Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Q & A with Genevieve Graham: Sound of the Heart Blog Tour


Dougal MacDonnell, a fierce warrior from the Highlands of Scotland, is able to hear the thoughts of other men and dream how the future will unfold.

Devastated by the loss of his family during the Battle of Culloden in 1746, he fosters a deep hatred for the English. But when Glenna, the love of his life and a Scottish outlaw, is captured and shipped overseas, Dougal is forced to join an English army made of vanquished Scots. Now fighting on the side of his sworn enemies, he embarks on a journey that will take him across the seas to the colonies.

There he will risk everything for the chance to find his true love.

Q & A with Genevieve Graham


Tell us 3 things about yourself

1. I’m a chocoholic and would absolutely drink 3 cinnamon dolce lattes in a day if I could.
2. I’m a classical musician and absolutely swoon over Prokofiev.
3. I live in Nova Scotia and I can’t stand seafood.

Your debut novel Under the Same Sky got a wonderful response from readers! What are you hoping your readers will get from Sound of the Heart?

Thanks, Cathy! I think people were really surprised with Under the Same Sky because its cover suggested a whole different kind of story - you really can never judge a book by its cover, folks!

I hope readers fall in love with Dougal in Sound of the Heart. I sure did. He led me on some incredible adventures - all of them based on actual events - and through it all he remained an honourable, courageous man who always helped the underdog. And he kept his sense of humour despite all odds.

Besides loving Dougal, I’m hoping readers will see the issues I brought up and realize they were real. The chief one of those is white slavery, which was something of which I knew nothing until I was researching for the book. Did you know hundreds of thousands of whites, starting in the 1600s were shipped as slaves to the colonies? They were cheaper to buy and treated even worse than the black slaves because when the whites came over they weren’t used to the hot climate on the plantations, and they died more quickly, so they needed to be replaced more often. It’s a horrible truth that no one really knows or talks about. Just like human slavery today.

What is it about the Historical romance genre that you enjoy?

I love the idea that the stories actually could have happened. When I write, the stories come to me from somewhere I’ve never been. They’re like urges in my head, and if I want to write well, all I have to do is listen to those voices and type along with them. To me, that hints that maybe there’s some kind of “psychic” thing going on, that I’m only the “medium” ... which means the voices are coming from people who actually did live back then. I absolutely love that. It means I get to experience life back then - from the warmth and security of my own office!

The setting of both Under the Same Sky and Sound of the Heart is so stunning and vivid. What is the writing process like when creating that part of the book?

I watch a lot of movies and read a lot of books. I also do a ton of research. I love epics, the kinds of stories that sweep over continents and encompass everything around them, and the only way I believe they can be written effectively is for the author to put herself right in the middle of it all. I need to feel the frozen ground under my feet, hear the swishing of leaves, experience the plunge of a knife into some part of me. Of course I only do those things in my mind (!) but I have to focus entirely on the scene in order for it to work.

Which came easier to you: Writing in a female's POV or a Male's POV?

Interesting question! In the first book, Maggie’s story was told in first person, so that was the easiest. I was actually inside her head throughout the story. But Andrew’s story, which was told third person, was so clear to me it’s as if I walked alongside him. In Sound of the Heart I think it was easier for me to see Dougal’s story. He was such a colourful person, and Glenna had to keep a lot of secrets from everyone - including me! - so it was harder for me to connect with her at first. I think overall, writing men’s POV is easier for me for some weird reason.

Did you come across any challenges while writing?

Constantly! Research is a relatively new thing for me, and one of the most frustrating things about it is that you can ALWAYS find conflicting answers to your questions. Really. It was totally aggravating. There I was, thinking I’d found the greatest answer, then I’d read something that said the total opposite. grrr.

Another challenge for me is creating plots. I can very happily follow my characters around, describing what’s going on, but eventually I have to actually put them on a road towards the finish line. I’m not a good planner at the best of times, so this can be a big challenge for me. I usually solve it either by sitting down with my brilliant hubby and a glass of wine, or by getting woken up in the middle of the night by one of my characters who has had an epiphany! Either method is fun.

Did you have any 'must haves' while writing Sound of the Heart?(i.e. music, snacks, inspirational photos, etc)

Yep. I ‘must have’ quiet. I don’t listen to music and can’t concentrate when people are talking. I use photos and videos of actors who I imagine in the characters’ roles, and use those fairly often if I need to get a better idea for describing an expression or gesture.

I like to have a candle burning at all times, and a cup o’ tea. If I’m really lucky I have chocolate on hand ...

Your Historical Romance novels are fantastic reads, but is there another genre that you would like to dip into?

Well, I’m working on a couple right now - one is a chicklit that I wrote years ago and I’m fixing it up for fun. I’m actually surprised that I’m enjoying it as much as I am! The new one is a time travel romance, but it’s set partially during WW1 time, so I guess that’s historical romance again in a way ...

Summer is almost here! What is on your summer's reading pile?

I have no idea. I just picked up Susanna Kearsley’s “The Winter Sea” and can’t wait to dig in. Kaki Warner’s latest will be out June 5 … oh man. I can’t remember! But I know the stack is probably taller than I am (I’m 5’3”).

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Thank you for having me, Cathy! Have a terrific summer!

Visit Genevieve Graham

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Next stop on the Tour: Truly Bookish and Moonlight Gleam

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