Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: Sere Prince Halverson (The Underside of Joy)

Today I welcome Sere Prince Halverson, author of The Underside of Joy to My Reading Room.  The Underside of Joy is a very heartfelt and amazing book and my review will be coming later today, but for now, please enjoy the interview and the giveaway.

Describe the area you write in.

For years, I wore earplugs and wrote anywhere I could, including in bed, at the kitchen table, at a coffee house, in the car waiting for my kids to get done with practice (basketball, lacrosse, football--take your pick). But then my husband and in-laws surprised me last summer. While I was away for several weeks, they built me a little writing studio. It’s 12’ x 12’ with a big porch, lots of windows, bamboo floors, one huge built-in bulletin board, a homemade bookcase and desk. I bought a pretty daybed and comfy chair. Oh, and it overlooks a beautiful vineyard and forest. Truly, a bit of writer’s heaven on earth.

What's your favorite season?

I love Spring. Fall comes in a close second.

Describe your ideal reading space (no expense spared here).

My writing studio is also a sweet reading spot. The daybed has a bunch of pillows and a soft blanket and good lighting. Add a cup of hot tea and a wonderful book…and hunker down.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

I’d like to see Ljubljana, Slovenia because my great-grandmother was from there and I’ve never been. I also want to go to Greece, New Zealand, Australia, Africa, Thailand, and on and on---there are so many places I haven’t seen yet. And I’d go back to anywhere in Europe in a heartbeat.

How did you celebrate when you found out The Underside of Joy would be published?

It was my husband’s birthday. We had a good happy cry. To surprise him for his birthday, I’d already arranged for us to go ziplining through the redwoods. That turned out to be the perfect celebration for his birthday and the book sale. Wheeeeee! It has since sold in 17 countries, which I still can’t quite believe.

Tell us a little bit about The Underside of Joy.

Here’s the synopsis:
To Ella Beene, happiness means living in the Northern California river town of Elbow with her husband, Joe, and his two young children. For three years, Ella has been the only mother the kids have known. But when Joe drowns off the coast, his ex-wife shows up at his funeral, intent on reclaiming the children. Ella must fight to prove they should remain with her while she struggles to save the family’s market. With wit and determination, she delves beneath the surface of her marriage, finally asking the questions she most fears, the answers jeopardizing everything and everyone she most loves.
Rather than the fairy tale version of step-motherhood that pits good against evil, The Underside of Joy explores a complex relationship between two women who both consider themselves to be the children’s mother. Their conflict uncovers a map of scars — physical and emotional — to their families’ deeply buried tragedies, including Italian internment camps during WWII and postpartum depression and psychosis.

Where did the idea for The Underside of Joy come from, what prompted you to start writing this book?

I had a vision of a woman curled up in bed under a blanket, feeling that she’d had everything she ever wanted and now had lost it all. I didn’t know anything else about her, so I started writing to find out more about her story.

Is there a character in The Underside of Joy that really spoke to you when you were writing?

The main character and narrator, Ella, definitely spoke to me and I liked her right away. But as I got to know all the characters, I grew to care about each one of them.

What are you working on now?

A novel about a young American artist who visits her father, a doctor working temporarily in Saudi Arabia. Things do not go smoothly.

Do you have any upcoming tours, blog tours or events you would like people to know about?

I’ve been on a blog tour for the past several months and have quite a few stops left. I try to keep all my reading events updated on my website event page: http://sereprincehalverson.com/events.php

Anything else you would like to share?

I’d like to thank you so much for having me. I’ve been writing for many years but this is my first published novel. I really appreciate the work you do to get the word out about books. So appreciated!

About Sere Prince Halverson
I am from a lot of places, but I now live in Northern California and it feels like home. I worked for 20 years as a freelance copywriter while I wrote fiction and raised kids. My husband and I have four grown children. I’m a mom and a stepmom, and I have a mom and a stepmom. The Underside of Joy is my debut novel.

The Giveaway
Thanks to Amy at KMS Public Relations, she is giving away 1 copy of The Underside of Joy to an US resident.  Fill out the Rafflecopter below, the giveaway will end next Tuesday 3/20 and the book will be mailed by KMS Public Relations.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Margie said...

I am intrigued by the family dynamics of this story, and the underlying feelings of the two mothers. Thanks for the giveaway.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Unknown said...

The thing that intrigues me the most is the love of a mother even if you are not the biological mother. I strongly believe that you can bond and love a child like your own even if it is not biological....and you should be their mother too if you are doing the job of the mother. I would love a chance to read this book....it sounds very good. Thanks for the giveaway!

Liese2 said...

What intrigues me most is the fact that that story deals with familial relationships.

karenk said...

i'm intrigued by the subject...thanks for the chance to read this story :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Linda Kish said...

It sounds like an intensely emotional story. I'd love to see how it turns out.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Anita Yancey said...

What intrigues me is that Ella is a fighter and doesn't let life get the best of her.

bn100 said...

I'm intrigued by the main character and how she deals everything.

Unknown said...

I am intrigued by the title, initially, and also by the opening chapter which I read somewhere at some point, in which it was clear that the main character loves the children as her own, though they are stepchildren and she hasn't been in their lives very long.

Maureen said...

This book looks interesting because it seems like a story that deals with real life issues.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Nancye said...

This sounds like a very intriguing book with lots of twists and turns. I like the fact that in delves into the history of the characters so the reader can better understand them. Fingers crossed that I win! :)

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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