Q&A with Nancy Carabio Belanger, author of "Olivia’s Gift"

We have an unusual Q&A with children’s author Nancy Carabio Belanger, in that the questions all come from girls!  
 
The questions in the following Q&A come from a few girls from the Girls Book Group that my daughters and I host monthly at our house.  Last September, Nancy was kind enough to do a phone call “visit” with our book group and answer some questions about her first novel, Olivia and the Little Way.  Since then, the sequel, Olivia’s Gift has been released, and my two daughters have read it (and I recommended it highly in my December book column).  Other girls from the book group, (who have not had the chance to read it yet, but I’m sure are requesting it for Christmas!),  also had the chance to ask general questions.  Thanks, Nancy, for agreeing to this non-traditional Q&A, and thank you for writing two such great books for young readers.
 
We’re going to have a giveaway of “Olivia’s Gift,” and you can enter by commenting either on this post or a giveaway-specific post in future days.  Check back for that!
 
——-
How long have you been a writer?
I’ve been writing ever since I was a little girl.  I loved to create stories in notebooks and I had a favorite pen that I used.  I wish I still had that pen!
Have you always loved St. Therese?
St. Therese nudged me to get to know her several years ago.  I read her autobiography, “The Story of a Soul,” and I couldn’t put it down.  I loved it so much that I picked it up and read it all over again!  From then on, I have always felt her presence.
What gave you the idea in Olivia’s Gift for Olivia’s family to go to the beach?
A few years ago, my family and I took a trip to Virginia Beach.  It was our first time there and we loved it so much.  I especially loved driving there through the lovely Blue Ridge Mountains. 

Why did you write about “boy trouble” in this book?
Ah, because most everyone in middle school can relate to having boy trouble!
Did any of the things in either book happen to you?
Grandma Rosemary’s story is loosely based on my own grandma’s life living in a small town in Ohio.  Certainly the drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains, and some of the struggles, thoughts and prayers of Olivia’s are mine.  I like to cook, just like Olivia.
Who is your favorite character in the book?
I can’t really say I have a favorite one, but I had so much fun writing Grandma Rosemary’s character, especially in Olivia’s Gift.  I really enjoyed writing some of her no-nonsense dialogue! 
What are some of your other favorite saints other than St. Therese?
I love Our Lady, of course, and St. Michael, St. John Bosco, Blessed Pier Giorgio, Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, Blessed. Mother Teresa, St. Philomena, and even though he is not a saint yet, I have become very attached to Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.
Are there any more books about Olivia in the works?
If  God wills it, there will be!  Right now I am working on a book about a troubled boy about Olivia’s age, and his struggles with good and evil.  I am very excited about it.