Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Help Wanted

A week from today (April 2) is the day Love Water Memory will be officially published and available to readers (except for in Barnes & Noble stores, read the NYT story.) This is my fifth book, my fifth labor of writing love. When people ask me which of my books is my favorite, I ask, “Do you have children?” There is no favorite. There are only stories that arose from particular periods and moods and thoughts and skill levels I possessed at the time. They are each precious in their own way.

Love Water Memory started with a newspaper clipping and a question. The true story was about a man who went missing for six weeks before his fiancée found him states away with amnesia. She brought him home and they continued their love story, even though he no longer knew her. “I remembered her heart, but not her face,” he said. I thought, "What on earth happens next?" And then I wrote my answer.

My beautiful (thank you, Simon and Schuster) book is in danger of going missing. With a cover that was designed to be picked up and touched, it will not be on B&N tables and shelves. Yes, we have wonderful independent bookstores that will sell the heck out of it (thank you, indie booksellers). And yes, it's available at all online outlets, including B&N.com, but roughly a third of potential readers are lost now, because in some parts of the country, the only bookstores they have are B&N.

I hope you find, read and enjoy the book. And if you do enjoy it, I hope you share it with your friends and tell people about it, because this one is going to need a little extra help out there in the world. I’ve always been able to count on the kindness of readers, and I do now, more than ever.

I dedicated this book to my three sisters, but as always, it’s dedicated to you, too, because without you, there is no book.

Links you can post to spread the word:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Next Big Thing Interview Series

Authors are a creative bunch. One such creative type, Mary Biddinger (Prairie Fever, St. Monicas, and O Holy Insurgency) started a self-interview series called "The Next Big Thing," whereby writers administer the Q&A below to themselves, then tag others to do the same. It’s been zinging around the Internet, building a fine collection of interesting insights from a diverse group of authors about their books. I mean, self interview? Bring it on.

I've been tagged by two writers to participate: Laurie Frankel, author of the intriguing and brilliant Goodbye For Now (soon to be a major motion picture) and Atlas of Love, and poet Denise Banker, whose luminous book of poetry is called Swimming the Colorado. Both of these women are dear friends and exceptional writers, and I hope you will discover that for yourself by reading their books.

And now, for the self interview.

What's the title of your book?
Love Water Memory. That was not my first title choice. It was The Amnesiac’s Love Story. My publisher thought, and probably rightly so, that title sounded too much like a Lifetime TV movie or a thriller. In the midst of trying really hard to think of a new title, I woke in the night, twice, with these three words: love, water, memory. I ignored them the first time, but when they came back the second time, I jumped up and wrote them down, sent them to my agent and editor, saying, What do you think? And they loved it.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
It’s a mystery wrapped in a love story about an amnesiac who remembers nothing, and her fiancé, who remembers too much.

What genre does your book fall under?
I would call it simply fiction. A novel. The publishing business has many categories, even for non-genre fiction ("genre" typically meaning scifi, mystery, romance, thriller, etc.) This particular novel is in the category of upmarket hardcover fiction. See? Means nothing. Let’s move past genres and categories, and just read good books.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
This book is published by Gallery Books, a division of Simon and Schuster. I am represented by Stephanie Kip Rostan of the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. I love them both.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
A Seattle Times article in February 2007. The headline was: “His memory fails him, but his heart won’t forget.” It was about a man who suffered from a rare condition that steals his memory and makes him flee his life, over and over, and about his fiancée, who goes to get him. It made me want to know what would happen, so I wrote a book to find out.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Hmm. I always try to turn this question around and ask readers, because they have such definite ideas. I already see Lucie and Grady and Helen and all the rest as real people, so it’s difficult. But, off the top of my head, how about Cate Blanchett for Lucie (with one of her brilliant American accents)? I can’t even imagine who might play Grady, who is half Native American and has the long lean body of a swimmer. Can you?

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I think about 18 months? I lose track. Meaning, I don’t want to remember. But usually, it takes me about a year to a year and a half to do a first draft, then anywhere from a few months to another year or so to do revisions.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Love inspired me to write this book, the power of it, the difficulties inherent in it, and the sheer beauty of it when you let it in.

And now my tags:

When my first book was published by NAL/Penguin, I attended regional bookseller tradeshows and met the loveliest young woman working in the Penguin booth. Jeanine Cummins was kind and helpful and gave me a human connection in a big publishing world. She has since written three wonderful books, including her latest, just released novel: The Crooked Branch.

At another regional tradeshow, for another book (I don't remember which), I met the amazing author Susan Jane Gilman. What a lovely force of nature she is! She's currently on deadline for her new book, so she will post at a later date, but in the meantime,  check out Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven.