Friday, August 19, 2011

Interview + Giveaway: Nina-Marie Gardner, author of Sherry&Narcotics

I'm absolutely delighted to be joined today by Nina-Marie Gardner, a brilliant author of Sherry & Narcotics. Nina's book is 6/5 star read (yes, you got that right! it's beyond AWESOME). Heart-breaking, insanely compelling, deeply disturbing.. it's everything you expect from a good read. And it's set in England, what else could you possibly want? :)

Guys, please give a warm welcome to Nina!

E: Evie
NM: Nina-Marie Gardner

E: Welcome to Bookish Nina! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
NM: I was born in New York City and raised in a small town outside of Boston called Marblehead. Growing up, I was one of those horse-fanatics, which was probably a good thing because it kept me out of trouble. I studied English at Yale where I was pretty much a nerd and a freak. Once I graduated, I spent a good decade as a mostly-unemployed actress in New York and LA.

In 2004 I did my master’s in creative writing at the University of London, and after that I stayed in the UK for a good five years or so—I love it there, but it was expensive and difficult to live as far as visas and all that. For the last two years I’ve been living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with my dog Lulu, and I have to say, it’s pretty great. In addition to banging out my next book and doing my usual freelance editing jobs, I also work part-time in a bakery, which I love. (It’s great to do something physical and be surrounded by cookies and pies and friendly hardworking people—a perfect balance to sitting in front of my computer for hours in isolation. Plus the health insurance rocks!)
E: Your debut novel, “Sherry & Narcotics” is a stunning and heart-breaking story about love and addiction. Who or what inspired you to write it?
NM: While the characters and events in ‘Sherry & Narcotics’ are not real, I went through a similar heartbreak and devastation. I wanted to work through that in fiction (actually, I didn’t want to—nor did I think I could…)

Basically how it all started was I had long been a fan of my publisher (Hillary Raphael, the author of ‘I Love Lord Buddha’ and ‘Backpackers’ and ‘Ximena’) and we had struck up a correspondence. She was the one who first gave me the idea for the book and pointed me to stuff like Justine Levy’s ‘Nothing Serious’ for inspiration. But even with her encouragement, I was scared to death and did not think I had the balls to revisit and write what felt like such a personal, ugly story. Not to mention the thought of it being out there for public consumption. Seeing the book published was a lot like saying ‘fuck it’ and jumping off a cliff. I expected to get reamed.
E: Do you mind telling us how long did it take for you to write it?

NM: It was about three years after I first had the idea and started scribbling vague scenes and notes for it. However, I never really sat down in earnest to write the thing until about March 2010 and it was finished by July. Once I was strong enough, and in a good place to write it, it pretty much wrote itself.
E: How would you describe the “Sherry & Narcotics” in 5 words?

NM: Ah…well I like the two you used, ‘stunning’ and ‘heartbreaking.’ Others have said, ‘addictive,’ ‘visceral,’ and ‘powerful,’ which works for me!
E: Are any of your characters inspired by people in your own life?
NM: Mary is a lot like me, or at least, someone I once was. And her mother is definitely my mom, hehe.
E: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
NM: I am SUCH a pantser. I’m feeling the pain of it right now with my next book—it’s this hundred- thousand-word behemoth that for sheer pantsing has spun completely out of my control. Now I must stop to plot, but I can’t bear it. Ugh.
E: What’s next in line for you? Are you working on a new book now?
NM: I’m pretty deep into my next book, which is based on my experience as an exchange student at what had been an all boys boarding school in England when I was 17. I was one of three girls in my grade and one of about twenty-five or so girls total—out of 700 boys. It’s called ‘Lucy Gray’ after the Wordsworth poem, and one of the main characters is a ghost.
E: Where is your favorite place for writing? Do you have any special writing rituals?
NM:  I can only write at home, at my desk and sometimes on my couch or in bed, although with the latter I usually fall asleep before too much work gets done. As far as rituals, that would be coffee made in a French press and a thousand words every morning immediately after I wake up and before I do anything else (and I usually wake up around 5am).

E: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
NM: I always say just write—all the time—and read. Take as many workshops as you can, not for what you will learn about how to write, but because it will force you to produce and submit stuff—you’ll get used to not just finishing stories and chapters, but also revising them. Workshops are also great for learning to steel yourself to criticism—taking what’s useful to you, but also standing firm on your vision and telling your story the way you want to tell it—having the confidence in your work to not let the bullshit feedback destroy it. I know how I want things to sound, it’s like I listen to the story in my head—& I say tell it like you hear it.
E: What genres do you like to read in your free time?
NM: I love dark, edgy fiction, biographies, and the occasional true crime.
E:  Which of your favorite books would you recommend everybody to read?
Everything by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Jean Rhys. ‘Voyage in the Dark,’ ‘Quartet’ and ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’ are a few of my Rhys favorites, although be forewarned, they’re pretty dark. But exquisitely written. Contemporary writers I would say ‘Cold Water’ and ‘Joshua Spassky’ by Gwendolyn Riley are pretty much perfect, beautiful books. I love ‘Brass’ by Helen Walsh and ‘Here Kitty Kitty’ by Jardine Libaire. I just read two brilliant memoirs by James Brown—‘The Los Angeles Diaries’ and ‘This River’ which completely blew me away. Some of my other all time favorites are Jerzy Kosinski—‘The Painted Bird,’ William Styron—‘Lay Down in Darkness,’ pretty much everything by Colin Wilson, D.H. Lawrence and Thomas Hardy…I could go on, but that’s what’s at the top of my head at this particular moment.
E: If you could time travel, where would you go first?
NM: Paris in the 20’s. I’d like to wear all those clothes and drink champagne in ‘the blue hour’ with Jean Rhys.
Random Questions:

- white or dark chocolate? white
- coffee or tea? coffee first thing, green tea rest of the day.
- favorite fictional character? Madame Bovary (an addict after my own heart).
- favorite junk food? Wine Gums
- guilty pleasure? So You Think You Can Dance.
- ebook or printed copy?  Printed copy, forever!

Nina, thank you so much for joining us today!  
I'm looking forward to reading and reviewing your next books!

I hope you guys enjoyed the interview, for more information about Nina-Marie Gardner and her books, please visit his website: Nina-Marie Gardner or/and read my review of: Sherry&Narcotics.

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Giveaway Time! 
Nina generously provided us with two printed (and signed!!!) copies of her stunning book!!!

Open to everyone
Ends: Friday, September 2nd

*Mandatory entry: be a GFC follower of my blog and leave a comment with your email address.
*Extra entries: 
+1 Follow me on Twitter @SeoEvie
+5 Be Nina's Goodreads Fan HERE

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About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


Margaret said...

Count me in on the giveaway! I'm a GFC follower. thanks!


Let's Evaluate said...

Thanks for the chance to win, this sounds really good. [:

GFC: Erin

Coreena McBurnie said...

Thanks for the contest, sounds like a great book.
GFC/Twitter/Goodreads fan: Coreena McBurnie
coreenamcburnie at gmail dot com

roro said...

tnx 4 the contest, sounds like a cool book
gfc/goodreads: rogier caprino
Twitter: rocapri

rogcaprino AT hotmail DoT com

Kary said...

I would love a chance to win this amazing sounding book! I am a GFC follower, and I fanned Nina on goodreads! My email is

Loony Linh said...

Lovely interview! This book sounds really good! Looking forward to her next book now that I know of it...


Follower via GFC as Loony Linh
Email: trunghiep61 {at} yahoo {dot} com

StuckInBooks said...



Bethie said...

Thanks for the giveaway. I follow on GFC.

Lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Cary Cheyenne. said...

This was a wonderful interview!!

I am a GFC Follower: Cary Cheyenne.
I do follow you on Twitter: @CaryCheyenneXO
I am a fan of Nina on Goodreads: Cary Cummings.



Dana said...

I would love to win this! I am a follower GFC and twitter.

Audrey said...

Thanks for the great giveaway!
GFC- audreyclair

janhvi said...

Thanks for the chance to win this!

GFC-Janhvi Jagtap

justjanhvi at gmail dot com

buddyt said...

I can imagine but only to a small degree, the pain and confusion the author went through while writing the book and I would imagine from what she says during the interview, that she has written a very real and moving story.

This is the first I have seen anywher on the book but I would be very interested in reading it.

Thanks for the giveaway and for opening it to International entries.

Please enter me.

I Follow via GFC - buddyt

Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

xlacrimax said...

Sounds good, count me in! :)
GFC: xlacrimax

ony said...

gfc ony_stanciu
twitter OnyA

Diana said...

Thanks for the great giveaway!
GFC follower as Diana
Twitter as @artdem83
Nina's Goodreads Fan as Diana

artgiote at gmail dot com

Susan said...

This books sounds really good - thanks for the giveaway.

I am a GFC follower.

I am a fan of Nina's on Goodreads.


Jeanne said...

Thank you so much for the chance to win♥
GFC: Jeanne
Twitter follower: @JanaRathouska

gaby said...

GFC: gaby
I falow you on twitter: Gabytzzaa
I'm Nina's fan on Goodreads: Gaby

Natasha Areena said...

Definitely enter! Thank you :>
follower thebookish96(at)

Shae Carcar said...

The cover looks intricate, i love it. thanks for the giveaway shae_carcar(at)yahoo(dot)com

JaZziE said...

Name: Jessica

I've done all the extra entries..
Twitter: @jessically
Goodreads name: Jessica

Thank You.

alipeli said...

thanks for giveaway
email -
GFC - alipeli
twitter - @Al20Peli
Nina's fan - Alipeli

Jason McIntyre said...

SO excited for your next book, Nina! I mean SO SO SO!

Great to see you here at Evie's place. She makes fine cup of tea, doesn't she?

j. //

marybelle said...

I did enjoy the interview thank you. Thanks for the generous giveaway.

GFC: Mary Preston

Goodreads: Mary Preston


Darlene said...

Please enter me in the draw!

I'm following you on GFC (Darlene), and my email address is darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Darlene said...

+1 following you on Twitter

darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com

Darlene said...

+5 Nina's Goodreads fan (Darlene)

darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com

micia said...

Thanks for this giveaway
follower gfc micia
follower twitter @micia18

Ifrah Kamil said...

Thank you so much for this give away!
Looking forward to reading the book!
+1 GFC Follower :Ifrah Kami
+1 Twitter Follower:Twinklesmile023
+5 Fan on Goodreads : Ifrah Kamil


Nancye said...

This sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance.

GFC Follower

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

+1 Twitter Follower

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

+5 Goodreads Fan

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

aparajita said...

great interview

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