Watch out, you won’t see this author coming. C.H. Armstrong would choose invisibility as her super power, but thankfully, she didn’t choose to cloak her upcoming book The Edge of Nowhere. Did you catch the trailer above? One message is clear from this interview: Never give up.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always thought I wanted to be a 2nd grade teacher. I was even a member of FTA (Future Teachers of America) when I was in high school.
Today, though, children around the world are thankful I gave that idea up! I still love kids; but I’ve realized that it takes a special person to be an elementary school teacher, and those teachers I know do a far better job than I could ever imagine myself doing.
What do you do now?
I hold a degree in Journalism and have spent the last 20 years – since the birth of my first child – doing strictly volunteer work in the community and being a stay-at-home-mom. This has been great because it has allowed me the opportunity to pursue my dream of writing a novel.
I’m giving you a super power that will make your biggest dream come true–guaranteed. What’s going to happen?
Haha! I love this question! I want the super power of invisibility. My 11 year old says it’s so I can be a “creeper”— and maybe he’s right – but I love the idea of being able to fly under the radar, which is something I’ve never been able to do.
In terms of what’s gonna happen? Well, first of all, I don’t have to get dressed every day. I can walk around in my PJs because I’m invisible and nobody would know!
But then, of course, I could hide out with books and just read all day without interruption. The best part is that, with an invisibility superpower, I can stow it away when I don’t want to use it and be totally visible.
Did you ever give up on your dreams?
No. Never. I’m like the character in my novel, The Edge of Nowhere. I never give up. I might put the dreams on hold for a little while, but I never give them up.
Several years ago, I read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. In it, he has the most profound statement that has really become somewhat of a motto for me.
He writes: “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
What advice do you have for people who are trying to decide if they should chase their dreams?
After I wrote The Edge of Nowhere and began the process of querying for an agent or publishing house, I exchanged e-mails with one of my favorite authors, Lorna Landvik.
She gave me some great advice that I’ve carried with me and will continue to do so – the same advice that I’d give anyone trying to chase any dream.
She said that when she was looking to publish her first book, she received enough “nos” to cover all of New York City. But she refused to accept no for an answer.
She said that she wouldn’t stop until it was her own “no.” That is to say that she refused to throw in the towel until she’d exhausted every last resource and decided that it was no longer something that she wanted to pursue. She wasn’t going to let anyone dictate to her whether her book was worthy of publishing.
Since then, she’s gone on to be a very successful author.
I think this same advice goes hand-in-hand with Randy Pausch’s sentiments about brick walls.
The constant “nos” and negativity isn’t really intended to stop you from doing something; rather, it’s to see how badly you really want it. There are just some things in life that only the most determined will achieve.
The year is 1992 and Victoria Hastings Harrison Greene—reviled matriarch of a sprawling family—is dying.
After surviving the Oklahoma Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, Victoria refuses to leave this earth before revealing the secrets she’s carried for decades.
Once the child of a loving family during peaceful times, a shocking death shattered her life. Victoria had to come face to face with the harshness of the world. As the warm days of childhood receded to distant memory, Victoria learns to survive.
No matter what it takes.
To keep her family alive in an Oklahoma blighted by dust storms and poverty, Victoria makes choices—harsh ones, desperate ones. Ones that eventually made her into the woman her grandchildren fear and whisper about. Ones that kept them all alive. Hers is a tale of tragedy, love, murder, and above all, the conviction to never stop fighting.