Today I am interviewing Terri Giuliano, author of ‘In Leah’s Wake’.
Thank you so much for inviting me to join you today, Megan! It’s an honor to be here.
Terri, welcome to Hardcover Feedback! Would you tell us a little about yourself?
First, before anything else, I’m a wife and mom. I enjoy nothing more than hanging out with my family. They make me laugh – and they bring tremendous joy and teach me so much! I also love to walk, hike, climb. For an amateur, I can hold my own in the kitchen. Everyone in our family loves to travel. My bio says that in another life I might have been an international food writer – that really is true.
Professionally, I lecture at Boston College, where I’ve taught creative and nonfiction writing for 15 years. I’ve also written copy for marketing, advertising and public relations, edited technical articles for trade journals, and edited a small trade magazine. In Leah’s Wake is my first novel. I’m currently at work on a second.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently at work on a psychological thriller with a historical twist.
Nowhere to Run takes place in the White Mountains in northern New Hampshire. A year after the brutal murder of her six-year-old daughter, Abby Minot, formerly an award-winning writer, accepts her first assignment—a profile of the philanthropic Chase family, kin of the popular New Hampshire senator and presidential hopeful, Matthias Chase.
In her initial research, Abby glimpses darkness under the Chase family’s shiny veneer. Digging deeper, she uncovers a shocking web of lies and betrayal, dating back to the nineteenth century. Abby soon finds herself trapped—between an editor obsessed with uncovering the truth and the town and family who will stop at nothing to ensure it stays hidden. I hope to finish the novel this fall.
What or who made the biggest influence on you wanting to become a writer?
When I was a child, my mom read to us every day. Her reading instilled and nurtured a love of reading and stories. As early as I can remember, I entertained myself by making up stories and acting in my own improvisational plays. In high school, the majority of my hobbies and activities somehow involved writing. One day, brazenly, I walked into the editor’s office at the town paper and asked for a job. For a while, I covered sports and general high school news. Eventually, the editor gave me my own column. I was sixteen. That column was my first paid writing job. I earned about a dollar a week – and I knew then that writing was the
only job I’d ever want.
In Leah’s Wake is my debut novel.
Do you have any writing habits that people might find unusual?
My husband and I frequently travel between the East and West Coasts. On a long flight, you’re trapped; to maintain space, most people disappear into their own world – watch TV, read, work on their iPad – so, in a sense, though surrounded by people, you’re alone. I relax and my mind opens up - I’ve come up with a lot of good ideas, and written first drafts on planes.
I have heard that many authors listen to music while they write. Do you? If so, what do you usually listen to? I’m easily distracted, so I need a quiet place to write. Although I find much of my inspiration in music, when I’m writing I don’t listen to music. If I did, my mind would wander and I’d listen to the music instead of writing.
Do you have a favorite character or one that is especially close to your heart?
My characters are imperfect - they behave badly and they’re sometimes, perhaps often, enormously irritating - but I love them all, for their strengths as well as their weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Justine is sweet and caring and kind, so she’s easy to love, but I also love Leah. Although Leah drives the parent in me crazy, her heart is in the right place. The same goes for Zoe and Will - they often make terrible choices, but they almost always act out of love.
In the novel, Jerry Johnson, the police officer, is the only non-family member with a voice. Though flawed like all the characters, he takes his responsibility for others to heart. I’ve always admired Gail Mullen Beaudoin, a police officer in Chelmsford, MA. Gail brings strength, dignity and grace to a very difficult job. I see police officers as the connecting force in communities. Every day they put their lives on the line. To me, they’re our real life heroes. As the connecting force in this novel and for this family, Jerry is my favorite.
What is the best gift you have ever received and who gave it to you?
The homemade gifts my children have given me over the years – the ornaments they made as children, the photographs, the jars of homemade jam. These gifts from the heart are invaluable. Every Christmas, my husband buys me a special bottle of wine to savor by the fire on a winter night. I always look forward to that.
What are three things (not people) that you wouldn't want to live without?
Faith, in something pure and greater than we are, hope for the future, and love.
What is something that you have always wanted to do, but just haven't gotten around to it yet?
I love to travel and there are many places I haven’t been that I hope to visit one day - Chile, Argentina, Greece, Russia, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines. Otherwise, I’m satisfied with my life and happy taking each day as it comes.
All the music in the world is being destroyed and you can only save one album, what would you save and why?
Storyville by Robbie Robertson. Cheating, I know, but I’d also save Hymns to the Silence by Van Morrison. These haunting, spiritually driven albums bring me back to center. The songs tell visceral stories of love and loss, hope and connection, conveyed through a stunning blend of jazz, rock, gospel, soul, and rhythm and blues. It’s no coincidence that both artists performed at the Last Waltz.
What is your all-time favorite book? What is your favorite book you have read this year?
The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. This stunning book brings us to the depths of humanity in a post- apocalyptic world, with humans reduced to animal instinct--for inhabitants of this new world, murder and annibalism are merely a means of survival.
Out of this harsh world, a world reduced to ashes and horror, McCarthy gives us a tender, gorgeously rendered father and son. In their travels, near starvation, they face many challenges and hardships, yet face every one with dignity and grace.
This powerful novel is written in stunningly beautiful Biblical prose, and ends with a promise of rebirth and renewal.
This year, I’m focusing on books put out by indie authors and small publishers. My favorites: Farsighted, Emlyn Chand; Black Beast, Rob Guthrie; Forbidden Mind, Kimberly Kinrade; The Trust, Sean Keefer; Exeter, Jennie Coughlin; Well With My Soul, Gregory G. Allen; Treasure Me, Christine Nolfi; and Riversong,
I also loved Susan Straight’s wonderful novel Take A Candle Light A Room.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Hands down, my favorite activity is spending time with my family. They are the most important people in my life. Without them, nothing else would matter. I enjoy walking and I’m a passionate traveller and foodie. I love ethnic food and I’m fairly gutsy when it comes to trying new dishes. In Beijing, a few years ago, we went to a tiny restaurant with two students. The restaurant was a local spot, as opposed to a tourist trap, and the menu was written in Chinese, so they ordered for us. When the steaming bowl arrived, I dipped my chopsticks into the stew – and pulled out a frog. The head had been removed, thank goodness, but the body was fully intact. I realize that a lot of people eat frog; this one was green. I thought Dave would gag when I ate it. To his credit, he didn’t.
If I were not a fiction writer and teacher, I could see myself an international food writer.
Are you an early bird or a night owl?
I used to be an early bird, up at 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. to write or exercise. Now I often work ten or twelve-hour days, so by I’ve become a night owl, but not by choice.
If you were throwing a dinner party and you could invite five people (fictional or real, dead or alive) who would you invite?
I’ve never been a celebrity fan. We’re all human; if we build anyone to epic proportions and then actually meet the person, we’re bound to be disappointed. I’m happy to admire important people from afar, to read their books or read, listen to or watch stories about their accomplishments. We learn more that way, I think.
If I could invite anyone, I’d loved ones I’ve lost – my grandparents, my uncle Nick, Dave’s aunt and uncle, Evelyn and Eddie. I miss them; it would be wonderful to see them again, if for only one night.
You are given a ticket that will bring you anywhere that you want to go, at anytime in history. Where would you want to go and why?
I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to visit many wonderful places. But there really is no place like home. Right now, our children are spread across the country, married or in graduate school, fulfilling their own journeys. I would go anyplace where the entire family could be together, relaxed and having fun.
Where can people connect with you online?
I love chatting with people and welcome correspondence. Please connect on Twitter, Facebook, on my blog, or by e-mail!
Thanks you so much Terri for being on Hardcover Feedback!
Thank you again, Megan! I’ve enjoyed chatting and appreciate this opportunity to meet and connect with your readers. Your kindness and support mean so much to me! Readers, thank you so very much for the invaluable gift of your time!
Terri Giuliano Long is the bestselling author of the novel In Leah’s Wake. Her life outside of books is devoted to her family. In her free time, she enjoys walking, traveling, and listening to music. True to her Italian-American heritage, she’s an enthusiastic cook. In an alternate reality, she might be an international food writer. She lives with her family on the East Coast and teaches at Boston College. In Leah’s Wake is her debut novel.
Terri has offered to give away a copy of her book 'In Leah's Wake'! If the winner is in the US they may choose a printed copy or an e-copy. If the winner is NOT in the US, then they would receive an e-copy.
To enter, all you have to do is follow this blog in at least one way and then complete whichever extra entries you want in the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway is open internationally.