Thursday, May 2, 2019

Things are going swimmingly for Allie Larkin...plus a book giveaway

It's been quite a while since Allie Larkin has written a novel, so we're extra excited for her latest, Swimming for Sunlight, which published last week. Melissa A is 3/4 done and really enjoying it. We're so glad to have Allie back here today and she has a copy of her novel and a mermaid bookmark to give away!

Allie Larkin is the internationally bestselling author of the novels, Stay and Why Can’t I Be You. Her short fiction has been published in the Summerset Review and Slice, and nonfiction in the anthologies, I’m Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship and Author in Progress. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, with her husband, Jeremy, and their fearful, faithful German Shepherd, Stella. (Bio courtesy of Allie's website.)

Visit Allie online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram


Synopsis:
Aspiring costume designer Katie gave up everything in her divorce to gain custody of her fearful, faithful rescue dog, Barkimedes. While she figures out what to do next, she heads back to Florida to live with her grandmother, Nan.

But Katie quickly learns there’s a lot she doesn’t know about Nan—like the fact that in her youth Nan was a mermaid performer in a roadside attraction show, swimming and dancing underwater with a close-knit cast of talented women. Although most of the mermaids have since lost touch, Katie helps Nan search for her old friends on Facebook, sparking hopes for a reunion show. Katie is up for making some fabulous costumes, but first, she has to contend with her crippling fear of water.

As Katie’s college love Luca, a documentary filmmaker, enters the fray, Katie struggles to balance her hopes with her anxiety, and begins to realize just how much Bark’s fears are connected to her own, in this thoughtful, charming novel about hope after loss and friendships that span generations.
(Courtesy of Amazon.)


What is something new you learned while writing Swimming for Sunlight?
I knew some sewing basics going in, but my main character is a costume designer, so I worked on upping my game to get certain details right. For Katie to be able to design mermaid costumes, I had to do a ton of research into how I’d make them. I feel like I could costume my own mermaid show now. I know a lot about sequins.

What is a favorite compliment you've received for your writing?
I feel honored any time someone says that one of my books was a source of comfort during a rough time. There are books that hold that place in my life and I’m awed by the opportunity for my writing to provide some solace for someone else.

If Swimming for Sunlight were made into a movie, what songs would be on the soundtrack?
I had so much fun with my writing playlist for this book. Katie takes inspiration from the B-52's, so I listened to all of Cosmic Thing over and over again. I firmly believe Chris Pureka’s music is the absolute best writing music. Her album, Back in the Ring, is completely brilliant and came out right when I needed it most. And I took a lot of inspiration from Tom Petty (which I wrote about for Writer Unboxed). On top of that, everyone in Katie’s life has very specific musical tastes, and there are songs mentioned or alluded to in many of the scenes, so I think the soundtrack might look something like this:

1. Time to Move On - Tom Petty
2. She’s Got You - Patsy Cline
3. Blue Skies - Ella Fitzgerald
4. The Tears of a Clown - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
5. Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison
6. Hold it Together - Chris Pureka
7. Dry County - The B-52’s
8. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
9. Barracuda - Heart
10. You Are Undeniable - Mos Def & Marvin Gaye
11. I Still Miss Someone - Johnny Cash
12. Blame it on the Bossa Nova - Eydie Gormé
13. Holy - Chris Pureka
14. Waiting Under the Waves - Kris Delmhorst
15. Let the Mermaids Flirt with Me - Mississipi John Hurt
16. Wildflowers - Tom Petty
17. Salt and the Sea - Gregory Alan Isakov

What is the latest TV show you binge watched?
Oh my goodness, I love Schitt’s Creek. I love those characters intensely and want to live in that world, at that motel. There’s so much heart in that show.

What is something funny that happened to you recently?
My phone number is a reversed number away from the plumbing department of a hardware store. I really should change my number, but I never quite get around to it. I get a lot of calls for toilet parts. I just got another one yesterday. Even though I know calls from that area code aren’t actually for me, sometimes I pick up to tell the caller to swap the numbers and try again. I find it endlessly hilarious.

If you could give yourself from 20 years ago one piece of advice, what would it be?
Feel your feelings head on. I used to get so wrapped up in whether I was justified in feeling a certain way. I’d have all this shame around whether I was being fair in how I felt. I was really good at stuffing my feelings and working around them, but it hurt me in so many ways. It’s something I still struggle with, but I recognize when I’m doing it now, finally.

Feel your feelings, temper your actions. Don’t try to temper your feelings too. It’s too much work. It’s too much to carry. It’s not fair to you.

Thanks to Allie for visiting with us and for sharing her book (and bookmark) with our readers.


How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

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Giveaway ends May 7th at midnight EST.

26 comments:

Kristi said...

Someone who loves Schitt's Creek AND appreciates the music of Gregory Alan Isakov? This book is now on the top of my TBR list! Looking forward to it.

Michelle L said...

My Nana was a ballet dancer when she was young, and, later in life, hosted Mikhail Baryshnikov at her home, during a fund raiser for the local ballet company.

Celia said...

I enjoyed the interview, especially the playlist! Thanks for introducing me to Allie Larkin and her books!

Suburban prep said...

My grandmother was the youngest of 7 girls. She was a friend to anyone she met. She loved having my then boyfriend (now husband) and I take her out to restaurants. She would dance the Irish jig at weddings--especially those of her grandchildren. Unfortunately she passed a few months before my wedding but she was there with us as we danced.

Janine said...

I don't know or remember a lot about my grandmother. I think Betty White would be a fun grandmother. I can't remember the personality of the characters on Golden Girls as it was so long ago that I watched the show.

Pippa said...

My grandmother was an art teacher.

gsmom35 said...

I never knew my grandmother as she passed before was born. I would like MeeMaw on Young Sheldon to be my grandmother. @gsmom35

traveler said...

My grandmother was a warm, wonderful and caring person whose cooking skills were extraordinary and accomplished. She was a quiet and suffered greatly from being a widow very young.

Linda May said...

My Grandmother on my Mother's side I only knew her for a short time before she passed away & I was around three years old, she was sweet, kind & gentle. My Dad's Mom passed away before I was born. Thanks for this amazing chance.

Jessica said...

My grandmother was a great cook. All of her daughters and son turned out to be great cooks as well thanks to her.

Nancy said...

Growing up, we lived next door to my grandmother. She was a strong and independent woman. My middle name was given in honor of her middle name: Helen. She could play the piano by ear and was a great cook.

Nancy
allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

jean602 said...

I didn't know either of my grandmothers so I say Betty White.

Grandma Cootie said...

When I was young, I thought my grandmother knew everything. And now that I am a great-grandmother myself, I still think she knew everything. Self-educated, well-read, had to quit school in the 8th grade. Brilliant woman.

Rita Wray said...

My grandmothers both passed away when I was very young. Betty White would be great to have as a grandmother.

Peggy Russo said...

I really didnt know either of my grandmothers as they both passed when I was very young. I think Rose would be a really fun grandmother.

diannekc said...

My grandmother was a young widow with three children and had to work hard to be able to keep their home.

Melanie Backus said...

My grandmother was a treasure. Our times together were wonderful, there were just too few of them.

Mary Preston said...

My grandmother migrated from England. She had been a maid in a castle.

holdenj said...

My grandmother came to America with a younger sister and brother, both their parents died young. We were fortunate to live in the same city as her sister for about a decade. I will always treasure those shared meals that they would create for holidays and seeing how the love they had for each other as sisters outweighed their baking bickering!

Amber said...

My maternal grandmother is a phenomenal gardener and I wish that skill/love was passed down to me - I'm trying to be a plant mom, but I've got a long way to go!

Linda Kish said...

I didn't really know either of my grandmothers very well. One died when I was 6. She used to make us doll clothes. The other one I only saw a couple of times. She was born in 1882 and died in 1974. She lived in Minnesota and I lived in either California or New Jersey so it was hard to see her.

bn100 said...

Rose

Susan Roberts said...

My paternal grandmother was a teacher at county schools when the one room school houses were becoming part of the past. She and my grandfather (and 7 kids) moved every year for about 20 years because the school she was teaching at would close.

Carla S. said...

My grandmother (my Mom's stepmom) moved to the US from Sweden as a governess. She later met my Mom's Dad and they married. All my other grandparents had passed by the time I was born.

Melissa said...

My grandmother (maternal) was one of the most elegant women I've ever known. She was always so polished, chic, and put together. Growing up, I always hoped to emulate her style and she and I could relate on so many levels. Today, as an adult, I wish I'd gotten more time with her, as she passed away two and a half weeks following my 9th birthday, though I am grateful for the time we did have together.

Kelly Rodriguez said...

My grandmother was the most amazing cook and baker.