Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Writers in their own words-GCC

Today, I'm tickled to be touring Eliza Graham, whose debut novel, Playing with the Moon explores the mystery behind a 1940s inter-racial love affair and the eventual murder of a black GI. It's set in the British village of Tyneham on the Isle of Purbeck, emptied in 1943 to be used in the preparations for the D-Day landings. This is history and mystery all rolled into one compelling tale.

Let's hear Eliza, our friend from across the pond, in her own words:

1.) How did you come up with the idea for this book? Are you more driven by plot or by character?
I visited a deserted village on the south coast of England that had been evacuated for pre-D-Day exercises during WW2. I was completely overwhelmed by the poignancy of the place and couldn't help thinking about the people who might have lived there and who had never been able to go home again.

I think I first dream up scenes, rather than characters or the overall plot. In my mind's eye I see people sitting on wagons, taking a last look at their homes before they leave them for ever. Or I see someone running from soldiers. Or someone climbing out of a window at night to go somewhere they're not supposed to go.

2.) Who's your favorite character in this book and why?
I really like Felix. She reminds me of ladies of a certain age I know in real life: so stoical and with such a sharp sense of humour. They seem to have a resilience I feel I lack personally. Some of them have dealt with world wars and depression and I find their life stories fascinating.

3.) What's your writing process/writing environment like?
I share with the dining room table and chairs and two dogs and two hamsters. We all get along. Well, I get along with all of them but the dogs want to eat the hamsters and the hamsters try to filch pieces of paper out of my in-tray to shred for their bedding. One way of dealing with bad first drafts, I suppose.

4.) What's your favorite part of writing?
Those occasional flights of inspiration you get when you can't wait to get to a keyboard before you physically burst with excitement. I don't get them often but they are like literary champagne.

5.) What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten about writing?

You need the soul of a child and the hide of a rhino (or was it a hippo?) to succeed. It's so true.

This sounds like a perfect book to have for those cold dreary days ahead. A cup of tea, a bunch of Christmas cookies and a good book. What could be better?


Carleen Brice said...

Thanks for letting me know of this book. Sounds fascinating!

And speaking of Xmas cookies, thanks to your post yesterday I baked some for myself (lower-sugar and they're good!). So thanks!

Sustenance Scout said...

Send the recipe along, Carleen!

Judy, thanks so much for posting this interview with Eliza. I, too, am intrigued by this book. "Literary champagne"--that's exactly what it's like...I'm looking forward to indulging in a lot of it over the holidays!! K.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Carleen, glad I could pass on the scoop. And good for you for baking healthier cookies (kind of an oxymoron, I suppose).

K, I loved that quote, too. It captures the moment exactly, doesn't it?

kristen said...

I'm thinking a lot about titles lately, and the title of this book draws me right in, makes me want to know more. And the cover image is wonderful.

Thanks for sharing Judy. I'm going to check it the next time I'm in the bookstore.