|Author Genevieve Graham|
I have been a stay-at-home mom for about 14 years, and before that I was in advertising and marketing, living that fast and hectic life. Before that ... well, I got a Bachelor of Music In Performance, playing oboe at the University of Toronto. How wild is that? No, I no longer play (though I do teach piano to the local kids around here), but it was a great experience.
My wonderful husband and I have two beautiful daughters: Emily is 13 and Piper is just about 11 (going on 20). We moved to a small town in Nova Scotia three years ago in an attempt to leave the rush of the city far behind. It worked! We love living in the middle of nowhere.
AM: What do you write? How many books have you written/published? How old are they?
GG: I write Historical Fiction, with a good healthy mix of romance and adventure. My first two novels, Under the Same Sky and Sound of the Heart are being published in January by Berkley/Penguin US. I’d love to tell you where you could buy ‘em, but they’re not out yet! I’m presently working on #3 in that series, and I have another series I’m working on after that.
AM: Tell me about a typical day. How do you write with kids around? Or do you have to ship them off to school or grandparents’ houses to get anything done?
GG: I’m up and at ‘em by 5:45 a.m., kids fed, lunches made, frenzy complete by 7 a.m., when they’re climbing on the school bus. They get home around 3 unless they’re at some kind of extracurricular thing.
I’m extremely fortunate in so many ways. The first is that my husband is incredibly supportive. Since the first time I sat at a keyboard and tapped out a few pages, he’s been behind me, encouraging me every step of the way. He’s at home now, and has taken over the house duties, so I can basically type away uninterrupted for hours! (This is also fortunate because nobody wants my cooking. Really.) The other amazing thing about my family is that our daughters are proud of what I do. We’ve shown them that this is my office, this is where I work, and we’ve explained that in any other business I would have to be out of the house and they’d see me far less. They respect my space, they brag about my books and my editing business to their friends, and they have both become really impressive writers and editors in their own fields!
AM: Start them young! Did you write before you had kids, or after? What changed with your writing when you had kids?
GG: The only thing I ever wrote before my novels were notes like, “Please excuse Emily because she has a doctor’s appointment...” About six years ago, at the spring chicken age of 40, I sat down and started typing. I had just finished reading some incredible writing and felt hollow without the characters when the series ended. So I decided I needed to create my own little worlds. That way the characters would always be around.
AM: Wow, what a great motivation! How old will one or more of your children have to be before they’re allowed to read your books?
GG: My first series is definitely not for my girls. Not until they’re probably sixteen or so. But I have tried now and then to write a little something for them as well. I wrote them each a silly Christmas book a year ago, and they’ve been demanding more ever since. Guess I’d better get to that ... I have another YA book in mind - my first YA novel. We’ll see ...
AM: I think your daughters should win some sort of awesome award for being so supportive. Becoming an author means having a public persona. How do you combine motherhood with the demands of a public life? Do you feature your kids, keep them shielded under pseudonyms, or leave them out of the equation entirely? Have they asserted their opinion(s) on this matter?
GG: Right or wrong, we have done nothing about the kids with regards to this new life of mine. So far we haven’t really had to make any decisions, since we’re still waiting for the first book to be out. But so far, the girls are fully involved in the process, even though they can’t read the actual books yet. I will open up a separate Facebook page when the books are out so that our family photos won’t be on there, but other than that, we’re not too concerned.
AM: Most Moms I know have a limited amount of free time. Give me a few reasons why they should dedicate some of that time to your characters. What’s in it for us?
GG: I’m biased, but I find my characters fascinating. And when they are in my head, I am given the amazing gift of seeing life through their eyes. My characters are people like anyone else you might see (um, as long as you’re living in the mid-1800’s), with insecurities and fears, and it takes extraordinary circumstances for them to overcome those things. I deal with difficult subjects sometimes because I am unwilling to soften up the reality of the times.
I don’t write predictable, quick reads. I aim more for the epic, the sweeping drama, but without petticoats - my ladies mostly wear homespun, my gentlemen are wrapped in heavy old plaids. What surprised me most was when my girlfriends passed the books to their husbands, who normally don’t read, and neither spouse could put them down.
AM: That’s an amazing reaction. Now comes my favorite question: Let’s have a little fun with fill-in-the-blanks. “The floor of my kitchen is so ___ you can ___ it.”
GG: Really? Um ... The floor of my kitchen is so cold you can skate on it.
AM: Funny! What’s up next for you?
GG: Oh, I’m so glad you asked! While I’m working on Book #3 (and others), I am also a busy editor. I have edited novels for authors around the world, in every imaginable genre, and learn more with every experience. Anyone interested in what I might do for their manuscript can email me their first page and I’ll send my suggestions for free. My email is gsawchyn (at) ns (dot) sympatico (dot) ca.
I’m also really excited to be going to the Romance Writers of America conference at the end of June. It will be my first ever writers’ conference and I’m hoping to have coffee with the world famous Sarah Anderson ...
AM: Now I’m blushing! We’ll definitely have coffee—or some other delightful beverage (hint, hint)! Until then, where can we find you and your books online?
www.WritingWildly.com is all about my editing, and www.GenevieveGraham.com is my writing website. Please come visit!
AM: Genevieve, thank you so much for stopping by and chatting today. Please come back and share about your journey with us!