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Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Author Interview, Giveaway and Excerpt: Unexpected Gifts by SR Mallery

 Blog Tour Schedule + Giveaway: UNEXPECTED GIFTS by SR Mallery

Welcome to my stop on the Blog Tour of Unexpected Gifts by S.R Mallery.  
"Unexpected Gifts" is the story of a confused college student who gains clarity in life when she begins to read the journals and diaries of her ancestors from America's past.
Checkout my post and enter the cool giveaway! :)

Follow the Tour to read Interviews, Excerpts, Reviews and Guest Posts. Checkout the schedule of the Tour: Click Here

~About the Book~

Title and Author: Unexpected Gifts by S.R Mallery
No. of Pages: 317
Publication Date: 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb:

Can we learn from our ancestral past? Do our relatives’ behaviors help mold our own? 

In "Unexpected Gifts" that is precisely what happens to Sonia, a confused college student, heading for addictions and forever choosing the wrong man. Searching for answers, she begins to read her family’s diaries and journals from America’s past: the Vietnam War, Woodstock, and Timothy Leary era; Tupperware parties, McCarthyism, and Black Power; the Great Depression, dance marathons, and Eleanor Roosevelt; the immigrant experience and the Suffragists. Back and forth the book journeys, linking yesteryear with modern life until finally, by understanding her ancestors' hardships and faults, she gains enough clarity to make some right choices.


 Add to Goodreads: Unexpected Gifts by S.R Mallery


~Excerpt~


SONIA’S paraplegic Father --CHAPTER 2: Sam––Living With Fear

First thing I killed was no kind of thing at all. It was an enemy
soldier, which was a hell of a lot easier to say than the first thing I ever killed was a man.”
--Steve Mason

“...Nearing the village, we passed women in their beige tunics, black pants, and Sampan hats, shouldering thick bamboo rods weighted down by buckets of water. Most kept their heads lowered as they walked, but the few who didn’t, stared up at us with dead, black-brown eyes and pressed lips. The afternoon was drawing to a close by the time we reached a village compound that reeked of nuoc maum rotten fish sauce and animal dung. An old, leathery woman, squatting by her hooch was our welcoming committee, but once she saw us shuffle by, she scurried back into her hut, clacking loudly in Vietnamese as chickens pecked at rice granules, bobbing their heads up and down in 2/4 time.

            Carbini cut to the chase. “First, pull every one of those gooks outta their hooches, then line them up here,” he barked.

            I watched my troop comb each thatched home, rounding up families of all ages and herding them out into the open like a cattle drive in Oklahoma. I, too, started the mission and stooping into one of the huts, saw a young woman sitting on a straw mat, eating some rice in a black bowl, a young child at her side.

            She was exquisite—the best possible combination of French and Chinese ancestry, with such delicate features, she made my heart ache. My immediate instincts were to protect her and her son from Carbini and this horrendous war, but she just gazed up at me, emotionless.    

            I could hear Carbini yelling orders to get a move-on, and I signaled this girl, this treasure, to follow me. She shook her head vehemently, and curled her legs around her son. I motioned again, but still, she refused. I froze, unable to think, but when Carbini popped his head in the doorway and snarled, “Weylan!” she got the message and followed me out.

            Whimpering slightly, she joined her fellow villagers, gripping her child’s hand and wiping off a tear that had slid halfway down her cheek. I suddenly pictured slave owners in pre-Civil War days and felt my lunch rise up in my throat.

            “Now, get your Zippos ready, men.” As Carbini’s face flushed red, I sucked in my breath. He caught sight of my reaction and came over. “Weylan here doesn’t like my orders. Anyone else here who doesn’t like my orders?” Nobody spoke up.
            He opened up one of my backpack pockets, yanked out my Zippo lighter, and shoved it into my face. Immediately, you could hear the snap of pockets opening and boots shifting. We were getting ready to Rock ‘n Roll.

            Carbini was first. He marched over to a hooch, flipped on his Zippo, and carefully lit the underbelly of its thatched roof. It smoldered for a few seconds, a thin, rising wisp of smoke twisting in the tropical air. From that, a flame grew, nibbling at the straw with a low, blue heat before suddenly bursting into a torch, arcing up towards the sky in a yellow-hot blaze.

            Carbini turned to us and nodded, his eyes glazed. This was our cue, yet I spun around to search for the girl, who was at the back of the pack, crying softly as she hugged her son. I glanced over at some of the other men, their hands jammed deep into their pockets, and decided to follow their lead. The fire was raging full force on each hooch now, the thatch and bamboo crackling like a 4th of July fireworks display, leaving its reflections in the villagers’ eyes and turning the sky dark with thick, bulbous smoke.

            “Weylan! You son-of-a-bitch coward! You’re no better than the rest of us, you hear me?” Carbini started to charge over, then stopped mid-stride.

            In the distance, a large formation of F4’s was headed our way, torpedoing fireballs of napalm every several hundred yards and scattering screaming villagers down the main road. We were ordered to take cover, but followed the fleeing Vietnamese instead, charging after them and trying not to show our own fear...”


~HERE'S WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT UNEXPECTED GIFTS BY S. R. MALLERY~
“The author has a remarkable gift. The amazing ability not only to bring rich, historical events to life, but also the ability to perfectly blend different generations…”
“It simply is one of the best books I've ever read. I wish I could give it six stars!”
“I have never read a book that wasn’t a textbook that was able to successfully cover so many time frames in such little space, with the accuracy you really would expect from reading the journals of those who had actually lived in those times.”
“Colorful writing, recreation of periods that prove adept challenges for any films about the influences of the past being made, and all of this is written with such style that it often times is dazzling...”
“SR Mallery has created an important and impressive monument of a novel.”
“If only my history teacher would have taught history like Mallery has, enriching it with living, feeling people that the reader can equate to, I would have been a better student.”
“Long after the completion of the book, I missed the characters and the impact their stories made on me. This one really touched me deeply.”
“Beautifully and sensitively written, anyone who loves a good story interwoven with actual historical events will enjoy this very special novel.”
“A master storyteller has been at work, and this marvelous piece of writing is the result.”
“I'm in awe of how the author could write about the events so realistically, putting the reader firmly into different time periods in America's history.”
“… she blends the past and the present with a seamless texture that only a “true” storyteller can manage.”
“This is a book you can keep on your shelf to read over and over…”

~Buying Links~

Grab the book for just 99c or Rs 61 on Amazon and Kobo!



~Meet the Author~

S.R. Mallery has worn various hats in her life. First, a classical/pop singer/composer, she moved on to the professional world of production art and calligraphy.
Next came a long career as an award winning quilt artist/teacher and an ESL/Reading instructor. Her short stories have been published in descant 2008, Snowy Egret, Transcendent Visions, The Storyteller, and Down In the Dirt.

Website/Blog:  www.srmallery.com
Twitter:  @SarahMallery1
Goodreads:
Pinterest:  (I have some good history boards that are getting a lot of attention—history, vintage clothing, older films)
Amazon Author page:   http://www.amazon.com/S.-R.-Mallery/e/B00CIUW3W8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1


~Author Interview~
SR Mallery was very kind to answer some of my questions and share her thoughts on writing, her future plans and her life as a writer. 

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions Sarah and Welcome to Positive Aspects of Life!

1) Tell us something about yourself?

Well, before I show you my ‘official’ bio, I thought I’d present something a little different here. Something that might make you (certainly me) understand why I’ve had such varied careers!

I happen to be a Gemini, and in writing this for some reason I suddenly decided to look up the personality traits for that sign. Now, please understand I have always scoffed at those pickup lines, “What sign are you, baby?” and would never base my future on astrology, but I was flabbergasted to read the following list, which explained so much of who I am.

According to this list, Geminis tend to be socially outgoing, adjustable, restless, creative, sometimes unable to pay attention to details, good with their hands, easily distracted, anxious, humorous, and love to share. Suggested careers for this sign include writer, teacher, inventor, and craftsperson.  Well, that sure fits me to a “T”!!  Now here’s my bio:

S.R. Mallery has worn various hats in her life. First, a classical/pop singer/composer, she moved on to the professional world of production art and calligraphy. Next came a long career as an award winning quilt artist/teacher and an ESL/Reading instructor. Her short stories have been published in “descant 2008,” “Snowy Egret,” “Transcendent Visions,” “The Storyteller,” and “Down In the Dirt.”

2) How did you become a writer? Was it a conscious decision or did it just happen?

I’ve had kind of a weird avoidance about writing as an adult. Because so many family members were writers, I shied away from it; in fact I always laughed and exclaimed, “I wouldn’t touch that profession with a ten foot pole!”  But finally, as a ‘mature’ woman, I sat down and started writing my first short story (included in my collection Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads), about the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911.  It was like discovering a drug of choice. I’ve never looked back.

3) How did you get the idea of writing Unexpected Gifts?

I have always appreciated looking at photographs from both my grandmothers’ photo albums.  As I studied my individual relatives, I wouldn’t just think, ‘Oh, that’s my Aunt So-and-So!’ I would scrutinize their outfits, their faces, their postures.  Were they sad? Happy? Bored? Annoyed at suddenly being put on display?  That strong ancestral interest dovetailed nicely with my love of U. S. history, so when I decided to write this novel, putting those two themes together just kind of clicked.
4) How do you think your book is different than the other Historical books in the market?

Most historical fiction books either take place during one particular epoch or start from a modern era and then retreat back into a single period. I believe my UNEXPECTED GIFTS is different because of its going back and forth feature, switching from modern day to various time frames in 20th century America. By creating this onion effect of story telling through my protagonist's ancestors' diaries and journals, Sonia, the modern protagonist, begins peeling away layers of time, discovering more and more about her family until she reaches the 'core' of her ancestry. I've been told by readers/reviewers that by doing this technique, they have loved the up close and personal feel of the influences each cognate has had on the modern character.


5)  What steps did you take to get your book out there?

I had had a lot of interest in my first book, my Sewing Can Be Dangerous collection and even nabbed an enthusiastic New York agent, who flipped over the stories but encouraged me to finish my UNEXPECTED GIFTS before she would proceed with me. Unknown author with only short stories kind of thing. I did a first draft of the book only to find out she was 'moving on.' I finished the novel and proceeded to look for other agents and small presses.  Very quickly, a small press loved both books and signed me on.  They were quite lovely to me but as time went on, I decided to go Indie for more control.


6) What advice would you give to all aspiring writers?

Being a fairly new writer myself, all I can say is I am still learning the writing process versus promotional marketing and how ultimately, balance is the key.  In addition, I believe in reading and analyzing the authors you like. Learn from them. Join like-minded groups and take constructive criticism not to heart but to your mind. Believe in yourself but always try to grow and absorb.


7) What is the one thing that you don’t like about writing?

Sometimes when I feel my brain switching off, I get frustrated. But I have learned to take a deep breath, do something very different--usually mindless, like housework, gardening, treadmill walking, dancing around the living room to Pandora--and come back to it later.  As Scarlett O'Hara from "Gone With The Wind" said, 'Tomorrow is another day!'


8) What are your future plans?

I have two things I'm working on. One is my next book, an historical Wild West novel, entitled THE DOLAN GIRLS. Here’s the synopsis:

THE DOLAN GIRLS

The Dolan Girls by S. R. Mallery has it all. Set in Nebraska during the 1800s, whorehouse madams, ladies of the night, a schoolmarm, a Pinkerton detective, a Shakespeare-quoting old coot, brutal outlaws, and a horse-wrangler fill out the cast of characters. Add to the mix are colorful descriptions of an 1856 land rush, Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show, Annie Oakley, bank/train robberies, small town local politics, and romance. Two, in fact!!

Secondly, I am slowly working towards creating a blog. It will have LOTS of historical links and posts, and under my 'Kindness Korner,' all the wonderful people who have been so kind to me in this writing world I've entered into will be listed: Fellow authors, bloggers, reviewers, tweeters, promoters, you name it. I believe in payback!

Thanks SR! All the best!
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~Giveaway~
Prize: 10 Ebooks of Unexpected Gifts by SR Mallery
Ends 13th September
Open Worldwide.

Open only to those who can legally enter and receive the prize. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded.No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Nikita (Njkinny) from Njkinny Tours & Promotions and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



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2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for interviewing me today! I really enjoyed answering your questions...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome Sarah...I enjoyed interviewing you :)

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