The Writer's View: S.A. Bolich

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The Writer's View

Thank you so much for hosting me, Judy. You asked me about the view from my writing space...well, it varies, but inevitably involves the view out the window. I am a country girl born and bred, so having a clear view of the outdoors is wound into my soul. I may not sit and gaze longingly through the window (bad, bad, bad for concentration!), but I need the view outside, oddly enough, to keep me focused inside. When life gets intense or my characters are struggling, I can look out at the unchanging mountains across the valley and put things back into perspective.

Not to mention that I have horses, and I can keep an eye on them in the pasture. Nothing is quite as concentration-blowing as the sudden thunder of hooves in the front yard!

Many people thrive on the bustle of city life, but me, I function best surrounded by the lively rustle of branches, the scent of grass and flowers and new-mown hay drifting in on the breeze, and even a chill draft as snow swirls down outside. Sometimes the snow gets a bit deep, forcing me to go shovel it off the roof, but I try to remember how many calories I’m burning on those days, and still appreciate how very gorgeous it is out there. Then I go write deep drifts and snowy obstacles into my next story.

I do have an actual study, but I only write in there in the summer (when I’m not out on the deck contending with the nightshade that wants to eat the whole place) because it’s too far from the wood stove. I tend to forget to feed the stove when I really get involved in my writing, and subsequently have to heat the house up again.
Unfortunately, while my four cats keep me entertained, they aren’t much good at letting me know when the fire is burning low! Most of the time I write in the living room, tucked up in a beat-up old recliner with my computer in my lap and a cup of (usually forgotten) tea waiting patiently on a cup warmer on the end table.

The outdoors is deeply entwined in my writing, from growing up as a farm kid to riding the back country every chance I get. “In Heaven’s Shadow” opens with the heroine sitting on her front porch admiring the sunset. Oh, how I wish I could! My house faces east, a view entirely wasted on this non-morning person. But the peace out there is heavenly!

MediaKit_BookCover_InHeavensShadowLilith Stark knows from experience that dead doesn't necessarily mean gone. Gettysburg took Joab's life, but her husband struck a bargain with Heaven to come home instead. She’s not about to turn away whatever the Yankees have left to her of their all-too-brief marriage. But when she inadvertently lets slip to the neighbors that not only Joab has come home, but one of the neighbor boys as well, she ignites a town already rubbed raw by the endless sorrows of civil war. Joab’s insistence on trying to “do” for her as though he were still alive, and Lilith's happy penchant for creating unexpected rainbows, only make things worse. A private little war between Lilith and the unrelentingly proper Reverend Fisk leads to a very public confrontation in which Lilith will either get the town to accept her--magic, ghosts, and all--or find herself locked away as a madwoman, deprived of everything that makes her life worthwhile.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Lilith!” Joab roared on top of Bert’s, “Miz Stark!”

Bert disappeared from the doorway. Joab stepped toward her; she tried to hush herself up but couldn’t manage it. Her ribs hurt and she couldn’t breathe, and still the giggles just kept bubbling up out of her. Pretty soon she caught a wispy movement in the corner of her eye and saw the giggles turning to little floaty sparks bouncing around her like soap bubbles. The nearside mule snorted at one and bounced it back toward her. It splatted into another one, and they rained light all over the dirt in the barnyard and laid there, glowing sort of silvery gold.

“What in hell…?”

That was Bert, arrived in the yard still clutching his pistol and staring like an owl. Lilith knew she couldn’t explain if she tried all year. She gave up on the notion and just let the giggles take her.


Joab squatted down in the dirt beside her. “Come on now, pull yourself together. Bert thinks you’re loonier than Abe Lincoln. What’s the matter with you?”

Lilith tried to stop but discovered she couldn’t. She fought to take a deep breath and get control of herself. Her lungs seemed locked up somehow, and she just couldn’t stop laughing. “Hysterical,” Joab muttered, sounding so disgusted that Lilith wanted to slap him but couldn’t manage that, either.

She floundered around, trying to get to her feet, and found Bert Cummings waving a hand down in her face. She reached up to take it.

“Lilith Stark! What in the name of God are you doing?”

Even the mules shied from the outrage in the Reverend Fisk’s voice.

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_InHeavensShadowAbout the Author:S. A. Bolich's books often open quietly—but don’t be fooled. By page 10 you may be hooked so thoroughly you’ll forget to get off at your bus stop. Her worlds are lived-in, magical, sometimes mind-bendingly exotic, always historically accurate, and inhabited by people who reach out and grab us by the throat and make us care about their problems. An historian, former military intelligence officer, and lifelong horsewoman, she brings a deep love of wild places and a degree in history to her work, creating enchanting and believable worlds with a sideways slant on reality. She writes everything from “straight” and alternate history to fantasy and science fiction, filled with characters who remain in your heart long after the book is closed. She is also an accomplished rider who helps aspiring writers get their fictional equines right through her “Horses in Fiction” series on her blog. Learn more and find the complete list of her works at

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Thank you for hosting today.
amy bowens said…
I too love the country life so much better than the city. Something to so very relaxing and enjoyable about it all. Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed your excerpt.
Good morning from the sunny Pacific Northwest! Thank you for hosting me!
Amy, I couldn't live in town. I've had a taste of it, and this old country girl really needs the peace and quiet and privacy. Thanks for stopping by.
Rita said…
I liked the excerpt.
Thank you, Rita, and for stopping by today.
awesome views!! Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures :)
Hi, Victoria, nice to 'see' you again! I love where my house sits. It's very conducive to writing!
Ree Dee said…
I really enjoyed the excerpt today! Thank you.
Hi, Ree, I'm glad! This is one of my favorite books. People still ask me how the story continues, being so caught up with Joab and Lilith. My favorite couple!