Monday, May 23, 2011

A Blog Tour - Terri Giuliano Long. And a Review. And Win a Prize (maybe)

I never quite knew what a Blog Tour was until I got involved with this. What a fabulous idea!


Today, I'd like to introduce a very talented new author, Terri, and her novel "In Leah's Wake". I think this deserves one of those applauses, don't you?


One of the superb aspects of being a host on this blog tour is that I get to know the authors personally so Terri and I have had great "cyber"-conversations and she agreed to answer a couple of my awkward questions :)







Sue: What inspired "In Leah's Wake"

Terri: Years ago, a reporter for the local paper, I wrote a series of feature articles about families with drug and alcohol-addicted teens. The moms, eager to help other parents facing similar crises, opened up to me, talked candidly about their children, their heartbreaking struggles. Those stories stayed with me.

My husband and I have four daughters. They were teens when I began writing In Leah's Wake. I've never met a family who hasn't struggled in some way during their children's teenage years. We are no different - though, thank goodness, our experiences pale in comparison to the problems the Tylers encounter in my novel.

As a parent, I know how it feels to be scared, concerned for your children’s future. That, I think in retrospect, was the primary force that drove me to write this story. I also hated the way parents judged and criticized one another, and I feel strongly that zero tolerance policies, while the motivation to develop and enforce them comes from a place of love, are wrong-headed. In the book, Leah is kicked off the soccer team, for a host of things, but essentially for drinking. When she's caught at a party, the high school principal forces the soccer coach to dismiss her from the team. I don't understand this - why, if a child is in trouble, do we take a positive force from their lives? This sort of social angst also became fodder for the story.

Like all writers - smiling - I observe people around me and lift details to suit my purposes. All the above - my work with families, personal experience - internal/psychological as much as external/real - social angst, and observation - played on my conscious and subconscious mind, and ultimately emerged as this book. 

Sue: What's coming next?
  
Terri: I’m working on a contemporary psychological thriller with a historical twist, called Nowhere to Run. 

After the brutal unsolved murder of her six-year-old daughter, Abby Minot, an award-winning magazine writer, stops working and sinks into a prolonged depression. One year later, the lives of the Minot family - Abby, her husband, Jack, and their two surviving children, twelve-year-old Callie and fifteen-year-old Jess - are in disarray. After discovering her husband's affair, Abby accepts her first assignment since their daughter’s death—a profile of the powerful Chase family, kin of the popular Republican senator Matthias Chase. 


Senator Chase has built his reputation as "a new kind of Republican - fiscally conservative, socially just" - on the assertion that his ancestors provided passage for runaway slaves, a claim that, until now, he’s been unable to prove. During a massive renovation of the family home, workers discovered a subterranean chamber under a barn. Weeks before Chase announces a campaign for the presidency, the Chase family home is declared an official stop on the Underground Railroad. Abby goes north, taking Callie and Jess, to cover this story.

In her initial research, Abby glimpses darkness under the shiny veneer. As she digs, she uncovers a shocking web of lies and betrayal, dating back to the nineteenth century. Soon, Abby finds herself trapped—between an editor obsessed with uncovering the truth and the town and family who will stop at nothing to ensure it stays hidden.


I hope to complete the novel this fall. 

See the wonderful Book Trailer of "Leah's Wake" here

***

Here's my review of this very enjoyable book:


In Leah’s Wake

Parents, sisters, teenagers with angst...just about everyone in the world will relate to this story. We’ve all been on the brink or even experienced first hand what the characters in this thoughtful novel have been through.

Leah is the epitome of angsty teenager. Until now she’s been the perfect daughter, the one who gets the best grades, is chosen for the State soccer team and is on course for a scholarship to Harvard. But then she meets Todd, a pot-smoking, drug dealing high-school drop-out and Leah is knocked right off track. What makes it more heart-breaking is that her family are the type you’d like as neighbors: her parents work hard to maintain their lifestyle and Justine, her younger sister, believes the sun shines out of Leah – unfortunately, because Justine is easily influenced and is ready to follow Leah’s downward spiral.

Many editors nowadays pooh-pooh prologues but in this case there’s no discussion – the prologue, written from Justine’s point of view, is the launching pad for the reader’s constant question throughout the tale: does Leah survive despite all odds against her?

This novel evokes so many emotions: compassion for the parents especially for the mother, Zoe, who is desperate to do the right thing but unable to decide how; frustration at the father, Will, who believes that shouting is the cure; anger at Leah who is smart, but not smart enough to see her impending downfall; and sympathy for the little sister who hovers on the precarious outer edge.

As I read I was constantly thinking, “there but for the Grace of God go I”. Terri Guiliano Long has created a thought-provoking and gripping tale that will stay with me for many months, if not years. She is obviously so in touch with reality and human frailties that it reflects in her skill as a story-teller, keeping me enthralled to the end. No-one reading this can remain untouched or unmoved, yet it’s not depressing by a long shot – it’s just alive and desperate as she peels the skin off the values in family life.

Ms Long takes us into the inner core of the dilemma and, without preaching, manages to portray what the characters are feeling and brings to the fore just how shallow modern life can be.

I believe she’s a talented author who is on the brink of success and I can’t wait to see what she produces next.

Terri loves meeting and connecting with people who share her passions. Visit on Twitter:www.twitter.com/tglong or Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tglongwrites

Contact Terri

Website:   http://www.tglong.com//


Tour Notes:

Please vote for my blog, Lauracea, in the traffic-breaker poll for this tour. The blogger with the most votes wins a free promotional twitterview and a special winner’s badge. Vote in the poll by visiting the official In Leah’s Wake blog tour page and scrolling all the way to the bottom.

The next word for the book give-away is AND . Learn more about the give-away and enter to win 1 of 3 copies on the official In Leah's Wake blog tour page which is on The Novel Publicity's website. The other 2 copies are being given-away courtesy of the GoodReads author program, go here to enter