Thursday, May 25, 2017

Book Beginning: A Girl Called Sidney by Courtney Yasmineh

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!


MY BOOK BEGINNING


When it’s February in Minnesota, and you’re as far north as you can go and still be in America, you’re in the coldest place on the continent.

A Girl Called Sidney: The Coldest Place by Courtney Yasmineh, published by Gibson House Press.

Sidney is a gutsy high school musician, determined to survive her senior year and her rocky family life, even if it means fleeing Chicago to a Northwoods cabin. This brash debut novel, set in the late 1970s, was inspired by singer-songwriter Courtney Yasmineh's own teen years.



Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.


YOUR BOOK BEGINNING




Monday, May 22, 2017

Mailbox Monday: A Girl Called Sidney by Courtney Yasmineh

One cool new book came into my house last week. What new books did you get?



A Girl Called Sidney: The Coldest Place by Courtney Yasmineh, published by Gibson House Press.

Sidney is the debut novel from rock and roll singer-songwriter Courtney Yasmineh, inspired by her own rocky teen years.




Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday, a weekly "show & tell" blog event where participants share the books they acquired the week before. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught our Eye.

Mailbox Monday is graciously hosted by Leslie of Under My Apple Tree, Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, and Vicki of I'd Rather Be at the Beach.



Thursday, May 18, 2017

Book Beginning: The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



Dr. Howard Archie had just come up from a game of pool with the Jewish clothier and two traveling men who happened to be staying overnight in Moonstone.

-- The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather. I've been swept up in this story of Thea Kronborg, the daughter of Swedish immigrants in a small prairie town in Colorado who aspires to become an opera singer.

The Song of the Lark was published in 1915 but reads like contemporary historical fiction. It should be more popular.




Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING









Saturday, May 13, 2017

Author Interview: Mollie Hunt



Author Mollie Hunt recently released the third mystery in her Crazy Cat Lady series featuring cat fancier, shelter volunteer, and amateur sleuth Lynley Cannon. You can follow her on her website, Mollie Hunt: Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries and More.


Mollie recently answered questions for Rose City Reader about her latest book, the series, writing, and her own favorite authors and books:

You just released the third book in your Crazy Cat Lady Mystery Series, Cat’s Paw. How did you get the idea for such a fun series?

The hero of my series Lynley Cannon and I have a lot of things in common. Being a cat lady is one of them. Others include being sixty(ish), volunteering at a cat shelter, and living in an old house in the Hawthorne district of Portland.

This third book finds your sleuth volunteering at an animal sanctuary in the San Juan Islands. Why did you decide to change up the location?

Living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, I wanted Lynley to get out and see the sights. The large and prestigious Colverleaf Animal Sanctuary is modeled after Best Friends in Utah but since it’s fiction, I moved it locally. Only the first part of the story takes place at Cloverleaf. After a double homicide at the sanctuary, Lynley runs home to Portland but murder follows in her wake.

The titles of all your books are funny feline puns: Cat's Eyes, Copy Cats, and now Cat’s Paw. How do you come up with your titles?

Titles just come to me. In some cases, the book evolves from the title, as with Cat Call, the next in the series (to be out this fall). “Call” in film terminology refers to times and locations of filming, and Cat Call takes place on a television shoot where Lynley has assumed a cat-handling job for an injured friend.

What do you admire most about your heroine, cat shelter volunteer and amateur sleuth Lynley Cannon?

Lynley is tough. She’s not afraid to get out of her comfort zone. She can admit when she’s made a mistake. She has a good relationship with her family. Most of all, though, I admire her dedication to her cat shelter volunteering, donating many hours a week to needy cats.

What is her least endearing trait?

Now there is an interesting question. I had to think, but I would say Lynley’s least endearing trait is that she’s a bit of a know-it-all.

Do you know right away, or have an idea, how you are going to end your stories? Or do the endings come to you as you are in the process of writing?

I usually don’t know exactly where the story will end when I begin writing the book. I have a ghost of an outline, but often the story unfolds in its own direction once I get started.

What is your background? How did it lead you to writing a mystery series featuring a “crazy cat lady” as your sleuth?

I grew up in Portland and went to a private school where I learned grammar, punctuation, word usage, etc. My writing was encouraged both at school by a forward-thinking teacher and at home by an artistic mommy. I wrote my first cat mystery in 4th grade. After a forty-year intermission, I came back to it as naturally as a cat to catnip.

What have you learned from writing your Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries – either about the subject of the books or the writing process – that most surprised you?

I still am in awe of how much I love writing. When I sit down at the computer, or even a notebook and a pen, time goes away. Nothing else in my life comes close. I’ve also learned a lot about cats through my research for the books.

Were books an important part of your household when you were growing up?

Yes. My grandmother who lived with us had been a librarian and owned a large collection of children’s books, everything from Winnie the Pooh to Peter Pan. Both she and my mother read to me every day, and I strove to learn to read for myself from early on.

Who are your three (or four or five) favorite authors? Is your own writing influenced by the books you read?

Lilian Jackson Braun, the mother of the cat mystery, was the biggest influence on my own cat writing. Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s Joe Grey Mystery series are a favorite as well, though her cats are more mystical than mine.

Do you have favorite mystery series you love to read? Which ones?

Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache series are, to my mind, brilliant. I can’t wait to read a new one when it comes out.

What are you reading now?

Fit Cat, non-fiction by Arden Moore; The Cats that Told a Fortune (The Cats That #3)
by Karen Anne Golden; Violent Crimes by Phillip Margolin; The Cold Dish (Walt Longmire, #1)
by Craig Johnson.

What is the most valuable advice you’ve been given as an author?

  1. “The first 1,000,000 words are just practice.” – David Gerrold
  2. “Writer’s block means you’ve gone down a wrong path (of your story). Go back to where it last worked and start again.” – William Shatner

What is the best thing about being a writer?

Playing around in my mind. I’m never bored.

What does a typical writing day look like for you?

I write best in the morning, so I get up early and begin whatever project I’m working on. When I have a foster cat, I will write in his room with him, otherwise I’m on the couch in the living room with my ancient laptop. In the afternoon, I move on to emails, social media, and dreaded chore of publicity.

Speaking of, do you have any events coming up to promote Cat’s Paw?

Later this month, I will be attending the Cat Writers’ Association annual conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and as a professional member of the association, I will be promoting all three of my cat mysteries there. This is my first time at the conference and I am very excited to meet and mingle with fellow cat writers.

I usually announce other events on my Facebook page or my website, so find me there!

What’s next? Are you working on your next book?

The next in the series, Cat Call, will be out this fall. “When a friend suffers a bizarre accident, Lynley takes over her job as cat handler for a television pilot, only to find a mysterious 'hex' has been sabotaging the set with deadly intent.”

I just finished the first draft of number five, Cat Café: “A body is found in the cat café, and all the black cats are missing.”


THANKS MOLLIE!

CAT'S PAW AND MOLLIE'S OTHER CRAZY CAT LADY MYSTERIES ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE IN PAPERBACK OR KINDLE, OR ASK YOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER TO ORDER THEM. 


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Book Beginning: The Heat of the Day by Elizabeth Bowen

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



That Sunday, from six o'clock in the evening, it was a Viennese orchestra that played.

The Heat of the Day by Elizabeth Bowen. Lovers ans spies in WWII London. Published in 1948.

This modern classic has been on my TBR shelf forever and I'm finally reading it for the 2017 Back to the Classics Challenge as my "classic by a woman author" pick.





Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING




Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Author Interview: Katherine A. Sherbrooke


Author Katherine A. Sherbrooke's first novel, Fill the Sky is the dynamic story of three friends who travel to Ecuador so one can seek cancer treatment from traditional healers. This sophisticated debut about women's friendships would be a smart pick for a book-loving mom on Mother's Day and makes a great summer read.

Kathy lives outside Boston with her husband, two sons, and a black lab named Huck. She recently answered questions for Rose City Reader.



How did you come to write Fill the Sky?

In 2011 I had the opportunity to go to Ecuador with eleven other women. All of us were feeling the need for some soul-searching for one reason or another, and over the course of a week we worked with various shamans, learned a lot about traditional approaches to emotional wellness and about Ecuadorian’s reverence for mother earth, or Pachamama, as they call her. The place, the people and the ceremonies we participated in were so unlike anything else I had ever experienced that it seemed like the perfect setting for a book.

Your story describes many traditional healing practices and ancient ceremonies of Ecuador. Did you have to do additional research about the cultural information and detail found in your book?

All the ceremonies in the book, except one, are based on ceremonies I actually experienced, all fictionalized, of course, to serve the purpose of the story. I relied a lot on photographs and journal entries from the trip to unearth details. I did conduct some follow-up research to fill out missing pieces of information, or confirm things that I thought to be true, but it wasn’t a research-intensive project as much of it came from memory. Also, the story is told from the point of view of three American women who are completely out of their own element, so while I very much wanted to represent Ecuadorian traditions and beliefs accurately, any “American” filter it has on it is actually quite appropriate.

What is your "day job"? How did it lead you to writing fiction?

I co-founded and ran a company based in Boston for many years. After it was acquired by a large corporation, I took some time off to ostensibly figure out what my next start-up would be. As a side project (while I caught up on sleep and researched possible start-up ideas) I wrote a family memoir about my parent’s love affair (called Finding Home). It was a very personal project—my only goal was to capture the story for future generations—but it reminded me how much I have always loved to write. I knew I had to try fiction next. I’ve been pursuing writing full-time ever since. Not sure how long that can last, but being able to focus on it has been an incredible gift.

What is the significance of the title? Does it have a personal meaning for you besides its connection to the story?

Nature is central to Ecuadorian life, and plays a very important role in the book, so I knew from the start that I wanted a title that referenced nature in some way. Rain is particularly integral to the story, and I liked the idea that before rain can come down, water must first be drawn up into sky, one of the many cycles of nature we tend to take for granted. Fill the Sky also struck me as a very hopeful phrase. Something about it makes me want to look up at the great expanse and believe that anything is possible.

Did you know right away, or have an idea, how you were going to end the story? Or did it come to you as you were in the process of writing?

I knew from the beginning how Ellie would resolve her dilemma with David, but I didn’t know until I got into the story further what exactly would befall Tess and Joline and what decisions they would have to make. It’s kind of amazing how you can live with these imaginary friends for so long and then on one random day say “of course, why didn’t I see that before? That’s exactly what needs to happen!”

What did you learn from writing your book – either about the subject of the book or the writing process – that most surprised you?

I recently wrote an essay about how laughable it was when I first typed the words “THE END” onto the last page of my manuscript, that I thought I was nearly done. I wasn’t even close. This process, for me, has been as much about revision as anything else, including completely starting over at one point. Every day of writing had value in my quest to understand my characters and fully construct the world I had placed them in, but there were thousands upon thousands of words that got left on the cutting room floor. That was not something I had expected.

What is the most valuable advice you’ve been given as an author?

I had decided early on to approach writing this book like a job—I’d work hard at it Monday to Friday, and then take the weekends off. I thought this was good discipline, for both my creative life and life at home. Then I heard the very prolific writer, Walter Mosley, say something that changed everything for me. He described the creative process as tapping into a the deepest levels of our subconscious, and said that the best work comes when we are able to be fully submerged in the imaginary world we are creating—almost like a wakeful dream-state—but getting to that state is only possible by immersing ourselves day in and day out, no breaks. Every day we take off, we risk ripping ourselves fully out of that world, and it might take weeks of work to get back “in.” The minute I heard him say this, I knew he was right. As soon as I started to give myself permission to work on the book every day (even if it was only two hours on Saturday and Sunday mornings before the rest of my house woke up), the quantity and quality of my work tripled. I was putting out more words than ever before, and the quality of the work was much higher. From now on, when I am in the throws of a project, it will be seven days a week.

Who are your three (or four or five) favorite authors? Is your own writing influenced by the authors you read?

I tend to fall in love with books more than with specific authors, but I can tell you that some of my favorite authors include writers like Wallace Stegner, Geraldine Brooks, Anita Shreve, Paula McLain. I am a strong believer that any writer’s first education comes from reading, so I’m sure just about every book I have ever read has influenced me in some way.

What kind of books do you like to read? What are you reading now?

I tend to gravitate toward books with strong female protagonists. I read a lot of historical fiction as well as contemporary fiction. Of late, I’ve really enjoyed books that fictionalize an actual person, like Dawn Tripp’s Georgia. I thought that was fantastic. I just finished Homegoing by Yaa Gyassi, which blew me away, and Isabel Allende’s House of Spirits. I’m currently reading Ann Hood’s latest, The Book That Matters Most, and Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett.

You have a terrific website and Facebook page and are also on Twitter. From an author's perspective, how important are social networking sites and other internet resources to promote your book?

Word of mouth is probably the single most effective tool for generating awareness about books, and social media is all about spreading the word, so I feel very fortunate to be a debut author during a time when there are an almost limitless number of avenues available to help get the word out. Some platforms feel more natural to me, and others have taken some getting used to, but I’m trying just about everything that feels authentic to give myself the best chance of connecting with potential readers. I think you need to be where they are if you want to be discovered. Someone said to me recently that social doesn’t sell books, but does build community. I’m very much looking forward to creating a community of readers interested in exchanging ideas and having meaningful conversation. That would be a terrific outcome in my eyes.

Do you have any events coming up to promote your book?

Yes! There is a list of readings and book signings on my author site and a place to sign up for future announcements.

What’s next? Are you working on your next book?

Yes. I am in the early stages of another novel. It also addresses topics that I think will create some interesting conversation. Stay tuned.


THANKS KATHY!

FILL THE SKY IS AVAILABLE ONLINE OR ASK YOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER TO ORDER IT!



Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: The Only Woman in the Room by Norma Paulus



In the summer of 1981, in one of the more bizarre episodes of Oregon history, scarlet-clad disciples of the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh came to Oregon with a dream of making the desert bloom into a garden paradise. . . . And it produced a voter-fraud crisis that landed squarely in the lap of Secretary of State Norma Paulus.

The Only Woman in the Room: The Norma Paulus Story by Norma Paulus with Gail Wells and Pat McCord Amacher, published by OSU Press.

I'm a big fan of Norma Paulus, an Oregon politician who, when she became Oregon’s Secretary of State in 1976, was the first woman elected to a statewide office in Oregon. Her story in an inspiration.

It also has its crazy parts, like the chapter on the Bhagwan and his salad bar poisoning loyalists.



Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by The Purple Booker, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.




Monday, May 8, 2017

Mailbox Monday: Inspector Wexford by the Omnibus-load

Three books came across the pond and into my house last week. What books came into your house?

I started reading Ruth Rendell's Inspector Wexford series, but I've only read the first two. I never seem to find used copies at my usual haunts and my library doesn't have the audiobooks, at least of the earlier books in the series.

So I decided to fill in the earlier books with used copies of omnibus editions. They are a little odd, as you can see. The first omnibus includes books 2, 4, 3, and 11, in that order. Then the second and third omnibus editions fill in, although books 5 and 6 are switched in order.

Any other Rendell or Inspector Wexford fans out there?



Ruth Rendell Omnibus: Four Novels in One Volume - New Lease of Death (2), Best Man to Die (4), Wolf to the Slaughter (3), Put on by Cunning (11)



The Second Wexford Omnibus by Ruth Rendell - No More Dying Then (6), A Guilty Thing Surprised (5), Murder Being Once Done (7)



The Third Wexford Omnibus by Ruth Rendell - Some Lie and Some Die (8), Shake Hands Forever (9), A Sleeping Life (10)




Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday, a weekly "show & tell" blog event where participants share the books they acquired the week before. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught our Eye.

Mailbox Monday is graciously hosted by Leslie of Under My Apple Tree, Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, and Vicki of I'd Rather Be at the Beach.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

2017 CHALLENGE: Back to the Classics


The Back to the Classics Challenge is hosted by Karen at Books and Chocolate. Even though I am late to sign up so I won't qualify for a prize, I am going to try for nine books again this year. I met that goal in 2016.

CATEGORIES

1. A 19th Century Classic. Any book published between 1800 and 1899.

2. A 20th Century Classic. Any book published between 1900 and 1967. Just like last year, all books MUST have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify. The only exception is books written at least 50 years ago, but published later.

3. A classic by a woman author.

4. A classic in translation. Any book originally written published in a language other than your native language.

5. A classic originally published before 1800.

6. A romance classic. It can have a happy ending or a sad ending, as long as there is a strong romantic element to the plot.

7. A Gothic or horror classic.

8. A classic with a number in the title.

9. A classic about an animal or that includes the name of an animal in the title.

10. A classic set in a place you'd like to visit. It can be real or imaginary.

11. An award-winning classic.

12. A Russian classic.

BOOKS COMPLETED

Roseanna by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö (TRANSLATION)


NOTES

Updated May 5, 2017.



Saturday, May 6, 2017

Author Interview: Renee Macalino Rutledge


Renee Macalino Rutledge’s debut novel, The Hour of Daydreams, has been dubbed "essential reading" by Literary Mama and "one of 24 books to get excited for in 2017" by The Oregonian. Her stories and essays have been published in Mutha Magazine, The Tishman Review, Red Earth Review, Ford City Anthology, Oakland Magazine, ColorLines, Literary Hub, Necessary Fiction, Women Writers Women’s Books, and others, and is forthcoming in The Margins, Women of Color Anthology, and others.




Renee recently answered questions for Rose City Reader about her debut novel, writing, and her own favorite authors and books:

How did you come to write The Hour of Daydreams?

I knew I wanted to write about my culture and roots. Filipino folktales interested me, not so much because of the tales themselves, but their journey, passed down orally through so many generations before being written down. Folktales are often retold with preservation in mind—keeping true to their original content and form. The version of “The Star Maidens” I read was as such, four pages long and predictable—a man steals a maiden’s wings, marries her, and in the end, she finds her wings and flies away. That story was a jumping point for me—a point of investigation and interaction to the story I wanted to tell, about marriage, secrets, identity, the way one family’s story can be passed down from one generation to the next. It was my way of interacting with the folktale and creating something completely new.

The book takes place in the Philippines, where you were born but haven’t lived since you were a small child. Did you spend time there as an adult, or how did you come to feel comfortable enough to write about day to day life in the Philippines?

I haven’t been back since I left at four. It was important to place my characters in the Philippine countryside, where the folktale is based, but I wanted to be able to write without getting too caught up in that discomfort, that of being a firsthand witness to my story, but a secondhand witness to the setting. So, I based my book in an imaginary town called Manlapaz. I did my research—read books by Filipinos about the Philippines, asked my family a lot of questions, looked up photos and articles online—but in the end, I relied on what I know from those formative years, what I feel and what I imagine.

Your story “reimagines” a traditional Filipino folktale about a man stealing a maiden’s wings so he can marry her. Is this a well-known folktale? Is it a story you learned as a child?

I didn’t learn any Filipino folktales as a child. My father talked to me once about mythological figures, Bathala and Malakas and Maganda, and they captured my imagination so vividly I’m not surprised they ended up in the book. I think my lack of knowledge about stories from my own culture was a reason writing this book was so important to me. Most people I’ve spoken to about The Hour of Daydreams, including Filipinos, are learning about "The Star Maidens" for the first time. I’m happy it’s generating interest in both traditional stories and modern Filipino literature, which are not novelties.

The husband in your book is a doctor and your story describes many traditional Filipino healing practices as well as superstitions. How did you research the cultural information and detail found in your book?

For some reason, I imagined the male protagonist in the folktale as the son of a tribal chief. I tried to think of a modern version of that, and a doctor came to mind. In my family, if you’re a doctor, you’ve reached the top. I know a few doctors personally, and they’ve become sort of like my personal on-call specialists, giving me advice on everything from my daughter’s eczema to my mom’s back pain. Combining that with my own personal history of going to the doctor and the anecdotes friends share, I was easily able to come up with the various scenarios Manolo was faced with on the job. There was one procedure, regarding a dislocated elbow, when I had to look up specific bones. Google really helped, not just to find information, but verify what I believed I knew to be true.

What is your "day job"? How did it lead you to writing fiction?

I’m a nonfiction book editor for a mid-sized indie press. My day job didn’t lead me to writing fiction. It supports me so that I can pay the rent while I write, which is something I’ve always done.

What is the significance of the title? Does it have a personal meaning for you besides a
connection to the story?

The hour of daydreams is a specific time in the book when the character Andres shares stories with his granddaughter Malaya. It is also representative of a moment of time at a river, when the main characters, Tala and Manolo, bear witness to one another, and their memories begin to feel like dreams. So, the hour of daydreams is an hour of sharing and receiving story, interpreting what’s being told, reshaping it, preparing it for another retelling, when it will be born as something new. In that way, it is representative of the hours spent writing this book, and the hours shared between the book and the reader.

Did you know right away, or have an idea, how you were going to end the story? Or did it come to you as you were in the process of writing?

The folktale provided a sort of framework, a beginning and an end. I recreated the scene at the river in the context of my story and characters. This meant giving them each a past and an interior world—it was a process of invention and discovery that fueled the writing process. I thought I’d do the same for the ending scene, when the star maiden flies away. This stifled my book for many years. Working toward a particular image or scene felt forced. I finally figured out that I could end the novel in any way I wanted to, and that’s when I connected it to that process of continual discovery I had started in the first half and was able to finish the book.

What is the most valuable advice you’ve been given as an author?

“Write the story that you believe.” I was fortunate enough to have worked with Yiyun Li, who gave me that advice while I was working on the first draft of The Hour of Daydreams.

Who are your three (or four or five) favorite authors? Is your own writing influenced by the authors you read?

Marguerite Duras, Toni Morrison, Italo Calvino, Yiyun Li, Haruki Murakami, there are too many. It’s hard to pick a favorite because I’ve only read some authors once, like Lysley Tenorio’s Monstress or William Trevor’s Love and Summer, but their books have come to be among my favorite. My writing is influenced by everything I read, particularly books that open me up to what’s possible on the page and show how every book can do something different. I also love books that I have an emotional connection to and expand my sense of compassion, such as Rene Denfeld’s The Enchanted, or that are brilliant with language and depth while being so much fun, like Michael Shum’s Queen of Spades, out next from Forest Avenue Press.

What kind of books do you like to read? What are you reading now?

I like to read literary fiction most and am currently reading The Book of Joan, by Lidia Yuknavitch, who I recently met at her amazing reading in Berkeley. I also read nonfiction, currently Seven Card Stud with Seven Manangs Wild and A Short History of the Philippines.

You have a terrific website and Facebook page and are also on Twitter, Goodreads, and Instagram. From an author's perspective, how important are social networking sites and other internet resources to promote your book? 

Social media definitely got word out about the book to people I would not have reached otherwise, such as friends from high school who ended up coming out for my book launch. I love being connected to new people who share an interest in reading and writing. It’s been wonderful that way. There are two things I refuse to do as an author on social media.

  1. Apologize for promotion. Writers have it hard enough—writing a book for years with no guarantees, getting someone to publish you, and finally, trying to sell it. I believe books are vital and life-enriching and that writers in general are undervalued. Why undervalue ourselves with apologies?
  2. Announce a break. I believe having a writing tribe online is possible and that a tribe by nature should understand and encourage you to come and go freely and often, to energize, to seclude yourself when necessary, to write, to live. If you must announce a break from social media, you are probably on it too much. I tell my boss when I’m not coming in for work; I don’t encourage treating Facebook as you would your boss.

Do you have any events coming up to promote your book?

My next reading, sponsored by the American Association of University Women and the Alameda Author Series, will take place May 17, 2017 at Cardinal Point in Alameda. New events are posted on the events page of my website.

What’s next? Are you working on your next book?

I was up past midnight working on my latest short story, which I hope to be part of a collection. I’m also deep in research for my next novel. See the nonfiction reads above!


THANKS RENEE!

THE HOUR OF DAYDREAMS IS AVAILABLE ONLINE OR ASK YOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER TO ORDER IT!


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Book Beginning: The Only Woman in the Room by Norma Paulus

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



Norma Paulus made her entrance into this world in an auspicious ans startling fashion. According to the often-told family story, she drew her first breath on top of the kitchen table in a Nebraska farmhouse.

The Only Woman in the Room: The Norma Paulus Story by Norma Paulus with Gail Wells and Pat McCord Amacher, published by OSU Press.

That's quite a beginning, for a book or a baby! I'll have to pass this one on to my father who also started life on the top of a kitchen table in Nebraska.

Norma Paulus was an Oregon politician who, when she became Oregon’s Secretary of State in 1976, was the first woman elected to a statewide office in Oregon. She's long been a hero of mine and her gubernatorial campaign in 1986 was the first local political campaign I ever volunteered for.


Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING





Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: The Hour of Daydreams by Renee Macalino Rutledge



Tala placed her secrets in the box. In dreams, the box would open, spilling her secrets into the world.

The Hour of Daydreams by Renee Macalino Rutledge, published by Forest Avenue Press.

Set in the Philippines countryside and reinterpreting a Filipino folktale, this debut novel weaves magical realism and multiple points-of-view into a spellbind story from an up-and-coming new voice in American literature.

Read a review of The Hour of Daydreams on Fiction Writers' Review.



Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by The Purple Booker, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.





Monday, May 1, 2017

Mailbox Monday: The Only Woman in the Room by Norma Paulus

One new book came into my house last week. What new books came into yours?



The Only Woman in the Room: The Norma Paulus Story by Norma Paulus with Gail Wells and Pat McCord Amacher, published by OSU Press.

Norma Paulus is an Oregon politician who, when she became Oregon’s Secretary of State in 1976 was the first woman to be elected to a statewide office in Oregon. She's been a long-time hero of mine and I've been looking forward to reading her memoirs. I only wish they had used this picture for the cover:







Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday, a weekly "show & tell" blog event where participants share the books they acquired the week before. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught our Eye.

Mailbox Monday is graciously hosted by Leslie of Under My Apple Tree, Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, and Vicki of I'd Rather Be at the Beach.



Thursday, April 27, 2017

Book Beginning: The Hour of Daydreams by Renee Macalino Rutlidge

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!


MY BOOK BEGINNING



They whisper that my mother was not one of us, and whatever she was disappeared beneath a pair of wings.


Manolo watched his new bride and felt like he had stolen the luck of the gods.

-- Chapter 1, "Stolen Luck."

This debut novel, inspired by a Filipino folktale, weaves together the perspectives of a new family -- the husband and wife, their child, his parents, and an all-seeing housekeeper -- as build a life and wrestle with the past.





Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING







Monday, April 24, 2017

Mailbox Monday: The Hour of Daydreams and Library Sale Loot

What books came into your house last week? One new release from Forest Avenue Press came to me that looks super cool:



The Hour of Daydreams by Renee Macalino Rutledge. This debut novel reimagines Filipino folklore in the setting of a contemporary marriage. It looks wonderful!

And I got a great little shelf of new books at the Multnomah County Friends of the Library spring book sale, which I won't list, but here's a picture. What looks good?






Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday, a weekly "show & tell" blog event where participants share the books they acquired the week before. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught our Eye.

Mailbox Monday is graciously hosted by Leslie of Under My Apple Tree, Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, and Vicki of I'd Rather Be at the Beach.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Book Beginning: Spotted Dick, S'il Vous Plait



THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING



MY BOOK BEGINNING



Lugdunum, ancient capital of Gaul, Roman town, medieval centre of culture, city of science, learning, medicine and theology . . . Lyon has many claims to fame.

Spotted Dick S'il Vous Plait: An English Restaurant in France by Tom Higgins. I love memoirs about British or American expats hauling off to sunnier climes, and I love restaurant memoirs -- this combines both. Perfect!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Kinship of Clover by Ellen Meeropol



The plants weren't touching any of the other students. Just him, and he had better get out of here.
--  Kinship of Clover by Ellen Meeropol

In her new novel, Kinship of Clover, Ellen Meeropol explores how individuals are inspired to try to change what they cannot accept about the world, even while they grapple with their own limitations.



Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by The Purple Booker, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Author Interview: Ellen Meeropol


Ellen Meeropol is the author of two previous novels, House Arrest and On Hurricane Island. Her new novel, Kinship of Clover, puts a human face on some big topics, like the environment and mental illness.



Ellen recently answered questions for Rose City Reader:

How did you come to write Kinship of Clover?

I wrote this novel because two of the characters wouldn’t leave me alone. Jeremy and Zoe, who were children in my first novel, House Arrest, kept whispering to me, “Don’t you want to know what happened to us?” Of course, I did want to know. In House Arrest, Jeremy was nine and Zoe was five; their families were intertwined in complicated ways. I’m fascinated by the way children are affected by the big events in their families and the world. Imagining the Jeremy and Zoe eleven years after the end of the first novel, as they grow into adulthood, gave me the opportunity to further explore how individuals are inspired to change things in the world, things they simply can’t accept.

What is your background? How did it lead you to writing novels?

I worked as a registered nurse and then a pediatric nurse practitioner for almost 30 years. Throughout my life, I’ve been a voracious reader, primarily of literary fiction. I always wanted to write, and always dabbled a bit, but never took that desire seriously until the year 2000. As I arranged a two-month min-sabbatical so that my husband could write a nonfiction book, I saw my opportunity. On an island off the coast of Maine, I started writing stories. Those two months changed my life. Three years later I started a low-residency MFA program, five years later I left my day job, and eleven years later my first novel was published.

You use unforgettable imagery in your story, including vines burrowing into nine-year-old Jeremy’s skin and plants whispering in his ear. What are some of the themes these images are meant to invoke?Did you know how Kinship of Clover would end?

I’m not a very cerebral writer. I don’t use an outline and rarely know where a story is going when I begin. I follow the Kurt Vonnegut school of writing fiction; he said that, “We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” So no, I had no idea of how Kinship of Clover would end. Honestly, I wasn’t sure for a long time whether the imagery of the vines burrowing under Jeremy’s skin made sense. But by the time the first draft was completed, I understood that breaching the barrier between plants and humans, like bridging the gaps between the generations and the races and disabled/able-bodied people, is a big part of what this novel is about.

What did you learn from writing Kinship of Clover – either about the subject of the book or the writing process – that most surprised you?

Two things surprised me writing this novel. First of all, early in the writing, elements of magical realism snuck in – primarily those burrowing vines you mentioned. While I’ve loved reading novels in which elements of fantasy show up in a primarily realistic setting, I never planned to write that way. But one thing I’ve learned is to simply trust the process. So I wrote, not knowing if the vines were “real” or not, but hoping that by the end of the writing and revision process, I would understand why it happens. The second surprise was the use of omniscient point of view. I had been interested in trying that, but was intimidated. The surprising part was that I loved being able to both delve deep into several characters’ perspectives and to step way back, and look at the big picture from time to time. Again, it meant trusting that the process – just writing the manuscript and not worrying too much about the final product – would get me someplace new and worth going.

Who are your three (or four or five) favorite authors? Is your own writing influenced by the books you read?

I read a lot of contemporary fiction, and am always finding new favorite authors, like Yaa Gyasi and Mohsin Hamid recently. Some of my long-time beloved authors are Rosellen Brown and Andrea Barrett and Ann Pancake and Paule Marshall and Octavia Butler. And yes, these writers have definitely influenced me. I love how each of them write fiction that balances on the tightrope between big issues and authentic characters. I love how their books are both provocative and tender, never letting the big issues addressed in the book overpower their characters and the story. Ann Pancake taught me never to rant. Andrea Barrett modeled creating a universe of characters who populate novels and stories over the years, like old friends who you never forget.

What are you reading now?

I work part-time at an independent bookstore where one of my jobs is to read fiction four or five months before publication, to help select titles for the bookstore’s First Edition Club. Right now I’m reading Elizabeth Strout’s new linked story collection, Anything is Possible and I recently finished Jeff Vandermeer’s Borne and Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West. All three are amazing reads.

What do you do to promote your books? Do you use social networking sites or other internet resources? Do you have any events coming up to promote your book?

I love doing events – readings in bookstores and libraries – and book groups, as well as my Facebook pagetwitter, and my website. Lots of events are being planned. Check them out on my website events page.

What’s next? Are you working on your next book?

I’m close to finished with my fourth novel, tentatively titled Her Sister’s Tattoo. This was actually the first novel manuscript I wrote but it was too complicated, encompassing 50 years in the lives of two sisters, activists who were estranged over a major political disagreement. So I put it away, started an MFA program, and wrote three other novels. After each book, I’d revisit the sisters and do another draft or four, but still couldn’t get it right. Finally, after about 17 years, I think it’s close to ready and I’m very excited to bring Esther and Rosa into the world.


THANKS ELLEN!

KINSHIP OF CLOVER IS AVAILABLE ONLINE, OR ASK YOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER TO ORDER IT!


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Book Beginning: Make Me by Lee Child



THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING



MY BOOK BEGINNING



Moving a guy as big as Keever wasn't easy. It was like trying to wrestle a king-sized mattress off a waterbed.

Make Me by Lee Child. This is the 20th Jack Reacher book.

I'm a big fan and I'm enjoying this one enough. But I'm two-thirds of the way through and I'm still waiting for the plot to gel. And I'm getting a little tired of Reacher books that start with him in a two-track town in the middle of Nebraska. Make Me came out in 2015 and I am only reading it now because, based on the description, I was sure I had read it already.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Author Interview: Susan DeFreitas


Susan DeFreitas was born in Michigan, lived in Arizona, then moved to Portland, where she now writes realistic fiction and sci-fi. Her debut novel, Hot Season, has generated plenty of high praise in book circles. She's one to keep an eye on!


Susan recently answered questions for Rose City Reader. You can also listen to a long interview of Susan on Between the Covers.


How did you come to write Hot Season?

I wrote the stories that would become the chapters of this novel during the course of my MFA at Pacific University. I had just moved to Portland from Prescott, Arizona, where I had lived for the past fourteen years, and I suppose these stories were portraits of people and places and experiences from that time in my life I wanted both to pay homage to and make sense of.

What is your professional background? How did it lead you to writing fiction?

I began writing fiction as soon as I was old enough to read it. My first stories were mysteries—by the time I was in junior high, it was fantasy and science fiction. But I had an English teacher who insisted I write realist fiction in his class. I thought it was snobbish at the time, and I still do, but it did lead to me to attending a boarding school, in my senior year of high school, for the arts.

I took a break in my study of creative writing between undergrad and graduate school—during which wrote for magazines, directed an arts nonprofit, and wrote marketing copy—but I was always working on a novel. In my early thirties, I decided to go back to school for fiction.

What is the significance of the title? Does it have a personal meaning for you besides its connection to the story?

Hot season in central AZ is not quite summer. It comes on with a vengeance around the end of April and tends to hit its apex right around the Fourth of July. That’s when the monsoons begin, and the rain cuts down on both the danger of wildfire and the heat.

But in those parched two months leading up to the monsoons, there’s a hallucinatory quality to the heat, as well as a real sense of danger. I found it an apt metaphor for the paranoia around government surveillance in this novel, as well as the sparks of attraction that fly between its characters. Hot season is also the time of year when much of the novel is set.

How closely does the plot of Hot Season hew to the real events that inspired the story?

The outlaw activist around whom much of the plot revolves is based on a real person, Bill Rogers, who was part of a group of radical activists based out of Eugene, Oregon, in the nineties, which was responsible for some of the largest acts of so-called terrorism in US history, totaling $45 million in damages. Like the character Dyson in the book, Bill was a graduate of Prescott College, my alma mater, and he, like Dyson, did establish an activist center that was raided by the FBI.

There are also some characters and circumstances based on the time when I owned a house in the barrio of Prescott and rented rooms to college students, all of them younger women. But that’s where the similarities end; in many ways, the book is an imagined version of their lives, as I graduated college in 2000, before the era when the novel is set.

Did you know right away, or have an idea, how you were going to end the story? Or did it come to you as you were in the process of writing?

Because these chapters started off as short stories, my process with this novel was a little different than is typical. The story that would become the title chapter—the final chapter of the book—was probably the third or fourth piece I wrote in grad school, in my first semester. I had the feel of it, the swing and sound of it, the aesthetic and the images, before I really had any idea what the story was about.

To get that—i.e., who these characters were, what they were doing together, and what these events were, in fact, the resolution of—I had to go back and discover the bones of the book, the plot. I had to develop the arcs and the through lines, the threads of connection that would converge there. But did I always know that piece was the ending? Absolutely.

Hot Season has been compared to another college novel, Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. The eco-sabotage storyline is reminiscent of Jim Harrison’s A Good Day to Die. How do you feel about these kinds of literary comparisons?

Donna Tartt is brilliant, so any comparison to her is welcome. =) And I do think the comparison to The Secret History holds, in that college is a time, I believe, when we’re both really smart and really dumb—a time when a philosophy or idea or commitment can get ahold of you in a way that may define, for better or worse, the rest of your life.

I’m also happy you brought up Jim Harrison, as I am a native of the Great Lakes State. But in contrast to A Good Day to Die—and that other rollicking, wisecracking classic of eco-sabotage, The Monkey Wrench Gang—this is a novel first and foremost about women, young women in particular. As such, it’s not so much about high-stakes heroics as it is about the being willing to dedicate your life and career, early on, to incremental changes in culture and society that you may not even live to see. That, to me is real courage, and it’s completely unglamorous. Megan Burbank noted in her review of the book in the Portland Mercury, that Hot Season “depict[s] social agitation as, really, what it is: a gradual, infuriating, complex effort performed by smart, dedicated, flawed humans to varying degrees of commitment and success.” I really consider that the essence of what I’m getting at here.

What did you learn from writing your book – either about the subject of the book or the writing process – that most surprised you?

I learned how to build a novel out of linked stories. Not just linked stories billed as a novel (increasingly fashionable these days) but a novel with real arcs, real stakes, and resolutions. For me as a writer, that often means looking at the end of the story and determining what needs to be set up in the beginning.

What is the most valuable advice you’ve been given as an author?

Alberto Luis Urrea: “Nil carborundum illegitimi—don’t let the bastards wear you down.” =)

Who are your three (or four or five) favorite authors? Is your own writing influenced by the authors you read?

As an author, I’m influenced by all sorts of authors, and my favorites include Ursula K. Le Guin, Denis Johnson, and Lydia Millet. But this particular book was most directly influenced by Ed Abbey and John Nichols, as well as the punk writer Aaron Cometbus.

What kind of books do you like to read? What are you reading now?

I write both realist fiction and speculative fiction, so my tastes are all over the map. But right now I’m really enjoying the work of an author who’s new to me, Laura Pritchett—her latest novel, The Blue Hour, set in small-town Colorado, is just a dream. I’m also enjoying revisiting the weirdness of Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link.

You have a terrific website and Facebook page and are also on Twitter. From an author's perspective, how important are social networking sites and other internet resources to promote your book?

I’m a big fan of Jane Friedman, so I knew, long before I signed the contract for my first book, that I needed to own the domain associated with my name. I also used to work as a journalist and blogger, so I know how important it is to ensure that all the info these time-strapped folks need to cover us can easily be found in one place. That’s why I have all of my press materials—as well as links to all of my reviews and interviews—online at susandefreitas.com.

As for my Facebook and Twitter pages, I consider them not just a place to share my own news and views but links to articles of interest and to the work of other authors I love. That kind of literary citizenship interests me more than “look at me!” all the time (though I do think there’s a thrill for readers in sharing the writer’s journey). As for how important social media is—how else would anyone know about me or what I’m doing? Unless they happened to find me in person? In this day and age, social media is the marketplace of ideas, the big town square where we gather to discuss the issues of the day. Though it has its vagaries, I can’t imagine not wanting to be part of that discussion.

Do you have any events coming up to promote your book?

Yes! In fact, I have a bit of a Northwest mini-tour set up for April, both as an author and an editor. Here are my upcoming dates (click links for details):

4-8-17:  Panel Appearance and Editing Consultations at IBPA's Publishing University (Portland, OR)
4-11-17:  Author Appearance at Broadway Books (Portland, OR)
4-17-17:  Group reading for the City of Weird anthology at Post 134 (Portland, OR)
4-18-17:  Author Appearance at Annie Bloom’s (Portland, OR)
4-20-17:  Group Reading at Another Read Through (Portland, OR)

Upcoming events can be found on the home page of my website.

What’s next? Are you working on your next book?

Right now, I’m working on a series of speculative short stories with a strong sense of place in the three states I’ve called home—Michigan, Arizona, and Oregon—called Dream Studies, a project that’s being supported by my Patreon subscribers. I’m also preparing to dig back into the next novel in the series that begins with Hot Season, which is called World’s Smallest Parade.


THANKS, SUSAN!

HOT SEASON IS AVAILABLE ON LINE,
OR ASK YOU LOCAL BOOKSELLER TO ORDER IT!


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