Holiday Greetings!

christmas tree coffee

Holiday greetings to you!

The time has come to reflect on the past year and to acknowledge the events in my writing life and my personal life. There have been challenges and setbacks, and plenty of wonderful surprises and great book news with my first novel, A Decent Woman, and my work-in-progress, The Laments. I am grateful for it all!

Book News:

In early 2018, I finally “broke into” my Belgian writing desk with the missing key and discovered more than 30 poems I’d carefully stashed while finishing my first novel. It was a thrilling moment for me. Now I have a fun writing project in the wings, which I will tackle in 2019. I didn’t cause much damage to the keyhole, but the letter opener is kaput—a small price to pay for a stash of poems!

At the beginning of March, my second publisher, Scarlet River Press, closed their doors. I was thrilled for their new adventures but sad that A Decent Woman was no longer for sale on Amazon. Luckily for me, a friend and fellow author kindly offered me a tip and by August, I’d signed with Winter Goose Publishing. I’m happy to say they will republish A Decent Woman in early 2019 with a new book cover (my third).

winter goose publishing logo

I enjoyed rereading A Decent Woman and getting it ready for the editor. Although I didn’t make any changes to the story, I was grateful for the opportunity to fix typos and finesse sentences, and for visiting with my beloved characters, Ana and Serafina. I’m grateful Winter Goose Publishing will also publish my second novel, The Laments, in early Fall 2019. I look forward to receiving the editor’s changes and suggestions, as well as thinking about the new cover, which is always exciting. I very much look forward to working with WGP in the coming years.

Now, if you’re a writer and you’re like me, you’ll appreciate that while I was extremely happy to sign with a third publisher in such a short time, it was a stressful, anxious, and distracting period of time. My second historical novel, The Laments, still a work-in-progress, had to be put on hold a few times while things were sorted out. At that time, the WIP was two-thirds finished, right at the point where the words were flowing nicely, the research nearly complete, and I was getting into the writing groove. Unfortunately, I’ve never been great at multi-tasking when it comes to writing—when I’m writing, I’m writing. I write best with blinders on and distractions give my inner child a chance to binge-watch shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime. Guilty as charged. I’ve now finished Season One and Two of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Goliath, and I’m excited for The Crown to begin in January. It’s historical fiction, so I put that under ‘Research’.

HistoricalFiction Centro de PR image

In October, the Center of Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, CUNY, kindly invited me to sit on a historical fiction panel. Despite a heavy downpour that evening, there was a full house and wonderful discussions about reaching/teaching new audiences for historical fiction; in this case, Puerto Rican history. I was proud to participate and happy to share the table with two talented and enthusiastic Puerto Rican authors–Dr. Virginia Sanchez-Korrol and Dr. Vanessa Perez-Rosario, who moderated the event.

From the flyer — “Two authors speak about their books using historical fiction to relate the female narrative in the 19th Century (one in NYC and the other in Puerto Rico). Dr. Virgina Sanchez-Korrol’s newest book “The Season of Rebels and Roses” is a historical novel for teens which follows women’s involvement in the nineteenth-century independence movements to free Puerto Rico and Cuba from Spain.  Eleanor Parker Sapia’s first novelA Decent Woman”, a 2016 & 2017 International Latino Book Award winner, is set against the combustive backdrop of 19th century Ponce, Puerto Rico. The book explores the battle of two women from different backgrounds who defend their dignity against the pain of betrayal in a male-dominated society resistant to change.”

Personal News:

In April, I spent two fabulous weeks in Puerto Rico with my sister. We enjoyed three wonderful days in Old San Juan without our rental car being towed (very limited parking in OSJ!), and finally, I made it to Isla de Cabras, the setting of my second book, The Laments. What a thrill to explore the ruins of the old leprosarium, walk the islet, and to speak with an older gentleman, who shared fascinating historical tidbits with me, “For the book!”

cropped-cropped-el-morro11.jpg

Sadly, the after-effects of Hurricane Maria were still evident on the islet and on the mainland as we drove along the coasts and through mountain towns with non-working traffic lights, piles of debris, abandoned homes, and hundreds of blue FEMA tarps. Everyone we met had a story. We listened with constricted hearts and tears, but there was also hope for better days and joy as we swam in beautiful waters and enjoyed wonderful meals. We made new memories with family and friends in Ponce, and as always, we missed Puerto Rico and our family as soon as we boarded our flight back to the DC area. It’s a horrible feeling to leave mi isla. I feel as if I’m leaving my mother, grandparents, my family, and ancestors, all over again, until the next visit.

In August, my intrepid son and his girlfriend decided to travel throughout Asia for a few months. They managed to escape the monsoons and heavy floods in India and two major typhoons in the Philippines and Taiwan before returning to Thailand, where they intend to stay for three more months. While I’m happy for them and I love the photographs and stories they’ve shared of their adventures, the stress levels are a bit higher than usual at home, smile. Before he left on his adventure, my brilliant son developed an app he says I won’t understand and still owns an IT company, so I know he won’t starve.

In a few months, my daughter, a brilliant therapist who lives and works in Northern Virginia, will receive her licensure after years of study (a Masters degree in Mental Health) and hard work. She is well-deserving and we couldn’t be happier for her or more proud of her. Her clients and supervisors love her and of course, I already knew they would, smile. My daughter is happy and in love, so the world looks rosy and hopeful. We look forward to our first trip to Thailand next year to visit my son and his girlfriend. I’m one proud Mama!

After seven years of living in this old house, I’m painting again, walls, that is. I’m tackling one room at a time and I stop when my shoulders tell me to quit. It’s slow going, but I’ll get there. And with winter in full swing and writing full-time, let’s face it; it’s the only exercise I get! My Chihuahua named Sophie is still my best little buddy and still snoozes in a chair next to me as I write. I can’t imagine life without her.

Dear Reader, I wish you and your family a safe, happy, and blessed holiday season and all the best in 2019. This time of year is tough for many, so please reach out to others who might need a smiling face, a little conversation, or an invitation to share a holiday meal. I’ll be doing the same in my neck of the woods.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the “new” edition of A Decent Woman and the release of The Laments. I hope you’ll like my books as much as I enjoy writing them.

A tip: If you subscribe to my writing blog and my website, you’ll get new book news much quicker, smile. Thank you in advance.

Happy Holidays!

Eleanor x

Advertisements

New Cover Reveal, New Beginnings!

Yesterday I found out that the new cover of ‘A Decent Woman’ (ebook) is on Amazon! Kudos and many thanks to the multi-talented Ally Bishop and her awesome team at Scarlet River Press, an imprint of Sixth Street River Press, for coming up with the super retro, artsy cover with the lovely title font. The woman in the image reminded Ally of the character Serafina, and I have to agree! I love the colors and how they match the International Latino Book Awards badge, which I’m very proud to display.

The paperback will be available on Amazon soon! I can’t wait to hold a copy of my “new” book.

I love fresh, new beginnings, don’t you? Have a super week, everyone!

Ponce, Puerto Rico, at the turn of the century

Ana Belén Opaku, an Afro-Cuban born into slavery, is a proud midwife, the only one in La Playa. After testifying at an infanticide trial, Ana is forced to reveal a dark secret from her past while she continues to hide a more sinister one. Pitted against the parish priest Padre Vicénte and the young Doctór Héctor Rivera, Ana must fight to preserve her twenty-five-year career.

Serafina is a respectable young widow with two small children who marries a wealthy merchant from a distinguished family. When she’s attacked during her pregnancy, she and Ana become allies in an ill-conceived plan to avoid scandal and preserve Serafina’s honor.

Set against the combustive backdrop of a chauvinistic society where women are treated as possessions, Eleanor Parker Sapia explores the battle of two women defending their dignity against the pain of betrayal in a society resistant to change.

ABOUT ELEANOR PARKER SAPIA

ellie

Award winning novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was born in Puerto Rico and raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s career paths as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language family support worker and refugee case worker, continue to inspire her stories.

Eleanor’s debut novel, ‘A Decent Woman, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico, is published by Sixth Street River Press. The book is a finalist for Best Historical Fiction, English, in the 2016 International Latino Book Awards with Latino Literacy Now, and was selected as Book of the Month by Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club. Eleanor is featured in the award-winning anthology, ‘Latina Authors and Their Muses’, edited by Mayra Calvani. Eleanor is a proud member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, The National Association of Professional Women, and the Historical Novel Society. She is a contributing writer at Organic Coffee, Haphazardly Literary Society.

When not writing, Eleanor loves facilitating creativity groups, reading, gardening, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time. She adores her two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is at work on her second novel, ‘The Laments of Sister Maria Inmaculada’ and thinking about the sequel to ‘A Decent Woman’ titled, ‘Mistress of Coffee’.

http://amzn.to/1X0qFvK

 

New Anthology: Latina Authors And Their Muses

Latina Authors and Their Muses

Final book cover Latina Authors and Their Muses

Eleanor Parker Sapia is honored to be featured in the new anthology, Latina Authors and Their Muses, edited by Mayra Calvani. The anthology, which highlights 40 respected Latina authors, …”is a celebration of creativity, the writer’s life, the passionate quest for spiritual and artistic freedom.”

Enjoy an excerpt from Eleanor:

“In many descriptive passages in the book, I see where my painterly eye took over. Knowing the ins and outs of painting, and understanding the necessary patience and discipline helped me with writing—like already speaking the local language when you visit a new country. Building layers, focusing on details, always the details, and highlighting the nuances, light, and dark parts in a painting, are a lot like writing.”

The ebook version debuted September 25th, 2015 through Twilight Times Books. The paperback version will be available in December 2015.

ABOUT ELEANOR PARKER SAPIA

ellie

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language social worker and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. She is a member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, and the Historical Novel Society. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico. The book was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends Latino Book Club. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, The Island of Goats.

A Decent Woman is available for Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.

amazon.com/-/e/B00U05ZO9M

Barnes & Noble for Nook and in paperback.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-decent-woman-eleanor-parker-sapia/1121258236?ean=9781620154007

La Casa Azul Bookstore    143 E. 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029         info.lacasaazul@gmail.com

http://www.eleanorparkersapia.com

@eleanorparkerwv

http://www.facebook.com/eleanorparkersapia

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: ANESA MILLER

The Writing Life is very pleased to welcome, Anesa Miller, author of the debut novel, Our Orbit.

AMiller

Anesa Miller is a recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council. She studied writing at Kenyon College and the University of Idaho. Her work has been published in The Kenyon Review, The California Quarterly, the Southern Humanities Review, and others. Her debut novel, Our Orbit, releases from Booktrope of Seattle in June 2015. Anesa currently divides her time between Ohio and the Pacific Northwest.

What is your book’s genre?

That’s a question I’m especially interested in! Debate has been raging recently over what defines the various genres. Mine is a bit controversial, but I’ll claim it anyway: literary fiction. I can also call my book “contemporary fiction,” in hopes people won’t consider me a snob!

OOBTeCover

Please describe what Our Orbit is about.

Our Orbit is set in the 1990s and follows a series of encounters between two families who’ve lived in the same small town for generations but have rarely crossed paths. They live on the proverbial opposite sides of the tracks. After losing both of her parents, the youngest daughter from the poor family enters a new world when she is placed in foster care with the educated, middle-class family. The young foster parents quickly come to love their “new little girl.” Then they meet the rest of her relatives: brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins. Connections and conflicts ensue.

How did you come up with the title?

I ran through an array of titles over the almost 8 years that the basic plot spent as a short story. I settled on “Our Orbit” because it suggests a homey routine as well as cosmic balance: Things held at a distance but in a kind of harmony. After I chose this title, I stumbled upon the phrase “our orbit” in Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird. That book focuses on children and everyday life in a small town with social problems, so I felt encouraged and stopped trying to think of a better title. You see, earlier, I had gotten some criticism that readers might assume my book was science fiction because of the term “orbit.” I finally decided not to worry about that.

What is the reason you wrote Our Orbit?

At first, I had a very intellectual purpose in writing the story. I wanted to portray conflicting beliefs among people who can’t simply ignore each other or pretend their views are compatible. The foster child in the story brings notions to her new home that could be considered far-out. For example, she believes that her uncle was abducted by aliens—her whole family supported this legend. But the foster mother feels threatened because her biological children are younger and might pick up wacky ideas.

This struck me as a serious, yet potentially comical, scenario that would be fun to explore in fiction. But over the years that it took me to draft the complete novel, I came to realize that I had subconscious reasons for gravitating to my topic. I lost my mother when I was 16 and my father when I was 26. Although I was never in a foster care system, I have a natural sympathy for children—and adults for that matter—who’ve experienced a loss of family. I wrote three novels before I really noticed that this theme runs throughout my work: the condition of being an orphan. Or of young people whose parents are alive but unavailable to care for them.

What is your favorite part of writing? 

My favorite part of the writing process is when some new insight comes clear to me—like in the situation described above, when I saw the obvious connection between my characters’ situation and patterns in my own life. On the surface nothing was similar; only the subconscious link.

And in the writing life, my favorite thing is no doubt the same as most writers’: When someone I’ve never met before reaches out, maybe through a review or a message, to say that they enjoyed my book. That’s what I live for.

What is the most challenging aspect of writing?

Keeping faith that the effort is worthwhile in times when no one reaches out.

Who are some of your favorite authors? 

Among classic novelists, I love Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Wharton, and Woolf. Among contemporaries—Alice Munro, Louise Erdrich, Kazuo Ishiguro, Barbara Kingsolver, Kent Haruf, and lots of others.

What authors or person(s) have influenced you?

I’ve had wonderful teachers. Their work and advice is in a class by itself. To mention a few, there’s Kim Barnes (author of In the Kingdom of Men); Nancy Zafris (The People I Know and Metal Shredders); Joy Passanante (The Art of Absence); Mary Clearman Blew, (This Is Not the Ivy League); and Daniel Orozco (Orientation and Other Stories).

And, of course, there were my high school English teachers, Mr. Jensen and Mrs. Grandee. Both were very dedicated and remain special to me.

But my most crucial influence in every way was my mother. She was the first in her family to attend a university. She majored in chemistry and became a medical technologist but always loved literature and all the arts. When I was little, she read poetry out loud and taught us to appreciate the beauty of language. Quite a few years after her death, I learned from my aunt that my mother’s favorite novel had been the same as mine! At that time, The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky was my favorite.

Anesa, what’s your favorite place to write?

Any quiet place but with regular distractions so I don’t forget to move around once in a while. The “sedentary lifestyle” is a killer! For the most part, I write best at home. I like to stand up and stretch, which gets awkward at a coffeehouse. I try to set a timer for 25 minutes throughout the day so I stop and do that. At least, when I’m being good that’s what I do.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

Before I developed foot troubles a few years ago, I used to be an enthusiastic walker. I would trek over a mile with my backpack to pick up a few things at the supermarket. I cut behind the big box stores to avoid busy streets. If health and urban design would permit, I’d love to live “car-free.”

Any surprises or learning experiences with the publishing process?

I never thought I would self-publish but wound up bringing out two books. I thought I would never find a publisher—then, that happened, too! So it has been a series of surprises.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you with this book?

I have a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing, and when I was looking forward to starting that program at the University of Idaho, I made a plan for my thesis: I wanted to develop my troublesome short story into a novel. At that point, I had written two previous novels, but they didn’t seem as promising. Something told me that Our Orbit could be a book readers would warm to.

Any advice for writers looking to get published?

Use every kind of writing to gain practice: emails, birthday cards, blog comments, non-fiction gigs, shopping lists—everything! It’s all grist for the mill of “honing your craft.” And don’t send anything to a publisher that you might be embarrassed to see again a few months from now. In other words, don’t rush!

Social media links:

Website: www.AnesaMiller.com

Blog: http://www.anesamiller.com/?cat=2

Pinterest  www.pinterest.com/anesam98/

Facebook  www.facebook.com/anesamillerauthor

Twitter  twitter.com/anesam98

OOBTeCover

Where can we find your book?

Booktrope makes it available through all major online retailers. These links are available now, but iTunes and others should be coming soon:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Our-Orbit-Anesa-Miller/dp/1620157233/

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/our-orbit-anesa-miller/1119914300?ean=9781620157237

And by order from most brick-and-mortar bookstores!

What’s next for you, Anesa?

Here’s hoping I find the energy to finish another novel. I have one underway with a similar Appalachian setting to Our Orbit. And I also have a short story collection going into production soon. It’s called To Green Camp, and it presents of a diverse cast of characters who all encounter life-changing adventures. It is scheduled to be published by Booktrope later this year.

Thanks for visiting The Writing Life, Anesa! I look forward to reading Our Orbit. I wish you much success with your new release!

About Eleanor Parker Sapia

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language social worker and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. She is a member of PEN America and the Historical Novel Society. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, reads, and is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico. The book was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends Latino Book Club. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, The Island of Goats.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Julia Park Tracey

I’m very pleased to welcome author and poet laureate, Julia Park Tracey to The Writing Life.

Julia Park Tracey pic

Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning author, journalist and blogger. Julia was the founding editor, and later, publisher, of The Alameda Sun. Her work has appeared in Salon, Quill, and Thrillist. She is the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, and holds a BA in journalism and MA in English.

Her published work includes the novels Veronika Layne Gets the Scoop, Veronika Layne Has a Nose for News (Booktrope), and Tongues of Angels; two biographies, I’ve Got Some Lovin’ to Do: Diaries of a Roaring Twenties Teen and Reaching for the Moon: More Diaries of a Roaring Twenties Teen; and Amaryllis: Collected Poems.

Welcome, Julia!

What is your book’s genre/category?

Veronika Layne Gets the Scoop is the first in a chicklit mystery series about a 20-something newspaper reporter trying to fight the good fight.

Veronika book cover

Please describe what the story/book is about.

Veronika Layne. Sassy, tattooed, twenty-something newspaper reporter. Never saw herself working for the “man.” When her small weekly is swallowed up by Singh Media Group, that’s exactly where she ends up. Stuck writing fluff pieces that might as well be ads, how can she resist digging into rumors that a real estate developer is destroying native burial grounds? Warned away at every turn by her editor, she worries whether the story will see the light of day? And, dazzled by her sexy rival-turned-coworker, what is she going to do about her love life?

How did you come up with the title?

Veronika is a good Greek name (she’s Greek) that means True Image. Lois Lane was a female reporter (in Superman), so I put the two together for Veronika Layne. Getting the scoop is getting the story first, getting the inside information. She gets it – but not how she envisions it.

What is the reason you wrote this book?

I am a poet and lit-fic writer, as well as a working journalist. I put some of those pieces together and came up with the character, and wrote a lighter, fun story using my mad skills.

What is your favorite part of writing?

Finishing. Reading what I wrote and feeling satisfied.

What is the most challenging aspect of writing?

Getting started. I have to have a deadline to light a fire under my feet.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

I love Jane Austen (she’s a perennial favorite…but I just love her narrative arc.) I also love the domestic novels of WW2 and the first half of the 20th century – Monica Dickens, Dorothy Whipple, and DE Stevenson – I love these women and their fortitude.

What authors or person(s) have influenced you?

I learned a lot about chicklit and the sassy shorter form from reading Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding. I learned how to include multiple POVs from Jane Smiley. I learned the sweeping arc from Austen as well as from Nevil Shute.

Favorite place to write?

Best place to write poetry is when I’m on vacation. On the deck of a cabin or at the beach. Best place to get longform writing done is at my desk. No joke – business gets done there.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

I almost became a forest ranger instead of a journalist. I am very interested in eco-living, recycling, sustainable living, and other green topics. I have never lived in a redwood tree but we have a house in a redwood grove, and that’s close enough.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you with this book?

I kept the tone light. When I get too ponderous (too poetic), I have to remember that I’m not writing an essay or a sonnet. I’m writing New Adult fiction – it’s joyous and playful. I need to cultivate that side of me.

Any advice for writers looking to get published?

There is no easy way out. You have to do the work. No one publishes the first draft – it takes many times to get the words right. Be willing to learn and open to critiques, and just keep writing. It won’t write itself, you know!

Website?

www.juliaparktracey.com

Where can we find your book?

Any bookstore can order from Ingram; Amazon has it right this very second.

What’s next for you?

A second Veronika Layne novel is on its way to bookstores, with a drop date of June 1. That novel, book #2 in the Hot Off the Press series, is called Veronika Layne Has a Nose for News. More hijinks for our sassy heroine.

And later this year, I have a contemporary novel called Whoa, Nellie that is heading for publication as well.

Thanks for a fun interview, Julia! Best wishes with Veronika Layne Has a Nose for News!

About Eleanor Parker Sapia

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language social worker and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. She is a member of PEN America and the Historical Novel Society. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, reads, and is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the century Puerto Rico. The book was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends Latino Book Club. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, The Island of Goats.

A DECENT WOMAN available on Amazon 

amazon.com/-/e/B00U05ZO9M

Author Interview: E.C. Moore

It is my pleasure to welcome fellow Booktrope author,

E.C. Moore, to The Writing Life.

Liz Author Small

EC Moore is the author of INCURABLE, to be released by Booktrope Publishing July 2015. When Elizabeth’s not writing feverishly, you will find her out walking or sightseeing. She’s crazy about coffee, books, cooking, good wine, cairn terriers, miniature ponies, historical houses, tapas, and witty people.

She resides in a fifties bungalow in Southern California, with her creative-director husband, a yappy blonde dog, and one feisty Chihuahua.

What is your book’s genre/category?

Historical Fiction.

Please describe what the story/book is about.

Los Angeles 1956Marilyn Palmer is a beauty with a deep dark secret. After a threatening blackmail note arrives with the milk bottles on the porch of the bucolic home she shares with her doctor husband and young daughter, she hires a private eye to keep her unsavory past hidden.

Incurable is a story wrought with impetuous and regrettable decisions made by a desperate young woman. Barely eighteen years old, and a gifted seamstress, she makes the ill-fated decision to run away from her Detroit home with a wily friend. Bound for Hollywood, and seeking stardom, the girls set out on an incredible journey.

This splendidly imagined debut explores the tumultuous life and times of a woman who suffered the ultimate betrayal as a child during the Great Depression. A tale of survival set against the backdrop of early Hollywood, misery on Hotel Street in Honolulu before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and heartbreak in Los Angeles during WWII. Incurable delivers emotional intensity with each turn of the page.

Incurable Cover Final

How did you come up with the title?

The Incurable title was pulled from an overall exploratory theme woven throughout the narrative, one’s struggle to understand our own mortality and that of those we love, has always fascinated me.

What is the reason you wrote this book?

The premise was born from a documentary I watched on the History Channel about sex practices during WWII. I was shocked to learn about military condoned prostitution in Honolulu before and during the war. I wondered how all those young girls ended up prostitutes, servicing sailors and soldiers—three minutes for three dollars—on Hotel Street. I immersed myself in researching their stories, and that’s how my protagonist was conceived.

What is your favorite part of writing?

I enjoy every step—working out the initial conception, flushing out the characters, devising plot twists and relationships, and most of all re-writing. I’m an odd duck because I’m into re-writing and editing.

What is the most challenging aspect of writing?

For me, the challenge is dealing with constantly being interrupted. I could write for hours on end, if only real life could be put on hold. I have a fantasy of renting a cabin in the woods and going off to pen my next book. But I don’t think that’s likely to happen anytime soon. I settle for taping a sign on my office door reading, KEEP OUT!

Who are some of your favorite authors? 

Hemingway, Anne Tyler, Larry McMurtry, Alice Munro, Truman Capote, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and John Irving, to name just a few.

What authors or person(s) have influenced you?

My dad was a storyteller, the best I’ve ever seen. He could keep an entire room of people entertained for hours. As far as writers go, I have to choose Hemingway because when I was in high school I read The Three Day Blow, and that’s when I knew I wanted to strive to be the best writer I could be.

Favorite place to write?

Anywhere, coffee houses are a favorite. But mostly I write at home.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

I was reading at the ripe old age of three. My mother said I just taught myself somehow, but I think it had something to do with having a big brother who was eight years older to mimic. He taught me to write out my long name in cursive, and when I first attended kindergarten and showed my teacher she couldn’t believe it.

Any surprises or learning experiences with the publishing process?

You must cut, edit, and proofread till your ears bleed. And good editors are hard to come by.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you with this book?

I listened to the stories my elders told. I transformed many of their accounts into fictional people in a fictional setting.

Any advice for writers looking to get published?

Never give up. Never stop writing and never stop trying. Don’t jump the gun and send subpar work to agents or publishers. The more you write the better you’ll get. And read, read, read. Someone who doesn’t love to read can’t possibly produce a great book.

Website? 

ecmooreauthor.com

Where can we find your book?

Incurable will be published by Booktrope Publishing July 2015.

What’s next for you?

My next book, Every Big & Little Wish will be out in the late summer/early fall of 2015. I am currently writing Insatiable, a follow up to Incurable, look for it in 2016.

Thanks for a great interview, Elizabeth! I look forward to reading Incurable, and wish you much success with the book!

 

About Eleanor Parker Sapia

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language social worker and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. She is a member of PEN America and the Historical Novel Society. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, reads, and is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the century Puerto Rico. The book was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends Latino Book Club. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, The Island of Goats.

A DECENT WOMAN available on Amazon 

amazon.com/-/e/B00U05ZO9M

Author Interview: Eric Douglas

The Writing Life is very pleased to welcome Eric Douglas, author of Return to Cayman.

Eric Douglas headshot

Life is an adventure for author Eric Douglas, above and below the water, and wherever in the world he ends up. Eric received a degree in Journalism from Marshall University. He has worked in local newspapers where he honed his skills as a story teller. Following a stint as a freelance journalist in the former Soviet Union, Eric became a dive instructor. Not too much later, he became a Diving Medical Technician. Moving from California to North Carolina, he became the Director of the Training and Education Department at Divers Alert Network. The ocean and diving have factored into all his novels since then.

What is your book’s genre/category?

I write in a couple different genres, but my primary series of books, the Mike Scott series, is Action/Thriller/Suspense.

Please describe what the story/book is about.

Return to Cayman is the sixth book in the series. They are all thrillers set in island/exotic locations with an underwater/scuba diving theme. I’ve had the good fortune to work in the scuba diving industry for nearly 20 years, and it has taken me to some beautiful places, all of which have (or will) be settings for books. My first novel, Cayman Cowboys, was set on Grand Cayman. For my latest book, my character is returning to Grand Cayman after being away for 10 years. Just about all of my stories contain an environmental element, and it is forefront in this one, but the primary theme/problem is cybercrime.

RtCayman book cover

How did you come up with the title?

Cayman Cowboys came out in 2005, so for this 10th anniversary, I wanted to take Mike Scott back. And Return to Cayman was born. It just made sense. Plus, from a marketing perspective, Cayman is a recognized place and I thought that would appeal to people interested in traveling vicariously to the islands.

What is the reason you wrote this book?

All my stories have some element of history or current events in them. In August of 2014, a cruise ship dropped anchor on a reef in Grand Cayman, destroying a section of reef. The locals and the dive community are working to restore the reef. The first action sequence in the book covers a cruise ship grounding and then spins off on tangents. It gave me a chance to talk about what happens to the reef when something like that happens. I also plan to donate a portion of the first couple month’s royalties to the reef recovery effort.

What is your favorite part of writing?

I always tell people I love to write because it keeps the voices in my head quiet. Or at least quieter…

What is the most challenging aspect of writing?

Focus.  My voices come up with so many great ideas, it is hard for me to pick and choose the stories that will make it all the way to the end. And, of course, in the middle of a book, when it feels like a slog and you are never going to get through it, it is so easy to get distracted with something new and shiny.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

I grew up on science fiction: Asimov, Clarke, Bradbury. In my 20’s I really got into Tom Clancy. I’ve read just about everything from Clive Cussler and others in that vein. I really enjoyed The Art Forger by Barbara Shapiro recently, and I’m on my third book by Sheila Redling right now.

What authors or person(s) have influenced you?

From a writing/stylistic perspective, I’d have to say Clancy and Cussler. Clancy for the detail and the ability to weave multiple, disparate storylines together and end up at the same place. Cussler for the unabashed adventure and fun. I hope I do them both justice. I’d also have to give a hat-tip to Jacques Cousteau and reading National Geographic all my life for the desire to explore the world and the ocean.

Favorite place to write?

I have a home office. In the winter, I’m there, and I love to have a fire in the fireplace. That always gets me in the mood for writing. As soon as the air temperature breaks 50 degrees, if it is sunny, I am out on the patio writing. That’s really where it all takes off for me.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

Even though I have a public persona, and I really do enjoy talking to people and gain so much energy from it, I’m not an extrovert. I’m an intensely private person. I love listening to others, but I rarely share many personal details.

Any surprises or learning experiences with the publishing process?

Probably the best learning experience is that there is no magic bullet. I’ve read (or at least started) some terrible books that are best-sellers and read a literary genius that sold a couple hundred copies. Anyone who tells you they have the “secret” to selling 1000’s of books is lying to you. It is hard work and something you have to push every day.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you with this book?

Return to Cayman came out a week or so ago, and what I think I’ve done better with this book than any of the previous ones is to begin promoting it early in the process, and to gain supporters who can help me promote it. By offering to donate a portion of the proceeds to the reef recovery effort, for example, I have a group of people who also have a vested interest in seeing the book do well.

Any advice for writers looking to get published?

Everyone always tells you to read. I agree, but my advice is to learn about everything you can. Volunteer for everything you can; you never know where it will lead you. In my professional career, if I hadn’t refinanced my car in 1993 to take a trip to Russia, I never would have been hired by the biggest diving company in California in 1998. If I hadn’t done that, I never would have gotten the chance to study diving medicine, and to move to another company in 2000 that opened numerous other doors. You never know where things will lead and if you don’t explore those avenues, just because, you will miss out.

Website?

I’ve had the same website since 2005 when I only had one book. I was optimistic. http://www.booksbyeric.com/

Where can we find your book?

Print books are available at all the online retailers, including Amazon. My ebook versions are on Kindle.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently putting the finishing touches to a novella, in a series of short stories I created, set on a fictional island in the Florida Keys. In June, I am taking on an oral history project (I also write non-fiction, documentary work), and I really want to work on a period story set in Charleston, WV in 1890 around the salt industry. It is a spin-off from a collaborative book I wrote with several other writers called River Town.

Thanks for a great interview, Eric. I wish you much success with your books, and happy traveling! Eleanor

 

About Eleanor Parker Sapia

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s work as a counselor, alternative health practitioner, a Spanish language social worker and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. She is a member of PEN America and the Historical Novel Society. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, and is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the century Puerto Rico. The book was selected as 2015 July Las Comadres & Friends Latino Book Club, Book of the Month. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children and she currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, The Island of Goats.

A DECENT WOMAN available now on Amazon amazon.com/-/e/B00U05ZO9M