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Archive for the ‘Q&A’

The Revealing of Erika Robuck

August 28, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles, Q&A

Historical fiction author Erika Robuck’s (Receive Me Falling) stunning novel Hemingway’s Girl releases next Tuesday, September 4th after a glorious spring/summer buzz. Seriously, as early as May 24th, Cindy Adams in her New York Post article Lots to read as summer kicks off noted the book and then critical raves followed.

“Robuck brings Key West to life, and her Hemingway is fully fleshed out and believable, as are Mariella and others. Readers will delight in the complex relationships and vivid setting.”
Publishers Weekly

“Robuck’s breathtaking alchemy is to put us inside the world of Hemingway and his wife Pauline… Dazzlingly written and impossibly moving, this novel is a supernova.”
Caroline Leavitt, New York Times Bestselling author of Pictures of You

“Writing in clear and supple prose, Erika Robuck evokes a setting of the greatest fascination…This is assured and richly enjoyable storytelling.”
Margaret Leroy, Author of The Soldier’s Wife

“Robuck brings to vivid life the captivating and volatile world of a literary legend. Like a Key West hurricane, Hemingway’s Girl gains power and momentum, destroying much in its path, and reminds the reader of the strength found in healing.”
Kristina McMorris, author of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

“Robuck pens a love letter to all of us who ache to have more Hemingway. Set against the enchanting, tempestuous landscape of Key West in the 1930s, Hemingway’s Girl imagines the powerful and resilient women behind the mythical man. An inspiring story of heartache and renewal. Readers will be sure to enjoy this ode to a literary icon.”
Sarah McCoy, author of The Baker’s Daughter and The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico

“Fans of Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife will adore Erika Robuck’s spellbinding tale of Hemingway and the fiercely independent Cuban girl he befriends in 1930s Key West. Robuck is a gifted storyteller, and in Hemingway’s Girl, she brings the literary legend to life: his passions for boxing and fishing, the tumult of his second marriage, his curious tenderness toward Mariella whose beauty he is enthralled by and whose grit he admires. Evocative and taut, Hemingway’s Girl is an irresistible, exhilarating story of love and adventure, impossible to put down.”
Dawn Tripp, bestselling author of Game of Secrets

The Divining Wand has scheduled an interview with Erika Robuck for tomorrow but, for today, let’s meet the author through her “official” bio:

ERIKA ROBUCK was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland. Inspired by the cobblestones, old churches, Georgian homes, and mingling of past and present from the Eastern Shore, to the Annapolis City Dock, to the Baltimore Harbor, her passion for history is well nourished.

Her first novel, RECEIVE ME FALLING, is a best books awards finalist in historical fiction from USA Book News. Her second novel, HEMINGWAY’S GIRL, has been acquired by NAL/Penguin and is scheduled for publication on September 4, 2012. Her third novel, CALL ME ZELDA, will follow.

Erika is a contributor to popular fiction blog, Writer Unboxed, and maintains her own blog called Muse. She is a member of the Maryland Writer’s Association, The Hemingway Society, and The Historical Novel Society. She spends her time on the East Coast with her husband and three sons.

And now it’s time to get to know Erika upclose and personal:

Q. How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A. Where boys, God, books, and coffee are juggled.

Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. “There is no friend as loyal as a book.” –Ernest Hemingway

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. Perfect happiness is my three boys and husband in perfect health, playing in a gentle surf, where I sit with my toes in the water, reading a book.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. Losing my children. My children losing me at a young age. Ticks.

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. I would be in Key West at the Hemingway House, writing at the desk of Ernest Hemingway.

Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. I most identify with author, Kate Chopin. She wrote while raising her children.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. I most admire my father. He works full time, is a deacon, visits prisoners, counsels those approaching marriage and baptism, and is a caregiver for my homebound mother, among other things.

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. In writing: “just” and “such.” While scolding my children: “You know what…(blah blah blah).”

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. I would absolutely love to be able to play the piano. I’m so bitter that my parents didn’t force me to take lessons when I was a child.

Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Finishing a novel and finding an agent and publisher after nearly a decade of rejection feels like it’s up there.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. An obsessive need for a clean inbox before I can get to work.

Q. What’s your best quality?
A. Irreverent humor.

Q. What do you regret most?
A. Not finding out more about my grandmother’s polygamous father from Ireland. ‘Tis a story that begs to be told.

Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. I would be Hemingway’s boat, Pilar, in his lifetime. He had many mighty sea adventures on that beauty.

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I love make up, especially lipstick. I wear it always.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Juliet Ashton from THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. I adore Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz from the Disney show Phineas and Ferb. My boys have turned me on to that loveable mad scientist.

Q. If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. NHL Player Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburg Penguins— “Please sign all of these jerseys, pucks, and sticks for my boys.”

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. When people don’t respond promptly to email or phone calls.

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Boating with my family.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. I’d like to work at the Hemingway House in Key West doing anything from giving tours to cleaning the writing studio.

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Following through on one’s word, compassion, and not taking oneself too seriously.

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Peanut Butter bagels. Yummy.

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. Into the Mystic (Van Morrison), Moonlight Sonata (Beethoven), From Here You Can Almost See the Sea (David Gray), One Prairie Outpost (Carbon Leaf), Rhapsody in Blue (George Gershwin)

Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. Possession (A. S. Byatt), Emma (Jane Austen), Atonement (Ian McEwan), The Reed of God (Caryll Houselander), The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway)

In addition to being remarkably talented, Erika has a lovely positive and thoughtful nature that can be enjoyed by following her on Twitter and becoming friends on Facebook. Also please remember to return here tomorrow for the interview with Erika about Hemingway’s Girl!

The Revealing of Anita Hughes

June 07, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles, Q&A

Born in Sydney, Australia, Anita Hughes began her writing career at age eight, when she won a national writing contest in THE AUSTRALIAN newspaper, and was named “One of Australia’s Next Best Writers.” Fast forward to the present with Anita, now living in California, taking her bow as a novelist when Monarch Beach debuts on Tuesday, June 19th.

Best described as a novel about one woman’s journey back to happiness after an affair splinters her perfect marriage and life—what it means to be loved, betrayed and to love again., Monarch Beach has been selected for Los Angeles Magazine’s The Reading List – June ’12 and also has received the following Advanced Praise:

“With honesty and heart, glamour and grit, Anita Hughes tells the inspiring story of an unusual woman discovering life on her own terms and finally spreading her wings. Loved it.” 
— Melissa Senate, author of The Love Goddess’ Cooking School



“Absolutely riveting and brimming with emotion. Monarch Beach charmed me from the very first page.” — Jane Porter, author of She’s Gone Country



“An utterly delightful debut about one woman’s journey of self-discovery. With a flair for fun, fashion and passion, Anita Hughes delivers a captivating story and characters that sparkle with life. Monarch Beach is an inspiring beach read.” — Ellen Meister, author of The Other Life



“Chick Lit takes a walk on the privileged side in Anita Hughes’ debut novel, Monarch Beach, about an heiress who loses one fairy tale, only to discover that – with the right attitude! – life is one big adventure. Easy-breezy fun.” — Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of The Thin Pink Line and Little Women and Me

The Divining Wand has scheduled a return visit with Anita Hughes on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 but, today, let’s meet this author through her “official” bio:

Anita Hughes was born in Sydney, Australia. At the age of eight, she won first prize in a nationwide writing contest sponsored by THE AUSTRALIAN, Australia’s most prestigious newspaper. She graduated from Bard College with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Creative Writing, and attended UC Berkeley’s Masters in Creative Writing Program. She lives at The St. Regis Monarch Beach, where she is at work on her next novel.

And now it’s time to get to know Anita much better by going upclose and personal:

Q. How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A. Writing and walking along the beach at sunset.

Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. Nothing succeeds like success.

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. Sitting on the balcony of the St. Regis and watching the sun set over Catalina Island.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. Tsuanmis.

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. I live in a villa at the St. Regis, Monarch Beach. What could be better?

Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. Sacajawea because she accomplished so much with a baby strapped to her hip.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. Joan Didion – for being able to write for so many decades.

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. Stop that!

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. To be a great chef.

Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Raising great children.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. I over think things.

Q. What’s your best quality?
A. My sense of humor.

Q. What do you regret most?
A. Not being able to stay in college forever!

Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. Danielle Steele because she has written over 100 books and the ideas keep coming.

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I’m quite petite.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Philip Carey in Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Edward Casaubon in Middlemarch by George Eliot.

Q. If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. David Beckham – “Congratulations on your beautiful family.”

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. Finishing reading a book without having another good one lined up.

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Reading at the beach.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. I don’t think there’s any better job than being an author.

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Honesty, loyalty and ambition.

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Frozen yoghurt. My favorite flavors are cake batter and peanut butter.

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. Hotel California by The Eagles, Drops of Jupiter by Train, Candle in the Wind by Elton John, Come Together by the Beatles, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2.

Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham, The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, Middlemarch by George Eliot, Old Sins by Penny Vincenzi and The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides.

To learn more about Anita Hughes please visit her website, follow her on Twitter, like her on Facebook and pre-order Monarch Beach — a perfect summer treat!

The Revealing of Joshua Henkin

June 06, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles, Q&A

Author Joshua Henkin (Swimming Across the Hudson) follows up on his successful New York Times Notable Book Matrimony with The World Without You available on Tuesday, June 19th.

The book is briefly described in the following sentence:

A moving, mesmerizing new novel about love, loss, and the aftermath of a family tragedy.

Too sweeping and general? Please take note of these *starred* reviews:

“When conventionalists claim, ‘They don’t write novels like that anymore,’ this is the sort of novel they mean. Yet the very familiarity and durability of the setup suggests that the traditional novel remains very much alive and healthy as well, if the narrative momentum and depth of character here are proof of vitality. . . . A novel that satisfies all expectations.” 
—Kirkus (starred review)



“Like a more bittersweet version of Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You or a less chilly variation on Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, Henkin tenderly explores family dynamics in this novel about the ties that bind, and even lacerate . . . The author has created an empathetic cast of characters that the reader will love spending time with, even as they behave like fools and hurt one another. An intelligently written novel that works as a summer read and for any other time of the year.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)



“An American Jewish family gathers at its summer home in the Berkshires to mourn the youngest of the four children, a journalist killed while on assignment in Iraq. Henkin excels at characterization, and he outdoes himself here in a novel that might have been called Six Characters in Search of Family Happiness.”
—Commentary (Summer Reading Preview)


The Divining Wand has scheduled a return visit with Josh on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 but today let’s meet the author through his “official” bio:

Joshua Henkin is the author of the novels MATRIMONY, a New York Times Notable Book, and SWIMMING ACROSS THE HUDSON, a Los Angeles Times Notable Book. His new novel, THE WORLD WITHOUT YOU, will be published by Pantheon in June, 2012. His short stories have been published widely, cited for distinction in BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES, and broadcast on NPR’s “Selected Shorts.” He lives in Brooklyn, NY, and directs the MFA program in Fiction Writing at Brooklyn College.

And now here’s the opportunity to get to know Josh upclose and personal:

Q. How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A. Wife, daughter, write, read, friends, dinner, dog, sleep.

Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. Never listen to mottos or maxims.

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. Having finished a good day of writing, dinner with wife and daughters, Dulcie, our eleven-year-old golden retriever, at my wife’s and my feet while we watch Jon Stewart, a good book waiting by my bedside.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. I’m not a big fan of mice.

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. I kind of like where I am right now, writing at my desk, soon to go out for a run in Prospect Park.

Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. No one I can think of offhand.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. The home daycare person who took care of my daughters when they were toddlers. Fifteen kids demanding things from her, and she never lost her cool, was happy to be with them all.

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. “Actually, I am the boss of you” (to my six-year-old)

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. I’ve started to take piano lessons, and I wouldn’t mind being really good at the piano. I’d kind of like to fly, too.

Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Is it possible to say marrying your wife and fathering you kids without sounding like an idiot and/or Oscar winner?

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. Impatience

Q. What’s your best quality?
A. Curiosity

Q. What do you regret most?
A. That my daughters didn’t really get to know my father before he got sick.

Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. I’ve never really wanted to be anyone other than me, which isn’t to say that being me is so great, just that I’m very happy being who I am.

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I ask a lot of questions

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Emma Bovary

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. The bible salesman in Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People”

Q. If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. Roger Federer. How in the world do you do it?

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. Bad grammar and syntax, malapropisms. I’m not proud of it, but I’m a schoolmarm at heart.

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Reading

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. Writing

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. humor, honesty, intelligence

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Di Fara Pizza in Brooklyn, even at almost 5 dollars a slice.

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. “Radio Sweetheart,” Elvis Costello; “Choice in the Matter,” Aimee Mann; “A New England,” Billy Bragg; “Bad Reputation,” Freedy Johnston; “Couldn’t Call it Unexpected Number 4,” Elvis Costello

Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. I hate ranking books. It’s like choosing among your children. But I guess Madame Bovary and Lolita would be on the list. Among more contemporary novels, I’d say Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. Probably Ian McEwan’s Atonement. Just about any short story collection by Alice Munro.

Discover more about Joshua Henkin by visiting his website, following him on Twitter, liking him on Facebook, and Pre-ordering The World Without You.

The Revealing of Nichole Bernier

May 23, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles, Q&A

Contributing editor/features writer/journalist, Nichole Bernier — inspired by a family friend’s healing following the September 11th attacks — becomes a novelist when The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. debuts on Tuesday, June 5, 2012.

Selected as one of BookPage’s Most Anticipated Debuts of 2012, the novel’s introductory description explains:

Before there were blogs, there were journals. And in them we’d write as we really were, not as we wanted to appear. But there comes a day when journals outlive us. And with them, our secrets.

Intrigued? Consider the following stellar blurbs and reviews:

“The question of what makes a life, secrets shared and secrets kept, and the complete makeup of a single human being are the cornerstones of Bernier’s introspective debut… Even best friends can withhold shattering secrets, the kind that can forever change the lives of loved ones and make everyone question the fine nuances of what it means to be a parent, a spouse, a friend, a community member, and a resident of this earth for only a finite, unknown amount of time. Bernier’s tale blends bittersweet heartaches with soaring truths in a style reminiscent of Jodi Picoult and Anita Shreve.” —Booklist

“An absorbing, bittersweet novel that examines the vast grey area between protecting and deceiving the ones we love.” — Vanessa Diffenbaugh, New York Times bestselling author of THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS

“I loved this bittersweet novel, which manages to be both a compelling mystery and a wise meditation on friendship, marriage and motherhood in an age of great anxiety. Bernier will have you thinking about her characters long after you’ve turned the final page.”
J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times bestselling author of COMMENCEMENT and MAINE

“Nichole Bernier writes as though she were born knowing how to do so. She understands the fragility of the human heart and also the enduring strength of even imperfect relationships. The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D is a gripping book with a delicate, tender core. You will read on to unravel a mystery but also to be moved on page after page.” — Robin Black, author of the story collection IF I LOVED YOU I WOULD TELL YOU THIS

“Written with exquisite grace, depth, and honesty, THE UNFINISHED LIFE OF ELIZABETH D explores decisions driven by motherhood and marriage. I was transfixed as Kate read the journals she’d inherited from Elizabeth, peeling back the layers of her friend’s life, and in the process grappling with her own choices and terrors. Women have secret lives—sometimes hidden in the corners of our minds, sometimes in dreams unrealized. One mark of friendship is when and whether these nightmares and ambitions can be revealed. This riveting novel fiercely captures this fulcrum of the public and private lives of American mothers.” -– Randy Susan Meyers, International bestselling author of THE MURDERER’S DAUGHTERS

“A smart, poignant novel about the bittersweet choices women make and the secrets they keep. This is one of those rare novels that’s so real you forget it’s written; I literally carried it around with me, and I missed the characters when I was done.” —Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of THOSE WHO SAVE US and THE STORMCHASERS

Even more intrigued? Explore the book and read the first chapter.

The Divining Wand has scheduled a visit with Nichole on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 but, for today, let’s meet the author through her “official” bio:

Nichole Bernier is author of the novel THE UNFINISHED WORK OF ELIZABETH D, and has written for magazines including Elle, Self, Health, and Men’s Journal. A 14-year Contributing Editor for Conde Nast Traveler, she was previously on staff as the magazine’s golf and ski editor, columnist, and television spokesperson. She received her master’s degree from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and is one of the founders of the literary blog Beyond the Margins. Nichole lives west of Boston with her husband and five children.

And now it’s time to get to know Nichole much better:

Q. How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A. Failed yogi. Shower thinker. Human zamboni. Happiness seeker.

Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. You never know. Because you never really know what makes another person do the things they do. All you can do is give them the benefit of the doubt.

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. Holding your newborn. Solitude with productive thoughts. That sweaty pacing contentment after exercise is done and you feel like you could take out an army. Flipping a perfect crepe. Feeling understood. Watching a Kindergarten basketball game, and seeing that moment of panic when a kid hugs the ball to his chest and flat-out runs down the court.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. Sophie’s Choice. Mad Cow disease. That I won’t wake up from one of my apocalyptic nightmares.

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. A warm uncrowded beach with a good book… I don’t remember the last time I read on a beach.

Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. Noah. Sometimes I want to build an arc to collect everyone and everything I love and protect them from whatever terrible thing is next down the pike.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. Dedicated inner city teachers. Dick Hoyt, who runs the Boston marathon each year pushing his adult son in a wheelchair. Every parent who treks from a rural village to bring their cleft-palate child to a Smile Train medical outpost they’ve only heard of through rumors. That act of blind faith and love and determination — when so many superstitious people hide their cleft-palate children in back rooms — stops my heart.

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. Spoken: “Just a minute.” Written: “tenuous.” I’ve wanted to be able to overuse “balls to the wall,” ever since I learned it refers to the mechanics of fighter-jet throttles, and not something anatomical. But I won’t put it in print knowing my mother will see it and misunderstand.

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. I wish I could fly. I used to have vivid dreams of flying when I was a child, and in my dreams I knew exactly how to do it: fierce concentration could make me levitate higher and higher. I’d always be disappointed when I woke up.

Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. The greatest risks make the greatest reward. Opening my heart to the spontaneity of a blind date, and giving up my rent controlled NYC apartment to move to Boston and marry him. The decision to have five children, even though I was afraid of what it would do to a solitary person. Going out on a limb day after day for a piece of writing that was not any assignment, not anything that anyone in this world was waiting to see. Then selling it, and being able to hold it as a hardcover.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. Privacy.

Q. What’s your best quality?
A. Privacy.

Q. What do you regret most?
A. That I didn’t know my mother-in-law better before she died of multiple sclerosis last year. She was a complex package of fortitude and stubbornness and depression and mystery, and now there’s no opportunity to really understand her. I think that will continue to weigh on me more the older I get.

Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. The family of rabbits that live in our yard. My four-year-old adores them and brings them lettuce every evening. They seem to have a pretty wonderful life.

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. If you’re sitting near me in the library, it’s that I type very loudly. It makes me feel alive.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Olive Kitteridge

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Reginald von HoobieDoobie, from Edwina The Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct

Q. If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. Amelia Earhart. I’ll call her an athlete because of her sheer strength of will. “Where did you go?”

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. People who don’t wait their turn and think rules don’t apply to them. But when I’m furious at someone who bullies through a four-way stop or cuts in traffic, I remind myself “You just never know” (see motto). Maybe they’re rushing to the hospital.

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Reading in a warm patch of sun. Walking the four-mile loop around our local lake carrying my youngest child in a backpack. Making pie. Laughing with my husband. He’s got a great sense of humor.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. Being the protector of orphaned baby animals at a wildlife preserve. I’d also like to have the job in Mother Nature’s factory that gets to design the color and symmetry of kittens.

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Kindness, kindness, and kindness.

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Only one thing? Then chicken korma with bleu cheese and strawberry rhubarb pie. With just enough space between them on the plate to not really be one thing.

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. They might be different tomorrow, but today: Rikki Lee Jones, We Belong Together. Van Morrison, Whenever God Shines His Light. David Bowie/Queen, Under Pressure. U2, One. Ferron, Ain’t Life a Brook.

Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. Crossing to Safety, Gilead, Gift From the Sea, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Bartleby the Scrivener (I know it’s a short story, but still).

Nichole Bernier is definitely a new author to follow on Twitter, like on Facebook, and read/pre-order her debut The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.

The Revealing of Jennifer Gooch Hummer

May 09, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles, Q&A

This fairy godmother loves to present debut novelists and their books, and it’s with special pleasure that TDW features Jennifer Gooch Hummer with her coming-of-age story of Girl Unmoored.

Why special? First there is Jennifer’s description of the book:

“Girl Unmoored is about friendship. Deep, loyal friendship. The kind that supersedes family. The kind that keeps you anchored when everything else is falling apart. The kind that can save you.”

Then there are the [true] glowing, heartfelt raves:

“Love, loss, and the coming of age of one remarkable girl blaze through this haunting debut like a shooting star you’d wish upon. It’s tough and tender, funny and smart, and it frankly took my breath away. I loved it.”
— Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You

“With stunning emotional honesty, Girl Unmoored shaves away layers of innocence to reveal the true meaning of love… Effortlessly funny and poignant, Jennifer Gooch Hummer’s masterful debut offers surprises until the very end – a must-read!”
— Elise Allen, New York Times bestselling co-author of Elixir and author of Populazzi

“This book sneaks up on you. One moment you’re laughing at the quick wit and the next you can’t swallow down the lump in your throat. An intimate story of the entanglement of love and loss, Girl Unmoored breaks through the wall around your heart, giving it room to expand.”
— Susan Henderson, bestselling author of Up from the Blue

“From the shadows of loss and uncertainty to the ultimate act of forgiveness, Girl Unmoored is a uniquely rendered and quirky coming-of-age tale that will break your heart one minute and have you laughing out loud the next.”
— Beth Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

“Fierce, funny, deeply eloquent, and unerringly honest, Girl Unmoored is all four courses and dessert. What a dazzling, satisfying novel!”
— Gwendolen Gross, bestselling author of The Orphan Sister

In fact, here’s an entire page of reviews.

And, perhaps the pièce de résistance, Girl Unmoored recently won Paris Book Festival Award 2012, Best YA Fiction.

The synopsis:

Apron Bramhall has come unmoored. Fortunately, she’s about to be saved by Jesus. Not that Jesus—the actor who plays him in Jesus Christ Superstar. Apron is desperate to avoid the look-alike Mike, who’s suddenly everywhere, until she’s stuck in church with him one day. Then something happens—Apron’s broken teenage heart blinks on for the first time since she’s been adrift.

Mike and his boyfriend, Chad, offer her a summer job in their flower store, and Apron’s world seems to calm. But when she uncovers Chad’s secret, stormy seas return. Apron starts to see things the adults around her fail to—like what love really means, and who is paying too much for it.



Apron has come unmoored, but now she’ll need to take the helm if she’s to get herself and those she loves to safe harbor.

The Divining Wand has scheduled a return visit from Jennifer Gooch Hummer for next Wednesday, May 16, 2012. However, for now, let’s meet the author through her “official” bio:

Jennifer Gooch Hummer has worked as a script analyst for various talent agencies and major film studios. Her short stories have been published in Miranda Magazine, Our Stories, and Glimmertrain. A graduate of Kenyon College, she has continued studies in the Writer’s Program at UCLA, where she was nominated for the Kirkwood Prize in fiction. Currently, Jennifer lives in Southern California and Maine with her husband and their three daughters. Girl Unmoored is her first novel.

Now it’s time to get to know Jennifer upclose and personal:

Q. How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A. Creative. Lucky. Loved. Busy. Colorful. Nurturing. Funny. Quirky.

Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. If no one has lice or is in the hospital, it can’t be that bad.

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. Having zero expectations. And World Peace.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. Anything that could hurt my children

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. In Paris headed for Maine soon. Or in Maine headed for Paris soon.

Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. Any of the Salem Witches (the good kind).

Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. My father.

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. “I’m not kidding.”

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. Drawing.

Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. That I taught my children to refer to me as “my beautiful young-looking mom” before I will listen to anything they need/want/wish/expect.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. Not remembering anything.

Q. What’s your best quality?
A. Not remembering anything.

Q. What do you regret most?
A. Loosing my cool and yelling back.

Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. I’d like to be a fairy next time around.

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I’m always in a hurry.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Phil Dunphy on Modern Family.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada.

Q. If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. Pau Gasol. “Please, I beg you, can my Lakers-fanatic daughter take a picture with you?”

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. Incompetence.

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Shopping (not for food).

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. Fashion designer.

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Optimism. Humor. Loyalty.

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. A baguette (from France).

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. “American Pie” – Don Mclean
“Heaven” – Eric Clapton
“Philadelphia” Bruce Springsteen
“The Boxer” Simon and Garfunkle
“Upside Down” Jack Johnson

Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. She’s Come Undone, Wally Lamb
The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein
Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris
The Center of Everything, Laura Moriarty
Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding

Bold, bittersweet, and exquisitely brilliant, Girl Unmoored is a “dare you NOT to love, must read” novel. And Jennifer Gooch Hummer is an author to watch by following on Twitter and liking her on Facebook.

The Revealing of Jillian Medoff

May 02, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles, Q&A

Novelist Jillian Medoff (Good Girls Gone Bad, Hunger Point) is known for creating in-depth, “real” people to tell their stories and her third novel I Couldn’t Love You More — available Tuesday, May 15th — is another example of brilliant storyteling and effortless writing.

The book is best described by a single question: Which child would you save? A decision no parent can even fathom.

Here’s the synopsis:

Eliot Gordon would do anything for her family. A 38-year-old working mother, she lives an ordinary but fulfilling life in suburban Atlanta with her partner, Grant Delaney, and their three daughters. The two older girls are actually Eliot’s stepdaughters, a distinction she is reluctant to make as she valiantly attempts to maintain a safe, happy household . . .

Then Finn Montgomery, Eliot’s long-lost first love, appears, triggering a shocking chain of events that culminates in a split-second decision that will haunt her beloved family forever. How Eliot survives-and what she loses in the process-is a story that will resonate with anyone who has ever loved a child. With hilarious honesty, wrenching depth, and a knockout twist, I COULDN’T LOVE YOU MORE illuminates the unbreakable bonds of family and reveals the lengths we’ll go to save each other, even as we can’t save ourselves.

TRUTH: This is a WOW! And Pre-ordering is encouraged.

For further proof, consider this sampling of praise:

Poignant…Medoff’s exploration of fidelity, family, and parenthood provides a complex look at the difficult role of a stepparent.” —( Publishers Weekly )

“Medoff produces another fallible, witty, realistic heroine with whom readers will identify. Eliot’s biased and evolving narration brings the characters to life in this gripping story of personal growth. By turns hilarious and heart-wrenching, Medoff’s honest writing and realistic dialogue make the book truly enjoyable, while a Sophie’s Choice moment and its repercussions make it a real page-turner.” ( Booklist )

“Every woman has one: the guy who got away. So what happens when he walks into your life again? If you were happy before-can you still make that claim? The choices we make-and the ones we don’t make-form the backbone of Jillian Medoff’s wonderful novel. These are characters you know, or might even have been, and their trials and tribulations are by turn devastating, hilarious, and painfully familiar.” ( Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Sing You Home and House Rules )

“I COULDN’T LOVE YOU MORE is a sheer pleasure to read. Boasting clear, beautiful writing and characters who could be people I know (and love), it’s a gripping story that doesn’t let up. But more than that, Medoff is that rare thing, a novelist brave enough to unleash the complex, strong emotions of which literature is made.” ( Kate Christensen, author of The Great Man and The Astral )

“Unflinching in its honesty, I Couldn’t Love You More is an intimate story of contemporary family love — with all its maddening and miraculous complexities. Jillian Medoff’s writing dazzles the brain, cracks up the funny bone, and breaks open the heart. Her characters are so realistically layered, you’ll sometimes want to hug them and sometimes want to shout at them, but you’ll never want to forget them.” ( Seré Prince Halverson, author of The Underside of Joy )

The Divining Wand has scheduled a return visit from Jillian Medoff for Tuesday, May 15, 2012 but today let’s meet the author through her “official” bio:

Jillian Medoff attended Barnard College and received an MFA in Creative Writing from NYU. A former fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Blue Mountain Center, VCCA and Fundacion Valparaiso in Spain, Jillian has taught at NYU and the University of Georgia. She lives in NYC with her family.

And now the opportunity to get to know Jillian upclose and person:

Q. How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A. Overwhelming. Manageable. Overwhelming. Manageable: Depends on the day.

Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. True blue to the end. And by this I mean I’ve been known to stay in unrequited love affairs, toxic friendships, dead-end jobs, and other self-defeating situations long after all the joy has been sucked out.

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. Poolside with my daughters, a big fat book, an iced coffee and no phone service. Okay—and a Valium.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. I’m afraid that if I say it out loud, it will happen, so let’s just say I wish my family members were impervious to pain of any kind.

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. See above: poolside with a Valium—I mean with a book.

Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. Richard Yates, American novelist and short story writer, known for his exploration of mid-20th century life. His novels were about self-deception, disappointment and grief. He was totally committed to his art. He was also a raging alcoholic who would work and drink all day, stopping occasionally to vomit into a garbage can by the side of his desk.

I am an American novelist who explores 21st century family life. My novels, although comic, are about self-deception, disappointment and grief. (They’re also about love and devotion, but stay with me.) I am totally committed to my art. I am not an alcoholic but I have been known to binge on Wrap-and-Run tuna (see below) and Tasti D-Lite peanut butter frozen yogurt while working. I, personally, have never vomited into a garbage can, but I say live and let live. I judge dishonest politicians, other parents, and myself, but I would never judge another writer’s process.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. Imagine raising three high-strung daughters, each of whom you love beyond all measure. You and your husband work hard, not just to provide your girls with food and shelter, but also to instill good values, sound judgment, and semi-decent table manners. For eighteen years, your life is a never-ending whirl of sleepovers, bad haircuts, boy trauma, science projects, nacho cheese Doritos, and Clearasil. One daughter puts your favorite cashmere sweater in the dryer, where it shrinks to doll-size. Another drives too far into the garage, hits a load-bearing wall, and compromises the structural integrity of your house. A third is given to crying jags. Imagine your teary pride (and relief) when they finally grow up and move out. “Be careful!” you call as the last daughter motors off. “I love you.”

Fast-forward eleven years. Life is good. You’re enjoying the empty nest. Your time is finally your own again. The phone rings. “Guess what!” Turns out your eldest daughter has sold her first novel. Imagine your surprise when you find out the book is about a dysfunctional family’s unraveling, and then your horror when the press calls it “autobiographical.” But wait, there’s more. The book is made into a movie starring Barbara Hershey who, as the ostensible you, is portrayed as clueless, self-absorbed and obsessed with her body. Even worse, she sports one of the weirdest haircuts in the history of cable television.

My parents, Naomi and Lewis Medoff, are the most generous, patient, trustworthy, supportive, and loving people I know. In addition to celebrating everything I’ve ever written (regardless of format, content or success), they move through the world with a dignity and grace that I will spend the rest of my days trying to emulate. I admire them, I respect them, and I love them both, deeply. (And for the record: the press got it wrong: my first novel, Hunger Point, was not autobiographical.)

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. “No, I don’t mind at all” and “Sure, I’d be happy to.”

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. My husband asks me this all the time, although in his case, he wants to know which superpower I would want. He wishes he could read people’s minds, which, as a novelist, I feel I already do. I always say I want to be able to breathe underwater, but now that I think about it, this particular superpower is too limiting. I mean, how much time do I spend underwater on any given day? So, I’m going to choose something more useful to my life as a working mother/novelist/corporate drone: I wish I could fly.

Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Ten years ago, I wrote a novel that was supposed to be my magnum opus, the book that would prove my worth as a writer of serious literary fiction. It had multiple points of view. It had lofty themes and a complex plot. It told the truth of man. Seriously, though, I thought this novel would change my life. Sadly, I was wrong. Although several editors admired it, no one wanted to buy it. My work had been rejected countless times before, but this particular rejection flattened me. Not only had the novel taken five years to write, but I had also imbued it with so much importance that its rejection felt like twice the setback it actually was. For weeks afterward, I couldn’t write; I could barely read. I was ashamed of my failure, of my sorrow—it was just a book, after all—and my hubris. But eventually, I stopped crying, sat down at my computer and started writing again. Five years later, after sweating through countless drafts, I finally, finally, finally finished my new novel, I Couldn’t Love You More, which will be available on May 15th.

I am very proud this book is being published. However, to me, the true achievement is that I sat down to write even after what felt like a monumental flop.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. I worry too much about inconsequential things. For instance, I’m concerned that my previous vignette about my parents is too wordy, and would have been more compelling had I trimmed it. I can chew on something like this all day.

Q. What’s your best quality?
A. Humility and the ability to laugh at myself—and, of course, everyone else.

Q. What do you regret most?
A. The time I drove into my parent’s garage, hit a load-bearing wall, and compromised the structural integrity of their house. That, and the time I accidentally shrunk my mother’s favorite cashmere sweater in the dryer. (Full Disclosure: I was also given to crying jags.)

Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. Angelina Jolie is having a pretty good year. I wouldn’t mind slipping into her Tod’s loafers for a while.

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. My inability to say no. (See above: What are your most overused words or phrases?)

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Katniss Everdeen and Annabeth Chase—my daughter and I are reading the Hunger Games and Percy Jackson together, and we think both these girls are kick-ass awesome.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Iago from Othello

Q. If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. Tiger Woods—hands down. “Okay, Tiger,” I’d say, pencil poised over my trusty writing notebook. “Start from the beginning. I want to hear everything.”

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. A lack of manners, particularly when it’s easy, like saying “please” or “thank you.” And really, would it kill people to reply to an email with “Sorry, I’m too busy at the moment, but thank you for thinking of me?”

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. I like to occupy the couch while watching crime shows.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. FBI Agent, like Clarice Starling

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Honesty, a sense of humor, and self-awareness.

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Tuna salad from the Wrap and Run on Lexington Avenue and 63rd street and Tasti D-lite peanut butter frozen yogurt.

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. Unlike 99.9% of humanity, I don’t listen to music unless I’m running—which is only three times a week for forty minutes. I know this is weird, and probably un-American, but I find music very distracting, particularly when I’m writing or reading. One reason may be because I have sensitive ears and can’t tolerate loud noises, but my husband is convinced that I’m just being difficult. (Who can blame him? The minute I walk into a room, I glare at the radio until he turns it off.) When I’m running, though, I like pop songs with a great beat that can distract me from how much I hate working out: Kanye West, Katie Perry, vintage U2, Rhianna, Madonna, and Lady Gaga.

Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. Choosing my favorite books (and only five!) is impossible—it’s like choosing a favorite child. So here’s a partial list of books that stunned me when I read them and have haunted me ever since: Song of Soloman, Mrs. Dalloway, As I Lay Dying, Patrimony (anything by Roth, especially American Pastoral), Crime and Punishment, Lolita, Let the Great World Spin, The Hours, And Then We Came to the End, Anywhere but Here, Go Ask Alice, The Things They Carried.

Fascinating, passionate, and engagingly warm, Jillian Medoff is an a “must follow” on Twitter, a “must like” on Facebook, and a “must read” of I Couldn’t Love You More.

The Revealing of Julie Schumacher

April 25, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles, Q&A

Novelist, essayist/short story writer, Julie Schumacher (complete listing of author’s books) writes for both children and adults. In her latest YA novel The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls releasing on May 8, 2012, the storyline of meaningful literature and mother-daughter relationships easily crosses over into adult fiction. As the author explains:

“No matter what I start writing about, I end up gravitating toward a particular emotional territory: family relationships, characters who are drawn toward one another but don’t get along, off-beat interactions or misunderstandings, unrealized desires. Those motifs work just as well and can be at least as satisfying in YA literature as in literature for adults.”

However, when described in one sentence, The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls is: A book about books and reading.

The Synopsis:

I’m Adrienne Haus, survivor of a mother-daughter book club. Most of us didn’t want to join. My mother signed me up because I was stuck at home all summer, with my knee in a brace. CeeCee’s parents forced her to join after cancelling her Paris trip because she bashed up their car. The members of “The Unbearable Book Club,” CeeCee, Jill, Wallis, and I, were all going into eleventh grade A.P. English. But we weren’t friends. We were literary prisoners, sweating, reading classics, and hanging out at the pool. If you want to find out how membership in a book club can end up with a person being dead, you can probably look us up under mother-daughter literary catastrophe. Or open this book and read my essay, which I’ll turn in when I go back to school.

To sample Adienne’s essay, please read Chapters 1 and 2 of the novel. It’s both delightful, and thoughtful, earning — [Starred Review], Kirkus Reviews: 
“The characters, especially the four girls, sparkle…. Smart and insightful.”

The Divining Wand has scheduled a return visit from Julie Schumacher on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 but — for today — let’s meet the author through her “official” bio:

Julie Schumacher grew up in Wilmington, Delaware and graduated from Oberlin College and Cornell University. Her first published story, “Reunion,” written to fulfill an undergraduate writing assignment (“tell a family tale”) was reprinted in The Best American Short Stories 1983. Subsequent stories were published in The Atlantic, MS, Minnesota Monthly, and Prize Stories: The O.Henry Awards 1990 and 1996. Her first novel, The Body Is Water, was published by Soho Press in 1995 and was an ALA Notable Book of the Year and a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Minnesota Book Award. It was published in translation in Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Israel, Greece, and Korea. Her other books include a short story collection, An Explanation for Chaos, and five books for younger readers: The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls (2012), Black Box (2008), The Book of One Hundred Truths (2006), The Chain Letter (2005), and Grass Angel (2004), all from Delacorte. Ms. Schumacher lives in St. Paul and is a faculty member in the Creative Writing Program and the Department of English at the University of Minnesota.

And now the opportunity to get to know Julie upclose and personal:

Q. How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A. Reading and writing whenever possible. Family. Students. Friends.

Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. Be kind. Work hard.

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. Reading a good book in front of a fire, on a snowy afternoon by a window, accompanied by drowsy felines.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. I don’t care for arachnids.

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. In a hillside writing studio above Lake Como, in Bellagio, Italy.

Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. I feel I should have an impressive answer to this: Joan of Arc or Elizabeth the 1st…. But a lot of impressive historical figures lived dramatic and not very happy lives. So I guess I’d rather identify with an anonymous, comfortable woman in a tidy house – a person time has forgotten.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. Anyone who overcomes adversity and is willing to talk to others about doing the same.

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. “Yeah, right” is a favorite. And I have to cross the phrase “some kind of” and “a sort of” out of everything I write. *Eschew verbal clutter.*

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. Musical ability. I want to sit down at the piano and sound like Mozart, without even trying. Or open my mouth and hear Etta James’s voice booming out of me.

Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Raising children and teaching and writing books – all in the same lifetime.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. I can be stingy; and I am a skillful liar.

Q. What’s your best quality?
A. Empathy. Writers need to be able to imagine themselves in the lives and situations of others.

Q. What do you regret most?
A. I have plenty of regrets; thankfully, most of them are small. The larger ones involve selfishness or small-mindedness directed toward other people.

Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. For a day, or even an afternoon, I’d like to be the fastest person on the planet. (On foot, that is – not in a car.)

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I have what some people think is an odd sense of humor.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. The colonel in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s No One Writes to the Colonel.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. She’s not all that villainous, but: Mrs. Medlock in The Secret Garden.

Q. If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. I’d meet Billie Jean King and tell her, “Thank you for beating Bobby Riggs.”

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. The use of “lay” for “lie,” as in “I’m going to lay down and rest.” That’s like nails on a chalkboard to me.

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Reading. I also like typing – preferably on the springy keyboard of an IBM Selectric typewriter.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. Writing.

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Candor. Humor. Kindness.

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Popcorn.

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. I can’t think of five favorite songs. I am fickle and fairly simple minded when it comes to music.

Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. Middlemarch. Northanger Abbey. One Hundred Years of Solitude. Anna Karenina. The Professor’s House.

To learn more about Julie Schumacher, please visit her website, like her on Facebook, and put The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls on your TBR list, It’s available for Pre-order now.

The Revealing of Peter Golden

March 15, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles, Q&A

Journalist, biographer, and historian, Peter Golden has spent a career breathing insight and life into award-winning non-fiction. Now, however, he has turned his creative talents to fiction with the novel Comeback Love to be released Tuesday, April 3, 2012.

The premise:

What would you do if you had a second chance with the one that got away?

The synopsis:

Over thirty-five years ago, Gordon Meyers, an aspiring writer with a low number in the draft lottery, packed his belongings and reluctantly drove away, leaving Glenna Rising, the sexy, sharp-witted med student he couldn’t imagine living without.
Now, decades later, Gordon is a former globetrotting consultant with a grown son, an ex-wife, and an overwhelming desire to see Glenna again. Stunned when Gordon walks into her Manhattan office, Glenna agrees to accompany him for a drink. As the two head out into the snow-swept city, they become caught up in the passions that drew them together then tore them apart, and as the evening unfolds, Gordon finally reveals the true reason for his return.

Moving between past and present, Comeback Love is a journey into the hearts of two lovers who came of age in the 1960s and is a sensual exploration of youth, regret, desire, and the bonds that mysteriously endure in the face of momentous change.

Whether focused on the past or present, this storyline and its characters ring true with honesty, depth, and universal recognition in a story of love. Ah, but there’s more praise:

“Stirring and romantic, a sweeping novel about first loves and second chances.”—Sarah Pekkanen, author of The Opposite of Me and These Girls



“An absorbing, intelligent novel about retracing one’s steps to recover what was lost, and about coming to terms with the mistakes of the past in order to rediscover a future. Peter Golden reminds us that going back is sometimes the only way to move ahead.” —Elizabeth Brundage, author of A Stranger Like You and The Doctor’s Wife



“Glenna and Gordon’s romance rises and falls with the familiar but engrossing tempo of reckless, youthful passion.” —Publishers Weekly

“Comeback Love is a heartfelt and lyrical novel. A stylishly composed, moving tale of loss and redemption.” -James Howard Kuntsler, author of The Long Emergency and World

The Divining Wand has scheduled a return visit from Peter Golden on Tuesday, April 3, 2012 but — for today — let’s meet the author through his “official” bio:

Peter Golden is an award-winning journalist, biographer, and historian. The author of several works of nonfiction, including Quiet Diplomat, about U.S. diplomacy with Israel, Comeback Love is his first novel. He lives outside Albany, New York.

And now the opportunity to get to know Peter more upclose and personal:

Q. How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A. Wife son reading writing music lucky—so far

Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. Enjoy every day

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. Eating ice cream with no calories that also lowers cholesterol, builds muscle mass, and reduces your waist size

Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. Losing someone I love

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. In my desk chair

Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. Crusader Rabbit

Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. My wife

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. #@&$! I can say not only in English but in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Hebrew, Arabic, and Greek. In this manner I avoid overuse.

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. Write songs like the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Leonard Cohen.

Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Being a loving husband and father.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. Impatience

Q. What’s your best quality?
A. Persistence

Q. What do you regret most?
A. Any time I’ve wasted

Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. My cat, Rocky

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I’m persistent

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Superman

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Hannibal Lecter

Q. If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. Sandy Koufax: Thank you for making me believe that anything was possible.

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. Cruelty

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Reading.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. Major-league pitcher

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Kindness, persistence, honesty

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Ice cream sundaes

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. Hallelujah, Eight Days a Week, Come Together, Mr. Tambourine Man, It’s Alright Ma, I’m only Bleeding.

Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. Taras Bulba And Other Tales by Nikolai Gogol; The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor; Stalingrad: The Seige by Antony Beevor; A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway; The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Even with all his previous success, the very talented Peter Golden is living a lifetime dream of becoming a novelist. Share in his journey by following him on Twitter and becoming a friend on Facebook. Also, why not Pre-order Comeback Love now….you’ll be thrilled that you did.

* * * * *

Announcement: The winner of Krys Lee’s Drifting House is: Carl. Congratulations! Please email diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address and the book will be sent out promptly.

The Revealing of Rachel Bertsche
and Why She Writes

March 01, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: Guest Posts, Profiles, Q&A

[Introduced in the post, Picture the Book: MWF Seeking BFF: My Year Long Search for a New Best Friend, relocated Chicago writer/editor Rachel Bertsche chronicled her search for a new, “closer in proximity” friend in MWF Seeking BFF: My Year Long Search for a New Best Friend. Due to email snafus, Rachel’s Q&A was MIA but can now be presented along with her guest post on why she writes. Yes, a double post plus a Book Giveaway and now, without further ado, here’s Rachel.]

Although Rachel Bertsche’s quest for a best friend in her new home of Chicago was personal, the author focused on a dilemma that have many searching for a new and/or another best friend.

Let’s meet this debut author through her “official” bio:

Rachel Bertsche is an author, journalist and editor in Chicago, where she lives with her husband. Her work has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire, More, Teen Vogue, Seventeen, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Fitness, Women’s Health, New York, Huffington Post, CNN.com, and more. Prior to leaving the office life for the comforts of working from home (and in her pajamas), Rachel was a producer for Oprah.com and an editor at O, The Oprah Magazine.

And now it’s time to get to really know Rachel, quite possibly even better than some of her “trial” BFF.

Q. How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A. I am at my happiest right about now.

Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. Do one thing at a time. (Or try, at least.)

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. I’m not sure there is such a thing as perfect happiness. To me, happiness is happiness. It looks and feels different for everyone. I don’t think one type of happiness is better than another. Even in my own life, I could have two relal happy days, but they might be totally different. Maybe happiness is like porn: You know it when you see it.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. Losing loved ones.

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. Is it so lame to say right here, where I am… which is on my couch? Yes? Ok, Sicily.

Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. I want to say someone super cool like Annie Oakley, but that would be a real stretch. The truth is I have no idea. I guess I feel like so many people in history went through so much so that people like me could be where we are today. So I don’t identify as much as feel really grateful.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. Michelle Obama is pretty amazing.

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. When it comes to speaking: “Literally.” In my writing: “just.”

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. To dance!

Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. MWF Seeking BFF. That I wrote a book at all still amazes me. That I wrote one that someone agreed to publish, and that enough people read to make it a bestseller…I’m still pinching myself.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. I’m so impatient.

Q. What’s your best quality?
A. Don’t take myself too seriously.

Q. What do you regret most?
A. Any days I should have spent with my father and didn’t.

Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. JK Rowling. I just want to know—for one day!—what it would be like to walk around with that kind of imagination.

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. My curly hair.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Neville Longbottom

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. A tie! Ed Rooney (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) and Regina George (Mean Girls)

Q. If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. Michael Jordan. I’d say: “You are awesome! Also, my husband wore Air Jordans to our wedding.” Or maybe Sheryl Swoopes or Rebecca Lobo or Hope Solo. Those female athletes who have left me in awe over the years. I’d tell them that they inspire me. That when I watched them play when I was a kid (or with Hope Solo, even as an adult) I felt like I, too, could kick some ass.

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. The sound of cardboard rubbing together. Ugh.

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. That’s the only occupation, in some form or another, that I’ve ever had! To say editor would probably be a copout, but it’s true.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. Oh there are so many: Yoga teacher. Bookstore owner. Book editor. Pop culturist (not an actual profession, but I’d like to turn it into one). Ballerina.

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Sense of humor, kindness, intelligence.

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. If calories didn’t count? French fries. Otherwise, um, still french fries.

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. Trick question! Depends on the day. If you looked at my ipod now you’d think I only listen to Glee. I’m that person who no matter what song comes on, I say “ohmygosh this is my favorite song!”

Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, Harry Potter series (counting the whole series as one but if I have to choose I guess Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite since that’s when the whole series changed for me), Little Women, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. (Honorary mentions to A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving and AJ Jacobs’ books)

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The Revealing of Krys Lee

February 29, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles, Q&A

Krys Lee grew up wanting to be an author and began her career writing poetry but, when the stories needed to be told no longer fit in a poem, she turned to short stories. Recently released, her debut collection, Drifting House, is described as:

An unflinching portrayal of the Korean immigrant experience from an extraordinary new talent in fiction.

Spanning Korea and the United States, from the postwar era to contemporary times, Krys Lee’s stunning fiction debut, Drifting House, illuminates a people torn between the traumas of their collective past and the indignities and sorrows of their present.

Beautiful, devastating, and a wake-up call for most of us, ALL critical reviewers give this book the ultimate praise as a “starred review.”

“Affecting stories about the conflicts between Korean and American culture. . . . Lee writes with a clarity and simplicity of style that discloses deep and conflicting emotions about cultural identity.”
Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

“…breathtaking debut…Readers in search of exquisite short fiction beyond their comfort zone—groupies of Jhumpa Lahiri … and Yoko Tawada …—will thrill to discover Drifting House.”
Library Journal (Starred Review)

“In this sublime debut collection spanning both Koreas and America, protagonists locked in by oppressive social forces struggle to break free in original ways, each unexpected denouement a minor miracle or a perfect tragedy. . . . The author’s imaginative metaphors and easy rhythmic variances are unerring, carrying the reader effortlessly. . . . The limpid, naturalistic prose and the flawless internal logic of these stories are reminiscent of the best of Katherine Anne Porter and Carson McCullers.”
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

The Divining Wand has scheduled another feature on Krys Lee for Tuesday, March 13, 2012 but, for today, let’s meet the author through her “official” bio:

Krys Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea, raised in California and Washington, and studied in the United States and England. She was a finalist for Best New American Voices, received a special mention in the 2012 Pushcart Prize XXXVI, and her work has appeared in the Kenyon Review, Narrative magazine, Granta (New Voices), California Quarterly, Asia Weekly, the Guardian, the New Statesman, and Conde Nast Traveller, UK (forthcoming). She lives in Seoul with intervals in San Francisco.

And now it’s time to get to know Krys upclose and personal:

Q. How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A. Busy, bountiful, broad, impassioned, emotional, and oddly still.

Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. I didn’t know it was my motto, but a line from my short story “A Small Sorrow” continues to resonate with me, so I’ve adopted and adapted it: The world is greater than my small sorrows.

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. It would be a tent full of books and a picnic basket beside a river.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. Love.

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. Anywhere but on an airplane! I’d be most at home camping or in a dark bar somewhere with good friends.

Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. All the anonymous people of history who didn’t feel as if they belonged, especially if they appeared to belong but didn’t—these would be my people.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. The Dalai Lama for obvious reasons. Aung San Suu Kyi is a very close second.

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. ‘Excellent’. When I lived in England, and for a few years afterwards, it was always ‘brilliant’. I’ve fallen back on ‘excellent’ in the same fashion and can’t stop using it!

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. I’m currently obsessed with the art of puppets these days. I can’t explain the source of this obsession, but generally it’s healthy to follow one’s obsessions.

Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Being responsible for getting a North Korean refugee to safety from the Chinese border area to South Korea will probably always remain the most important thing I’ve ever done. A distant second would be writing Drifting House, a story collection that got major publishers excited enough to begin a bidding auction between eight major publishers.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. I can be habitually self-deprecating and sometimes too critical of others, as well.

Q. What’s your best quality?
A. I’m pretty honest and humble. I’m very uncomfortable with self-importance in general. We all live with the bookends of life and death, and the filling between is the meaning that we make out of our lives.

Q. What do you regret most?
A. I regret not being a grown adult before my mother passed away. There are so many things I’m able to do for her now that I just wasn’t capable of at the time.

Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. I wouldn’t mind being a sea turtle in a protected cove off the Caribbean. They live for a long time and are beautiful, peaceful and often solitary creatures.

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I’m awkward and shy as well as outgoing and social—at the same time!

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. There are many characters I love, but few I would consider my hero. I’m attracted to the flawed, solitary and sometimes charismatic outsiders that people fiction, but in life, my heroes are human rights activists and all-around enlightened human beings.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. There are many, but today it would be Humbert Humbert in Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita.

Q. If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. At the moment it would be Jeremy Lin. I’d like to tell him thank you for persevering despite the setbacks and all the people and institutions that overlooked your talent.

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. I am consistently dismayed and irritated by ambitious people who seek success for the sake of fame or gaining power. No one minds a bit of extra cash or respect by those whom you respect, but fame for the sake of fame is meaningless, and chasing after power for its own sake is simply dangerous. I start to suspect the wisdom of individuals who chase after such illusions.

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. I’m not quite sure if I understand this, but an activity that means a great deal to me concerns human rights. The urgency of life and protecting life in small and large ways are important to me.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. I’d love to be a park ranger and spend my days in the wilderness and with the solitary, contemplative and kind people that people who work in this profession tend to be.

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. I value honesty, loyalty, and a flair for telling stories.

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Kimchi. If I don’t have anything spicy for a few days at a time, I start to behave rather strangely.

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil”, Florence + The Machine’s “Kiss with a Fist”, Sinead O’Connor’s “Three Babies” and “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got”, and Chopin’s Nocturnes.

Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. This list is almost random, as I have so many favorite books that 50 favorite books would be a more accurate list. Here it goes: One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Remains of the Day, Beloved, The Select Poems of John Ashberry, and Hamlet.

Passionate, empathetic, and committed to making a difference, Krys Lee has also been gifted with a natural talent for storytelling. Yet — by following her on Twitter, becoming a friend on Facebook, and reading her remarkable story collection in Drifting House — you’ll also appreciate how lovely, and down-to-earth this author is.

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