For Corbett Griffith III, divorce and two busy
parents mean goodbye city life, hello great outdoors. With their busy Chicago
careers and schedules, his parents just don't seem to have any time for him.
When his mother sends him to his uncle's Wisconsin fishing resort for the
summer, Corbett feels that there's no one pulling for him or caring what
happens to him.
But all of that changes at Whispering Pines
Lodge, Corbett learns he is never really alone, thanks to his Uncle Dell, who
takes care of him, and his new friend Pike, who pulls him into one mischievous
adventure after another. It's a summer of change for ten-year-old Corbett--even
his name changes, when a cute girl calls him "Griffy," a nickname he
likes enough to keep.
When Griffy catches two elusive walleyes, he is
surprised to discover how much he likes fishing. Eager to test his newfound
skills, he and Pike are stunned to hear that a seventy-pound muskie is on the
loose. They resolve to catch the ferocious fish, no matter what. For Pike
catching a world record muskie would be about the sport. For Griffy it would be
about something more. Maybe, just maybe, if he caught that fish is parents
would take notice.
Will they be able to catch the muskie and stop
it from attacking anyone or anything?
YA / MG crossover
3/11/2012 by Amazon Digital Svcs.
Gill turned to start the motor, she stopped short. “Good Gouda,” she gasped.
What is it?” Pike asked, his voice raising an octave. From his seat at the bow,
he strained to see what was going on.
stringer. It’s gone.”
untied what was left of the stringer and held it out for Pike and Griffy to
looks like it’s been cut,” Griffy exclaimed. “How …”
three surveyed the water around them, fear growing on their faces.
Gil. Vamanos,” Pike ordered.
jumped to action, cranked up the motor, and turned the boat toward the lodge
and Suicide Rock. Luckily, the rocking boat had moved them a little closer to
The Lucky 13 sped—as fast as a four-horsepower motor allowed—for the dock at
Whispering Pines Lodge. They almost made it, too, but the muskie pole, resting
against the side of the boat, suddenly slipped and caught on the underside of
Gil. Whoaaaaa,” Pike called, waving his hands back and forth over his head.
cut the motor.
pole’s still in the water,” Griffy explained as he reached down to dislodge the
reel. As soon as he got it free, the pole jerked sharply backward. Griffy
wrestled it with both hands before being pulled spread eagle toward the stern
of the boat.
only seconds to react, Gil jumped away from the motor as Griffy and the fishing
pole flew at her. As it had with the muskie pole, Griffy’s bench seat stopped
him. His feet caught on its side saving him from being pulled out of the boat.
the drag! Hit the drag! Give it line!” Pike ordered.
Griffy couldn’t move. All he could do was hold on.
let go, Grif!” Pike pleaded as he leaped to Griffy’s aid.
one hand, he grabbed the muskie pole just above the reel. With the other, he
pushed the drag button and released the line. He wasn’t quick enough to save
Griffy, though. With the tension gone, Griffy dropped—kerplunk!—to the bottom of the boat.
dude,” Pike winced as he took the fishing pole from Griffy.
moaned and pulled himself up. He flexed his hands back and forth. They hurt,
you think we snagged a log?” Gil asked quietly as she settled back in at the
don’t know,” Pike answered. He started reeling the line in. “We’ll soon see.”
watched Pike in tense silence.
the pole held high, Pike reeled and reeled. He heaved the pole back. It bent
dangerously low. “Ugh,” he gasped. “It feels like a log—dead weight—but it’s
moving.” He kept reeling, but it was difficult and slow going. “Here, my arms
are killing me,” Pike said, passing the pole to Griffy.
Griffy exclaimed. “It weighs a ton.” He reeled and reeled, heaved and heaved
working the log closer and closer to the boat.
just cut the line and go in,” Gil stated. Her hands were shaking.
over, Pike,” Griffy called out. “My arms are about ready to go.”
grabbed the pole and started reeling again. Strangely, the line became very
slack, gathering in curls at the water’s surface.
I think we lost it,” Pike announced and reeled faster.
both Gil and Griffy peered into the water.
don’t see anything,” Gil said.
spoke too soon.
flat, reptilianlike head almost as big as hers broke water about four feet from
the boat. The beady-eyed muskie flashed its cream-colored belly and then
you see it! Did you see it?! What was it?” Griffy shouted.
stopped reeling. “Mu-u-uskie,” he stammered.
seeing the five-foot monster muskie didn’t frighten Griffy as much as it
excited him. He yelled at Pike and Gil. “Wow! Did you see it?” He punched Pike
in the arm. “Keep reeling! Keep reeling!”
punch seemed to get Pike back on track and in fisherman mode. He quickly got
the slack out of the line and gave the pole a heave. The muskie, playing dead
before, came alive. It frantically jumped out of the water and flipped
violently in the air, trying to free itself from the lure lodged in its mouth.
Its massive body crashed back down, spraying the kids and The Lucky 13 with cold lake water.
“Holy chedda cheese!” Pike and Griffy
didn’t ask anyone’s permission this time. She sat down at the motor and cranked
it up. She was getting out of there—fish or no fish. Out of the corner of his
eye, Griffy saw Gil pick up the wooden club that Mr. Hanover had given them.
“When you see that muskie, hit it and hit it hard,” he had told them. Griffy
saw her place the club’s leather strap around her wrist and, with her other
hand, grab the handle of the idling motor.
yourselves, boys,” she warned. “We’re going in.”
and Griffy battled the muskie as Gil inched them closer and closer to shore.
The muskie fought vigorously now. The small motor was barely a match for it.
The fish kept pulling the boat sideways.
pole’s holding up. The line’s holding up. Our only hope is to wear him down,”
Pike instructed as he wiped sweat off his face and onto his T-shirt. The
double-eyed cane pole showed amazing flexibility against the muskie’s weight. Griffy
didn’t know how much longer he could battle this monster. His arms ached. The
thought of winning that five-thousand-dollar prize and showing his dad was all
that kept him going.
seemed to have her own agenda. “I see bottom!” she yelled. She cut the motor,
grabbed the anchor’s rope, and jumped out of the boat.”
Are you crazy!” Pike screamed after her. “You’ll drown.”
not! I’ve got a life jacket on. Duh. I’m anchoring us on shore.”
took a couple determined steps through the shoulder-high water, but without the
pull of the motor fighting against it, the muskie was too strong. The fighting
fish pulled her and The Lucky 13 into
deeper water. Griffy noticed Gil treading water instead of walking. She
obviously couldn’t touch bottom anymore. The anchor looked like it weighed a
on, Gil,” Griffy commanded. He passed the pole once again to Pike and readied
oared with all his might, trying to push The
Lucky 13 back to shallow water. With Gil kicking hard and fast, she was
soon able to stand again. She lowered her head and, with determination, began
dragging the anchor to shore. Griffy stopped oaring and instead used one of the
paddles as a wedge. Digging it into the lake’s bottom, he pushed off again and
again with as much force as he could muster. Gil struggled against the now
waste-high water, lunging herself closer and closer to shore.
less than seven feet from The Lucky 13,
the muskie whipped its head back and forth trying once more to dislodge the
lure implanted in its mouth. Go deep,
its instincts said. But the muskie couldn’t. The water was too shallow. Find a weed bed. But in this part of the
bay, the weeds weren’t plentiful enough for a five-foot, seventy-pound fish to
tangle itself up in. Get to open water.
But whatever had hold of it wasn’t letting that happen. Escape, its instincts cried out. Find a way to escape. Any way. So the muskie changed its tactics.
The massive beast turned away from the depths of Lost Land Lake and swam with
torpedolike speed toward the bottom of The
G. M. Moore is a former newspaper writer and editor. She grew up exploring the lakes of northern Wisconsin. During the summer months, this Chicago-area author can be found up north and out on the lake. Snakehead Invasion is the third book in the Up North Adventure series. You can learn more about her books atthis link.
From critically acclaimed author J. H. Glaze comes a touching tale of lost love and rediscovery.
When Jack Bailey receives a call from an old friend, he discovers that the girl he has loved for most of his life is in hospice and only has a short time to live.
Through his memories, we come to understand the depth of his passion and why this love could never be forgotten.
Come with Jack as he travels to see her one last time in this bittersweet tale of undying love. You may soon begin to believe that anything is possible in 'The Life We Dream'.
This story is a departure from the Horror/Thriller genres for J.H. Glaze and explores the author's views on the enduring aspects of true love.
If it is possible to feel both underwhelmed and overwhelmed at the same time then its safe to say that J. H. Glaze's The Life We Dream does just that. An extremely short story, The Life We Dream is packed with emotion. It is the juxtaposition of contrasting feelings and ideas. In short it is an antithesis. It left me feeling both happy and sad, good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant, positive and negative all at the same time. It is a few pages powerfully packed with mixed feelings. Jack fell in love with Sarah the moment he laid eyes on her on her first day of kindergarten. Jack, having already started school a week before, offers to help her and the two become close friends. Jack knows in his heart that Sarah is the love of his life, but she ends up marrying another of their classmate. After almost ten years, Jack gets a call from Sarah's ex husband saying that she is in hospice and has just a few days left. Jack then goes to meet Sarah and his and her lives are changed forever. The flashbacks from Sarah and Jack's childhood were a treat to read and the stories that Jack tells Sarah while she is in hospice are simply lovely. Picturing the two together was easy and essential. The strong love between them was visible through words, sentences and pages. True love truly never dies. True love truly is forever. Author J. H. Glaze has written an amazing, beautiful and wonderful story filled with love, passion and the those little, tiny, daily moments that count more than the bigger picture. The only conclusion I have come to is that The Life We Dream is an indescribably and exceptionally beautiful love story. It is very rare for me to cry while reading, but rarity is a possibility and by the end of The Life We Dream, I did shed a tear or two. It was so beautiful that perhaps beautiful isn't even enough to describe how beautiful it truly was.
Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago—an event that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on her left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe—please God—make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn’t need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she’s building for herself.
Some things are worth experiencing…
Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make her want things she believed were irrevocably stolen from her. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is freaking everywhere, with his charm, his witty banter, and that damn dimple that’s just so… so lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but when ignoring the simmering tension that sparks whenever they are around each other becomes impossible, he brings out a side of her she never knew existed.
Some things should never be kept quiet…
But when Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls forcing her to face a past she wants silenced, she has no other choice but to acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. When the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface this time with one less scar? And can Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her?
And some things are worth fighting for… Review- Wait For You is a new adult contemporary romance by J.Lynn aka Jennifer Armentrout. I had read an excerpt of this one before so I was super excited to get to it. I like J.Lynn's writing style. It is nice and engaging. It keeps you hooked to the book and hooked I was to Wait For You. Avery has moved halfway across the country to get away from her parents and past. In the new college all she hopes for is to make a few new friends and move on ahead in her life without grabbing attention. I liked Avery. She was a sweet and hesitant girl. What happened to her was sad and cruel but she was brave enough to want to change her future. What Avery doesn't expect is to bump into Cameron Hamilton on her first day. She tries to stay away from him but Cam is determined to pursue her. Cam was a totally swoon worthy guy. He was witty and charming and funny. His ego was miles long but that is what made him so perfect for Avery I think because he could actually take the hits of rejection from Avery. The romance between Avery and Cam was slow building. They are only friends for the first half of the book with Cam doing his best to change their status. I loved how things progressed gradually in the relationship. The romance was amazing. I loved the banter between Cam and Avery. Avery's friends were just as funny. Wait For You is slightly long for a new adult read but I so wanted a happy ending for Cam and Avery that I flew through it. The book moves from Avery's first person point of view. I would have enjoyed getting into Cam's head but it is what it is. All fans of new adult romance and Jennifer Armentrout should go ahead and read Wait For You.
Charlie's simplicity and genuineness were what brought tears to my eyes and made me fall in love with The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. I can't think of any one scene in particular, but I do remember experiencing the flow of many emotions at once while reading this book.
Summary- Ali Winters is not having a good day. Her boyfriend left her, everyone in town thinks she's a thief, and now she's about to be kicked out of her home. Her only shot at keeping a roof over her head and clearing her name is to beg for help from a police detective who's as sexy as he is stern....
After a high-profile case goes wrong, Luke Hanover returns to his hometown for some peace and quiet. Instead he finds a bombshell brunette in a heap of trouble. As he helps Ali put her world back together, the pieces of Luke's own life finally seem to fall into place. Is this the start of a sizzling fling? Or are Luke and Ali on the brink of something big in a little town called Lucky Harbor? Review- I was lucky enough to get a copy of Jill Shalvis' It Had To Be You prior to its release date. I've read the all the books in the Lucky Harbor series and was glad to be back in Lucky Harbor. It had to be you was an amazing book and another fabulous installment to her Lucky Harbor series. It Had To Be You is the story of Ali Winters. Her boyfriend has cheated on her, she's about to be kicked out of her home and on top of all that everyone in town thinks she's a thief. Ali was a great character. She was sweet and funny. Even though life had been hard on her she was determined to be optimistic and work her way through all her problems. Then there's Luke Hanover. When a high profile case goes wrong he comes back to the quiet of Lucky Harbor for a vacation. What he doesn't expect to find is Ali in his home. He knows she's trouble since the first moment he sees her but he can't help being pulled towards her. He wants to solve all of Ali's problems and he does just that. What both of them don't expect to fall so hard for each other through the course of a few weeks. Luke clearly doesn't want to get involved with Ali and Ali has more than a few problems of her own to be in a relationship. I loved loved loved the romance. It was just perfect. Luke and Ali had chemistry. They understand each other perfectly and fall in love in the most unlikeliest of circumstances. I love how Jill Shalvis writes. The characters are realistic and sensible. The romance is hot and the steamy scenes are off the charts. There is a ton of humor as well and you can't help but smile while reading one of her books. We get to meet a great cast of characters in It Had To Be You and I'm quite looking forward to Jack and Ben's stories.
There are two sides to every love story. Now hear Will’s.
Colleen Hoover’s New York Times bestselling Slammed series has brought countless readers to their knees with a whirlwind of love, passion, and heartache. Layken and Will’s love has managed to withstand the toughest of circumstances and the young lovers, now married, are beginning to feel safe and secure in their union. As much as Layken relishes their new life together, she finds herself wanting to know everything there is to know about her husband, even though Will makes it clear he prefers to keep the painful memories of the past where they belong. Still, he can’t resist his wife’s pleas and so he begins to untangle his side of the story, revealing for the first time his most intimate feelings and thoughts, retelling both the good and bad moments, and sharing a few shocking confessions of his own from the time when they first met.
In This Girl, Will tells the story of their complicated relationship from his point of view. Their future rests on how well they deal with the past in this final installment of the beloved Slammed series.
I am so excited for this book!
What are you waiting on this Wednesday? P.S: We have an INT giveaway going on for Tessa Bailey's Protecting What's This. You can take part in it right HERE. :)
Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Here are my teasers-
"It's not that chocolate is a substitute for love. Love is a substitute for chocolate."
"There is nothing better than a good friend, except maybe a good friend with chocolate."
"In the cookies of life, friends and lovers are the chocolate chips."
-Lucky In Love by Jill Shalvis
Mallory Quinn has had enough of playing it safe. As a nurse and devoted daughter, she takes care of everyone but herself. And as the local good girl, she's expected to date Mr. Right. But for once, she'd like to take a risk on Mr. Wrong. And who could be more wrong than Ty Garrison? The mysterious new guy in town has made it clear that he's only passing through, which suits Mallory just fine. Besides, his lean, hard body and sexy smile will give her plenty to remember once he's gone . . . For the first time in his life, Ty can't bear to leave. Helping this sexy seductress-in-training walk on the wild side is making him desire things he shouldn?t?including leaving the military for good. As their just-for-fun fling becomes something more, Mallory and Ty wonder if they could really be this lucky in love. After all . . . anything can happen in a town called Lucky Harbor.
"Mom always told me there are two kinds of love in this world: the steady breeze, and the hurricane. Emerson Ray was my hurricane...."
Juliet McKenzie was an innocent eighteen-year old when she spent the summer in Cedar Cove—and fell head over heels in love with Emerson. Complicated, intense Emerson, the local bad boy. His blue eyes hid dark secrets, and just one touch could set Juliet ablaze. Their love was demanding and all-consuming, but when summer ended, tragedy tore them apart. Juliet swore she’d never go back, and she’s kept that promise… Until now.
Four years later, Juliet’s done her best to rebuild the wreckage of her shattered life. She’s got a great boyfriend, and a steady job planned after she graduates. Returning to Cedar Cove to pack up her family’s beach house to prepare it for sale, Juliet is determined that nothing will stand in the way of her future. But one look from Emerson, and all her old desire comes flooding back. He let her go once, but this time, he’s not giving up without a fight. And Emerson fights dirty.
A heartbreaking history. An unstoppable passion. Torn between her past and future, Juliet struggles to separate love from desire. But will they find a way to overcome their tragic secrets—together? And after so much damage has been done, can a love remain unbroken?
*This book contains adult situations and explicit content.*
Unbrokenis the story of Juliet, who had the summer of her life when she went to her home in Cedar Cove. Juliet falls in love with Emerson who breaks up with her when Juliet's mom dies the same summer. She then meets Daniel in college who she dates for two years until she has to go back to Cedar Cove to clear her home there.
I don't read book summaries. But something about Melody Grace's Unbroken made me want to read the summary. I already loved the cover and then completely loved the whole concept of love being of two types: the steady breeze and the hurricane.
Sadly, this book was neither a steady breeze nor a hurricane for me. I didn't love it (although I thought I would). Hell, I didn't even like it. I hate to say the things I've said about it, but what can I say? It is the truth. I know that what I have said is harsh at times and I apologise for that in advance.
First of all, the characters in this book are shallow and silly. Juliet only thinks about herself. All she does is pretend like her life is hell. She gives, like literally "gives" herself to Emerson on her return to Cedar Cove.Emerson is a complete dickhead. He says absolutely terrible stuff to Juliet, who does nothing but fall in his arms. He acts like he's the hero of the town. Honestly, the two are perfect for each other because they are both dumb. Juliet's boyfriend of two years Daniel might seem like a sweetheart, but tell me, who on earth is all friendly and happy after a breakup? Her best friend Lacey was alright, but tell me, which best friend doesn't get a hint that she is to stay when the Ex comes? Second of all, the sex. All Juliet and Emerson do is have sex. There's hardly any, oh no wait, there's barely any, oh no wait, there's NO dialogue at all. Honestly, this girl says she's in love with the guy and they don't even talk. Like really. All they do is have sex. And when, out of the blue, they do decide to talk, all they do is fight, bring up their respective messed up shit and hurt each other with words. The memories Juliet has of Emerson involve sex. When Emerson helps her after her return, they almost have sex. The day she comes back again, he takes her to the storage room and they have sex. He takes her out on a date and they have sex. The day they make up, you guessed it right, they have sex. I mean, seriously people, TALK. I don't know how this girl calls the guy the love of her life. All she sees when she looks at him are his blue eyes and muscled body. What happened to a good heart, a good personality and some character? They are in lust with each other maybe, because that sure as hell doesn't sound like love. Third of all, the letter Juliet's mom writes to Emerson. It didn't make any sense to me. It was bland. All she told Emerson was to stay away from her daughter and let her live her life, a life she couldn't have. All I can say is like mother, like daughter.
Fourth and last of all, the book itself. While I was prepared for emotions and feelings, they seemed to be absent. I really didn't feel anything and it was getting really annoying. It's a good thing the book is short and gets over soon. Author Melody Grace's writing, in some places, was really pretty especially when talking of heartbreak. The overuse of exclamation marks was pointed out to me later, but it didn't bother me much. I did not like this book at all. I wanted to. I really did, seeing as it's a New Adult Contemporary Romance, a genre I love. But Unbroken... Well, it's just broken and cannot be fixed.
I loved reading Laura Lee's LGBT Romance or Literary Fiction novel, Angel and her free personal poetry collection, Where Souls Grow Warm. Both have made me a huge fan of Laura! She's an author whose works I love, who I admire and who is a very kind and sweet person as well. I always feel delighted to see her emails in our Inbox!
I had read Angel a long time back when Laura very kindly provided me with a copy in exhange for an honest review and even more kindly let me be part of the Tour right now! My review forAngel can be read later in this post or separately RIGHT HERE and my review for Where Souls Grow Warmcan be read RIGHT HERE.
Before we move onto the interesting Author Interview with Laura, let's get some basic information on her book, Angel.
SYNOPSIS FOR ANGEL:
Since the loss of his lively, charming wife to cancer six years ago, minister Paul Tobit has been operating on autopilot, performing his church duties by rote. Everything changes the day he enters the church lobby and encounters a radiant, luminous being lit from behind, breathtakingly beautiful and glowing with life. An angel. For a moment Paul is so taken by his vision that he is tempted to fall on his knees and pray.
Even after he regains his focus and realizes that he has only seen a flesh-and-blood young man, Paul cannot shake his sense of awe and wonder. He feels an instant and overwhelming attraction to the young man, which puzzles him even as it fills his thoughts and fires his feelings. Paul has no doubt that God has spoken to him through the vision and he must figure out what God is asking him to do.
Thus begins a journey that will inspire Paul's ministry, but will put him at odds with the church he loves as he is forced to examine his deeply held beliefs about himself, his community and the nature of love.
ABOUT AUTHOR LAURA LEE:
I am the author of 14 books, best known for my non-fiction titles including Blame it on the Rain (Harper Collins), The Pocket Encyclopedia of Aggravation (Black Dog and Leventhal), Broke is Beautiful (Running Press), and the forthcoming Don't Screw It Up! (Reader's Digest). Angel is my first novel. I divide my time between writing and producing educational ballet tours.
I honestly wish we could just skip my review and directly move onto the superb Author Interview, but well... The post title suggests that my review will be part of the post, so let's get it over with! Here we go!
When I read the Free Kindle Sample for Angel, I knew this was a book that I had to read, and author Laura Lee very kindly provided me a copy of it even though I took a long time to get back to her. Although I tend and try to stay away from religion-based books, Angel became an exception and from the beginning to the middle until the end, I was just so absorbed in it and I'm more than glad that I read it. It is a story that is going to stay with me for a very long time simply because of it's depth and the contemplation that comes along with it.
Angel takes up the issue of Christianity and homosexuality in a contemporary and spiritual and not at all imposing way. Paul Tobit is the Minister in a church, a place that he holds very dear since that is where he himself was taught to believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ. Extremely depressed after losing his lovely wife, Sara, due to cancer, he finds his life to have became monotonous, until there comes a time when an unusual, straight-laced and utterly graceful being walks into the Church.
Attendant of the Church's Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, blessed with glorious looks, been through a troubled past, Ian is immediately the focus of the Church staff because of his unbelievable beauty. For Paul, Ian is a being sent to him by God... a miracle, an angel. Paul and Ian share an absolutely splendid relationship. I liked reading about how they met, what went into making their relationship into what it became. Their attraction towards each other was view-able and hard to miss. 24 year old Ian was exceptional. He questioned the teachings of the Church. His comebacks and retorts were really clever. I loved how dedicated he was to Paul and how he was willing to try and change only for Paul. Ian was open and free about his sexuality and that was one the most significant trait that he possessed. Paul was an extremely kind and helpful man. There were times when I was irritated with him for not giving his relationship with Ian all the respect that it deserved. It is understandable that, being the Minister of the Church and having to maintain a clean and proper image, if not for himself than for the regular religious devotees of the Church; but that didn't mean he could just deny and neglect the importance of Ian in his life in public.
The end of Paul and Ian's story was delicate, pure, realistic and totally perfect. Author Laura Lee's writing is poetic and has a subtle flow. Angel is an absolutely impressive work of literature that opened my mind and made me think about how, even though religion teaches us to love, it comes with it's set of complications. I am not the most appropriate person to preach or even talk about religion, but I can say that Angel takes on a sensitive issue with elegance. A few excerpts from famous works and information on Mount Rainier (where Paul later works as a tourist guide/bus driver) were very enlightening to read. Angel is a distinct novel that is truly splendid. In no way does the book criticize the Church or it's teachings, it simply looks at something emotional and personal with an open yet oddly narrow perspective. I know I haven't exactly praised this brilliant work the way it deserves to be praised, and that's because the book has left me stunned and speechless and it is difficult to describe it's beauty. All I say is that Angel is an enlightening, and completely opulent piece of work. Laura Lee's writing is truly charming and captivating.
Alright! Yes! We have finally come to my most favourite part of this post, the Author Interview! Without much waste of time and space, we'll directly move onto welcoming Laura and having an absolutely great time reading her responses to my questions!
And now it's such a pleasure to have his creator right here with us.
Welcome, Laura and we now begin our interview! We hope you have a great time answering our questions!
1. Tell us a little about your book, Angel.
It is the story of a Christian minister whose world view is challenged when he realizes he is falling in love with a young man.
2. How did the idea to write Angel come up?
I took a tour of Mount Rainier in Washington back in 2000. I had been invited to Seattle to speak at a conference and I scheduled a free day to see the sights. The mountain is breathtaking, and the weather was perfect that day. I understand it is often foggy and rainy and you can’t even see the mountain half the time, but fortunately I had wonderful views of the peak the whole time I was there. The tour guide was entertaining. What he had to say about Mount Rainier being a sleeping volcano poised to rain down on some of the towns in the valley piqued my imagination.
The tour guide was funny and sometimes poetic. I think the line about Rainier being “magnificent in its symbiosis” in Angel is something he actually said that I recorded in my journal. He kept talking about burning out on his old job and coming to the mountain. Towards the end of the tour someone asked him what his old job had been and he said, “I was a minister.”
Well, this really piqued my curiosity. Why did someone burn out on the ministry to become a mountain tour guide? I thought it had the makings of a great novel if I could only figure out how to write it.
I should make it clear that Angel is not this minister’s story in any way. I know nothing at all about him. The idea of someone being drawn to the ministry and then to this beautiful natural setting and what might unite those things is what I kept coming back to.
3. Ian Finnerty is supposedly the "Angel". I personally like him a lot. He truly is exceptional.
Tell us a little about him and what made you write about him.
In my earliest work on the novel there was no Ian. The working title was The Minister and the Mountain. I always had the idea of a minister who somehow found himself out of step with his congregation. I imagined the conflict as perhaps a crisis of faith. It had to be something dramatic, not only theological. It had to be something that had a lot of moral dimensions that were not black and white. It had to be something where it was actually doing the right thing, from the minister’s point of view, that put him in conflict with his community. I tried a lot of things, and nothing had quite the right combination of these ingredients until Ian walked into the story.
I saw an image of a young actor against a white background that, in the film, represented heaven. He was gazing up and he was exceptionally beautiful and reminded me of Renaissance paintings, devotional paintings. I started to think about what it is about certain kinds of beauty that creates this feeling. What makes you want to go consume something when you see a bikini clad model in a commercial, and what is it that makes a beautiful person touch you on a different level, where it sparks your imagination and makes you want to create?
So I wanted to muse about beauty. I do a lot of musing on things in my journal. At that time, my primary writing exercise was still “Why did the minister go to the mountain?” So as I wrote about aesthetics the idea of combining these two thoughts came to me. What if the minister encountered a young man and responded in this way to his beauty? I recognized right away that this hit all of the right notes. From then on I wrote Angel as though a tap had been turned on.
Ian’s character was shaped by many things. I had to figure out how to get someone who was not religious into a church so he could encounter Paul, and the choices I made to do that set his character off in one direction. I used to work in a church, and a lot of visitors come in for Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. It solved the plot problem and also added another dimension to the characters and their relationship.
The two characters were created together. I consciously thought of their relationship as the mountain, where earth meets heaven. Ian is “earthy.” So he likes food, he is physical and sensual. Paul is the one with his head in the clouds. Ian teaches Paul to live in the moment and to get in touch with his physical nature, and Paul teaches Ian to appreciate the spiritual.
I think Ian’s earthiness appeals to people. He is not self-conscious in areas where a lot of us are. He is not worried about his physical attractiveness, and he doesn’t seem to be particularly concerned about what anyone thinks about his sexuality. Those are areas where a lot of us are hung up. This doesn’t mean he has no issues. He has a lot of them, just in other areas. I think of Paul as being someone who has romantic ideas about love, he wants love to be spiritual and transcendent, but he has detached love from the sensual world. He talks about the body and blood of Christ and the physicality of that, and yet it is all intellectual for him. He can’t appreciate his own incarnation. Ian knows he is sexy, but he doesn’t quite believe that he can be loved.
At this time in their lives these two men need each other. The relationship that brings each of them back to health is also one that is risky and could tear them apart.
The process of creating a character, for me, is quite subconscious. So it was only later that I recognized some of the experiences and people from my own life that have echoes in Ian. I was recently writing about the young man who gave me my first kiss. He was boyish and fun, personable and optimistic (also, as it happens, gay) and as I was writing about him it occurred to me that he probably contributed to Ian. No one person or idea inspired him though. He is just Ian.
4. Putting Christianity and homosexuality in the same frame appears to be controversial.
Were you ever apprehensive about publishing your book?
No, because I never really thought of it in those terms. I was trying to write the best novel I could. I was looking for a narrative that would make everything click, and when I finally found it and the thing was homosexuality, I did not question it at all. It is a rare thing when that happens, when the idea for a novel clicks that way, and as a writer, you never want to reject a gift like that from the muses. What is it that Oscar Wilde said in his trial? When they asked him whether Dorian Gray was an immoral book he said something like “there is no such thing as an immoral book, books are well written or badly written.” It doesn’t bother me in the least if people don’t like the book because they don’t approve of the theme and think it is controversial. I wasn’t afraid of controversy. My fear was that they would say it was badly written.
5. I loved reading the scenes where Paul and Ian are just hanging out at Paul's house.
What is your favourite scene from Angel?
I actually like the conflict scenes later in the book. The chapter called “The Date” in which Paul’s irrational jealousy is on full display is probably my favorite. That one, and the one about Chuck the mailman, in which Paul first finds himself driven a bit crazy with jealousy. It was important to me that the characters actually have a relationship with its own conflicts and problems and that it wasn’t just the big bad outside world interfering. It is funny, but one of my favorite lines in the book is when Ian says to Paul, “You’re talking about the past. What exactly do you want me to do about it now? Do you have a time machine? Well then, shut up.” I love the “shut up.” I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I had a jealous boyfriend once, and I wish I’d been blunt enough to say that to him.
You know, there is actually a scene that I wrote for the sequel about Paul and Ian hanging out at home that I like a lot. Paul, the introvert, is trying to read and Ian, the extrovert, keeps interrupting him. I wish I’d written it before Angel was published, some version of it would surely be in there instead of in the unpublished sequel.
6. Angel ended perfectly. You said that writing a sequel worries you so as to not spoil what was already a well put out ending.
Nonetheless, do you plan on ever writing anything more for either Paul or Ian or both?
I have written a sequel to Angel, however, at this point I have no plans to try to get it into print. The main reason is simply that Angel has not sold well enough.
The main reason I started writing Ian’s story was that I wasn’t ready to end my relationship with him. I plunged into a depression after Angel was published. I longed to hear from readers who wanted to talk about Ian and Paul because I missed them. I spent ten years on the question of the minister and the mountain, and not having that question to nudge me was a void.
A friend suggested I just keep writing it. I said, “But the story is finished.” In an interview, I think, I talked about how we don’t really know Ian’s view of things in Angel, and that’s where the idea to write his story came from. I spent a good two years on the sequel, maybe three, and I would say it is about 99% done, but for the time being I’ve abandoned it.
The sequel isn’t a “sequel” exactly. It is the story from Ian’s perspective, and it starts before the action of Angel, in Ian’s childhood, and continues through the period covered by Angel from Ian’s point of view and then goes on to what happens to Ian afterward. I envision it as something that would be read after Angel, not the other way around. So the fact that not many people have read Angel is the deciding factor.
I liked being able to go into a bit more depth about Ian’s process of recovery, because the story of Angel is also the story of Ian’s first year of sobriety, which is less central to Paul than it would be to Ian. I liked being able to show some of Ian’s mood swings and cravings and how difficult it was for him, and how patient Paul was.
Someone called the story of Angel “a little bit magical.” I do think the magical quality is what a lot of people respond to. Part of the “magic” is that there is a lot about Ian that we don’t know.
People have the opportunity to see Ian as Paul sees him–as an angel-- and to fill in the blanks with their own imaginations. Anything I would write would have to contradict the reader’s own ideas of him in some way. Part of what people respond to in Ian, I think, is that he is seen through Paul’s eyes. Paul is in those first heady moments of love and he glosses over Ian’s faults. For that reason, Ian is presented in Angel as a bit better than he really is. I think you can see that Ian’s story, told from his point of view, would be darker than Paul’s version of Ian’s story.
So it might be better to just leave him where he is. That’s what I think at the moment, and I am working on getting another novel of mine in print instead.
7. Your writing is absolutely charming and poetic. I love your poems!
Can you tell us a little about your writing schedule?
(how often you write, any specifications you follow, a particular writing area you have, etc.)
The folksinger Arlo Guthrie tells this story about inspiration being like fishing. You sit by the river and you put your rod or your net in the water, but the fish has to come to you. (The punchline is that he is downstream from Bob Dylan and so he can only catch the ones Dylan throws back.)
My process is that I simply write a lot. I don’t let ideas keep swimming downstream. I keep pens and paper around and I get out of the shower and I write down what came to me in there. I honor writer’s block as a message that I need to stop working consciously and go away and let my subconscious do its thing for a while.
Even when I have an assignment for something like a corporate speech, the process is essentially the same. I write down my initial thoughts and ideas and then I go away and do something else and at some point while I’m taking a nap or driving I’ll have that lightbulb moment. I think of it like the subconscious oven timer going off. It delivers up the thing that brings my disconnected ideas together and then I write very quickly after that.
With a novel, I never write in order, I just write scenes and dialogue and bits as they come to me, and then later when it seems there are enough pieces I put them together. I guess I learned the technique of writing earlier to the point that it is highly internalized and so the key at this point is just catching the fish.
I am on tour with a ballet project five months of the year and spend a lot of time driving. A lot of ideas come to me then, and I scrawl them in little notebooks. Most of Angel was written this way. Part of it was scrawled in notebooks as my car was being towed, broken down in West Virginia.
I am a full time writer when I am not on tour with the ballet project, so I write pretty much constantly. Whenever I can. I never have a problem making myself write. I have the problem of way more text than I will have enough years of life to develop.
8. What are some of your favourite books and who are some of your favourite authors?
I am an eclectic reader. I like to go to the library and wander the stacks until something calls out to me. I tend to check a stack of books out of the library each week. I don’t finish everything. Sometimes I just read bits and pieces of them. Then sometimes one theme captures my imagination and I dive into that.
At the moment I’ve become fascinated with the life of Lord Alfred Douglas, a poet better known as the “intimate friend” of Oscar Wilde. I would hate to be judged my whole life for the romantic choices I made in my early twenties. That was his fate. I was taken with his personality when I read his correspondence with George Bernard Shaw. A lot of people think he was an awful man. (Jude Law who played him in the movie Wilde thought he was an awful man.) I suspect that part of my attraction to him is that his childlike qualities, which he kept until his death, remind me in some ways of Ian. I don’t know if I would like him in life, but he fascinates me. He has such a sense of justice and right and wrong. Everything is black and white to him. (I tend to only see shades of grey) He was passionate, bold, and he would not back down. He was also a poet with a highly romantic sense of how life ought to be. I’m reading his autobiography right now. When Douglas boasts about himself in an aristocratic way, I can’t tell you why, but it tickles me. The effect of Wilde’s prison letter “De Profundis” on Douglas was tragic. Shaw said of Douglas’s Autobiography that he (Douglas) needn’t worry, that he’d had his say and that no one could “write him down,” but Oscar Wilde could, and did, when the full De Profundis letter was published after Douglas’s death when his own autobiography was out of print. Douglas wasn’t the best apologist for himself. Everything he wrote about himself was an argument against someone else’s version of his story. If he’d just told his story as he remembered it without argument and pontificating on morality he would have been more sympathetic, but of course he could not have been other than who he was. He comes across best in his letters with Shaw because it is clear there that he had a sense of humor about himself. I think he’s a wonderful character.
Right after Angel I became interested in theology. I read the New Testament in chronological order and I was also reading all sorts of books on the development of Christian thought and the historical Jesus and so on. That obsession is on pause for the moment, but I still have an interest.
I tend to like British authors. I loved Douglas Adams when I was younger and I like Lewis Carroll and Dickens, G.K. Chesterton. I like Alain de Botton. In college I had a great English professor, Dr. Bruce Mann, who instilled a love of Shakespeare in me. I remember him saying that he had a fear that one day the ghost of Shakespeare would show up in the back row of his class and say, “That is not at all what I meant!”
Thank you so much for being with us and answering our questions today, Laura! I hope you had fun. Wish you all the very best! See you around!
Wow! Wasn't that amazing? I seriously hope and pray and wish that someday Laura publishes the stuff she's written from Ian's POV. Until then, well, I'll just keep dreaming of him. ;)
That brings us to the end of the post! I hope you'll enjoyed reading it because I sure enjoyed putting it up for y'all.
Seriously guys, read Angelsometime. It is a beautiful story that's written charmingly!
Thank you again to Cami @ Reading Addiction Blog Tours for having such a fabulous Tour and to Laura for the lovely responses and for writing such a beautiful story! And to you all, thank you for stopping by and happy reading!