Birdie has lived to regret many of her decisions, but she doesn’t regret offering a stranger, Jude, shelter from an approaching hurricane. Their serendipitous meeting will form a bond that will change their lives forever.
In a character driven story with memories of the protests and inequality plaguing the 1960’s, Birdie’s reached middle age and questions her life. Jude is striking out on her own, but has been derailed by a fatal accident claiming her only friend. Although their backgrounds and lives are vastly different, they recognize something in the other that forges a friendship.
As their relationship solidifies, they share glimpses of their pasts. Birdie is a product of the ’60’s, an aging hippie, with a series of resentments. She had a sheltered childhood in an upper class family. Her parents longed to see her make the Texas Dip at the Mardi Gras ball. Jude, however, entered foster care as an infant. Her parents, victims of a murder/suicide, left her and her siblings orphaned and separated.
There is something about their connection that strikes Birdie as familiar. Can souls know each other in different lives? Birdie struggles with the awareness that she has had regrets and hasn’t lived an authentic life, while Jude faces an uncomfortable truth about her own. It has all the feels.
– When and where do you prefer to write?
My preference is to write in the morning or late at night when everyone else is away or asleep. I’ve tried to write at a desk, but there’s something about the height that bothers my shoulder, especially when I’m editing and rolling the mouse. I have a corner of the sofa and a lap table that fits on the sofa arm. It’s just right for my vision and shoulders. Comfort is my goal. When I want a change of scenery, I move outside on the patio with my laptop.
– Do you have a certain ritual?
There’s a little dog in my house who sits beside me while I write. Only when I write, does she growl at anyone who enters the room. If I’m writing at night, she gets out of her bed and joins me again. The minute I close up my laptop, she jumps down and gets in her bed. She seems to think she’s involved in some way, and I’m sure she is. She send me thought waves, because all of my main characters have pets.
– Is there a drink or some food that keeps you company while you write?
Other than having a cup of coffee or a glass of water by my side, I’m pretty boring. My husband will offer to bring me something for lunch on his way home from exercising. It’s usually a smoothie, or something liquid. Around 3 p.m., if I’m still at it, I have the need to gnaw on something, like a chip or peanuts. Needless to say, by supper time, I’m ready to eat. Living in south Texas, that usually means my husband is manning the grill outside. All I have to do is throw a salad together. I get in a zone, and it doesn’t occur to me to do anything about a meal. Luckily, my spouse is self-sufficient, and will even offer me food if he hasn’t seen me move in a while.
– What is your favourite book?
I’ve had so many, but I think To Kill a Mockingbird is my number one. I’ve always enjoyed reading southern gothic literature. I love the settings and the characters and especially the dysfunction. Flawed characters are my favorite. They tend to have more dimension and be like real life. There’s something about even the vilest villain we can identify with. I like to tackle social issues in fiction. Some people never have the opportunity to get close to an injustice or discrimination. If they can bound emotionally with a fictional character, maybe empathy can be sparked.
– Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
Most of my novels are women’s fiction, but last year I began a series of cozy mysteries. Meg Miller is the protagonist. So far, there are two in the series: A Dickens of a Crime, Pelican Beach Murder, and I’m currently working on the third, Mystery of Inheritance Ranch. I like Meg. She’s my age, but cuter and wears a smaller size. She’s a widow and has issues from her past to deal with, but she’s feisty and solves a mystery with her wit and personality more than sleuthing. She may keep me going for a while.
– Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
I’m a retired social worker and in my first career I met a variety of characters. Some of them had bigger than life personalities that I draw from. I also owned and operated a bed and breakfast for seven years. That’s a lot of work, and you never really know someone until they’ve slept with you (that’s a joke). I truly enjoyed all of our guests, but I also am inspired by their personalities and stories. If I’m sitting in the airport, the doctor’s office waiting room, or checking out at the grocery store, I notice people, their reactions, and gestures. Everyone inspires me. I play mah jongg with the woman who inspired Birdie in Birdie & Jude. Their personalities are a little different and they’re not the same age, but their circumstances mirror each other. My daughter says there’s a little bit of me in all my characters.
– Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
I should, but I don’t. Many times I think the idea was so good I’ll never forget it, but alas, I usually do. Sometimes it will come back to me. However, most of the time things come to me when I sit down to write, or just as I’m falling asleep.
– Which genre do you not like at all?
I don’t read Sci-Fi. I enjoy the movies sometimes, but I find it difficult to read through all the narrative involved to describe inhuman characters or the world they live in. I would much rather read about believable people in realistic settings solving problems and developing relationships that could happen.
– If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
I like Sarah Addison Allen. Her characters are believable to me and there’s just enough magical realism and paranormal to be whimsical and fairy-tale like. I would want to write with her because I’m star-struck. The same goes for Alice Hoffman or Fannie Flagg, but “I am not worthy,” I say, clasping my hands in prayer.
– If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
I’ve only been to the UK once and my stay was limited to London. I would love to return and travel all over that big island. My ancestors were from there and I’d like to research my family and see if there’s an interesting story. I wrote a book, And the Day Came, about my husband’s mother. Her father’s family was sent from the Canary Islands by the King of Spain in the 1700’s to establish civil government near the missions in San Antonio, Texas. Centuries later, her father married a woman whose grandfather was a Danish sea captain on the Texas coast. Orphaned at twelve and the only girl in a family of six children, her childhood is fascinating.
Thank you for the opportunity to answer these questions and be a part of your blog.
Thank you, Phyllis H. Moore and Rachel’s Random Resources.
About the author
Phyllis H. Moore wants to live life experiences more than once: doing it, writing about it, and reading about it. The atmosphere of the south draws her in and repels her. The characters are rich with dysfunction and redemption, real. She’s had two careers and two retirements. Both careers gave her inspiration for her novels: The Sabine Series, Sabine, Billy’s Story, Josephine’s Journals and Secrets of Dunn House, Opal’s Story, Tangled, a Southern Gothic Yarn, and The Bright Shawl, Colors of Tender Whispers, The Ember Months, Birdie & Jude, and an anthology of spooky short stories inspired by real places and events, The Bridge on Jackson Road. In 2018 she also released a new genre for her, A Dickens of a Crime, a Meg Miller Cozy Mystery. She has authored one nonfiction book, Retirement, Now What? Phyllis has been published by Caffeinated Press in the anthology, Brewed Awakenings 2, Fifteen Tales to Jolt Your Mind Awake. She blogs on her web site http://www.phyllishmoore.com. Follow her on Pinterest and Facebook.
Phyllis is a retired social worker and former owner/operator of a small bed and breakfast. She’s lived in the rural areas and cities of south Texas. She currently lives on Galveston Island with her husband, Richard.
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