Friday, June 9, 2017

🏰 AUTHOR INTERVIEW: 'Hello, Agnieszka' Evy Journey



Evy Journey has always been fascinated with words and seduced by beautiful prose. She loves Jane Austen and invokes her spirit every time she spins tales of love, loss, and finding one's way—stories she interweaves with mystery or intrigue and sets in various locales. SPR (Self Publishing Review) awarded Evy the 2015 Independent Woman Author bronze for her writing.
She's lived and traveled in many places, from Asia to Europe. Often she's ended up in Paris, though—her favorite place in the world. She's an observer-wanderer. A flΓ’neuse, as the French would say.
The mind is what fascinates her most. Armed with a Ph.D., she researched and spearheaded the development of mental health programs. And wrote like an academic. Not a good thing if you want to sound like a normal person. So, in 2012, she began to write fiction (mostly happy fiction) as an antidote.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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About the Book:


Elise thought she knew her mother. Agnieszka Halverson is a caring woman, a great cook, and an exceptional piano player; but living in a secure, predictable world, she’s also a little dull. Her world is
devastated when her oldest son attempts suicide, and Elise finds her mother has a past—both sweet and bitter—that she must now reveal to explain the suicide attempt. A past rich with a passion for music and shattered dreams, betrayal of a sweet but tragic first love, second chances and renewed hopes.

Born to immigrant parents weighed down by their roots, Agnieszka takes solace in learning to play the piano, taught by a sympathetic aunt who was a concert pianist in Poland before World War II. But when her aunt betrays her and her parents cast her aside for violating their traditional values, can Agnieszka’s music sustain her? Can she, at eighteen, build a life on her own?

When she finally bares her soul to her children, Agnieszka hopes they can accept that she has a past that’s as complex as theirs; that she’s just as human, just as vulnerable as they are. But do her revelations alienate her husband and can they push Elise farther away from her?

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As a book bloggin’ and book luvin’ Princess, I’m always curious to find out how authors got the ideas for their books.  How did you come up with the idea for your book?


Hello Agnieszka is Book 2 in a family saga (Between Two Worlds). When I wrote Book 1 (Hello, My Love), I meant it to be read alone and not as part of a series. But the mother in that book intrigued me so I wrote this one (#2) about her. I ended up with a three-book series, essentially a family saga. Much of Agnieszka’s character was, fixed in my mind when I started. I only needed to give her a history, one her children had never imagined.

Can you tell us what your book is about?


A mother—the daughter of traditional immigrant parents –finds passion in music; music that sustains her when her dreams are shattered and she loses a first love. The book also shows the complexity of mother-daughter relationships.
Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book?


Agnieszka is born to older immigrant parents who married for practical reasons. She leads a sheltered, ordinary life until an exuberant, voluptuous grandaunt materializes. The aunt, a former concert pianist in Poland, instills in her a passion for music and hones her talent on the piano. The other important characters include her first love, a Jewish young man from a liberal affluent family, and another young man in whom Agnieszka finds a second chance at love. Elise, from Book 1, is also an important character because she’s part of another thread in the mother-daughter relationship plotline of the book.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?


Things do improve as you become a more seasoned writer; and prepare for the challenges of book promotion and marketing.
What would you say is one of your interesting writing quirks?


I don’t honestly think I have a quirk. I love writing but it’s also grunt work like any other job. So, I just hack away at it until it’s done. Some may think that my tendency to compulsively tweak my work is a quirk, so at some point, I do have to tell myself to stop and consider a book finished.
Do you hear from your readers?  What do they say?


On my blogs, yes. As an author of books, hardly at all. I think an audience engages with you only after you make the first move to talk to them. I still feel intimidated by social media, which is where most people now interact. Like a lot of other writers, I began as a very private person who opens up only to those who know me. I’m trying my best, though. And I’m really quite approachable, but I still have to overcome my shyness.
What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?


That nothing exciting happens in my first book, Margaret of the North. I wrote it as a character-driven story, but I’ve learned that’s not an excuse.  Some also criticized me for writing a sequel (also this book) to a popular classic but ironically it keeps on selling without my promoting or advertising it anywhere.
What has been the best accomplishment?


Just being able to write realistic escapism. I used to write about facts in research reports and thought that would be the extent of my writing life.
Do you Google yourself?


Doesn’t everyone?
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?


I’m writing a new novel. I also have the finished draft—the operative word here is draft since I keep reworking this one—of a short book on early illuminated manuscripts, a nonfiction.
Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?


Thank you for reading. Surveys show there’s fewer of you out there since games and the virtual reality they offer are gaining ground over reading, particularly among the young.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for featuring my book on your blog. In case your readers are interested, Book 1 of the series is free for iBooks and Nook. I'm working to make it free for kindle as well. Hop over to https://www.evyjourney.com/series/between-two-worlds/ for buying links.

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