Monday, January 16, 2012

Between Seasons by Aida Brassington - Excerpt , Interview | Debut Novel

There are things Patrick Boyle will never forget: the sound of his own neck breaking at the moment of his death in the fall of 1970, the sweet taste of his mother's chocolate cake, and the awful day his parents abandoned him in his childhood house-turned prison.

Nineteen-year-old Patrick wonders for decades if God has forgotten all about him or if he's being punished for some terrible crime or sin over a lovely forty years trapped in an empty home. But when Sara Oswald, a strange woman with a mysterious past, buys his house, old feelings reawaken, and a new optimism convinces him that she's the answer to his prayers.

Things are never simple, though, especially when she begins channeling the memories of his life and death in her writing.


Available in paperback, Kindle format, Nook format, and other assorted electronic formats.

 
MY REVIEW DELAYED

My review will be forthcoming. This book is high on my TBR but unfortunately I am quite behind schedule.  I apologize for the inconvenience and hope to catch-up by the end of March, at the latest.

 
 

EXCERPT




 This scene occurs after Patrick’s death at his wake:

“He was such a good boy,” his Aunt Jenny said, eyes red and puffy.
Patrick snorted and crossed his arms. “You didn’t think so when I broke your window.”
 Come to think of it, he really hadn’t seen much of her and Uncle Bob since then – it had only been a few years ago. Window. Huh. Maybe he could get out of the house through a window. Maybe it was only the front door… he’d have to try it out. Embarrassment washed over his face as he wondered why it never occurred to him before, but then he shook his head. He hadn’t been dead that long, and he’d been in a constant state of shock – how could he be expected to think of every possibility?
“Yes, he had such a bright future.” His high school shop teacher stood by his aunt’s side, giving her the eye.
“I can’t believe you’re trying to get lucky at my wake, man.” Patrick chuckled and moved away, gravitating toward Ginny and her parents. He couldn’t believe what people were saying about him – hearing all about what a good guy he was, how generous he’d been, how kind and giving. Most of these people had barely known him. Dying transformed him into a hero, apparently, although that shouldn’t have surprised him – he’d been to a funeral or two, and no one ever said anything shitty about the person who’d kicked the bucket.
When the old guy down the street had a heart attack, Patrick’s mother had dragged him to the viewing. The man had been a real jerk, chasing kids off his lawn and stealing newspapers off his neighbors’ porches, but everyone had gone on and on about what a saint the guy’d been.
Ginny’s parents were deep in discussion about picking up milk on the way home, but Ginny’s lips clamped into a firm, white line. She looked upset, and even though Patrick thought this whole wake scene was idiotic, he was glad at least one person who really knew him – other than his parents – was sad he was gone. Well, not gone… dead.
“I have to visit the bathroom,” Ginny muttered, heading toward the stairs. Patrick followed, Ginny’s brown dress swishing around her legs as she climbed, and she immediately turned into his bedroom instead of the bathroom.
“Patrick?” she whispered, startling him.
“Ginny?” He moved closer, sinking fingers in her shoulder. She wrapped her arms across her chest, shuddering and staring out the window. “Hey, can you hear me?”
She crossed herself and continued to stare at the yard below. “I can’t believe you’re dead.”
“I can’t believe I’m dead, either. It kind of sucks.” He wished she would open the window so he could jump through. Wait. What would it matter? He’d just toss himself out of it – he could move through the glass and screens, no problem.
A lone tear traversed the slope of Ginny’s cheek, and she allowed it to roll to her chin before she wiped it away with the back of her hand. Patrick moved around and sat on his bed – all the crying was killing him. It was such a drag, and it made him feel bad for dying. It was definitely a buzz kill to his idea about trying the window – he couldn’t let Ginny cry by herself.
“I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,” she mumbled, touching the glass.  Patrick’s eyebrows drew together in confusion. What was that from? “If you want me again, look for me under your boot-soles.”
It came to him in a few moments. “Nice.” He snorted in amusement. “Seeing me off with some Whitman. I hear it’s better than the mass during my funeral – Andy said it was like cats squealing or something when the soloist sang.”
Ginny bowed her head and leaned forward, turning her head and laying her cheek against the window. “I’ll miss you.”
“Hey, hey, don’t…”
She sighed and turned sharply, stalking out of the room before he could say another word.


GIVEAWAY

Enter to win a digital copy of Between Seasons. 
Follow Aida on Twitter for a Bonus Entry.
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Giveaway ends February 4th 11:59PM Central Time.  



INTERVIEW


Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

I love Patrick, my main character, not just because he turned out to be just a sweet guy in general, but because it was so fun to research things associated with him.

Patrick was nineteen when he died in 1970, so he definitely has attitudes that reflect the time period – women were joining the workforce more often, and women’s rights were at the forefront, along with issues relating to the Vietnam War. It was interesting to do the research on those things as well as the clothes and language.

And introducing Patrick to more contemporary attitudes and technology was really exciting – nineteen is an age where you’re open to change, but how does that relate to someone who’s been dead for forty years?



Tell us about your next release.


My next release is a follow-up to Between Seasons. There are some things intentionally left unexplained by the end, and the second novel in the series explains the dreams Patrick has as well as the ending and the consequences of that ending (I’m having trouble not giving anything away!). I’m in the outlining stages right now, so it probably won’t be available until the spring. I’m looking forward to writing more about Sarah and Patrick.

Who is your favorite author?

I have quite a few! I love John Irving, my favorite of his being A Prayer For Owen Meany. The plotting is convoluted and fantastic, and the characterization is so rich I can see and hear Owen Meany clear as day. I also love Kurt Vonnegut and Christopher Moore – both are quite different writers, but I appreciate the easy comedy and the unique ideas both of them are known for. Lastly, I love James Morrow, a writer who is technically classified as science fiction, but writes these amazing books that focus on religion in unique ways.


Do you have critique partners or beta readers?

I take the critique partner/beta reader process really seriously. When I write, every chapter goes to a group of 4-6 people (depending on who’s available) for review. Some of them are writers and some are readers with a great editorial eye. They rip it apart, send it back to me, and then I revise. When I’m done putting a chapter back together, it goes to my critique partner. Usually only after all that do I feel like I might have something good on my hands.
It’s important to me to get that level of feedback – most writers just can’t be objective enough about their own work to see when something isn’t working, so it’s necessary for improvement.


Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

Music was a huge component of writing Between Seasons, primarily because Patrick was a music lover and really missed music during his forty years alone in the house. The music of his teen years was a pivotal time in music history, so my playlist was full of The Doors, The Guess Who, Neil Young, and The Rolling Stones. And then to add to it the kinds of music Sarah would like gave me a broad range of musical styles and tastes. There’s a really great scene in the novel set to a song by Clarence Carter called “Slip Away,” so when you get to that part, I highly recommend you find it on YouTube or Spotify or whatever to set the mood.

I don’t always listen to music when I write, but for Between Seasons, it was vital.


What was the scariest moment of your life?

I was at an abandoned prison on a tour quite a few years ago now — maybe ten years — walked through an exhibit on confiscated jailhouse weapons when something pushed through my body. Sounds kind of weird (and it was), but what felt like a semi-solid wind hit me in the chest, wafted through, and exited out my back. It hit me hard enough that I stumbled backward and had to hang on to a doorframe so I didn’t fall. I thought maybe I’d had a heart attack or a hallucination or something, and I tried to blow it off even though my poor heart hammered on my ribs . . . probably a product of all that immediate adrenaline flooding my system. Later when I was changing my clothes to go to bed, though, I couldn’t pretend it hadn’t really happened: I had a bruise on my chest in the exact spot I’d been struck.

Really scary – most of my experiences with ghosts have been really mild and not scary at all, but that one was. I currently live with a ghost (a man who appears on my stairs every once in a great while), which inspired Between Seasons.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aida Brassington is an award winning writer who lives in a haunted house in the suburbs of Pennsylvania with her husband of five years and a Great Dane named Patrick. She loves all things related to Halloween and spooky movies, but not because she shares her house with a ghost (and it should be noted her ghost does nothing more than occassionally appear in the second floor hallway and hide her keys) — she just likes being scared.

She is a former political junkie with a deep interest in artisan food, reading, and scuba diving. She has never spent time in a mental institution but often questions her mental health.

Aida can be bribed with Vosges chocolate. Bribed into what? Well, that all depends.

LINKS:



THANKS FOR LOOKING!

6 comments:

Susan Bennett said...

Now that's how you write a blurb! Fantastic.

Carole Lanham said...

I just ordered this book last week! Sounds sooooo good. I'm more anxious than ever to get to it now.

Also, I love Aida's bio!!!

bn100 said...

This book sounds interesting. Thanks for the giveaway.

Alaskan Ninja said...

Aida seems like a very genuine person, and the book sounds great! Can't wait to read, see you on Twitter! @derek_chivers

Aida said...

Thanks for picking up the book, Carole! I appreciate that!

Susan, bn100, and Alaskan Ninja -- thanks for reading! xo

Veronika said...

I so would like to read this book =) It would be awesome to win this copy :)