The Divining Wand

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On The Red Carpet with Debutante Joëlle Anthony

August 28, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News, Debs, Red Carpet

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It’s been exciting as well as a pleasure to greet The Debutante Class of 2010 on The Red Carpet this week. And the multi-talented Deb Joëlle Anthony (Restoring Harmony YA, May 13, 2010) graces us with her presence on this final day.

TDW: My goodness, Joëlle, you look stunning! Who are you wearing?

Joëlle: You’re too kind…In my mind,Joelle I am wearing a fabulous emerald green evening dress that I knit myself after writing each day. If you saw my sweaters, you’d know this is a fantasy.

TDW: Ah but fantasy and creativity work so well together that, although this will be your debut publication, has there been another book written?

Joëlle: I have a metaphorical drawer full of manuscripts. Restoring Harmony is about my seventh novel. Some will stay buried, but I have hopes for one or two (okay, three) of the others. And I’m working on something new too, which I hope will be my next contracted book. Fingers crossed! I will hopefully know later this year.

TDW: Absolutely, fingers crossed. Have you surprised anyone by writing Restoring Harmony?

Joëlle: I’ve never done things the “normal” way. I mean, I started out my adult life as an actress, so people see me as a creative person and no one has ever really reacted to the idea of me writing a book with anything other than, “Great!” My mum’s a writer too, so it’s not like I had that experience where my family was telling me, “Oh, you should have something to fall back on!” Instead they were always really encouraging. In fact, writing is what I fell back on when I got tired of acting!

TDW: What about characters, have you based one on someone you know?

Joëlle: I’ll never tell! I’ve never done this intentionally, but there’s still time. It is true that I steal all my husband’s best lines, but you know…it’s pretty obvious to everyone that knows him that a lot of my male characters are a lot like him. At least all the cool ones. It’s no secret.

[Aside: Deb Joëlle’s husband, Victor Anthony, is both a musician and photographer. In fact, her lovely picture is courtesy of Victor’s talent.]

TDW: Knowing how important music is in your life, what five songs should be on your book’s soundtrack?

Joëlle: Funny you should ask because next week we’re going into the recording studio (by “we” I mean I will just be standing around) to record some of the music from my book. My main character, Molly, is a fiddle player and in the book she plays a variety of fiddle tunes and songs (in case you have always wondered what the difference between a tune and a song is, it’s that a song has words and a tune is simply music). Eventually, these recordings will be available for free download on my website.

The ones we will be recording are:
Peekaboo Waltz
Handsome Molly
Hard Times Come Again No More
Brianna’s Reel (written just for my book by my friend and fiddle player, Sarah Tradewell)

That’s only four, so you could add the Cowboy Waltz to the list because it’s in the book, although we don’t intend to record it.

TDW: What a wonderful bonus! Your imagination appears limitless, yet what if you couldn’t write, what would you most want to do with your life?

Joëlle: Okay, don’t freak out on me here, but I might actually like to be one of those people who do your taxes. I doubt I’d ever go so far as becoming an accountant, but filling in forms floats my boat. I also like the idea of cooking (vegetarian) professionally or possibly being a home decorator (but not all Martha Stewart…more modern).

TDW: Thank you Deb Joëlle, your Friday posts at this year’s Debutante Ball are certain to be filled with surprises, we’ll look forward to them. Also the free download recordings and, on May 13, 2010, your debut as a YA novelist with Restoring Harmony.

Cheers to all the new Debutantes – Emily Winslow, Sarah Pekkanen, Alicia Bessette, Maria Garcia-Kalb and Joëlle Anthony – who have joined us on The Red Carpet this week. These charming ladies are about to enter The Debutante Ball and begin waltzing on Monday. Please join them for The Ball which is the ultimate source in discovering about-to-be authors beyond their pages!

On The Red Carpet with Debutante Maria Garcia-Kalb

August 27, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News, Debs, Red Carpet

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As this week on The Red Carpet with The Debutante Class of 2010 winds down, the energy level is about to rise up a notch or two when we greet Maria Garcia-Kalb (101 Ways to Torture Your Husband coming January 18, 2009).

TDW: Hello, Maria, how elegant you look on The Red Carpet.

mariaonairMaria: It’s the black, I always wear black, unless there’s an appropriate animal print.

TDW: Well you make a statement as does your book. Although it’s your first to be published, have you’ve written others.

Maria: Believe it or not, the first book I wrote is titled “Ethan’s First Words” after dealing with my son’s speech delay. Now he makes me dizzy, barely taking a breath between sentences! I’ve written several children’s books I’d like to get out there, as well as a fun tome titled “The Fat Girl’s Guide to Fabulous Clothes that Fit,” but we’ll deal with torturing husbands first. 😉

TDW: So whose reaction was the most surprising when you announced that you were being published?

Maria: My husband’s. He was THRILLED (and apparently hasn’t realized this is a man-torturing manual).

TDW: Does that mean the character examples are based on someone you know?

Maria: All the male references are based on men who have come through my life in one way or another.

Many of them are my friend’s husbands… you know who you are!

TDW: Did you need any food or drink item to help get you through the book or was it all sweet revenge?

Maria: I am addicted to “Mike and Ike’s” chewy fruity candy. I probably plowed through 50 boxes to get the manuscript completed.

TDW: You are into big numbers, aren’t you? What is it that you promised your publisher? 😉

Maria: My goal is to have a million friends and drive the Facebook administrators nuts! Go ahead. Friend me. I also have a Facebook Group for the book, so I hope everyone joins that too.

TDW: While writing the book, what did you have on in the background?

Maria: I can’t live without my iTunes playlist. My favorite jams at the time were “Shake It” by Metro Station, Katy Perry’s “Hot N Cold,” and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” The SNL skit with Justin Timberlake in those tights and heels is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

TDW: It’s been delightful, Maria, and there’s no doubt that Thursdays at The Debutante Ball will never be the same. Enjoy and have fun with it all!

And, remember, Deb Maria will be the first to be presented when 101 Ways to Torture Your Husband becomes available on January 18, 2010!

On The Red Carpet with Debutante Alicia Bessette

August 26, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News, Debs, Red Carpet

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Here it is mid-week on The Red Carpet with The Debutante Class of 2010 and we’re about to meet Wednesday’s Deb, Alicica Bessette (All Come Home due Summer 2010).

TDW: Alicia, you’re just lovely. Please share what this fashion statement.

Alicia: I’m wearing what I wear most days: yoga pants; Alicia one of several soft cotton tops I’ve owned for years; and dented, scratched eyeglasses that I just haven’t gotten around to replacing. My hair is rumpled, and I’m barefoot.

TDW: Aha, going for comfort so you likely have written more than All Come Home<. Care to share what you’ve done with other unpublished books?

Alicia: There is one on the top shelf of my closet, inside a dusty manuscript box. Someday I’ll shred and recycle the old beast. But it endured a fair amount of rejection, so I figured I’d give it a little respite!

TDW: It’s a bit like an old friend, isn’t it? And, on that subject, was there a character in this novel created from someone you know?

Alicia: Very much so. In All Come Home, France, the small-town police officer, was inspired by someone I met once. She struck me as smart, tough, loyal — and just a touch odd. She was very memorable, and I couldn’t resist turning her into a character.

TDW: Did you need specific food or drink to help you through the book?

Alicia: Yes Earl Grey tea, plus organic chocolate purchased most Friday afternoons from the little shop below my apartment.

TDW: Hmm, more chocolate… But what about putting a soundtrack to your novel, can you name five songs that should be on it??

Alicia: Rose-Ellen, a 34-year-old widow, listens to heart-wrenching breakup songs by Gladys Knight and the Pips — on vinyl, on an old trash-picked record player. Within the contexts of grief and widowhood, the songs take on heightened meaning as Rose-Ellen pieces her life back together.

So, All Come Home’s soundtrack would include the following hits, as performed by the great Gladys Knight and the Pips: Make Me The Woman You Come Home To; It Should Have Been Me; Letter Full Of Tears; All I Need Is Time; and Every Little Bit Hurts.

TDW: It’s no secret, after one glance at your website, that you’re a gifted musician. Is that what you would choose to do, if you couldn’t write?

Alicia: I’d travel the world either as a concert pianist or a wildlife photographer. Or maybe both.

TDW: Who knows, you may be traveling the world as an author once All Comes Home is published next summer.

Thank you, Deb Alicia. Enjoy the music of The Debutante Ball and all the “firsts” coming home to you this year!

On The Red Carpet with Debutante Sarah Pekkanen

August 25, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News, Debs, Red Carpet

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In our second day on The Red Carpet with The Debutante Class of 2010 we have Tuesday’s (posting) Debutante Sarah Pekkanen (The Opposite of Me, March 2010).

TDW: Welcome, Sarah. You look glorious. Please give the details of what you are wearing.

Sarah: Thank you, but you’re too kind. Oh, no one can actually see me, can they? Sarahresiz Good. In that case, I’m wearing a size-six sleek black dress and sky-high heels. No, let’s make it a size four. My makeup is flawless, and I just had a manicure.

TDW: Perfect. Now tell us about the first book you wrote. The Opposite of Me will be your first book published, but there must be other completed works.

Sarah: My very first book was titled “Miscellaneous Tales and Poems” and I wrote it when I was about 10. I actually sent it to publishers and waited eagerly to learn when I could find it in bookstores (it has been a very, very long wait). A few years ago, my young niece borrowed one of my old Nancy Drew books and discovered, tucked between the yellowing pages, a letter I’d written on Raggedy Ann stationary asking a publisher about the fate of my story and poem collection. I’ve got that letter posted on my website, and when I went to New York to meet editors who were interested in my novel, I tucked the letter into my briefcase as a good-luck charm.

TDW: Since you’ve always wanted to be a writer, were there any surprise reactions when people heard you were writing another book?

Sarah: Well, I’ve always worked as a writer — I started at a news service right out of college — so people didn’t seem too surprised. Or maybe they were, but didn’t let on. Although I have to say my father’s shocked reaction was priceless when he read an early draft of my novel: “Hey! You might actually be able to get this thing published!”

TDW: Have you based a character in the book on someone you know, but who would never in a million years recognize themselves?

Sarah: People always think they see themselves in my novel (and occasionally get offended), but it’s fiction, people! I made it up! In fact, my book is about twin sisters who are complete opposites — and I don’t even have a sister.

TDW: Was there one food or drink item got you through this book?

Sarah: Oooh, chocolate. It gets me through everything in life! I always think there’s no problem too big for a group of girlfriends, a few bottles of wine, and some chocolate.

In fact, if I couldn’t write, I’d be the quality-control taster at the Godiva factory.

TDW: Sarah, you and Founder Deb Mia King definitely need to get together over chocolate!

Right now, though, we look forward to your dancing (especially in those heels) at The Debutante Ball every Tuesday and the March 9, 2010 release of The Opposite of Me. Enjoy the year!

On The Red Carpet with Debutante Emily Winslow

August 24, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News, Debs, Red Carpet

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All this week we’ll be greeting the five about-to-become authors when their first books debut between January and August 2010. As they walk The Red Carpet into The Debutante Ball – in order of their post appearances – The Divining Wand (TDW) will ask them for comments but not introductions. They’ll begin doing that next week Monday and continue throughout the year.

This is your open invitation to attend The Ball and discover these authors beyond their pages.

TDW: Now let’s welcome Emily Winslow (The Whole World Spring 2010). Emily_Winslow Hello Emily, you look wonderful. Please tell us what you are wearing?

Emily: Sweatpants and an oversized top. I’m alternating between the bad postures of hunching over my laptop with playing on the Wii Fit.

TDW:That sounds like you’ve found the writer’s fashion, but you must be excited about your novel being published. Who was the most surprised to learn that you were about to be published?

Emily: Everyone was as supportive and wonderful as I’d hoped and expected them to be, except for one acquaintance who abruptly stopped speaking to me.

TDW: Well it’s true that The Whole World will be your publishing debut, yet what happened to the first book you wrote?

Emily: I’ve written poetry and plays, my favorites of which I printed up for my friends. “The Whole World” is my first completed novel after several false starts and a wretched novella.

TDW: What food or drink did you rely on to get you through to The End?

Emily: Coffee. The baby was waking up twice a night for most of the year I wrote “The Whole World.”

TDW: What did you have on in the background while you wrote?

Emily: DVDs of the US version of “The Office.” I resisted it for years, since I loved the UK version so much. Then I watched a couple episodes on an airplane and got hooked. “The Whole World” is eerie, not funny, so it may seem a weird choice of mood. But I really feel inspired by the compassion “The Office” creators have for their characters. No one is just a buffoon or just a jerk. They’re well-rounded buffoons and jerks who make me root for them. I use multiple narrators in my work, and I aim that kind of compassion myself.

TDW: You must hope that your novel provides a wonderful reading experience, do you have a favorite one?

Emily: Yes reading A.S. Byatt’s “Possession” while disoriented by fever. Normally I wouldn’t attempt such a challenging novel while not at my best, but there were only two books within physical reach. The other one was a child’s picture book about whales, which I read first, multiple times. Finally I cracked open “Possession.” My wooziness from medication, contrasted with the urgent need to relieve the intense boredom of bedrest, combined unforgettably.

TDW: That would be unforgettable. Thank you Emily for stopping to chat and here’s to your debut year, we’ll be following and cheering you on.

A fascinating new author for you to discover at The Debutante Ball next Monday, August 31st.