Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Author Interview: Martha Louise Hunter, Author of Painting Juliana

Today I am very excited to welcome Martha Louise Hunter, author of the great "Painting Juliana" here to A Bookish Affair.

1.       Quick – give us your book’s title and quick tagline.

Painting Juliana:   Stop running, stand still & let the funnel cloud suck you up inside.

2.       Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely imagination? 

Juliana borrowed things from my life, but the book is entirely a work of fiction. Me with an ex-husband who looks like Tom Selleck? As if!

3.       How did you become involved with the subject/theme of Painting Juliana? 

I was going through a pretty crappy divorce myself, plus my dad was suffering from Alzheimer’s. Painting Juliana was a way for us to go on a journey together where we could help each other.

4.       Do you and your heroine have anything in common? 

For sure. I like to think we’re both good mothers. We’re both softies. We both chase our dreams (little joke there, in case you’ve read the book).

5.       Are there misconceptions that people have about your book?  

If so, explain. When they hear it has Alzheimer’s in it, they assume it’s like The Notebook, or something. Wrong.

6.       What do you think most characterizes your writing? 

It’s that split-personality thing… It’s funny one minute, then next thing you know -- without warning, it’s sad as hell – all on the same page. Plus, anytime I find myself saying, “Oh, I could make my character do THAT outrageous,” it’s a sure sign that I should. And, I usually do.  What is there about your book that sets it apart? It has elements of Magical Realism, which is when magical or fantastic things happen to people in real-life situations – Like 100 Years of Solitude revisited.  I love Magical Realism – it’s completely unexpected. I also rely heavily on symbolism & imagery. I love all that literary stuff.

7.       What did you enjoy most about writing this book? 

Are you kidding? I loved the whole damn thing, but let’s see…  Oh – I love rearranging the chapters. I would do that constantly. Think about it – the order in which the author reveals things to the reader changes the story in a big way.  Think if you found out how Carmen dies on page 50 -- now that wouldn’t be any fun, would it?

8.       What was your first car you paid for with your own money? 

Ha. That’s a weird question. It was a black Peugeot. Boy, that sucker got hot in the summer.

9.       Where did your love of storytelling come from?  

I used to watch the scary Alfred Hitchcock Show & the Twilight Zone with my big brother.

10.     Do you have any odd writing habits? 

I go to coffee shops & listen in on people’s conversations – creepy, I know, but it helps sometimes. I also get magazines from the time period. Do you work off of an outline, or just write? An outline? What’s that? I don’t know where the story is going until it takes me there. You’ve got to just let it flow.

11.     Have you ever run into your high school boyfriend? 

Gratefully, no. 

12.     If you were on death row, what would your last meal be? 

Grilled salmon, creamed spinach, bean nachos, and my friend Susan’s cherry pie. 

Is there any food you simply will not eat? 

Absolutely. Hard boiled eggs.

13.     Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult? 

Hemingway, for sure. Nary a word is wasted.

14.     What do you like to read in your free time? 

I go through phases. I was in a huge Asian phase for a while – Ha Jin, Anchee Min, Lillian Lee. The last book I read was The Stolen by Jennifer Clement.

15.     If you could choose to have one thing about being a man, what would it be? 

One thing? That’s all?  Damnit. Okay – being the aggressor in a relationship – the one who makes the first move. That women aren't "supposed" to do that really pisses me off.

16.     If you could be a superhero, who would you be? 

Where are you getting these questions? Oh, all right… Wonder Woman. Duh.

17.     Do you ever experience writer’s block? 

No, but it’s pretty rough to force my butt into the chair sometimes. 

18.     What project are you working on now? 

Marketing my book, are you kidding? Oh, you mean a writing project….  It’s called, The Little Man Inside the Boy. It’s a mystery that revolves around night terrors. Oh, & a sequel to Painting Juliana.

19.     Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? 

Sure. Go to agent conferences. It’s scary – especially for us book-worm, writerly types who can go days without even leaving the house – but it helps to see what you’re up against, plus, it’s a good idea to find out if your story is totally off the wall. Plus, it’s great to make some writer friends, because we’re a strange breed!


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