Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mirror Face by Meredith Lorimar: Interview, Excerpt

 


 

 
Welcome Meredith!  It's great to have you as my guest! Thanks for agreeing to answer some questions.  

At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be a writer?


Books have always been a portal in my life. For the first part of my youth, I read to escape and to have the types of adventures which are available to a young imagination through fantasy and myth. As I grew older, I discovered vast storages of wisdom which had not been included in my formal education and my horizon spread. It was at this juncture, when knowledge began to alchemize into wisdom that I committed to acquiring the skills required to being part of a group of people who were capable of contributing to such a unique form of enlightenment. That seemed a wonderful path in life to embark upon.


Tell us about your current release.


My debut novel is entitled, “Mirror Face.” It is the first in a series of three books and follows the life of a young woman named Ursula Baker. The story is an intimate re-counting of a very tumultuous period in her life, as she finds herself paralyzed by how out-of-control the people closest to her have become. One friend is lingering in hospital, battling the effects of HIV/AIDS, while the other has descended into an obsession with Lady Gaga, fuelled by a crystal meth addiction. The story tries to capture the challenges which accompany close loyalties, especially when those demands are at the expense of the individual being exposed to undertows which begin to threaten their own safety.


What is your heroine of the story like?


I wanted to create a story which reflected the lives of people I had met and known personally, but I did not wish to invade privacy, nor loot personal experience for the purpose of a compelling narrative. Ursula is a composite of many people I have either known personally or through others, third-hand and admired or been attracted to. Ursula Baker is a young woman, bright and of great means, who throughout the novel is struggling to discover the boundaries of love and personal loyalty, in a sincere fashion which challenges both her understanding of life, as she expected it to resolve from childhood notions and also from the perspective of a clever person overwhelmed by choice and possibility.


Why should we read your book?


“Mirror Face,” is a carefully constructed novel which enfolds the reader into the psychic landscape of its very relatable heroine. I truly believe there are valuable life lessons in Ursula Baker’s story and any reader, no matter their age or preferred reading genre, will find the story both compelling and emotionally resonant.


What are the most important attributes for remaining sane as a writer?


Never losing sight of the fact that writing is an unfolding process. Whatever emotional challenges may arise from the commitment to creating an engaging narrative, be they time or focus, the endeavour of creating, then marketing a book in the Digital frontier is full of serendipity, compelling people and moments of tremendous pride in what has been achieved. Remain patient and enjoy the process.


Tell us about your next release.


The second book in the Demands of Loyalty series is entitled, “What She Deserves.” It is another short novel, told in a de-constructed fashion which includes journal entries, letters, grocery lists, poetry, horoscopes, playlists - all assembled to continue the story of Ursula Baker as she attempts to find happiness living off-grid in the isolation afforded by mountains.


Is there a piece of advice that you have received that has really stuck with you?


As a writer, I absolutely love this quote from Annie Dillard’s, The Writing Life. It not only speaks to the mystery of a writer’s intention but is also beautiful advice for the way in which we structure our own personal relationships. I refer to it often:

One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill in from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.


 
 
If my writing style were a love-child, it would be a hybrid of a modernized Jane Austen and a more optimistic J.D Salinger. I wanted to create a breathing character, one with whom readers in the YA market could easily identify but instead of phasmagoria, my character would be challenged by an excess of option and the conflicts inherent to loyalty.
 
Link to Author Website: http://www.meredithlorimar.com/ 
 
 
 
 
 
In Mirror Face, we meet a young woman of means named Ursula Baker. As she struggles to secure the balance between life experience and sensibility, we descend into her curiosity for a world she is so fascinated by. The novel is told through a series of inter-woven reveries, which explore what it means to love and live with purpose in a challenging, complex society. Will Ursula be able to secure her niche in life, when her closest friends are threatened by the consequences of their dangerous and out-of-control lifestyles? One friend has lost all ambition to become a singer/songwriter and has descended into a world of amphetamine and an obsession with Lady Gaga; another lies in hospital, battling the effects of HIV/AIDS. It will take conviction to be of assistance to those in crisis but will this strength be at the expense of something Ursula needs to maintain her own sanity?
 
 
 
 
    In an interval of time between cocktail hour and the twilight of a warm summer day, Ursula Baker lies upon her unmade bed, intently studying photographs of herself. A small collection of random snapshots, each having been carefully chosen from many others which fill several different scrapbooks is now piled before her on an exposed flat sheet, sorely in need of a good laundering.
   To prepare for this period of contemplation, the assortment of photographs has been distinguished with the closest attention to Ursula’s sense of vanity as is possible. Considering her current diminished frame of mind, the strict criteria for selection is what has accounted for the crawling speed of this rare investigation into her persona. She has not been feeling herself lately, and so believes a quiet interlude of serious reflection might assist in rectifying the matter. Perhaps a key will turn.
   Holding one of these photographs outstretched in her hand, she peers deeply into her image, searching for clues. Why is she suddenly so unfamiliar to herself? She brings the snapshot closer to her face, squinting at a glossy likeness; nothing registers. Dissatisfied with the results of this particular method, Ursula smooths the flat sheet out with some impatience, and then sets to work slowly re-arranging these photographic gems into an orderly line. She places them sequentially; this chain of memories can represent the logical progression of how history has passed since the first photograph was captured. Awareness might improve once time is investigated backwards.
   Here she is in a sweet, yellow string-bikini, bronze with tan and laughing in hilarious abandon on a beach in Florida. The setting is Daytona, circa 2008. The photo was taken on a vacation during Spring Break and Ursula had been in a wonderful mood when the picture was snapped. This is evident from the sheer joy she exhibits.
   Away from the family home for the first time without the constraints of parental supervision, bright tropical sun streams from behind her head, causing brilliant flares of solar light to shoot from around her tousled hair. In the background, the ocean is a vast body, with frothy, salty waves lapping onto the shoreline. The sand beneath her bare feet is wet; fragments of seashells are just visible. In the picture, she looks healthy, very happy and terribly sexy. She sets this one aside.
    Here she is dressed in what is now recognized as a Channel knock-off. The outfit is composed of a tan coloured suit Ursula purchased last minute at a local mall, on sale just days before the event it was to be worn. The two-piece ensemble was removed with pride from its dry cleaning bag. The festive occasion was graduation from high school, where the theme was, Reach for the Stars.
   In the photograph, she is fully dressed in her choice of attire for prom. Her friends await her arrival in an elaborately converted gymnasium and she will be perfectly on time for the event. She stands serenely in the back garden of her parent’s home, positioned against the flowery background of a colourful spray of spring tulips. Her arms are primly crossed before her, manicured hands lightly clasped. The blonde hair is now swept up into a tidy chignon, revealing a pair of moderately-sized pearl earrings, which were one of her graduation gifts.
   No date stands beside her in the photograph for the reason that she went to the landmark occasion as a free agent. She was not alone in this radical choice, for several of her teenaged girlfriends chose the identical option. They imagined they were somehow protesting, in uniform sorority, what was considered a rather unsavoury crop of available males they had the misfortune of matriculating alongside.
   Ursula pulls the informal portrait closer to her blue eyes. In the image, she appears composed but suspiciously young in such a fussy suit. The skirt falls to just below her knees and the dark buttons are a strange design choice, considering the lightness of the linen. Her shoes are not a perfect match to the colour either. After some deliberation, Ursula decides she would have been better-off in an outfit which did not appear so matronly and over-arching. She inserts this picture back into the pile of photos which have been rejected. 
   She moves along the row to consider what has long been one of her favourite likenesses. She is framed, again sitting alone, perched on the top step of the back porch of her parent’s house. Somewhat provocatively, she is naked under a pair of faded blue jean overalls. At the time the picture was taken, she is extremely hung over because it is the day after her graduation, where she drank the better part of a case of twelve beer on her own. Though the evening had begun in the company of other strong-willed young women, Ursula ended the experience with the young man she would call her boyfriend for the summer which followed. He is not seen in the photograph.
   Anyone glancing at the snapshot for the first time would never be able to tell she is feeling extremely ill and also deeply concerned she may be pregnant. All they would notice is that her skin is beautifully tanned, flawless in tone and complexion and the hair, streaked blonde by hot sun, hangs down to softly brush against lovely exposed shoulders. She jokingly leers at the camera with a come-hither look: a veritable lioness, tempting the world awaiting her next move into adult life. The attitude is satirical but the overall impression of her character is strong and amusing. She appears likable and probably fun to be with.
   Ursula pauses to meditate over this particular image. When she had originally collected the developed prints from a local drugstore, she had thought this picture an especially terrific likeness and so pinned it to a corkboard on the wall of her bedroom. Copies were also made and distributed to several close friends, including the new summer boyfriend.  There is a sweet rawness to her awakening sexuality and the luminosity of her skin must have shot through the aperture of the camera just as it winked. She had been entirely unaware of her beauty back then. This humility is what makes her look fearless and confident. Now she isn’t so sure how she could ever have been that pretty and not realized it.

 
 
 
In exchange for posting a review to Amazon, Meredith will be happy to send you a promotional copy of Mirror Face in either mobi, epub or PDF format.  Contact her directly at: violetflamed@gmail.com.
 
 
 
 

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