First of all, I'd like to announce that Alabama Skye is now available for purchase!!! You can buy both the hardback and paperback versions from my publisher, Xlibris, as well as from Barnes & Noble. The link isn't complete on Amazon as of right now, and the eBook isn't available quite yet. There will be eBooks available for both Nook and Kindle very shortly. If you are interested in purchasing either a hardback or a paperback version, please visit either Xlibris or Barnes & Noble. You can use the following links. Thank you in advance!
B & N:
I am a self published author who chose to go with Xlibris to help me on my journey. I worked with them before when I published Color of Thunder. The experience I had back then was amazing. There were bumps in the road...but those mainly occurred because I was living in Germany at the time. I tried to have my author's copies delivered to our post office box on the Ramstein Air Force base...and, well...that didn't work so well. They wound up in England somewhere and traveled all over the place before I finally got wise and gave them our home address in our little village of Linden. When I finally received the box, it had many different stamps and stickers...and was a little battered. My experience with Xlibris in general? Awesome! That's why I chose to go with them again when it came time to publish Alabama Skye.
Even though I published through Xlibris, I am still a self published author. I keep all the rights to my work. I get to design my own cover, (but a trained, creative professional puts it all together for me,) and I get a little extra help with the marketing of my book. When I published Color of Thunder, I was given a huge questionnaire. I filled in all of the answers, then some brilliant writer took what I wrote and turned it into a Press Release. They also did an author spotlight featuring me on the Xlibris webpage. Here's the link for that if you'd like to take a look.
I just finished a second questionnaire, this one for Alabama Skye. I'm going to post it here so that you can see what the questions were and how I answered them. When the press release comes out, I'll post that, too. It's interesting to see how they use what I've written to construct the advert.
1. What inspired you to write this book?
This story started out as something quite different than it was when it was finished. There were always the two main characters, Cheney and Greer, but their story, and the stories of the characters that support them, changed and evolved over time. My inspiration came from the desire to delve into the complexities of familial relationships, specifically those between the female members. Each character is so uniquely her own and I grew to love each and every one of them.
2. Summarize your book in one to three sentences as if you were speaking to someone unfamiliar with your book and its topic.
Alabama Skye is ultimately about the complicated and intricate relationships between four generations of women, and about how the things that happen in their lives both as individuals as well as a part of a family make them stronger and bind them together. It’s about the love between a parent and child, and about how what happens to a person when they are young really shapes who they become when they reach adulthood. It’s also about the romantic relationships between men and women, about how often times we have to struggle to make peace with our pasts in order to allow ourselves to enjoy fulfilling and worthwhile futures.
3. What is the overall theme (central topic, subject or concept) of your book?
In one word, I’d have to say that the overall theme or central topic of Alabama Skye would have to be family.
4. Where does this book take place?
This book takes place in both Scotland, on the Isle of Skye, and in the fictional town of Kelby which sits between Gulf Shores, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida. Part of the story also takes place in Mobile, Alabama.
5. Who are the main characters and why are they important to the story?
This book is really about four generations of women, so of course they are the main characters. There is Sarah, who is the oldest of the four. She’s really at the core of this story. She’s a true Bay Lady; very southern and proper but with a hearty dose of feistiness. She falls in love and marries Finlay, a Scotsman who is just making his way into the prosperous paper industry boom that hit Alabama in the early fifties. They have one child, a daughter named Meara. When Finlay dies and his will his read, Sarah realizes that he kept an enormous secret from her throughout their twenty year marriage. She discovers that Finlay had not only been married before she met him, but that he’d left a daughter behind in Scotland. This daughter, Cheney, is another main character. The book opens to find that she’s recently lost her husband, and by the end of the first chapter, she’s decided to leave Scotland and travel to Alabama to be reunited with the American family she knows little about. This brings in the fourth main character, Greer, who is Meara’s daughter. Together, Cheney and Greer turn Sarah’s historical home into a Scottish bed and breakfast. There are many very important supporting characters such as Meara’s husband, Jack and Greer’s lifelong best friend, Noah. Another important and very key character is Jimmy, who is Greer’s love interest, and Jolly, who serves as a surrogate grandfather to Greer and who is a prominent member of the family.
6. Why do you think that this book will appeal to readers?
At the core of this book is the relationship of these women and what each one of them brings to the tale. Sarah, who was once very headstrong and capable, is now suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Cheney is a Scotswoman in a foreign land, and she has secrets she is unwilling or incapable of revealing that torture her. Greer is a recent college graduate who is unwed, pregnant and unsure of which path to choose, and Meara is a successful and well-loved business owner who is trying to be all things for her family. She wants to be a good sister, she wants to make sure her ailing mother is taken care of and she wants to support her daughter. There are many serious subjects in Alabama Skye, but the book is not a heavy one. It’s a real life story that so many people live every day. My hope is that when the reader picks up this book, the first few lines will intrigue them. Something has happened to Cheney. Her husband is dead. How? Why? From there, I believe the rest of the story will carry itself out. There is mystery and romance, there is comedy and there are tears. It’s a realistic tale with colorful, interesting characters and I believe every reader will be able to relate to them, feel for them, laugh and cry with them, and rejoice with them as they travel through to the last page of the story.
7. How is your book relevant in today’s society?
Alabama Skye is absolutely relevant in today’s society. It’s about the struggle and success of small business owners, and the intricate and complex nature of familial relationships. It’s about the reality of growing old and having to deal with sickness and the act of caring for loved ones who are no longer able to care for themselves. It’s about parenthood and romance and making the choices that everyone has to make as they come into adulthood.
8. Is there any subject currently trending in the news that relates to your book?
Not really, except the ongoing plight of small business owners and those people who are either afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease or the ones who are caregivers and loved ones of those who are.
9. What makes your book different from other books like it?
I haven’t read any books that are really like Alabama Skye. There are countless books about families and the relationships between the people within these families, but each one of those books is as unique as the people they are written about. This book has two very different and interesting settings; both in Scotland and in the southern U.S. It touches upon the geography, the history and the traditions of each and introduces the reader to a bit of Scots Gaelic as well as the warm southern twang of Gulf Coast Alabama. It is at times serious and heartbreaking as much as it is comedic and light.
10. What do you want readers to take away from your writing?
Every writer wants to affect their readers. I certainly do. I hope that when a reader finishes Alabama Skye, when they have read the entire book and put it aside that they feel touched by it. I hope they will remember the story long after it’s been read. I hope that perhaps they look at their sister, their daughter, their mother or their grandmother in a little different light. Maybe they will hug their best friend, tell their spouse that they love them, go the nursing home and sit with a person afflicted with Alzheimer’s. It’s so easy to take family members for granted. It’s so easy to be frustrated or overwhelmed by those who have been rendered less capable by age or disease. It’s easy to be too busy for others when our lives are so full, but in reality, we are far less fulfilled without these other important people in our lives.
11. How did you learn about the topic?
Well, first of all, I am a daughter, a granddaughter and a mother myself. I don’t have a secret half-sister living in Scotland…at least none that I know of! I’ve been faced with my own obstacles and my own difficult decisions just as everyone has. I have also been touched by Alzheimer’s disease. I watched as it robbed my grandmother of her memories, made her fearful and weak, both mentally and physically, and I watched how it affected the other members of our family. My grandmother was a huge and important part of my life and I lost her a year ago. Family is such a difficult and intriguing thing and I wanted to write about it. I find it so interesting how a family is a whole, but it’s made up of a lot of individual parts. I wanted to tell the different stories that belonged to some of the people who make up those parts. We all have experience with that so basically, I learned about the topic by just living life.
And there you have it! I hope to have the finished product by the end of the week. I haven't heard anything yet, but it would be great if they highlight me on their website again. We'll have to see...and, of course if they do, you'll be the first to know about it. :)