Thursday, July 29, 2010

Interview with Eve Marie Mont and book giveaway!


Eve Marie Mont is an English and Creative Writing teacher who lives in suburban Philadelphia with her husband and her adopted shelter dog named Maggie. She recently wrote "Free to a Good Home," which was released July 6th. Melissa Patafio (who also grew up with a dog named Maggie) and I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions. Plus, she has two signed copies to give away to some lucky readers in the US and Canada.

MP: You rescued your dog Maggie 13 years ago, how did that experience help you to write "Free to a Good Home?"
EM: I am a firm believer that love can be found anywhere, so throughout "Free to a Good Home," there’s a strong theme of adoption, whether it’s adopting a dog, a child, or even a surrogate daughter at the age of sixty-three. We adopted Maggie from a no-kill shelter in Maryland. She had already been “adopted” three times before, and each time she’d been returned as a “problem dog”: she hoarded, she chewed, she wouldn’t stay in her crate, etc. But once we brought her home, she was never a problem to us—she was awesome! Since that day, Maggie has become such an integral part of our lives. She’s experienced all our joys and sorrows right along with us, ready to offer support and love whenever needed. I think it’s that idea of unconditional love that inspired Free to a Good Home. Many of the characters in the book feel like they’re “damaged goods” because of what they’ve been through. But by reaching out and having faith in second chances, they each find a measure of happiness in a place they never expected.

MA: What was the biggest challenge you faced while writing "Free?"
EM: Besides Maggie, the other inspiration for the book was my mother-in-law, Anne Mont, who just passed away this May after a courageous battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease. I created her fictional counterpart, Margaret, who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, as a way to deal with the feelings my husband and I were experiencing as we struggled to provide love and care to his mom. For anyone who’s read the book, you’ll know that Margaret is bitter and ornery and not very good at accepting her lot in life. Fiction diverges greatly from truth because my mother-in-law was the sweetest and most selfless person I have ever met; as someone described her at her funeral, she was “grace personified.” Watching her condition progress as I wrote the book was definitely the most difficult aspect of writing it.

MP: Any plans to make your book “required reading” for your high school English classes?
EM: No. As an English teacher, I am sorry to say the book has no educational value whatsoever.

MA: What was the journey to publication like for you?
EM: I knew absolutely no one in publishing, had zero contacts, so I had to start from scratch. I wrote a book that I thought was pretty good, agonized over the query letter, did research on women’s fiction agents, sent queries and sample chapters to dozens of them, then got ignored or rejected for the better part of a year. So I wrote another book: rinse and repeat. I was so frustrated that I followed up with some of the agents who hadn’t responded yet. One of them said, “Hey, we must have missed this the first time around, but I like what I see.” (I’m paraphrasing here.) That person ended up becoming my agent, the lovely and talented April Eberhardt from Kimberley Cameron and Associates. From there, she and I worked to polish the manuscript, and April sold it in four weeks to Jackie Cantor at Berkley Books. Cue the cartwheels and caviar! (Kidding… too old for cartwheels, too poor for caviar.)

MA: If “Free to a Good Home” were made into a movie, who would you want to star as the main characters?
EM: While I love this question in theory, I am wary about linking a celebrity face with a specific character in the book. I intentionally left the description of Noelle vague so people could imagine her however they wanted. I just did my first Skype book talk yesterday, and readers’ perceptions of what Noelle looked like varied widely, which I liked. I didn’t have anyone in mind as I wrote the characters, so I hope people can use their imaginations and insert whomever they like. (I know this is a lame answer…)



MA: What is one of the most interesting or remarkable things about Maggie?
EM: She is one of the spunkiest dogs I’ve ever met. Even though she was relatively small as a young dog, she went up to this huge German Shepherd and was like, “You wanna piece of me?” Actually, she’s gotten into several scraps with larger dogs and has come out no worse for wear. At thirteen years of age, she still surprises us every now and then with a random burst of puppy power. And, she has a white lightning-shaped patch on the back of her neck, like Harry Potter. She’s the coolest!

MP: Do you plan on adopting any more animals in the future?
EM: Yes, yes, yes! As I’ve said, Maggie doesn’t always play nicely with others, so we have no plans to get another dog now. This is a good thing, as I’m such a sucker for dogs I’d probably have adopted five or six by now. But we know at some point she will pass on, and we definitely plan on adopting more dogs, probably two together this time so they can be pals and keep each other company while we’re at work.

MP: Many people are not able to rescue an animal because of allergies, landlords, time, etc. Can you recommend a way for the people in these situations to help even if they can’t adopt?
EM: Yes, this is unfortunate. I would never advocate adopting a dog if you don’t have the time or space to give that dog an excellent quality of life. But for those who love dogs and can’t have one themselves, most shelters welcome volunteers to come play with their animals, take them for walks, help with grooming, etc. There are so many great charities and rescue groups, too, so donations are a great way to lend support. And I find half a Benadryl does the trick for my cat allergy (without making me too sleepy).

MA: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
EM: Well, reading, of course. Lots of reading. My husband and I are also big movie buffs. And lastly, cooking and eating. My husband does the cooking part, and I do the eating. No, that’s not entirely true. I really like cooking, but my husband’s so much better at it than I am. But I’m learning. Right now, I’m working on a women’s fiction novel about a woman who reluctantly takes a cooking class with an ex-boyfriend turned chef, so I plan to have fun experimenting with recipes and eating my creations, whether they are failures or triumphs.

MA: What is your favorite book of all time?
EM: Jane Eyre! I am currently revising a YA book inspired by Jane Eyre, so I’ve had to read the book very closely several times, and it’s just so romantic and atmospheric and swoony. All these paranormal books on the market right now owe a nod to Charlotte Brönte.

Thanks again to Eve for her very thoughtful and interesting answers to our questions and for offering the books to give away.

Thanks to Melissa Patafio for the terrific and thought provoking questions she brought to the table.



How to win "Free to a Good Home":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted.)

For additional entries (each as a separate comment including your e-mail address, as well):
1. Please tell us: Who is/was your favorite pet? (If you've never owned a pet, talk about an animal you know through someone else.)
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.

Open to US/Canada residents only. Giveaway ends Monday, August 2nd at 6 pm EST.

60 comments:

Sarah said...

Thank you so much for a chance to win:) I think this bok sounds awesome!

foxchick0323@live.com

Jonita said...

I've tried (and failed) to win this book several times since it came out, but I'll try again! Thanks for the opportunity!

jonitathebookchick(at)gmail(dot)com

Jonita said...

My favourite childhood pet was our rescue dog, Niiko. He had been abused and spent his first few nights with us shivering and cowering, but eventually got used to us and became my favourite childhood pet. We can't have pets where we live now, but we do have a betta fish with attitude who the boys love. They named her Dorrie, LOL!

jonitathebookchick(at)gmail(dot)com

Jonita said...

I am a CLC blog follower through GFC!

jonitathebookchick(at)gmail(dot)com

Jonita said...

Your contest has been added to my sidebar at http://book-chic.blogspot.com!

jonitathebookchick(at)gmail(dot)com

Myra C said...

Enjoyed the interview and the book sounds great!

myra0502@yahoo.com

Myra C said...

My favorite pet is Duke, a 2 year old boxer

myra0502@yahoo.com

Myra C said...

I am a follower

myra0502@yahoo.com

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this fabulous novel :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

my favourite pet is mollie, my friend's puppy :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Katherine said...

Hi! Please put my name in the hat for the draw :)

Cheers

katherine.kw.chu (at) gmail.com

Katherine said...

My favourite pet was my cocker springer spaniel growing up, named Candy. She gave the best kisses!

katherine.kw.chu (at) gmail.com

Katherine said...

Am a follower of your blog through Google connect.

Cheers

katherine.kw.chu (at) gmail.com

Mary (BookHounds) said...

No need to enter me -- I just posted this one win a book.

http://winabook.westofmars.com/2010/07/29/free-to-a-good-home-by-eve-marie-mont-3/

Simply Stacie said...

Oh I love Chick Lit!! So happy to have found your blog :)

Please count me in.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Simply Stacie said...

GFC Follower

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Shannon said...

Thank you for the chance to win. =)
tiredwkids at live dot com

Shannon said...

Scooter, a maroon bellied conure. He HATED to be alone and he would fly from room to room looking for me.
tiredwkids at live dot com

JHS. said...

Asking me to name my favorite pet is quite literally like asking me to name my favorite child. My pets are my children . . . currently, I have 4 children: 2 human (#1Son & MattieBoo) and 2 canine (Buddy and Sophie). I have had pets continuously since my first cat adopted me in 1981. It would be hard to imagine my life without them. And I'm dying to read this book!

JHS
Colloquium

jhsmail at comcast dot net

JHS. said...

Yes, I want to win. :-)

JHS
Colloquium

jhsmail at comcast dot net

JHS. said...

Google follower.

JHS
Colloquium

jhsmail at comcast dot net

Patricia said...

Sounds like a wonderful book! As I'm always looking for my new "favorite" authors, I would love to add Eve Marie Mont to my list!

Anonymous said...

I have tried to win several times to win this book also, no luck!
Would love to read it!

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Anonymous said...

When I was a child, I couldn't have a dog but I loved the neighbor's dog, Skippy, and Alaskan malamute. He would walk me to school each day and I loved to pet him. He was beaten by his owner but he never showed any anger towards me, he was always so sweet to me.

Anonymous said...

I am a follower.


CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)come

Melissa M said...

Thanks for the great giveaway!

shhhimreading at hotmail dot com

Melissa M said...

We've had lots of dogs (and horses, cats and cows) over the years, but one of my favorites was Gator. He was a big tough dog, terribly protective of his people, but so very loveable too.

Darcia Helle said...

Eve's book is already on my wish list. I've had pound puppies and rescue dogs since I was a kid. One of our current dogs was a puppy mill rescue, near death when we adopted her. I can't say that I have a favorite of all my dogs - because I love them all differently - but she brings me the most joy simply because she's come so incredibly far.

darcia - at - quietfurybooks.com

I'm also a follower and I'm about to Tweet this - @darciahelle - because I want everyone to read Eve's book!

Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah said...

My favorite pet was my springer spaniel Emmy Lou. She was the best dog and friend. I had her for 15 great years!

foxchick0323@live.com

Kathryn said...

This book sounds awesome! Hope I win!

poundhound2@gmail.com

StereoQueenBee said...

My favorite pets were the boxers Rocky & Cricket. I follow your blog and I posted this on Twitter. @stereoqueenbee

Sandy Jay said...

I'd love to win this book. Please enter me in the contest. Thanks

forwhlz at gmail dot com

Sandy Jay said...

My favorite pet was Chase. He was a husky/shepherd mix who lived to be just 13....way too short a time. I miss him greatly.

forwhlz at gmail dot com

Sandy Jay said...

I'm a new follower.

forwhlz at gmail dot com

Sandy Jay said...

Tweeted at http://twitter.com/ForWhlz/status/19955576384

forwhlz at gmail dot com

Mary said...

My daughter recently adopted the most wonderful dog from a shelter. I love reading about how animals touch lives.

mryward(at)yahoo(dot)com

Mary said...

I follow on GFC. (mamie316)

mryward(at)yahoo(dot)com

AmandaSue said...

This sounds like such a great book, I'm a huge animal person and supporter of local human societys and rescue groups. I'd love a chance to read this book. Thanks for entering me into this giveaway.

unforgetable_dreamer_always(at)hotmail.com

AmandaSue said...

I have a wonderful almost 4 year old boston terrier daschund mix named Lolo who I adopted from a local human society when she was 5 months old, she came from a puppy mill. When I got her she was just a scared little puppy since then she has turned into a loving playful princess who enjoys hugs, snuggling with her soft blankets, going for car rides and going to the dog park, I seriously can't picture my life without her she brings so much joy to it!

unforgetable_dreamer_always(at)hotmail.com

Carol M said...

I would love to read this. I always enjoy books about dogs and/or cats.
mittens0831 at aol dot com

Carol M said...

I love all the cats I have had including the two I have now. Max and Mindy are brother and sister and very sweet and affectionate. Mittens was the first and I still miss him and Pennie was the most beautiful cat I've ever seen. I miss her, too.
mittens0831 at aol dot com

Carol M said...

I follow your blog.
mittens0831 at aol dot com

ChristyJan said...

This sounds like a great read ~ I'd love to be entered to win.

hawkes(at)citlink.net

ChristyJan said...

My favorite pet was our dog Tippy. It's been over 30 years but I still have this memory: Tippy was a boy dog ~ one day he jumped over a barbed wire fence and didn't quite make it over. (use your imagination) After that, whenever he tinkled it made a whistling sound.

hawkes(at)citlink.net

ChristyJan said...

I follow your blog

hawkes(at)citlink.net

Bonnie said...

I can certainly identify with this book and Eve Marie Mont's experience. We adopted a puppy from our local ASPCA in June that came from a kill shelter in Tenessee (we live in upstate NY). This is also our second adoption. I would love to read this wonderful book.
I am a follower.
intrepid9923@yahoo.com

Jean said...

Hoping to win this book. Thanks

Kathryn said...

As much as I love ALL of my pets, my favourite has to be my first: my kitty Tigger Joe. We recently had to say goodbye to him, but after almost 21 years together, he was definitely a cherished family member. He was my first pet and I miss him so very much!

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Kathryn said...

I am a follower through Google.

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Kathryn said...

I am posting a link through Facebook.

ladykathryn@rogers.com

jmugal3 said...

I am an animal lover and animal rescuer. I can't wait to read this book and would love to win it! :)

jmugal3 said...

I am an animal lover and animal rescuer. I can't wait to read this book and would love to win it! :)
books4me93@yahoo.com

MrsMelissaT said...

Mrsmelissat@gmail. i have 7 cats in the house including 4 wild kittens im taming. But my favorite is my kitty Socks who has extra toes, always plays fetch, and likes to sleep on my face!

Jess said...

Thanks for the chance to win!

My favourite pet was my dog, who recently passed, Hermie.

Jess said...

Sorry I missed my email address
jessicalitwin@gmail.com

Thanks for the chance to win!

My favourite pet was my dog, who recently passed, Hermie.

piabernardino@bermillion.com said...

My favorite pets (I have 3) because we have 3 dogs are Bruno, Bini and Bogo. I am a follower in twitter and hope i win.

piabernardino[at]bermillion[dot]com

Margie said...

Thanks for the giveaway.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

blog follower via GFC
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

Our favorite pet was our black lab, who we had for 16 years.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com