Oprah does it all the time, and I'm not talking about giving to charity or taking her studio audience on great adventures. She recommends books, and oh how authors love to have her approval. It's like getting a golden ticket to the New York Times Best Sellers List.
Well, I'm not Oprah. I don't own a television network or a magazine, and when I say "I loved that book," it doesn't mean instant success for the author.
I am however, an avid reader who devours books, and I know what I like. That is why I was intrigued when author, Sandy Humphrey, invited me to go on a blog treasure hunt involving books. My assignment (which I've altered just a touch) is to answer a few questions about my own book, A Stop in the Park, then refer you to websites where you can discover book treasures. It's then supposed to operate in a chain fashion. I accepted the assignment without the chain. I just wanted to share my six favorite books of 2012 with you, and welcomed the opportunity.
The criteria I used when choosing my book treasures of 2012 are:
- The book had to be written by a debut author.
- The book hasn't spiked into the Amazon overall top 100 yet.
- The books I chose kept me turning the pages long after the clock on my nightstand told me to go to sleep. They flowed beautifully with clarity and magnificent writing. The characters were engaging and when I finished these books, I felt like I had lost a friend. I wanted more. I wanted a sequel.
So sit back, read about how A Stop in the Park came to be. Then, discover my "book treasure" picks for 2012.
What is the working title of your book?
A Stop in the Park
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I have been an avid reader since the day I realized letters formed words and had the power to create stories. That evolved into a love of writing, especially fiction, and by the time I entered middle school I knew that one day I would write a novel. Although I started many and have written numerous short stories, I didn't achieve my goal until this past year at the age of 54. What motivated me to make my dream come true was a scene I saw while relaxing with my husband, Keith, in Dupont Circle, DC. I witnessed an upscale white male losing a series of blitz chess games to an elderly African American male. The upscale man's wife and daughters waited impatiently as Dad and husband insisted on more games. I turned to Keith and said, "Wouldn't that be a great start for a novel?"
What genre does your book fall under?
What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Touching, romantic, and deeply provocative, A Stop in the Park follows the story of a man and a woman who yearn to escape the trap of the modern American Dream.
Is your book self-published or represented by an agency?
It is self-published through CreateSpace.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd; The Help by Kathryn Stockett; Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates; For One More Day by Mitch Albom
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I see so many people living prescribed lives today—not lives that truly call to them or that they dream about. In the rush to get ahead and attain more and more, marriages suffer, children are ignored, fun is forgotten, and life becomes a laborious chore. I wanted to show through a story how a family deals with these issues and what they do when they realize that they are living their life all wrong.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I think the romantic element. Can a lost passionate love between husband and wife be rekindled after many years of neglect? And...can people really change when situations become intolerable?
Do you have a favorite review you would like to mention?
Toughest question yet. From the "There needs to be more than five stars for this book," to "The writing was good, but the story was not for me," all are valuable because they allow me to learn what a reader took away from my story. The critique I breathed the biggest sigh of relief from was when I received an outstanding review from Kirkus. This gave me the confidence to forge ahead with marketing A Stop in the Park. If a reputable literary review firm like Kirkus gives a book it's nod of approval, there has to be something really good about it. After three years of working on A Stop in the Park, I was thrilled.
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey - I was swept away by this novel. It is the story of a middle age couple living in Alaska who never were able to have children. One evening they create a daughter out of snow who disappears during the night. She does, however, return as a mysterious real child. A true adult fairy tale!
Do you have a favorite book treasure? Please share in the comment section. Thanks and happy reading!