Be sure to leave a comment below or call 206-309-7318 and leave a voice message to be entered to win a FREE copy of Matters of Faith and don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes! (Please excuse the funky sound quality ~ for some reason we faded in & out ~ but worth it, just the same).
Chat with Kristy
Kristy: There were two inspirations for this book, the first coming as long ago as thirty years. When I was eight or nine I did a book report on a book I’d found about religions around the world. It was supposed to be two pages long, but I turned in something like fifteen pages. I realized that religion wasn’t a choice in most parts of the world, but simply a lottery of geographical and familial tradition, and a lifelong fascination was born. The second inspiration came in 2005, when a Canadian teenager was reported to have died after kissing her boyfriend, who had eaten peanut butter several hours earlier. My first thought was wondering how parents of a child with such sensitive allergies were able to ever let them leave the house and have a life, and I began researching severe food allergies. It was later discovered that the cause of death for the young woman was not an allergic reaction, but the writer’s brain had kicked into gear and I was too far involved. I put the two ideas together, and Matters of Faith was the result. Carrie: Tell us a bit about Matters of Faith.
Kristy: A young man’s search for faith causes tragedy in his family when he brings home a new girlfriend whose religious beliefs– including the evils of medical intervention– threaten his younger sister, who suffers from severe food allergies.
Carrie: What is the primary message you’d like your readers to take away from this book?
Kristy: Choice is a wonderful thing, when those choices are placed in context and guided appropriately. No matter how mature kids seem these days, they still need guidance and discussions about the big choices in life. We talk to kids about sex and drugs at such young ages, but I rarely hear about religion or faith being discussed in depth unless the family is already observant of their particular religion, and then the discussion revolves around the beliefs of that religion only. We live in a religious world, and religion has been the greatest cause of all of our world’s wars. Why aren’t we talking about it in a broader way? Matters of Faith is also about long term marriage and the hundreds of little things that can undermine it on a daily basis, and the choices (there’s that word again) men and women make to either strengthen their relationship or allow it to gradually disintegrate. And, of course, it would be incredibly gratifying if I could help people understand what families with allergic children have to go through on a daily basis just to keep their child alive.
Carrie: Tell us about your writing process.
Kristy: I tend to think about stories for a long time before I start them. Sometimes, as with Matters of Faith, for years. If I come up with a title I’ll usually write that down so I don’t lose it, but other than that I just let it marinate. Once I think I have enough (and don’t ask me for specifics on what “enough” is, I just know somehow), I start to make notes in a spiral notebook. As I get those initial ideas down on paper I start to devote even more time daydreaming about my story, and once the critical opening scene comes to me I sit down and begin to write.
Once that starts I write 2,000 words a day and don’t quit until I reach that goal. I write on a laptop and work anywhere in the house that makes me the most comfortable. One day it’s the bed, the next the sofa, and for my new book I’ve been out on the back patio a lot. And a lot of Diet Coke is generally involved.
Carrie: Who are your favorite authors and who influenced your writing?
Kristy: I could go on for days listing my favorite writers, but we’ll start with: Marianne Wiggins, Tasha Alexander, Lionel Shriver, Amy MacKinnon, T. Cooper, J.D. Rhoades, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Laurie Notaro, Chimamanda Ngozie Adichi, Janet Fitch, how much room do we have? As far as influences go, I’ve always loved the old southern saga writers, Pat Conroy, Anne Rivers Siddons and the like.
Carrie: What are you reading right now?
Kristy: Julia Glass’s new one, I See You Everywhere, House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III, and a non-fiction book on the subject of my next book, which I’m keeping private right now.
Carrie: Can you offer a glimpse into your “real life” and share with us a bit of your personal life—Outside of writing, what’s important to you?
Kristy: My “real life” has always revolved around reading. I have no other hobbies. Reading lets me learn about hobbies other people have, so I get to have hundreds of different hobbies but never have to pay for them! I’ve been with my husband for eighteen years and we have great fun together. We love going out to lunch, catching a movie once in a while, and hanging out at the beach. I was lucky enough to marry a reader, so we both have our nose in a book at any given time. We don’t have children, so our dog is definitely our substitute. Granted, she’s a hairy, slobbery substitute, but hey, at least we don’t have to buy her a car or put her through college, so we feel it’s a pretty fair trade.
Carrie: Tell us something surprising about you and/or something very few people know about you.
Kristy: I am terrified of sharks. And driving a car into water. And raw tomatoes absolutely horrify me, gaaah, all slimy and seedy. Also, contrary to popular belief, I think a lot of things I don’t say.
Carrie: Would you be willing to share your biggest challenge/failure and how it changed your life? How about your biggest success, personal and/or professional and how it affected your perspective?
Kristy: I constantly fail at everything I do. I can barely navigate my way around my own house without bumping into a wall. I’ve never succeeded at anything on my first try (except swimming, I was a good natural swimmer right off the bat, ha!), and the publishing industry has been the biggest, most heartbreaking and exhilarating challenge I’ve ever faced. I wrote three long novels before my fourth, Catching Genius, sold. During that time I slowly went broke and wound up selling my car in order to continue to write. My perspective never changed though, I’ve always just had to work and work and work to succeed, and publishing has been no different. I’m still working to succeed at it, to achieve my rather ambitious goals within it.
My biggest success was probably helping my grandparents in their final years. I can look back at those years and know I did the right things, made the right decisions. It changed my perspective on aging, on patience, on terminal illness, and on the ways frustrating obligations can turn into an honor.
Carrie: What’s next for you ~ Anything else you’d like to offer?
Kristy: I’m trying to finish my next book. Not an easy task with Matters of Faith just out, but I’m learning that if I want to make writing my career I have to fit it all in. Writing a book, while publishing another book, while figuring out what the next book will be, while promoting and marketing a book, while trying, desperately, to control e-mail (I fail at that, too!).
Book Excerpt: Matters of Faith is told from two points of view, the mother, Chloe, and the son, Marshall. This is an excerpt from Marshall:
[Ada] shifted up to fifth and tossed her head, trying to get a lock of dark hair blown by the wind out of the side of her mouth. He reached for it at the same time as she did, but she got there first, hooking her index finger over it and drawing it out, and had she drawn her shirt over her head it couldn’t have left him more breathless. He shifted in his seat and nearly groaned aloud.
His hands curled of their own accord, his fingers grasping the air beside his thighs the way they wanted to grab hold of her hair.
“So what else did your mom say?” she asked. “What should I call her?”
He shrugged, irritated to have the image of his mother sliding over Ada’s, but relieved too. “Chloe, I guess,” he said. His mother had always told his friends to call her Chloe. He didn’t figure it would be any different for Ada.
“Chloe,” Ada repeated, drawing it out, glancing at him sideways. “Chloe and Calvin. Cute. Chloe and Cal and Meghan. And joining them for the weekend, Marshall and Ada the vegetarian,” she sang, squeezing his knee playfully.
He laughed, his irritation and bordering-on-violent desire fading, pride at the thought of walking into his house with this beautiful girl lifting his spirits and filling his lungs with something lighter than air. He went with it, praising God for the sheer miracle going ninety miles an hour in the driver’s seat beside him.
Don’t forget to subscribe to Words To Mouth on iTunes, so you can get the audio podcast delivered to your computer for free. You can listen wherever and whenever you wish.
Thanks, to Natali Brown for You Gotta Believe from the Podsafe Music Network.
Queen of the Road, Doreen Orion ~ “absolutely hilarious,” according to Kristy
About the Book (from Laura’s website)
Gwyn Huntington knows how to throw a party. And Hunt Hall, her postcard-perfect Victorian home in Montauk at the easternmost tip of Long Island, is no stranger to celebrations. But on the morning of her thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, she’s putting finishing touches on the last party she’ll host there. The last time she’ll see Hunt Hall abuzz with caterers and bartenders. The last time she’ll preside over a gathering of beautiful friends chatting in candlelight. The last time she’ll fully play the role of Mrs. Thomas Huntington. Divorce parties have become commonplace, if not fashionable, in Montauk. But Gwyn is determined that hers will be different.Just over one hundred miles away on the same morning, Maggie Mackenzie sits on the floor of her Brooklyn apartment attempting to organize her new life. A former travel writer, she’s fallen in love with a wonderful man, gotten engaged, and is planning to start a business with him. Today is also the day she’ll meet her fiancé’s parents for the first time. She’s feeling particularly uneasy about the occasion surrounding her first meeting with Nate’s family. The Divorce Party takes us into the lives of these two women at opposite ends of marriage. For all the differences between them—distance, privilege, age—Gwyn and Maggie have one thing in common: Each has found herself at a crossroads. Gwyn has been preparing for this day, the last predictable day before an uncertain future. Even though she’s had time to come to terms with her divorce, she still can’t quite believe her marriage is over. How can she move on when her marriage has defined who she is for the last thirty-five years? And for Maggie, the emotionally charged trip to Montauk shakes the foundation of her relationship with Nate and dredges up feelings she has spent her life trying to avoid. In the end, Gwyn and Maggie face the same questions: How hard should you work to stay with the person you love? And when is it time to let go?
Carrie: Why did you write The Divorce Party?
Laura: After my first novel, London Is the Best City in America, came out, readers began writing to me, and telling me about their relationships. I heard from so many interesting people: a woman celebrating her 45th wedding anniversary, a man trying to figure out whether he did the right thing breaking off an engagement. The stories ran the gamut. And they inspired to take a look at what makes a relationship last over the course of the lifetime: is there one secret ingredient? Is it many small things? Is it a whole lot of luck? These questions formed the basis of The Divorce Party.
Carrie: Tell us a bit about The Divorce Party?
365 Nights: A Memoir of Intimacy, by Charla Muller “Sex. Every day. For an entire year.” (audio author interview)
About the Book (From Charla’s website):
365 Nights: A Memoir of Intimacy is a funny and intimate look into turning 40, being married and wondering if there is more to marriage than laundry, babysitters and negotiating the DVR. It started when Charla’s husband was about to celebrate four decades on this planet, and she offered to give him something memorable – something that only she could give.She offered him sex every day for a year.This book documents that year. It’s not the behind-the-scene details of their sex life (which, really, would not be all that interesting), but rather a modest, G-rated story about how a year of daily intimacy transformed a marriage. About how the “stuff” everyone brings to a marriage can bear down on the relationship, intimacy and the desire to connect.This endeavor did not start as a book idea, but an honest attempt to improve a relationship. From “Dr. Phil” to The New York Times, the topic of marriage and intimacy is an incredibly relevant issue, it seems. Certainly Charla is no expert, but she’s been amazed at how her experience has resonated with family and friends who know about this year of intimacy. Everyone seems to have a comment, an anecdote or a perspective about intimacy and marriage…everybody.
The winners of spotlighted Words To Mouth authors have been randomly chosen and I’m working on getting the announcement posted. Meanwhile, I found another freebie for you to tide you over:
You can download Bittersweet: Confessions of a Twice-Married Man by award-winning investigative journalist Philip Lee between 12:00 midnight September 19th and 12:00 midnight September 21st, 2008.
So, mark your calendar for your free copy of this author’s male perspective on love, parenting, and relationships.
The site provides an excerpt for you to whet your appetite (look over to the righthand column).
In Case You Haven’t Heard…
You can get a free download of a copy of M. Gary Neuman’s book, The Truth About Cheating!
Between now and 7p.m. tonight, Friday, September 12, 2008 you can click on the following link and have the book delivered to your computer for free…so just about 12 hours from this posting. Don’t delay. Click HERE
Dr. Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., L.M.F.T., author of Money, Sex, and Kids and The Commuter Marriage (audio interview)
Fair Warning: We talk about SEX, Baby…
So, you may want to listen with your earbuds if younger ears are nearby. **Scroll down and click on gray arrow to listen.
Dr. Tina Tessina Ph.D., L.M.F.T, aka Dr. Romance, has been married 26 years and has over 30 years counseling experience. Join us as we have a casual honest conversation about money, sex, and kids–all possible stumbling blocks to a healthy happy marriage.
Money, Sex, and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage explores how to develop a relationship infrastructure to help us view our marriage as a partnership and learn to talk to one another and bring up difficult subjects in a way that won’t end up in a fight. Dr. Tessina offers insight, real-life scenarios, and practical solutions to the everyday challenges of married life. She says, “With a little information and practice, you can become a successful, happy couple. You’ll learn to understand why you and your partner argue and the remaining skills you need to enhance your relationship and transform your struggles into working together to create a smoothly working partnership. You’ll be able to resolve your issues about money, sex, and kids, and move on to having a workable, satisfying relationship, with minimal or no arguing or fighting.”
Dr. Tessina’s Words of Wisdom:
- “Part of marriage is teaching each other–you get to teach each other what works for you.”
- “If you develop partnership, your marriage is gonna work. If you develop an antagonistic relationship, then your marriage will struggle…and eventually you’ll probably get tired of the struggle.”
- “Think about your struggles as “problems to be solved” rather than who’s right and who’s wrong.”
- “Sex is supposed to be fun. It’s not supposed to be a drag.”