Interview with Cece Whittaker, Author of Angels in the Rough
28 Jan 2020
What can you tell us about your new release, Angels in the Rough?
In Angels in the Rough, Joan, Annie, Helen, and Bernice are trying to move on with their lives as their true loves return from service in World War II. But the men are still fighting for those same things at home that they fought for abroad, in different ways. Their distraction from the women and preoccupation with life’s basics creates great frustration for Annie and Joan, who are so longing for romance. Their disappointment reaches a wild combination of distress and hilarity when an urgent need for their help changes everything. Very much on the lighter side, this fourth book in the Serve Series is about people’s connections and how comedic everyday life can be. But also it celebrates the importance of being true to oneself through the daily struggle of making the grade.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
It’s hard to know exactly what led me to writing, but it was probably the hours of listening to Mom’s funny character voices as she read us stories like Henry Huggins, Ellen Tibbets, Tom Sawyer, and Grimm’s Faery Tales. Dad had the same funny voice for each character which amused us all to no end. He liked to read unusual stories such as Slovenly Peter, the Cat Who Walked Alone, and Treasure Books, which for some reason he always referred as “Treasure Boxes.” Those experiences were kind of the lift-off point of wanting to create something good myself.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
The World of Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse
The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Ven. Anne Catherine Emmerich
The House at Pooh Corner, A.A. Milne
The Last Battle, C.S. Lewis
Hank the Cowdog Series, John R. Erickson
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
I would probably ask the ghost of P.G. Wodehouse how he found so many unsavory situations in which to put poor Bertie Wooster, and if he had any help coming up with all of the miraculous solutions his Jeeves routinely brought about.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Writing fiction is my gateway to making life how I want it to be. It gets me to that kind of humorous Eutopia where my characters’ focus is on following instinct, finding the right answer, listening to love, and listening to God, and give us a lot to laugh about in the process.
What is a typical day like for you?
One of these days, I’m thinking I’ll have a typical day! Generally I have a coffee, play with the dogs then go into my office or somewhere in the car to work. I love to work in public place for the multitude of ideas one gets from being “a fly on the wall.” At least once a week I meet a friend for lunch and laughter in one of our luscious diners in New Jersey.
What scene in Angels in the Rough was your favorite to write?
I don’t even have to stop and think about this answer! I was working with two of the characters, Joan and Annie, who are both a little frustrated with their romantic situations. I was remembering the way one of my sisters used to slam around the kitchen when she was mad, and we’d kid her that she was acting like our grandmother, who used to wash dishes and stack them into the dish drainer so hard that you could hear the clanking all the way through the house. Of course that kind of kidding only made my sister angrier. And that’s what happened to poor Joan as she tried to make herself a calming cup of tea. The stove wasn’t working, and in her anger she showered herself in cold water from the kettle, and then miss-stepped and actually fell down onto the kitchen floor. When Annie comes in right after that, she can’t see Joan on the floor because she’s on the far side of the table, and Annie also slips in the water, pulling both the table and the tablecloth down on top of her. Just as she lands, and discovers that she’s got company, their friend Bernice walks in and discovers them. I don’t know if that ever happened later in my sister’s life, but Joan gave me a great way to revisit those days and create a comical scene which still makes me laugh!
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
I think my philosophy which I try live by, not always successful there, is “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven,” which is a quotation from the Bible, by the Gospel writer, Matthew. Basically, to me it means put only your best foot forward, and take the time to make the right decisions, however hard that may be.
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