Thursday, October 22, 2009

Author Guest Post - Therese Walsh (& a Giveaway - closed)

Congrats to lucky winner - Marilyn
 

Readers, please join me in welcoming Therese Walsh, author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy, who'll be guest blogging here today. This haunting debut novel explores the intense bond of sisterhood as a grieving twin searches for her own identity in the ruins of her sister’s past.




When Your Characters Travel the World and You Don't Even Have a Passport


Once upon a time, I had a passport. As a junior in high school, I had the good fortune to be invited for a tour of Europe, to sing sing sing my heart out with others my age. I went, of course, I went. I remember taking pictures of castles in Germany, snow-covered mountains in Switzerland, grand cathedrals in Italy (where there were dress codes, I recall), elaborate town squares in Austria. Unfortunately, when we reached Paris, France, my purse was snatched, my passport, my money, my camera—and all of the film from the shots I’d already snapped—gone.

So sad. You can imagine, I’m sure. I still remember those pictures, even though the actual photographs will never be in hand. As a former psychology student, I know this is probably because I felt deeply moved by the scenes before me while snapping those shots, and so I remembered them better.

As a writer, writing in part about places I’ve never been—like Rome, Italy—it’s sometimes challenging to massage 26 letters into something that evokes place authentically and in a way that can move a reader. Sure, you can buy travel guides, and I do, but so often they merely list attractions in a robotic manner and miss the essence of a place. I wanted to bring Rome to full-bodied life in my debut novel, The Last Will of Moira Leahy; I wanted my readers to see it, smell it, taste it, breathe it in.

A trick: Find someone who has been to that place you wish to know about, and ask them specific questions. What about that place moved them? What is it about that place that they remember? Sheets hanging from a line, the bakeries, everyone kissing, the cobblestone streets, the insane traffic, the flow of the language, music and artists everywhere, so many magnificent structures…

It’s important for me to listen with wide-open ears when they answer, because their answers are the equivalent of storytelling gold. They will remember what they loved, the things that touched them; and as a writer, those are the things I’d like to share and the emotions I’d like to evoke in you. If I can transmit an authentic love of place passed down to you from someone else, I can bring that place to life for you.

So you see, it doesn’t matter that I don’t have a passport right now and haven’t been to Rome—and wouldn’t have the photographs to remind myself of the trip even if I had. What matters is that I know how to ask questions to tap into the essence of place, and use the answers to construct a world out of 26 letters that you can see and smell and taste and breathe, and hopefully that will move you in a way that you will never forget.

Happy reading!
Therese Walsh

Thanks for that enlightening post, Therese. I've often wondered how authors are able to breathe life into the locales of their books, short of visiting that place of course! I hope one day we can have you drop by again, perhaps to details some of the research you've done. I know I'm interested! and I'm sure my readers are as well.

Photobucket
GIVEAWAY

The Prize

A copy of this book will go to one lucky reader!

To Enter
  • Just leave a comment with your email address in the body of the comment itself telling me : why you want to win!
  • Please list your email address within your comment so that you can be notified should you be chosen as a winner.
For Extra Entries

Please leave a NEW comment for each extra entry you do.


Deadline   Midnight CST of November 22, 2009.

Eligibility  US only.

Please read the Disclaimer. Good luck!

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146 comments :

  1. I can tell from the author's guest post that she is a beautiful writer! I'd love to win this book!

    bookingmama(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'd like to win this book because, not only do I want to read it, but my college aged daughter does also.

    webbJM(at)verizon(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  3. Me again! How many different settings are in the book and have you visited any of them or all they all the result of research?

    webbJM(at)verizon(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  4. And i joined your email feed!

    webbJM(at)verizon(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Jodi,

    The Last Will of Moira Leahy is set in three locales: Betheny, New York; Castine, Maine; and Rome, Italy. Though Betheny is fictional, I live in upstate, and I think of Betheny as a compilation of a variety of towns I know well. I have visited Castine, Maine, and had a wonderful time there walking the streets and speaking with the locals. Rome was 100% research-based.

    Thanks for your question!

    Therese

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think the premise of the book sounds fascinating...I enjoy family mysteries and books depicting different cultures. I think my daughter would also like this book.

    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have signed up for email updates.

    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  8. For the author:

    Do you have brothers or sisters, and did your relationships influence the content of your book?
    Thank you!

    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Margie,

    Yes, I have two sisters, and my relationship with my youngest sister is at the heart of this book. Our father died when she was 16, and she took his death very hard. Maeve Leahy, the main character in my novel, loses her twin at the age of 16, and takes that very hard. I think working through this story was my way of helping my sister--working through that grief with her and helping her find her way back to herself--via Maeve. My sister has connected very strongly with the book, though neither of us realized the link between her and my protagonist until the book was finished. Strange, how life infiltrates writing, even if you don't realize it at first.

    Thank you for your question, and your interest in The Last Will of Moira Leahy.

    All best,
    Therese

    ReplyDelete
  10. I just requested to be a friend on FACEBOOK.

    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

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  11. I've been to Europe but never to Italy but am drawn to novels and even TV shows set in Italy. Looking forward to reading The Last Will of Moira Leahy!

    delilah0180(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Therese, congrats on your debut novel!!!!

    Any plans to visit Italy after your book is released?

    delilah0180(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  13. Google reader subscriber!

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  28. Commented on Dr. David Robinson post!

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  29. Books sounds wonderful. I loved your post and like you, I believe we learn from others by being a good listener.

    seattlesnoops at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi etirv,

    I'll definitely visit Rome and Trastevere someday, and travel some of the paths my characters took. I hope to find an "Underdown" while I'm there, too.

    Thanks for your interest!

    All best,
    Therese

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thank you, Marilyn!

    All best,
    Therese

    ReplyDelete
  32. I have anticipated the release of this novel by Therese, counting down the days. The twin dimension sounds absolutely fascinating. It is amazing how our own life experience can infiltrate into our writing without realizing it.

    Would love a copy of The Last Will of Moira Leahy.

    journalwriter(at)sbcglobal(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  33. Question for Theresa,
    Did you find any challenges with tying up the threads of the story to complete the story arc? How many main characters are in the novel?

    Looking forward to hearing of your experience.
    Dawn Herring

    ReplyDelete
  34. I love books that are set abroad, and that delve into relationships. I'd love to read this book.

    bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hi Dawn,

    Funny, but the only part of the book that didn't give me grief was the ending. I knew where it needed to go, and writing that section was a fluid experience.

    The main characters in the present and/or past sequences are Maeve and Moira Leahy, Abby and Jack Leahy, Ian Bronya, and Noel Ryan. Other significant characters are Kit Bronya, Garrick Wareham, Ermanno, and Sri Putra. Giovanni Benedetto Chioli might not be a significant character, but I love him dearly and have to include him as well.

    Thanks for the question, Dawn, and good luck!

    All best,
    Therese

    ReplyDelete
  36. Oh my gosh, I'd love to win this book because something so similar happened to me as what happened to the author! I was also on a tour of Europe as a junior in high school -- thankfully, it wasn't my purse, but my good friend's purse that was stolen. She had been a carefree, happy teenager, and suddenly she was a crime victim! I really connect with her experiences, and the book sounds really interesting, too!

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  39. I want to win this because I have heard amazing things about this book. Thanks!
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  40. I want to win this book because I've read several good reviews about it online.

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  41. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  43. Question for author: Do you have sisters, and, if yes, did that help you write a novel about the relationship of sisters?

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  44. I follow you on Twitter and tweeted:

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  45. Sarah,

    Thanks for your question. Yes, I have two sisters. In fact, the relationship I have with one of my sisters in particular became foundational to this book--but I didn't recognize that until very late in the game. You can read more about that here:

    http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/2009/10/therese-walshs-family-relationships.html

    Good luck in the contest!

    All best,
    Therese

    ReplyDelete
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  49. The book sounds fascinating - I enjoy stories that delve deeply into family mysteries and emotions.

    After I took the bar exam, I traveled to Europe with a good friend. Just as we were starting our train trip, my money was stolen - AARGH. It was horrible and it took me some time to recover. I am much more careful now (paranoid) and sympathize with others who go through similar traumas!

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  66. I'd like to read this book because I enjoy reading a book with flash backs to another time and place.
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  74. It looks good! The cover art had me hooked.

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  75. Author sounds like a beautiful writer, I'd like a chance to read a full book.

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  90. Madwoman-doing-cartwheelsNovember 10, 2009 at 6:47 AM

    'd love to win this book because the topic of twins or of separated sisters always intrigues me. The strong bond of siblings makes great reading.


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  96. This looks so intriguing, like something I could not put down!!
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  113. I would love to win this book. I've read a lot of great reviews on it.

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  123. I'd like this book b/c I am an avid book reader and it looks very interesting.

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  127. Sounds like a very interesting book. I'd very much like to read it. Please enter me. Thanks!

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  131. I'm an email subscriber. Please add my name to your giveaway list. I enjoy reading books set in other countries, because I like learning about the regions, customs and the people. Thank you!

    Blessings,
    Sandee

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  134. I've been seeing this book all over the blogs & would really like to win a copy to read.
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  141. Congrats to the winner who has been notified. Thank you all for stopping by!

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