Watercolor Dreams is a historical romance set in 1910, Carmel-by-the-Sea, about a watercolor artist who has six months to prove to her father she can make it as an artist, otherwise she has to return to San Francisco and marry her father’s business partner.
Here’s the back cover blurb:
It’s 1910 and Anna Lewis wants to become a premier watercolor artist of the lush beaches of Carmel, California. When a man strides down the beach and stops to face the ocean, Anna sketches him into her painting. Was it a mistake? Anna thinks so when he approaches and tells her he doesn’t have spare change to purchase her work. Spare change indeed! She’d better keep her day job as nursemaid to two rambunctious boys.
The minute Charles Jordan walks away, he regrets criticizing the woman’s painting but as he told the artist, he’s just been jilted at the altar. His former bride-to-be is in love with his cousin.
Will a secret from his past prevent Charles from ever loving again? And will Anna have the hope she needs when tragedy strikes and she must rely on the one man who crushed her spirit?
How did you come up with the concept for this book?
My husband and I went to Carmel on our honeymoon and have gone every few years since on our anniversary. One year, we went inside the Harrison Memorial Library and discovered the history behind the small town. Artists and novelists flocked to Carmel in 1910, consisting of 60% of the community. I thought how fun it would be to have an artist and novelist fall in love. One fun fact is that July 9th is my anniversary, and in the year 1910 was the first Forest Theatre production. Of course I had to include that history tidbit in the book.
Interesting. I find places you visit can be great fodder for book ideas and settings. What are you working on now? Do you have a release date for this book?
I write in three genres—middle grade, contemporary, and historical—and I’m polishing up stories in all three genres, but next to release in 2015 is The Girls Guide to Life, another nonfiction book for tween girls ages 9-13 from Legacy Press. You can see my first two books in this multi-author series, along with my novels, on the ‘Books’ page of my website. http://www.sherrykyle.com/books/
Are you a panster or a plotter? Linear or non-linear writer?
I’m a ‘seat-of-the-pants’ linear writer, but I do have a rough outline. I’m a big fan of Angela Hunt’s plot skeleton. You can find more information about this approach here: http://bit.ly/1mqQC11
Tell us about your writing space.
Before we purchased our current home, my writing space was an 8.5 x 10 foot shed I had built specifically for an office. I loved that space. It was like a little dollhouse, complete with Pergo floors, double paned windows, a skylight, and a French door. I put up valences, painted the walls a nice warm hue, and purchased a desk and loveseat to fit. I turned on a little space heater on chilly days, and wrote to my heart’s content. I was saddened to learn the new owners use it as a boys’ video game hangout.
My current writing space is a built-in desk in the corner of my kitchen on a 26-inch Mac. I love my computer because I can have two documents up at once — my manuscript and a page of research, critique partner’s notes, or yes, sometimes Facebook. J I have an upper cabinet to hold my stash of chocolate; I mean office essentials, and lower drawers for computer paper, files for book contracts, and folders. On a side note, I started writing back in the day when we sent submissions via snail mail. I have plenty of SASE (self addressed stamped envelopes) with rejected submissions. Remember those? I can’t seem to part with them. Those submissions remind me how far I’ve come and how many hours I’ve put into learning the craft. It helps me to not take advantage of God’s blessings. (I still have so much to learn!) Most of the time I write on my MacBook Pro. My lightweight 13-inch laptop is great to take to a coffee shop, writer’s conference, or when I want to sit comfortably in my house on the couch or recliner. This girl likes options. J
Your first writing space sounds like heaven. Your writing space was probably the envy of every writer you knew.
Character names are important in writing. How do you choose your characters name?
I choose my character names by going on Google and looking up the most popular baby names during the time period of my story. I also refer to a baby name book.
Setting is also important in books. Do you do anything special to create yours, like visiting the area, googling satellite maps, looking at books or pictures?
I write novels set in California and so far have stuck close to home. My debut contemporary novel, Delivered with Love, is set in the quaint coastal town of Capitola while The Heart Stone, another contemporary story, is set in Santa Cruz. For Watercolor Dreams, my first historical romance, the setting was decided for me the day I discovered July 9th is also a special day in the history of Carmel. I did quite a bit of research since the story takes place in 1910.
What snacks, if any, are in your office right now?
Dark chocolate acai berries.
Yum. Are you a morning writer, afternoon, evening, or midnight oil writer?
I’m a midmorning to early afternoon writer while my teenagers are in school. Once the kids come home, I try and put the writing away to connect with them. In the evenings, I make it a priority to spend time with my family, especially my husband. (We always go to bed at the same time too.)
Most writers have been readers from an early age. What’s the first book you ever remember reading as a child?
Joy Sparton of Parsonage Hill. I accepted Jesus into my heart right along with the main character when I was in the fourth grade. I think girls today would still relate to Joy. She’s a PK and gets herself into loads of trouble.
What’s the book you are reading now?
Rush of Heaven by Ema McKinley and Cheryl Ricker about Ema’s miraculous healing from reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), an extremely painful trauma-induced disease.
My sister has that disease. It’s terribly painful and ultimately disabling.
Do you have an all-time favorite movie that has stuck in your mind or that you’d watch over and over?
I love chick-flicks and own quite a few. One of my all-time favorite movies is “Return to Me” with Minnie Driver and David Duchovny about a man who falls in love with the woman who received his wife’s heart after a tragic accident. Believe it or not, this movie is a romantic comedy even though there are many heartfelt and touching scenes. Bonnie Hunt directed this movie and also stars in it along with James Belushi. I can watch this movie over and over.
Ooh, that sounds like a great movie. I’ll have to look for it.
Writing is such and sedentary job. Do you do anything to keep in shape?
I love to walk. I live six houses in from a resort and the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean, so most every afternoon I walk along the path, breathe in fresh air, and enjoy God’s creation. On Friday mornings I meet a college friend at the beach to walk and we finish it up with a cup of coffee and wonderful conversation. In the past, I’ve done Zumba and gone to Curves. I’m thinking of joining again to keep this body moving!
The beachside/cliff top walk sounds lovely. It would be easy to exercise along that scenery.
It’s been a pleasure having you here today. As you say goodbye, can you leave the readers with an encapsulation of your life’s philosophy or favorite Bible verse?
My favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11 which says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This verse helps me remember God is not only in control, but also has wonderful plans for me.
Excerpt from Watercolor Dreams:
Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, 1910
With each stroke of her paintbrush, Anna Lewis’s heart soared. The watercolor painting of Carmel’s white sandy beach and gently rolling Pacific Ocean would surely give her recognition. The wind blew a lock of hair across her face as she sat on the wood bench next to a cypress tree, her easel before her. She tucked the wispy strand behind her ear, pushed up her leg-o’-mutton sleeves, and dipped her brush into the cerulean blue, adding a few touches to the paper. Horse’s hooves clip-clopped behind her. She glanced over her shoulder. A buggy passed on the narrow street, driving by the quaint bungalows bordering the shoreline.
A man strode up the beach, his hands deep in his trouser pockets and his hat pushed low on his forehead. Anna brought the pointed end of the brush to her mouth and watched him tread near the water’s edge with long, determined steps. She adjusted her wide-brimmed hat and squinted for a better look. From the way the man walked, he must be mulling over something important. He stopped and faced the ocean. The waves crashed against the shore, the water rushing close to his feet. His lone figure added a touch of poignancy to the landscape and beckoned to be part of her painting.
But before she had a chance to paint his form, he turned and walked up the beach toward her. His brows were furrowed and his lips pressed together in a firm line. And yet even with this worried expression, he was a most handsome man.
Sherry Kyle is an award-winning author, and writes books for tween girls as well as novels for women, including The Heart Stone (Abingdon Press 2013), and her newest title Watercolor Dreams (HopeSprings Books, October 2014), a historical romance set along the lush beaches of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Sherry lives in California with her husband and four children, loves to decorate her beach house, and enjoys taking walks by the ocean.
Sherry loves to connect with readers. You can find her online at the following links: