Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Earth's Imagined Corners by Tamara Linse: Interview + Giveaway

Earth’s Imagined Corners
The Round Earth, #1
by Tamara Linse

Genre: Historical Fiction  
Publisher: Willow Words  
Number of pages: 472  

In 1885 Iowa, Sara Moore is a dutiful daughter, but when her father tries to force her to marry his younger partner, she must choose between the partner—a man who treats her like property—and James Youngblood—a kind man she hardly knows who has a troubled past.  

When she confronts her father, he beats her and turns her out of the house, breaking all ties, so she decides to elope with James to Kansas City with hardly a penny to their names.  

In the tradition of Willa Cather’s O Pioneers! and Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Earth’s Imagined Corners is a novel that comprehends the great kindnesses and violences we do to each other.

Find it on Goodreads
Available at Amazon

Tamara Linse jokes that she was raised in the 1880s, and so it was natural for her to set a book there. She is the author of the short story collection How to Be a Man and the novel Deep Down Things and earned her master’s in English from the University of Wyoming, where she taught writing. Her work appears in the Georgetown Review, South Dakota Review, and Talking River, among others, and she was a finalist for an Arts & Letters and Glimmer Train contests, as well as the Black Lawrence Press Hudson Prize for a book of short stories. She works as an editor for a foundation and a freelancer.

Find her online at www.tamaralinse.com and her blog Writer, Cogitator, Recovering Ranch Girl at www.tamara-linse.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tlinse
Twitter https://twitter.com/TamaraLinse
Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TamaraLinse/posts

Q & A with Tamara Linse

Q:  Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
My two protagonists are Sara Moore and James Youngblood. Sara’s mother died when she was in her mid-teens, and her father was a colonel for the South in the Civil War. Sara is a pliable person and a dutiful daughter, and so she doesn’t feel the brunt of her father’s rage until events start to unfold in Earth’s Imagined Corners. She’s also always been well off, and so she doesn’t understand what going without money means. James, on the other hand, has been poor his whole life, and that’s why he ended up in the penitentiary. He stole horses because an unscrupulous man tried to take advantage of him. It was just he and his mom all his growing up years, and they were always on the brink of not making it. They are attracted to each other, but then there’s more going on. To James Sara represents prosperity, and to Sara James represents freedom, as her father wants her to marry an unsavory character.

Q:  Describe your ideal writing spot.
My ideal writing spot is a little Mexican café not too far from where I work. When I get a chance, I escape from work for a bit or from duties at home and stop by and scribble in my notebook in the patio side room. I’ll sometimes order nachos and a margarita, and they know me there. They are such great people! Most of them speak Spanish as their primary language, and they are invariably polite and kind. They know what I want before I order, and they leave me alone to get my work done. It feels naughty, this sneaking away in the middle of the day. Perhaps that contributes to my getting things done. It certainly contributes to the sense of emotional space and quietness that’s necessary to get the writing done.

Q:  Who designed the covers for your book and what was that process like for you as the author?
Because Earth’s Imagined Corners is self-published and because I have a background in art and design, I created the cover myself, with input from designer friends. I invariably do a lot of drafts of covers before I arrive at the final cover. However, this book had a different final cover previously. I thought long and hard and did research and came across a painting that I just loved to use as a basis for a cover. I tried to contact the artist, and he didn’t get back to me, and so I took matters into my own hands. I did the artwork for my own cover. But then, within a month of final publication, the artist did contact me. I let him know that I had created the cover and I hoped he liked it. He was credited in the text as the inspiration for it. He came back wanting an ungodly amount of money for a cover he did not even do. And so I moved on. I designed another cover, the one that became the final cover. I like how the current cover definitely conveys the historical feel, and I like how the wraparond colors of tan, brown, and light blue come together in a package. I was afraid, though, that the print image would be a little boring and convey that the book would be boring. But I’ve gotten past that. I love their expressions. And so I’m happy with how the cover turned out.

Q:  What is the best advice you have been given?
The best advice I’ve ever received applies not just to writing: Stick with it. Any success I’ve had in life I would credit to my pigheadedness. Even when I probably should have moved on, I kept after it. It took me 13 years to get my undergraduate degree, and I was in almost every college on campus. It took me over 200 queries, two novels written and rewritten, and 11 years to get my agent. It took 15 years and a total creative collapse to get a book into print, and now I have three. We had problems with infertility, and it took 10 years to have kids, and we had to take a creative route and use a gestational carrier. It’s served me well, though there have definitely been times when I wanted to throw in the towell.

Q:  How do you keep busy when you're not writing?
Oh, you know, the usual! My full-time job is as an editor for a foundation. My husband and I have eight-year-old twins, a boy and a girl. I love to cook and to read, of course. My mom is 91 and I’m helping take care of her. And there’s always the promotion aspect of writing. I love all these aspects of my life, but they tend to overwhelm the actual writing part. It’s so easy just to slip into your assigned role and do these things. Get up, take a shower, go to work, pick up the kids, take them to practices, make dinner, go to bed. You’ve got to really set boundaries if you want to get any writing done.

Q:  If you could have any superhuman ability, what would you choose and why?
You know, my first urge is to say I’d want the ability to read minds. That’s what reading and writing really is ~ getting into other people’s heads and emotions and empathy with other people. Love, really. But then stories are constructed. They leave out parts and embellish other parts. I fear that if I had this superpower I would find out even more of the dark parts of people and I would have a really had time believing in the goodness in the world. Then again, I might just be bored because so much of our time is spent with the petty and the dull and the mundane. But then I can’t think of another superhuman ability I’d like to have. Flying? No, afraid of heights. Superhuman strength? You’d always want to be stronger, and you’d have a huge responsibility. X-ray vision? Not really. Intelligence maybe. I’d like to be even smarter. Or maybe the ability to make world peace. Definitely that one.

Q:  Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
For publishing or for reading? For publishing, I try to get my books out in as many formats as possible, including paperback, kindle and epub and pdf, and audio. I don’t do hardbacks because they are too expensive for the reader. I also try to get as broad a distribution as possible ~ worldwide. For reading, I used to be pretty wedded to paperbacks or hardbacks, but I’ve really come around, and I’ll buy one format or another depending on what I’m looking for. If I can’t wait, I’ll order kindle. If it’s something I know I’ll love and go back to, I get paperback ~ or if I have to , hardback. Plus I love the Bookbub and Midlist emails because I try a lot of books in digital format that I wouldn’t otherwise because they are inexpensive.

Q:  What book are you reading now?
Oh, I’m always reading lots of books at one time. That’s because I’m a taster, and I tend to start lots and lots of books before I stick to one and finish it or go back to one I’ve started earlier. But the ones I’m focusing on at the moment are Nancy Peacock’s wonderful but emotional The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson, Len Joy’s American Pasttime, and an amazing biography of the Brontes by Juliet Barker. I’ve also been reading great kids books to my kids: Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Velveteen Rabbit, and Watership Down.

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