Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Author Interview + Giveaway: Jamie Lisa Forbes (Unbroken)

Today I welcome Jamie Lisa Forbes, author of Unbroken which I reviewed last week for a great author interview plus you get the added bonus of some great photos of her writing area (I always enjoy things like that).  So get comfy and enjoy.  And then when you get finished getting to know Jamie, be sure and enter the giveaway for a copy of Unbroken.

Describe the area you write in.

It is quite unusual.   It is a hexagon-shaped room that sits forward of the main walls of my house.   The room faces the southeast and there are floor to ceiling windows on the three outer sides of the hexagon so it catches the first light and stays light until mid-afternoon.   Immediately outside of the window next to my work space is my sidewalk to the main door, which I always have lined with flowers-- pansies at this time of year-- and a huge sprawling azalea, which, when flowering, is always a deep pink, nearly purple.  It should be trimmed but it is so magnificent that I cannot bring myself to it.  

At nights, when it is dark outside, the room has a cozy atmosphere because it is quite small.
All of Unbroken  was written  in this room.

What's your favorite season?
In Wyoming, my favorite season was spring.  Here in North Carolina, all seasons except for the summer are wonderful.

Describe your ideal reading space (no expense spared here).
This again, I already have.  Beyond my study, which I described in the first question, there is a wrap-around.  I have wing chairs on the west side and in all seasons but the summer, I enjoy curling up in one of those chairs and reading.

What is a typical day like in your life?
My “day job” is law.  The areas I practice in are family law, tax, estate planning and estate administration.  With these areas of practice, I am constantly absorbed in very real and serious problems of other people.  I enjoy getting away from these problems by returning to my fictional characters.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I am sorry that when I lived in the West, I did not get to see as much of it as I would have liked, because I was ranching and couldn’t get away.  I would love a long trip to southern Colorado, Utah and Montana.

Tell us a little bit about Unbroken.
Unbroken is the story of two women:  the heroine, Gwen, a traditional ranch wife, and Meg, who has eschewed traditional roles, confident in her own independence.  The novel tracks the rise and fall of the friendship between these two women and--once both their lives have been up-ended-- it follows each as they struggle to restore meaning in their lives.

What inspired you to write Unbroken?
 I originally got the idea for Unbroken in 1990 when I was still in family ranching.  I was surrounded by so many women in the ranching community who lived extraordinary lives, yet there was an absence of women in literature about the West. I wanted to turn the cowboy myth on its head and write about the real heroes, actually, heroines, of the West.

But I didn’t start writing then.   I started the novel ten years later and seven years after I had left family ranching. I was then living in a great community, but I knew few people who had any conception of life in the West and no one who had experience in the ups and downs of agriculture.  While I still had all my original concepts, the impetus to start writing was the desire to memorialize the life I had once lived.

And finally in the course of writing the novel, the characters took on lives of their own.  They became real people to me and molded the story in ways I had never anticipated.  Inspiration, in terms of this novel, was a process.

Which character really spoke to you when you were writing Unbroken?
The answer to that question speaks to my development both as a writer and a human being.

My original concept had been to write about Meg, because, I, like Meg, had wanted to ranch alongside my husband and my father and I too struggled for acceptance in this male-dominated profession.

But as the chapters unfolded, it occurred to me how much I had overlooked women in traditional roles and how truly extraordinary their lives are.   Gwen’s day-to-day chores, beginning before dawn and sometimes ending in the middle of night, which she carries on year after year in the face of tedium and self-doubt, spoke to me of the power of commitment.

What are you working on now?
I have lived in North Carolina nearly twenty years now and decided it was time to write about the rural south.  My new novel  is about a young man whose family takes in an abused child for one year and the impact of those events on the rest of his life.  


Win 1 copy of Unbroken by Jamie Lisa Forbes courtesy of the author, open to the US only. Simply enter using the Rafflecopter below. The only required entry is a free entry! Giveaway ends 4/23/12 and the book will ship directly from the author.

a Rafflecopter giveaway