Interview with Georgina Guthrie Part II

I hope you all enjoyed part I of the interview with Georgina Guthrie, author of The Words Series. Amy and I had a TON of fun coming up all these questions for her. If you missed part I of the interview, click HERE.

I tend to be more reflective as the year approaches the end. And I can definitively say that The Words Series is one of the best series I have read this year. It’s such an underrated series that I just want to shout at people to get them to read Daniel & Aubrey’s story! The books were intelligently written especially with all the incorporation of Shakespeare’s works. The books really reflect how well GG understands and loves Shakespeare. She made Shakespeare relevant again!

For those who love GG, I hope you find the interviews fun.

For those who haven’t read the books, I hope the interviews inspire and convince you to give the books a try.

The Words Series (Amazon US link):

The Weight of Words

Better Deeds Than Words

The Truest of Words (To be released on Nov. 18!!!!)

Visit Georgina’s website, In my Write mind.

 WORDS


Was writing & publishing books a dream of yours?

I’ve always loved reading and writing, and I used to write a lot when I was a teenager, but after I graduated from university, I had a very demanding career, and there simply wasn’t time in my life for writing. About five years ago, I switched jobs and suddenly had time to myself to pursue what interested me. I started writing for an on-line community first, and then the opportunity to publish presented itself. This has been such an incredibly rewarding experience. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to write a book and hold the product of all my efforts in my hands. The chance to share my writing and talk to people who have read my words is unparalleled. I can’t articulate how amazing it is.

Could you tell us about the genesis of The Words Series? What inspired you to write Aubrey & Daniel’s story?

When I started writing The Weight of Words in 2009, I wanted to create a story that could be romantic and passionate, but not just a series of sex scenes with little bits of plot interspersed. The notion of including scenes of academia really appealed to me. There’s an old adage, “write what you’d want to read.” So I suppose initially, I was writing for an audience of one: me. Lol.

I also wanted to write an old-fashioned love story, one that would require the male lead to use his charm to woo and court the object of his desire. There is so little delayed gratification in this day and age. It seems that lust leads the way, and hopefully love will follow. I very much wanted to flip this notion upside down and force my characters to fall in love first. I suppose I’m just an old-fashioned romantic.

The problem became trying to figure out a way to keep the characters apart. The TA-student relationship seemed apt, and therefore the university setting was natural. Given the experiences I had while I was at Vic, the story blossomed quite organically once the characters and setting were established.

What I love most about this series is how beautifully and brilliantly you weaved the Bard’s words in your modern day love story. What does Shakespeare mean to you?

I adore literature in general, and have a fondness for intertextuality. I wanted to reference literature in The Weight of Words, but I thought I should focus on something specific so I wouldn’t muddy the water too much. Since I feel comfortable with Shakespeare’s canon, I decided to focus on his works. As I’ve mentioned in previous weeks, Shakespeare’s work is so versatile and explores every facet of the human condition. He is, quite simply, brilliant.

 

The Truest of Words is being released on November 18th. Can you tell us what we can expect from the continuing story?

Essentially, the story follows Aubrey and Daniel through the post-graduation stage of their relationship. Now that the TA-student dynamic has been eliminated, you’d think everything will be sunshine and roses, but unfortunately, that’s not the way life works. They both have their own issues to work out, ones which can strain their relationship if left unchecked. What I’ve tried to do in The Truest of Words is to give the character storylines I opened in the first two books an appropriate and satisfying closure.

Do you have a main message that you want your readers to take away from The Words Series?

I would never prescribe what readers should take away from something I’ve written. Since, as readers, we all come to the table with something different, I can only assume we’ll all walk away with something unique as well. I’ve just done my best to write a compelling love story which I obviously want readers to enjoy. Having said that, I know 100% approval isn’t a given either, and that’s okay.

I found out about The Words Series because of Sylvain Reynard, author of the Gabriel’s series. You mention that SR was a “mentor” in your acknowledgements. Could you elaborate on this? Have you met him in person?

SR and I have been “pen pals” for about 4 years. We were brought together by our on-line readers who noted that we were writing stories that shared a setting and some thematic similarities. Readers assumed we knew each other and were reading each other’s stories. We were not. But we connected on-line thanks our readers’ intervention. We used to chat about music, books, poetry and literary themes such as love, forgiveness, redemption, etc.

Once I had finished writing the Words series, I read Gabriel’s Inferno. Like other readers, I fell in love with SR’s characters and writing style and began to strongly consider publishing my own books. SR mentored me throughout the publication process, always willing to provide guidance, answer questions, and offer encouragement—all of which continues to this day. I’ll always be grateful for SR’s generous support.

There you have it, Part II of the interview with GG. I hope you like it.

Once again, Thank you, GG for doing this interview. Thank you all for reading

Don’t forget The Truest of Words comes out on Nov. 18!

Steph

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Ultimate fantasy on a deserted island

Trapped on an island

Trapped on an island

So weeks ago, one of my favorite book blogs Bookish Temptation (go visit their awesome site!!) posted this Top Ten Tuesday list. It’s a list of top ten characters I would want with me on a deserted island. And I’m gonna add that there would be an unlimited amount of supplies on the island :P! I thought it was a fun and cute idea. Naturally, it got me thinking who I would want with me and let me tell you, it was pretty hard to decide….

*in no particular order or favoritism*

Matthew Clairmont from All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

Gabriel Emerson from Gabriel series by Sylvain Reynard

Dean West from Spiral of Bliss trilogy by Nina Lane

Daniel Grant from Words series by Georgina Guthrie

Brody Murphy from The Cranberry Inn series by Beth Ehemann

Hayden Stryker from Clipped Wings series by Helena Hunting

Cam Hamilton from Wait for You series by J. Lynn

Christian Grey from Fifty Shades trilogy by EL James

Jamie Fraser from Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon

Drew Evans from Tangled series by Emma Chase

Looking at this list, it’s funny that the first four men that I immediately thought of are all in the academia (ie. they are all professors)! I might have a type 😛 but surely the four of them would have very interesting and intellectual conversation while on this island!

What about you? What’s your top ten list of characters? Let me know what you think!

 

My current obsession…

is OUTLANDER!

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander book cover

As you can probably tell by all the recent posts, I have been talking a lot about Outlander. Well, that’s because I’m currently reading them and are waiting for the TV adaptation to air TOMORROW!

Outlander, the book, is the first book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. This book was first published in 1991! And after 23 years, the eighth book (Written in My Own Heart’s Blood) was published earlier this year. It’s really hard to describe this series that incorporates time travel, historical fiction, military fiction, romance, and others! But at the center of it, it’s the epic story of Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall, a strong, intelligent, resourceful, adaptive woman who is also sexually confident. The story is told from Claire’s POV, which allows the readers to really get into Claire’s head space to understand her reasoning and personality. As an ex-combat nurse, Claire is also a professional woman. She is no damsel in distress even when she time traveled back 200 years.

From Diana Gabaldon’s website, this is her official synopsis of the story:

In 1946, after WWII, a young Englishwoman named Claire Beauchamp Randall goes to the Scottish Highlands with her husband, Frank. She’s an ex-combat nurse, he’s been in the army as well, they’ve been separated for the last six years, and this is a second honeymoon; they’re getting re-acquainted with each other, thinking of starting a family. But one day Claire goes out walking by herself, and comes across a circle of standing stones—such circles are in fact common all over northern Britain.  She walks through a cleft stone in the circle….and disappears. Back into 1743, where the first person she meets is a gentleman in an 18th-century army officer’s uniform. This gentleman, Jack Randall, looks just like her husband Frank—and proves to be Frank’s six-times-great-grandfather. Unfortunately, he also proves to be a sadistic bisexual pervert, and while trying to escape from him, Claire falls into the hands of a gang of Highland Scots, who are also trying to get away from Black Jack Randall—though for other reasons.

In order to avoid being handed over to Captain Randall, Claire is obliged to marry one of the young clansmen. So she finds herself trying to escape from Castle Leoch and her Scottish captors, trying to get back to her husband Frank, trying to avoid being recaptured by Captain Randall—and falling in love with Jamie Fraser, the young man she’s been forced to marry. The story rolls on from there…

This book was completely spellbinding in its writing. Diana is a masterful storyteller. Each character has a distinct voice in the books that’s reflected by the different lyricism of their speech patterns. And I can HEAR the characters talking to me as if I was watching the story unfold in front of me. And that does NOT happen very often to me while reading! And it really shows how talented Diana is as a writer. (She said that she started Outlander as a practice for writing novels, can you believe that?!)

After 20 some years, there is a massive and devoted following for Diana’s books. And after 20 some years and countless attempts, Outlander is finally being adapted to a TV series. The hype couldn’t be higher. Promotions, TV spots, free early viewing of episode 1 (which, by the way, has amassed more than 1 million views in a week across YouTube, On Demand TV, and on Starz website and apps!), and interviews are all advertising for the highly anticipated show. The first season consists of 16 episodes and focus only on Outlander. With the success, there could be 7 or more seasons (there is rumor that some of the bigger books could be split into two seasons per book) for this beloved book series.

Starz promotion for Outlander

Starz promotion for Outlander

Below is a recent NPR interview with Diana Gabaldon

http://www.npr.org/2014/08/08/338363871/aye-sassenach-gabaldons-appeal-is-timeless?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=booknewsfeatures

Below is an Access Hollywood interview with Caitriona Balfe who plays Claire Randall and Sam Heughan who plays Jamie Fraser

Reading is only the beginning

As I prepare myself for the official premiere of Outlander on Starz TV this Saturday (Aug. 9), I started thinking about travels. From watching various trailers, TV spots, and promotion videos, one thing was certain: the Scottish Highlands is a central character in Outlander. The beautiful landscapes and scenic views really add a lot of visual textures to the show. And I’m so happy that the producers of Outlander insisted on filming in Scotland. Not only have they brought on local craftsmen and craftswomen to help produce authentic props for the show, boosting the local employment and economy, Outlander will be Scotland’s best tourism advertisement ever!

(Starz Outlander trailer: Scotland)

So thinking about Scotland got me thinking about travels. More specifically literary travels. Reflecting back on some of my favorite recent reads, it’s clear that while the story must be engaging, the locations where the story takes place have a significant impact on my reactions to the books. The details writer present the places in the books can really affect how immersed I am. As cliché as it sounds, books transport you to a different place and time. The escapism we find in fictional books is a form of travel. A successful writer takes you to these places, allowing you to journey through with the characters. And it really doesn’t matter whether the place is geographically real or not.

Here are some of the locations set in my favorite reads. Since I don’t read fantasy books, a lot of the locations are real.

  • All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness:  The story takes places in multiple locations: 21st century & 16th century UK, US, France, Czech Republic, Netherlands. Deborah conducted lots of research and used real locations as inspiration for her fictional world.
  • Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon: I’m only on the second book, but so far, it has all been set in Scotland. And Diana’s writing really brought the locations to life.
  • Gabriel’s series by Sylvain Reynard: While the majority of the story takes places in Toronto, Canada, there are some crucial scenes in a little town in PA. But the other big location is Italy.
  • Fifty Shades series by EL James: Seattle is definitely THE location for Fifty Shades, there are a lot of real locations set in the books but are added with some embellishments too.
  • The Story of Us trilogy by Sydney Jamesson: The trilogy is mainly set in London, where both characters live. But they also travel to Rome, Vegas, and Grand Canyon in the story, where Sydney described really accurately.

I’m only giving you a vague description of the locations that take place in these books because I don’t want to take away that transport experience from other readers. But truly, these authors write with such passion and knowledge that it’s impossible to not be sucked into the worlds they created.

For me, the next step in the reading experience would be to physically visit the places mentioned in the books. The escapism provided from reading is a physically stationary but emotionally mobile experience. It is limited to our imagination and characterization of these places. Therefore, by physically traveling to these places, readers could greatly strengthen the connection they have with their beloved books.

I know I can’t wait until the days I retrace Diana and Matthew’s steps in historic Oxford and London. Or Claire and Jamie’s in magnificent Scottish Highland. Or Gabriel and Julia’s in romantic Italy. Reading is only the beginning.

Reflection: Outlander

I just finished reading Outlander, like 10 minutes ago. And riding on that satisfaction of finishing a book, as well as the euphoric feeling of knowing this is just the beginning, I know I must write something down. I will get to the music shortly.

Reading Outlander has been an unique experience, it’s a book with renewed (its fans might not think so) interest due to the upcoming release of Outlander TV series on Starz (you can now watch the first episode for free, here, limited time only). I joined multiple fan groups on Facebook as well as following actors and fans on Twitter. With all the access to technology, spoilers are definitely unavoidable. But I welcome it, with opened arms. The reason is two-fold. First, I personally just don’t mind. Knowing things ahead of time doesn’t really alter my reading experiences. So, spoilers aren’t exactly spoiling anything to me on an emotional level. Because of that, spoilers become information for me to utilize, especially with a series as long, complex, and detailed as Outlander.

Outlander, the book, is written with such detail that you can see the incredible amount of research Diana Gabaldon did for this book. On top of historical accuracy, the details include lots of symbolism and foreshadowing that I normally might not have spotted it, if it weren’t for the “spoilers”. Some people might think part of the joy of reading is to discover those symbolism and foreshadowing yourself and I completely value that. But for me I like to know because it keeps me more engaged.

During my reading, there were two songs that really gave me chills while listening to them. The two songs really captured the essence and spirit of Outlander for me. One is the music to the opening credits of Outlander TV series composed by Bear McCreary, called the Skye Boat Song. The other is an acoustic rendition of Wherever You Will Go by Charlene Soraia, originally sung by The Calling.

Skye Boat Song has a Scottish influence (of course!) to its melody. The lyrics really depict Claire’s journey and her internal reflection on her unique situation. With a haunting vocal opening, the music then adds drums and introduce bagpipes that crescendos to heart pumping climax. Bear McCreary did an excellent job with this opening music. When I first heard it while watching episode 1, it gave me goosebumps and I actually got teary. It was quite the emotional first listen.

Wherever You Will Go, by comparison, is a contemporary song. Charlene has a steady voice juxtaposes a very uncertain lyrics. There is yearning, uncertainty, desire, and loss in the lyrics, and these are emotions that remind me a lot of Claire, who is caught between two men. I discovered this song by accident but was absolutely by it.

Enjoy the music and hopefully you will give Outlander a try!