Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Yellow-billed Magpie-Author Interview-Book Review With Giveaway

Yellow-Billed Magpie by [Schoellkopf, Nancy]

Book Details (provided by I Read Tours)
Book Title: Yellow-billed Magpie by Nancy Schoellkopf
Category: Adult Fiction, 214 pages
Genre: Literary / Women's Fiction with magical realism
Publisher: Butterfly Tree Publishing
Release date: October 2015
Tour dates: April 3 to 28, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 (There are a few non-explicit sex scenes, and a bit of profanity.)

Book Description:

Unlike their black-billed cousins, yellow-billed magpies are rarely found outside California’s central valley. So when they begin showing up in Samantha O’Malley’s dreams, she wonders: are they calling me home?

Disappointed by failed fertility treatments and the break-up of her marriage, Samantha returns to her home town and slips into old habits, resuming her teaching career, even hooking up with an old lover. But she also renews her friendship with Craig, the school custodian she honors as her spiritual guide. The work they do together with Samantha’s special education students will lead her to discoveries she never thought possible.

Yellow-billed Magpie is a love story, a spiritual journey, a quest to look beyond appearances to the mystical rhythms that guide the human heart.

Interview with the author  . . . 
Hello Nancy,
it is so nice to get to chat about your book Yellow-billed Magpie.
Before we start let’s get acquainted with some fun questions.
Do you have any hobbies that keep you busy when you’re not writing
I’ve retired from teaching now, so I’m blessed to have a lot of time to devote to writing and reading.  I love spending a lot of time with family and friends.  I belong to two different writing groups, and a spiritual reading and discussion group.  I also do volunteer work at a center that serves breakfast and offers hospitality and support to poor and homeless women.
Did you take the beautiful photos that you share on your website?
Yes, I did!  I love to take photos of flowers and birds.  But I don’t take as many pictures as I did back when I had an old fashioned 35 mm camera!  Plus now when I’m out walking in nature, or visiting with friends, I’d rather focus on the present moment rather than recording that moment for the future. 

If you could go anywhere in the world to write where would you go
Anyplace where I can sit and watch the Pacific Ocean roar onto the beach.  Favorite places are Point Reyes, Santa Cruz, and Point Lobos, just south of Carmel.

One last one and then we’ll get into the book.  Do you have any pets that help you
with your writing
 Oh, I’m so glad you asked!  Samantha’s cat Angel was based on my smart, big and beautiful feline companion AngelCat who passed away last year at the age of 13.  She was a wonderful companion, and I’m so glad I memorialized her for all time in my first novel.  At Christmas, two new kittens came to live with me.  They’re littermates named Valentine Rose and Suzanna Christmas (called Zuzu).  They bring me a lot of joy.

And now about the book…How would you describe Yellow-billed Magpie to the
reader that hasn’t seen the book or read the description
Yellow-Billed Magpie is the story of a woman on a spiritual journey.  As the story opens, she is at a cross roads, wishing she could plan out her life neatly, and know automatically what to do.  But she learns that life will surprise you, so you need to learn to go with the flow!

What character in the book would you want to sit and chat with over coffee
The Craig character is based on a dear friend of mine who died a few years ago.  Of course I would love to sit and have one more deep conversation with him.  And now that I’m learning to market my own books, it would be very helpful if I could get some business advice from successful entrepreneur Anna Victoria!

This is an interesting title.  Can you tell us how it came about and how it plays into the
Shortly before I started writing the book, I’d gone to an Audubon lecture on local bird species.  I found out that the Yellow-billed Magpie lives only here in my stomping grounds in Northern California.  Black-billed Magpies are relatively common, but serious birders come from all over the world to the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys to get a glimpse of our yellow-billed natives. 

A few weeks later when I started writing, just for the fun of it, I named the computer file “Magpie.”  At first it was just a file name.  I hadn’t intended to keep it as a title.  But slowly and surely, those big majestic birds worked their way into Samantha’s dreams, and into the plot of my story.  They became my mascot, and my ticket to a unique series of novels. 

Please tell us a little about your career and if it had any emphasis on the development of the story
I had a joyful career in special education for over thirty years working primarily with students who have severe cognitive disabilities.  I worked first as an instructional assistant, then I earned my teaching credentials.  I worked in two inner city school districts here in Sacramento.  When I was younger I often wrote poems about my students, and so often the poetry sounded sad.  But my students weren’t sad.  In fact, they were some of the happiest, bravest, most unpretentious people I’d ever known.  Eventually I became skilled enough to create a snapshot of a classroom that is genuine and unsentimental, but also relates how much fun it is to be with these kids.

In case anyone is wondering:  the story of Samantha’s students is completely fictional, though informed by my time in the classroom.  I encountered many students with disabilities and behavioral challenges like Lulu and Echo.  But of course none of my students were psychic or clairvoyant!      

I haven't had the pleasure of also reading Red-Tailed Hawk.  Are the two books a series or are they stand alone novels
I don’t think of Red-Tailed Hawk as a sequel, since it is a stand-alone story.  But many of the same characters appear in both novels.  Let’s just say a minor character in Magpie becomes the major character in Hawk!
Can you give us a sneak peek at Red-Tailed Hawk
Red-Tailed Hawk is a coming of age story.  Our teenaged protagonist embarks on a quest—also known as a road trip!  She is inspired by an encounter she has with a large red-tailed hawk she is surprised to find in the middle of the city.  She feels the hawk is leading her—and he takes her south, north, and finally to the east—back to the spot where the sun rises—seeking the answer to her own mysterious origin, and--well, I guess I’ll leave you hanging right there!

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat.
Best wishes on the tour!  

Thank you too, Sherry!  These were wonderful questions!  I so appreciate the opportunity!--n

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And I thought...
Yellow-billed Magpie was a different kind of a 'read' for me.  
I enjoyed the story and the characters.  
Nancy provides a wonderful story for the reader.  
For me having the opportunity to interview Nancy provided me with a different vision of the book/story than I anticipated. 
Admittedly I don't have an interest in poetry. Mainly because I've never really had a 'real' introduction.  
Basically I just don't understand Poetry and Symbolism.
Poetry and symbolism basically I just don't understand it. 
Books/stories with a poetical type of underlying theme confuse me.

And so. the cover of the book had me with a confused idea of what the story was about.

 Yellow-billed Mapie was a slow read for me.  But there are times that a slow read is what I need.  I need to absorb the story.  I need to take my time and enjoy instead of rushing through which is what I normally do. 

I didn't do that with Yellow-billed Magpie the book deserved my attention.

I enjoyed the characters and the story once I got 'into' it. 
Samantha's character is endearing.  He struggles and her
triumphs are engaging and kept this reader involved and 

I am looking forward to reading Red Tailed Hawk
Thank you Nancy for introducing me to a different kind of story. 

I received a complimentary copy from I Read Book Tours 

This review will be posted on retail sites where the book is 
This review will appear on Good Reads and My Reading Journeys.  

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