All Posts Tagged With: "novel"

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.

To enter to win a free copy of HERE, HOME, HOPE:

Leave a Comment below sharing your own story of HOPE

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Deadline: May 30TH, 2010 ~ midnight, EST

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

  • To enter to win a free copy of THE OTHER LIFE:
    Leave a Comment below about the “other life” you’ve always wondered about
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    Deadline: May 15th, 2011 ~ Midnight, EST

BROKEN BIRDS; The Story of my Momila, Jeannette Katzir

A Conversation with Jeannette Katzir

Broken bird cover

Carrie:  What inspired you to write BROKEN BIRDS?
Jeannette:
I began to jot down notes one year before my mother ended up dying, then when she had her stroke and died the after math was so painful that I had to write.  I wrote day and night to vent, then re-wrote and re-wrote.  Because it was a memoir, I wasn’t able to finish the book until all the mess around me ended.

Carrie:  What is your favorite scene in BROKEN BIRDS?
Jeannette:
It would have to be when my mother, a survivor of the Holocaust meets the supposed upper-crust of New Jersey.  I called my parents the Hillbillies after the show Beverly Hillbillies (because they weren’t poor, but knew no better) and the in-laws they had come to dine with the Drysdales.  Never has there been such a mismatch of personalities.  The scene in the restaurant made me laugh out loud . . . and I wrote it.

SEA ESCAPE, Lynne Griffin

SEA ESCAPE

Carrie’s Conversation with Lynne Griffin, Author of SEA ESCAPE

Carrie:  Without giving too much away, give us an idea about what SEA ESCAPE is about.

Lynne: SEA ESCAPE is a story inspired by my parents love letters; it’s about the ties that bind mothers and daughters. Laura Martinez is wedged in the middle place, grappling with her busy life as a nurse, wife, and devoted mom to Henry and Claire, when her estranged mother, Helen, suffers a devastating stroke. In a desperate attempt to lure her mother into choosing life, Laura goes to Sea Escape, the pristine beach home that Helen took refuge in when her carefully crafted life unraveled years ago, after the death of her beloved husband. Believing the beauty and sway of her father’s words have the power to heal, Laura reads the letters bedside to her mother–a woman who once spoke the language of fabric; of Peony Sky in Jade and Paradise Garden Sage–but who can’t or won’t speak to her now. As Laura delves deeper into her tangled family history, each letter revealing patchwork details of her parents’ marriage, she finds a common thread. A secret, mother and daughter unknowingly share.

Carrie:  What inspired you to write SEA ESCAPE?

Lynne: After my own mother passed away in 2000, I found love letters written to her by my father.  As I read,  I went so far as to imagine excerpts of my father’s beautiful writing shining within a novel I might someday write.  In those musings, SEA ESCAPE was born. The letters were then and are now a treasure. The love captured within, pure and sincere.  Yet to my storyteller’s heart, reading them then, I couldn’t help but think–not enough conflict, no secrets, no dramatic reveal. Certainly I didn’t want those things to come by way of my parents, but  right then I started imagining a different story belong to a different daughter. That story is SEA ESCAPE.

Carrie:  Is there an underlying theme of SEA ESCAPE?

Lynne: I’ve been a family life expert for more than twenty years, and there’s so much about my work counseling parents, observing children, and teaching educators about families that I use in writing fiction.  My desire to capture family life in authentic ways feeds the themes of all my novels.  There’s no shortage of seeds from my work that I use to inform my writing. Anton Chekhov called them little particulars. Right there in my everyday life are organic details that give genuineness to the stories I create. I’ve had my own grief work to do over the years; I lost my father when I was fifteen and my mother when I was forty.  As a professional who’s taught classes and counseled parents and children about healthy grieving, I’ve always been struck by the choices people make related to the loss of a loved one—the healthy and unhealthy ways grief work gets done.  So I write about the choices people make when faced with unbelievable pain. What really holds a marriage together when it’s tested. I examine the impact of loss on all kinds of relationships—mother, brother, sister, daughter, friend.  If they start off strong—or don’t—what happens? Why do some people thrive after a loss, finding true purpose, while others don’t come out of it stronger?

Carrie:  Which character do you identify with the most in SEA ESCAPE? How much of yourself did you put into these characters and did you realize you showed up in SEA ESCAPE? If so, while you were writing or only afterwards upon review?

Lynne: I truly care about all my characters—in all their shades of humanity—yet the one I love the most is Helen.  Like my own mother did, Helen struggles with what’s called prolonged grief disorder, a specific kind of depression brought on by loss.  For some, grief refuses to follow the typical trajectory toward healing.  In my years as a grief counselor, I’ve met countless people who simply can not move through the grieving process.   I empathize with Helen, stuck in the past, gripped by the pain of loss.  I have enormous compassion for her because of what my mother experienced after the death of my father.  For this reason, SEA ESCAPE is a deeply personal and emotional novel for me.  Helen is a character I will be forever connected to.

Carrie:  What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about writing fiction?

Lynne: Close the door on the marketplace while you write. Writing to trends–trying to guess what readers want–isn’t for me. I feel an obligation to write for the story, to let the characters tell me about their lives. I believe if my story and characters are authentic, the novel will find its audience.

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?Lynne griffin

Lynne: I live in a seaside town much like Anaskaket depicted in SEA ESCAPE.  I’m married to the most supportive husband a woman could have, and we have two college age children; a daughter studying vocal performance and music education, and a son studying jazz piano and music sound recording.  My family provides me  my greatest joy in life—and there’s a lot of music in my life too.  My husband and children support, encourage, and ground me in unbelievable ways. I am very blessed.  If I’m not spending time with them, or writing, I’m reading. The to-be-read piles of books in my home are an embarrassment of riches.

Carrie:  What authors, books, or ideas have influenced your writing?

Lynne: Everything I read influences my work.  If a novel isn’t working for me, I try to analyze from a craft perspective, why that’s the case. And if I love it, the same applies.  I want to know how and why it sings. There are so many novels on my keeper shelf, books I dip in to, to be inspired. Wally Lamb’s, The Hour I First Believed; Margot Livesey’s, Eva Moves the Furniture; Nicole Krauss’s, The History of Love.  I love everything by Ann Patchett, Sue Miller, and Jonathan Safran Foer. Novels I’ve recently read and adored include Day for Night by Frederick Reiken, and Little Bee by Chris Cleave.

Just a Bit More About Lynne Griffin:

Lynne Griffin writes about family life. She is the author of, Sea Escape-A novel (Simon & Schuster, July 2010) Life Without Summer-A novel (St. Martin’s Press, 2009), and the nonfiction parenting title, Negotiation Generation (Penguin, 2007). Lynne teaches family studies at the graduate level and writing at Grub Street Writers in Boston.  She appears regularly on Boston’s Fox Morning News talking about family life issues.  Lynne writes for the blog, Family Life Stories.

**Click HERE to visit Lynne’s website

SEA ESCAPE Excerpt ~ Chapter 1

Letters are windows casting light, illuminating the ties between two people. I could’ve sneaked a peek inside my parents’ romance by reading his letters to her, but I respected my mother’s love of curtains. At forty-five, the details of their marriage remained a mystery to me; I had no desire to confirm what I already knew. Even dead, she loved him more than me. My mother spent her days drenched in memories of safe arms and sweet music, reading his precious words, faded ink on yellowed stationery. I looked for ghosts around corners, certain I was running out of time to find a way to be enough for her. An inability to live in the present was one thing we had in common.

“Are you okay in there, Mother?” Well aware she startled at loud noises, I knocked lightly on the door nearest the driveway. No answer. By the fourth rap, I couldn’t stop myself, I was pounding.

The first pinprick of worry jabbed me as I wondered if this was the day I’d find my mother dead in her double bed, cold, even though she was covered by her wedding quilt of interlocking green and pink floral circles. Juggling two grocery bags and reminding the kids to stop at the end of the boardwalk leading to Anaskaket Beach, I jiggled the lock, but she’d bolted and double-bolted the place as if Sea Escape sat on a main street in the city instead of on waterfront acreage south of Boston.

To Enter to Win a FREE Copy of SEA ESCAPE:

  • Leave a Comment Below ~ We’d love to hear about one of your favorite memories about your parents/family
  • U.S. & Canada residents only; No P.O. Boxes, please
  • Deadline: August 1st, 2010 ~ Midnight, EST

What are you reading right now? Hachette has your next book!

If you’re searching for the next best book, why not enter to win FOUR?!

Our friends at Hachette Book Group are offering the following four books. Enter to win, simply by leaving a comment below sharing your favorite book of all time, why it’s your favorite, and how it touched your life. We want to hear from you!

  1. How to Be a Hepburn in a Hilton World: The Art of Living with Style, Class, and Grace By Jordan Christy
  2. The Love Revolution By Joyce Meyer
  3. Role of a Lifetime: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Significant Living By James Brown , Nathan Whitaker , Tony Dungy
  4. Loved: Stories of Forgiveness By Rebecca St. James

Contest Guidelines:

  • Deadline-October15th, 2009, midnight, EDT
  • Canada & US Residents Only: No P.O. Boxes please
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Summer on Blossom Street, Under Her Skin, Flowers on Main (Debbie Macomber, Susan Mallery, Sherryl Woods)

THREE GREAT SPRING PICKS!!

Summer on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

SUMMER ON BLOSSOM STREET (Debbie Macomber) When she opened her knitting store, A Good Yarn on Seattle’s Blossom Street, cancer survivor Lydia Goetz couldn’t have imagined the ways in which it would alter her life.  A Good Yarn offered the recovered cancer patient her first real chance at life, and ultimately led to love and marriage.  Moreover, the knitting classes held at her shop have always seemed to work restorative magic on others, too.  So, after she notices that her friend Alix Turner is still smoking cigarettes, Lydia decides she’ll organize the “knit to quit” class. The skilled baker at Blossom Street’s popular French Café, Alix has been trying to give up smoking and is angry at herself for starting again.  She’s cut down to five cigarettes a day, but can’t seem to kick the habit altogether.  And she’ll have to if she wants to get pregnant, as she and her husband plan.  Deep inside, she knows her inability to stop smoking is an avoidance mechanism so she won’t have to confront her fears about motherhood.  And who can blame her?  After all, her own mother was a terrible parent with absolutely no maternal instincts.  What if Alix is a chip off the old block? Says Debbie, “Knitting can be a great way to keep yourself honest when giving up a habit you want to kick, cigarettes in particular.  It’s not easy to manipulate two needles and a bunch of yarn while smoking a cigarette.  It’s a real win-win to me.”  For More Click HERE

Under Her Skin by Susan Mallery

UNDER HER SKIN (Susan Mallery) The first novel in the author’s new Lone Star Sisters series, a brand-new family saga featuring three sisters from the wealthy, dysfunctional Titan family who face the challenges of finding their way in their chosen careers, dealing with their distant and powerful father and handling the romantic relationships that may mean future happiness – or disaster.  UNDER HER SKIN is Lexi’s story. Her day-spa business is doing well – until her secret investor decides to call his $2 million loan on three weeks’ notice.  Lexi’s only hope is the bad boy who dumped her years before after a one-night stand.  Now a successful businessman in the perfect position to help her out, his terms for repayment of the debt are not what Lexi expected.  To repay the debt, she’ll have to risk her heart one more time and she’s not sure she will come out unscathed. Phoebe Rylander isn’t trying to give up something, but rather someone—specifically, her ex-fiancé, Clark Snowden.  The first time Clark was arrested for soliciting a prostitute, Phoebe was devastated and brokenhearted but eventually forgave him when he swore it was a one-time mistake.  But now, after being picked up on the same charge again, she’s determined to make a clean break.  The problem is that Clark’s so persistent and she’s afraid her resolve might weaken.  After all, as disillusioned and humiliated as she may be, she still loves him.  She needs a distraction to keep her from taking him back. For More Click HERE

Flowers on Main by Sherryl Woods

FLOWERS ON MAIN (Sherryl Woods) The second book in the trilogy that began with THE INN AT EAGLE POINT and continues in June with HARBOR LIGHTS. As a child, growing up in Arlington, Virginia, Sherry developed a strong love for the Chesapeake area.  As an adult, living in Colonial Beach, she continues to revere her home and the feeling comes through in the strong sense of place that imbues the books. The author’s concern for the environment and the protection of the Chesapeake Bay way of life are a continuing theme that underlies the warm and moving story of three women. The three O’Brien sisters have grown up in the beautiful, planned community of Chesapeake Shores, a fictitious town built by their father and uncles. FLOWERS ON MAIN is Bree’s story.  When her last two plays are dismal failures and her relationship with her temperamental mentor falls apart, the fledgling playwright abandons Chicago and the regional theater where she hoped to make a name for herself.  Back home, she opens a flower shop, Flowers on Main.  Engaged in a new occupation that allows her to utilize the skills learned from her grandmother, she is looking a new kind of fulfillment.  But all is not peaceful and serene in Chesapeake Shores, with Bree’s estranged mother on the scene and her ex-lover on the warpath. For More Click HERE

To Enter to Win ALL three Books:

  • Subscribe to the Words To Mouth e-newsletter (how winners announced)
  • Leave a Comment Below Sharing:
    • If you’ve read any of the authors’ past releases & which ones, and
    • WHY you want to read these books, or
    • WHY someone else should give these authors’s works a try
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  • Deadline: June 15th, 2009 ~ midnight, EDT

The Second Opinion, Michael Palmer (Asperger’s)

Listen Now

TheSecondOpinion

THE SECOND OPINION
“Question Everything”

Dr. Thea Sperelakis, diagnosed as a teen with Asperger’s syndrome, has always been an outsider. She has a brilliant medical mind, and a remarkable recall of details, but her difficulty in dealing with hidden agendas and interpersonal conflicts have led her to leave the complex, money-driven dynamics of the hospital, and to embrace working with the poor, embattled  patients of Doctors Without Borders. Her father, Petros, is one of the most celebrated internal medicine specialists in the world, and the founder of the cutting-edge Sperelakis Center for Diagnostic Medicine at Boston’s sprawling, powerful Beaumont Clinic.

Thea’s rewarding life in Africa is turned upside-down when Petros is severely injured by a hit-and-run driver. He is in the Beaumont ICU, in a deep coma. No one thinks he will survive. Thea must return home. Two of Petros’ other children, both physicians, battle Thea and her eccentric brother, Dimitri, by demanding that treatment for their father be withheld.

As Thea uncovers the facts surrounding the disaster, it seems more and more to be no accident. Petros, himself, is the only witness. Who would want him dead? The answers are trapped in his brain . . . until he looks at Thea and begins slowly to blink a terrifying message.Michaelpalmer

In The Second Opinion, Michael Palmer has created a cat-and-mouse game where one woman must confront a conspiracy of doctors to uncover an evil practice that touches every single person who ever has a medical test. With sympathetic characters and twists and betrayals that come from the most unlikely places, The Second Opinion will make you question…everything.

LINKS:

Book Lookout: Daniel James Palmer, Delirium (Michael’s son, just signed a 3-book contract with Kensington)

To Enter to Win a FREE Copy of THE SECOND OPINION:
Subscribe to the Words To Mouth e-newsletter (to find out who wins)
Leave a comment below sharing about Autism/Asperger’s 
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, EDT

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

My Half of the Sky, Jana McBurney-Lin

An intimate yet epic portrait of a young woman in modern ChinaKeri Holmes, The Kaleidoscope

Half Sky

Jana McBurney-Lin’s BIO

Jana McBurney-Lin, author of My Half of the Sky, lived in Asia for fifteen years. She wrote for media in seven countries, including National Public Radio, Writer’s Digest, Hemispheres (United Airlines), Islands Magazine, Singapore Straits Times, Japan Times and dozens of others. She was an editor at ALC Publishing in Tokyo when she met her husband, a native of southern China. They then lived in Singapore, frequently visiting his family in Fujian province, China. Jana now lives in the Santa Cruz mountains of California with her husband and four children. She’s a dedicated participant in the Bay Area writing community, having served five years as President of the Peninsula Branch of the California Writer’s Club. She also founded the Writers Camp for Kids and works in the local schools to teach creative writing.Jan Lin

Carrie’s Chat with Jana

Carrie: What inspired you to write My Half of the Sky?
Jana:
  One year, my husband and I were back in his village of Fujian, China. I spotted a poster painted on someone’s house, a huge ad depicting a couple with an infant. Underneath the smiling couple were the words, “A girl baby is just as precious as a boy baby.” I turned to my husband and said, “That is so cool that the government is obviously behind the valuing of little girls.” “The government can say what they like.” He just shook his head. “But a house with no male is a real problem.” That’s when I thought, “Ah-ha, now there’s a story.” What if a girl was born into a household and managed to survive? How would she continue to thrive, to succeed, in this world where the traditions are against her?

Carrie: Tell us about My Half of the Sky?
Jana:
  The late leader of China, Chairman Mao ZeDong, said “Women hold up half the sky.” My Half of the Sky is the story of a contemporary young woman who is trying to do that—trying to be a modern woman and hold up her half of the sky—but the traditions of her village keep pulling her back.

The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal by Lily Koppel (audio interview)

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DiaryThe Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal by Lily Koppel

Introduction written by Lily Koppel:Lily
Ever since I climbed into a dumpster outside of I apartment building and rescued a 75-year-old diary, kept by a young woman in the 1930s, I strongly believed that this story was an important one to tell. THE RED LEATHER DIARY: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal (HarperCollins), is about my discovery of Florence Wolfson’s diary, the amazing life that is portrayed in its pages and the return of the diary to its owner at 90. T
he book speaks to the significance and “private truths” of all of our lives.

Thanks for baring with the sound quality–sometimes these phone interviews are challenging.For a chance to win a FREE copy of The Red Leather Diary, simply leave a comment below the interview post on www.WordsToMouth.com or call 206-309-7318 and leave a voice mail. Be sure I’ve got your mailing address ~ email Carrie@WordsToMouth.com.Subscribe at iTunes

Thanks as always to Natali Brown for You Gotta Believe from the Podsafe Music Network.

Links:

Tethered, Amy MacKinnon (Quick & Wordy audio interview)

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Amy MacKinnon’s debut book, Tethered, just released yesterday, August 12th. It’s already sold to NINE countries and is a Borders Original Voices pick.

“Original Voices is a Borders program that highlights fresh, compelling, innovative and ambitious works from new and emerging talents. TETHERED by Amy MacKinnon is a perfect example of a book that belongs in this program, bringing together unforgettable characters and a well-plotted mystery with language that is rich and full.. Highly recommended and not to be missed, TETHERED will keep you thinking well past the last page.”

  Amy tetheredThe main theme of Tethered according to Amy is “finding faith…in one’s self, in another, and perhaps in a higher power.”

Amy says she followed Hemingway’s advice to “Write what you know” and her first book was rejected over SEVENTY times. Amy fulfilled her dream when she decided to follow her Hemingway-tweaked advice to “Write what you want to know.” This sure-to-be New York Times Best Seller (my humble little prediction) also shared “If you’re interested in what you write about, others will be interested also…and that’s what got the attention of the publishing world.”
 

This truly was fascinating (from our conversation and Amy’s website:

One day my husband and I stopped at an antique shop, hoping to find a bargain. It was then I told him of this woman who haunted me. She’d only recently shared her name. “It’s Clara,” I said, “Clara Marsh.” I hoped it meant something; that I could move forward with her story. Inside the store, we went our separate ways, he in search of rugs, while I sought out something far more elusive, something I couldn’t name. It was then I saw it, propped on a pedestal table, against a candlestick. There before me was a yellowed envelope with a one-cent stamp pasted in the upper right-hand corner, the recipient’s name across the front in Palmer’s cursive: Clara Marsh.

It was a sign. Surely, it was a sign.

Amy was inspired to write Tethered after hearing the horrifying real-life-and-death story of Erica Michelle Maria Green (Precious Doe) on NPR.
amy mackinnon 1 b_w#220aAmy just finished reading:
Matters of Faith by Kristy Kiernan , “A fantastic book about faith and food allergies,” says Amy.

Amy’s Soon-to-Read:

Some of Amy’s Fave Authors:

Amy’s Writers’ Group  – After leaving a “dysfunctional writers’ group,” Amy was asked to join her current group and is ever grateful. Their highly effective group has a few helpful guidelines:

  • 20 pages of required reading prior to each meeting,
  • openness and honesty,
  • Author is not allowed to speak while being reviewed

Amy’s fellow Writers’ Group member Lynn Griffin, wrote Life Without Summer due out April 2009, St. Martins Press

Amy’s parting words: “To all the writers out there–just keep imagining the possibilities, keep working towards that goal, and something Amanda Eyre Ward once said to me that sustained me over the years was ‘Every writer who persevere(s) will eventually get their book published.”

To be entered to win a FREE copy of Tethered call 206-309-7318 and leave a voice mail comment I can play on air or leave a comment below. If I don’t already have your mailing address, be sure to send me a quick email at Carrie@WordsToMouth.com and provide your contact information.**Thanks as always to Natali Brown for Queen of Me from the Podsafe Music NetworkAdditional Links:
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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