M.L. St. Sure Interview Part I

This is Part I of my interview with M.L. St. Sure. You can also find this interview at Conquer All Obstacles and The New Author. Now for the fun part; everyone who comments on this interview (both today and tomorrow) will be entered into a drawing for a free copy of "Evensong." With that said, bring on the interview questions (St. Sure's response in bold).

Evensong is an interesting title which has a meaning. I have read the meaning of Evensong but for our readers could you explain the meaning of Evensong?

In the New Testament, a brief hymn of praise sung by the aged Simeon, who had been promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. Simeon was at the Temple in Jerusalem when Mary and Joseph came to present the infant Jesus for the rite of purification according to Jewish law and custom. Simeon recognized the baby as the promised Saviour, took him in his arms, and raised his hymn of praise. Found in Luke 2:29-32, it is called the Nunc Dimittis for its first words in the Latin of the Vulgate Bible: Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum, in pace, "Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace, just as you promised." Because of its implications of fulfillment, peace, and rest, the early church viewed it as appropriate for the ending of the day. Since the 4th century it has been used in such evening worship services as Compline, Vespers, and Evensong. My book EVENSONG based its ending on this definition and therefore, the title.

You have so many wonderful characters in Evensong. One of which is Christina Cross. Can you tell us about her?

Christina Cross is a spirited young woman who knows there is something better for her family than the harsh farmland in Kelly Flat, Missouri. She yearns to unlock the secrets of her father's military past, to know about the possible, to break out of her cocoon and emerge to live life. She is strong, devoted and loyal.

Speaking of wonderful characters; we cannot forget Christina's little sister Nicolette. She is the perfect example of childhood innocence in the midst of war. Can you tell us more about the little girl?

Nicolette is an innocent bystander with all that happens in her life. As with most young children, they take the best that life has to offer and then run with it. Harsh realities, the cost of war, the miserable existence, all of it rolls into optimism.

War is a cruel and violent experience for all involved. In Evensong you were able to walk the fine line between giving enough information about the horrors of war and too much. Was it difficult to capture the reality of war without crossing that line?

The war journal my father left me was horrific. I knew I had to soften that line, and it was difficult because I wanted to blurt out the whole ugly story.

You dedicated Evensong to your father. Did his experience during World War II influence your writing of Evensong?

My Dad was in the Marines during World War II. As a child I questioned him many times about his shiny medals, photographs, letters and postcards to my Mom; things about the war. It seemed the more I pressed him for answers, the more reticent he became. By the time I was eight years old I was writing war stories in the closet where my Dad's uniform hung. I became obsessed with writing. One day I mailed a story to the Oakland Tribune, and it was published the next weekend in the "Aunt Elsie" column. Well, that did it for me. I was a PUBLISHED author! I was born and raised in Berkeley, California, and a few years later, I entered college and majored in English. I was still writing stories in my free time. A friend of mine who was editing for me, suggested I attend the Iowa Writer's Workshop in Iowa City, Iowa. So off I went to write more stories, and I absolutely loved it! I had just finished a summer session when I received a phone call from my Mom. She said my Dad had just passed away from an aneurysm. I was devastated. My chance to know him was over. A few months later, a package arrived in the mail. I opened it, and wrapped in old newspapers were my Dad's war journals. What a day that was for me. Though by the time I began reading them, I soon understood why he never spoke of the war. It took me a long time to absorb, to rethink, rehash everything that had happened to him. I really took it hard. My husband, Ken and my daughters encouraged me to write his story; that it would be therapeutic. So I began writing, and I could tell with each page I finished I was beginning to come to terms with my grief. By the time I was finished, I was healed. My book EVENSONG is dedicated to my Dad.

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