The Gift of Love is a story of faith, compassion, courage, and love. It is the story of two women, one young and one older, who love: Laurel who dreams of a home of her own with children as she works two jobs to provide for her step-sister whose compulsive hoarding is destroying her life and threatening Laurel’s and Aunt Emmie whose girlhood was limited by polio and who now dreams of the man who writes her beautiful letters in blue envelopes. It is also the story of Andrew, a reticent psychiatrist, who as a child fled from the battles of his parents and the contempt of his father to the sanctuary of his grandfather. It was his grandfather, an orphan sent to Father Baker’s Home for Children, who passed on to him Father Baker’s lessons of courage and compassion. Andrew practices these virtues but with a desk between him and the recipient. When faced with caring for an abandoned toddler, he is forced to ask Laurel for help. In giving that help, Laurel risks losing all she has dreamed of and her heart.
How did you come up with the concept for this book?
When I was a young pediatric nurse, I met an older doctor who told me that he was a Father Baker Boy. During the depression and its aftermath, his parents died leaving him an orphan with no one to claim him. He was put on a train with a tag on his coat that said Father Baker, Lackawanna, New York. He told me how Father Baker had given him his name and had always been there for him. Father Baker had sent him to college and medical school. His story remained with me and it formed the basis for The Gift of Love.
Interesting. I’d never heard of Father Baker boys. Stories ripped from history are always interesting. What are you working on now? Do you have a release date for it?
My third novel, No Greater Love. is a cross-cultural contemporary romance. It has been accepted by Soul Mate Publishing and will be released in June 2015. It is the story of two people who know love only to lose it and then give everything they have to help one another survive while hanging onto the hope of reclaiming that love,
Congratulations on the new release. Now for some writing questions. Tell us about the genres you write in and a bit about your process.
In fiction, I write in different genres—inspirational, contemporary cross-cultural, and biographical romance. I don’t decide on a genre ahead of time. The characters begin to talk to me and I write the story. After the story emerges, it tends to fit in one of those three genres but not always precisely.
I tend to write in my head a long time before I sit down to my computer. Characters talk to me and I begin to know them—their dreams and disappointments. Sometimes they appear in specific settings as their problems pile up. When the pressure has increased to a certain point, I begin to write the scenes and the dialogue. I often go back and fill in the details that link scenes and chapters before I move forward. I think of it as weaving a tapestry.
Characters’ names are very important to me. I consider the character’s nationality, their position in the family (first-born daughter), their personality, and their age in selecting a name. I choose a name that fits them and also holds out the possibility of being more. Each name has to look right and sound right. I always check on the meaning of the name before I use it. I use several books on naming characters and also I collect interesting names from newspaper articles.
Now for some information about a writer’s reading habits. Are you a non-fiction reader?
In keeping with current events, I have been reading: Five Sisters: A Modern Novel of Kurdish Women by Kit Anderson, The Miracle of the Kurds by Stephen Mansfield, and Moscow Bound by Adrian Churchward.
I read non-fiction every day. Most of the reading is related to research for the novel I am working on but I also read Ottoman history and material about the wars our country has been involved in.
What about magazines, craft books and fiction?
The three writing craft books that I have found very helpful are:
- Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon
- The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass
- Writing the Heart of Your Story by C. S. Lakin
The fiction books that I go back to again and again.
The Kadin by Beatrice Small
Any of Betty Neels’ romances (They are comfort reading when the world is harsh)
Any contemporary romance that catches my attention by a great cover or the promise of a warm love story and interesting characters.
I don’t read many magazines but I do read The Writer’s Digest from cover to cover.
You have such an unusual name. Do you know what it means?My name, Eris, is the name of the goddess of war/discord. I don’t think it fits me. My grandfather who taught Latin and Greek named me. He also gave cousins historic names—Florence and Venice. I always considered myself fortunate not to have been named Rome or Naples.
LOL. We like to watch movies. Do you have a favorite movie?My most favorite movies are The Inn of the Sixth Happiness and The Last Samuri.
Tell the readers the most historic city you have ever visited.The most historic city that I have visited is the fascinating Istanbul in Turkey. It is a city that has known many conquerors and still spans two continents.
Thanks for visiting today, Eris. As you leave do you have a precept that has influenced your life?
All the children in the world are our children.
Now for a peek at Eris’s book:
The Gift of Love
Laurel, a 26 year old slightly impulsive pediatric nurse who spent her early years in foster care, dreams of having a family of her own—six children, no men in the dream. Laurel doesn’t just dream, she has a plan –stop her step-sister’s compulsive hoarding, clear out the mountains of paper engulfing every room, and sell the old house that is pushing her toward bankruptcy. As a last resort, she raids her retirement fund to go to a conference on the newest treatments for compulsive hoarding.
Andrew, a 39 year old psychiatrist whose grandfather was an orphan –a Father Baker boy– is never impulsive. A reticent, somewhat austere man, he limits his interactions with people to his work. About to leave for the conference where he has agreed to fill in for a colleague, he suddenly finds himself the reluctant caretaker of a two and a half year old boy, Jamie.
Laurel views Andrew as arrogant, rude, but disturbingly attractive and Andrew views Laurel as a dangerous distraction to be avoided. When Jamie becomes ill, they are they are forced to work together but will they be able to put aside their protective armor and trust each other enough to accept the gift of love?
Excerpt from The Gift of Love
“Andrew! I caught you just in time!” A woman in her fifties with a scrupulously maintained body clad in a vivid blue silk suit shouted as she scrambled out of the taxi clutching an oversized purse under one arm and a toddler in the other. Swaying on three-inch heels, she hurried toward him.
With a numbing sense of foreboding, Andrew finished turning on the alarm and locking the front door. He would know that strident voice anywhere. Stacy, his father’s second wife, ex-second wife.
“Stacy,” he said curtly. The last time he had seen her was at his father’s funeral, the beautiful, grieving former wife. How angry his grandfather had been to see her there.
“You’ve got to take him.” She hurried up the walk, a toddler in her arms. “You owe it to your sister.”
Andrew stepped forward so that she could not move up the steps. “I don’t have a sister.” He motioned to the cab driver of the second cab that had pulled into the circular driveway and stopped behind the first cab to take his bag and laptop.
“Your half-sister,” she hissed at him and then changed to a more placating tone. “You probably don’t remember her. I moved on soon after she was born.”
“No, I never knew her.” He had not lived with his father after his marriage to Stacy. “What happened to your daughter?”
“My daughter? She was your father’s daughter, too,” she snapped. “She died of an overdose six months ago, and I have been stuck with him ever since.”
“Him? Your grandson, I presume,” Andrew said with chilling reproof. “Of course your daughter would want you to care for him.” He edged past her down the steps.
“You don’t get it!” Stacy was shaking with anger. “I don’t want him. I am leaving for Hawaii with friends this afternoon.” There was a hard edge to her voice. “If you don’t take him, I will put him in foster care. One way or the other, I am going to be on that cruise ship.”
Andrew had seen that look in her eyes before. During the time that she was married to his father, she had made sure that Andrew was always in a boarding school, an enrichment program, or a summer camp.
He eyed her with abhorrence. “You’d put your own grandson in foster care so that you could go on a cruise?” He closed his eyes and saw the stream of injured children he had treated in the emergency room when he was an intern. So many of them had been foster children. Without a word, he lifted the toddler from her and strode to his waiting taxi.
What could he do? There was no one he could leave the child with. Birdie and left early that morning and his secretary had taken a long weekend. The only thing he could think of was to take the toddler with him to Puerto Rico. Aunt Emmie would be meeting him there and she would help him find a solution. She had been there to help him all his life and she would know what to do.
Now that she had gained what she had come for, Stacy hurried back to her taxi calling over her shoulder, “He is two and his name’s Jamie, Jamie Young.” She tossed a small duffle bag toward Andrew’s waiting taxi driver and shouted out the window as her taxi pulled away, “He’s mute.”
Eris Field, a Clinical Specialist in Psychiatric Nursing, taught psychiatric nursing at the University at Buffalo for several years. She now enjoys writing novels in which the heroes are often fascinating psychiatrists and the heroines, awesome women. Her first publications include a biographical novel, Legacy of Change: The Saga of a Turkish Family from Empire to Republic, that she co-authored with her late husband and a textbook, Psychiatric Advanced Practice Nursing. It was with great pleasure that she learned that her textbook was being used in China, Turkey, and Australia.
Her first novel, The Gift of Love, is set in Western New York and features a psychiatrist, the grandson of an orphan– a Father Baker boy, and a pediatric nurse. Reluctantly, they work together to help a mute child. Her second novel, Lattices of Love, is the story of a Turkish-American woman who kicks open the lattices of old harem rules and refuses to accept an arranged marriage.
Now, Eris lives in the ‘snow-belt’ region of New York and writes what she loves to read–contemporary, cross cultural romances. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Western New York Romance Writers group. Her interests include supporting the Crossroads Springs Institute in Kenya for children orphaned by AIDS and visiting as many fascinating cities of the world as she can.
Contact: Eris Field Perese