In an intriguing one sentence, the book is described: A heartbroken woman stumbles upon a diary and steps into the life of its anonymous author.
And the early Praise is impressive:
“Mix a love story, history, and a mystery and what takes root? THE VIOLETS OF MARCH, a novel that reminds us how the past comes back to haunt us, and packs a few great surprises for the reader along the way. “—Jodi Picoult, author of Sing You Home & House Rules
“The Violets of March is a captivating first bloom of a novel, with tangled roots, budding relationships and plenty of twists and turns. Sarah Jio is one talented writer!” —Claire Cook, bestselling author of Must Love Dogs and Seven Year Switch
“An enchanting story of love, betrayal, and the discovery of an old diary that mysteriously links the past to the present. The Violets of March is a delightful debut.” —Beth Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
The Divining Wand has scheduled a presentation/review of The Violets of March for Monday, April 25, 2011 but, in the meantime, lets meet the author through her “official” bio:
A Seattle-based writer and the health and fitness blogger for Glamour.com, Sarah has contributed to major magazines including O, The Oprah Magazine, Woman’s Day, Cooking Light, Glamour, SELF, Real Simple, Redbook, Fitness, Marie Claire, Hallmark magazine, Seventeen, Health, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, The Seattle Times, and many others. She has also appeared as a commentator on NPR’s Morning Edition. Sarah has a degree in journalism and writes about topics that include food, nutrition, health, entertaining, travel, diet/weight loss, beauty, fitness, shopping, psychology, and beyond. Sarah is married, with three little boys, and a rascally golden retriever named Paisley who steals socks.
And now for an upclose look at who Sarah IS:
Q: How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A: Caffeinated. Chaotic. Creative. Happy. Hopeful. Fun. Healthy. Sleep-deprived.
Q: What is your motto or maxim?
A: Right now at this stage in my life juggling work with motherhood, it all boils down to ‘keep it simple.’ I have three little boys (2, 4 and an infant born weeks ago) and I’ve learned that keeping things simple directly correlates to my happiness level.
Q: How would you describe perfect happiness?
A: A happy home filled with my healthy little boys. All I can ask for! And, I’d add to that: Something on the horizon (anything) to look forward to. I love thinking ahead to the next thing—keeps me going and engaged!
Q: What’s your greatest fear?
A: The death of one of my children (oh I’m getting weepy just thinking of it!). And, rodents!
Q: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A: Right here at home in Seattle. I’m a homebody! But, next up: Paris, with my husband. I was there by myself in 2006 for a cooking class, and I kept thinking, ‘why am I here in the city of love without the man I love?!’
Q: With whom in history do you most identify?
A: That’s a tough one, but I like to think I identify with other female authors from the past, especially those that began their writing careers by publishing magazine stories, like L.M. Montgomery, of the famed Anne of Green Gable series (a fave of mine!). I’ve been reading biographies of Montgomery and I see so much of myself in her early years—her curiosity and imagination, her love of getting stories published in magazines, her drive to write as a career and a hobby. She definitely had the same spark and fire for writing that I do. It would be so fun to go back in time to meet her—just not during the winter. The Prince Edward Island winters were unbelievably harsh! Oh, and I think if I’d been a young woman in the 1920’s I would have been a flapper all the way.
Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: Too many to list. I could name dozens of public figures, but I’d say that when it comes right down to it, I admire my grandmother so much (VIOLETS is dedicated to her, Antoinette, and also my late maternal grandmother, Cecelia). She and my late grandfather, were huge supporters of my early “writing,” and encouraged me to keep at it.
Q: What are your most overused words or phrases?
A: Oh too many to count—and many of them are the made-up, baby-talk words my boys have coined over the years. Rent-raunch anyone? That would be “restaurant.”
Q: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: Singing. I wish I could hold a tune. In another life, I’d like to be a jazz singer and pianist. I’m a huge fan of jazz—old and new.
Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: My three sons! Carson, Russell and Colby. And I have a Tiffany charm bracelet that my husband got me with each of their names on little charms. I feel proud every time I look at it—and them.
Q: What’s your greatest flaw?
A: My work-a-holic tendencies. This has fueled my career, but it’s also meant little rest/peace at times in my life. I’m working on finding more balance so I don’t work on weekends as much as I have in the past. My husband and boys are always nagging me to get out of my office and join them for family fun!
Q: What’s your best quality?
A: Oh I feel like I’m giving myself a compliment here, which isn’t my intention, but I think I’m generally a very friendly person, and I hope that people feel a sense of warmth when in my presence. I probably don’t get it right all the time, but I tend to be like my dad: outgoing, talkative and—hopefully—outwardly focused. I think one of the best skills to hone is learning to be genuinely interested in others. It sounds so simple, but so many people struggle with this. My dad has it down, and I hope I’ve inherited the trait!
Q: What do you regret most?
A: Oh dear, this could easily become a confessional booth, but I’d bore you! At present, I have few major regrets (thank goodness for that!), but I do wish I didn’t get that Poodle-esq perm in the 5th grade. Good grief, what was I thinking?
Q: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A: I’d love to have the skills of a pastry chef. I’m a huge fan of cooking, and do fairly well with baking, but to be able to make fancy pastries? I would love to have those skills!
Q: What trait is most noticeable about you?
A: Maybe my curiosity? I have a degree in journalism and have been writing for magazines for 10+ years, so I’m naturally driven to ask a lot of questions and get right to the heart of a matter.
Q: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: Off the top of my head, probably Anne, of Anne of Green Gables (you have to love that spirited redhead!). I used to be such an Anne fan—I even had an Anne of Green Gables cookbook as a girl. True story.
Q: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A: Well, when I was a child, I was pretty fascinated by Cruella de Ville in “101 Dalmatians!” I also think that Nellie from “Little House on the Prairie” was a pretty terrific “mean girl.”
Q: If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: I played tennis as a child and teen, and there was a time when I really and truly wanted to grow up to be just like Jennifer Capriati, the teen tennis sensation of the 80’s/90’s. I think it would be fun to meet her, though I’m not sure what I’d say—maybe I’d confess that she used to be my idol and that I also tried to style my hair like hers. Oh dear, the memories.
Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: Wearing shoes in the home. We have a no-shoes policy in our house (as annoying as it is to some of my best pals—but they understand!)–I just can’t stand the idea of tracking in mud, dirt, germs and whatever was stepped on in the public restroom into the house! Yuck!
Q: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A: Mothering! But sometimes it makes me really crazy, too. Like today, when my 2 year old dumped orange juice on his brother’s head.
Q: What’s your fantasy profession?
A: Again, probably a jazz singer/pianist like Diana Krall (I’m a huge fan!). But I’d get stage fright and it would be a huge flop. Better stick with writing.
Q: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: Integrity. Loyalty. Kindness.
Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: Simple pasta dishes with lots of veggies and Parmesan!
Q: What are your 5 favorite songs?
A: So hard to answer this one, as I have so many, but I’ll share the five fave songs that were a huge part of my writing of THE VIOLETS OF MARCH—songs that inspired so many scenes:
*Toshiko by Jessica Williams (a gorgeous piano ballad which is also the backdrop to my book trailer!)
*Until (a song written by Sting, but I adore the versions by Connie Evingson and Stefon Harris)
*Where I Stood, by Missy Higgs (such a thought-provoking and gorgeous song)
*Body and Soul, by Billie Holiday (this song is a personal favorite and also one that was of great importance to the characters in my book)
*The Waters of March, by Susannah McCorkle (this song INSPIRED my book, which—a little history—was originally titled “The Waters of March,” but got a name change before publication!)
Q: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A: The list is constantly evolving and changes with the seasons, but these ones definitely come to mind: “The Secret Garden” (such fond memories reading as a child!); “The Little House on the Prairie” series (I loved being in Laura’s world!) and the “Anne of Green Gables” books; Maeve Binchy’s books (too many to list—I love her magical story-telling); “Years of Grace” (the 1931 Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel that I read while working with my editor on THE VIOLETS OF MARCH); and most recently “Sarah’s Key,” a book that really moved me.
Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away a copy of Jael McHenry’s The Kitchen Daughter in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post, Jael McHenry and The Kitchen Daughter. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is tonight at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winners to be announced here in tomorrows post. If you enter, please return tomorrow to see if you’re a winner.