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Friday, August 24, 2012

BLOG TOUR: Grace Unexpected by Gale Martin

Why hello there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…the place that doesn’t believe that the end of summer should mark the end of reading for ANYONE; just simply a continuation of all the bookish fun to be had with perhaps the addition of a sweater…though down here, it won’t be needed for a while yet.

 It’s been a busy week here at the site.  From contest fun times two to tasty teasers and hairy wish granters, we’ve been all over the board.  Good!  That’s how I like it.  ^_^  Today’s post is no different as we step forward from the land of colorful images and rhyming and right into the world of Women’s Fiction…”Chick Lit” if you prefer.  It’s a book with an unexpected title (Ha!  Unintentional pun…you’ll see in a second…) that seems to contradict the synopsis a smidge but sounds like a “heart’s-in-the-right-place” story with ample room for laughter.  Here’s a quick peek…


Grace Unexpected

Thirty-something Grace Savage has slogged through crummy jobs and dead-end relationships with men who would rather go bald than say “I do”. In search of a respite from her current job, she visits Shaker Village in New Hampshire. Instead of renewal, she’s unnerved to learn that Shaker men and women lived and worked side by side in celibacy.
When her longtime boyfriend dumps her instead of proposing, Grace avows the sexless Shaker ways. Resolved to stick to her new plan – dubbed the Shaker Plan – she returns to her life in Pennsylvania. Almost immediately, she's juggling two eligible bachelors: Addison, a young beat reporter; and True, a venerable anthropology professor. Both men have ample charms and soul mate potential to test her newfound Shaker-style self-control, and Grace appears to be on the fast track to a marriage proposal… until secrets revealed deliver a death rattle to the Shaker Plan.


Sounds interesting, right?
I thought so too…especially with the extremes in life style Grace seeks out; talk about a change!  If you’re ready for more, click HERE to check out the Chapter 1 excerpt from the author’s site.  Now, I haven’t read the book as of yet, but it IS on the “check out in the future” list so don’t be surprised if a future post has you experiencing a little déjà vu. 

So, you may ask, if you didn’t READ the book, why is it being featured today?
BECAUSE silly…just because my reading schedule couldn’t work it in as of yet, doesn’t mean I shied away from the chance to interview the author!  Yep.  That’s right!  From my mind to her email and back again with answers that will keep your attention, may I present courtesy of Booktrope and the generous author herself, author Gale Martin…


INTERVIEW:  Author Gale Martin

The title of your book is GRACE UNEXPECTED...which of course, you already knew. (^_^)  What I'd like to know (as well as our reading audience I’m sure) is what does the title, that phrase specifically mean to you?  How did it become the perfect fit for this work?

That is a wonderful question. Here's my take on the title of my novel. While some people might associate the name Grace with a certain kind of woman--oh, I don't know, a reverent or chaste one--my Grace is the antithesis of that stereotype. Her last name is Savage. She wears animal prints. She's been promiscuous. She's smart and educated and fun-loving. The playful side of Grace might be unexpected. Yet, she is full of grace in selected situations, which readers also might find surprising.

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Your two works, from a synopsis standpoint, share a few common threads with each other and with woes, opera, Pennsylvania, etc.  Tell me, how much of YOU makes it into your novels?  Any particular character you identify with most?

An author and her characters are inseparable. Whether I like it or not, I see through the world through my filter of life experiences. Often my characters start with the same world view. However, just like most people's lives aren't the stuff of fiction (too dull, day to day), I am not interesting enough to be a character. My characters are often wish fulfillment's of who I'd like to be on a perfect day, on a rotten day, or in unprecedented circumstances. Often they represent what I would have or should have done but did not.

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Your 'About Me' tidbits mention you started writing your first book at age eleven.  Wow!  Did you always know that you'd be a writer?

I did not always want to be a writer. I thought I was going to become an actress--Broadway, etc., rather than movies. I got sidetracked into theater arts for about three decades before I finally got back to the literary arts.

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I noticed you have a fascination with opera.  How did that love affair get its start and how does it influence your work?

Surprisingly, that began with GRACE UNEXPECTED. Originally the president of Soap Rock University was an opera lover rather than a Shakespeare scholar. The literary agent I had at the time told me to take out the opera thread and make it the backdrop for its own novel. I was a trained singer but not an opera fan. However, after doing a semester of research on classic opera in grad school, starting an opera blog in 2010 (with more than 1,000,000 visitors), seeing and reviewing dozens of live opera performances, and interviewing rising opera stars since the summer of 2010, I've become quite a fan. 

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So, you live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania...too cool!  My family use to live about an hour or so from there (many moons ago now).  We'd take long Sunday drives through the area and look at the beautiful surroundings.  Tell me, does the peaceful, quiet serenity help or hinder your writing process?  (..and how?)

What a coinkydink! Oh, being in bucolic Lancaster definitely helps. One of the scenes in Grace towards the latter part of the book is one I witnessed down my country lane--a big and little dog playing amicably together with a Plain boy. It's made me stop and notice the little things. It's helped me slow down. All writers have to learn to observe--cooly and otherwise.

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I LOVE the quote from your writing teacher..."Words are stones.  Feel the weight of them."  Well said and very vivid.  Looking back on your own writing landscape, any gems of wisdom you'd care to pass on to those in our reading audience seeking their road to greatness?

Fiction writing isn't news writing. You should take a stance, have opinions, and instill your own voice and unique way of looking at the world into your creative work. Be bold. Be daring. Try something new or unfamiliar like a point of view or a character attribute because you can. As one [of] my com padres in the Wilkes Creative Writing Program once told me, "You are the god of your fiction."

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Some people prefer a quick description of a book versus reading the back cover or jacket.  In an effort to appeal to all readers (and for a little creative fun), describe GRACE UNEXPECTED in ten words...

Smart and sassy thirty-something stumbles into a taboo love triangle.

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Closing thoughts....

If you're not prudish, if you like all the expectations that romantic fiction promises, yet fifty shades are just too many, this book might fill the bill. It's a rom-com with a smart heroine who sometimes does stupid things because she wants the real deal when it comes to love.


Thank you SO much, Ms. Martin for you wonderful responses!  Gotta love your closing line there about the “too many”…LOL…and your thoughts on writing Fiction are spot on.  Though I’m not a writer myself (in the “I-penned-a-book” sense at least), I too have to work at slowing down…on purpose because life just tends to ZOOM right on by in today’s crazy world leaving us with the whispers of a promised instead of a dream fulfilled.  *sigh*  Hence my love of “unplugging” with a book any chance I can…


About the author
Gale Martin is an award-winning writer of contemporary fiction who plied her childhood penchant for lying into a legitimate literary pursuit during midlife. She began writing her first novel at age eleven, finally finishing her first book three decades later.
Her debut novel, DON JUAN IN HANKEY, PA, published in 2011, is a humorous backstage novel inspired by Don Giovanni, Mozart’s famous tragicomic opera about the last two days of Don Juan’s life. It was named a Finalist in the 2012 National Indie Excellence Awards for New Fiction.
Her second novel GRACE UNEXPECTED is wryly witty women's fiction that features a protagonist who can hear her ovaries ticking, who has a heart of pure gold, wrapped in lead. But a string of crummy boyfriends would do that to any lovable woman while waiting for Mr. Right.
She has a master of arts in creative writing from Wilkes University. She lives in Eastern Pennsylvania because she has to.


Special thanks to Krista at Booktrope for the chance to host a spot along this tour as well as the opportunity to pose my ponderings to the author.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this promotion or their future happenings, be sure to stop by their site for readers, site for writers, or follow along on Twitter.  To discover more about author Gale Martin including her previously published work and her affinity for opera, stop by her site, friend her on GoodReads, like her on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter.

Until next time…happy reading!


Tales of Whimsy said...

Sounds fun. I love the idea of her Shaker plan.

Felicity Grace Terry said...

Looking at the cover I was expecting a book for older children.

Still, sounds like a fun read and I'm sure many people will identify with Grace.

Ginger Marcinkowski said...

What a great interview! Learning about the author is such a critical part of learning to love a story. Thank you for sharing a bit of yourself!

The1stdaughter said...

Seriously...I love love love her statement, "if you like all the expectations that romantic fiction promises, yet fifty shades are just too many..." Perfect! I love her sense of humor and this interview is wonderful! Gale sounds incredibly fun and very balanced. I'd definitely be interested in reading more just based of your interview. Great job! :o)

Gina said...

Juju: Sounds interesting, right? ^_^

Petty Witter: Agreed on both counts...partially right on the first one too! Definitely not for younger set but still should be fun...

Ginger: Thanks for stopping by!

The1stdaughter: Agreed! Chuckled when I saw it. ^_^

Gale Martin said...

1st daughter-- I think my books are fun (but there's also some substance there, especially for women in the workplace.) I appreciate your stopping by and I hope GRACE U makes it onto your reading list.

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