Archive | May, 2013

Rosie’s WWII

29 May

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Meet Rosalind Sinclair. She’s a 22-year-old newlywed from Portland who lives in West Seattle — 70 years ago.

Kathryn Schipper, a resident of Vashon Island, had the brilliant idea to write about the contributions of the Pacific Northwest during World War II through “Rosie” one tweet at a time.

Inspired by the Twitter feed @realtimeWorldWarII, Schipper created @RosiesWWII. The former Boeing employee was always interested in WWII history and airplanes and also enjoys storytelling. Put it all together and you have a neat historical fiction story that nearly 1,400 people follow on Twitter.

Schipper writes her story with a fictional cast of characters, including Rosie, in a historical setting. When Rosie’s husband enlists after Pearl Harbor, Rosie takes a war job in Seattle, building B-17s at Boeing. Men from the Seattle area who enlisted reported to Fort Lewis and  Women Airforce Service Pilots flew out of McChord. Those are just some of the connections Schipper’s story tells about the Northwest.

Rosie shares her experiences of waiting at home and includes recipes of what she makes for dinner on her war rationed food. Everything Schipper tweets is done so in character and relevant newsreels and archived news articles are added to help tell the story.

“I really like interacting with people who are interested in the project,” Schipper said. “I have also enjoyed people’s interests in learning more about the Northwest’s contribution to the war.”

Schipper plans to tweet through the end of the war in August of 1945. Afterward she is thinking of gathering the tweets and blog posts to possibly fashion the story into a book.

Follow Rosie on Twitter or on her blog.

Sarah Jio Book Giveaway!

28 May

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It’s here, it’s finally here!! After much anticipation Sarah Jio’s fourth novel “The Last Camellia” is released today! I had the privilege to interview the lovely Sarah for NWbooklovers.org.  In the interview she talks about her latest novel as well as her fifth novel due out this November. Read my interview here.

Here is an excerpt of my post:

“Even writing two books a year for Penguin, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sarah Jio still can’t write fast enough for her eager fans. With her fourth novel The Last Camellia out May 28 and Morning Glory following on Nov. 26, the Seattle-based author is plenty busy as a novelist, wife and mother.”

To celebrate the release day I’m giving away a free copy of “The Last Camellia!” Please comment on this post below and I will select a random winner this Thursday!

To keep up with Jio visit her website sarahjio.com and her Facebook page www.facebook.com/sarahjioauthor.

What I’m Reading Wednesday

21 May

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Hello season of beach reads! Are you planning a vacation spot with a warm sandy beach? Or a flight across the country, or better yet abroad (lucky!)? Or just planning to catch some rays of Vitamin D from your own back yard?

All of the above are perfect scenarios for fun and entertaining beach reading materials.

May I offer a suggestion of “The Best of Us” by Sarah Pekkanen, released last month. The book’s cover art makes you wish you were on a getaway. “The Best of Us” is a sassy read about four couples in their 30s who enjoy a once in lifetime vacation to Jamaica. The food sounds amazing, the scenery sounds even better, and there is no shortage of drama when a group of friends live in such close quarters for a week. Then add in the threat of a looming hurricane…

Each female character harbors secrets and insecurities that are brought to light as the story progresses and the reader gets to know them better. I started to love Allie because she seemed a lot like me, but through certain unnamed events she drove me crazy! Each character: Allie, Savannah, Tina and Pauline all have their moments of strength as well as weakness, and in the end you want to be a part of their circle of friends.

“The Best of Us” keeps you on your toes throughout. Will Savannah work it out with her estranged husband? Will Pauline tell her husband the truth? Will Allie be OK? Will Tina ever chill out? See what I mean about the drama?

Pekkanen’s entertaining novel is a great way to escape and will make you reflect back on your college days with your girlfriends. It’s a perfect companion to sunglasses, an iced beverage and some sunshine.

Happy reading!

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Sarah Pakkanen

What I’m Reading Wednesday

14 May

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When my husband and I took a weekend trip to Leavenworth, Wash., last month we stopped by one of my favorite shops: A Book For All Seasons,  a cute and quaint independent bookstore. We were looking through the literature section when my husband pulled a book off the shelf and handed it to me.

“If I was going to pick out a book for you, it would be this one,” he said.

The book was “The House Girl” by Seattle author Tara Conklin. I opened to the first page and read the powerful opening sentence:

“Mister hit Josephine with the palm of his hand across her left cheek and it was then she knew she would run.”

And I was hooked.

The story weaves multiple narratives together spanning nearly 150 years. It tells the story of Josephine, a house slave in 1852, and Lina, an ambitious New York lawyer close to present day who seeks to find justice and solve a mystery involving Josephine.

Conklin is a writer and lawyer, but these days she’s writing full-time. “The House Girl” is an unforgettable story rich with history and sympathetic characters.

Q and A with Tara Conklin:

Q: I read you wrote “The House Girl” as separate stories and then combined them in the split-narrative. What inspired you to write the initial story of Caleb Harper, which then bloomed into a novel?

A: I was reading a biography of Virginia Woolf and came across the term “slave doctor.” Those words made me stop — I wondered what would drive someone to occupy such a conflicted role, to dedicate your life to healing and yet your patients were destined only for more harm. From that initial spark of curiosity, I wrote the story of Dr. Caleb Harper and then I just kept writing.

Q: The book’s topic of slavery took place more than 150 years ago. Was it easy to research what you needed to on the topic? How much time was spent researching?

A: It was fairly easy to find the information that I needed — I read a lot of slave narratives, history books of the time period and primary documents, many of which I found online. The history of slavery and the experiences of enslaved people do not make for easy reading, however, and at a certain point I had to stop researching because the horror of the time period started to overwhelm me. I researched simultaneously as I was writing the historical sections, which took approximately three years (off and on) to complete.

Q: In the story Lina is asked why she became a lawyer. As a litigator yourself, why did you become a lawyer?

A: Ah, this is a very complicated question! Right before law school, I worked with a group of lawyers at a human rights organization and was inspired by what they did. At that point in my life, I also was very attracted to the idea of financial and professional stability. Growing up, money was always an issue in my family and I spent most of my 20s traveling around and working at odd, temporary jobs. The idea of earning a good salary, in a job that was usable and stable, seemed too good to be true. Plus I knew that litigators ended up doing a lot of writing and research, which have always been my loves and strengths. Law seemed like a good fit for me, and it was for many years.

Q: During your research did you come across anything that inspired other book ideas or projects?

A: I came across so many inspiring and heartbreaking stories, but my current work in progress deals with a completely different time period and set of characters. I might return to the antebellum south in future work, but for now I’m excited to explore new people and places.

Q: What is your next project?

A: I’m currently working on my second novel — it’s very much in the early stages, but it’s shaping up to be a contemporary drama about four siblings.

Q: I read you’re an avid coffee drinker living in Seattle. What’s your drink of choice?

A: A 12 ounce Americano with an inch of steamed 2 percent — otherwise known as a mezzo (although whenever I use that term outside of Seattle, people just look at me funny).

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Tara Conklin

 

What I’m Reading Wednesday

7 May

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To celebrate the release of “The Great Gatsby” this weekend I’m dedicating this week’s post to F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of my absolute favorite authors.

As you probably know by now I have a borderline-obsession with the 1920s. Everything about the era: the movement, the music, the literature, the fashion. It all fascinates me. Fitzgerald is an icon of the era because he lived during and wrote about the jazz age.

Back during my bachelorette days I spent a lot of my money on books. Not just any old paperback, but first editions and collectible items, including an early edition of “This Side of Paradise,” my favorite novel written by Fitzgerald in 1920. In a close second is “The Great Gatsby.” No joke, every time I walked into a used book store I would head straight for the literature section looking for Fitzgerald. I have an entire bookshelf dedicated to him and his wife, Zelda and daughter, Scottie.

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Let me tell you how beyond excited I am to see the new Gatsby film! And I think I successfully talked my husband into seeing it with me! I saw the 1974 film a few years ago and look forward to seeing the use of music (I hear the soundtrack is amazing), acting, costumes and cinematography in the 2013 version. This film is actually the fifth adaptation of the book because yes, it’s that good!

It is so amazing that nearly a century after Fitzgerald’s prime, his imagination and work still impacts audiences today. Did you know the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” is based on a Fitzgerald short story? I also love that the Fitzgerald family story still lives on and authors are still writing about them. On my summer reading list is Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald (published March 2013).

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Who has plans to see “The Great Gatsby” this weekend? What’s your favorite Fitzgerald novel/short story?