Thursday, February 15, 2018

#Giveaway - Review - Tides of Honour - Interview - Genevieve Graham

Today it is my pleasure to introduce an author who has quickly become a favorite of mine, she writes historical realism fiction featuring Canadian history that time and the world forgot. Please welcome Genevieve Graham to the blog, she's talking today about her WWI era novel, Tides of Honour. I absolutely loved listening to this novel and the narrator is top notch. My review is included below.  
She's also sponsoring an audible giveaway of this title details below.

Tides of Honour

By: Genevieve Graham
Narrated by: Fajer Al-Kaisi
Length: 12 hrs and 22 mins
Release date: 11-09-17
Language: English
Publisher: Audible Studios


From best-selling author Genevieve Graham comes a novel of love, loss, and honor amid the horrors of war and its aftermath.

In the summer of 1916, Private Daniel Baker marches into battle with the boys of Nova Scotia's 25th Battalion. Out of brutal necessity, Danny has steeled himself against the trials and horrors of war, but he is completely unprepared to meet the love of his life in war-torn France.
Audrey Poulin has the soul of an artist. She lives alone with her grandmother in the quiet French countryside, where her only joy is in her brush and palette. When by chance she encounters Danny, the handsome young soldier captures her heart and inspires her painting. The young lovers believe that only together can they face the hardships the war brings.
But love is just the beginning. Mere months later Danny is gravely wounded at the Battle of the Somme, and his future is thrown into uncertainty. Soon he and Audrey find themselves struggling to build a new life in Halifax, a city grieving its lost men. As the gray winter of 1917 sets in, Danny's lack of purpose and Audrey's isolation continue to mount, pulling the two apart just as a new catastrophe threatens their existence.

Heartrending and enthralling, Tides of Honour is a novel of love and second chances set against Halifax's most devastating moment of the First World War.

Genevieve is offering
One audible copy of
Tides of Honour
Open Internationally
Please Use Rafflecopter form to enter
Good Luck!

Book Trailer

Genevieve hi! Welcome to The Reading Frenzy.
Deb, thank you so much for inviting me here and for the opportunity to say hello to your readers. Hello, everyone!

I had never heard of the Great Halifax explosion- and I really love getting a history lesson within the pages of an interesting novel, and especially learning about some history of our closest neighbor to the north. Plus I understand this is one of a number of novels celebrating Canadian history.
Was it a sense of duty, your love of history or something else that drew you to tell these tales?
I feel incredibly fortunate to be doing what I’m doing – not only do I get to write stories that I hope will touch people’s hearts, I am bringing to light history of which so many people are unaware. To me, that’s what historical fiction is all about: breathing life back into history by creating characters who will compel readers to crave more.

Yes, I have committed myself to writing historical fiction based on Canada’s past, and my third book in that series is about to be published this April. My reason for this began as a personal one: I have never been a “historian”. As a student I had absolutely no interest in history; I memorized names, dates, and places for exams then I promptly forgot all about it. But as I got older I began to read (and my husband might say ‘get obsessed with’) good historical fiction, and I began to look around for more. I began to write when I was in my forties, and that’s when I awakened to the fact that while there are wonderful books and movies focused on the histories of many countries (America, Europe, Great Britain, etc), Canada’s past has been largely ignored. Why? Because I can tell you, we are so much more than polar bears, canoes, and the word eh!

When I began to do research for Tides of Honour, I had just moved to Nova Scotia, and I didn’t know anything about the Halifax Explosion. What concerned me even more was that my two daughters, who recently graduated from high school, had not been taught about it either. The largest manmade explosion in the world (before Hiroshima) happened in the Halifax Harbour, and future generations will know nothing about it? Unacceptable, in my opinion. At the same time, I was uneducated about Canada’s incredible military history. I understood little of the courageous, selfless heroes who played such major roles in world history. Thirdly, for Tides of Honour, I needed to learn about the thousands of immigrants who came to this country. Why did they come? Where did they come from? Who did they become once they were here?

The most rewarding part of what I do is receiving emails and messages from readers who, like you, admitted they knew nothing about this event in Canadian history and were fascinated to learn about it – and now they are hungry for more knowledge. I have so many more stories to tell, and I can’t wait to share them.

Genevieve, in Tides of Honour you aren’t afraid to show the brutality of war or the times as well as the compassion and the characters many human flaws.
Tell us about your stars, Danny and Audrey.
No, I’ve never been the kind of writer to pull punches when it comes to history and reality. If an author is going to be authentic, they are responsible for telling the whole truth, and that includes all the ugly truths. History is not always safe or pretty, and we need to feel the pain as well as the beauty.

My first draft of Tides of Honour was all about Danny. Audrey was his other half, but I didn’t know enough about her to really fill in the details. But that’s what my editor wanted to know: why would a character like Danny fall in love with Audrey, a girl he’d really only met once? Who is she? What makes her fall in love with Danny? So at first, Audrey was a mystery to me. The more I learned and wrote about her, the more I understood the chemistry between the two, and the fundamental need they had for each other.

I also love a novel with strong women characters and I love how you’ve injected the suffrage movement into your tale. 
What made Audrey a good suffragette?
I think Audrey happened upon the suffragettes without any idea what it was, and through them she got a better understanding of who she was and who she wanted to be. Through her journey, she is given the opportunity to grow, but she has lived so long in the middle of nowhere in the shadow of her grandmother, she really doesn’t know who she is. The suffragettes are about empowerment, equality, and women supporting women, and she soaks up all of that like a sponge.

Danny survived the war but lost his leg and he suffered from what we all now know is PTSD.
Why was it necessary for him to be an amputee?
Where I live, on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, the men have been fishermen for generations. They head off at 4am and come home late at night, sometimes days later. It’s a hard life, and an underappreciated one. Even nowadays, with hi-tech boats and fishing equipment and sonar, etc it is still a difficult way to live, and yet I don’t know of any who want to give it up. Danny embodies these men: until the war, his life was the sea. He comes back home with mental and emotional issues to deal with (PTSD – or rather ‘shell shock’ back then), but with a missing limb his entire life from before is suddenly impossible. He must not only figure out how to function in what was once a familiar environment, he must find a way to feel useful. I think it was Stephen King who said in order to develop a strong character, the author has to back them up so they’re on the edge of a cliff ... then push then off and see how they deal with it. Just like the way I look at writing history, I don’t play nice when it comes to the characters’ personal issues. Life is hard. How are you going to live it? You have a choice: will you run away and hide, or will you stand up and make something of yourself?

From your bio I understand you went to school for music (the oboe) and never aspired to be a writer, and that you were over 40 when you wrote your first story.
WOW!!That is hard to believe because your novel is amazing and was really hard to put down.Will you tell us about your road to authordom?
Thank you so much!!! When I was in my late 30s and early 40s, I was a stay-at-home mom with two busy little girls, but when they were about five and seven I reminded myself how important it was to take care of myself as well. I wanted to read – escape at least a little while, like I used to. I started with “Outlander”. Wow. I read that series seven times, and I looked for anything else that offered good quality historical fiction: Paullina Simons, Penelope Williamson, Joanna Bourne, Sara Donati ... then one day I told my wonderful, patient husband that I wanted to try and write something of my own. He said, “Okay. Have fun. See you in a few hours.” I tucked in at our only computer (it was 2006) and had absolutely no idea what to do next. Then I remembered Ms Gabaldon saying over and over in her speeches that she doesn’t tell the story, her characters do. I closed my eyes, let the characters form in my mind, then my fingers started to move. Hours later I handed over a bunch of pages, and my hubby said, “You know, that’s not bad!” I was hooked.

The first draft of my first novel (Scottish 18th century historical fiction with a little fantasy built in) was 165,000 words. That is huge, in case you’re wondering. Terrified, I sent off 25 pages to see if I could be part of a free programme at our library featuring a Resident Writer as a coach, and I was accepted. Encouraged by what I learned there, I went online and joined writers’ groups (my favourite is still and learned how to give and accept useful criticism. I devoured blogs about editing and writing, and I began to submit query letters to Literary Agents, editing my manuscript as I went along. It was now down to 80,000 words, and I knew it was clean and ready to go. After probably a hundred rejections, I got a call from a fascinating man (who is now my agent), and he asked me what I wanted to do with my writing life. That was the first time I’d really thought of it that way. He asked me to consider changing a thing or two about my manuscript, and I know now that he was both crafting the book and seeing if I was open to criticism. Within the next couple of months I had a two-book deal with Berkley, then they bought the third book. They all were Barnes & Noble bestsellers.
Having “made it” in publishing, I started up my own Editing business, editing over 70 books worldwide (all genres) and ghostwriting two more. It was interesting but difficult work, and though it paid the bills, it took over my mind so that I couldn’t hear my own characters anymore.
Then I moved to Nova Scotia, and Danny’s story took over my heart and soul. I closed my editing business and tightened my financial belt. I needed to dedicate myself to writing Canadian historical fiction, and my agent sought out the right Canadian publisher for me. I would never suggest an author (if they have their sights set on a major publisher) reach out to a publisher without a trustworthy, capable, experienced agent. Mine is worth his weight in gold. Since then, Simon & Schuster Canada have been absolutely wonderful, encouraging me with my Canadian historical fiction direction.
It’s been incredible, becoming an author, but I can’t say it is a “dream come true”, because I never even dreamed I’d be doing this for a career. I think I just came to a point in my life where my soul needed to create, and my country became my muse.

I just noticed that your upcoming novel releasing in April, Come From Away, features the Baker family too.
Will you tell us a bit about this novel and if so how are these related to your Tides of Honour characters?
After Tides of Honour, I missed the Baker family so much, and I got so many letters asking what would become of them. I don’t want to say too much about who the characters are in Come From Away (lest I accidentally share spoilers for Tides!), but I can tell you that it is the same family of Bakers, but it is twenty-five years later, during WW2. So the children in Tides of Honour are now grown up, and most are a part of this conflict as their father was part of the Great War.

One of the neat things about Come From Away is that the inspiration comes from a local legend. According to everyone I’ve spoken to in local archives and simply through conversation, a German U-Boat once floated silently into one of our deep harbours and some of the sailors came ashore. Somehow they ended up at a community dance, and people around here say, “Oh yes. I remember my Aunt telling me about that” or “My sister-in-law danced with one of them”, and I absolutely loved imagining that. But the story continued with more mystery: the boys and their ship vanished after the dance. Where did they go? Did they go anywhere at all?

Genevieve thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. Good luck with your upcoming and all your novels. I can’t wait to read/listen to the next one.
Will you be crossing the border to the south anytime soon for any author events?
Thank you! I’m looking forward to the “Timeless Tour” which I will be taking this coming spring with the wonderfully talented, bestselling author of ‘time-slip’ novels, Susanna Kearsley, but unfortunately we will only be stopping at Canadian cities since the tour is put together by a Canadian publisher. If any of your readers are up here in the Great White North and are curious about coming to see Susanna and me, I suggest you keep your eye on my facebook page, because I’ll share details as soon as I have them!

My Review
Genevieve Graham

Graham’s latest is a poignant, moving masterpiece of historical fiction, set during WWI both in the bloody trenches of France and Nova Scotia Canada it’s an epic tale of love, loss and hope. Told in the third person from the points of view of both the male and female lead protagonists, Danny and Audrey and with a matter of fact narrative this author weaves an exquisite tale that gives a voice to a piece of Canadian history, the Halifax Nova Scotia explosion of 1917, while showcasing important social issues of the time and telling a story that readers will find hard to put down. All her characters are willful and insightful but it’s the travails of Danny and Audrey that will evoke raw emotions. Fans of historical fiction, epic love stories and unforgettable characters will fall in love with this novel and I personally can’t wait to get my hands on another of her books.
Fajer Al-Kaisi is a new narrator to me and is unbelievably perfect for this story. His portrayal of Danny and Audrey is utter perfection and he handles all the other voices, accents and intonations brilliantly. His voice is articulate and mesmerizing and his emotion filled performance will bring tears.
Nova Scotia native Danny Baker along with his Canadian battalion are in France heading for the trenches when he meets a girl, falls in love as they correspond and asks her to marry him. Then war intrudes and Danny loses more than his two best friends, he loses his leg. Knowing he’s only half the man he used to be he doesn’t want his love to suffer being married to a cripple. She has other ideas but he knows the real battle will start when he gets home to his small fishing village.
As the Great War begins Audrey Poulin is living on a small family farm in the French countryside. She meets a Canadian soldier heading for the front and falls in love with him while exchanging letters. After learning of his severe injury and being sent home she’s determined to make her own way to be with him. She doesn’t know what to expect when she gets to him she only knows she has no choice but to take on what may be the biggest challenge of her life.

 Connect with Genevieve - Website - Facebook - Twitter
Meet Genevieve:Born in Toronto, Ms Graham settled in Musquodoboit Harbour, Nova Scotia with her family four years ago. She divides her working hours between writing new bestsellers, running her editing business, and teaching piano to local children.

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  1. It's wonderful to read a book and get a little history lesson as well. This sounds really good.

  2. Well I always say I have read enough 1 and 11 war stories, yet they are so good! Characters in very tough times. And... I like Canada so I have put this one into my wish list at Audible Debbie and no doubt will give it a listen at some point.

  3. I enjoyed this one as well Debbie and though the narration was well done. Great interview, I loved learning more :)

    1. Narrator was amazing Kim. I loved his rendition of Danny

  4. Eeeeek, I hope I win! THis sounds great. There is just something about WW1. The last war that old you know, and new warfare

  5. I'm listening to it now. :) Wonderful to get Genevieve's thoughts on the book and on how she got started with writing.

  6. I love the sound of this one. Thanks for the awesome interview and review.

  7. This sounds like a really great read! Hugs...RO

  8. Thanks for this captivating novel which I would enjoy greatly. This author writes wonderful books and Canada is my home.

    1. Oh good to know traveler. I'm glad I found another fan

  9. I love when people find fun ways to teach history. I've read several books where the author mixed in some history, even if the books are fictional, they can be based in a time where we still learn the history. Great interview.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads & Books of My Heart