For a long time leading up to my trip people asked me why I was going to the USA, and, quite often, I didn’t have an answer that could sum it up exactly. I told people whichever version seemed most appropriate at the time, but the truth is I went because it was the Right Thing To Do. But the one big thing I learned from my time away, possibly the real reason I went in the first place, was this: I discovered I am not alone.
The reason I love to travel is the same reasons that I love to read, and for the same reasons that I write: to learn in the most intrinsic way possible that the stuff that runs deep inside me runs deep inside other people as well.
I am not alone.
I met writers! I met people who have been writing for years and have published multiple books, and people who have been writing for years and are about to publish their first, and people who have just begun the journey. We drank coffee and unpacked language and forged friendships and laughed until our sides ached. I shared bits of my writer-soul that I’d never shared before, and found people who understood, and it was magical. It was like coming home to family I hadn’t known I had and discovering that my funny-shaped nose is (figuratively, okay?) just like theirs, and for the first time in just about forever I felt deeply, deeply understood.
Want to meet one?
This is Bonnie Grove.
Bonnie is a wife and mother and a Canadian (which, let’s face it, automatically makes her interesting). And she manages to tap into that place inside all of us that deals with grief and fear and tremendous loss, and creates characters rich and real that face the brink and then navigate their way back out again. Her novel*, Talking to the Dead, is available REALLY cheaply as an ebook until December 17th, which is one good reason I’m telling you about her now. And, because I love my blog readers so much (and because I’m just a little bit crazy) I’m offering you a chance to win a paperback copy as well. Just leave a comment below before Monday and I’ll draw a name randomly. Be warned though…it’s highly unlikely to be with you before Christmas. The following are excerpts from an interview with Bonnie about the book, and about how she came to write it. You can read the whole interview on her blog, Novel Matters.
About Talking to the Dead
Twenty-something Kate Davis can’t seem to get this grieving widow thing right. She’s supposed to put on a brave face and get on with her life, right? Instead she’s camped out on her living room floor, unwashed, unkempt, and unable to sleep—because her husband Kevin keeps talking to her.
Is she losing her mind?
Kate’s attempts to find the source of the voice she hears are both humorous and humiliating, as she turns first to an “eclectically spiritual” counselor, then a shrink with a bad toupee, an exorcist, and finally group therapy. There she meets Jack, the warmhearted, unconventional pastor of a ramshackle church, and at last the voice subsides. But when she stumbles upon a secret Kevin was keeping, Kate’s fragile hold on the present threatens to implode under the weight of the past…and Kevin begins to shout. Will the voice ever stop? Kate must confront her grief to find the grace to go on, in this tender, quirky novel about embracing life.
Says Bonnie: “I used to work with at risk families (families that experience a host of social and economic disadvantages) and it dawned on me that I couldn’t judge what a person was trying to accomplish simply by watching their behavior. That, often, what I thought they were doing and what it was they were actually trying to do were very different things. In other words, that behavior doesn’t always match up with intention. So, if behavior isn’t an indication of intention, then what is the best way to truly understand a person?”
“I recently wrote a list of images and ideas that reoccur in each of my novels. It was a long list that included things like forests, narrow paths, isolation, and mental illness. Cheerful, eh?
At this point, I can’t pretend I’m not working out my issues via story. The plot in Talking to the Dead is fiction, and I’m not Kate Davis, but if there is such a thing as an emotional biography, I think that is what I write.
The other item found in each of my novels? Humour. The day we can’t have a laugh in the middle of it all is the day we’ve just given up.”
What Megan thinks:
This book is well worth a read. Be warned – it’s not an easy book, nor is it an easy book to put down. But if you read this blog because you like real stories about honest humanity then you may just love this. I did. And you may just feel, too, that you are not alone. I did.
Where are people getting Talking to the Dead?
Until December 17th, you can download the e-book version of Talking to the Dead for only $2.99 for Kindle, Nook or Sony e-reader. And don’t forget, if you want a paperback copy leave me a comment below before Sunday Midnight (Aussie time) and you’ll be in the draw to win one.
It’s nearly the weekend, how about you pull up a good book and a good coffee, and call up a good friend and be not-alone too.And while you’re at it, tell them Megan says they should read this book 🙂
*Novel means FICTION. It’s a made-up story, not a how-to book on seances. Thought I’d reiterate that. You never know…