Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Door County Christmas: Eileen Key

Eileen used to be a school teacher, so she knows several sides of the "desk." Nowadays she does writing and can use so many of her experiences in that. Her childhood prepared her for what God had in mind for her as an adult--for example, one note-passing experience in seventh grade probably came in handy in how she would deal with kids in her class, but also it could've been considered her first "romance" writing! (And reading it aloud was her first critique!)  :)

I've gotten to know Eileen from her writing, and now I feel a kinship with her from this interview. (I, too, was a school teacher.) Come along with me in finding out about the third storyteller in A Door County Christmas--Eileen Key!

Cutie Cowgirl Eileen, Who Went on a Few Cattle Drives as a Kid!

Childhood Ambition:
I wanted to be a teacher and a secretary. Funny, I've been both! I spent 30 years in the classroom and now am a part-time church secretary.
Fondest Memory (from back then): 
My cousins owned a ranch outside of Houston and I rode on a couple of "cattle drives" with them. Granted, not miles and miles, but we had a chuck wagon and had to "keep them dogies movin'" even if it was down a highway and into Matagorda Bay.
Proudest Moment (from back then):
I can't pinpoint one moment, but I can tell you how awesome it was to know Daddy was proud of me.  He bragged on any accomplishment I had and was especially excited about how many books I read. I can remember him telling my grandmother that someday I'd write a book. Sad to say, he died before that reality.  

My First Job (paid or unpaid—something you feel is significant—child or teen) :
I drove as delivery girl for my dad's pharmacy. Met some unusual people along the way. True story: my dad filled prescriptions for the Baptist nursing home. One doctor prescribed "spirits of fermenti" to lower blood pressure. Daddy poured Jim Beam in those bottles! If those lil' ole ladies only knew what was in that tablespoon each night!
Childhood Indulgence:
Mother grocery shopped on Saturday, and I'd get chocolate chip cookies! Yum. Or chocolate ice cream. (emphasis on anything chocolate!)
Favorite Outfit as a Child:
I participated in an "etiquette class" at Foley's in Houston. I won a plum colored skirt and vest. Plum must've been the fashion color that year!  
Favorite Childhood Movie and/or TV Show:  TV:
My Friend Flicka and Sky King onSaturday mornings! (Talk about dating myself!) 
Favorite Childhood Book: Little Women. I cast myself as Jo.
Favorite Childhood Activity/Pastime:
Reading. Mother said I was born with a book in my hand. My parents made sure I had access to the neighborhood library when I read almost all the elementary school library books.
Did you pass notes or have a pen pal as a child?
Ugh. Seventh grade! Mr. Hale caught me passing a note to my girlfriend and READ IT OUT LOUD. Poor Ivan Jones. I wrote about how cute I thought he was...
Best friends?:
Cynthia Roberts and Mary Ann Faigle. We're still close today.
For the past 20 years we've carved out 3 days each summer to catch up on old times.
A Favorite Christmas Memory from Your Childhood:
On Christmas Eve we gathered around the one black rotary dial telephone and talked with my grandparents and aunt in Memphis. I thanked them for my gifts. That was the extent of long distance calling, unless you had a death in the family!
What was Christmas like when you were growing up?
Quiet. Our kinfolk lived in Memphis. Often Daddy had to work at the drugstore on Christmas Eve so traveling wasn't an option. I loved it when my grandparents came to Texas! The worst ever was the year Daddy bought the aluminum tree with the spiraling colored light which shone on the branches turning it red, gold and blue! Only happened one year! We stopped that tradition in a hurry.
Was there anyone in your childhood who pointed you to Jesus?
Pastor Leonard Mansen. I joined Oaks Christian Church in seventh grade, and my parents soon followed. Daddy's schedule kept us from attending church often. But when I became friends with Esther Shaw, and spent the night with her, I attended church.
Share your introduction to Christ as a child or teen or a significant event that led to your walk with Jesus.  Pastor Mansen's sermons pricked my teen conscience for sure. Between his passion for the Lord and LaVerne Cross's dedication to our youth group, I learned about Jesus. There wasn't a tug on my heart, it was like a magnet. I became a true believer and was baptized when I was fourteen.
Anything else you would like to share with readers about your childhood which affected the writer you have become? I was loved. By my parents, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles. I felt valued. I had the normal teen angst and times when I didn't "fit in" but I had a strong values system and Jesus on my side. What more could a girl want?
Author Eileen Key

  About Eileen:

  Eileen Key, freelance writer and editor, resides in San Antonio, Texas, near her grown children and two wonderful grandchildren. She’s published eight anthology stories and numerous articles. Her first mystery novel Dog Gone from Barbour Publishing released in 2008.She also taught school for thirty years.

Leave a comment for a chance to win this book!
Eileen's Books:
Forget-Me-Not, A Plants Alive! Mystery, Avalon Publishing, Coming soon
A Door County Christmas, Barbour Publishers, December 2010
Dog Gone, Barbour Publishers, 2008

A Commitment to Helping Writers--Eileen Key's Web Site

Left to right: In Door County, Wisconsin ice cream shoppe: Rachael Phillips, Eileen Key, Cynthia Ruchti, Becky Melby, authors with stories in A Door County Christmas

The Clearing, an artist's retreat where Door County Christmas authors stayed!

Don't forget to check out the Door County Blog and meet the characters of the book there.  

Leave a comment for a chance to win A Door County Christmas 


Jo said...

I really enjoyed the interview and would love to read the book. I'm also a Eileen although I go by my middle name of Jo.


Rachael Phillips said...

I've always loved that name. I think I had a doll named Eileen....

Although Eileen Key is a Texas gal, she tells a great Door County, Wisconsin, story! You can meet her character Maddy at

Eileen Key said...

Jo Eileen! My parents should've caught on to that since I was Jo in Little Women. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane, Crystal. What fun. And hi, pal-of-mine. What stories WE could tell if only there was time!

Anne Payne said...

great interview. would love to read the book.


Kelly Irvin said...

Hmm. I guess most of us writers would see ourselves as Jo in Little Woman. I loved that book. I'm looking forward to reading all about Door County, too.

Sharon Kirk Clifton said...

I'm really loving these interviews, Crystal. Thanks for doing them. I find things in common with each of the authors. (Weren't we all Jo?)

I first became acquainted with Eileen through DOG GONE, which I loved, so I can hardly wait to read A DOOR COUNTY CHRISTMAS"

Write on!
Because of Christ,
Sharon Kirk Clifton
skc.storyteller[at sign]ballstate[dot]bsu[dot]com

Crystal Laine said...

This has been a fun series for me! And isn't fun to see how four authors can come together on a book (which is great, by the way) and to see their individual paths from childhood on.

Keep the comments coming--tomorrow is Cynthia's turn--and then we'll wind up this series. Merry Christmas! You'll want to get this book for friends for Christmas, too!

misskallie2000 said...

Loved the interview and you had a well rounded life growing up. So many children today are missing out on so much because they do not attend church and only have one parent that is not always there for them.

Would love to win the Christmas book.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com