Monday, November 1, 2010
Sue Guiney's Blog Book Tour Stop
Though born and raised in New York, Sue Guiney has lived in London for twenty years where she writes and teaches fiction, poetry and plays. Her work has appeared in important literary journals on both sides of the Atlantic, and her first book, published by Bluechrome Publishing in 2006, is the text of her poetry play, Dreams of May. Her first novel, Tangled Roots, was published in May ‘08, also by Bluechrome. Her second novel, A Clash of Innocents, was chosen to be the first publication of the new imprint Ward Wood Publishing and was published in September, 2010. Sue is also Artistic Director of the theatre arts charity which she founded in 2005 called CurvingRoad.
Sue Guiney has stopped by Thoughts from Botswana today as part of her blog book tour promoting her new novel A Clash of Innocents.
Let's get into some questions.
All of the "expats" in your books seem to be running away from something. As an expat of sorts yourself, do you think we're all doing that in one way or another?
The expat community is a very funny one, I’ve found. There are some who are dragged kicking and screaming into the experience and spend their entire times waiting to go ‘home’. There are others who stay abroad happily for years and years but always seem to be looking over their shoulders wondering what’s happening ‘back there.’ If anything, those sorts of expats don’t start their running until after they’ve moved. But then there are others who leave without the intention of going back to wherever, with the full determination of making their new country their ‘home.’ And of those people, some are running away and others are running to. I think I am one of those running to. But I agree, my characters are usually running away and that is a predicament that fascinates me.
Why did you decide to use first person with Deborah as your narrator? How did that limit you?
This is an interesting and important question for me, because it goes to the heart of something I still haven’t gotten my head around as a writer. After writing my 1st novel. Tangled Roots, in the 1st person I was determined to write my next book in the third. I didn’t want to have to limit myself to the knowledge or understanding of only one person which a 1st person narration necessitates – ie, unless you are the one having the sex, or you are there peeping through the keyhole, you can’t really know or describe what is actually going on. But I seem to need to know who my narrator is. In order to write in a voice of any kind, even an omniscient 3rd person voice, I need to know about the person from whom that voice is coming. In other words, the narrator becomes another character to me and from there it’s a slippery slope into 1st person. I don’t have this problem when I read. I can readily accept other writers’ 3rd person narrators. I just can’t seem to do it myself. But I’m determined to keep trying. But having said this, I didn’t conceive of this book as Deborah’s story. It was always supposed to be Amanda’s story only with somebody else telling it. But Deborah is a pretty strong and pushy broad. Once she got started talking, the story became more and more about her as well.
It felt to me when I finished the book that perhaps this story might not
be finished. Will there be a sequel? If so, I sort of hoped Deborah would get together with the doctor. Any chance you could work that in?
Wow! I’m so glad you got that inkling of a relationship between them. I thought maybe I had been too subtle! Well, I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that I am thinking long and hard about setting my next novel in Cambodia as well. There is still a lot there I’d like to explore. And I love having characters weave their way from one book to another. Careful readers of Tangled Roots might recognize that the character of Amanda in A Clash of Innocents is the same young woman whose wedding opens up that first book. So I wouldn’t be surprised if Deborah and the others end up in a new novel, though I would be surprised if it was a sequel. I’d prefer the novels to be able to stand alone. Though there is something delicious about realizing you already know a part of the life of a character you are now meeting.
Where is Cambodia now? Is there hope?
Cambodia is much better off than it was, but it is far from being sound. It is still a country with some of the worst poverty anywhere in the world, with terrible problems of human trafficking, a very corrupt government. It is a country at a crossroads. But yes, there is hope. There is always I hope, I believe.
What is your next project?
For now I am concentrating on getting as many people to know about A Clash of Innocents as possible and I am planning a trip to SE Asia where I will do a series of charity workshops and events – my way of bringing the fruit of my inspiration back to the people who inspired it. But I am starting to plan my next novel and, unofficially, there’s a good chance that interested people will be able to read a lot more of my poetry soon.
Fantastic! Thanks for stopping by Sue. Best of luck with the book.
If you want to buy Sue's book A Clash of Innocents click HERE.