Monday, January 16, 2012

The Secret of Lies by Barbara Forte Abate - Interview | Literary Fiction

Propelled by an insurmountable sense of desperation, Stevie Burke is recklessly abandoning home, husband, and outwardly contented life under cover of night; at last resigned to defeat in her long battle against the tortured memories of her past.


Days later, lost and floundering in a dreary motel room without plan or destination, it is a long ago song playing on the radio that gently tugs Stevie back through the dust of remembrance. 1957 - The last summer spent at the ancient house overlooking the North Atlantic. A season which had unfolded with abundant promise, but then spiraled horribly out of control - torn apart by a shattering tragedy that remains splintered in fragments upon her soul. And it is only now, when Stevie at last lifts her eyes to stare deep into the heart of her long sequestered memories, that the long held secrets of past and future are at last unveiled.


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MY REVIEW DELAYED

My review will be forthcoming. This book is high on my TBR but unfortunately I am quite behind schedule.  I apologize for the inconvenience and hope to catch-up by the end of March, at the latest.


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Giveaway ends February 4th 11:59PM Central Time.


INTERVIEW


How did you start your writing career?


I’ll be honest and admit that I’m incredibly tempted to invent something really brilliant to answer this question because the reality is a little boring, but the truth is that I just sat down one day and simply started writing. It wasn’t a completely random endeavor though. I’ve pretty much always wanted to write, but the years pile-up quickly when you’re busy and running from dawn till dusk with the constant business of family life. And it was one of those true lightening-strike-to-the-head-out-of-the-blue moments when it all at once occurred to me that if I didn’t get moving on this dream of mine it just might pass me by. I had an idea for a story—not fleshed out or outlined on note cards—just the geranium seed of a plot. I was naïve enough to think that I’d just settle in at the kitchen table and get on with it. Naïve being a good thing, because if I had any idea of all the bumps, kinks, and emotional beatings waiting to pummel me down the road, I likely would’ve jammed my pen and paper down the garbage disposal and called it a day.



What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?



I definitely expected and understood that it would be difficult to start with a sapling and grow it into a forest—there was just so much I didn’t know about writing a book from start to finish. Yet in the end it wasn’t the blank page that I found most intimidating, it was the business aspect of writing that kept me up at night pulling my hair. It still does, but I’m learning. Slowly. I suppose it can be said that I’m marketing challenged.



To say that things have changed so much in publishing over the past twenty years surely doesn’t surprise or amaze most people. But what is startling, is how much has changed in only the past five. Self Publishing, eBooks, social media…The landscape is constantly changing—and I mean like right now, this instant. The internet has turned the entire process around faster than a speeding bullet.



Another incredibly surprising thing—I know, you said one, but this is so exciting to me—is the discovery of the very mystical part of inventing stories. I am forever in awe of the mechanics of the human mind—the way we can somehow tap into our subconscious without so much steering it as we’re being driven. It’s quite the handy-dandy parlor trick when a story stops dead, or characters are standing around clicking their tongues in writers block limbo because I can’t figure out how they’re feeling or which way to send them. They give me a little time to figure it out, and if I can’t, they step up and show me. One moment I’m staring into space struggling to chart the next move or string of dialogue, and the next my characters are off and running without me.



What is the hardest part of writing your books?



Oh, just the writing part *she laughs and laughs.* I struggle, really struggle to get the words right. I could edit and rewrite for years—well, actually I do. I read about authors who have written their books in 6 months, even 3 weeks, and I wonder HOW? How is that even possible? The Secret of Lies was twenty years in the writing, although to be honest, that was mostly because I was raising my four children and my writing time was limited. Just as important and necessary though, is the fact that I was learning as I went along. The Secret of Lies isn’t my first book, but it was the first I believed good enough to send out into the world. And I thank God several times daily that I found an agent who felt the same way. 



Do you hear from your readers? What kinds of questions do they ask?



I can’t imagine a writer who isn’t thrilled over-the-moon to hear from their readers and I’m no exception. No matter the circumstances I will never publish a book with my name on it that I don’t love myself, so you can imagine how truly fantastic it is to have contact with readers who have read and in some way connected with something or someone in my book. Readers have been so generous in sharing their thoughts after reading The Secret of Lies and that is absolutely the supreme icing on the cake.



Most of the questions I’ve been asked are in regard to the character of Jake, who was also one of my favorite characters to write. It’s a little difficult to be specific here without dropping spoilers (arggg…and I truly dislike even the hint of a spoiler), but I’m surprised and delighted by how many readers have suggested, even insisted, that Jake needs his own book in order to more fully expand his story. All of which leads into the other most frequently asked question which is whether there will be a sequel to The Secret of Lies.



Have you attended a high school reunion? What did you learn?



I moved away from my hometown the day after graduating high school, so I was actually very excited once our ten year reunion rolled around. I grew-up in a small town in New York and there were only about 90 kids in my graduating class, most of whom had been acquainted since kindergarten, so in many respects, for better or worse, we really, REALLY knew each other. (In other words, forget about having a private life. There was just nothing getting past without someone seeing it and later reporting it around the lunch room.)



I was truly looking forward to the opportunity to reconnect with mislaid friends, but then there’s that other highlight of reunions we might be loathe to admit because it just doesn’t seem very “nice.”. Which is to say, the high curiosity factor as to how all those “Most Popular, Most likely to Succeed, Most Talented….”classmates turn out. Well, the “Mosts,” from my class seem to have turned out just fine, but in the spirit of full disclosure I will admit that there was a something of a gleeful ripple amongst those gathered when certain popular “but not so charitable” cheerleader types arrived carrying their own, very substantial cargo of excess baggage. And you know where this is going—um hum, the very thing they would’ve made high sport of ten years earlier had it been attached to one of their many hapless victims was now their personal burden.



But the lesson I learned wasn’t so much that cute cheerleaders don’t necessarily age well or that it’s undeniably gratifying when cruel taunts come back years later to roost upon the shoulders of their originators, it’s that really truly, even though my name wasn’t on the roster of “Most likely to…” I still turned out okay. Very happily okay.



If I came to visit early in the morning would you impress me as being more like a chirpy bird or a grumpy bear?


Chirpy bird no question—at least immediately following the first cup. I literally bounce off the walls first thing in the morning. I love that the day is brand new, wide open, and full of possibility for accomplishing any number of things. If I jump into doing whatever it is I have planned then I’m a whirlwind. But if I poke around (and yes, I’m referring to face book, twitter, email…) and don’t get moving right away, it’s a missed opportunity. Because very quickly, unless I’m on the move, I find that my mojo has up and left the building, in which case I’m dragging by noon. I live by a schedule because that’s how I perform best and get things done. I positively hate a wasted day and lost hours. It doesn’t make me especially popular at home when someone inadvertently steps into my path and is mercilessly mowed down, but it’s my methodical regiment that gets my house cleaned, laundry done, meals cooked, and books written. 
    

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
(text from Goodreads)


I grew up in a small town in Dutchess County, New York, the third of five children. Although I started my first novel in 4th grade, I didn't recognize what would eventually become a lifelong passion until several years later as I found my thoughts routinely wandering off to inhabit imagined places -- spinning elaborate tales curiously populated by ever-changing collections of strange and unique characters that seemed to arrive from nowhere, yet remained, incredibly content to live within my fictitious worlds.


It would be impossible to determine or otherwise explain where the intense obsession to draw pictures and unreel emotion with words on paper originates from, just as it would be unfathomable to ever abandon. It is simply th...moreI grew up in a small town in Dutchess County, New York, the third of five children. Although I started my first novel in 4th grade, I didn't recognize what would eventually become a lifelong passion until several years later as I found my thoughts routinely wandering off to inhabit imagined places -- spinning elaborate tales curiously populated by ever-changing collections of strange and unique characters that seemed to arrive from nowhere, yet remained, incredibly content to live within my fictitious worlds.



It would be impossible to determine or otherwise explain where the intense obsession to draw pictures and unreel emotion with words on paper originates from, just as it would be unfathomable to ever abandon. It is simply there - deep, unquenchable, eternal.

Influences are everywhere and in abundance - people I've known over a lifetime, as well as those who have merely crossed my path and gone, yet touched in such a way as to remain memorable. Places I've been or merely absorbed - fallen into through the pull of a photograph. Experiences of love, loss, injury, joy, and impossible tragedy. Events in our everyday world that sink so deeply they cannot be discarded from thought or memory. And more then any single thing, my Divine Creator who inspires me in all things - not simply with the desire to create, but the faith to pursue and persevere for as long as it takes.

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