I like to start each interview with a nice intro about the authors, but I can’t get past this — Neena Gaynor used to read during surgery! Seriously, you have to keep reading to find out more …
Thanks for being here! What was your favorite picture book as a child?
I grew up loving P.D. Eastman’s Go, Dog. Go! It’s about a bunch of different dogs doing the most wildly wonderful things like playing tennis on a blimp, playing banjos while floating in boats, and flying helicopters. It ends with this mysterious destination: a dog party! What’s not to love?
What was the last book you read that you couldn’t put down?
I have a hard time putting any book down once I’ve settled into a story. One that surprised me recently was Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof. I don’t usually go for historical fiction, but the Appalachian setting hooked me. Joanne weaves words together beautifully, and she had me cheering for the most unlikely characters.
I love it when a book surprises me like that. Where’s the most unusual place you’ve read a book?
In surgery! But not like that. For years, I was a surgical nurse before I ever attempted to write anything other than patient notes. On days I would be assigned a case that would last ten or twelve hours, it was common to pick up a book and read a bit as I waited for a surgeon’s need.
That’s crazy! But it makes sense the more I think about it. That’s definitely a unique setting, though. Speaking of settings, if you could visit any fiction place, where would you go?
Narnia! Talking animals, majestic Aslan, and adventure.
What about fictional families? If you could be part of any fictional family, which would you pick?
I’d want to be the fourth Bradford sister of the Becky Wade series. I have an older brother and have always wanted a sister too. I imagine all sisters as built-in confidants who can surely braid. Plus, one of the Bradfords bakes . . .
And who’s your favorite author?
Kentucky author Wendell Berry is my favorite. Perhaps it’s because of his variety and depth as a writer. He’s a poet, essayist, and novelist, and his writing reflects life and a savoring of the days—both the good and the bad. I appreciate the agrarian focus to much of his work and his appreciation of God’s awesome creation.
And what about your favorite genre?
I’m supposed to say contemporary romance because that is the sort of book I wrote, right? Honestly, I prefer a variety and especially enjoy nonfiction with a religious focus or of beekeeping and gardening.
I completely understand. I write contemporary romance/women’s fiction, but I read a ton of historical romance.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I’m so thankful that I get to write as a way to spread The Gospel: the good news of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I pray my words encourage readers to hope, and I ask for their prayers as I pursue future writing opportunities. All the glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit!
When Larkin Maybie buries her mother in the foothills of Appalachia, she is left all alone. Alone, except for her crazy Aunt Aster and an overwhelming amount of debt Larkin’s mother left in her name. Even after selling everything, surgical nurse Larkin is still short the cash necessary to dig out from under the burden of bills. When presented with a promiscuous opportunity, Larkin makes a questionable decision and accepts money from a handsome surgeon, Dr. Calvin Mort.
After settling accounts, Larkin has a turn of luck. She’s inherited a secluded lakefront cabin in Pennsylvania from a mystery benefactor. In a search for the connection between Larkin and the Lewandowski Estate, she establishes meaningful relationships with several people on Presque Isle. Of particular interest to Larkin is a charming professional baseball player, Number Fourteen, Ketch Devine.
Charged with caring of the cabin’s honey bees and haunted by past choices, Larkin struggles to move forward in a new direction. She must decide: what is the value of true love and an authentic life?
The Bird and the Bees is available for pre-order now and will be released April 21. Secure your copy today!
Neena Gaynor is a beekeeper, master gardener, and weekly interest columnist for the online news magazine, Kentucky Today. When Neena married a professional baseball player almost ten years ago, she began writing faith devotions for the women’s division of Baseball Chapel. Her writing has also been featured on the Connecting Ministries website and on her blog, Words Like Honey. After twenty-nine changes of address, Neena and her husband, Wade, are thrilled to be back kin their old Kentucky home with their two young boys.