BARBARA CLAYPOLE WHITE: THE PERFECT SON IS A STORY ABOUT ACCEPTANCE
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White will be officially released on July 1, but the book already made huge impression and strong numbers at Amazon Bestselling chart. The novel is standing solid in the Top 5 of Kindle list. 398-pages family saga is the third book by the England author.
The Perfect Son got decent feedback with average 4.7 Amazon stars from 270 plus reviews. Let’s welcome Barbara Claypole White at Land of Books.
– Barbara, what is your next book The Perfect Son about?
– The Perfect Son is the story of a family struggling to make peace with the challenges that are threatening to rip it apart. It’s a story about acceptance and how, in the midst of tragedy, we often find the best of ourselves. (And it’s a darkly quirky tale of Tourette syndrome, women’s heart health, undiagnosed mental illness, and psycho squirrels.)
– How did you decide to write the story?
– I live in the world of invisible disabilities (my brilliant son has battled obsessive-compulsive disorder for most of his life) and, as a mom, I’m drawn to stories that find hope in the darkness of mental and neurological disorders. I’ve always had a fascination with Tourette’s because on some level it’s a more obvious form of OCD. (That’s just my take, by the way.) You can hide OCD really well, but Tourette’s is so out there. Either way, it’s heartbreaking to see what these kids go through, although my son, like 17-year-old Harry Fitzwilliam, has never indulged in self-pity.
After a number of marriages in my support group for parents of OCD kids began to crumble, I kept wondering why our family had survived. I often used to tell people that we functioned as if balanced on a high wire: one wobble and the entire family would come crashing down. I gave the Fitzwilliam family more than a wobble. I sent in a torpedo. Ella, the emotional core of the family, has a massive heart attack in the opening chapter. That’s the other loosely autobiographical element of the story: I have genetic heart issues.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Finding a cardiologist who would talk with me. The story hinges on Ella’s medical arc, and even though I had several doctors helping me brainstorm ideas, I really, really wanted to interview a cardiologist. It took seven months to track one down!
– Tell us something more about your main characters Felix and Ella. Are they close to someone from your real life?
– Felix is an emotionally repressed banker who comes from a dysfunctional, wealthy London family. He’s obsessed with order, routine, and perfection, and takes his role as breadwinner very seriously. Ella is a former jewelry designer turned stay-at-home mom who has devoted her life to providing the infrastructure that allows their son Harry to be Harry. Initially I did steal from my own life to create Ella and Felix, but they broke out in the first draft and ran with it. And both have personal demons that are completely fictitious. I heard Felix’s voice clearly from the beginning. Ella, however, was much harder to find, even though she and I share the over-protective mother gene.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– From first idea to turning in the manuscript was eleven months, and then I was in the editorial process for about four months. I guess the total—up to my July 1 pub. date—was two years.
– Were you surprised by such a positive feedback by the readers with 4.7 average Amazon stars?
Oh my goodness—yes! I’m still waiting for someone to tell me it’s a huge, cosmic joke. I accepted a long time ago that I’m not everyone’s taste. I was stunned by all the 5 star reviews in the first week.
– What was the feeling when you saw The Perfect Son near the Top of Kindle Amazon Bestselling list?
– Shock, disbelief, and I’ll be honest, a few tears. The best part is that my aging mother, back in England, is having a blast. I’m sure everyone in the village is sick of her bragging by now!
– Give us some insights about your other books The Unfinished Garden and The In-Between Hour?
– The Unfinished Garden is a love story about grief, OCD, and dirt. The In-Between Hour, which was chosen by the Southern Indie Booksellers as a Winter 2014 Okra Pick, is based on a dark story seed: What could be worse than losing your child? Having to pretend he’s still alive. But it’s not a story about the death of a child. It’s the hopeful story of two broken families coming together to heal.
– Who are you?
– You mean other than an eccentric writer with a serious gardening habit and a taste for gin? Well, I’m devoted to my own dysfunctional family, and I’m at war with the squirrels and voles that conspire to destroy my garden. (Bastards.) I struggle every day to find my omm, but when I do get there, it normally involves my offbeat sense of humor.
– What are your writing habits?
– I’m an early morning writer, seven days a week, unless my deadline is looming and then all bets are off. My alarm buzzes at 6:00 a.m., and I like to write in my jammies while the house sleeps. On the other hand, because I started writing fiction as a full-time mom-on-the go, I can write anywhere if I need to. The waiting room of my son’s psychologist has always been a fantastic writing venue for me.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of your books?
– Always. I have no expectations in this crazy world of publishing, and I’m just grateful to have three books out. However, I am especially thrilled that my first book baby, THE UNFINISHED GARDEN, continues to chug along. I call it TUG, because I picture it as a little tugboat, bravely navigating rogue waves in the Atlantic. (I told you I was quirky, right?)
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– To be honest, the Kindle First Program has done a fantastic job for me, but I’ll be doing local readings and author events to thank the book clubs and booksellers who have been so supportive. Other than that, I want to focus on writing the next book. Being a productive author is the best way to promote your work.
– When will we see your next novel and would you unveil something more about it?
– I can’t answer that right now since…it’s complicated. But eighteen months seems to be my normal gap between books.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be?
– Gosh, I guess I would ask what’s my favorite part of being an author. And I would have to say visiting local book clubs. I have been to so many great discussions about my books. The free-flowing wine seems to help!
About Ognian GeorgievOgnian Georgiev is a sport journalist, who is working as an editor at the "Bulgaria Today" daily newspaper. He covered the Summer Olympics in Beijing 2008 and in London 2012. The author specializes in sports politics, investigations and coverage of Olympic sports events. Ognian Georgiev works as a TV broadcaster for Eurosport Bulgaria, Nova Broadcasting group, TV+, F+ and TV7. He is a commentator for fight sports events such as boxing/kickboxing and MMA. In May 2014 Ognian Georgiev released the English version of his book The White Prisoner: Galabin Boevski's secret story.
Posted on June 19, 2015, in Author, BESTSELLER, Books, Interview and tagged author, Barbara Claypole White, book, interview, The In-Between Hour, The Perfect Son, The Unfinished Garden. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.