Paperback Writer is pleased to announce or author for today, Gail Graham, author of Sea Changes. Gail’s virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion. As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors’ blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available.
ABOUT THE BOOKWhen Sarah’s husband dies suddenly, she is left with no anchor and no focus.
Grief is an ever-present companion and counseling a weekly chore with minimal results, but when Sarah decides to end her life her suicide attempt takes her to an underwater world where she finds comfort and friendship. Afterwards, back on the beach she wonders – Was it a dream? Was I hallucinating? Or am I going mad?
Her efforts to make sense of the experience lead to Sarah’s becoming a suspect in the alleged kidnapping of a young heiress. Now her worlds are colliding – and the people she trusts are backing away, not believing a word she says. She must decide what is real and what is not. Her life depends on it.
Welcome to Paperback Writer
Thanks for inviting me here to talk about Sea Changes.
Q: Will you share with us how you came up with the idea for this book?
A: My husband died suddenly, leaving me a youngish widow. I instantly become socially invisible. Friends vanished. My life was gone, even though I was still alive. I seemed to no longer have an identity. Many widows experience this, but it was not what I expected. (It’s not what any of us expect) Then one night I found myself watching a documentary about people who believed they’d been abducted by aliens. I was intrigued by how ordinary these people seemed. They certainly weren’t publicity-seekers. They were just ordinary people to whom something extraordinary had happened. I wondered how that would feel, to experience something that you know is impossible, to know that it happened and to also know nobody believes you. The anomie of widowhood plus this curiosity to know how “the impossible” might feel provided the seeds of the ideas at the center of Sea Changes.
Q: Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?
A: I don’t actually make an outline, but I usually have an idea of where the plot is going. My fiction is always very character-driven, and Sea Changes is no exception. But a good plot is important, too. It keeps your readers turning the pages and wondering what will happen next.
Q: Do you know the end of the story at the beginning?
A: Yes. In fact, the last line of Sea Changes was the first thing I wrote.
Q: Do you have a process for developing your characters? A: My characters grow and develop like children. When they’re born, they are totally dependent upon me for everything. Then they start talking and walking and developing their own, distinct personalities. Sometimes – again like children — they turn out very differently from what I expected. And sometimes, they take the plot in an entirely different direction from what I planned. But that’s okay. In fact, when that happened with Sea Changes, I knew I had a viable, living novel.
Q: It is said that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters and what they would be?
A: Certainly, there is a lot of me in Sarah Andrews, the protagonist of Sea Changes. Like Sarah, I am a widow. Also like Sarah, I lived in Australia for many years, and felt very much of an outsider. But I think Sarah Andrews is also a stronger, better, braver version of me – I think she’s perhaps the person I would like to be rather than the person I am. As for the other characters – they’re figments of my imagination, and to the extent that it is my imagination that creates them, they are part of me, part of my psyche. The creative process is basically a process of dissembling and reassembling elements of the author’s experience and psyche. That’s what I love about writing. Authors get to create whole worlds out of nothing other than what’s in their head.
Q: What is your most favorite part about this book?
A: The magical realism. These are the parts of Sea Changes where exciting and transformative things happen, because these are the moments when anything is possible.
Q: When in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for a publisher?
A: Not until I’d finished it. But you can’t just look for a publisher, these days. First, you’ve got to find an agent, because most mainstream publishers won’t look at an unagented manuscript. It’s the agent – rather than the author – who goes looking for a publisher
Q: What struggles have you had on the road to being published?
A: I was fortunate enough to find an agent. But the process is time-consuming, frustrating and generally awful. And the sheer rudeness of many of these people is appalling. They say that they’re busy, but that’s what running a business is about – being busy. I mean, how long does it take to hit the Reply button? I also have a big problem with the idea that agents have to “be in love” with a book before they take it on. It just sounds totally phony. So the biggest struggle was the agent thing. I have promised myself that I will never go through that again.
Q: What has been the best part about being published?
A: The best part of being published is having people (mostly reviewers at this stage) reading Sea Changes and totally “getting” it – that is just so great! I tried very hard to do something, and from the comments so far, I succeeded. That’s a wonderful feeling. Having Sea Changes out there and knowing that even as I sit here answering your questions people are reading it is the most fabulous feeling in the world.
Q: What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your novel?
A: I want them to believe – as I do — that anything is possible.
Q: Do you have plans to write another book?
A: I’m currently working on another novel, set in 7th century Tang China. Also, I’m writing a book of non-fiction about what it’s like to come back to the United States after having lived in Australia for 32 years.
Q: Where can readers find a copy of your book?
A: Sea Changes is available through Amazon and in book stores.
Q: Do you have a website for readers to go to?
A: My website is at www.gailgraham.net
Thank you, Gail for sharing your book and characters with us today. It has been a pleasure and I hope you have had a successful virtual book tour.
The SEA CHANGES VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ’09 will officially begin on June 1 and end on June 26. You can visit Gail’s blog stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com during the month of June to find out more about this great book and talented author!