Friday, November 18, 2011

Spotlight and Interview with Terri Giuliano Long

Amazon Kindle: 

Do you work another job when you are not writing?
I’m a writing teacher. I’ve taught part-time for Boston College for sixteen years, a range of classes that include everything from Web writing to food writing.

What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t writing?
Hands down, spending time with my family. They are the most important people in my life.  Without them, nothing else would matter.

What is your favorite color? Why?
I love gold, not for the monetary connotations, but for its glittering hopefulness.

What is your favorite season? Why?
Spring, again because it’s hopeful. My husband and I currently divide our time between New England and California. There is nothing so stunning as a clear fall day in New England, with the warm sun and colorful leaves. But in spring, as the days get longer, you feel hopeful and alive.

If you could live anyplace on earth, where would it be? Why?
I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to visit many wonderful places. Always, at some point in the trip I think, wouldn’t it be great to live here. But there really is no place like home. Right now, our children are spread across the country, fulfilling their own journeys. Down the road, when everyone is finished with school, I hope we live near or at least within a reasonable drive of one another. That’s my dream home.

If you could have any car, what would it be?
I’m not really a car person. As long as it’s reliable, gets good gas mileage, and has no body rot, I’m happy.

Tell us about your writing:
How long have your been writing? Was it a dream, a goal or is it just a hobby?
I’ve always been a writer at heart. As a child, I entertained myself by making up stories and acting in my own improvisational plays. In high school, the majority of my hobbies and activities somehow involved writing. One day, brazenly, I walked into the editor’s office at the town paper and asked for a job. For a while, I covered sports and general high school news. Eventually, the editor gave me my own column. I was sixteen. That column was my first paid writing job. I earned about a dollar a week – and I knew then that writing was the only job I’d ever want.
I can’t imagine not writing. Writing transports me; I lose myself in the process.

How many hours a day do you devote to writing? Do you have a set routine or do you write when the mood strikes?
Ideally, I blog in the morning and either write or edit the novel I’m currently working on from early afternoon until dinnertime. This schedule doesn’t always work. During crunch time, when I’m busy editing and grading students’ papers, my own work falls by the wayside. Since the summer, marketing In Leah’s Wake, I’ve neglected Nowhere to Run, my novel-in-progress, and I’m eager to dig in again. Typically, when I’ve been away from my fiction, it takes a few weeks to catch up and establish a regular routine.
In the past, I insisted that students write every day. I now see rules as counterproductive. The right way to do anything is the way that works best for you. Life interferes with the best-laid plans. You can fight it or go with it. I try to go with it. That’s not to say I always succeed.

Do you listen to music or do you need a quiet place to write?
I’m easily distracted, so I need a quiet place to write, preferably with no Internet access. If I start anything else, I’m likely to fall into a rabbit hole and lose the entire day I’d hoped to spend writing.

What is the name of your book and is it part of a series or a stand-alone novel?
In Leah’s Wake is contemporary fiction.

Where did the idea come from? 
Years ago, I wrote a series of feature articles about families with drug- and alcohol-addicted teens. The moms talked candidly about their children, their struggles. Their heartbreaking stories stayed with me. 
My husband and I have four daughters. When I began writing In Leah's Wake, they were teens. Most families experience conflict during their children's teenage years. We’re no different - though, thank goodness, ours were tame. We experienced nothing remotely like the problems and challenges the Tylers face in the book.
As a parent, I knew how it felt to be scared, to be concerned for your children’s future. Although I didn’t think about it at the time, I now see this as a primary force driving this story. My work with families, my personal experiences and core beliefs – all these things played on my conscious and subconscious mind, and ultimately emerged as this book. 
What is it about?
In Leah’s Wake tells the story of a family in collapse. Sixteen-year-old Leah, a star soccer player, has led a perfect life. When she meets a sexy older guy, attracted to his independence, she begins to spread her wings. Drinking, ignoring curfew, dabbling in drugs—all this feels like freedom to her. Her terrified parents, thinking they’re losing their daughter, pull the reigns tighter. Unfortunately, they get it all wrong, pushing when they ought to be pulling, and communication breaks down. Soon, there’s no turning back. Twelve-year-old Justine caught between the parents she loves, and the big sister she adores, finds herself in the fight of her life, trying desperately to pull her family together. Will this family survive? What happens when love just isn't enough? 

Jodi Picoult fans often tell me the book reminds them of hers. I’m not sure she – or I – would agree, but we both write topical family stories. And it’s a lovely compliment.  Brag facts: In Leah’s Wake is the recipient of the CTRR Reviewer Recommend Award and is also the Book Bundlz 2011 Book Club Pick. In Leah’s Wake is an Amazon Kindle bestseller.

Do you have any upcoming projects in the works or other books that have been published?
I’m currently working on a psychological thriller with a historical twist. 
Nowhere to Run takes place in the White Mountains in northern New Hampshire. A year after the brutal murder of her six-year-old daughter, Abby Minot, formerly an award-winning writer, accepts her first assignment—a profile of the philanthropic Chase family, kin of the popular New Hampshire senator and presidential hopeful, Matthias Chase.
In her initial research, Abby glimpses darkness under the Chase family’s shiny veneer. Digging deeper, she uncovers a shocking web of lies and betrayal, dating back to the nineteenth century. Abby soon finds herself trapped—between an editor obsessed with uncovering the truth and the town and family who will stop at nothing to ensure it stays hidden.
I hope to complete the novel this fall. 
Thank you so very much, Deb. It’s an honor to be here today. Thank you, readers, for taking the time to visit. I welcome correspondence. Please connect on Twitter, Facebook or by e-mail! 

Author bio:
Terri Giuliano Long grew up in the company of stories both of her own making and as written by others. Books offer her a zest for life’s highs and comfort in its lows. She’s all-too-happy to share this love with others as a novelist and a writing teacher at Boston College. She was grateful and thrilled beyond words when her award-winning debut literary novel, In Leah’s Wake, hit the Barnes and Noble and Amazon bestseller lists in August. She owes a lot of wonderful people – big time! – for any success she’s enjoyed!