Twenty-three-year-old Liza Murphy swore she’d never come back to her hometown, but after a failed marriage, she returns to live with her mother. As Liza attempts to start life over, she’s forced to deal with her eccentric mother, Minnie, who lives in the back of her antique shop. When a toddler is abandoned in her mother’s store, Liza’s life dramatically changes. She takes care of the child in hopes that the girl who left her will return. But as time passes, the toddler steals Liza’s heart.
How will Liza’s new life unfold with a child now in tow? Lucinda Stein, author of Liza’s adventures in ‘Minnie’s Antique & Curiosity Shoppe’ has kindly spared a few minutes to chat about her novel with me today. Lucinda, what inspired you to write about life in the back of an antique shop?
In my hometown, an antique store went into the old JCPenney building my mother worked in for years. Add the fact that I once knew a woman who lived in her antique store and the idea for this story started percolating.
Once your mind was percolating on these ideas of antique shops, did you think it was important to start sharing elements of your own life into the storyline?
Since the story is set in my hometown, I was able to add many familiar places into my story. All stories arise out of our life experiences, but the details and nuances are pure fiction.
Were the characters in the story also from your life experiences or were like like the nuances and were pure fiction?
Some characters are composites of people I knew growing up but most came from my imagination.
I love that despite your closeness with your hometown you’ve been able to inject imagination into your tales. Can you share a little imagination around your characters with us?
As a child, Liza daydreams about her anonymous father. Which dream does she think most likely to be true: a con artist, a traveling salesman, a Catholic priest gone off the wagon so to speak, a doctor with a malpractice suit, a convict, a professional cat burglar, or a stoned hippie?
That’s quite a range of options Liza’s considered, which is a fantastic show of her imagination. I’m not really sure what her selection would be, but I like the idea of a professional cat burglar so I’m going with that one. What’s Liza’s selection?
The answer is Liza thinks a stoned hippie is her best bet.
*Laughs* She’s got a wild imagination, that one! Do you find it easy to write the journeys of characters who have such vibrant ideas, or does their vibrancy get exhausting because it’s too hard to keep up?
Writing definitely energizes me. I’ve even come to enjoy the process of revision since that’s where the story becomes fine-tuned and polished! The completion of a rough draft is a good feeling, but the work has only begun. Revision is the biggest part of writing a story.
Do you think about how you’re going to tackle revisions throughout the writing process, or are you more focused on the story itself?
My writing often starts with a small idea that evolves as I write. There’s usually an emotional aspect to that little seed. I know the beginning and the ending to my stories, but the middle becomes an interesting journey!
Oh, that’s an interesting way to write. Do you think that your writing has improved over time as you’ve kept writing around an idea built on an emotional seed?
Each author has a unique voice. The more an author learns the craft of writing, the more her voice can shine through. You must also be an avid reader in order to be a good writer. There’s so much to learn from reading. On a conscious level, you will notice word choices, how a story begins, character development, etc. But I think even on an unconscious level, your mind learns how stories are told.
What did you learn about telling stories, and the world around these stories when you were writing ‘Minnie’s Antique & Curiosity Shoppe’?
I learned there are many obstacles to adopting a Native American child. The reason behind that is a desire to protect the Native American culture.
It’s definitely a culture worth protecting so it’s good to see that there are measures in place to help ensure the next generation understands their culture as well as their forebears. Was the importance of this culture the most important idea you wanted to share with readers via this book or was there something better?
We always have a second chance at life!
Yep, I like that one more because it’s so universal! And I hope you’re once again working on new projects that share some more universal truths. Can you share a little bit about what readers can expect next?
I’m currently working on my second young-adult book, a magic realism story.
A young-adult magical realism adventure! You must be having so much creative fun with that! I love a good dose of creativity and one of my favourite ways to do that is by getting the brains working is tossing a few random questions around. Let’s try a few now, starting with have you ever been on a literary pilgrimage?
A hike in the San Juan mountains of Colorado led to research into the old silver and gold mining days and my first historical novel.
Awesome! I love it when new locations directly inspire new work. Are you left or right handed?
I’m always right in everything! Just ask my husband.
*Laughs* You’re right in everything, I don’t need to! If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?
Breed a bear and a lizard to make a Blizzard. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. I grew up in South Dakota snowstorms!)
*Laughs* Oh, I’d love to meet one of them! I just feel it would be a cold-loving furry lizard. You can’t miss that! And so that our readers don’t miss your book, what is an enticing line from ‘Minnie’s Antique & Curiosity Shoppe’ that you can leave them with today?
“A bar is like a church,” my mother was fond of saying, “they’re both filled with sinners who celebrate the life God gave them, sometimes fall asleep in their seat, and start the next week with the best intentions.”
*Laughs* What a wonderful mother who just tells it like it really is. Readers can meet the mother and more today by picking up a copy of Lucinda’s novel, ‘Minnie’s Antique & Curiosity Shoppe’. Thanks so much for sharing it with us all today Lucinda, and I hope you keep that creativity alive.
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Minnie’s Antique &Curiosity Shoppe ( ASIN: /BO79WBYQ3V/ )‘.
Want to find out more about Lucinda Stein? Connect here!