I’m so excited to share an interview with debut author Liz Michalski, whose adult novel EVENFALL just recently hit stores!. Read through the interview, then comment to win a free copy of Liz’s book!
Here’s the EVENFALL cover:
Isn’t it gorgeous? And here’s the book description:
In life, Frank could’ve had any woman he wanted.
In death, he’ll try to win back the one that mattered…
Frank Wildermuth always regretted a mistake he made as a teenager: choosing Clara Murphy over her sister Gert. And like a true Murphy woman, Gert got on with her life, never admitting to heartbreak. Not even now, decades later, with Frank dead-dead, that is, but not quite gone. Now, Frank’s niece, Andie Murphy, is back in town to settle his estate, and she sees that things have changed in Hartman, Connecticut. Aunt Gert still drives her crazy, but Cort, the wide-eyed farmboy she used to babysit, is all grown up-with a whole new definition for the word “sleepover.” Even freakier are the whispers. Either Andie’s losing her mind, or something she can’t see is calling out to her-something that insists on putting right the past.
Now for the interview!
D: Evenfall is written from three points of view: Aunt Gert’s, Andie’s, and Frank. Did you know going into this story that you’d be using multiple perspectives, and can you tell us some of the difficulties associated with that?
L: I knew early on that Frank would tell his story in the first person but that he wasn’t omniscient — there were too many gaps in the way his story came to me for him to ‘know’ everything. Originally I had Gert in first person as well, but her voice was so strong that way I felt it would take over the book and overpower everyone else. With Gert in third person, it made sense to have Andie tell her story from that perspective too.
The most difficult part, for me, was choosing which characters to leave out. I toyed with having two other perspectives in the book — that of Clara and Cort – but I felt five would be too unwieldy for me to manage. Since Clara’s choices truly influence the arc of the book, I tried hard to let her tell her story through the other characters, and to make her sympathetic through them as well.
D: Was Evenfall your first book, or do you have some hiding in the trunk, clamoring to get out?
L: In my twenties I did write another novel. I sent it out to one agent, who rejected it with a very nice personalized note. I put it away after that. : ) I think, looking back, that it really never would have found a home, but it was a very good learning experience.
D: A ghost plays a prominent role in your novel. Do you believe in ghosts?
L: I would like very much to believe in ghosts, especially benevolent ghosts like Frank. I have had very, very vivid dreams featuring people I love who have passed on, and would like to believe that they aren’t only the product of my subconscious, but am not quite convinced.
D: Since you know I’m a dog nut, you won’t be surprised that I glomped onto the dog in your story, Nina. Did you base Nina on characteristics of your own dogs?
L: The story of Nina is actually one of the ‘secret pages’ on my website. (For people who come to a book reading or send me a picture of themselves with my book, I’m giving out codes that let them access those pages and learn more about the backstory of Evenfall.) But all of my dogs have been big-hearted, protective beasts.
D: Name the naughtiest thing one of your own dogs has done:
L: Oh, the list is long and illustrious, and I’m not sure there can be just one thing. (Debra: I know the feeling) It has to be a toss-up between the time one dog concussed me (accidentally, of course) and the time the same dog decided that a horse counted as ‘big game’ and attempted to take said horse down by the neck. The counter-surfing incidents in which they ate entire cakes, loaves of bread, a 120 count bag of Dum-Dum lollipops (just the wrapper and candy — they spit out the sticks) and an entire bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken aren’t even in the same league.
(While Liz didn’t have photos of her dogs caught in the act, I just happened to have a few of my Fergie–aka: The Ferganator. In honor of naughty dogs everywhere):
Sprinklers Taste Just Like Chicken
So do toothbrushes.....
What this backyard needs is more cardboard pieces....
D: Nina seems to have an awareness of what’s going on above-and-beyond what many would attribute to a dog. Do you believe dogs understand and sense more than we realize? Do you have any personal examples?
L: I do believe dogs are often more aware than we give them credit for. My current pup, Harley, is particularly sensitive to moods. There have been times when I’ve found him sticking especially close to me, and when I’ve thought about it I’ve realized I’m particularly stressed that day.
Harley kicking up his heels
Another dog I had loved absolutely everyone, and barked maybe 10 times in his life. I was hiking in the woods one day with my daughter and that dog, who had rambled off on his own. All of a sudden he bounded down from a hill, got directly in front of my daughter and started to growl. A moment later a very unsavory gentleman emerged from the woods. He’d been hiking on a separate path and started to cut across the uncleared woods toward us. When he saw the dog, he immediately got back on his own path and disappeared.
D: I know you’re writing another book. Can you tell us a bit about it, and also—will there be dogs in that one, too?
L: My next book is about a family in which in every generation, one daughter is born with the power to make things disappear — to literally wish them away. Those wishes don’t always work out as planned, however.
Like Evenfall, this book has very strong ties to the natural environment. And there are dogs — a small furry pack of them.
D: Describe your ideal writing environment:
L: My ideal writing environment would have shelves lined with the colorful Waldorf toys my children are outgrowing, and maybe a few fish bowls with beta fish in them. It would have white walls, but plum, hydrangea blue, raspberry, and canary yellow chairs and throw pillows, and a beautiful pine desk.
My most productive writing environment is an unheated beach cottage with no television and no internet connection and no phone. I go there in March, when it is still quite chilly, and walk in the morning to warm up. Then I write for four hours, break for lunch and short walk, write for a few more hours, go for a run, eat, edit, and go to bed.
D: Sweet or salty treats?
L: BOTH! Popcorn with dark chocolate, or a Snickers bar.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog!
Author Liz Michalski, photo by Elizabeth Sullivan Photography
And thank you, Liz, for stopping by!
Remember—comment to win a copy of her fabulous book! Share your favorite pet or ghost story, if you have one (but not necessary to win). Winner will be chosen this Friday, April 1st, at noon PST.
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