Hawaii is a quick getaway for those who live on the West Coast, including romance author Rachel Herron. Just as I was sending her an email (with an invitation to appear at SOS Aloha), she was soaking up the sun in Hawaii. Rachel shared her trip on her blog. We finally connected and Rachel joins us today to celebrate the release of HOW TO KNIT A HEART BACK HOME.
Kim: Your bio is chock full of fun info.
Rachael Herron received her MFA in writing from Mills College, and has been knitting since she was five years old. It's more than a hobby; it's a way of life. Rachael lives with her better half in Oakland, California, where they have four cats, three dogs, three spinning wheels, and more instruments than they can count. She is a proud member of the San Francisco Area Romance Writers of America and she is struggling to learn the ukulele.
There must be some correlation between writing and knitting as this is a popular hobby for romance writers! Who taught you to knit and what is your favorite stitch?
Rachel: My mother taught me to knit, but what that meant was that she taught me the knit and purl stitch. For all other answers, she pointed me to Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Without Tears, which was a great guide. I practically learned to read from it. :) My favorite stitch remains the knit stitch -- it's fast, and I don't have to look while I'm doing it, so I can read or watch TV at the same time. I love to multi-task.
|My idea of "crafts" - cupcakes!|
Kim: For those of us who are challenged by crafts (me!), can you give us an example of how knitting is a way of life.
Rachel: There is always knitting near me. Almost one hundred percent of the time, there is a sock-on-the-go in my purse. I never really devote much time to socks, but just knitting on them in line at the post office, or waiting for a movie to start is enough to get a few pairs done a year. And I usually have a bigger project in the works (or two or three), and they're rated for stress levels -- lace for relaxing, stockinette sweater for when I'm too stressed to think about much, cables for hanging out with friends.... Knitting to me is a form of meditation -- I put my worries and cares into the yarn, and make something beautiful and worthwhile with my time. It's a good feeling.
Kim: My father in law hails from Oakland - does it live in San Francisco's shadow? Tell us about your favorite site, food, and sound in the Bay Area.
Rachel: Yes! Oakland is to San Francisco as Brooklyn is to New York. We are sometimes overlooked, but I think it's the best city in California. We have everything, great food, culture, cute neighborhoods -- a real-deal cultural melting pot. Favorite site: driving down the hill on the way to my house and looking over the whole sparkling bay and the San Francisco skyline (people who live in SF never get to see it!). Favorite food: the four cheese/truffle pizza from Marzano. Favorite sound: the horn of the BART train coming through the early morning hours (it starts running at 4am), heard from my desk while I'm writing.
Kim: Struggling to learn the ukulele - it is a difficult instrument! What inspired you to play it? How does learning to play the ukulele compare to getting published?
Rachel: Learning the uke is a breeze compared to getting published! But I think they have something in common: you have to keep trying, and trying, and trying, and you can always get better. I was inspired to pick it up because I come from a very musical family, and everyone plays something. I only sing, so I wanted something to play along on while my family made music, and a good uke has a great sound and can support a voice. I'm still not very good, because I spend more time writing (of course). But I'm getting there, and I do love it. Next up, an electric uke! :)
Kim: I see you are attending the RT Booklovers' Convention - virgin or veteran? If virgin, what are your expectations? If veteran, what do you like most about RT?
Rachel: I'm a one-year veteran of RT -- last year I walked around with stars in my eyes, gawping at everyone and their fabulous costumes. This year, I'm thrilled to be on three panels, so I'm looking forward to those (memoir, novel revision, and the contemporary romance), and I can't wait to hang out with my friends and make new ones. That was the most fun of RT -- how friendly everyone is!
Rachel: HOW TO KNIT A HEART BACK HOME is the second book in the Cypress Hollow Yarn series, which are all stand alone books. The thing they have in common is the small coastal town of Cypress Hollow -- a sleepy place where characters are large and the knitting is fine.
Lucy Harrison sells books by day and volunteers with the Cypress Hollow fire department by night. Her life is just the way she likes it—full, even-keeled, and smooth—until bad-boy ex-cop Owen Bancroft comes back to town. Now Owen, adrift and struggling to redefine himself as a civilian without a badge, will have to learn how to open himself up to life's new possibilities . . . while Lucy decides just how much of herself she's willing to gamble on love.
Kim: Lucy volunteers with the Fire Department at night - is she a firefighter? If yes, did you draw from any real female fire fighters? What was the inspiration to make her a ?
Rachel: Yes, she's a firefighter in the volunteer Cypress Hollow Fire Brigade. I drew quite a bit from life, as in my other job I work for the fire department as a fire dispatcher -- I answer 911 all day, giving CPR and baby-birthing instructions, and dispatching fire crews to the scenes they need to get to. W are the first response of the fire department, and I'm honored to do my job, and happy to use what I know in my writing. Of course, my character Lucy is out on the street, doing the physical labor of the job, and I admire her (and the men and women who do her job) immensely.
Mahalo, Rachel, for joining us at SOS Aloha! To learn more about Rachel, log onto her website aptly named Yarnagogo.
In honor of Rachel's visit, I am giving away two items related to her interview:
- Tapa bookmark: Prior to the missionaries' arrival in the 1820s, the Hawaiians did not engage in Western crafts such as sewing, quilting, or knitting. Instead, they made items from the bark of a tapa tree.
- CD, Ka Ehu Kain (Where the Tides Land), a compilation of local Hawaiian music, including the ukulele.
To enter the giveaway,
1. Leave a comment about Rachel, your favorite handicraft, musical instrument, or community service
(mine is sampling someone else's cooking, father in law's oboe, and volunteering at the library)
2. This giveaway is open to all readers. Comments are open through Saturday, March 5, 10 pm, to enter the giveaway. The winner will be announced on Sunday, March 6, during the Weekly Winners announcement post.
3. If you are new to SOS Aloha, please make sure I know how to contact you. If your Blogger profile does not provide your email address, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. (I have several unclaimed prizes because I do know how to contact the winner). I prefer you do not leave your email address in your comment.
Kim in Hawaii
|The King in Blue Hawaii|
Here's some valuable info should you appear on Jeopardy! Ukulele translates as "jumping flea" (I have seen this answer before on the game show). From Easy Ukulele,
It first appeared when a Portuguese immigrant landed in Hawaii and was overjoyed to be there. He took out the original instrument that was of Portuguese origin and began to play and leap around on the docks singing Portuguese folk sons. The Hawaiians were so taken by this display, and the musical instrument itself, that it soon became integrated into Hawaiian music, but with slight modifications, which birthed the modern form of the ukulele.
Perhaps Rachel will give us a demonstration at RT ....
|Will I Am from Black Eyed Peas|