Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Conversation with Barbara Mahler (& a Giveaway - closed)



Barbara A. Mahler was amazed when the wizzen Netri showed up in her life. Night after night he woke her up and told her stories about a land on the other side of the hole in the sky. She wrote down his tales and the result is her first full-length novel, The Hole in the Sky (Sea Turtle Publishing, 300p).

Tell us about your book, The Hole in the Sky.

Following the death of her mother, thirteen-year-old Kaela Neuleaf struggles with her loss. Lured by an old diary and the mysterious power of her mother’s butterfly pendant, Kaela and her cousin Shawn are transported to Muratenland where the two are desperately needed to rescue a kidnapped child from the clutches of a vicious warlord.

The Hole in the Sky offers beauty and adventure, a bevy of strange and magical friends – and deadly enemies. When Shawn is captured, Kaela must dig inside for untapped wells of courage and love in her heart in order to save her cousin and new friends from the ravages of an impending war.

Give us some background on the main character, Kaela, and what drives her longing for a magical journey.

After Kaela’s mother dies from a protracted illness Kaela feels like all the magic and joy she once experienced has vanished from her life.

How did your work with cancer patients help inspire the story?

This story was profoundly influenced by my work with cancer patients and their families. I fall in love with the beautiful spirit of all my patients and I experience a deep sense of loss and helplessness when one of them dies. In some ways I think I made my own journey through loss by writing this story.

I have learned so much about the beauty and appreciation of life from each person I have cared for facing a serious illness and I am thrilled to be able to share some of that beauty with this story.

What kind of research did you do when writing the book?

I purposefully did not do any type of research for this book because I didn’t want to be influenced by other people. These characters and their stories came to me in visions and dreams. I never knew where the story was going to take me. Characters I didn’t even know were going to be in the story showed up and insisted on telling me their side of what had taken place. Then it was my challenge to find a way to weave together the stories.

To what age group is the book targeted?

9-12 is the targeted age group, but I have found that people of all ages are enjoying this story. It is a wonderful book to read together with your kids.

Is it true this book appeals to boys as well as girls – and even their parents? Why is that?

There are two main characters in this book: a girl and a boy that are swept from their ordinary lives into an extraordinary adventure in another world. There is a point in The Hole in the Sky that people tell me the story definitely becomes a page turner with plenty of action, mystery, unexpected twists and turn in the plot, and acts of bravery and love.

What is the moral of the story in The Hole in the Sky?

Ariala, one of the Butterfly Women in my book, says, “Love goes deeper than skin, flesh or bone. It is the great healer.” I definitely agree with her.

How is the book different from others in the fantasy/adventure genre?

At first glance this book appears to be a classic story of good versus evil, but as it unfolds the story challenges assumptions that we make about entire tribes of people as being totally good or evil. It also explores the choice we each face when experiencing loss of whether we will close our hearts and hide in bitterness or open to even greater kindness and compassion.

Have you always been a storyteller?

Yes, absolutely! I have made up stories all my life. Even when I am sitting and waiting for a plane I look at the people around me and weave fantastic tales about their lives and their destinations. I also use the foibles (of which there seem to be an unending stream) and humorous incidents from my life to entertain, inform and inspire my patients. I love to make people laugh.

The Hole in the Sky is the first in a trilogy. When can we expect the next two books?

I am definitely working away. I sometimes wish I was one of those writers that had an outline and three characters showing different points of view, but I am at the mercy of my muse Netri. He continually surprises me. At the rate I’m going I hope to be done with the next book in about a year.

How can our audience get your book?

Bookstores should be carrying it as of October 20th. If they aren’t you should weep, gnash your teeth and pull a hissy fit until they get online that very minute to order copies for you and the other people that will soon be pounding down their doors demanding a copy of The Hole in the Sky.

What is your website?

www.theholeinthesky.net

Do you have anything to add?

Do you remember when you were a child wondering if maybe somewhere there was a secret door or room you could enter that would take you to a magical place? If you have ever had that feeling, then go through The Hole in the Sky with Kaela and Shawn. I think you will be delighted by what you discover on the other side.

I recently had the honor of attending a meeting of The Boulder Butterfly Girl Book Group, six nine-year-old girls, who read the book over the summer. Their passion for my book truly moved me. They summed up the story as, “A magical journey about friendship, love and courage.”

I think those girls would agree with me when I say that it will be well worth your time to take this journey.

Thank you so much for your time.

Photobucket
GIVEAWAY

The Prize

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

To Enter
  • When you're feeling sad or low, is there a particular book you like to pick up? Share with us!
  • 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 20, 2009.

Eligibility  US only.

Please read the Disclaimer. Good luck!

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53 comments :

  1. When I am feeling sad or low I really like to read the bible, it gives me a sense of hope.

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  3. I subscribe via email triciabrook(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  4. I am a follower triciabrook(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  5. When I'm sad, I like to read The Prophet - Kahlil Gibran.

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  6. Email subscriber.

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  7. When I am feeling sad or low I like to pick up a good mystery. It gets my mind off of my problems.

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  8. Subscribe via email.

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  9. I follow this blog.

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  10. There's no particular book that I turn to when I'm down although I do enjoy reading Jim Butcher's Codex Alera or Sharon Shinn's 12 House series. Or a Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child.

    gaby317nyc at gmail dot com

    thanks so much for the entry!

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  11. I subscribe to the email

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  12. i've listed your blog on my blog's sidebar

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  13. i subscribe through googlereader

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  15. When I'm feeling sad I like to read something that will make me laugh, like Shelly Laurenston's shifter series.
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  19. I havea This Is Me book, where there are categories and questions to fill in. I filled it in about 6 years ago and I love taking it out and reading about my thoughts and preferences from years ago. It puts into perspective how much things change in a relatively short amount of time
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  20. When I'm in that kind of mood, I have to read the kids their favorite poems and songs book
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  26. Anything by Kresley Cole lifts up my spirits. :)

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  27. I like to read a cute children's book with my son when I feel down.

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  28. I go back to Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen -- that is my "comfort" book :-)

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  29. I subscribe via Google.

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  30. I subscribe via email.

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  31. I am a follower.

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  32. I like to read historical fiction or a good mystery. I completely feel lost in the story and it takes my mind off my sorrows.

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  36. Anything by Rohinton Mistry. His characters are so sad that I always feel better about myself.

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  37. Madwoman-doing-cartwheelsNovember 10, 2009 at 6:34 AM

    My comfort books is/are Alice In Wonderland & Through The Looking Glass. If Alice could make it through all her experience then mine can't be as bad or as strange.


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  38. Madwoman-doing-cartwheelsNovember 10, 2009 at 6:35 AM

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  39. Madwoman-doing-cartwheelsNovember 10, 2009 at 6:36 AM

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  41. Madwoman-doing-cartwheelsNovember 10, 2009 at 6:37 AM

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  42. When I'm feeling sad or down, I like to read a couple sections from "Moments of Peace in the Presence of God".

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  43. I subscribe via Google Reader
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  46. When I am sad I will sometimes read my kids joke books, my Bible, or one of my Chicken Soup books.

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  52. Congrats to the winner who has been notified. Thank you all for stopping by!

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