"Regina Sirois believes in a lot of things: running outside when it's raining, walking to the mailbox barefoot, banana popsicles on hot days, crisp, white sheets, and especially the power of words.
She identifies herself as a reader first and a writer second, and as such her loyalty lies with readers. She believes that a book should not just mildly entertain- it should change us.
She graduated summa cum laude from Missouri State's Departments of History and English and settled in the golden wheat fields of Kansas with her High School love. She is currently doing laundry (probably) and raising her two daughters. She fell in love the day she learned to read and cried the first time she did a word problem in math ("But it's not a problem..." sob, sob. "It's a story!")."
I asked Regina some questions about her reading, writing, and inspiration. Here is what she said:
1. What was the first book that made you become an avid reader?
Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn had a huge impact on me as a third grade reader. It is the first time I remember feeling completely transported by a story. I read it over and over and to this day I can remember so many exact details and lines from the story. The funny thing is that I don't like ghost stories. I've never read any others. But Wait Till Helen Comes never felt like a ghost story to me. That was my first lesson in a book transcending its genre and breaking the traditional rules of writing.
2. Who inspired you to become an author?
Dodie Smith. She is best known for writing 101 Dalmations, which ironically, I didn't enjoy very much. Her lesser known novels, particularly I Capture the Castle, are her real works of genius. I first read I Capture the Castle when I was 17 and I did it reluctantly because the cover was old and the blurb didn't excite me. I am forever grateful I tried it anyway. Her first-person narration stunned me. I read her pages over and over, trying to imagine ever having such power to describe a moment. My every attempt at writing since that day I first read her has been in one way or another a vain attempt to imitate her brilliance.
3. How powerful is poetry to you?
Life changing. Poetry is life changing. I still have my first book of poetry. I treasured it as a child and I treasure it more now. I keep a book of Emily Dickinson's complete works in my room and read it every day. Almost every page is dog-eared. I never get through one page without wanting to cry at her triumph. She did something amazing with words and it changes how I see the world. Poets- the truly great ones- sit in the same category as prophets for me. While a prophet is God's voice to man, a poet is man's voice to God. They voice the human condition. My novels rely heavily on poetic devices, not because I mean to, but because that is how I hear words in my head. After ingesting poetry all my life it flavors my every thought and word.
4. How has your family inspired your writing?
My family's biggest inspiration to me is that they take my writing for granted. That might sound strange, but it is a huge comfort for me. When I am stuck, when the sentences won't lay down straight, when I think I have nothing left to say, my family shrugs and ignores my complaints. It's not because they don't care. I know it is because they believe so deeply in my abilities that they have no sympathy for my worries. They are never afraid I won't find the words because they think that is impossible. They think my words are like my heartbeat- pulsing inside of me as long as I have breath. When I see how little my husband and daughters worry about my ability to write, I feel inspired to earn that trust.
5. What books are you working on now?
I am working on two novels, but preparing one for publication in early 2015. It is a young adult novel set in my hometown of Kansas City. It is narrated by Megan, a 17-year-old girl who is only alive because a man died saving her when she was a toddler. The guilt she carries is compounded when she meets that man's 14-year-old daughter who never knew her father. Together the two girls must find a way to make peace with a past that they didn't choose and honor a man's choice that neither can understand. They form a grudging alliance when they decide to finish his bucket list together. It is only when they realize what one life truly cost that they will understand what every life is worth. It is a book that I wrote in celebration of holding on to the lessons of the past while letting go of the pains.
Discover more about Regina Sirois at http://reginasirois.com/