Paula Hrbacek Interview

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The Eternal Curse Series Blog Presents an interview with author: Paula Hrbacek.

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I double majored in journalism and art at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  After that, I worked for a book publisher, Christian Board of Publication, for five years in the advertising department.  Then I became a stay-at-home mother of four, a scout leader, and wrote on a freelance basis.  I’ve published five books so far: St. Louis Is for Families- Bethany Press, Created In Faith- Concordia, Bible Verses for Young Children- CBP Press, Stars Shine After Dark- IUniverse, and Day Camp in HawaiiCreate Space. I also write two newspaper columns for The Examiner, a free online newspaper: one about children’s arts and crafts and the other about books and book reviews.

You are one busy bee. I can’t imagine doing all you do with four kids. Kudos to you! Can’t wait to see what you have to share.

So whacha got for me today?

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Stars Shine After Dark, is a sweet love story that has faith woven through the plot and used as a means of making decisions.  Faith is the compass that guides them through their problems.

Mona is an actress who grew up in Hollywood.  Trying to revamp her image from a child actor to a mature woman, she decides to go to college. There she meets Tim, a football star for UCLA.

They are both stars and both successful.  It should be a fairy tale romance, but soon overwhelming obstacles begin to test their relationship.

Mona finds relief by reading the book of Hosea.  She realizes that she has lost sight of what is really important to her, and decides to change her relationship with Tim.  They may have been going through a dark period, but if they are stars, they will find a way to keep their love shining.

I think everyone can relate to a love story in some way. For many, love stories allow for secret contemplation about their own relationships by offering another point of view, a variety of scenarios, and possible solutions to past, present, or future issues to be had. Most importantly, love stories deliver all this a nice sweet package that can be picked up or put away a will. I think you really have something special to share with this story.

So who’s starring is this 2 dimensional script read of Stars Shine After Dark?

Mona Poole is a young woman who grew up in Hollywood acting.  She wants to take some time off and have a “normal” life, examine what she wants to do next, and try to get a more mature image.  She enrolls at UCLA, and becomes friends with her agent’s niece.  On the one hand, she’s an old pro at handling business, but on the other hand, she’s a newbie when it comes to college life.  She’s used to having her parents act as her managers, but they have decided to move because of her father’s health, leaving her in total charge for the first time.  So, she’s a strong woman, but also a chick that has just been pushed out of the nest.

Even with the presence of relationship drama, this sounds like a pretty positive story about a child actress, and we all know we need more of these. I think Mona is a character that most people in this day and age can relate to on some level if only as yet another child star desperately try to make that transition into adulthood with grace.

Past, present, future, is there a rhyme or reason to your writing?

When I write I start with the problem, then the solution, and then I start working backwards. Who would get themselves in that mess, why, where, how, when?  Once I have all of that set in my mind, I write a short story, very quickly, just to get the plot organized.  Then, I’ll go back and fill in all the details, dialogue, descriptions and emotions that are needed to flesh it out.

When I was working on Stars Shine After Dark, I had the radio playing country music in the background.  It seemed that every time I got stuck for a good idea, a song would come on the radio that contained the answer.  There has to be a dozen country songs hidden in the plot—a scene where “the windshield wipers are slapping out a tempo” like Eddie Rabbitt’s song, a conversation where she talks “woman to woman” like Tammy Wynette, that sort of thing.  Of course, they aren’t direct quotes from the song, just the same general idea.  It was reassuring how when I needed a good idea, I got one at the right moment that way.

I like your methodology. It’s very organized. It’s cool too how you use music to inspire you. I like quiet when I write, but whenever I get stumped on a particular idea, that’s when I pull out my soundtracks. There is a movie and theme music for every emotion and scenario out there.

What author(s) has most influenced your writing? Why or how?

I read a variety of books and authors, trying to learn what I can from each one.  But as far as inspiration for a story goes, I used to get a lot of good ideas from Dear Abby.  I thought her advice was lousy, so instead of arguing with her, I’d turn it into a fictional story.  I sold one of those to Modern Romance magazine years ago.

Well that’s one way to get inspired. Who said inspiration has to come from someplace positive. Many of the greatest inventions of our time where inspired by frustration and need, not desire.

Whose brain are you just itching to scratch?

A quote I like is “I know God has a plan for my life, but when I get to Heaven, he’s got some explaining to do.”  I guess my answer would be God and I think my questions would be “what time is it?” Is this a time to help the poor or a time to shake the sand off of my sandals when I leave?  Is it time to forgive, or time to rebuke the sinner?

I hear ya. Sometimes I wish I could just ask God about the things that no one else can even begin to understand. Good answer.

Who is so you and why?

I read Ernest Hemingway’s biography, and except that I’m a girl and he’s a boy, we have a lot in common.  We’re both the youngest, having two older siblings of the opposite sex.  My mother made me wear my brother’s hand-me-downs, my father was dramatic, my grandmother had a cottage on a finger lake near Lake Erie, and a few other things.  I mentioned this to my husband, and he became concerned because Ernest committed suicide.  I assured him that his death occurred after him having had three wives and that I’m only on my first husband.

A female Hemingway with less drama doesn’t sound too bad.

What’s your ideal reading spot for your next highly anticipated read?

The ideal spot is laid out on the sofa with a fuzzy afghan and a soft pillow on a rainy day in the spring, or the first week after school gets out, lying on a chase lounge in the back yard.  I like paperbacks best.  But the reality is that when an author asks for a book review, they send me a Kindle file.  Then I take it with me when I volunteer at our church’s gift shop and read it while sitting in an office chair, waiting for customers.  I don’t do audio books because I’m hard of hearing. I have a lot going on personally right now, so aside from a little promotion I’m doing, I’m taking it easy. I’m not really reading anything at the moment.

Comfort seems to be a priority when you’re reading and there’s nothing wrong with that. Too bad you can’t take full advantage of audio books. I prefer audio books to TV; seriously I either: read for entertainment, listen for entertainment, or watch a movie. TV almost doesn’t exist to me anymore. I know what it’s like to have a lot going on. That’s why reading for pleasure is great. You don’t have to do it until you want to.

What was your favorite book or story, pre-teen years?

In elementary school, I like the series of books about a boy named Henry [Henry Higgins] who had a donut machine.  I liked it because he solved a problem in a different way.  He didn’t give up.

I also had a favorite craft book for children that used a lot of recycled goods like bottle caps and corks.  I think I made just about every project in that book.

My favorite magazine as a girl was “Boy’s Life”.  When I was in high school, my favorite magazine was “Parents’”

You don’t hear of too many teens reading “Parents” for fun, but everyone’s got their own thing. I remember reading about Henry Higgins when I was little too…

To see more of this interview and have a chance to win a copy of Stars Shine After Dark, visit the Eternal Curse Series Blog. For more information about this author, Paula Hrbacek, please visit the links below.

Website: Paula Hrbacek: Christian Fiction and Craft Projects

Examiner.com/Book Reviews | Examiner.com/Children’s Arts & Crafts

GoodReads: Paula Knoderer Hrbacek’s Blog

Facebook: Paula Hrbacek

Twitter: @PHrbacek

Purchase links for Stars Shine After Dark: Amazon, Kindle, Nook

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

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Toi Thomas

I like reading, writing, cooking, dancing, movies, and music. I'm a big kid and choose to see the world in my own special way. Yes, I'm educated, but I haven't let that stop me from being who I want to be. I'm a wife, teacher, author, blogger, and more.

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