I read debut Under the Same Sky earlier this month and it was a great romance novel with an amazing story! You can read my review here. Genevieve is going to spend a little time at OUAC and answer a few questions for us. I hope you enjoy them!
OUAC: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
GG: I’m the luckiest lady in the world. I have an incredibly supportive (and patient) husband (who is also great in plot meetings) and two talented daughters. I get to stay home and write and edit and meet great people like you! I never imagined being an author, let alone a published one. It all feels wonderful … and a little bit surreal!
OUAC: Who are some of your favorite authors?
GG: Diana Gabaldon, Sara Donati, Penelope Williamson, Kaki Warner, Jennifer Roberson … anything that’s written with passion, though I prefer Historical Fiction.
OUAC: Do you have any books sitting in Mt. Read Me?
GG: HAHAHA! Only about 70. What I’m reading now is Kaki Warner’s “Colorado Dawn”. Got any suggestions?
OUAC: Do you have any books on your keeper shelf?
GG: Books by all the authors I mentioned above are keepers. I also have the very quirky “Come Thou, Tortoise”, and “The Help” up there as of recently.
OUAC: What are some of your favorite pastimes?
GG: You mean there’s life outside of writing and reading? Huh. We’re a movie watching family. We used to ski a lot, but ever since we moved from Alberta to Nova Scotia we’ve been more about the ocean.
OUAC: Do you have any guilty pleasures? (Chocolate, Reality TV, etc.)
GG: Are those guilty pleasures? I love chocolate, and I find I’m liking darker chocolate the older I get. Yes, I watch “Survivor”, and it’s one of the only tv shows I watch. That and “House” and “Once Upon A Time”. My guiltiest pleasure is that I enjoy a drop of baileys with my coffee in the morning. Kind of gets my day started with a smile.
OUAC: Can you walk us through a normal writing day for you?
GB: Sometimes it’s difficult for me to get to my own writing because I am so busy editing for other authors, but when I do, I like to settle in, write for a couple of hours, do whatever research needs doing, lose myself on Facebook for a while, then return to my story. I like to write between 1,000-5,000 words a day when I’m really writing hard.
OUAC: What is the best writing advice you’ve received?
GG: Make every word count. Don’t bother with a bunch of silly words. Replace them all with one gem.
OUAC: What advice would you give any aspiring writers reading this?
GG: To focus on the story. Too many people are consumed with the goal of publishing. I blame it on the ease of self-publishing. I could have self-published my book four years ago. That would have been the worst possible thing for me to do, because during those years I dug in deep. I polished my work, edited and shaped and rearranged until it felt just right. By that time it was ready for an agent and a publisher. Had I self-published, it never would have become the book it is now. Lose yourself in the story, not in the frustrations of the publishing world.
OUAC: What drew you to writing historical fiction?
GG: I like to fantasize that the story actually could have happened. When I write, my characters “speak” to me, telling me what they feel, what they see. It’s more like I’m channeling them than actually writing the story. And if that’s the case, who’s to say it never happened?
OUAC: What is your favorite part of your career?
GG: Watching people read my book is a newfound thrill for me, but it’s the process of writing that I love the most. I love losing myself in the scenes that I’m writing, writing through tears or laughing out loud at something one of my characters just did. The best of all is when I read something in my book and I really like it – but I don’t remember ever having typed it.
OUAC: This is the first time I’ve read a historical fiction book where telepathy plays a large role. I enjoyed it very much but I’m curious as to what motivated you to use it?
GG: I don’t know, really. When I first “met” Maggie, she was really forthright. She wanted me to understand that she lived a strange life. She showed me the horror of her dreams, then showed me that through them all ran the river of hope that was Andrew. When Andrew appeared to me, I could feel how he saw her as his own beacon of hope. The energy between them was different from anything I’d ever read and I questioned it at first, but I soon learned I didn’t need to worry.
OUAC: The Battle of Culloden (and subsequent trials and tribulations of the Scots) and the Cherokee were a large and well written part of Under the Same Sky. Were there any interesting or unusual facts that you found while doing the research?
GG: I learned so so so much. Before I started writing I had absolutely no interest in history, so everything was amazing to me. I can’t think of any particular thing that was more interesting than the rest, but I did find it cool when I learned how similar both cultures were, with their clans, their family values, their sense of being at one with the earth and its creatures. They were both very spiritual societies.
OUAC: Both the heroine and hero have some pretty horrific things to live through. How do you feel this added to the book or the relationship between Andrew and Maggie?
GG: When they dream, Maggie and Andrew feel everything the other feels. When one is in pain, the other sends relief. When one is afraid, the other brings courage. They are a part of each other in a strange, mystical way, and every time the distance between them is bridged by yet another tragedy, they are brought closer to one another and their relationship grows stronger.
OUAC: Do you have a favorite scene in Under the Same Sky? (As few spoilers as possible)
GG: It’s funny – no one has mentioned Joe. I really liked Joe. I think my favourite scene was in the jail, between Maggie and Joe.
OUAC: At the back of Under the Same Sky, it mentions that Dogual’s book is next. Can you tell us a little bit about the next book?
GG: I couldn’t just kill Dougal off in book 1 – I love Dougal! But like Andrew, his life is entirely changed by Culloden. He is imprisoned by the English and has to learn to survive in an entirely new state of mind. I don’t want to say too much, but Dougal eventually falls in love. The English arrest his beloved and take her away from him when he’s physically unable to rescue her. In order to go after her, he will have to make some pretty big moral decisions.
OUAC: Can you tell us if you are working on anything else now?
GG: I’ve finished book #3, “Out of the Shadows”, which is Adelaide’s story. Penguin hasn’t seen it yet, but I’m hoping they’ll like it. Just last week I started writing book #4, which is all about Janet. She’s not a family member, but she has so much heart; she simply demanded her own story. I am also working on a WW1 romance based here in Nova Scotia. I really love that story. I’m always working on something!
Thank you so much for stopping in Genevieve! I can’t wait to read your next novel!
Under the Same Sky by Genevieve Graham
in stores now!
The year is 1746. A young woman from South Carolina and a Scottish Highlander share an intimacy and devotion beyond their understanding. They have had visions of each other their entire lives. And yet they have never met.
Now, with their lives torn asunder, Maggie Johnson and Andrew MacDonnell’s quest to find each other is guided only by their dreams—and by the belief in the true love they share.
On the Carolina frontier Maggie Johnson’s family struggles to survive. Maggie’s gift of “the sight” and her visions show her a presence she calls Wolf. She watches him grow from a boy her age to a man even as she goes from child to woman.
Andrew MacDonald has always wondered about the girl he sees in his dreams. He is able to talk to her through their thoughts and vows that even if he must cross an ocean he will find her. They are thrust into different situations: Andrew fights for the doomed Jacobite cause and Maggie is captured by slavers, then rescued and brought into a kind, loving Native American tribe. They each believe in destiny and the power of the love they have shared forever.