Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Guest Post: Sarah Glover Author of Grave Refrain

So earlier this week I reviewed Grave Refrain: A Love Ghost Story (check it out here) and today I'm happy to invite Sarah Glover to do a guest post about her book (which is out today!). And take a look at the giveaway below as well.
Welcome Sarah!

Hello everyone!  I’d like to thank Andrea for inviting me over to Cozy Up with a Good Read for a guest post.  My debut novel, Grave Refrain:  A Love Ghost Story will be released on Valentine’s Day.  The story follows Andrew Hayes, a brilliant but troubled guitarist in an up-and coming band, who has been haunted since childhood by the presence of his muse.  One night during a performance in San Francisco he spots her, but before he can catch her---she vanishes from sight.  Desperate to find the woman, he accepts a curious offer to stay in the city, moving into a dilapidated Victorian undergoing renovations that stir up more than dust.  Andrew’s life becomes even more chaotic with the arrival of martini-swilling ghosts and a band of flesh-and-blood stoner spiritualists bringing bad tidings from the Great Beyond.  As he struggles to solve the mystery surrounding the woman he loves, Andrew discovers his life is repeating a refrain more deadly than he’d ever imagined.

Andrea asked me how I first got involved in writing and what provided the inspiration behind Grave Refrain.  In my author’s biography I often use the term, “recovering CPA.”  For those of you who have experienced the eighth ring of hell that public accounting can be (especially during this time of year---I still have flashbacks to the seventy hour work weeks and the mountains of paper) you have my endless sympathy.  Writing was my outlet from that world, but I had bills to pay and that endless tower of papers to attend to, so it was relegated to the notebook I stashed in my briefcase and opened up during the flight home. 

I’d always been involved in the arts; I had published articles and essays here and there, but between the demands of a job and young children I didn’t have the energy to make spit, let alone wordsmith a novel.  And trust me, I’m an editor and typesetter’s worst nightmare.  I still think I owe my current editor a round of drinks…or a winery.

One morning at the crack of dawn, I was getting a cab to the airport from my home in San Francisco.  My young son had awoken and was calling out to me from his bedroom (his dad had not yet made it to the crib).  I remember sitting in the backseat and crying as I tried to give the taxi cab driver directions.  He turned to me and announced that in “his country” women stayed home.  Well, good feminist that I am, I told him we weren’t in his country, thank you very much, but it didn’t stop the tears.  Later that week, my husband and I decided that two demanding jobs weren’t working for us -- we’d take the plunge and I would stay home and he would make video games.  Sometimes I think he got the better deal…

So I plunged.  When not volunteering at my children’s elementary school, I began to network with other San Francisco authors and joined a writing class which consisted of a marvelous group of women.  We critiqued each other’s work – honestly, but kindly.  It smarted in the beginning, but hearing the truth always makes for better writing.  Eager to get my stories out there, I wrote fanfiction in different fandoms, wrote musical comedies, wrote for Public Radio---just wrote and wrote and then wrote some more.

Now, writing with small ones under foot is no small feat.  There’s a line in Grave Refrain where a woman states, “…it ultimately comes to down to someone sacrificing to make it work. And women are engineered to sacrifice, it’s in our DNA. Whereas the best of men, no matter how talented or intelligent or attractive, will suck you dry and then complain to you about the aftertaste.”  I think that can be true of anyone who has a pull on your time.  My children, especially my daughter, do not like sharing my lap with a laptop.  Writing for me is also difficult at times. Just like going to the gym, the hardest part is putting on my shoes.  It’s always so much easier to check my e-mail, surf my favorite sites (oh look---there’s a sale on at Zappos.com!), and let’s not forget Bejeweled.  Yet once I hammer down I can disappear into another world, and nothing in this world can compare.

The inspiration for the world of Grave Refrain came from many different sources. Ghosts feature heavily in the story – both the charming and malevolent types.  Believe it or not, the oppressive fog of my neighborhood planted the original seed for the story.  The fog becomes so thick at times here that it didn’t take much to imagine it hiding a whole secret society of ghosts (and even ghosts visiting from out of town), hovering and spiriting along.  It’s especially evocative at night, conjuring up the secret image of ghosts living amongst us.  They would have come from different eras, of course, and I had always been captivated by the 1930s and 1940s.  Yet they were ghosts for a reason.  Why?  What was left unresolved?  What if it was love?

In regards to love, I wanted to turn the paradigm of boy meets girl on its head.  What happens if a boy has loved a girl for his whole life but she has no idea who he is?  How does he even begin to romance her without scaring her to death? I also wanted to play with the idea of what it means to be haunted:  haunted by loves, past and present, haunted by lost opportunities, haunted by ghosts both fascinating and deadly.

Here’s a snippet from the story to illustrate.  In this scene, a stoner spiritualist, Dwayne, tells Emily, our leading lady, the meaning behind the life line in her hand (while she is forced to share a chair with our equally confounded, but lethally charming leading man, Andrew):  “You belong to him.” The words froze them, inches from each other. They blinked their eyes at the same time and stared at him. Dwayne beamed at Emily. “You can’t diss this kind of fate. No how, no way. No matter how hard you try and fight it, no matter how far apart you are, it’ll always find you and bring you two together. I mean it’s seriously big-time karmic. You’re his. Always have been. Always will be. There’s never been a lifetime you haven’t been completely and totally his. I mean, like in the core of your being. See here? Slave, concubine, mistress, mistress, lover…goes on and on.”

So don’t diss fate and go get yourself a valentine you’ll enjoy:  Grave Refrain:  A Love Ghost Story!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all.  Thank you Andrea for allowing me to stop by.



The lovely Micha over at Omnific Publishing has greatly offered an ebook of Grave Refrain for me pass on to a great reader! Just leave a comment and I will choose a random winner (this giveaway will end on February 25).

1 comment:

  1. Oooh I love a good ghost story!! Sounds really interesting, I'm going to have to check it out! :)



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