Hi Laura Hilton,
Thanks for letting me contribute to your beautiful blog. I so appreciate the opportunity to share Season of Hope.
Laura Nelson Selinsky
Thanks for stopping by -- and congratulations on your new release!
Tell us about the book – a brief blurb:
The Christmas lights in the mission’s front window are burning a little dim. So is Pastor Nick Mayfield’s hope. Managing a down-on-its-luck mission in a tough neighborhood in Philadelphia isn’t easy, and he questions his decision to leave a promising law career to follow his calling. Across the street, Claudia Delacorte works day and night in her abusive stepfather’s store. She’ll do anything to assure her beloved half-sisters have a happy and safe future, even sacrifice her own happiness. When the new pastor shows interest in her, she scoffs—she doesn’t have time for love. Or Christmas. But a series of crimes throws the neighborhood into turmoil, and Claudia becomes an easy target. During a robbery gone horribly wrong, Nick and Claudia must work together to save her sisters, the store, and each other.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I’ve never had a book reviewed—Season of Hope is my first long-form publication. But I’ve had scads of rejection letters. After a few dozen, I learned to balance my desire to ignore rejections against the wisdom of taking seriously the advice that rejections contain. In my day job as an English teacher, I work for the harshest possible critics, high school students with significant learning differences. I’m used to their “no pulled punches” assessment of my work, my words, and even my wardrobe.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I’d love to be mentored in writing humor, which is such a challenge to do well. I’m in the Philly suburbs, and Tina Fey is a local, so in this fantasy, I will be coached by Tina Fey.
What book are you reading now?
I am finishing Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys, which is a heartbreaking story about an abusive correctional school. For seven years, I taught in an alternative program, largely with adjudicated youth. Whitehead’s story leaves me wondering where many of my troubled former students are now. I can only place them in God’s hands.
What books have most influenced your life most?
I adored reading Jane Eyre when I was very young, maybe ten or eleven. I keep a copy in the car for delays and waiting rooms, so I’m never not reading Jane Eyre. As an English teacher, I concede absolute dedication to Shakespeare, Wilde, and Chaucer. My favorite pleasure genre is high fantasy; I have Tolkien to thank for that. In Christian literature, I treasure the Medieval mystics. A classic on Christian living, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger strikes firmly against my selfishness, even decades after I first read it.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? What book do you wish you could have written?
For favorite author, my choice is Tolkien. I read his fantasy and his Old English translations for pleasure. My British Literature students are required to read Tolkien’s translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. You don’t inflict something on your students if you aren’t passionate about it yourself. What I enjoy most about Tolkien’s work is his ability to incorporate ancient literary influences into a world which is nevertheless entirely his own. I wish I had his ability to read in the ancient forms and had brought them to life in The Fellowship of the Ring.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I’m a member of RealmMakers, a consortium of Christian speculative fiction authors. The fantasy author Brent Weeks, whom I had never read, gave the keynotes and led panel discussions at last summer’s RealmMakers conference. He’s a wonderful preacher, and I was happy to buy a trilogy of his to have signed. His writing is astonishing.
If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living?
I’ve been lucky to have had three careers I’ve loved and would return to in a heartbeat. I was an Interpretive Naturalist in the New Jersey State Parks System, I was a United Methodist pastor, and for the last twenty-four years I’ve taught English to atypical students. In less than two years, I’m retiring into the new career of writing full time
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Right now, I am busy promoting Season of Hope, my Christmas story, and Beach Dreams, an anthology. I am juggling two novels; one’s the third book and finale of a fantasy trilogy, the other’s a historical novel with touches of fantasy. Only my husband knows the historical events used in the later novel. Even my critique group sees it with names and places redacted; if they knew the real people and events involved, that knowledge would color their reading of the book and affect their critiques.
Share your bio, links for social media and to buy:
Laura Nelson Selinsky is a wife, mother, author, and high school teacher. She writes in her (Hah!) free time, through the support of her wonderful husband and critique group. She teaches Shakespeare, Chaucer, mythology, and where the apostrophe goes to students with significant learning differences. For twenty years, she has chased second graders through Hope Community Church; allegedly, that’s teaching, too. When she’s not teaching or writing, Laura loves to spend time with her grown children and their partners. She grows too many tomatoes, finds hand-sewing relaxing, and makes excellent Scotch shortbread, which is great with a cup of tea and a book.
Contact Laura on Twitter or Facebook by searching Laura Nelson Selinsky; she’s the only one with that name.
Laura’s Christmas novella Season of Hope and her other work can be found through her author’s page amazon.com/author/laura-nelson-selinsky