I sat down with Ms. Virginia McCullough to discuss her experiences and her books. She’s a remarkably successful individual with some fantastic literature out there. Below is an excerpt from our conversation together.
Tell us something interesting or quirky about you.
For years, my friends have seen me as an eccentric ghostwriter of nonfiction books, and the keeper of all kinds of tidbits of information I’ve picked up from my clients. I worked with experts on an amazing array of topics from scientific studies on the sense of smell to near-death experiences to cancer treatments. On the other hand, it always comes to a surprise to people that I spent seven years living on a sailboat and had a sailing adventure with my kinds and their dad. I wouldn’t trade those supertanker/sailboat ocean adventures for anything, and I’ve found ways to bring sailing/boating into books, most notably ISLAND HEALING, and LOVE, UNEXPECTED.
Where do you find your inspiration for writing?
It sounds like a cliche, but I’ve always considered myself lucky because I love to write- I enjoy the process itself, which provides inspiration. It can get tough to get a book right, but there’s nothing quite like taking an idea and running with it. Ideas come from living and observing. Other writers inspire me, too. I try to capture ideas, and I force the books to line up and wait their turn before I can give it all my attention.
What is the most interesting writing project with which you have been affiliated to date?
My novels are all sources of fascination to me, of course, but one of my coauthored nonfiction books, THE OXYGEN REVOLUTION, was a true labor of love. It’s about hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), and my coauthor, Dr. Paul Harch, is a pioneer in the field. His passion about HBOT drew me into the project. He and others have expanded uses of the technique to include traumatic brain injuries, stroke, and other neurological conditions. He’s conducted studies with our returning soldiers suffering with post traumatic stress disorder, with important and truly life-changing results.
At what age did you begin writing novels?
It’s easier to say I started reading novels as a little girl who brought a small, very beat-up suitcase to the library to carry her books back and forth. I started writing nonfiction first, then dabbled in fiction here and there in my 30s and 40s, but those bad drafts aren’t fit to read, let alone publish. I’m happiest when I’m writing fiction, so I’ll always make space for both women’s fiction and romance- and now I’m contemplating a historical series.
If you could choose only one non-essential item (Essential = food, clothing, etc.) to retain for six months, what would it be?
I’ve been told that sodalite, such a beautiful blue stone, is associated with communication and writing. I love stones. I already have a lovely chunk of it on my desk.
Tell us a little about your upcoming book release.
I’m excited about the August release of A FAMILY FOR JASON, Book 1 of my new series for Harlequin Heartwarming, Back to Bluestone River. Bluestone River is a town that’s been down on its luck for too long, but it may be ready for a comeback. A FAMILY FOR JASON is the story of Ruby and Mike, high school sweethearts with big plans. A tragedy- some also called it a scandal- ruined their chance for a future. But twenty years after graduation, Ruby and Mike each have a reason to return to Bluestone River. At its heart, the book is a reunion story. Books 2 and 3 also tell the stories of a few of Ruby and Mike’s classmates. Each of the three books ends on a holiday, which is a fun element to use.
As an aside, A FAMILY FOR JASON is a favorite book of mine, as is Book 1 of my previous Two Moon Bay series, GIRL IN THE SPOTLIGHT. I got to use my love of figure skating to create a different type of reunion story.
Thank you, Virginia, for sharing your thoughts with us. Her books can be found on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, or at many of your local book sellers.