Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Review of The Cottage at Glass Beach and Q&A with author Heather Barbieri

Q&A w/Heather Barbieri
The Cottage at Glass Beach

Heather, welcome to the B&N.com General Fiction forum
Tell us a little about your brand new novel
The Cottage at Glass Beach follows the story of Nora Cunningham, a political wife who journeys to a remote Maine island, looking for answers to her mother’s disappearance decades before, and to put distance between herself and the scandal surrounding her attorney general husband. But Nora finds more than she bargained for, as she struggles to come to terms with the past and save her young children, who have embarked on a reckless journey of their own.

This is your third novel
is release day still as exciting the third time around
It is. It marks that magical moment when the book takes that next step of the journey--from the author’s imagination and into the reader’s hands.

It says in your bio that you were among other things a voracious reader
do you think that has a direct correlation to wanting to be a writer
and did your wanting to write start at a young age as well
Yes, definitely. My grandmother and mother both grew up in somewhat challenging circumstances. Books were a refuge for them. My mother would always give me books for every birthday and at Christmas. She had excellent taste: A Wrinkle in Time, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and the Wolves of Willoughby Chase were among early favorites. I carried on the same tradition with my own children. That early exposure to the power of literature sparked my own imagination, and I kept a journal from the age of eight, and began dabbling in writing poetry not long after.
You also mentioned your favorite authors and reading over the years
who are your favorite authors today
There are so many wonderful writers at work today, it’s hard to single anyone out, but some books that never fail to inspire me for the beauty of their language and insight are James Salter’s Light Years, Elizabeth Bowen’s The Last September, Jane Gardam’s Old Filth, and Barbara Trapido’s Brother of Another Jack. I’m currently engrossed in Cheryl Strayed’s powerful memoir, Wild.



Are your children readers
Yes, they are. It’s fun to find books I think they’ll enjoy. They each have different taste. Among the titles they’ve enjoyed are the Hunger Games series, What Is the What, The Kite Runner, The Life of Pi, and The Shadow of the Wind.

Walk us through a normal day in the life of Heather.
 Well, with kids still at home, flexibility is key, even though they’re teenagers/young adults. But generally, after getting everyone out the door, I read the paper, trying to wake up (I’m not a morning person), then go for a run or a walk, both of which are conducive to jumpstarting the creative process, take a shower (also great for getting the thoughts flowing—though inconvenient in terms of writing things down), before finally sitting down to work. Late morning/early afternoons seem to be my most productive times, these days, but I can focus and write whenever an extra window of time presents itself.

If there was one piece of advice you could give an aspiring author what would it be
Don’t lose heart. Writing is a journey, both on the page and in life.

There is a lot of change going on in the publishing industry
in your opinion is self publishing a good idea for a new author
It’s really an individual decision. Self-publishing can be an excellent way to begin to find an audience.

I’m sure that fans would love to meet you in person
do you have any Barnes & Noble events or signings coming up
I love meeting fans too! I’ll be at the Barnes and Noble at Northgate in Seattle on May 15, 7 p.m.

Thank you so much for taking the time out of you busy schedule to chat with us and good luck with The Cottage at Glass Beach.

My pleasure!

My Review of The Cottage at Glass Beach

The Cottage at Glass Beach
Heather Barbieri
Harper Collins
320 pages
ISBN 13:9780062107961

As a small girl of five Nora’s life changed forever when her mother disappeared and her father took her away from the only home she ever knew on Burke’s Island and the Cottage at Glass Beach. Now she finds herself running back to avoid the publicity from the scandal that rocked her world and her marriage and to find sanctuary and refuge for her and her two daughters at least for the summer. As Nora reconnects with family and friends from her past she’s also aware that her mother’s ghost is never far away and her being here is stirring up memories long forgotten, she’s also aware the Island hasn’t changed much since those Irish immigrants, with her ancestors aboard first landed with their legends and myths and as she takes her sentimental journey of discovery she feels those myths and legends alive in her bones and on the Island as well. But Nora’s not alone on her Island and as she makes decisions and changed in her life her daughters are making discoveries of their own and some of them could be very costly indeed.

Heather Barbieri took me on a trip of a lifetime with this intuitive, imaginative and beautifully narrated novel. Not only did she give me a family drama but I felt I was in an adult fairy tale as well and in between the power plays of her characters and as her seals barked and her ghosts moaned and her seas crashed into the rocks I was taken away by her words to her world. Her characters were amazing and while some were real flesh and blood she made me wonder if others stepped out of the sea and out of an Irish legend.
The main thing the novel made me want was to see where else this talented storyteller could take me. Thank you Ms. Barbieri for a beautiful journey.
Buy the book here visit the author's website here