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Monday, May 17, 2010

Interview with Beatrice Gormley

Hey, everyone! I'm bringing you another awesome historical fiction writer today. Ladies and gentleman meet Beatrice Gormley! Gormley's latest book is entitled Poisoned Honey and is the story of young Mary Magdalene. Filled with bouts of fantasy it is a beauitful and creative book by an amazing author. Here is my interview with the wonderful Beatrice Gormley. Enjoy!

1. What really inspired you to write about Mary Magdalene?

I guess I felt protective of Mary, as a remarkable person who had been so thoroughly misunderstood. First the Church mixed her up with other women in the Gospels and turned her into the iconic Repentant Prostitute. Then Dan Brown wrote her into The Da Vinci Code as “Mrs. Jesus,” the mother of Jesus’ imagined child. I believed that Mary was an extremely gifted young woman with a fascinating story of her own, and I wanted to tell that story.

2. How did you go about researching for this novel?

Many different ways. Since so little is known for sure about Mary Magdalene, I set out to learn what was plausible to assume about her.

I read up on biblical and archeological scholarship for details of daily life in Galilee—specifically, the town of Magdala—in the early 1st century CE. I collected pictures of scenes on the west side of the lake (the Sea of Galilee), where my story takes place. I watched many movies and documentary re-enactments of the period.

Since I was assuming Mary was a visionary from an early age, I consulted a child psychiatrist about to what extent a child might hear voices and see visions and still be mentally healthy.

Since Mary becomes entangled in the occult arts, I read up on the practice of magic at that time. Whew! I did a whole lot of research for this book. Not all of it turned out to be useful, like my extensive research about parrots. Ramla’s parrot turned out to be very minor in the finished story. But you never know--and parrots are interesting anyway.

3. Who is your favorite character in the book, and why?

Next to Mary, I’d say my favorite character is Matthew. I sympathize with his struggle to sort out his conflicting values: to please his father, to make a good living, to understand his brother, to behave ethically. He has some difficult decisions to make.

4. What was the publication of this book like?

I was lucky to have the support of my editor at Knopf, who had already published Salome. She gave me invaluable constructive criticism through several revisions of the manuscript.

5. What's the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?

“You can do better than this. Write the whole thing over again.”

6. Any favorite cures for writers' block?

Lots! There’s the famous principle of BIC (Butt in Chair). There’s taking care of yourself, like an athlete in training: healthy food, exercise, sleep, regular working hours, avoiding distractions. There’s sleeping on it, telling yourself you’ll have new ideas in the morning. There’s doing something that lets your mind wander productively—for me, that’s long walks.

7. Did you learn anything about yourself while writing Poisoned Honey?

Oh, yes. At the beginning of this project, I wasn’t at all sure I could write about a girl who a) was possessed by demons, or believed she was; and b) was a personal friend of Jesus of Nazareth. But I could, and I did. To me, the challenges of writing are part of the pleasure (as well as part of the pain).

8. Any advice for aspiring authors?

Keep writing, keep getting feedback (classes or critique groups can be helpful), keep working to write better. Good luck!

Thank you so much Mrs. Gormley!

Check out my review of Poisoned Honey here.
To find out more abuot Beatrice Gormley and her book check out her website!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nice to Meet You!+News

I always love hearing about authors being active in the cover art for their novels. Its so important that the cover represent whats in the book, because we all judge a book by its cover to some extent.

And I'm sure you all know of my undying love for A Golden Web by Barbara Quick. Well, I recieved an email from the wonderful author this morning with a link to a post she did on her blog about getting to talk to the model for her book! The story is beyond cool. The young lady that modeled as Alessandra has a great deal in common with the character, its really amazing!

I hope you'll all take the time to check out the story on Barbara's blog!


On the updates side of things, I'm sad to say that my schedule is completely hectic right now getting ready for camp and since my ARC pile is pretty much empty up until like August, I'm probably not going to be posting many reviews right now. I'll continue to keep you updated on any bookish news I hear about as well as letting you know about the awesome upcoming releases I'm looking forward to. There may be a couple reviews splattered in there, but probably not many.

I hope to get back to my regular reading schedule when I get back from camp around July 10. That being said, there will be no posts between June 13 and July 10.

I hope you are all excited about the awesome summer I'm sure you're going to have. I know I am! =)

Much love,


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Happy Mother's Day/World Hunger

As Mother's Day is quickly aproaching many of us have been stressing about what to give our dear mums on their special day. We all want to give back to the women who have done so much for us throughout the years. While this is all wonderful, many young mother's and their children are dying of hunger all over the world. Hunger is not new and it is never going away completely, but it is preventative. Many of us--myself greatly included--over indulge ourselves. We eat far more than is needed to keep our bodies working. And we waste. Oh, how much food we waste... But I'm not here to lament to you my own downfallings or to persecute you for yours I'm here to remind us both that we can help in many ways.

We can help by donating to our local food bank.
We can help by playing games like freerice.com, something that is free but donates tons of rice to people around the world. All it takes is a little of our time.
Those of you with blogs can help spread the word joining the program, Bloggers Against Hunger. (link below)
We can pray, for those who have far less than we do.

I'm going to share with you some info from the World Food Programme Website:

"A child’s future starts with its mother. When pregnant or new mothers don’t receive proper nutrition, neither do their children, and up to 17 million children are born underweight each year.

The prevention of maternal and child undernutrition is a long-term investment that will benefit the present as well as future generations.

This Mother’s Day, choose your card wisely. By sending a special WFP eCard you can honor a mother in your life - and save a life at the same time: wfp.org/women"

The Facts:

1. Children in developing countries who are born weighing less than 2,500 grams are 20 times more likely to die in infancy than heavier babies. (Source UNICEF)

2. Around 50% of pregnant women in developing countries are anaemic. Lack of iron increases the risk of death of the mother at delivery, accounting for at least 20% of maternal mortality.

3. In most developing countries women produce between 60 and 80% of the food, but they own less than 2% of the world’s titled land.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Poisoned Honey by Beatrice Gormley

Poisoned Honey by Beatrice Gormley 5 of 5 stars.

Mariamne is a vulnerable girl living in a time when women were put down and looked upon as barely better than children or slaves. Mariamne watches her life fall to pieces as one event after the other pushes her closer to a precipice where the fall is long and dark. As a child Mariamne saw visions, going so far as to believe she could fly only to find herself tumbling down a flight of stairs. She sees visions still, but as more and more people try to convince her that she has an overactive imagination and should push such thoughts aside she turns to a different way of escape. With the help of an Egyptian wise-woman Mariamne learns a way into a secret garden, one that exists outside of the seen-world. But Mariamne makes a tragic mistake by trusting the place and the creatures that dwell in it, going so far as to bring the demons through with her. Mariamne teeters on the edge of that frightening precipice as she comes to realize that she is possessed by these demons and knows not how to free herself of them.

Poisoned Honey is the tale of a woman many of us know as Mary Magdalene. Very little is known about her, though much is speculated, and Beatrice Gormley is here to tell us, in her wonderfully straight-forward prose what she imagines Mary Magdalene's life to have been like.

When I first read the summary for this book I was quite intrigued. Many YA authors have tried to unravel the young lives of famous women in Greek and Egyptian mythologies, but I haven't seen many try and tackle the life of a Christian character. Because of this, I thought Gormley's book might be a bit controversial and wanted to get a look at it myself. The beginning is a bit slow as it sets up the time period, but is well written and interesting nonetheless. As the story unfolds we begin to recognize many of the well known Christian characters (despite the fact that many of the names are variations away from what most of us have heard) in a way that is far different, but still characteristic and respectable. The portrayal of Jesus, Mary, and Matthew are all wonderful. This truly isn't what I expected at all. It’s touching and deep and doesn't delve to far away from the core beliefs of Christians to be considered blasphemous. At the same time, it’s told so differently that I believe anyone of any faith would enjoy it without being offended.

I honestly can't tell you how glad I am that I read this book, and I would recommend it to anyone!

A special thanks to BookDivas for sending me a copy to review!

For fans of: Beatrice Gormley, Nobody's Princess, Nobody's Prize, Michelle Moran

To order from Amazon.com please click here.


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