Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Adrift in the Sound by Kate Campbell Blog Tour Interview/Guest Post

Seattle street artist Lizette Karlson tries to pull herself together in 1973 and turns to the Franklin Street Dogs for help. This low-life softball team is a horrifying choice for a fragile spirit like Lizette, who’s only trying to stay warm and make through another rainy night. The Dogs don’t realize that while she’s beautiful, talented, and a bit off-kilter—she’s also cunning and very dangerous.

Lizette wants to hook up with top-Dog Rocket. But, he’s fixed on next-door neighbor Sandy Shore, a snake dancer who strips for soldiers coming home at the end of the Vietnam War. Everybody sleeps with everybody—whatever gets you through the night. It’s a sexual free-for-all until Sandy turns up pregnant and the scene goes haywire.

After witnessing a murder and getting kicked out by the Dogs, Lizette is on the run again, crisscrossing Puget Sound. She hides on Orcas Island and paints in a secluded cabin owned by her childhood friend Marian, a gifted midwife, who recently inherited her family’s ranch. On the island, Lizette works with Lummi tribal leaders Poland and Abaya, who stick to their cultural values, guard their family secrets and offer her unconditional love. Along the way, Lizette sorts out crippling secrets in her own past, unwittingly makes a splash in the New York art world—and finds the only thing that really matters.

If you’ve lived through the free-love 60s, if you’ve ever wondered what happened the day after the music died, ADRIFT IN THE SOUND picks up the beat and offers unforgettable insights into a turbulent time in American history. It’s a story about fighting the tides, surviving the storm, and swimming for shore.

Top finalist for the 2011 Mercer Street Books Literary Prize, readers are calling ADRIFT IN THE SOUND an important exploration of the human spirit in a radically changing world. In both lyrical prose and gritty street language, Kate Campbell rocks our understanding of contemporary history and challenges our fiercely held beliefs. She reshapes old myths and creates new folktales to intrigue and delight.


Advice for beginning writers: Writing is like dating

by Kate Campbell

It starts as a flirtation. You bump into a guy a few times at Starbucks on your way to work, notice he looks good in Dockers, then you spill some coffee on his pant leg trying to put a lid on your double latte. Or the girl at the order desk where you pick up supplies has nice up-front accoutrements and a great smile. You take note, start thinking about possibilities. It’s just an idea, you tell yourself, but it’s one that won’t go away. It’s one that demands action, some risk taking. The next morning in the shower you’re still thinking about the possibilities.

Then you play what if. What if the person doesn’t find me interesting? What if they’re already in a relationship? What if things get weird? (Remember the chick with the Chihuahua and the glass eye?) What if trying to hook up with this person is the dumbest idea you’ve ever had?

What if you give up and do something safe—sort the recyclables on Saturday night for Monday pickup or shuffle your email into folders until midnight? What if, out of sorts, you sit down, face the blank screen or page and begin with no idea how things will turn out? What if you ignore your phone and Mr. Coffee calling your name from the kitchen? What if you try?

The best, most practical writing advice I’ve ever gotten is this: put the seat of your pants in the seat of the chair and write.

But, wait, you say.

Now what? I say. Are you sitting down?

Well, it’s like getting her number. It doesn’t mean anything, right?

Yeah, I say. Or it could mean everything . . . right? But, you won’t know until you try.

I’ll tell you this: Writing starts with being open to possibilities, catching ideas and holding them that a marble collection, then taking the risk of showing up at your desk or computer at the appointed time, metaphoric hair combed, breath freshened, ready. Some writers advise beginners to set aside a regular time and place to compose, but I’m not sure about that, at least not in the early days of creating a story.

I think writing is more like flirting. It’s hard to be on time for a date you’re not interested in or for an idea that doesn’t spark your imagination or that has been rejected before the attraction ever took hold, like the girl you saw on the bus the other day wearing high-heel booties who got off six stops before yours and was gone before the idea ever took hold.

If this sounds like your dating life or your writing life—avoiding risk, letting fear get in the way, self-talking your way out of doing the work and missing opportunities before they even have a chance—here’s a suggestion. Just begin. Like a first date, the stakes are low. First one sentence, then another. Show up for your date the next day.

Try writing: Snapping the lid on my double latte, I splashed coffee, looked up and saw . . . Beginning writers must begin and, in that sense, every writer is a beginner showing up nervous for that first date. After the third date, decide if you want to keep going or try something else. I bet you’ll want to stick with it, at least until you meet the parents. See you at Starbucks.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. 

Adrift in the Sound is about what really happened to us in 1973, the end of an era, a contemporary history rendered with grit, verve and love that offers insights into our lives today.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? 

My next book is about a third written. It’s set in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in the 1990s. An ambitious, but flawed, young woman is banished to the delta after a major professional indiscretion. She’s charged with creating a five-star resort for a major international hotel chain, but wants to manage a fancy hotel in San Francisco. Shuffled off to the boonies, she finds herself in the middle of California’s water wars. Faced with her own personal problems, teetering on collapse, just like the mansion and estate she’s been tasked with resurrecting, she must come to terms with herself, her employer and a beautiful ecosystem on the verge of collapse.

Future projects include work on my short story collection: Songs from the Caldera, perhaps a sequel to Adrift in the Sound, because so many readers say they want to know what happens to Lizette and baby Violet after the story ends, and a memoir about growing up without a father. The last time I saw my father I was about 10 years old. For nearly 50 years I didn’t know what happened to him. Now I know and I also know what 50 years of longing feels like. Because this is such a personal story, I’m going to have to think very carefully about what needs to be told. I’m currently studying memoir as literary form and researching.

What is one book everyone should read? 

For me, hands down, it’s John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. It had a big influence on me as a writer because it showed the value and nobility of my California experience, showed the importance of writing from a place of deep understanding, informed by social and political values.
If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose? 

Mahatma Gandhi. I’d like to learn how to be serene and wise.
What inspired you to want to become a writer? 

For me, life is story. It always has been. Ask me a question, you get a story. But, I decided to take my writing and storytelling seriously while attending San Francisco State University, which has an acclaimed English Department and creative writing program. I took my degree in journalism because, as a single mother, it was a way to support my children and practice my craft, which I’ve done for the past 30 years.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 

Unexpectedly, a friend, a man, (not that kind of friend) sent me a note that he’d taken Adrift in the Sound on vacation to Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California and read it. He loved the book, loved that the story was set to a large extent on Orcas Island off the coast of Washington State, and like most readers, he cared about what happened to the characters after the story ends. He said Adrift in the Sound was the best part of his vacation. I was thrilled by his response.

If you could jump into a book, and live in that world, which would it be?

Perhaps the Antebellum South, brought to life in Margaret Mitchell’s book Gone with the Wind. I toured her home in Atlanta a few years ago and was struck by how small and cramped it was compared to her sweeping vision and story.

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters? 

I’ve worn out several CDs during the writing of Adrift in the Sound, including blues man Taj Mahal’s albums “Giant Step” and “De Ole Folks at Home.” The lyrics from Taj’s version of “Light Rain Blues” appears with permission in Adrift in the Sound, as well as lyrics from “Six Days on the Road.” When asked if I could use lyrics from his album, Taj’s lawyer wrote: “Taj is cool with this.” Wish more lawyers talked that way.What is your favorite Quote? 

“Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Plato. This reminds me to go easy for everyone has an important story to tell from their battle. My job is to open my heart to listen and learn, not judge.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”? 

Judith, Queen of France.

Hidden talent? 

I’m a very good swimmer, the result of years of training and swimming teams. Breast is my best stroke, but you probably would have guessed that.

Favorite Food? Chocolate

Favorite Candy? Chocolate

What do you do in your free time? 

When I’m not practicing yoga, I’m outdoors gardening, hiking, kayaking, camping. I hate being cooped up inside.

What’s your favorite season/weather? 

Fall, it’s an end and a beginning.

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book? 

I had a big party at the Comedy Spot, a stand-up comedy nightclub in mid-town Sacramento, had a cake made with an edible version of my book cover on it, read too long to family and friends, got bouquets of flowers, kissed and hugged, sold lots of books.

What is your guilty pleasure? 

Lemon meringue pie, with black coffee, on my back patio in late afternoon, followed by a nap.

What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit? 

True crime stories, can’t help looking at other people’s train wrecks. My favorite TV show is CSI, especially the gritty Las Vegas version.

Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is…. 

Orlando by Virginia Woolf, the concept of metamorphosis and gender shifting is so deftly handled. Second place goes to Ernest Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea. No human being should be allowed to write that beautifully. It’s a crime, really.

Favorite music?

Low down, funky, black dog blues. I like music with grit that makes me shake my booty. Don’t get me wrong, I like all music, but we’re talking favorites here.

In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with? 

Joan Didion, Joyce Carol Oates, Toni Morrison, Amy Tan, Janet Fitch, Caroline Leavitt, Cheryl Strayed, Lynn Freed, Pam Houston, Joy Haro. Sorry, can’t name just one. There are so many accomplished writers my list could go on and on. God, I love these women and learn so much from them.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Literary Fiction 

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with Kate Campbell on her

This tour hosted by Orangeberry Tours :)

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