I am so delighted to welcome Paula Scott to the blog today, my first author chat of 2017! She is a joy to talk with on Facebook and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know her a little bit over the last several months.
Paula began her writing career as a civilian contracted to write for the United States Air Force’s newspaper and magazines. Later, she wrote feature stories for a daily California newspaper. A fifth generation Californian, Paula’s great great grandmother came to California in a covered wagon and married a California farmer. Paula’s family has been farming ever since. Paula works on her family’s farm, writes historical fiction, and blogs about life, love, and farming at psbicknell.com.
Paula’s newest release is Far Side of the Sea, the second book in her California Rising series.
A woman running from God. And the man she desperately loves. Because of the lies she believes.
Taken from her conquered Californio family during the 1846 Mexican-American War to be forced into marriage with a Yankee she despises, proud Spanish beauty, Maria Vasquez, draws a knife, and begins her journey to the far side of the sea. She will flee to Valparaiso, Boston, and finally San Francisco trying to forget the blood on her hands, only to find it is blood that will save her.
Dashing American ship captain, Dominic Mason, will win Maria’s heart, but shatter it when he rejects her for another, setting her on a journey back to San Francisco. There she discovers her heart can never be conquered, it must only be surrendered, not just to the man she loves, but to the God who will never let her go.
Captain Dominic Mason knows how to fulfill his duties. He’s living for God and country, determined to obey the Almighty and help bring California into the Union. Yet death and the devil’s deception will rob him of all he holds dear in San Francisco.
As California rises to statehood amid the madness of the gold rush, men will die for gold and for Maria. Will she ever escape the darkness that enslaves her in San Francisco and discover the everlasting light and love she so longs for?
Hi Paula! Welcome to the blog! I start all of my guests out with a fast four:
Paula: Apples. When I was little, I loved Granny Smith apples, probably because my dad loved these tart green apples and would cut them up for us with his pocket knife. Now days, crisp Fuji apples are my favorite. Love Fuji sliced up with cheese and a side of nuts.
Carrie: I used to love Granny Smith apples as a child too but my tastes have shifted more to the sweeter apples as I’ve gotten older. And crisp is key. Crisp and juicy. And my mouth is watering…. lol.
Paula: Winter for sure! Our family farms and all summer long we harvest our orchards, selling our peaches, pluots, apricots and nectarines to local grocery stores. Our whole family picks, packs, and sells our fruit together all summer long. Even our five-year-old helps in the orchard, along with Oma, my 74 year old mom! Come winter, I love hunkering down by the fire with my family when it’s cold outside and the orchard is all bare branches from the wind and rain.
Carrie: Yay for winter and hunkering down by fires!
Paula: Dogs. Cats are smart, but I love dogs. One of my first paying jobs when I was a young teenager was training dogs for people. I was a 4-H dog leader and taught kids how to make their dogs obey commands, which led me into the dog training job. My mom had to drive me to and from work because I didn’t have a driver’s license yet!
Carrie: Zuzu approves of your answer … except for the “cats are smart” bit. She begs to differ 😉
Paula: Coffee. I love my one cup of coffee with lots of cream and sugar first thing in the morning. I do enjoy an iced tea at lunch time, but never coffee or tea after 2 pm or I can’t fall asleep at night.
Carrie: I am a fan of neither but I feel like I should be…
Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Paula: If I had a superpower, I’d love for it to be cleaning my house with the blink of an eye! We have seven children, four boys still living at home. Balancing writing with running a household is a real challenge for me. If my house is clean, it’s because I’m not writing enough. If my house is dirty, it’s because I’m writing too much!
Carrie: I would love that superpower too and I have no children LOL
Who is your favorite book character from childhood?
Paula: My favorite book character from childhood is Billy Coleman, the boy from Where the Red Fern Grows. It’s my favorite book besides the Bible. We even read Where the Red Fern Grows out loud to our kids one summer. I love how Billy never gives up. He doesn’t give up when his family can’t afford to buy those hound puppies he so longs for. He works really hard, saves his money, and then walks a long way through the woods to collect his pups. Never giving up on your dream, and then surrendering your dream to God, is a great lesson to teach your children.
Carrie: That book traumatized me against all dog books when I read it in fifth grade haha! But now, seeing your perspective on it, makes me think I should read it again.
Writing spaces are as diverse as authors and books. Where is your favorite space to write?
Paula: I do most of my serious writing at our kitchen table. I’ve had to learn to write while keeping an eye on our children, and the kitchen table is the best place to do that for me. Our kitchen and living area are one big room so the kids are always nearby, and I can see and hear them out the kitchen window in the backyard when I’m writing.
Carrie: Multi-tasking at its best 🙂
What inspired you to set your series in California in the 1800s?
Paula: I’m a fifth-generation Californian. My great great grandmother came to California in a covered wagon. Right down the road from our home is where John C. Fremont camped with his soldiers during the Bear Flag Revolt in 1846. When you’re in the 4th grade here in California, you study the California missions. My mom took me to see a number of the beautiful missions when I was a little girl. I think I fell in love with California history back when I was eight years old learning about the missions in elementary school.
Carrie: Oh wow! The stories your great great grandmother must have had! I’ve always found covered wagon travel a fascinating aspect of our country’s history. I wouldn’t want to travel the same way, of course, but I so admire the grit and perseverance of those who did!
Far Side of the Sea tells of the journey (both literal and spiritual) that Maria Vasquez and Dominic Mason both take during California’s rise to statehood. Which of these two characters do you most closely relate to and why?
Paula: I relate to both of these characters. Like Maria, I was raised Catholic, but wouldn’t obey God when I was young. I was religious, but didn’t have a personal relationship with Christ until my early thirties. Maria goes through some hard stuff with men that shaped her choices and put lies in her head. I can relate to some of this stuff through my own painful life experiences. I also relate to Dominic trying to obey God, thinking he’s doing the right thing, but is he really doing the right thing? As Christians, it’s easy to fall into the trap of doing what appears to be “right and good,” when what we really need to do is to pray and be humble and ask God to truly guide our lives.
Carrie: That’s so true – we make it much more complicated for ourselves than it needs to be, don’t we?
What do you most want readers to take away from Far Side of the Sea?
Paula: I really hope readers take away the truth that no matter what you’ve done, or what’s been done to you, to your heart, to your body, to our soul, you can always be redeemed and made new by Christ. Your worth isn’t in what you do or what you look like or what you can give or take in this world. Your worth is in the Savior’s sacrifice for you on the cross. Because Jesus loves you, your purpose is to love and be loved.
Carrie: “Your worth is in the Savior’s sacrifice for you…” – yes. amen.
Paula, thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Paula: I’ve just started working on: A Shepherd’s Love, the final book in the California Rising series. Very excited about this tale during the gold rush featuring Isabella Vasquez who was a little girl in Until the Day Breaks and a teenager in Far Side of the Sea. So hoping to have Isabella’s story finished before our harvest season begins in early June. Thanks so much for having me here, Carrie. I feel so blessed to be on your awesome blog!
Carrie: I am so looking forward to Isabella’s story – but not to seeing the series end! Excited to see where you’ll take us next though 🙂
Paula Scott is offering a signed paperback copy of Far Side of the Sea to one of my readers! (Due to mailing costs and international regulations, this giveaway is open to US mailing addresses only.) Winner will be notified by email and will have a week to respond before a new winner is chosen. Giveaway is subject to Reading is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies.
What about you? What is something about your own state’s history that you find interesting?