Hi, guys! V. Joy Palmer here! Since we are all friends here, you guys can call me Joy. ;-) And one of my favorite things to do is talk with my friends at coffee shops then head to the bookstores. Yes, plural. After all, books and yummy drinks are the perfect combination! So consider this our virtual coffee shop. I'll wait a second for you to get your warm drink and a fuzzy blanket before we chat with today's guest. <3
Today we are going to
pry into the private life of CHAT with Starr Ayers, author of For the Love of Emma and Emma's Quest!
She began her writing journey in 2011 and cut her teeth on learning the craft through writing devotions. She has contributed to two published anthologies: , and , and in December 2020, Mountain Brook Ink released her debut novel, Its sequel, Emma’s Quest, releases April 5, 2022. Starr is in the process of co-authoring a book with Stephanie Pavlantos —The release date is TBA.
Starr is a member of a Word Weavers International online critique group and attends several Christian writers conferences a year, where her devotions and debut novel have garnered numerous awards. She wrote a devotional page for Thrive magazine for seven yearsa monthly magazine distributed throughout central North Carolina. She currently writes a monthly devotion for an area newspaper,
She attended Atlanta School of Art and Guilford Technical Institute and holds a degree in commercial graphics. Before retiring in 2002, she owned and operated her own company through which she sold her art prints and stationery nationwide. She is active in her church, has served on several special-needs client rights committees, and has led a women’s Bible study in her community since 2003.
Starr lives with her husband, Michael, in Asheboro, North Carolina, and they have two adult daughters and a son-in-love.
This may be the most important question I ask -- no pressure or anything, LOL!
What are you drinking in our virtual coffee house? Coffee? Tea? Hot chocolate? Something else altogether?
Without a doubt—coffee. Although I’m a sweetaholic, one thing I don’t want sweetened is my coffee. I do insist on a bit of cream and a tablespoon of coconut oil, though. I suppose I could start my day without coffee, but I like being able to remember things—like words and speak in coherent sentences.
LOL! I completely understand. If you could order anything in the world to eat (we can dream, can't we?), what would it be?
If I don’t have to cook it, I’m happy with most anything outside of things that taste fishy. If I must choose, it would probably be a pasta dish. Olive Garden’s Ravioli di Portobello in a creamy sundried tomato sauce with salad and garlic breadsticks sounds pretty good to me right now. But if the truth was known, I’d eat dessert first—chocolate. Yes—anything chocolate.
Yum! Where is your favorite place to write, and why is that your favorite place?
I have a lovely writing space on the second floor of our house. It sits over the garage, so I have a birds-eye view of our driveway and the road. I enjoy that perspective, but it’s not my favorite place to write. Usually, you will find me stretched out with my laptop on the L-shaped sectional in our family room. My resource materials spread out around me. It’s unorthodox, I know, but I don’t feel as isolated. I’ve found I can write anywhere and prefer to be in the same room as my husband in the evening. In warmer weather, I like to write outside. Either at the table on the back porch or on the patio near our lake.
Both spots sound lovely. Do you have an odd habit that is only explained by your bookish, writer tendencies? Safe space. ;-)
Perhaps hauling a red stool around in the back of my car, carrying it down city streets, and across sandy beaches to photograph it could be considered quirky. I’ve certainly gotten quite a few looks that indicate it probably is.
Years ago, my husband salvaged a red chrome stool from my aunt’s estate. Although it sat in the corner of our garage for years, I’d failed to notice it until a few years ago, when we pulled into the garage after church. The moment I saw the stool, I envisioned a series of inspirational photos with the stool as the subject. I pulled it from the corner, carried it out into the sunlight, and took a series of pictures before I ever entered the house. I love iPhone photography, and taking the stool out for a photoshoot is one way I like to wind down. Odd? I suppose. But for me—not so much. I’m in the process of adding these photos to my “Bringing Life into Focus” blog at http://www.starrayers.org.
How fun! What inspired you to write Emma's Quest?
Emma’s Quest, Book 2 in my Dream Beyond Tomorrow series, is the sequel to For the Love of Emma. The two-book series was inspired by a box of letters I found in my mother’s trunk a couple of years after she died.
In 1938-1940, my mother worked as a waitress at the Rainbow Restaurant in Fayetteville, North Carolina. While there, she met a soldier from neighboring Fort Bragg, and they planned to marry. After reading this young man’s letters to our mother, my sister and I knew they contained the seeds of a fascinating novel.
What an amazing story! What led you to write in this genre?
I was a devotion writer, and I’d never entertained thoughts of writing fiction. At times I’d struggle to write 500 words for a devotion, so thoughts of writing 85,000+ words for a novel overwhelmed me. When God called me to write fiction, no one was more surprised than me —but I’m happy he did. I’ve worn many hats during my life, but beyond being a wife and mother, none have fulfilled me as much as writing—especially writing fiction.
After writing The End to my series, I found it hard to say goodbye to my characters. So I recently wrote the first of hopefully several short stories about them. My goal is to write a story on each of my main characters and gift them to my blog subscribers. There’s also something else in the works centered around these stories, but it’s too early to spill the beans.
Love when God calls us into the unexpected! What message do you hope to convey to your readers?
Christian principles and values are woven throughout my series; however, I’d like to convey personally to readers of this interview that we’re never too old to begin something new. I was sixty-three when God called me to write, and my first book, For the Love of Emma, was released on my 72nd birthday. We can’t outgive or outdream God. His dreams are far greater than anything we can ever ask, think, or imagine for ourselves. This is why I reference Ephesians 3:20-21 in every book I sign.
That's a powerful message. Can you tell us a little about your next project(s)?
Yes. I’m glad you asked. The ink was barely dry on Emma’s Quest when God gave me a glimpse of the next thing he had in mind for me.
After hearing author, Stephanie Pavlantos share her story on PJNET.TV about the challenges of rearing a special needs son, I reached out to her. As the mother of a daughter with Down syndrome, I could relate to her on every level.
Today, we are co-authoring a book titled Room at the Table: Stories of Encouragement from Special Needs Families. Again, it’s another out-of-the-box assignment from the Lord, but we are incredibly excited to not only share our stories but over fifty stories from families members, guardians, and caregivers of those with special needs. This collection of life stories is rooted in the 2 Samuel account of King David, who extended kindness to Jonathan’s disabled son, Mephibosheth, granting him a seat at the king’s table.
Our vision is to increase awareness of how mental and physical disabilities impact families and those who care for them. We aspire to promote understanding, diminish fears, and provide suggestions for ways those who know and love special needs individuals and families can minister to them.
What a gift! This news blesses my heart so much! Do you have a favorite Bible verse or story that inspires you on a soul level?
Oh my, there are so many. Each season and life challenge seems to usher in a Scripture verse that God uses to encourage and sustain me. I could never have written two novels without God’s inspiration and guidance. A verse I reference when signing my first book, For the Love of Emma, is Ephesians 3:20-21: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”
How true! What are you currently reading? Inquiring minds -- mine! -- want to know! ;-)
Although I have little time to read, I always have a stack of books at my fingertips and prefer to read in my genre. Currently, I’m reading Avenue of Betrayal, Spies of the Civil War by Sandra Merville Hart. For years, Sandra was in my online Word Weavers critique group, so reading her books and sharing in her success is especially meaningful.
It's so fun to support fellow writers and celebrate with them! Thank you for answering all of my prying questions, Starr!
Starr has generously offered a paperback copy of For the Love of Emma, Book 1 in her Dream Beyond Tomorrow series!
For The Love of Emma
Dream Beyond Tomorrow Book 1
A rose-covered grave, seventy-nine letters, and a scribbled note unearth
buried emotions and the timeless beauty of first love.
When Caroline Myers discovers a box of letters in her deceased mother’s trunk, she’s captivated by the romance that unfolds between her mother, Emma Rose Walsh, a nineteen-year-old waitress, and Noah Anderson, a handsome young soldier.
Determined to read between the lines, Caroline and her sister, Kate, set out on a search that leads them to the North Carolina foothills and the padlocked gate of the Anderson family cemetery. Will the one who holds the key keep them from unearthing long-buried secrets and fulfilling a request their mother tucked inside the box sixty-four years earlier? Will they find closure—or encounter a surprising revelation that plunges them deeper into the past?
Based on a true story from the author’s family.
Dream Beyond Tomorrow Book 2
This time, she’ll cling tighter, pray harder,
and fight longer for the man she loves.
When Caroline Myers and her sister Kate find a wilted red rose on their mother’s headstone, the door to Emma Rose Walsh’s past swings open.
AS THE DARK CLOUDS OF WAR escalate in Europe, Emma leaves her North Carolina home and the soldier whose heart has never stopped longing for hers. However, when Andrew Brown, the charming Scotsman who’d won her affection, fails to meet her train in Chicago, Emma questions her hasty decision. Hundreds of miles now separate her from all that’s familiar and the people she loves.
Has she misread Drew? Did her rush to heal her past prompt her to dismiss warning bells and ignore common sense?
Perhaps her sister is right—happy endings are only found in fairy tales.
Based on a true story from the author’s family.