Read Ray Anselmo’s new release Divine Appointment today!
Sara Pike isn’t doing as well as she thinks she is.
In her mid-forties, the assistant pastor of one of northern California’s more innovative churches has the trust of her boss, her congregation, and her two grown sons. But she still bears the scars of betrayal from one she trusted: her now ex-husband, whom she caught with another woman. She’s kept up with her ministry – so well that the senior pastor orders her to take a vacation to get the black cloud from over her head.
Sara knows he’s not wrong. Which means it’s time for her to hop in her truck, head for her favorite place in the whole world – the Point Reyes National Seashore – and hope against hope that she can finally get past the grief for her lost marriage. Even so, she might need a miracle … or for God to use the Point for a divine ap-Point-ment.
From the Summer at the Seaside series comes a unique and inspiring romantic novella unlike any other – Ray Anselmo’s Divine Appointment. Hop in and enjoy the journey!
And now for the interview!
What author(s) has/have really influenced you?
I grew up reading a lot of science fiction, so that’s had a lot of effect on my writing – Isaac Asimov, Fritz Leiber, David Brin and especially Spider Robinson. Bill James, who writes mostly about baseball, shaped a lot of how I write, as has Bill Simmons, another sportswriter. For injecting humor into my work, Terry Pratchett. For pure ability with the English language, Robert Harris and Salman Rushdie. And I’m picking up a lot these days from some of the more articulate writer/podcasters, the ones who really know how to tell stories – I’d put Malcolm Gladwell and Karina Longworth at the top of that group.
What was the last book you read?
Currently I’m re-reading Roger Ebert’s The Great Movies books – I’m kind of a film buff. While Ebert’s tastes and mine differ and he had a streak of good-old-days-ism that just annoys me, he genuinely loved film, and it comes out in his work. (One of his statements that has influenced me is a comment about Quentin Tarantino, that all of QT’s dialogue is “load-bearing” – it builds the characters rather than just describing the action. I’ve tried to take that to heart when I write dialogue.)
How did you come up with the title for your book (and what is the title)?
Divine ApPOINTment, which is a play on words. The story is about God bringing two people together in a very obvious way, thus the main meaning of the title, but most of it takes place at the POINT Reyes National Seashore. It’s probably my favorite place on Earth, and definitely my protagonist Sara Pike’s favorite place.
How quickly did you connect with your MC?
Before I wrote a single word. I had Sara Pike pretty well fleshed out first, and wrote the story around her. She’s over 40, short, overweight, divorced with grown kids – not your average lead in a romance novel. But most people aren’t nineteen and skinny with flowing blond hair, or a billionaire cowboy/spy with six-pack abs. I’m certainly not. Sara resembles me – and most readers, I suspect. And we’re as worthy of love as anyone else.
How does your faith influence your writing?
It undergirds everything and shores up everything. Most of my work isn’t what you’d call preachy – in fact, my opinion is if you’re looking to preach, don’t write novels, stick to sermons. At bottom, you have to tell a good story and tell it well. But there isn’t anything I’ve written, not even a story about an undersized shortstop or an astoundingly bad blind date, that doesn’t draw from what Christ has done in my life and what I’ve seen him do in others. In this case, because Sara is a pastor, it’s much more overt.
When a reader reaches the end of your book, what do you hope you’ve left them with?
Just that, hope. Hope that there’s someone who will appreciate who you are, as you are. Hope that things will get better even when you’ve been kicked to the curb. Hope that even though you might not be attractive to everyone, you’re attractive to someone.
Do you have any pets?
Two cats, Briarpelt and Khoshek. Briarpelt showed up on our doorstep back in 2015, Khoshek earlier this year. We didn’t adopt them, they adopted us.
Beach or mountains?
Beach, definitely. Ocean waves are a natural source of white noise, which is very calming for an intense person like me.
What is your dream writing space and do you have it already?
I’m waiting for my dream writing space to re-open, actually – it’s the main library at my alma mater, University of the Pacific in Stockton. Plenty of soundproofed study rooms, places to plug in my laptop, good ventilation system, clean bathrooms and water fountains, and it’s not at home so I have fewer distractions. Closed for the pandemic, but hopefully when the school year starts in August …
Ray Anselmo lives with his wife, son, cats and neuroses in Stockton, California. He has written 24 books, including Westerns, science fiction, romances and lots of short stories. All of his books are available through Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.
Where can we find you online?
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Ray-Anselmo/e/B00KI85EDM