Over the next week or so, LDS Publisher will be interviewing authors who have stories in the upcoming anthology, Checkin' It Twice. Today's guest is Kasey Eyre, author of the story, Gifts from Jesus.
LDSP: Hi, Kasey. How are you doing today?
Kasey: Great, thanks!
LDSP: Then let's just jump right in with the interview. Where did you grow up?
Kasey: I am a native to Las Vegas. My dad was born and raised here and so was my grandma. I love it here and love raising my family here.
LDSP: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Kasey: I'm a wife, married 11 years. I'm a mom to three boys, ages nine, seven, and four. I like to go help in my boys' classes at school and I do preschool at home for my 4 year old.
LDSP: Got any pictures?
Kasey: Sure. Here is our latest family photo.
LDSP: I bet those boys keep you hopping. No need for you to exercise, right?
Kasey: I don't like to exercise, but if I do it while watching TV it's not so bad.
LDSP: That's a good idea. I might try that. What else do you do to keep busy?
Kasey: Typical stay-at-home-mom stuff like laundry, cleaning, running errands. I like to cook and bake, trying new recipes. My kids tell me I'm the second best cook ever—their grandma is #1. Of course, reading and writing. I like taking my kids to the park so I can hang out with the other moms. Sometimes you just need adult conversation, you know?
LDSP: I hear you. What else do you like to do to take a break from motherhood?
Kasey: Some times I sneak off to Target or the library. Those are my favorite places to go when I need a little alone time.
LDSP: I love the library, too! Some times I wish I could rent a room there. Or at IKEA. Especially in the fall. Nothing like curling up with a good book in the fall. What was your favorite book as a child?
Baby Sitters Club series.
LDSP: You're kidding me! My daughter loved those but they made my brain melt. Of course, I wasn't the target audience, she was. And you're about her age, so... I'll let you slide on that one.
Kasey: Thanks for the pass. But seriously, I had every book. The funny thing is I hated babysitting. I also read tons of Nancy Drew and when I went to the library I picked the books that had the best looking covers.
LDSP: Did your taste in books improve as you got older?
Kasey: I guess that depends on your personal taste. When I was a sophomore in high school we were reading Lord of the Flies and I thought it was SO BORING. But I noticed on the chalkboard that a different class was reading the book Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan, so I went to the library and got that book to read instead. I loved it and started reading more of her books. My junior year I read The Great Gatsby and that book was magical to me. I loved the language, the descriptions, the way I could see what was happening. That was when I decided I wanted to teach American Lit someday. And I did.
LDSP: Killing Mr. Griffin was pretty good. I liked it too. So, why did you decide to enter the LDS Publisher story contest?
Kasey: I'm great at starting stories, but not very good at finishing them. When I saw the post about the Christmas short story contest I thought it would be a great way to finally finish something, to have a goal, a deadline. I also have a hard time letting people read what I write so I thought this would be a good way to get over that fear. It's been a great experience and got me to take my writing more seriously and to learn more about writing. Since the contest, I've sold a story to the Friend magazine, I started a writer's group with a friend, and I have an outline for a novel all ready to go for NaNo!
LDSP: Wonderful! Getting people excited about finishing a story is exactly why I started the contest. What inspired you to write this particular Christmas story?
Kasey: I live in Las Vegas and things have been so bad here with the economy and the housing market. My husband is in the construction business and we have seen how hard it's been for families who have gone from having a good job and a home to live in, to getting pay cuts, losing homes, worrying about how to afford to take care of their families. It's hard around the holidays to be in that situation and sometimes we forget that it's not about having money to buy gifts, it's about trying harder to be like Christ. I wanted to write something that another family could relate to, or to inspire a family to look for ways to give to someone who has less than they do. Every Christmas our family tries to do something for someone else. We try and remind our kids what Christmas really is about and that it's not about getting something, but giving something.
LDSP: What is your favorite Christmas memory from your childhood?
Kasey: My dad is the oldest of 7 children and every Christmas Eve we would have a big family dinner at my grandma's house. My grandma is Catholic, so after dinner she would take some of the kids with her to church. I loved going with her and seeing how her church did their worship service. We sang songs and held hands and there was always a Christmas message. To me, that made the night better. I love Santa and the magic of Christmas, but I love keeping Christ at the center of it all.
LDSP: What books are you reading now? What books do you like to read to your kids?
Magic Tree House book to my 7 year old and Fablehaven to my 9 year old. Next on MY list is Son by Lois Lowry and The Kill Order by James Dashner. Over the summer I read The Wizard of Oz to my kids and then we watched the movie (it's my favorite movie ever!). My son read Crash by Jerry Spinelli in his 4th grade class so I read it at home so we could talk about it. My kids LOVE Wonkenstein. We got to meet Obert Skye when he came to their school last year for Reading Week. We're looking forward to getting Potterwookiee which will probably be a Christmas gift. We love giving the boys books for Christmas.
LDSP: I love giving books as Christmas gifts too. Guess what all my friends and family are getting this year?
Kasey: Ummm, Checkin' It Twice?
LDSP: Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner! One last question—and I always love to hear the answer to this one—which books have influenced your life most?
Kasey: I love reading and have read so many different books but the ones that have really influenced me have to be Anne of Green Gables. I was a huge fan of the movies growing up but didn't read the books until I was in my 20's. My friend was cutting my hair and we were talking about it and she was appalled that I had not read the books. So she gave me her set to read. I just love Anne Shirley. She's my favorite literary heroine ever. I became an English teacher because she was and wanted to be a writer like her. What girl does not want to be like Anne? I also just recruited 2 of my favorite friends to go on a trip to Prince Edward Island with me.
LDSP: Oh, how fun! You'll have to let me know how your trip goes. Well, thanks again for stopping by and good luck with NaNo.