Thursday, February 16, 2012

Interview with Sadie and Sophie Cuffee

How long have you been writing? What is your first writing/composing memory?

Sadie: I've been writing since 1988 (and you'd think I'd be better at it by now, wouldn't you!) You know those authors who wrote honkin' stories and had them published in the newspapers by the time they were 6 years old? Not me (can you say late, late bloomer?). My first composing memory must be in 1988, I wrote some really bad poetry for awhile until my good friend (who is a gifted writer and poet) looked at one of my poems and, in true sisterhood fashion, said, "I think this would make a good story." So I ditched the rhyming dictionary (that speaks volumes, right there) and moved on to a better skill set match of farm & gardening articles (in my former life I was a commercial grower and landscaper), newspaper columns, and kids stories.

When I first saw this question, what came to mind for me as a composing memory was our dad. He used to write lyrics and poems, and composed some pretty cool stuff that I didn't fully appreciate as a kid; but now I see how gifted he was (and he'd say it wasn't him, it was all God, and he'd be right!)

Sophie: Technically speaking, I could write before Sadie was born (that never gets old for me - hahaha), but professionally speaking, she got me started.  She was writing for God's World Publications at the time and suggested I send in some samples.  The editor said he liked my work and wanted to use an article in the next publication, but could I revisit it and make a couple of changes. Unfortunately, my ancient-at-the-time Mac had eaten my homework.I couldn't find it anywhere. A call to the local computer gurus said yes, they could retrieve it from the netherworld of the hard drive, but it would probably cost around $35.  So I cowgirled up and rewrote the whole thing.  That was my first lesson in SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!

Where do you find inspiration for your stories?
S & S: Inspiration usually smacks us between the eyes in an experience we’ve had, (just last week we slid off the ice into the ditch and had to be towed out...ugh! But Sophie said, “We can use this in a book!”), or in dialog we hear, or in a million little observances of the oddities and wonders of 21st century life. It always takes awhile to sink in, and then we have to rummage for a piece of paper and write it down. We also find inspiration in asking, “What if?”

Who had the most positive influence on your life and how?
Sadie: That’s a tough one. As a Christian it’s really a two-fold answer. Obviously Jesus had, and continues to have, the best positive influence on my life by enabling me to grow to be more like Him. He’s taught me to think outside my small plans and have the courage and zeal to embrace His plan for my life, which is HUGE!

On the human side, there’re too many good people to pick just one. I've been truly blessed. (But I hate it when someone pulls the ethereal card, especially when it's me!) If I have to pick someone, I would say my sister. She’s my one-and-only. And as a big sister, there’s none better. She got up in the middle of the night and killed a spider on my bed with a well-aimed sneaker, then when I fussed (Hey, I was just a little kid!) that its crumpled body was still looking at me, she disposed of it without rancing on me. Greater love hath no sister than that, and it’s only gotten better with the passing of the years. Her example inspires me every day!

Sophie: I'm going to copy Sadie's first part, because Jesus Christ makes all the difference and is THE great influencer.

Our father was a huge influence on me. I never heard him swear, use the Lord’s name in vain, or lose his cool.  He was confident without being arrogant; fair without compromise; unconditional love personified, regardless of social status, educational status, economic status, race, religion, or creed.  But, as Sadie pointed out earlier, he'd have been the first to tell you it wasn't him, it was Jesus Christ in him that made him who he was. 

What is your favorite movie and why?
Sadie: I have a handful I really like, most of which are dated now. But at this moment I’d choose, “While You Were Sleeping.” Why? It’s got great dialog, classic lines, and perfectly-done family scenes (like the one around the supper table). I’m a sucker for ordinary blue-collar folks like us who dream big but enjoy the here and now on their own terms. It also has great characters and one of our goats is named Jo Jr., so it brings to mind the movie every day.

Sophie:  Hmmm, this is hard.  I'll go with "Sleepless in Seattle" (I'm noticing a pattern here!).  It's one of those movies where you just want them to get together, and they keep missing.  Plus it has one of my favorite lines, "It scares me what they aren't teaching you in school these days!"

If you had a time machine and could take one trip to any time in history, where would we find you?
Sadie: Back in the 1890’s traveling across the country from Maine to California so I could check out our great-grandparents on both coasts and do a little pioneering out west (and maybe even travel up to Alaska and strike it rich, or be one of the first women to write about it.)

Sophie: I'd like to go into the future and see my grandchildren as adults.

What are your hobbies?
S&S: Hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, ice skating, camping, backpacking, fitness, sewing, cooking, knitting, gardening, reading, crafts, music.

Tell us about your other occupations/jobs, besides writing.
S&S: At present we have a small dairy farm, so that keeps us busy caring for the goats and chickens year round, fixing fence in the spring (heavy early snow last fall did a number on some of our fence so we’ve got our work cut out for us in May), repairing the old tractor, planting the vegetable garden (and flower gardens, you gotta have some outdoor natural bling), clearing fields, and cutting hay in the summer, and splitting and stacking wood in fall and winter. We also work as worship team/administrative assistants in the church, and are involved in nursing home, youth, and musical ministries on a weekly basis.


  1. Sadie, Sophie, thanks for visiting today. I have a question about your hero who is a blind Civil War veteran. What is the story about this hero's characteristics? How did you decide on a hero with a disability?

    1. Sophie's always had a thing for blind people. It really worked out in this case. Alice thinks she'll never find true love because she has a birthmark on her face, so she's thrilled when Hawk befriends her. Hawk, who was wounded in battle, is hesitant to reveal his love for Alice, because he considers himself less than a man in his current blind state. It's the old catch-22 - he's praying his vision is restored, while Alice is hoping it won't, little realizing Hawks' known about her birthmark all along. uh-oh, is this TMI?

  2. I absolutely love these two! Their books and their blog which always makes me smile or occasionally cry. Great interview - and now that spring planting season is just around the corner I know where I'm going for some much needed advice!!LOL

    1. Sadie's our go-to girl for all things in the plant and soil world (she studied it in college). Sophie has a brown thumb, but who cares when when we have Sadie!

  3. Hey, Lynette, thanks so much for hosting us today. We were at church putting up ceiling tiles in our undercroft, and now we both have pains in our necks. Hopefully that won't translate into BEING pains in the neck! LOL. Nice website!
    Sadie & Sophie

  4. So nice getting to know you both. I am new here and am enjoying it all. It sounds like you have full and happy lives.