Sunday, November 4, 2012

Groom and Doom: A Greek Love Story by Theresa Braun: Interview & Excerpt


Groom and Doom: A Greek Love Story gives a realistic portrayal of a day that ends up less like the fairytale so many girls dream of and more like a roller coaster ride without the brakes. Angela must listen to her heart when a tarot card reading before the wedding in Crete casts a ray of doubt on her happily-ever-after. She resolves to let her relationship and her destiny take flight.

And the family drama ensues. Soon after the bride and groom arrive in Greece, they are tormented mentally and emotionally by the groom’s father, Georgius. Tensions rise and Angela’s body reacts to the stress, all while she begins to realize she has absolutely no control over anything related to the ceremony.

She and Stavros finally escape to Venice for their romantic honeymoon where she is haunted by ridiculous sightings of Georgius, her mind warped by the wedding’s trauma. Angela prays the honeymoon will still be magical enough to keep them together.

Love is war, one that is complicated by a host of human flaws. The newlyweds duck for cover from an obstinate father-in-law lighting the fuse, as they struggle to avoid their relationship’s complete annihilation. 

Now the professed psychic had really crossed the line. No one on the surface of the globe would be able to convince me that Stavros was not the one.
"That's all that I'm getting." His hollow words flat-lined along with my faith in destiny and true love.
     Usually I would go through the pleasantries of saying thank you and goodbye, but I sprung up from the chair in hopes that Gabriella could calm me down.
     "What's the matter, sweetie?" Gabriella asked.
     All I could do was aim for the nearest bathroom so that I could let myself break down. Gabriella followed, waiting for me to be able to speak. This is the closest I have ever felt to death—not to exaggerate, but I almost had to ask her to call 911.
     There were other women in the bathroom, but the audience was much smaller than out on the convention center floor. "He said I'm not getting married." Salted streams were descending down the curve of my cheeks.
     "What?" Clearly, she was as surprised as I had been.
     "He said that I'm not going to Greece and I'm not getting married."
     "That goes against what you know to be true. You don't need a reader to verify that." She and I never felt anything seriously awry with my relationship with Stavros, nor did any of the other readers I had ever seen.
     If my fate was to not be with Stavros, why was this the first time I was getting wind of it? My confusion was still swirling around and within me, making me dizzy. I put my hand on the wall to steady my stance in the light gray colored tile.
     "Ya know how readings go. Sometimes they pick up on your fears, not what is really going to happen." Gabriella's magic spell was starting to take effect. "Plus, maybe he didn't clear himself of my energy before reading you. It sounds like he might be putting in some residue about what I'm going through. I'm the one who's breaking up with my boyfriend."
     Now I could begin taking in normal breaths. "Wow. That has to be it. He just got me so freaked out.”
     “Forget him. There're always whackos out there."
     "You're right."
     "Of course I am." Her purple lips went up, unveiling her teeth.  She reached for some paper towels and dabbed my face.
     "I mean, Stavros is literally my other half. We finish each other's sentences. We're both creative, love to read, love the theater—and that's just off the top of my head. He's kind, affectionate, thoughtful. We each light up when the other enters a room. He's such a beautiful soul, an earth angel. I can't imagine being with anyone else."
     "Hey, you're lucky. My friend at work just went out to eat with a guy who scratched his back with a fork.”
     “No way!"
     Gabriella gave me a warm side hug as we caught our reflection in the mirror. I kept the mental snap shot of our friendship as I approached my own reflection over the dimly lit sink, cleaning up my eye makeup. The pink blotches on my face were lighter than I had expected. A few puffs of powder and Gabriella caught me by the arm, guiding me out the restroom door. 


What was your first sale as an author?

My father is a difficult man, very conservative and hard to please when I was growing up.  That’s one of the reasons it touched me when he was the first person to purchase my book on Amazon.  His simple act of support brought tears to my eyes.

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


Like many other things in life, I find that letting go is the best technique.  The more I just got out of my own way and didn’t over-think my words and sentences, the better my writing was.  I’d bring in “rushed” pieces to my writing group, thinking they’d rip it apart.  Instead, they kept encouraging me.  The other thing I learned was how to reveal deep parts of myself when writing.  I thought that would scare me, but I feel a writer needs to go wherever the story needs to go.  I’ve learned to not be afraid of where that might be.  


What was the scariest moment of your life?

I’ve had some supernatural moments, like facing whatever was lurking in the haunted house in Winona, Minnesota I grew up in.  However, it was probably the time I was going through my divorce.  The frightening part was if I would ever get past the pain, if I was making the right decisions, if I would ever pull myself back together.  

What are your favorite TV shows?


I tend to have the television on while working or writing.  Often I have a “Law and Order” marathon on or crime TV.  It fascinates me to watch stories about why people do horrendous things and how they justify it.  Things that I would never dream of doing, some people don’t even think twice about—like killing a spouse for money.  There are other shows I watch because they make me think or they feed my gothic side.  “Walking Dead,” “American Horror Story,” and “Celebrity Ghost Stories” are my current fixations.  But I also enjoy “Sex and the City” reruns or “Burn Notice.”

Do you have a milestone birthday coming up? If so, how are you approaching it?


Funny, I was just thinking about that the other day.  I will be turning 40 for my next birthday and am not sure if I’ll organize a girl’s weekend getaway or plan a party.  Part of me hesitates, since I don’t know what exactly will be going on in my life by the time the date rolls around.  All I know is mentally and emotionally, this is shaking me up a bit.  I still feel 30, but the calendar says otherwise.  Maybe I’ll do something crazy and take myself to Venice or something. 

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?  How and why?

I definitely put effort in carefully choosing names for my characters.  Often, I like a name and then I look up the meaning in a name dictionary.  I did that with Groom and Doom and my short stories.  I love it when I read another author and the names of the characters are fitting or ironic.  Poe’s character Fortunato in “Cask of Amontillado” is a fabulous example—obviously the character’s death was extremely unfortunate.   


Who should play you in a film of your life? 


I would cast either Drew Barrymore or Jennifer Aniston to play me.  They both have a girl-next-door appeal, but are very quirky and complicated.  In real life they seem to have had quite an adventure trying to find a man who understands them.  I really relate to that.

What would we find under your bed?

I’d like to say there would be a secret stash of something—maybe secret love letters or a family heirloom.  However, you would probably just find a lot of cat hair that has drifted out of sight.


Is there a piece of advice that you have received that has really stuck with you? If so, what was it?


I remember watching “Oprah” and hearing her talk about her secrets to success.  She said that at every turn or milestone in her life, she has taken the time to listen to her gut instinct; and it has never let her down in life.  Ignoring it has, but listening to it has been crucial.  It sounds so simple, but I’m still learning how to do this and to take that leap of faith when listening to my intuition.  Whenever I start feeling anxious about a person or situation, I take notice.  That sickening feeling is there for a reason.  The opposite is also true.  When things flow and feel good, I’m on the right path.

Theresa Braun was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and has carried some of that hardiness with her to South Florida where she currently resides.  An English teacher and adjunct college professor for over thirteen years, she continues to share her enthusiasm for literary arts with her students.  She earned a Masters in English literature with a thesis on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.  In her spare time, she enjoys delving into her own creative writing, painting, photography and even ghost hunting.  Spending time with her family and traveling as often possible are two of her passions.  In fact, her world meanderings are often backdrops for her work.  Striving to make the world a better place is something dear to her heart.

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