I'm pleased to host author Gale Martin today! I've known Gale for a few years now and am amazed at her talent for storytelling. Please help me welcome Gale!
Gale, why did you write this book?
I don’t travel to the extent that you do (does anyone besides those running for reelection?), so any trip I take makes a profound impression on me. When I visited Shaker Village in Canterbury, New Hamphire in 2005, I couldn’t stop thinking about the joint. Everyone’s lives were so neat and ordered and proscribed. The idea of a place for everything (and everyone) and everything in its place is attractive, to a degree, until it becomes stifling. So, when I learned men and women were expected to live in celibate community in Shaker Village during the 19th and most of the 20th centuries, it profoundly affected me. I am a better person for having found a wonderful, loving man for a life partner. The more I thought about it, the more severe it seemed to restrict an entire culture of women intimacy with the opposite sex while LIVING alongside men.
Did you have any challenges writing the book?
Normally, I encounter only minor challenges getting a story down on paper. I am an imaginative person. I have been since childhood and three decades later, I finally found a constructive outlet for my penchant for lying. My challenges usually occur at the point I share my writing with others. Of course, one’s writing doesn’t land on them the same way it flows from my pen. I can’t believe my brilliance and perspicacity; they’re totally confused. Well, shortly after I finished this manuscript, I submitted the earliest chapters to a new by-invitation-only “skin on” writing group, as opposed to an online writing group. Several members loved it and were really excited to hear more. But I had one really vocal critic (it wasn’t a critique—more of a harangue) who hated my protagonist, objected to the premise, called my pro a twit and ran her down, requiring pages of handwritten copy to do so. She was an established writer in the region, so I was really discouraged by her negativity. But not for long.
How were you able to do that?
Ha! As my friend Mary Beth would say, ‘There’s nothing a little success can’t cure.” As fortune would have it, literally days after the Wreck of the Hesperus panned my opening pages, I won a first chapter contest for the exact same cutting from WritersBillboard.net. That would have been 2007. A year later, I won fifth place in the National Writers Association Novel Competition. More than 90 complete novels were submitted in that competition. Five months later, Foundry Literary and Media picked up the novel for representation. So, I felt vindicated. But I also felt the shrew from the writing class was way off-base in terms of this novel’s publishing potential from the get-go. And, it turns out, she was.
So, what happened to the novel between the time that it was picked up by Foundry late in 2008 and 2012?
My agent at Foundry had been an editor at Hachette Book Group and Random House. So we spent two months improving it, before she shopped it. She was a solid agent. She didn’t sell it, but to her credit, she got it in front of everyone she promised to. She so believed in it, that we were both heartstricken after we’d heard back from the last acquisition editor at the last house that they were this close to picking it up but then changed their minds at the eleventh hour. So, GRACE sat it on a shelf while I concentrated on my graduate studies in creative writing, authoring and publishing another novel in the interim (DON JUAN IN HANKEY, PA).
When Ken Shear, publisher at Booktrope, said he wanted to see GRACE in October of 2011, I gladly sent it. He immediately saw the potential in it (immediately being about six months for Ken because they are slammed with submissions), and it was published this July.
Any other funny stories associated with this book?
Strange you should ask. When I was in New York for a pitch conference in late 2008, not only did I get three manuscript requests for GRACE from editors from the Big Six. I also got an invitation to have a fling with one of them, who shall remain nameless, but who has a VERY famous author in his flock of commercial success stories. I told the conference coordinator that I was longtime married (23 years at that point) to the same man. And he said, “Well, isn’t it about time for a fling?” Ha!
What are your dreams for this book?
I’ll admit I think that if enough people read this book, that if the folks at Booktrope and I can get it in the hands of enough readers, it will be very successful. It’s got romping, humor, and some truly entertaining plot twists and surprises. Do I love this book? Yes, I think I’ve been smitten with it and with Grace Savage for a long time.
Are there plans for a sequel?
Formal plans, no. But have I thought about writing out the next chapter of Grace’s life? Yes, I have. Booktrope, are ya listenin’?
Where can people find it?
It’s available in print and ebook on sites such as Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com and soon at Indiebound.org. Of course, it’s also available on the Booktrope website , where you can read it for free, right now, because that’s how Booktrope rolls.
Thanks so much for joining me today, Gale! Now friends, go read a great book and watch for more authors to visit shortly!
* * *
Gale Martin is an award-winning writer of contemporary fiction who began writing her first novel at age eleven, finally finishing it three decades later. Her first novel DON JUAN IN HANKEY, PA (Booktrope 2011) was named a finalist in the 2012National Indie Excellence Awards. Her newest novel GRACE UNEXPECTED is humorous women's fiction that features a protagonist with a heart of pure gold, wrapped in lead, who can hear her ovaries ticking. Gale has a master of arts in creative writing from Wilkes University. She lives in Eastern Pennsylvania, which serves as a rich source of inspiration for her writing.
Goodreads.com is giving away 10 copies of the book; log on by July 31 to register to win.
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Gale_Martin (@Gale_Martin)
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/GaleMartinAuthor
Goodreads: My Author Page
Email: galemartin (dot) writer (at) gmail (dot) com