brash reflection of her own stubbornness. Can she and Hawk face the truth about themselves and their future, or will Joshua succeed in getting rid of Hawk and claiming Alice for his bride?
Where do you get ideas for your books?
Ultimately, God gives us all our ideas (although we take full responsibility for the weird ones). But He gives them to us in a thousand ways: from articles we read in the paper, from the epitaphs on old gravestones, from conversations with people we meet, from our warped-and-sometimes-scary imaginations, from asking “what if?”, and sometimes from seeing some small image — like a toddler imitating an adult, or an older couple walking hand-in-hand on a beach.
In three words describe your writing.
Rural, shotgun, sisterhood.
How do you get to know your characters?
We both bring opinions (sometimes strong) about our characters to the writing table and bounce ideas off each other. Sophie’s fixated on details (middle names, birthdates, and what they ate for breakfast on July 10, 1999). Sadie’s happier coloring outside the lines and letting the characters run a bit wild. (Who knows what they’re wearing or where they live, let’s put ’em in the ocean and see if they know how to swim).
Since we come at it from both directions, we can have a character who cramps up because she goes to close too the cliff to take a photo of maybe a whale, maybe a submarine, gets hauled in by a seventh wave and, because she ate a monster bowl of Fruitloops for breakfast with too much milk, she gets wicked stomach cramps and…
Seriously, we get a rough idea of what our characters are about (emotionally, physically, and Spiritually), then we start writing. The characters evolve a lot through dialog played out in our minds (yes, it’s the scary “we hear voices in our heads” scenario. When they start telling us to do something besides write it down on paper, we’re in BIG trouble), and through letting them make choices which don’t mirror our own at critical junctures in the plot. We do have to be careful with our physical descriptions and names as we both tend to like the same physical type of hero.
Does your faith affect your writing? How?
Very much so. Our faith is an integral part of who we are and something we live out every day. We don’t put it on the shelf when we write and, even if we’re not writing something overtly Christian, it manifests itself in our choice of words, our sense of right and wrong, and our confident hope and positive view of the future, regardless of the condition of the world.
Our faith also gives us a strong conviction of writing stories that help others. We made a pact never to write anything our grandmother, mother, or daughter couldn’t and shouldn’t read. Our belief is — if we can’t get the point across without using a swear word, or build the suspense without in-your-face violence, or rip your heart out without gratuitous sex, then we need to learn our craft better so we can become the writers we need to be to honor God, our families, and our convictions. We’re not there yet, but we’re trying to improve and put our best effort.
Our website: www.cuffesisters.com <http://www.cuffesisters.com/> We invite our friends to follow our “posts” and “comments” for our blog “Off the Cuffe” and for our author interviews “Complimentary Cuffes.”
purchase links for FAITH IN THE SHADOWS:
Thanks so much for the visit, Regina. We look forward to seeing you in our neck of the woods real soon! Sadie & Sophie
Thank you both so much for visiting today! Best of luck with your writing careers!