About the Book:
Published October 26th 2010
(first published October 1st 2010)
2011 BOOK BUNDLZ BOOK CLUB PICK
Recipient of the CTRR, Reviewer Recommend Award
The Tyler Family had the perfect life - until sixteen-year-old Leah decided she didn't want to be perfect anymore.
While her parents fight to save their daughter from destroying her brilliant future, Leah's younger sister, Justine, must copt with the damage her out-of-control sibling leaves in her wake.
Will this family survive? What happens when love just isn't enough?
In Leah's Wake is such a brilliant unique story on how a teenage girl starts changing and rebelling against her parents, such as drinking and doing drugs are just one of the many things you can read about in this fantastic book.
I thoroughly loved reading it page to page and will read it again as I literally couldn't put it down. It shows readers how a family copes with everyday situations and even has a real-life feel to it. I enjoyed how it switched from character to character telling us what they were thinking and how they were felt.
I was shocked to discover In Leah's Wake is Terri's first ever novel!! You will not be disappointed when reading this book. It's a short review as nothing more I say could give it justice for how amazing it is and how amazing the author is.
Terri Giuliano Long grew up in the company of stories both of her own making and as written by others. Books offer her a zest for life's highs and comfort in its lows better than anything else can. She's all-too-happy to share this love with others as a novelist and as a writing instructor at Boston College. She blogs about writing and the writing life at www.tglong.com/blog.
First things First, Can you tell readers abit about yourself?
First, before anything else, I'm a wife and mom. I enjoy nothing more than hanging out with my family. They make me laugh - and they bring tremendous joy and teach me so much! I also love to walk, hike, climb. For an amateur, I can hold my own in the kitchen. everyone in out family loves to travel. My bio says that in another life I might have been an international food writer - that really is true.
Professionally, I lecture at Boston College, where I've taught creative and nonfiction writing for 15 years. I've also written copy for marketing, advertising and public relations, edited technical articles for trade journals, and edited a small trade magazine. In Leah's Wake is my first novel. I'm currently at work on a second.
Have you always wanted to be an author? Or have you had other career wants?
Until high school, I planned to be a visual artist - a graphic artist or painter. At heart, though, I've always been a writer. As a child, I entertained myself by making up stories and acting in my own improvisational plays. In high school, I took an advanced writing course, I loved the class and began writing for the school paper. One day, brazenly, I walked into the office at the town paper and asked the editor for a job. At first, I covered sports and other high school news; soon, I was given my own column. I was sixteen. That column was my first paid writing job. I earned about a dollar a week - and I knew then that the only job I'd ever want would be as a writer.
What was it like when you first saw and held your book in your hands?
Amazing! This is it, I thought. It's a real book. As I tend to be a worrier, the initial excitement gave way to anxiety. I worried about whether people would like my work, if the book would sell, if If finish the next. These concerns are normal, I think. Your book is your baby, and In Leah's Wake is my first. You want your baby to live in a perfect world, or if it falls, to land gently. Of course, no one cares about your baby the way you do, so you do your best to accept fate graciously and try to keep the demons at bay. :)
What has your writing journey been like so far? (i.e when and why did you start writing, any struggles along the way?)
For most of my writing life, I wrote nonfiction - news stories, PR and marketing copy. In 1998, I received my MFA in Creative Writing, and I wrote In Leah's Wake for my graduate thesis. I loved ever minute, from the heady feeling of finishing the first draft through the lengthy process of revision. In 2006, In Leah's Wake was under contract with a call publisher. Shortly before launch, for a number of unforeseen reasons, the contract fell apart.
I spent the next few years in limbo. I believed in this book. I'd received so much encouragement over the years, from agents, editors, readers, writer friends-I'm grateful, truly grateful to all of them-that I had a hard time letting go. For years, I tried to revise. Eventually I realized I was writing in circles. The book had changed, but it had gotten no better. Reluctantly, I put it away.
Last year, after several false starts, I finally gained traction on a new novel, a psychological thriller called Nowhere to Run. Like In Leah's Wake, Nowhere is a family story at heart. I hope to finish the new novel this fall.. I knew I'd need a platform, and hoped that self-publishing In Leah's Wake would help me build one.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
In general, I get inspiration from watching and listening people, hearing their stories. As a young newspaper reporter, I had written a series of feature articles about families with drug and alcohol-addicted teens. The moms talked candidly about their children, their heartbreaking struggles. Those stories stayed with me.
Our daughters were teenagers when I wrote In Leah's Wake, Like most families, we had our challenges, though, thank goodness, they were not remotely akin to the problems the Tyler's face in the book. As a parent, I knew how it felt to be scared, concerned for your children's welfare and future. Those feelings coupled with stories I remembered from the families I'd written about, became In Leah's Wake.
Can you tell us what a normal writing day is like for you?
Ideally, I would blog in the morning and either write or edit my work-in-progress from early afternoon until dinnertime. This schedule doesn't always work. Things come up - I have business issues to deal with or email that needs to be answered. During crunch time at school, when I'm busy editing and grading studens' papers, my own work falls by the wayside. For six months, marketing In Leah's Wake, I've neglected Nowhere to Run, my novel-in-progress, and I'm eager to dig in again.
When I first sit at my desk, especially if I haven't written in a while, I often feel blocked, the editors on my shoulders heckling: A writer? Are you crazy? Nine times out of ten, I dig in; the writing may be choppy at first, but eventually I regain fluidity. If the demons are too loud to ignore, I read. Like meditation or yoga, reading settles my mind, calms me. Soon I find my mind wandering to my story, and I can't wait to start writing.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Most of my stories are about family. I see families and communities as connected - as the Dostoevsky says in the piece I quoted in the epigraph, we're all responsible for each other - and I feel that the actions and behaviours of one affect all. For this reason, I often use multiple points of view. We tend to live and remember shared events differently, from our individual perspective. By using multiple points of view - sometimes overlapping scenes or events - I hope to show this. I also hope, by showing thoughts and motivations, to give readers insight into all the characters.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Believe in yourself. To deal with rejection, boot your computer, day after day, when it seems as if no one cares, the stars are misaligned - to indie publish in a world that still privileges the traditionally published - you have to believe in yourself.
Writing is a lonely profession. Most of the time, we're alone with out work. That loneliness can wear on you, and cause you to question yourself. A community of caring writer friends, supporting and encouraging you, can make all the difference.
Hold onto your dreams. You can make them happen. don't ever give up!
Why should people read In Leah's Wake?
In Leah's Wake tells the story of a family in collapse. Sixteen-year-old Leah, a star soccer player, has led a perfect life. When she meets bad-boy Todd, attracted to his independence, she begins to spread her wings. Drinking, ignoring curfew, dabbling in drugs-this feels like freedom to her; her terrified parents, thinking their losing their daughter, pull the reigns tighter. Unfortunately, they get it all wrong, pushing when they ought to to be pulling, and communication breaks down. Soon, there's no turning back. Twelve-year-old Justine caught between the parents she loves, and the big sister she adores, finds herself in the fight of her life, trying desperately to pull her family together.
In Leah's Wake looks at family and community dynamics. When problems arise, the fallout affects everyone. The Tyler family is far from perfect, but they love and care deeply about one another. Readers often note that they connected with these issues and found the characters compelling, so the book tends wo generate emotional responses from readers. This, I think, makes it a great book for book club discussion.
Jodi Picoult fans often say the book reminds them of hers. I'm not sure she-or I- would agree, but we both write topical family stories. And it's a lovely compliment.
Brag Facts: In Leah's Wake is the recipient of the CTRR Reviewer Recommend Awards and is also the Book Bundlz 2011 Book Club Pick.
Out of the many things I love about In Leah's Wake, One of the front cover, Can you tell us to designed it?
I paid a small press that works with indie authors to do the design. I selected the photo of the empty swing. It conveys the sense of loss that runs through the story, yet, because the swing is in motion, there's also hope. I also like the colours-against, the hopefulness of the summer green sets the tension of the empty swing in relief.
In Leah's Wake, Leah falls into a world of drugs, sex and wild parties, It's something really quite fragile in a way to write about did you find it herd writing and expressing about it in a way you wanted it to come across?
Parents, in wanting to do right by their children, place tremendous pressure on themselves-and each other-to raise perfect kids. These expectations and judgments affect everyone, parents and children, in the family and in the community. When a child rebels, life becomes harder, edgier. To write about these issues, I had to step back, look at the situation from various perspectives, imagine the family's life through this lens, then give each character strong motivations and allow their interactions play out.
The common thread in my body of work is that decent people, often with the best intentions or motivations, sometimes behave badly or do the wrong thing. This interests me-it's certainly the case with In Leah's Wake. For readers to like, or at least understand, your characters, you, the author, must like and respect them. That requires suspending judge,ent, forgiving their mistakes, and seeing them through.
Night Owl or Early Bird?
By nature I'm an early bird. For most of my life, I've been up by 6 a.m. These days I often work into the night, trying to stop on top of things, so I tend to wake later.
The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
The short story writer Andre Dubus wrote some of the most thoughtful, moving stories I've ever read. Although my work pales in comparson, his stories influenced mine. Jessica Treadway , winner of the Flannery O'Connor Awards for Short Fiction for her latest collections, Please Come Back To Me, writes haunting, stunningly gorgeous family stories. Primly short story writers, both in my mind, are grossly under-appreciated. Most readers I talk with don't know who they are. That's the business, unfortunately; still, it feels terribly wrong that such brilliant work reaches the hands of so few readers. I also love Susan Straights elegant work.
I'm addicted to chocolate and shoes, and I have absolutely no sense of direction.
Terri has very kindly offered 3 lucky readers the chance to win a copy each of In Leah's wake & an In Leah's Wake Bookmark!! How awesome is that?
You MUST be a follower of this blog to enter. +1
Follow Terri on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/tglong: +4
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/kerryann93 +3
Must leave your twitter name.
Tweet about this giveaway! +3
Leave direct link!
TOTAL: 11 VOTES!!
Comment below and include your email address, PLEASE count up and total all your votes you've done!
A BIG massive thanks to Terri for taking the time out to answer A LOT of questions for my blog and for offering 3 books as a giveaway.