About the Author
Gerri Bauer has a B.A. in English from Stetson University, where she works in social media and online marketing and volunteers for their campus ministry program. She was born and raised in New York City but has deep roots in Florida, where she lives with her husband, spoils her cats and keeps tabs on a far-flung extended family. She edited The Parce Letters: Voices from the Past, a collection of primary sources on pioneer settlers in Florida. This is her first novel.
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
My parents instilled a love of reading in me at an early age, and we took weekly trips to the library. Even as a child, writing was a dream and a goal. An early “success” - a one-paragraph story in Highlights - fueled me, and I eventually turned an associate’s degree in communications into a career as a journalist. I started writing fiction seriously in adulthood, to take my mind off infertility and miscarriage.
2. How many books have you written and in what genres?
At Home in Persimmon Hollow is my first published novel but my fourth penned novel. The others are hidden in drawers and boxes, and are in great need of revision. All are historical romance novels. I also have a shelved, half-written historical novel that is women’s fiction instead of straight romance.
3. What writing projects are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
I’m currently finishing edits on the second book in the Persimmon Hollow Legacy, titled Stitching A Life in Persimmon Hollow. It’s about a young woman who dreams of being a dressmaker to the fashionable women of her era (late 19th century), but who discovers that life can be complicated when two rival suitors vie for her hand.
4. What does your writing process look like?
I’m in-between being a “pantster” and “plotter,” and work best by allowing myself freedom within an established structure. I start with characters, which leads to the love story. Then I determine the main internal and external conflicts. Once I have all that loosely developed, I create a general outline, then a chapter-by-chapter synopsis. Then I write, but the story often loops in and out of the synopsis. The exception to this writing process is short stories. For those, I just start writing and see where it goes.
5. Where is your favorite place to write?
Years of journalism gave me the ability to write anywhere, at any time, in most all conditions. My favorite place is a guest room that doubles as my office and is crammed with books. I sit on a futon, often with my laptop in my lap, and face a window with a nice view of my back yard – which backs up to undeveloped acreage even though I live in suburbia. I’ve shared a picture of the window, as that’s the most aesthetic element of my writing space!
6. How important are the names in your novels? How do you choose names for your characters? Do you have any name resources you would suggest?
Names are important, and I often change a character’s name a couple or few times in the process of a book. I rely a lot on instinct when choosing a name that fits the character’s personality. Also, since I write historicals, I research what names were popular in the years my characters would have been born. The Social Security Administration is a great resource for that. The agency has a website about popular baby names by the decade, going back to the 1880s: http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/decades/.
7. What authors/novels that you enjoy would you recommend?
I’m a voracious reader who usually has three books going at once, and hesitate to recommend authors for fear of leaving too many out! That said, Jane Austen is first on my list.
8. Where is your favorite place to read and why?
I read everywhere and anywhere. When weather and time permit, I like to sit out on my tiny front porch area because it overlooks plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. They weren’t out in the attached photo because it was a rainy day.
9. What period of history interests you the most?
Mid- to late 19th century, colonial America, and Tudor. My book-length fiction is generally set from the 1870s to 1890s. My shelved woman’s historical novel is set in the colonial era.
10. If you could choose someone famous to star in one of your books made to a movie, who would you choose and for which character? (Possibly share an image of this famous star.)
I could imagine Anne Hathaway as Agnes. Here’s a photo of her from the movie Becoming Jane: http://i2.wp.com/www.frockflicks.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/2007_becoming_jane_006.jpg
11. What inspired the idea for At Home in Persimmon Hollow? What inspired the idea for the Persimmon Hollow Legacy series? How many novels are you planning on having in this series?
I’d long wanted to write a series about a hometown-type of community in which each book is also an independent romance, because it combines my love of happy endings and family sagas. The name Persimmon Hollow is rooted in the local history of the town I live in, which at one point in the 19th century actually was known as Persimmon Hollow. The name was perfect for a fictional town of warm, caring people. I first envisioned a series of three books, but a character (Polly) not originally slated for a separate story has a strong voice that may demand a storyline. It’ll depend on what readers want.
12. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
Reading, gardening, spoiling my cats, and trying to fit in some sewing and crocheting. I also like to bake, but rarely have time (or spare calories!) to indulge. My husband and I are also very close to our extended families, and usually spend vacations with them.
Check out my review for AT HOME IN PERSIMMON HOLLOW.
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