Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Interview with Sarah Stonich and Book Giveaway

By Melissa Patafio



**Giveaway is now closed**

Sarah Stonich has been an artist-in-residence at numerous programs here in the U.S. and abroad. Her second novel “The Ice Chorus” was started while she was at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland. Sarah has been inspired by her Irish contemporaries and credits Irish literature for having a major impact on her and her writing. She currently resides in Minnesota with her husband.

Read on to learn more about Sarah, her writing, and what she enjoys doing in her free time! And when you're done, enter for a chance to win one of two copies of "The Ice Chorus."

What is your usual writing routine?
I write in the mornings as soon as I get up, often while still eating breakfast. If I don’t start then before my mind is polluted by the day, it’s tough to get going. By noon I'm written out.

You currently live in Minnesota, do you plan to stay there for good?
I’m actually on my way to British Columbia this very moment, for a long-awaited vacation, during which I hope to seduce my husband into thinking it will be HIS idea to retire there. Living on the ocean is on my bucket list. In a Minnesota January, your nose hairs freeze, so no, I'd rather not stay here for good.

What, if any, challenges did you face while writing your second novel “The Ice Chorus”?
Time, more than anything. Having a deadline and only two years to write a novel, and frankly I'm not that swift. But Minnesotans have reputations for being two things, nice and prompt. I’m prompt.

How do you like to spend your time when you are not writing?
Hiking, kayaking - I’ll be doing my first big ocean kayaking over the next two weeks, and hiking on the Pacific coast, and in Cathedral Grove - a massive stand of old growth forest. I love to cook, mostly because my husband consumes whatever I make him as if it were a gift. I’ve taken up stone building, of all things. It’s what we have most of in northern Minnesota, stone - and it provides weight bearing exercize, and since I'm getting to the age where I'm supposed to be concerned about bone density and muscle mass it might be more effective than say, scrapbooking...

You started writing in your 30’s and your first novel “These Granite Islands” was extremely successful. What was the journey to publishing like for you?
It was remarkably easy. I had a writer friend who hooked me up with an agent who was relentless. The challenge comes after two books, I’ve discovered. Third and fourth books hold much less interest to editors, and even though my newer books are better, they remain unpublished. I no longer have that first-time-author cachet, which is preferable to publishers than old horses like me. In the realm of nurturing authors' careers over the long haul, the larger publishers have grown increasingly short-sighted. If they had their way, every book would be a first book and every author a first-time author. Like puppy mills. Do I sound bitter?

You have been awarded a number of fellowships from places around the U.S. and abroad, can you tell us a bit about what exactly these fellowships entail?
Mostly they allow for time to write, and can be very validating - knowing someone believes in what you’re doing - so much so that they feed and house you and provide a space - is incredible. And, they are often in beautiful settings and places most writers could never afford to go to. They provide the rare chance to meet other writers. Women on fellowship seem to appreciate them more, I think, for all the reasons any mother can imagine (someone changing your sheets?!) I'm about to apply to one in Iceland. If I apply to ten, I might get one, so I'm usually up to my knees in applications, and it's a gamble, but it's worth it

Do you have any plans to return to Ireland in the future?
Not currently, but Scotland is on my list. I read a wild book from a Scottish writer, Michael Faber, “Under the Skin” and am now on a kick of reading Scottish authors. I'm rereading all of Kate Atrkinson right now. She's amazing.

I read that you always thought you would be a painter, do you still paint?
I gave up painting long before I realized I could engage my imagination better with words. There was always some hitch between my mind and the paint brush so that nothing ever came out exactly as I intended. Words were just better.
Did you celebrate when your first novel was published? Not formally, but I do have a picture taken shortly after my agent called with the news: I’m in my kitchen wearing yellow rubber gloves and my son has just placed a cheap tiara on my head. Quite apt, really: you sell a book and think the work is over, when it’s only just begun. That first journey into publishing was almost a fairy tale, and for a minute I did feel like a princess. Alas, no more tiaras.

What was your inspiration in writing “The Ice Chorus”?
I was in Ireland, and that was enough to make me want to set the book there. And I adored the people and their use of language and the fact that the average taxi driver was better-read by far than most Americans, and more politically astute about OUR politics, was humbling and embarrassing. George Bush had just been elected so everyone wanted to know just what were you people (wankers) thinking? Also, I'd just come out of a marriage much like Liselle’s, so there was that.

Some more pieces of information from Sarah:
*My memoir, "Shelter," will be out in March of 2011 from Borealis Books.

*My new unpublished novels are a departure from The Ice Chorus and These Granite Islands in that they are faster paced, more humorous and the protagonists are definitely less patient. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for those titles, Vacationland, and Fishing With RayAnne. Hopefully, readers will find them on shelves in 2012.

Special thanks to Sarah for doing this interview with me and for sending the books for the giveaway.


How to win "The Ice Chorus":
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: Have you ever studied abroad? If so, where?
OR
2. Please tell us: What place (city, state, country, etc.) or culture inspires you the most?
3. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
4. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
5. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)

US/Canada residents only. Giveaway ends Monday, October 4th, at 6 pm EST.

53 comments:

Jonita said...

Don't enter me for this one, becasue I've already had the pleasure of reading it, but good luck to everyone! This is truly a novel to be savoured.

Heather said...

I never had a chance to study abroad, but my high school french class took a 3 week trip to travel in France. I would have loved to study over there for a semester.
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Heather said...

I am a follower.
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Heather said...

I am a member of Chick Lit Central.
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Heather said...

I posted to facebook.
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Laura Rachel Fox said...

After a hot hot summer in TX, any novel with "ice" in the title looks tantalizing. Thanks for sharing this interview. ". . . your nose hairs freeze . . . " lol what a great mental picture.

Enter me to win, please.

lostlibrarygirl@sbcglobal.net

Laura Rachel Fox said...

2. I'm most inspired by the Latin American culture. That may have much to do with a handful of favorite authors from that area (Sandra Cisneros, Jorge Luis Borges, Isabel Allende). But I always enjoy reading fiction set in other cultures. I always find something different from what I know exciting.

lostlibrarygirl@sbcglobal.net

Laura Rachel Fox said...

I'm a follower of Chick Lit Central: The Blog!

lostlibrarygirl@sbcglobal.net

Laura Rachel Fox said...

I posted a link on Twitter.

lostlibrarygirl@sbcglobal.net

Laura Rachel Fox said...

I follow Chick Lit Central on facebook.

lostlibrarygirl@sbcglobal.net

Sheila B said...

Many Americans are very well read and understand our politics as well. Perhaps it is the company you keep here vs over there.


"by far than most Americans, and more politically astute about OUR politics"

sbrennan1955@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Many Americans are very well read and understand our politics as well. Perhaps it is the company you keep here vs over there.


"by far than most Americans, and more politically astute about OUR politics"

sbrennan1955@yahoo.com

PoCoKat said...

No I have never studied abroad but would love to have studied in Europe..Italy is so amazing.

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

PoCoKat said...

I follow on GFC.

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

Inspired Kathy said...

Please enter me.
bkhabel at gmail dot com

Inspired Kathy said...

I follow on GFC
bkhabel at gmail dot com

Inspired Kathy said...

I have never studies abroad. If I had the chance I think I'd like to go to Scotland.

Colleen Turner said...

I am so envious of this author's life! She has gotten to go to so many places and sounds like such a wonderful traveler. I also like that she mentioned Michel Faber as an author she likes, as I LOVE his The Crimson Petal and the White!
Thanks,
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I have never had the opportunity to study abroad, but I have a lot of family that live in Scotland and have been able to go visit them a few times in my life. I love it over their and would love to someday live there.
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I am a GFC follower (Colleen Turner).
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I follow Chick Lit Central on Facebook.
candc320@gmail.com

Ruthie said...

Sounds like an interesting read! Please enter me, thanks.

ruthiekb72@yahoo.com

Ruthie said...

My husband & I went to Paris for a long weekend & a co-worker who used to live there took us on a tour of the entire city. It is an amazing place & we have since said that we wouldn't mind living there.

ruthiekb72@yahoo.com

Ruthie said...

FB follower

ruthiekb72@yahoo.com

Sarah said...

Thanks for the chance to win:)

foxchick0323@live.com

Sarah said...

I am a loyal follower!

foxchick0323@live.com

Sarah said...

I am a facebook follower.

foxchick0323@live.com

Sarah said...

tweeted @happymama

foxchick0323@live.com

Sarah said...

I think I am most inspired by my family culture. My children and husband never cease to amaze me:)


foxchick0323@live.com

piabernardino@bermillion.com said...

I studied in the Philippines.

piabernardino@bermillion.com said...

I'm a follower, member and posted this in twitter and my blog.

http://solittletimeheresmine.blogspot.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...

Facebook fan
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

We really like Puerta Vallarta, MX, and hope to get back there again soon for a vacation.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Karen said...

Thanks for the giveaway (:

blissfulrains(at)yahoo(dot)com

Karen said...

Erhm, no I've never traveled abroad, but I hope to! (:

blissfulrains(at)yahoo(dot)com

Karen said...

I followed your blog (:

blissfulrains(at)yahoo(dot)com

Wanda said...

The culture that inspires me the most is anything from Africa. That has interested me ever since I was a little girl. wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

Wanda said...

I am a follower of your blog through Google Friend Connect. wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

Wanda said...

I joined Chick Lit Central on Facebook. wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

missreneer said...

I am really interested in reading this and the author seems so down to Earth. Thanks for the great giveaway :)

mrsjohnson1982 at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

no, i have not studied abroad. thanks for the chance to read this fabulous novel :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

i'm a follower :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Bonnie said...

Every interview seems to get better and better....this one is no exception! Jamaica I keep going back to as the people inspire me even through the poverty and adversity. They are loving, happy, and very warm and inviting people....their spirit shines!
I am a follower and shared on facebook!
intrepid9923@yahoo.com

Tiffany said...

Entry please schlarmette(at)gmail(dot)com

Tiffany said...

I have not studied abroad..... Unless Arkansas counts when I'm from NH
schlarmette(at)gmail(dot)com

Tiffany said...

Paris would inspire me! Culinary.....
Schlarmette(at)gmail(dot)com

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

FB follower
schlarmette@gmail.com

Tiffany said...

Follower on gfc
schlarmette(at)gmail(dot)com

Alana said...

I'm a follower of the blog and part of the group on Facebook.

The place that inspires me the most is County Donegal, Ireland.

alanampower@gmail.com

JUDEE said...

YYOUR BOOKS ENTRANCE ME I'D DOVE TP LIVE ION THE IRISH COAST.

I WILL CHOOSE T[HE ICE CHORUS FOR OUR NEXT DISCUSSION.

OUR BOOK CLUB IS 40 YEARS OLD

F YOU HAVR EXTRA BOO GFTS, PLEASE SEND