MARIE BOSTWICK: THE IDEA OF THE SECOND SISTER CAME FROM A FUNNY CONVERSATION
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
After a short summer vacation at the beautiful Black Sea, Land of Books is returning with interviews with hot authors.
Marie Bostwick gained serious popularity among contemporary fiction readers with her Cobbled Court Quilts series. Her last release The Second Sister premiered in March and already become one of her best novels. So far the story received huge positive feedback averaging 4,6 Amazon stars from 175 plus reviews. Our next guest is preparing her next project and you will find more about it in the following interview.
– Marie, What is your book The Second Sister about?
– Years of long workdays and little sleep as a political campaigner are about to pay off now that Lucy Toomey’s boss is entering the White House. But when her estranged older sister, Alice, unexpectedly dies, Lucy is drawn back to Nilson’s Bay, her small, close-knit, Wisconsin hometown.
An accident in her teens left Alice mentally impaired, and she was content to stay in Nilson’s Bay. Lucy, meanwhile, got out and never looked back. But now, to meet the terms of Alice’s eccentric will, Lucy has taken up temporary residence in her sister’s cottage–and begins to see the town, and Alice’s life, anew. Alice’s diverse group of friends appears to have little in common besides an interest in quilting. Yet deep affection for Alice united them and soon Lucy, too, is brought into the fold as they share problems and stories. And as she finds warmth and support in this new circle, Lucy begins to understand this will be her sister’s enduring gift–a chance to move beyond her difficult past, and find what she has long been missing. . .
– How did you decide to write the story?
– The grain of the idea came from a funny conversation between two of my friends. One of them was going on a cruise. Just before she was to leave on her trip, she called her daughter in the middle of the night to say that if she went down with the ship, then her daughter should make sure that our other friend got all of her old quilting fabric.
It made me laugh at the time but it got me to thinking about a situation in which someone might inherit someone else’s fabric or quilts. When I settled on the idea that those two characters should be two estranged sisters, the story started to emerge and take on a different, more serious tone. Of course, there is still a lot in THE SECOND SISTER to make reader’s laugh. Those are the kinds of books I specialize in – stories that will have you laughing out loud in spots and reaching for a box of tissues in others.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– I always struggle with the middle section. Somewhere between pages 180 and 200, I suffer a crisis of confidence and seriously consider deleting the whole thing. Fortunately, I have been through this so many times that I now recognize it as part of my process, but that doesn’t make it feel less real.
– Tell us something more about your main character Lucy? Is she close to someone from your real life?
– While I do sometimes draw on particular traits of someone I may have seen or met, I almost never base characters on people I know well in real life. However, when I was younger I did spend some time working for a U.S. Senator in Washington, DC and on some political campaigns so I drew on those experiences when writing about Lucy.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– I’m not a fast writer. It takes me a full year to write a book. Once I send it off to my publisher, they have it for nearly another year.
– Did you expect the success of Cobbled Court Quilts series?
– Not at all. I knew that the first book in the series, A SINGLE THREAD, was good but I wasn’t prepared for how strongly it would resonate with readers. I had planned on that book being a standalone but as soon as my editor read it, she started asking me to write another Cobbled Court book. When A SINGLE THREAD was published and the mail started pouring from readers, demanding to know what happened next, I knew I had to keep going with those characters. But I would never, ever have thought that one book would stretch out to a series of six or that A SINGLE THREAD would go back to press sixteen times! Even now, I find it kind of amazing.
– Who are you?
– First and foremost, I’m an artist. The urge to create is something that is with me constantly and simply must be satisfied. I’m also a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, and friend. I’m hard-working, optimistic, spiritual, loyal and, most of the time, pretty happy.
– What are your writing habits?
– That is hard to say because I am constantly tinkering with them. What works for one book doesn’t necessarily work for the next.
Now, having come off several years of working incredibly long hours without a break, I am trying work a more normal schedule, about six hours of writing daily and another two for business and promotional side of my career. To do that, I’m trying to spend more time up front working on a very detailed outline. I am hopeful that this will make the actual writing process go more smoothly and keep me from lapsing back into fourteen-hour days.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of your books?
– I don’t think any writer would ever give an emphatic yes to that question, do you? I do feel very fortunate that, after so many years of hard work, I am able to make a living as an artist. This being said, I am always happy to expand my reader base – the more the merrier.
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– That really changes from book to book – what works for one title may not for the next. The first thing I do when starting to consider promoting a book is have a meeting with my agent, editor, and publicist and do a little brainstorming. We look at what did and didn’t work in the past and then try to come up with new ideas that build on what we learned.
I generally do a lot more touring and personal appearances than most writers. That works well for me because I have done a fair amount of public speaking in my life so I feel comfortable in front of an audience. Connecting with readers personally is my strong suit and I play to that strength. I also spend a good bit of time connecting with readers on my Facebook fan page. That is fun for me and, I think, for them. I don’t have as many Facebook followers as some authors but my FB followers are very, very engaged and very loyal.
– When we will see your next novel and would you unveil something more about it?
– My next book, FROM HERE TO HOME, is a sequel a book I wrote a couple of years back called BETWEEN HEAVEN AND TEXAS. It continues the story of one of my most beloved characters, Mary Dell Templeton, a sassy, brassy woman who makes her own way in the world after giving birth to a son with Down syndrome and who has a heart as big as all Texas.
– Which is tougher – to write a single novel or the next part of a series?
– Definitely the next part of a series because you’ve already got some limits on what you can write. With a standalone, you’re just making it up and as you go and there are no boundaries. But with a series, you have to remember all the things you wrote before and give then just enough of the backstory from the previous book so that new readers won’t feel lost but not so much that you’ll bore your old readers. Also, you have to figure out how to present the setting and characters with fresh eyes. It isn’t easy.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be?
Q: You’ve written fourteen books – which is your favorite? THE SECOND SISTER, without question. The character, the setting, the pacing, the plot – I really think I sparked on all my plugs when I was writing this one. I’m probably best known for my first Cobbled Court book, A SINGLE THREAD, and I like that one a lot. But, as far as I’m concerned, THE SECOND SISTER and BETWEEN HEAVEN AND TEXAS, marks my best work to date. I wouldn’t change a word of either one.
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 August 31, 2015, in Author, Books, Interview and tagged author, book, Cobbled Court Quilts, FROM HERE TO HOME, interview, Marie Bostwick, The Second Sister. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.