Big welcome to Marcia Butler, who joins us this week to discuss her latest book, Oslo, Maine, which launches TODAY

Author Name: Marcia Butler

Book Title: Oslo, Maine

Book Genre: Upmarket Fiction

Release Date: March 2, 2021

Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing

Welcome to the blog, Marcia! Please describe Oslo, Maine.

When an accident with a moose claims the memory of a young boy, three families are set on a journey of denial, addiction, and reckoning with the past. Oslo, Maine is a heartbreaking yet finally hopeful story that barrels to its unexpected conclusion, where fragile families who want only the best must fail before they succeed.

What sparked the idea for your latest book?

I was a professional oboist for many years before I became an author and spent summers in Maine performing at a chamber music festival. It was there that I heard an improbable story about a moose. I never forgot that story and it eventually became an inciting incident in my novel.

Wow, that’s fascinating. Oboist to author–that’s a big shift! What do you love most about writing?

I enjoy creating worlds and people that are unknown to me. When I write from the place of not knowing my imagination feels limitless and it is often surprising what lands on the page.

If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read Oslo, Maine?

If you love characters that both fail and succeed, sometimes do harm but also good, with a plot that surprises every ninth page or so Oslo, Maine is for you.

How are you adjusting to marketing a book during a pandemic? 

Publishing during the pandemic has been a challenge. But I’ve realized that I need to let go of any notion of control. The good news is that books are forever. They provide entertainment and solace not only during “normal” days but especially during these unprecedented times. 

Where can readers find you?

Website:         http://marciabutlerauthor.com

Twitter:          https://twitter.com/MarciaAButler

Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/marcia.butler.5/

Instagram:   https://www.instagram.com/marciaabutler/

Thank you, Marcia. Oslo, Maine is out TODAY!

A moose walks into a rural Maine town called Oslo. Pierre Roy, a brilliant twelve-year-old, loses his memory in an accident. Three families are changed for worse and better as they grapple with trauma, marriage, ambition, and their fraught relationship with the natural world.

Meet Claude Roy, Pierre’s blustery and proud fourth-generation Maine father who cannot, or will not, acknowledge the too real and frightening fact of his son’s injury. And his wife, Celine, a once-upon-a-time traditional housewife and mother who descends into pills as a way of coping. Enter Sandra and Jim Kimbrough, musicians and recent Maine transplants who scrape together a meager living as performers while shoring up the loose ends by attempting to live off the grid. Finally, the wealthy widow from away, Edna Sibley, whose dependent adult grandson is addicted to 1980’s Family Feud episodes. Their disparate backgrounds and views on life make for, at times, uneasy neighbors. But when Sandra begins to teach Pierre the violin, forces beyond their control converge. The boy discovers that through sound he can enter a world without pain from the past nor worry for the future. He becomes a pre-adolescent existentialist and invents an unconventional method to come to terms with his memory loss, all the while attempting to protect, and then forgive, those who’ve failed him.

Oslo, Maine is a character driven novel exploring class and economic disparity. It inspects the strengths and limitations of seven average yet extraordinary people as they reckon with their considerable collective failure around Pierre’s accident. Alliances unravel. Long held secrets are exposed. And throughout, the ever-present moose is the linchpin that drives this richly drawn story, filled with heartbreak and hope, to its unexpected conclusion.

Bio:

Marcia Butler, a former professional oboist and interior designer, is the author of the memoir, The Skin Above My Knee, and debut novel Pickle’s Progress. The Creative Imperative, her documentary film exploring the essence of creativity, was premiered in New York City on June 9, 2019 and is now available on YouTube. With her second novel, Oslo, Maine, Marcia draws on indelible memories of performing for many years at a chamber music festival in central Maine. While there, she came to love the people, the diverse topography, and especially the majestic and endlessly fascinating moose who roam, at their perpetual peril, among the humans. After decades in The Big Apple, Marcia now calls the Land of Enchantment home.


Thrilled to have Tina Hogan Grant on the blog this week to discuss her latest novel, The Reunions

Author Name: Tina Hogan Grant

Book Title: The Reunions

Book Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release Date: February 5, 2021

Publisher: Tina Hogan Grant – Books

Welcome, Tina! Will you please tell us about your latest book?

Three daughters try to fulfill their mother’s wish. Will time be on their side?

What drew you to the idea for The Reunions and how close is the end product to that seed of an idea?

The Reunions is the final book in the Tammy Mellows Series and it’s based on my life. I knew where the story would go before I sat down to write it but what I didn’t count on were other events that revolved around the Reunion of the sisters.

In what ways do you think you’ve evolved as an author over the course of your career so far?

I had the idea for Reckless Beginnings – The Tammy Mellows Series Book 1 over twenty-five years ago and it was finally published in 2018. My plan was to write one book and deliver a strong message that I had for other women. I’ve always loved to write as a hobby but after the book was published I realized I had more to say and I started to take my writing more seriously. I also told myself that the next book wasn’t going take me another twenty-five years. I buckled down and Better Endings book 2 was published a year later. I have now published six books in two and half years. I love what I do and I love the response I am getting from my readers. This is no longer a hobby. It is a passion.

What’s your favorite part about writing/being an author? What do you find challenging?

My favorite part is listening to my characters and letting them tell me their stories. I do not plot my books. When I sit down to write the characters take over and like a reader I am experiencing it for the first time. This also drives me to keep writing because I want to see how the story ends. Many times I am surprised like my readers are.

The most challenging part without a doubt is marketing. Writing the book is the easy part but now I have to find creative ways to get into the hands of readers.

What are your interests outside of writing and reading?

In the summer months I love to spend time outdoors. I love to kayak on the nearby lake. I try to do daily hikes with my two dogs on our mountain trails. I also love to grow my own vegetables and tend to my cottage garden. I was a commercial fisherwoman fro ten years and still love to go saltwater fishing.  My husband and I enjoy riding ATV and exploring desolate ghost town.

What are you working on now?

The Reunions is due to be released end of January/ early February so I am currently working with my editor on the final edits. I have also started to write Jill – The Sabela Series Book 4

Where can readers find you?

If your readers click on this link it will take them to all the places they can follow me;

https://linktr.ee/tinahogangrant

My website is https://www.tinahogangrant.com

Thank you, Tina! The Reunions is OUT NOW.

Would time be on their side?

A mother’s wish. A daughter’s determination

Which one, if any, would be fulfilled first? 

Tammy, Donna, and Jenny were separated by divorce and divided by an ocean for decades. 

Their mother, Rose, had one wish—to see her girls together one more time.

For Tammy, it would have to wait. She’s living out her dream as a commercial fisherwoman on the Pacific Ocean. But when a fishing trip goes wrong, she questions her future with the fleet. 

After two devastating deaths in the family, and when Tammy finds herself fighting for her own life not once but twice; the family takes center stage. She wants to make her mother’s wish come true.

But did the sisters wait too long? Their mother’s health suddenly takes a turn for the worse. 

Will she get to see her girls together one more time? 

BIO:

A native of England. I feel very lucky to have spent my childhood and adolescent years in a small quaint Yorkshire town called Ilkley, where many days were spent roaming the Yorkshire moors, climbing the Cow & Calf Rocks, swimming in the River Wharfe and playing “Conkers” and “Jacks” with schoolmates. 

I am the youngest daughter of famed science-fiction author James P. Hogan who sadly passed away seven years ago. Thank you, Dad, for sharing with me your passion for books and writing. Today I am living that passion with hopes of passing it on to my children and grandkids.


Margaret Ann Spence joins the blog this week to chat about her latest book, Joyous Lies.

Author Name: Margaret Ann Spence

Book Title: Joyous Lies

Book Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release Date: February 15, 2021

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Welcome, Margaret! Please tell us about Joyous Lies.

The tagline: If plants can protect their young, why can’t humans do the same?

The story:  Trees live in an underground network of cooperation, and the idealists who founded the commune of Joyous Woods wanted to do the same. But human needs and misdeeds can only be buried for so long.

What sparked the idea for the book?

Reading Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire and Richard Powers The Overstory allowed me to see plants from a different perspective. That is, we need a more holistic approach, and since I have always been interested in organic farming (I love to garden!) this led to a story with two viewpoint characters, Maelle, a young botanist, and Johanna, her hippie grandmother, who runs an organic farm.

I love that inspiration came from books and your own experience. How long did it take for you to write the book? Did you do have to do any research?

I wrote this book in about 18 months. It required a ton of research — on the latest botany science, on organic farming, and on the Vietnam War era — all of which I loved doing!

What drew you to the women’s fiction genre?

I grew up as an only girl with three brothers, had three sons, a stepson, and no daughter, and have always craved and loved the sisterhood of women. Both my novels deal with the relationship between sisters. It is not surprising that my very favorite childhood book was Little Women.

Where do you get ideas for your books?

Ideas come at me all the time. The problem is finding the story within them. In my first book, Lipstick on the Strawberry, my heroine Camilla is an English caterer estranged from her family, culturally adrift in the United States, and recently divorced. I wanted to explore how someone who is bombarded with the psychological message that she doesn’t belong can dig herself out of that sense of displacement and arrive at a sense of well-being.

In Joyous Lies my characters all refuse to conform. Maelle’s research is way out there, Johanna and the communards were originally Vietnam War resisters who created a working organic farm from the Norther California wilderness using nothing but hand tools. They raised their children in an equally unconventional way. Maelle, brought up on the commune from the age of ten after her mother died, is confronted with the possibility that her mother may have died as an animal-rights activist, and investigates. What she finds challenges everything she’s believed.

For you, what’s the hardest thing about writing?

The first chapters of the first draft are like chipping away at a rock face. Once the first draft is done, though, revision is pure pleasure.

What do you love most about it?

I love the flow when the story is moving along in the right direction.

In what ways do you think you’ve evolved as an author over the course of your career so far?

From a craft point of view, I am better now at sensing the architecture of a story, its peaks and troughs. But writing is only part of being an author (sigh!) We have to do so much marketing these days and I’m learning to expand more there, and spend a lot of time of social media.

What are your interests outside of writing and reading?

I love to travel and before the pandemic was often on a plane. I am an art lover, active in various art related organizations around town. But I also love domesticity, baking bread, having friends for dinner, and gardening.

Are you working on a new project?

I have a new novel percolating at the moment, also about a woman who loves plants.

How are you adjusting to marketing a book during a pandemic? 

Hello zoom! Actually, it has made all of us more creative, don’t you think? Because of social media, including zoom, we authors can now reach a wider audience than we could with our in-person launches.

Where can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)? Feel free to include any upcoming, live/online events, workshops, too! 

I’ll be speaking (via zoom) to the Society of Southwest Authors February 28, and have a couple of podcasts coming up. Please watch my social media for details!

Website: https://www.margaretannspence.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/margaretannspence

Twitter: https://.www.twitter.com/margannspence

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Margaret+Ann+Spence

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/margaretannspence

Thank you, Margaret! Joyous Lies is available NOW!

Maelle Woolley, a shy botanist, prefers plants to people. They don’t suddenly disappear. Raised on her grandparents’ commune after her mother’s mysterious death, she follows the commune’s utopian beliefs of love for all. Then she falls for attractive psychiatrist Zachary Kane. When Zachary claims her mother and his father never emerged alive from his father’s medical research lab, Maelle investigates. What she discovers will challenge everything she believes, force her to find strength she never knew she had, and confront the commune’s secrets and lies. What happened to love? And can it survive?

BIO

After working in publishing, as a journalist, as a consular officer and as a real estate agent, I found that writing fiction was much more fun. Born in Australia, I’ve lived on three continents and both coasts of the United States. These places find their way into my books. Though I love to travel, the theme of home is central to my fiction, and I writes about women, the choices they make, and what happens next.

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