All Posts Tagged With: "author interview"

HERE, HOME, HOPE by Kaira Rouda

A Conversation with Kaira Rouda

Here-Home-Hope

HERE, HOME, HOPE

Though I have not (yet) met Kaira face-to-face, we’ve spent much time online and on the telephone sharing ideas and thoughts on her nonfiction book, REAL YOU INCORPORATED, and encouraging women to find our gifts and talents and share with the world…Now, I feel fortunate to be able to offer a space for Kaira to talk about her first novel, HERE, HOME, HOPE. It has been a dream for Kaira to get her novels published and I’m so excited that the opportunity has come to fruition and this new chapter has begun for her. Kaira is a gifted writer with an unstoppable entrepreneurial spirit, and simply a beautiful individual, inside and out. HERE, HOME, HOPE is an evident expression of her essence and is an inspiring, and entertaining, read. I recommend it, and Kaira, highly and wish her all and ONLY the Best.

Carrie:  What inspired you to write HERE, HOME, HOPE?
Kaira:
The inspiration for HERE, HOME, HOPE wasn’t one particular instance, it’s more of a continuation of the stories found in all of my novels. This is the first to be published, but hopefully, one of many. My novels have the same underlying theme: Women who have seemingly perfect lives, and what happens behind closed doors or when they are pushed to the breaking point. HERE, HOME, HOPE was influenced by the economy, specifically the complete and utter collapse of the housing market and its ramifications even throughout up-scale suburban communities, like the fictitious Grandville of the book.

Carrie:  In general, how does an idea for a book come to you ~ does it perk slowly in your mind or does it come in a flash?
Kaira:
My story ideas run around in my mind for quite some time before I start writing. Often, I have several different stories pulsing through and that gets to be confusing. But it’s fun.

Carrie:  Give us an idea of the plot of HERE, HOME, HOPE without giving too much away.
Kaira:
Kelly Mills Johnson is restless. An appetite for more forces her to take stock of her middling middle-American existence and her neighbors’ seemingly perfect lives. Her marriage to a
successful attorney has settled into a comfortable routine, and being the mother of two adorable sons has been rewarding. But Kelly’s own passions lie wasted. She eyes with envy the lives of her two best friends, Kathryn and Charlotte, both beautiful, successful businesswomen who seem to have it all. Kelly takes charge of her life, devising a midlife make-over plan. From page one, Kelly’s witty reflections, self-deprecating humor, and clever tactics in executing that plan—she places Post-it notes all over her house and car—will have readers laughing out loud. The next instant, however, they might rant right along with Kelly as her commitment to a sullen, anorexic teenager left on her doorstep tries her patience or as she deflects the boozy advances of a divorced neighbor. Readers will need to keep the tissue box handy, too, as Kelly repairs the damage she inflicted on a high school friend; realizes how deeply her husband, Patrick, understands and loves her; and ultimately grows into a woman empowered by her own blend of home and career. Kaira-Rouda-headshot

Carrie:  What is the primary message you’d like your readers to take away from HERE, HOME, HOPE?
Kaira:
If the grass looks greener ~ water your own.

Carrie:  What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
Kaira:
I really like the scenes with Melanie and Kelly – I hope they’re realistic. My house is filled with teenagers right now and it was really important for me to get their interactions right. My
daughter, who is Mel’s age in the book, read the manuscript to make sure I got her right.

Carrie:  What was the most difficult scene to write? Why?
Kaira:
I guess the toughest scenes for me to write are when my characters are suffering. So probably Kathryn leaving, Melanie’s low points, Kelly being attacked, Charlotte in pain.

Carrie:  Which character in HERE, HOME, HOPE, do you identify with the most in your book? How much of yourself did you put into these characters and did you realize you showed up in the book? If so, while you were writing or only afterwards upon review?
Kaira:
I think there is a piece of me in all of my female characters. Sometimes, it’s more obvious to my friends and family than other times. I really like Kelly. She snorts when she laughs – and I
do that!

Carrie:  What are you reading right now?
Kaira:
I am a voracious readers, so if I answer that question today, I’ll be reading something different tomorrow. I’ve been a huge fan of Susan Isaacs for as long as I can remember, and I like to
think of my books, my themes, as heavily influenced by her. If you looked around my office right now, you’d see a world of books.

Carrie: What authors, books, or ideas have influenced your writing?
Kaira:
My favorite author is F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby mesmerized me from the first time I read it.

Carrie:  What is your go-to book–that one you’ve read more than once, possibly over-and-over?
Kaira:
A Gift from the Sea.

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?
Kaira:
My husband and four kids are the most important part of my “real life.” Empowering women is another passion, or cause, in addition to writing.

Carrie:  Tell us something surprising about you and/or something very few people know about you.
Kaira:
My desk chair is an exercise ball.

Carrie:  What has been one of your biggest struggles and/or successes (professional/personal) and what have you learned from it?
Kaira:
Well, I don’t even know where to start with this. I’ve had a 25 year career in business, working for myself and others, so the struggles have been plenty. I write about many of those in my
nonfiction book, REAL YOU INCORPORATED: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs. On the personal side, I have been truly blessed.

Carrie:  Have you ever had a nickname? Tell us about it.
Kaira:
Spaz. Yep, it’s true, that was my high school nickname. I would say that it’s true, I’m enthusiastic. I’ve always believed a smile confuses an approaching frown.

Carrie:  Who is your biggest fan?
Kaira:
My husband.

Carrie:  What was the best advice you’ve ever received—do you follow it?
Kaira:
Write down your feelings. And yes, I do.

Carrie:  What is your favorite literary turn-of-phrase / quote / word picture?
Kaira:
It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.

Carrie:  What’s next for you ~ Anything else you’d like to offer?
Kaira:
If you like HERE, HOME, HOPE you’ll love IN THE MIRROR, coming next Spring.

Carrie:  How do readers get in touch with you?
Kaira:
Find me on Facebook at “Kaira Rouda Books;” on twitter: @KairaRouda; and on my website
www.KairaRouda.com where you’ll find additional information about the book, an excerpt and book club reading guide.

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THE OTHER LIFE, Ellen Meister

Other Life

A Conversation With
ELLEN MEISTER
Author of
THE OTHER LIFE

Carrie:  After The Smart One and Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA, THE OTHER LIFE is a real departure for you.  What inspired it?

Ellen: I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of escape. I guess that’s part of the job description for a fiction writer. I was thinking about that one day after my husband left for work and the children left for school. There I was, all by myself, waiting impatiently for my computer to boot up so I could lose myself in the world I had created, when I began to wonder what might happen if a wife and mother could use those magical hours alone to escape in a more literal sense. At once, I had the image of a portal right smack in the middle of the most domestic setting…an opening that would let the woman cross over to the life she would have had if she had chosen a very different path. The more I thought about this idea, the more excited I got. As details about my main character and her two lives emerged, a story began to form. But it wasn’t until it occurred to me that my protagonist’s mother was dead in one life and alive in the other that I knew I had a book.

Carrie:  THE OTHER LIFE is about returning to the road not taken and exploring the life unlived.  Have you ever longed to see what happened on the other road?

Ellen: Haven’t we all? I think that’s human nature, especially in times of extreme stress. We play the “if only” game, imagining what might have been. What if I hadn’t gotten married? What if we hadn’t bought this house? What if we never had a child? What if I had been there to prevent that accident/suicide/awful mistake? Of course, it’s easy to condemn this line of thinking as counterproductive, but I believe it’s a coping mechanism. There’s only so much grief and anxiety our minds can hold before we need a mental vacation.

Carrie:  In this story Nan makes the ultimate sacrifice for a child, in this case her daughter, Quinn, and her grandchildren.  Do you think that kind of love is instinctual or learned?

Ellen: I think we’re hardwired to make sacrifices for our children. It’s the basest human instinct, and it gets switched on like a spotlight when we have our first child. I guess scientists can explain the chemistry of it, but from a personal perspective, falling in love with my first child was the most dramatically transformative moment of my life. I was flooded with something that seemed to alter my DNA, restructuring every cell. I was no longer just Ellen, I was Max’s mom, and I knew from that moment on every decision I made in life would be informed by that simple fact.

Carrie:  With Nan and Quinn, you brilliantly capture the mother-daughter relationship and the bond that hovers between boundless love and bruising tension.  Did you draw from personal experience?

Ellen: Thanks for that compliment! I can honestly say that my own even-tempered mother is nothing like Nan, but I’ve always been fascinated by the wrenching emotional turmoil of family relationships. I’m not sure there’s anything more interesting—or more human—than the ways in which we are tested by love.

Carrie:  As her daughter straddles parallel universes, Nan wonders whether having an escape route will help Quinn manage life’s difficulties with more grace, or instead taunt her with a decision no one should ever have to make.  Is it a blessing or a curse…or something else? Ellen Meister

Ellen: I love this question, because I think it gets to the heart of the book, and I hope readers will explore this issue themselves. What if their life included a portal to what might have been? Would they welcome the possibility to cross from one life to another? Or do they think they would be tortured by the endlessness of the choices they could make?Ellen Meister

Carrie:  In musing about her mother, Quinn observes: “Sometimes we don’t just simply grow and change.  Sometimes life is so harsh and so dark, a part of us gets excised completely, leaving us permanently altered.” It happened to Nan, but what is it about Quinn that keeps her from the same fate?

Ellen: Quinn lives very much outside of herself. She’s introspective, sure, but she’s a giver and feels like her place in the world (or, in her case, worlds) is to take care of others. She’s so acutely aware of being needed that it’s very nearly impossible for her to make the kind of choice her mother did in her darkest hour. To Quinn, suicide is the ultimate act of selfishness.

Carrie:  THE OTHER LIFE probes the choices we make in life.  Do you think there’s a way to avoid the second-guessing that often accompanies them?

Ellen: No, and I don’t think we should. That constant reexamination of our motives and choices is how we learn and grow. It’s like what Socrates said about the unexamined life.

Carrie:  Grief comes in many forms in this novel.  Are there lessons here for those stuck in grief?

Ellen: Grief is such a bear and so very personal. So I don’t know if there are any lessons here, but perhaps some comfort in taking the journey with someone finding her way through it.

Carrie:  THE OTHER LIFE has been called “the thinking woman’s beach read” (NY Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson), making it perfect for a book club selection.  What feedback do you get from book clubs?

Ellen: From my experience, book clubs enjoy novels with fresh writing, complex characters and enough emotional resonance to leave readers with questions that feel very personal. Naturally, I hope THE OTHER LIFE is all those things … and I’m thrilled that the early feedback I’m getting from beta readers suggests that it is!

Carrie:  What genres (or authors) do you like to read?  Why?

Ellen: I don’t limit myself to any particular genre, but I’m definitely drawn to character-driven stories that take a hard look at human relationships. So a survey of my book shelf would probably reveal more literary and women’s fiction than anything else.

Carrie:  Modern women yearn for balance between work and family.  As a writer and mother of three, do you have any advice for them?

Ellen: For me, it’s a matter of priorities that boils down to a simple equation:  Family = first; Work = second; Housework = dead last.

Click HERE to listen to Ellen’s NPR interview

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SOMETIMES MINE, Martha Moody

Sometimes mineCarrie’s Conversation with Martha Moody

Carrie:  What inspired you to write SOMETIMES MINE?
Martha:
The germ of the story came from a book group discussion about my first novel, BEST FRIENDS.  Some women in the group were very distressed that the narrator, Clare, has an affair with her ex-husband.  There are a lot of bad things done by characters in that novel, and I was impressed at the particular anger Clare’s actions evoked.  I’m a physician, and I knew that two of my female patients were involved for years with married men.  I didn’t see these patients as evil, but as sad and isolated.  I thought, “Hmm, it would be a challenge to write about a mistress from her point of view.”

I also wanted to write about work.  Genie, the narrator of Sometimes Mine, is a cardiologist and her lover, Mick, is a college basketball coach.  Each of them is excellent at what they do, and each is defined and to some extent hidden by their role.  Their mutual appreciation of their distinctive work and talents helps bond them.  I’ve always liked this quote from the Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer:  “With his work, as with a glove, a man feels the universe.”

The third impetus for the novel was a story my social work mother told me when I was a teenager, in the early 70’s.  One of her clients was a “maiden lady” who had lived all her life with another woman.  When the client’s friend got ill and then died, the client was treated by her friend’s family not as a spouse or grieving widow, but as a simple housemate.  This really magnified her loss.  That story haunted me for years as an example of the power of society’s norms.  In the book, when Mick moves into the realm of the sick, Genie has no defined role.

Carrie:  In general, how does an idea for a book come to you–Does it perk slowly in your mind or does it come in a flash?
Martha:
I’m a slow perker.

Carrie:  Give us an idea of the plot of SOMETIMES MINE without giving too much away.
Martha:
SOMETIMES MINE is the story of a long-term affair of a divorced female cardiologist, Genie Toledo, and a married college basketball coach, Mick Crabbe. It tells what happens when Mick gets seriously ill and Genie is forced to confront both Mick’s family and her own illusions.

Carrie:  What is the primary message you’d like your readers to take away from SOMETIMES MINE?
Martha:
SOMETIMES MINE is a love triangle between three very imperfect people.  You’d expect things to turn out badly, but in an odd way each person becomes heroic.  I’d like to think of the novel as a plea for accepting the complexity of people’s feelings and lives, and the surprising connections through which a person can gain strength.

Carrie:  What is your favorite scene in SOMETIMES MINE? Why?

EASY ON THE EYES, Jane Porter

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EASY

Easy on the Eyes (from Jane’s Website)
At 38, Tiana Tomlinson has made it. America adores her as one of the anchors of America Tonight, a top-rated nightly entertainment and news program. But even with the trappings that come with her elite lifestyle, she feels empty. Tiana desperately misses her late husband Keith, who died several years before. And in a business that thrives on youth, Tiana is getting the message that her age is starting to show and certain measures must be taken if she wants to remain in the spotlight. It doesn’t help that at every turn she has to deal with her adversary—the devilishly handsome, plastic surgeon to the stars, Michael O’Sullivan. But a trip away from the Hollywood madness has consequences that could affect the rest of her life.

About Jane (from Jane’s Website)
Born in Visalia, California, I’m a small town girl at heart. I love central California’s golden foothills, oak trees, and the miles of farmland. In my mind, there’s nothing sweeter in the world than the heady fragrance of orange blossoms on a sultry summer night. As a little girl I spent hours on my bed, staring out the window, dreaming of far off places, fearless knights, and happy-ever-after endings. In my imagination I was never the geeky bookworm with the thick coke-bottle glasses, but a princess, a magical fairy, a Joan-of-Arc crusader. My parents fed my imagination by taking our family to Europe for a year when I was thirteen. The year away changed me (I wasn’t a geek for once!) and overseas I discovered a huge and wonderful world with different cultures and customs. I loved everything about Europe, but felt especially passionate about Italy and those gorgeous Italian men (no wonder my very first Presents hero was Italian). I confess, after that incredible year in Europe, the travel bug bit, and bit hard. I spent much of my high school and college years abroad, studying in South Africa, Japan and Ireland. South Africa remains a country of my heart, the people, the land and politics complex and heart-wrenching. After my years of traveling and studying I had to settle down and earn a living. With my Bachelors degree from UCLA in American Studies, a program that combines American literature and American history, I’ve worked in sales and marketing, as well as a director of a non-profit foundation. Later I earned my Masters in Writing from the University of San Francisco and taught jr. high and high school English. I now live in rugged Seattle, Washington with my two young sons. I never mind a rainy day, either, because that’s when I sit at my desk and write stories about far-away places, fascinating people, and most importantly of all, love. I like a story with a happy ending. We all do.

Change of Heart, Jodi Picoult

Handle

Synopsis of CHANGE OF HEART from Jodi’s website:
When Charlotte and Sean O’Keefe’s daughter, Willow, is born with severe osteogenesis imperfecta, they are devastated – she will suffer hundreds of broken bones as she grows, a lifetime of pain. As the family struggles to make ends meet to cover Willow’s medical expenses, Charlotte thinks she has found an answer. If she files a wrongful birth lawsuit against her ob/gyn for not telling her in advance that her child would be born severely disabled, the monetary payouts might ensure a lifetime of care for Willow. But it means that Charlotte has to get up in a court of law and say in public that she would have terminated the pregnancy if she’d known about the disability in advance – words that her husband can’t abide, that Willow will hear, and that Charlotte cannot reconcile. And the ob/gyn she’s suing isn’t just her physician – it’s her best friend.

HANDLE WITH CARE explores the knotty tangle of medical ethics and personal morality. When faced with the reality of a fetus who will be disabled, at which point should an OB counsel termination? Should a parent have the right to make that choice? How disabled is TOO disabled? And as a parent, how far would you go to take care of someone you love? Would you alienate the rest of your family? Would you be willing to lie to your friends, to your spouse, to a court? And perhaps most difficult of all – would you admit to yourself that you might not actually be lying?

Part of a Conversation with Jodi Picoult from Jodi’s website:

The characters in your books are always layered and complex, as are the issues that plague them. How do you create a character like Charlotte that readers can love and hate at the same time?
Well, for me, it’s a lot harder to create a flat character who’s either all villain or all hero. Most of us are a combination, aren’t we? Charlotte’s the best kind of character – one who is doing something that looks unpalatable, but for all the right reasons. In this way she reminds me a bit of Nina Frost from PERFECT MATCH. You want to hate her – but can you really say that if it were you, you wouldn’t at least think about doing the same thing she does? Charlotte’s tragic flaw, in my opinion, is that she is so single-minded in her pursuit of making Willow’s life easier that she neglects the rest of her support system – her friends, and her family.

How did you choose the recipes that appear throughout the book? Do you believe in the significance they hold for Charlotte? Are you a baker yourself?Jodi
Before I got married, I was lucky enough to have a roommate who became one of my best friends. Now, Katie works at the Smithsonian organizing special events – but prior to that, she went to culinary school. When I knew that I wanted Charlotte to be a baker, I turned to her and asked for help. Charlotte, as a baker, would believe that the sum of the ingredients is so much more than its parts – this is true for her when it comes to Willow, too, who is so much more than a litany of moments where she broke a bone or had a surgery or was sidelined to recuperate. I do bake (too much, if you ask my husband, who is constantly cursing me for a pan of brownies cooling on the stove that he is compelled to eat) – and often I have been struck by the metaphorical language of baking. I wanted Charlotte’s cookbook to be a collection of these terms, with accompanying recipes. So one day I emailed Katie a list – words like weeping, hardball, blind baking – and asked her to create recipes that might involve each term. I have to admit, that rarely is my fact checking process so delicious…I got to bake, and road test, every recipe in the book.

During the course of the trial, Amelia develops an eating disorder and starts cutting herself. Did you see this as the natural progression for her character? Were these types of behavior in siblings of disabled children something you found to be common while conducting your research?
While doing research with a child psychiatrist about adolescent bulimics I learned that cutting is very common for those girls. Apparently, bulimia involves a lot of self-hatred…and cutting figures into that. Siblings of disabled children aren’t always like Amelia, thank goodness – I’d hope that their families do a better job of including them than the O’Keefes do. For Amelia, having a sibling with a disability is compounded by the fact that she feels she’s failed her sister (in Disneyworld, for example) and that there are very high stakes in that household for being a child who isn’t perfect (which would be Amelia’s interpretation of her mother’s lawsuit).

You’ve said before that you know how a book will end before you write the first word. Was this also true for Handle with Care? Do you ever change your mind about an ending as you get deeper into the story?
I do know the ending before I write a single word, and I did here too. I will tell you that I think Handle With Care is the saddest book I’ve written – and coming from me, that’s pretty dire! I never wavered on the ending, however, because there’s a bit of a morality lesson in there as well – it’s a real “Be careful what you wish for” moment.

  • For More Click HERE to visit Jodi’s website

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The Adversity Paradox, J. Barry Griswell and Bob Jennings

Adversity

“Fascinating insights into the ways that successful people have not only overcome adversity but made a friend and ally out of it. This book offers readers a great opportunity to consider how they will emerge from the major challenges we face individually and as a society. Griswell and Jennings have a deep understanding of the experiences of success arising from adversity, and their observations are unique and encouraging to us all.” David J. Skorton, President, Cornell University

“As Griswell and Jennings point out, there really is no substitute for hard work.  We have to build endurance of character the same way we build endurance of speed or strength, and it always pays off.” Wayne Gretzky, NHL Hall of Fame Player, Businessman, and Coach

Carrie: How did you become interested in writing a book on dealing with adversity?

Bob: A little context is in order to give you the full answer.  Barry and I come from extremely different backgrounds. Barry is from Atlanta and I am from Des Moines. He comes from a really tough background where money was extremely tight; I’m from a middle-class family.  He received his undergrad from Berry College in Rome, GA and his master’s from Stetson University in Florida. I have an engineering degree from Iowa State and received my master’s from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Out of college he went into financial services, I went into construction sales.

Over a number of years we each moved our families numerous times, Barry in the south and eastern US and me to South America, Texas, and the West Coast. We first crossed paths about 18 years ago when we relocated to Des Moines while pursuing our careers.  We, along with our spouses, became close friends socially and playing competitive tennis together, but there was no real business connection other than we were each leading and growing sales organizations for world-class companies—Barry for  Principal Financial Group and me for EFCO, companies we both would eventually lead. From time to time we would compare notes, things like compensation and benefits, employee training, and sales methods.

Given that we were each growing sales organizations there became one area that was extremely important to us and that was employee and agent recruitment, selection and retention. We talked about this on a number of occasions, and we noticed an interesting thing: if there was one marker that we felt would predict a person’s ability to be successful in our organizations, it was a demonstrated ability to overcome adversity.  Our own backgrounds and career experiences, different as they were, supported our observation. Even though Barry and I would not compare notes again on this subject for more than ten years, we each employed it in our respective company’s methods for locating and bringing along those with this all-important identification marker.

Now fast forward to the year 2003, when my co-author was inducted into the Horatio Alger Association, which recognizes and honors people who’ve come from humble beginnings and gone on to great success. The Association inducts ten new members a year and includes the likes of Buzz Aldrin, Craig Barrett of Intel, George Foreman, Bob Hope, Wayne Huizenga, Colin Powell, President Ronald Reagan, Howard Schultz of Starbucks, and Oprah Winfrey. The marker of overcoming adversity was once again in front of us, and we heard some very incredible stories.

Now, having so much affirmation of what we had thought and felt for many years, we decided to research and document in a book how the experiential learning gained from overcoming life’s worst experiences could catapult an individual to incredible success.

Rooftops of Tehran, Mahbod Seraji

Listen NowROOFTOPS

Come along as Mahbod Seraji leads us on a familiar coming-of-age journey in a distant land threatened with revolution. At times, humorous, at others, heart-wrenching. Open your experience to the universal truths of Middle Eastern culture and see the world–your world–a little differently ~ You’re bound to recognize your brother, your parents, your friend in those once nameless faces and consider ROOFTOP’s poignant message of love, courage, grief, and hope.

ROOFTOPS OF TEHRAN Book Description from Mahbod’s Website:
This stunning literary debut paints a vivid portrait of growing up, discovering love, and awakening to the reality of life in a nation on the verge of revolution in the 1970s.  Rooftops of Tehran opens in a middle-class neighborhood in Iran’s sprawling capital city. The rooftop of the narrator’s house – the tallest in their alley – is the perfect spot for sleeping on hot summer nights. It’s also the perfect location for stargazing, sneaking cigarettes, talking about American movies, and confiding, analyzing and agonizing through the typical trials of being a seventeen year-old boy, including being in love. This is the spot from which the narrator quietly watches his secret love, his beautiful next door neighbor Zari, promised since birth to his friend and mentor, nicknamed Doctor, a man adored and respected by the whole neighborhood.  It is from this high perch that the narrator witnesses the SAVAK’s brutal hunt and arrest of Doctor and realizes the oppressiveness of the regime under which he resides.  And the rooftop is where the narrator and Zari ultimately find quiet refuge in each other after the shock of Doctor’s senseless faith ripples through their close-knit community and brings about terrible, unexpected repercussions. With the candor only an Iranian can offer, Seraji’s narrative bares the enduring struggle between beauty and brutality infused into the centuries-old Persian culture while reaffirming the human experiences we all share: contentment, terror, love, helplessness, ferocity, and hope.

“On the Plane with Annette Bening” Blog Excerpt (I’m glad I got to read the rest of it after speaking with Mahbod–don’t miss the “Continue Reading” message at the bottom):
…Wow!  Annette Bening in Iran, I thought to myself.  I looked up and suddenly noticed a cheerful, beautiful, blond lady walking toward the snack bar, happy, carefree and relaxed, talking to the person who was walking along side of her, smiling, moving her arms—great energy for someone who like me must have woken up in the wee hours of the morning to make the damn flight!  Wow, the Academy Award wining Annette Bening and Alfre Woodard, one of the most underrated actors of all time!  Both their pictures were in the paper in front of me.  The ladies checked out the meager snack bar counter, and settled for a cup of coffee.  I have to admit, I felt a little giddy being in the same room with an Oscar winning actor, but I decided to rise above my giddiness and pretend like I hadn’t noticed her.  I buried my head back in the paper.  For more
CLICK HERE

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THIRD WISH, Robert Fulghum (Author of All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten)

Listen Now“It’s a love story, but in a much larger sense it’s about loving lifethird wish
and wanting as much of it as you can have,”
says Robert about THIRD WISH

Written over a period of ten years, Third Wish is an epic novel that is above all – a love story – not in the usual sense, but the story of people who love life and go to great lengths to live it in a flourishing way. In fairy tales, the third wish is the last one left when the first wish was foolish, and the second wish was used to undo the first. Now the remaining wish must be used wisely and well – with the help of co-conspirators. The story threads its way through Greece, Japan, France, England, Spain and Seattle. Woven into the fabric is cultural history, art, philosophy, archeology, poetry, theater and music. The mode of the novel is contained in these three words: SLOWLY, SURPRISE, WITNESS. The two-volume set is divided into five parts and includes over 150 illustrations by three accomplished artists.Come experience THIRD WISH and don’t forget to listen to the companion music!

ROBERT FULGHUM INTERVIEWS ROBERT FULGHUM
(from his website)

Robert: Well, Mr. Fulghum, what’s new? robert fulghum
Robert: I’ll answer with a joke. An old geezer is sitting in the confessional booth of a Roman Catholic Church. The priest is surprised. He’s seen the man in the neighborhood, but he’s not a member of the parish. “What can I do for you?” asks the priest. Exuberantly the old man blurts out, “I’m eighty today and I’m in love with a beautiful 25 year old woman who spent the night with me. And she’s moving in to live with me.” The priest replies: “Aren’t you Jewish?” “Yes,” says the old man. “So why are you telling me?” The old man shouts, “I’m telling EVERBODY!”

Robert: Crude, but I get the point. You’re excited about . . . ?
Robert:
The publication in English of my novel, Third Wish. At last. Something I was beginning to think would never happen. (Hence the joke.)

Robert: But wasn’t Third Wish published first in Czech – several years ago?
Robert:
Yes. And that’s a lovely story you’ll find elsewhere in this revised website (Third Wish – Czech Edition). But having it published in English was my great hope. I’m telling EVERYBODY!

Robert: Keep going . . .
Robert: So the next day, the same priest finds the same old man sitting on a park bench, holding his face in his hands. The priest walks up and says, “I thought you were very happy.” “I was,” whispers the old man. “Weren’t you telling me you had a beautiful young girl friend who moved in with you?” “It’s true,” whispered the old man, “she’s at my house now.” “Then what’s wrong?” The old man looked up, tears streaming down his face, and said, “I don’t remember where I live.” MORE

  • Robert’s wonderful blog post on the Emergency Meeting of the Security Council ,p>
  • Robert’s Other Books, including All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten and It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It
  • Robert’s Favorite Author: Chaucer
  • Robert loves reading so much, he spent $9,000 on books last year! That’s NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS!! Wow!
  • Robert’s next book: IF YOU LOVE ME STILL, WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME MOVING? Tales from the Century Ball Room
  • Play Fulghum’s game to get to know people better:  Left, Right, Surprise!! Share and find out things about one another you’d never think to ask…and you’ll be amazed what you never knew you never knew!
  • Visit Robert Fulghum’s Website:

Enter to Win a FREE PERSONIZED copy of THIRD WISH:

  • Subscribe to the Words To Mouth e-newsletter

  • Leave a Comment Below about YOUR third wish

  • Call 206-309-7318 and leave a voice mail message I can play on-air

  • U.S. & Canada residents only; No P.O. Boxes, please

  • Deadline: May 15th, 2009 ~ midnight, EST

Murder at the Bad Girl’s Bar and Grill, by N.M. Kelby (audio author interview)

Listen Now

A bit about N.M. (“Nicole”) Kelly:
N.M. Kelby is the author of Murder at the Bad Girl’s Bar and Grill, Whale Season, In the Company of Angels, and Theater of the Stars. Named “Outstanding Southern Artist” by The Southern Arts Federation, her work has been translated into several languages and offered by The Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, and Quality Paperback Book Club. Nicole is working on the film version of Whale Season along with Actor/Singer Dwight Yoakam.

Murder at the Bad Girl’s Bar and Grill:
Laguna Key is a typical South Florida beachfront retirement community, mired in a swamp. It has everything you need including vultures, bats, the rumor of a resident Skunk Ape, and an authentic tiki bar with a Barry Manilow tribute artist. But, unfortunately, no golf. When a body is found in the dumpster near the Bad Girl’s Bar and Grill, the town’s secrets start to unravel. Who’s the killer? Is it Whit, Laguna Key’s loopy millionaire developer? The righteous, yet befuddled, president of the town’s Chamber of Commerce? Or the saxophone-playing stranger who lurks in the mangrove swamp? Helping to solve the mystery are a quartet of unlikely investigators: the community’s only cop, a beach boy (on many levels of the term) who flunked out of the F.B.I.; MacBeth’s last living relative, a charismatic kilt-wearing clown who runs the Rose and Puppet Circus; the Developer’s beautiful daughter, left blind after a scuba accident; and the glamorous owner of the Bad Girl’s Bar and Grill, “The Queen of Scream,” who once starred in a string of horror films. As they hunt for the killer, they have their own misadventures, including run-ins with the law, thwarted kidnappings, and stirrings of love.

Quick & Wordy? Yeah, right…sometimes the best intentions turn out differently from our initial expectations—that’s why I try hard not to have too many—expectations, that is. After I recorded the “Quick & Wordy” intro, I started speaking with Nicole and I wasn’t about to cut her off, based on some pre-conceived time limit ~ She’s lovely and so eager to share about the writing craft and her life, so sit back and enjoy.

The book was inspired by a number of nameless homeless men who were found murdered in Sarasota and “no one seemed to care,” according to Nicole. She Googled “Homeless Guy” and suggests checking out Kevin Barbieux’s blog site, The Homeless Guy—He chronicles homelessness in America.

Nicole Says:Nmkelby

  • “I think that life can be a morbid adventure and we all need to be reminded to laugh and take a moment to look at the beauty that is around us.”
  • “Being mentored saved my life,”…listen in to find out how Nicole turned pain positive.
  • “What a gracious man,” Nicole says of Carl Hiaasen. She says what she learned from this writing mentor was “It’s not just about the craft, but how to live in the craft.”
  • “Everything I write, I write with a broken heart,” says Nicole referring to the death of her daughter Hannah. “It’s [writing] hysterical, but it has weight to it.”
  • “I think when you write a book you begin a conversation with the world…and you just can’t walk out,” says Nicole about her relationship with her readers.

Please be sure to check out the previous written Words To Mouth interview and Nicole’s website.

Don’t be held hostage to your computer ~ subscribe on iTunes to get Words To Mouth delivered to your computer for free, then download to your preferred MP3 player & listen wherever and whenever you want ~ See link above my photo.

I’ve got one more copy of Murder at The Bad Girl’s Bar & Grill ~ Leave a comment below or call 206–309–7318 and leave a voice mail message to be entered to win!

As always, “Thanks” to Natalie Brown for her song You Gotta Believe from the Podsafe Music Network.

Enter to Win FREE copy of Legacy (Anna Strong series) by Jeanne Stein / Patricia’s Vampire Notes Blog & Learn “What is Urban Fantasy”

Crazy Day:

Today is a busy day. I’m interviewing Charla Muller, author of 365 Nights: A Memoir of Intimacy and later I’ve been asked to be a guest on Mel Robbins, Make It Happen radio show at 2:30 pm ~ Come listen in! I can’t even tell you how appreciative I am of this opportunity.

What does that mean for you? Well, though I have picked the book winner names, I won’t have them to you bright and early this morning…I’ll do my best to post an announcement by the end of the day/early tomorrow morning.

In the meantime . . .

SteinCheck out Patricia Altner’s post on Urban Fantasy (‘UF’).  Jeanne provides a great description, if you ever wondered, “What the heck is the urban fantasy genre, anyway?” and offers you a chance to win a free copy of Jeanne Stein’s latest release, Legacy.

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  • About WordstoMouth

    Carrie created Words-to-Mouth—a blog & companion Internet talk show introducing new book releases and their authors to a community interested in excellent writing that may not  necessarily top the New York Times Bestseller List—Yet! To learn more about Carrie, click here