Giveaway Closed: Thanks for entering!
For my review of this book please click HERE.
I was able to interview the author about his great book! Below is my interview with him. I hope you enjoy it!
What is "Heart With Joy" about?
Heart With Joy is about cooking and birdwatching, about writing and pottery, and the sacrifices we all make. But it's also about falling in love and finding your passion in life, about following your heart, and trusting it will take you where you need to go.
In Heart With Joy, 15 year old Julian's life is turned upside down when his mother suddenly moves from North Carolina to Florida under the pretense of running her parents’ motel and finishing the novel she has been writing for years. While Julian has always been closer to his mother and wants to go with her, she tells him he has to stay with his father until the end of the school year.
Six weeks after his mother leaves, Julian’s father decides to run a marathon. Once Julian agrees to help him train, the two develop the sort of close relationship they’ve never had before. Also, with the help of an elderly neighbor, who loves to spend her days bird-watching, Julian learns that the most important thing in life is to follow your heart. And Julian’s heart leads him to a passion for cooking and a young cashier at the local grocery store even as his own parents drift apart. By the end of the novel, Julian is forced to choose between staying with his father and going to live with his mother.
Did you have any specific inspiration that contributed to writing "Heart With Joy"?
I wouldn't say I had any specific inspiration. For me, at its core, Heart With Joy is a story about a father and son relationship. Since the birth of my seven year old son, the idea of a father/son relationship has obviously been on my mind and something that has crept into my writing. In some ways, I wish my father and I would have had the chance to sit down and talk and really get to know each other the way Julian and his father get to do in the book.
But I wasn't consciously thinking about that when I was writing this novel. When I sit down to write, I am only thinking about the characters and how they are going to act in a specific situation and deal with the problems I have given them. It's only later as I read through and edit the manuscript that I see certain threads start to appear. Again, this is all in retrospect, not something I was trying to do. What I was trying to do was somehow get this character through this tough situation and hope that in the end he learns something and comes out on the other side as a better, more alive person in the world.
Who was your main support system when writing this book? Did you have anyone who specifically gave you strength, courage or advice while writing "Heart With Joy"?
My family is very supportive of my writing. They know writing is important to me and that I can be a grumpy dad if I don't get to squeeze in a little writing every day, so that always helps. I'm also lucky enough to have a few writer friends who I exchange work with. We comment on each other's writing and offer suggestions for improvement. Roger Hart and Quinn Dalton, both wonderful writers, were very helpful through the editing process of the novel.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
Never, ever, no matter what anyone says, give up on your dreams. If you find something you are passionate about--whether it is writing, singing, cooking or collecting butterflies, photography or stamp collecting, whatever--just pursue it because, in my opinion, the path to happiness starts with following your passion and doing things you like.
Do you ever see yourself writing a sequel or series? (if not applicable to "Heart with Joy", then do you ever?)
I hadn't thought about it. It might be interesting to re-visit these characters a few years later and see where they are at when they graduate from high school, start college, etc... But at this point, I think I've spend enough time with them, and it's best just to let them go out into the world on their own.
What is your favorite memory in regards to writing "Heart With Joy"?
There are so many parts and pieces of writing a novel. It took me about six years, off and on, to write Heart With Joy so there have been many great moments for me. Cooking was not in the first draft, so when that came in I was happy to give Julian something to do with his hands. Plus, I love to cook and it was fun writing about that.
Most of writing isn't very exciting. It's sitting there at the computer or with a pad of paper and just working and trying to figure out how to make the story work. My favorite part of writing is when a character does something that surprises me. It’s those moments when a character says or does something you weren't expecting that it can be fun and exciting.
I have 3 copies of this book to giveaway to 3 lucky winners! To enter please see the rules below. You must comment/enter on this post only. Be sure to tell me which book you would like to win.
A BIG Thank You to Steve Cushman (the author) for making this giveaway possible!
• Leave a comment on this post telling me one of your coming of age memories or something you learned during that time period that you still carry with you. Include an email address with your comment so that I can contact you if you do win. Use a spam-thwarting format such as abc.reads AT gmail DOT com or abc.reads [at] gmail [dot] com
• You must leave an email address in order to qualify. If I can't contact you, you can't win!
**You can earn an extra entry by doing each of the following. Each entry must be a separate comment to qualify.**
1. Be or become a follower or subscriber of this blog and telling me about it in a separate comment.
2. Blog about this contest and provide me with the link to the post in a separate comment, and I'll give you yet another entry.
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• Winners must provide a U.S. street address.
• Deadline for entry is 11:59 p.m. EST on Thursday, September 30, 2010.
• Winners will have 48 hours to respond to my email announcing that they have won; if I don't hear from a winner, I will draw another name.
• Winners are determined using the sequence generator at Random.org.