The cover alone is a beautiful work of art, right? And if you even have the slightest inkling and interest in stories dealing with regret, love, loss, history, ghosts...then you should probably rush to your local bookstore and pick up debut author Liz Michalski's Evenfall, which is scheduled for release next week. And you might not like the book, instead you might actually love it. Like me.
I cannot gush enough about this story. Can you sense it?
I was so fortunate to pick her book up at the SIBA Trade Show in Daytona Beach last year, and the cover alone compelled me to read it immediately. Then the characters, the setting, the story, regret, love...it resonated with me and I wanted more. There was such a unique way the three characters were weaved into each of their own chapters told from their perspectives - including Frank, a ghost who has a deep regret still felt. You can read my full review by clicking here.
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Entries accepted through this Sunday, January 30, 2011.
|Liz Michalski, debut author of Evenfall|
Liz Michalski was kind enough to participate in an interview and I'm so excited to share with you this author - I cannot recommend this book highly enough, and implore you to pick up the book when you are next in the store, read the jacket, flip through the pages...it will pull you in.
And for those who attend her book signings or send an email to this address with a picture of themselves and their copy of the book? She's giving out a url and code which, when you jump onto her haunting and whimsical website to find the "secret" pages, you'll get even more of the backstory of Evenfall!
1. Evenfall deals with several different themes such as love, regret, death, family - what specifically compelled you to craft a story about all of these elements?
The story evolved over an extended period of time, and really just kept growing. Looking back, I think part of my inspiration was that I knew I'd be leaving the small rural town I'd been living in for the past 10 years. It was the best move for my family, but at the same time there were a lot of things I knew I'd miss. I was able to draw on those emotions for my characters, who wind up missing a lot of the things I did.
2. I think Frank was my favorite character! In the story, Frank is a ghost and still living in his house - his regret is so apparent and thoughtful, and it was easy to see that these emotions were so incredibly strong that he still maintained an "existence" after his death. How did you decide that one of the primary characters would be a ghost?
The whole first line of the novel popped into my head one morning in the shower, but I had no idea what to do with it, or who Frank was. But a few weeks later, I was viewing a house -- one of my freelance jobs was as a real estate writer -- and it had the most amazing attic, dry and peaceful and resembling a ship. The agent I was touring with told me it was possible that shipwrights had built it. From there, Frank just kind of moved in and took up residence.
3. The afterlife is always a debatable topic, but it's important to many people who have lost loved ones. Sometimes the knowledge that there is an afterlife is more reassuring to someone not for themselves, but it provides a comfort to know that their loved one has moved on to a better life. Are there specific books, films, or events that helped you through the process to write about the afterlife, and Frank's perspective?
It was important to me that Frank's actions as a ghost be logical -- that they fit into the rules of the natural world. I'm the least scientific person in the world, probably, but I tried to keep what he could do -- in the beginning, particularly -- within the realm of what I thought of as reasonable. He couldn't just wave an arm and have a door downstairs shut, and he had to deal with the frustration of that limitation. I also read The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier several times during the course of writing Evenfall -- it approaches the afterlife in such an original and interesting way, and it is just such a great book.
4. History is a significant piece of Evenfall as well - Aunt Gert certainly was an incredible woman in her life. Being a part of World War II as a nurse seems to truly develop the strength of her character as a strong woman who won't take any guff - what were your inspirations to develop Aunt Gert?
I read several biographies of women who served as nurses in World War II -- their tales were very inspiring. Also, my mom was a nurse in a very tough New England town in the 70s and 80s, and I drew a bit on what I remember of she and her friends during that time.
5. As a new author, what insights can you share for aspiring novelists?
There are so many blogs and websites and books out there with good advice -- take advantage of them! (I list my three favorite blogs on my website, and for books, I'm partial to Stephen King's On Writing.) I also tried to figure out how my favorite authors write so well -- how they break down a story in terms of pacing, why they use a certain point of view, how they handle aspects like backstory and flashbacks. When I'm stuck, I'll literally pick apart a scene by someone else to see why it works when my scene doesn't.
6. What are your favorite books/authors?
I read pretty much everything, but I do have some favorites. Amy Bloom (especially A Blind Man Could See How Much I Love You), Lee Child, Alice Hoffman (Turtle Moon and Practical Magic), Diana Gabaldon, and Barbara Kingsolver are on my 'automatic buy' list. I also love Jane Austen, A.S. Byatt, J.K. Rowling, C.S. Lewis, and Tolkien.
7. What's next for you?
I'm working on a story about a family where, in every generation, one daughter is born with the power to make things disappear. It's a little bit more magical realism in terms of genre than Evenfall. It's about love and siblings and how we decide who 'belongs' and who doesn't. I just sent the first 50 pages to my agent, and I'm really excited about it.
Liz Michalski's first novel, EVENFALL, will be published in February 2011 by Berkley Books (Penguin). She's been a report, an editor, a freelance writer, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers, magazines, and private corporations.
In her previous life, she wrangled with ill-tempered horses and oversized show dogs. These days she chases after small children and a medium-sized mutt. She likes dark chocolate caramels, champagne, and licorice tea (preferably not all served at once). In summer you'll find her visiting farmer's markets and trying to talk her family out of making her swim at the Connecticut shore.
The rest of the year she's home in Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and son, hard at work on her next novel.
Note from Coffee and a Book Chick
Many thanks go to Liz Michalski for taking the time to interact with the book blogging community and her readers. It goes a long way when someone who doesn't have to, but does, participate, and does it so genuinely and with such a good spirit. I look forward to her next book!
Coffee and a Book Chick