Welcome to a special giveaway edition of Barren Island Books, the author interview series that’s in no way related to a popular music-based radio programme. You know the rules by now: my guests are exiled to a remote island with only five books for company, selected from the categories I give them. It’s up to them to make sure they choose wisely, because they’re going to be stuck with those books for a long, long time …
Today my interviewee is Louise Caiola, author of The Making of Nebraska Brown. When she’s not being banished to a desert island, Louise can be found at www.louisecaiola.com and louisecaiola.blogspot.co.uk. Yet Louise isn’t a typical Barren Island exile – she comes bearing prizes! So stay tuned, because near the end of the interview you’ll have a chance to win.
Louise, thanks for joining us. First of all, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself – just so we know who it is we’re sending into exile. Illogical fears, unusual birthmarks, whether you’d rather wrestle a bear or punch a shark, that kind of thing.
It’s my pleasure and thank YOU for having me here! I’m most excited to be banished into exile … I think … I’m your typical anxiety-ridden writer, illogically speaking. Your run-of-the-mill fear of enclosed spaces and neon-colored foods. No extraordinary birthmarks, however I have a C-section scar that resembles the San Andreas Fault line. It’s really quite a monument to motherhood. As for the bears or sharks - no contest. I’d wrestle a teddy bear any day.
And what about your own work? What are the inspirations behind it? What would make someone else choose it to accompany them into exile?
I like to think that my stories are multi-faceted works that you can enjoy again and again, continually discovering new insights. I have had people tell me that they read the book the first time quickly for curiosity and fun, and the second time more slowly for acquaintance and digestion. I hope folks would want to get to know the characters in my books as if they were making some new friends. And then revisit them with leisure, as you would those same friends.
Excellent – they sound like exactly the kind of stories I enjoy most! So now let’s move on to the books you’re going to take to the island with you. First up, it’s your favourite childhood book – perhaps the one that got you interested in reading in the first place, or the one you read over and over when you were young. Which will you choose, and why?
Childhood book - Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I believe I read that one at least twice. I loved the relationship between the sisters and the rich historical tone. This book is a must.
Definitely – I read Little Women many times growing up too! Next, the book that made the greatest impact on your life. This could be one that inspired you to become a writer, or one that made you look at the world in a whole new way – maybe even one that resulted in real-life romance or adventure.
This book was the catalyst to great personal changes in my own life: Something More by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Good stuff in there. Like lessons from the therapist’s couch. Except without the co-pay. Toss it in the bag.
For your third book – and you’re probably going to need this one, all alone on a remote island – I’d like you to choose your greatest comfort read. You know, the one you turn to when you’re sad or ill or just need a little pick-me-up.
At Wit’s End by Erma Bombeck. I adore anything written by that woman. She can always bring a smile to my face. Comfort with a capital C.
Fourthly, it’s your unexpected treasure: a book you didn’t expect to like but did, maybe one outside your usual genre or that you picked up with low expectations but were pleasantly surprised …
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I originally purchased this one. My expectations weren’t low, just uncertain. It was written from the dog’s POV. It could have gone either way. But I loved it. Enzo was charming and sad and wonderful. I would read this book again in a heartbeat. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.
And finally, I’d like you to choose your instant classic – the book you think most deserves to be read and reread by future generations. It’s up to you whether this book is already considered a classic or is something more obscure.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I care not what the few naysayers say. This book literally made me cry, laugh and sigh. It reaffirmed for me the grandness of reading a great story. It’s a keeper.
Absolutely, I loved it too. We’ll get those five books packaged up ready for your journey. Since we’re not completely heartless here at Barren Island Books, we’ll also let you take one song/piece of music, one film and one other item of your choice into exile with you …
One song – Don’t Blink by Kenny Chesney, because now is as good a time as any to reflect on how fast time goes by!
One film – The Family Man with Nicolas Cage. Sweet, thought-provoking, sentimental, witty. And, of course, the line, “Welcome to eawth.”
One other item – A photo album of my family, kids, the dog, etc. These pictures are my most prized possession.
Hmm, I’m sensing you have a little bit of a soft spot ;-)
Well, we’ll send you off into exile in just a moment, but first, let’s say a bit more about your giveaway. There are two prizes up for grabs. To be in with a chance of winning a $25 giftcard, my blog readers can enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Not only that, but from everyone who comments on this interview, a winner will be chosen at random to receive an ebook copy of The Making of Nebraska Brown. Great stuff!
Now, before we whisk you away, you have one last decision to make: where you want your remote island to be located. You can choose anywhere you like for your exile, in this world or another.
I’m thinking Maui might be a good fit. I’m told I look pretty good in a grass skirt.
That’s it, then – you’re ready to go. Thank you for joining us, and enjoy your trip!
Thank you again for having me. And aloha to you and your lovely readers.