Monday, July 18, 2011

Her Dear and Loving Husband by Meredith Allard: Enchanted Tour Stop

WELCOME TO MY TOUR STOP TODAY!!

I am pleased today to host Meredith Allard who is touring her book Her Dear & Loving Husband.
There is a lot of fun stuff here for you including a Giveaway, my Review, and an Interview with Ms. Allard.
Hope you ENJOY the post!



Giveaway Details


A PRINT copy of Her Dear and Loving Husband will be given away to one lucky person. Just comment for your chance to win. Sorry, this opportunity is limited to “ship to” addresses within the US, only due to postage cost concerns.  This Giveaway will end Saturday, July 23 11:59 PM CDT. Be sure to include your email addy and let me know if you are a GFC follower for an extra entry (+1).



GREAT NEWS! – A digital copy of Her Dear and Loving Husband is currently available for FREE on Smashwords. Available Internationally.  J  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/49588


Author Bio

Meredith Allard received her B.A. and M.A. degrees in English from California State University, Northridge. She is the author of Her Dear & Loving Husband (Copperfield Press, 2011), a paranormal love story set around the Salem Witch Trials. She is the executive editor of the award-winning literary journal The Copperfield Review, named one of the top markets for new writers by Writer’s Digest. Her work has appeared in journals such as The Northridge Review, Wild Mind, The Maxwell Digest, Moondance, Muse Apprentice Guild, The Paumanok Review, CarbLite, Writers Weekly, and ViewsHound, where her article won the Silver Medal Prize. She has taught writing to students aged 10 to 60, and she has taught creative writing and writing historical fiction at Learning Tree University and UNLV.  Meredith has been the featured guest speaker at the Los Angeles Civil War Round Table and the Civil Warriors Round Table.  She has also interviewed such notable authors as John Jakes, Jean M. Auel, and Jeff Shaara. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.

You can find Meredith Allard on Facebook and Twitter (@copperfield101). She welcomes e-mail at meredithallard(at)aol(dot)com. 



BLURB:

James Wentworth has a secret. By night, he’s a mild-mannered professor at Salem State College in Massachusetts. He lives quietly, making few ties anywhere. One night his private world is turned upside down when he meets Sarah Alexander, a dead ringer for his wife, Elizabeth. Though it has been years since Elizabeth’s death, James cannot bring himself to move on. 
Sarah also has a secret. She is haunted by nightmares, and every night she is awakened by visions of hangings, being arrested, and dying in jail–scenes from the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. As James comes to terms with his feelings for Sarah, he must also dodge accusations from a reporter desperate to prove that James is not who, or what, he seems to be. With the help of their friends, witches Jennifer and Olivia, James and Sarah piece their stories together and discover a mystery that may bind them in ways they never imagined. Will James make the ultimate sacrifice to prevent a new hunt from bringing hysteria to Salem again?


MY REVIEW

4 STARS

After her divorce, Sarah feels compelled to get away from her old, frantic-paced lifestyle and decides to take up residence in Salem, Massachusetts.  Sarah has always had a fascination with that area and feels that in Salem she may be able to slow down, rest her battered soul, and hopefully find an inner peace that is lacking in her life.
 
According to sketchy family history accounts, an ancestor died during the infamous witch trials. Sarah hopes for the opportunity to discover the identity of her deceased relative.  Plagued by vivid nightmares, Sarah is hopeful that by deciphering the secrets of the past, she will find respite from the night terrors that haunt her dreams and even invade her thoughts occasionally while awake.

The first time Sarah meets the reclusive and handsome James Wentworth, he is flabbergasted – could Sarah be his beloved wife Elizabeth, dead now for over 300 years, returned to him?

With strong gothic flavor, this beautifully structured story captures the intensity and frenetic activity of the late 1600’s and the Salem Witch Inquisitions and trials.  Graphic scenes and sequences are brilliantly depicted in small segments throughout the modern-day story.  I enjoyed the tale and especially the secondary characters who sometimes provided levity during an otherwise often harrowing chronicle.  I feel rather ambivalent towards James.  Sometimes he just came across as just too creepy.  I don’t want to say any more for fear of giving too much away here but, be aware, sparkly vampire he is not. 

This is a wonderfully spooky love story that is painstakingly researched and eloquently penned.  If you love literary horror, look no further.

Reviewed by Laurie-J



MY INTERVIEW WITH MEREDITH ALLARD

Tell us about a favorite character from a book?
I’ve always been an avid reader, so it was no surprise that, after a few wrong turns, I ended up studying English in college. While I was in grad school, we read David Copperfield by Charles Dickens and it was life-changing. I related strongly to the character of David because he had a less than perfect childhood (as I had—and Dickens himself). David found solace in books as a child—like me, and like Dickens. David found his way in the world through writing…you get the picture. But not only could I relate to David personally, I loved the entire story and I loved the way Dickens wrote poetry in prose. And he’s funny too. It was the first Dickens novel I had ever read, and suddenly I knew what I wanted to do: I wanted to write novels. That’s a pretty strong reaction to reading one book assigned as part of a college seminar.

What is the hardest part of writing your books?
I’m a terrible writer but a terrific rewriter—some famous author said that, and I’d sound highly intelligent right now if I could remember who that was. But the quote applies to me as well. I have yet to write anything right the first time. To be honest, this is my third run at answering this question. Beginning a new project is always daunting because I know it isn’t going to come out right the first time. The first draft is always the hardest part, especially the first draft of a novel since it’s a few hundred pages. That’s a lot of writing to go through knowing that about 75% of it will be changed or deleted, but that’s the process I need to go through for my brain to understand the story. 

As much as I dislike writing the first draft, I always make myself do it (usually after much self-cajoling and guilt-ridden inducements) because I know that if I don’t write the first draft there will be no final draft. And it always happens that, at the end of the long process, I have the story I intended to write all along. I’ve been writing long enough to know that, though the first draft stage is painful, the story will work itself out in the end.

Where do you research for your books?
I write a lot of historical fiction, so I do use a lot of research in my writing. I still tend to research the old-fashioned way—in a library. I still enjoy digging through the stacks to find what I need. I will admit, though, that I’m doing more research at home on the Internet. Many libraries have digital collections accessible through various databases, so I’m able to access entire books online instead of only short articles that don’t have the detailed information I need for historical research. 

If I’m able to go to the place I’m writing about, that’s all the better. Nothing replaces personal experience—being able to see, hear, touch, smell the place I’m writing about helps me bring it to life. However, traveling can be expensive, and if I’m unable to visit the place I’m able to feel as if I’ve traveled there by reading about it and studying it. 

Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
I used a professional critique for Her Dear & Loving Husband. It was the first time I had ever done that, and I’m glad I did. I’ve had my short stories and articles published in various journals over the years and normally I’m able to get a handle on what I’m writing, but Her Dear & Loving Husband was the most complicated story I had ever tried to tell. First, there’s the story between James and Elizabeth in the 17th century. Then there’s the story between James and Sarah in the 21st century.  There’s also the two-sided narrative from both James and Sarah’s point of view as well as weaving Sarah’s dreams into the narrative. I saw the story very clearly in my mind, but I was having trouble getting that onto paper. Someone told me about a nice lady with a keen eye for critique, and she helped me spot the flaws in the narrative. I was able to use her comments to remold the story into what you see today. It wasn’t an easy process, but finally I felt as if I had written the book I meant to write all along. 

I don’t think all writers need to have a professional critique, but it is helpful to have someone else, or even a group of someone elses, read and critique—especially if you write fiction. A lot of times writers suffer from the same disease I suffered from when writing the earlier drafts of Her Dear & Loving Husband—I knew what happened in the story but what I knew wasn’t translating onto the page. Other readers can help catch inconsistencies or holes in the plot we didn’t realize were there.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
I learned that I have the stamina to stick with a story until I feel it’s exactly right. I was so enthralled writing Her Dear & Loving Husband that I worked on it almost every day. Even on the odd Sunday when I took off, I was still thinking about it. It’s fair to say I was obsessed with that story while I was writing it. I felt I had a great idea, but I wasn’t happy with the way the story was playing on paper. That’s when I decided to go with the professional critique. When I received the comments from the professional reader I had to slow down because I was confused suddenly. I knew that a lot of what the reader said was dead-on, but I couldn’t see how to make the proper changes in the story. Once I got a handle on Sarah’s third person narration, the rest of the story fell into place, but getting there took a lot of trial and error. Overall, it was almost exactly two years to the day to get Her Dear & Loving Husband to the point where I felt it was just right. It took a lot of perseverance, patience, sweat, tears, frustration, and some occasional swearing, but looking back, I wouldn’t change a moment of those two years.

Well, having just read the story, I can affirm that all your blood, sweat, and tears did pay off. It's a complicated story that has been smoothly and consistently rendered into a captivating narrative that is both inspired and emotional. So, tell us, how do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?
I wish I had a set formula because it might make the process easier than the throwing darts in the dark system I have now. Usually it happens like this: I come up with a vague idea for a story, usually inspired by something I’ve read/seen/wondered. Under normal circumstances, I tell the story idea to go away—I have actual, grown-up person things to do besides daydreaming, thank you very much—but then my daydreamy nature wins (as it usually does) and I start wondering about that odd idea that occurred to me in a slow moment. If the idea has meat, as it did with Her Dear & Loving Husband, then I’ll start seeing scenes from the idea in my head. There are no specific characters and certainly no plot at this point, just scenes like snippets from a fragmented movie playing on a continuous reel in my head. After awhile, the flickering scenes going round and round my imagination become annoying so I decide to see if there’s enough there to write an entire story around. I create an outline of a plot based on the few scenes I already know, and fill in the characters as necessary. Then I write a first draft that’s pretty bad, and from there I weed and trim and add and subtract until finally there’s something I wouldn’t be embarrassed to have other people—people I don’t know even—read. There must be an easier way to do it, but this haphazard method works for me because this is how I’ve written all my fiction, even my short stories.
 
What would we find under your bed?
I love this question. And the answer is—absolutely nothing. I am what you might call in polite society a Type A personality—you know, a place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its-place kind of person. I don’t like clutter, and I’m very good at donating gently no-longer-used-by-me items to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. So there are no skeletons in my closet. Literally.

Do you have a Website or Blog?
I do. You can find me at http://www.meredithallard.com/. I keep the site updated with news about Her Dear & Loving Husband, along with purchasing information, and I blog about writing and whatever else occurs to me. I’m also the executive editor of The Copperfield Review, a journal for readers and writers of historical fiction. You can find Copperfield at http://www.copperfieldreview.com/.

Thank you so much for taking time out to visit with me today and allowing us the opportunity to find out a little more about you and your writing process.  It's been fun and informative, and I am looking forward to tagging along as you continue this tour.

Author Links Her Dear and Loving Husband


website  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads


Buy Links

Amazon  | Lulu  |  Smashwords 





Next Tour Stops



July 16th – Guest Post
Butterfly Feet Walking on Life
July 18th – Review, Interview, Giveaway
Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews

July 21st – Review and Interview
Eva’s Sanctuary

July 23th – Review
Courtney’s Reads and Reviews

July 25th – Review and Giveaway
Tracy’s Treasure of Books


Tour Presented by ENCHANTED BOOK TOURS

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book in return for a review.  I have not received any monetary compensation in return for my honest review, whether positive or negative. Promotional banners and information was provided through Enchanted Book Tours. I am an authorized Tour Host.

6 comments:

melora said...

I like the sound of the book; the Salem Witch Trials are enough of a hook to pull me to it.

I am a GFC follower
melorabrock {at} gmail {dot} com

Thank you for the chance.

Judy said...

I was checking out the blog and I saw the cover of this book and had to check it out. Really looks like a great book.

I am an old follower-judy

Judy
magnolias_1[at]msn[dot]com

Laurie said...

Hi Melora and Judy.....really happy you both stopped by. I've entered you both in the drawing that will take place Sunday.
Warm Regards and Best Wishes,
Laurie

Karen said...

Really great interview!! After reading the blurb for Her Dear and Loving Husband, I'm hooked; it sounds like such a wonderful read.
I am a GFC follower!

kacbooks at hotmail dot com

Laurie said...

The winner of the giveaway has been notified and has 48 hours to reply back or a new winner will be chosen....congrats Karen!!

Laurie said...

The WINNER has been confirmed!! :) Everyone else, remember that for a limited time this book is available as a free download on Smashwords.
Thanks Everybody!!