One lone tree is all that remains of the cherished Standridge family orange groves, a legacy that goes back as far as the Civil War. But for young Colly Standridge, that solitary tree is at the center of a magical world.
Inspired by real people, The Sour Orange Derby follows the lives of Colly, who dreams of becoming a professional baseball player, and K.B. Standridge, an imaginative old man who spends his days creating stories for his grandchildren to enjoy while searching for a new family legacy – and finds it in his last beloved orange tree.
A story about love and healing steeped in southern traditions, The Sour Orange Derby is a tale of one family joining together to celebrate life and history, and how their last remaining orange tree holds them all together when the young boy’s fight with cancer threatens to tear them apart.
Kristina Circelli, accomplished author of The Helping Hands and The Whisper Legacy series, is proud to take readers on a literary journey into her childhood, offering a glimpse of the magical worlds and imaginative stories created by her beloved grandfather.
Tell us a little bit about your book and have you published before?
The Sour Orange Derby tells the story of the Standridge family, centering around the relationship between K.B. Standridge and his young grandson, Colly. K.B. is an imaginative old man who spends his days creating stories and games for his grandkids to enjoy, most notably the Sour Orange Derby. This game, along with his stories, tell readers how the Standridge family came to be, from their beginning in the Civil War to the future, when the eldest of the grandkids, Kariss, tells how the Derby held her family together when Colly’s fight with cancer threatens to tear them apart.
This book is inspired in many ways by my own family, including the crazy stories and the strength of the family bond. It’s taken me years to write it, as new stories were created, old stories came to light, and more memories were incorporated into the book.
The Sour Orange Derby is my 5th book. I was first published at 17 and then 19, then took a break while going to college. My next two were published in 2010 and 2011. I’m in the process of re-publishing my first two books though (see below).
Will this be the only book in the series?
Yes, The Sour Orange Derby is a standalone novel – my first, actually (all others have been part of a series). It’s been many years in the making, but I decided that now was the time to get it published even though I’ve got many others in the works!
Are you currently working on anything else?
I’m working on several things at the moment. In 2010 I started The Whisper Legacy, which is a 4-book series about Native American cultures and the legends that come to life in the spirit realms. They center on Whisper, a young Cherokee woman with gifts beyond anyone’s ability to comprehend as she walks the Red Road and follows the destiny set before her by Creator – and the many dangers she faces along the way. Book 1 takes readers on an adventure into the Land of the Dead as she helps a father save his son’s soul, while Book 2 becomes a journey to the Self as Whisper declares war on the Great Spirit.
I’ve also restarted my first series, the Helping Hands, a 7-book series about a gang of friends that rescues abused children by kidnapping them and bringing them to a secluded hideaway. Book 1 tells the story of the Helping Hands as they continue their project while hiding from a nosy reporter and doing their best to keep their own personal demons at bay. I published the first two when I was 17 and 19, respectively, but they are since out of print. I’ve recently teamed up with Sage Words Publishing to re-publish them. We are starting with the first two (and have actually broken Book 1 up into 2 separate books), whole new covers and editing and everything. Then we’ll move on to the rest in the series. It’s been a lot of work, but I’m really excited about it because this series is my baby. It’s very close to me so it’s important that I get it right the second time around.
Do you have any advice for authors wanting to publish? (Why did you choose to go indie? If this applies – If not why traditional)
It sounds trite, but, don’t give up. It’s a hard industry in that you have to do everything yourself when going indie, and a lot of people won’t believe in you. Whether you’re a new or experienced author, those doubts can set you back – but you can’t let them. It’s hard to make a name for yourself among the thousands, millions, of other authors, so you have to be different, find your own way to stand out. You could have the most incredible book that readers will go nuts for, but if you don’t tell people who you are, they will never read it. That was the hardest part for me, and still is. I’m reserved and quiet by nature, so I’ve had to force myself to open up and brave the crowds at book events. As the world’s worst bragger, I am still working on ways to better “sell myself,” so to speak, and tell readers why my books are the ones they want to buy.
For all authors, I always tell people, write what you love. Not necessarily what you know, but what you’re passionate about. Don’t be an author just to cash in on a fad; don’t let other people tell you how to write. Just do you. That’s why I love being an indie author. I can write what I want, how I want, and know that I’m always in control. It’s a more difficult route than traditional publishing (I’ve done that, and had a pretty bad experience with it), but in my opinion, it’s also more fun. You meet some awesome indie authors, get to set up your own events, and it’s an incredibly fulfilling experience to hold the book in your hands and know that you did this.
What is your favorite writing snack?
Everyone who knows me knows I am a Blue Dorito girl through and through (Cool Ranch Doritos, my brother and I call them Blue Doritos for the bag color). I also love cucumber slices with Hidden Valley ranch dressing. Those are pretty much my only go-to snacks, along with a glass of Mr. Pibb, on the rocks.
What gets you in the mood to write?
To be honest, I’m pretty much always in the mood to write. Happy, sad, bored, nervous – whatever I’m feeling, I want to write and I don’t feel settled if I haven’t created something each day. I’ve always said that writing is the one thing that makes sense to me in this world. It’s my one constant. It drives me insane sometimes because I can’t turn my mind off and I’m always thinking of this character or that scene to the point of being ever distracted in daily life, but I still love it nonetheless.
Who is your favorite character and why?
This one’s easy – Lucivar Yaslana. He is part of the Black Jewel series by Anne Bishop. I love everything about him. His strength and courage, his loyalty, the way he acts. And, let’s face it, I have a thing for bad–ass guys with lots of muscle wielding razor-sharp weapons. He’s got the warrior side, but also the gentle part of him that makes him a fascinating character. I call him my book boyfriend (my movie boyfriend, in case you were wondering, is Caspian from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader).
Favorite book of all time?
I don’t think I have just one. I read all kinds of genres and love many different books for many different reasons. If we’re going by the ones I’ve read over and over again, they would be:
Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie)
The Mortal Instruments series (Cassandra Clare)
The Black Jewels series (Anne Bishop)
Dance upon the Air (Nora Roberts)
The Child Thief (Brom)
Percy Jackson books (Rick Riordan)
I think breakfast says a lot about a person, what is your perfect breakfast?
I don’t typically eat breakfast. If I do, it’s light and probably not very healthy (Goldfish crackers, gummy bears). On the off-chance that we go out for breakfast, I’m pretty much guaranteed to get biscuits and gravy with a heaping side of hashbrowns. I do love hashbrowns.
Do you have a favorite period of time that you like to write about or would like to live?
To write about, not really. I mostly just write the ideas that come to me regardless of what time period they fall in. But for the most part I write in modern time since it’s easier (I’m not fond of having to do a lot of research).
To live in, so many it’s near impossible to choose. I’ve already dreamed of being with my Cherokee ancestors, living off the land and with nature as they did. I also have a weird desire to live in a Game of Thrones-esque era or among the ancient Greeks. I minored in Classic Civilizations and have always been fascinated by the Greek gods, so I imagine I’d fit in well there. Artemis and I would get along well.
Please tell us in one sentence why we should read your book!
The Sour Orange Derby is a celebration of life, love, and the imagination of childhood – and is perfect for anyone who believes in the power of family and the magic that makes each day one worth remembering. <—- That was hard. I’m way too wordy for just 1 sentence! (this is also why I’m terrible at Twitter)
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July 16 Review http://mommyreadstoomuch.com
July 17 Excerpt http://generationsofsavings.com
July 18 Review http://www.craftylife.net
July 19 Review http://couponingwithboys.com
July 20 Interview http://ereadingonthecheap.com
July 22 Guest post http://susanheim.blogspot.com
July 23 Review http://daybydayinourworld.com
July 24 Review http://nikita-mattes.blogspot.com
July 25 Review & Interview http://identitydiscovery.net
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