Today I have the pleasure of sharing with you a fabulous guest post by Karen Schreck, the author of YA contemporary novel, While He Was Away. I have reviewed While He Was Away on the blog today, for my review click here (or scroll down a little bit, it's the post under this one).
Thanks to the wonderful people at Sourcebook Fire, I am also hosting a giveaway of one copy of While He Was Away (US/Canada), but don't worry if you don't win! At the end of the month I will also be giving away an International Prize pack consisting of: While He Was Away, The Summer Of No Regrets, Rock God and Catching Jordan, thanks to the fabulous Raincoast Books! (International)
Enjoy the guest post and make sure to leave your feedback about it! :)
Stories My Mother Told Me . . . and the Ones She Never Did
A Guest Post by Karen Schreck
I think a lot about family stories, perhaps because I’m an only child, and now that both of my parents are dead—no longer living, I almost wrote, because the other, more naked statement is still sometimes hard for me to write—I feel like I’m the only one left who can and will carry them.
Sometimes the family stories rattle around in my head, demanding attention all at once, and I don’t know where to focus—I guess that can be the effect of remembering. But other times, (especially when I follow the advice that great writer and teacher once gave me, which was: “Write where the pressure is!”) a particular story will rise up above the others and say: “Pick me.”
That’s what happened with While He Was Away.
I got quite and waited until the pressure revealed itself—and it was a story my mother told me in three simple sentences right before she died when I was fourteen.
Her story went like this.
“I was married before I married your father. I was very young. My first husband died in WWII.”
That was it. That was all she would say.
She knew she was dying, and she wanted me to know this truth about herself. For years afterward, no one else said a word about it, and then finally, it was revealed that there was really very little to say—only the classic: “They were childhood sweethearts, deeply in love; it was like a dream”—and then there were a few pictures that a cousin gave me—my mother, young and beautiful, in love with a young and beautiful boy.
When I started thinking about the other young and beautiful boys and girls who were heading off to Iraq to do battle for all kinds of reasons, I found myself thinking again about my mother, the girl, and her boy, and how in some ways, love in wartime is so different now, and in other ways, it isn’t all. I wanted to retell the story she told me in three simple sentences, and it turned into a novel.,While He Was Away.
About the author:
Karen Schreck is the author of the young adult novel WHILE HE WAS AWAY (Sourcebooks Fire, May 2012), as well as the novel DREAM JOURNAL, which was a 2006 Young Adult BookSense Pick, and the award-winning children's book, LUCY'S FAMILY TREE. The recipient of a Pushcart Prize and an Illinois State Arts Council Grant, Karen received her doctorate in English and Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She writes and teaches for a living, and she loves visiting schools and other gatherings of readers and writers to talk about her books the writing process.
For more information or to contact Karen, please visit her blog: http://karenschreck.com/blog
Sourcebooks Fire has generously offered to give away one copy of While He Was Away to one lucky US/Canadian reader!
Open to: US and CANADA ONLY
Ends: June 30th
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