Interview + Giveaway: Under The Same Sky by Genevieve Graham

As you can see from my review, I very much enjoyed Under The Same Sky by Genevieve Graham. Genevieve has graciously agreed to answer a few of my questions. I’d like to give you a warm welcome to Good Books & Good Wine, Genevieve.

Under The Same Sky, Genevieve Graham, Author Photo Book Cover

Genevieve Graham author of Under The Same Sky

1. Your main character, Maggie, goes through several traumatic events. As an author was it a challenge to write about Maggie’s trauma?

Of course. I wrote Maggie’s story in first person, because that’s how she told it to me. Because of that, her actions and emotions were particularly vivid in my mind. There were times when I lost myself in the writing, sucked into the tragedy. I did cry, and I did feel a deep hatred and need for vengeance after that. I even wondered if she’d manage to actually pull out of it all.

I should probably explain here that I rarely know what my characters are going to say. It’s true. They appear to me when I’m sleeping, when I’m on a treadmill, when I’m driving or cooking dinner. Many times I’ve had to drop everything I’m doing just so I can get what they’re saying written down. My husband bought me a pen that lights up because of all the times I woke up at 2am, needing to scribble. I don’t dare forget a single word.

I wrote the first major, traumatic scene in one sitting because it was something I couldn’t bear to interrupt. I was shocked when I read it afterwards, actually! Initially, it was written even more graphically, but I removed anything gratuitous. It was important to tell the story but not wallow in it.

Why did I put her through that? What almost killed her made her stronger than she ever could have imagined. The situation made her desperate to contact Andrew, to reach to him for help. And it engaged him, helping him realize there was so much more to each other than dreams.

2. The Cherokee play quite a large role in Under The Same Sky and it is clear that a high level of research was put into the parts with the Cherokee. What was the most interesting thing you came across in your research?

That’s a difficult question to answer because I can’t think of one specific interesting “fact”. But I did meet an interesting person.

Before I wrote Under the Same Sky, I knew nothing about the Cherokee or any other native Americans. Shame on me, because these were, and are, a people worthy of our understanding. Now that I live in Nova Scotia, I am drawn to the Mic Mac people, and I want to research them further.

There are lots of books about native Americans; however, as I did with the research on the Scottish Highlands, I grew bored with books and decided to contact the experts instead. Through visiting his  HYPERLINK “http://www.cherokeebyblood.com” website, I met David Vann, better known as Iron Head. Iron Head is the great-great-great grandson of ‘Chief’ Rich Joe Vann of the Old Cherokee Nation, and a very generous resource for me.

The most interesting thing? That’s difficult, because I learned a lot. I think what fascinated me the most was how the Cherokee could be both incredibly peaceful and loving, then switch to being the terrifying people who are so often depicted in one-sided stories. Though this is a very dark fact, I found it interesting that though they did, on occasion, torture their captives, it was usually done in the belief that their gods would reward them based on the amount of pain inflicted! On the other hand, I loved that the Cherokee were all one big family. A child belonged to the entire tribe. They loved each other without question, and there were never any fences or dividers between homes.

They were regarded as cold-blooded killers and warriors. The fact is, no matter what colour you are, if you’re backed into a corner, you’re going to protect yourself. If someone moves onto your turf, you’re going to stand up for your rights. Sure, they fought, but they loved as well.

 3. Andrew and Maggie are not the typical romance hero and heroine. Neither come from a privileged background. I find this to be a departure from the romance I typically read. What was your decision process in creating Maggie and Andrew’s background?

I guess Andrew and Maggie are typical of my entire book. Nothing about it—or them—is stereotypical romance, as you know! A lot of historical romances deal with the upper crust, people who lived in a world of manners, etiquette, and wonderful (though often impractical) fashion. Those characters can often be predictable because they are so tightly restricted by the rules of their class system.

Obviously, not everyone lived well. My characters came from the earth, were raised rough, and grew up as well as they could despite everything. They had no rules beyond needing to follow their own moral compasses. Had they been of a more privileged class, would they have been able to ignore the rules and follow their dreams the way they did? I think the challenges that made their lives more difficult helped make believing in the impossible possible, if that makes sense!

4. I love the idea of characters who have known each other their whole lives but never met. What was your inspiration for this?

I guess it’s based on my belief that we all have a soul mate, and something inside us longs for them until we find them. It’s just that in real life, we don’t usually know who that soul mate is until we’re all grown up and we discover them. Imagine longing for someone you can sense in your dreams. You can almost see them, you can practically touch … but you can’t. What would you do to get to that person? Would you put your own life in danger just so you could finally touch? Andrew never hesitated.

5. Have you read any good books lately? Care to share a few titles?

Sure! Just so you know, I’m not a regency reader. I prefer books thick with adventure.

I’m loving Kaki Warner’s work and am just digging into her most recent, “Colorado Dawn”. She writes 19th century western romances and her characters are delicious.

I get a kick out of Joanna Bourne’s brilliant adventures, based in the time of the French Revolution and can’t wait to sink into “The Black Hawk”.

I recently finished Jennifer Roberson’s “Lady of the Forest” and am a huge admirer of how she can make the reader believe the author actually lived in that time period. Her use of language is incredible.

And then there’s Diana Gabaldon. I’ll never get tired of her books, and her latest, “The Scottish Prisoner” is no exception.

Want to know more about Genevieve Graham? She’ll be appearing at Authoronomy on January 13th.

Contest Details:

Want my gently read paperback of Under The Same Sky? Just leave a comment on this post.  That’s all you need to do. The contest is open internationally and I will pick a winner out on the 17th. I will announce the winner ON THIS POST.

And the winner is: Kayla!!

About April (Books&Wine)

April is 28 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

Comments

  1. Sounds like a good book! I often avoid adult romances because they all seem the same to me but this one sounds really different (in a good way).

  2. Carol Thompson says:

    The American Indian theme sounds like this would be an interesting read.

    Please enter me.

    Thanks.

    Carol

  3. Mary Preston says:

    I love that your research took you right to the source. I know very, very little about the Cherokee. Eager to learn in the context of your book.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

  4. Thanks for the giveaway April! This sounds really good, and thanks to Genevieve for coming on here to answer questions!

    tahleen{dot}ovian{at}gmail{dot}com

  5. This sounds like such a great read.
    Thanks for the great giveaway!!!

  6. This definitely sounds like it’s different from any romance I’ve ever read – and I’d love to have a chance to check it out!

  7. It’s definitely nice to take a break from the other “stereotypical” romances out there and read a romance where the characters are not so privileged.

    Great recommendations! I LOVE Diana Gabaldon. 🙂

  8. I think it’s so interesting to learn how different Authors write, and how they bring their characters to life on paper. I have so much respect and awe for the worlds they take us to. I love that her husband got her a pen with a light. that’s so cute!

    I feel in my life I have found my soul mate, and it’s true what she says.. in real life you don’t know until you meet them.. but I can say without a doubt, that if I was in Maggie and Andrews position, I wouldn’t hesitate a second to do anything in my power to get to him. <3

  9. Thanks everyone!
    Rebecca, Alexa, and Cialina – I know what you mean, and while there are some beautiful books out there, after a while they can get repetitive. I tried to walk a step outside the lines in this book – hope you like it!

    Carol & Mary – I had no idea I was going to write about Cherokees when I first started writing “Under the Same Sky”, but I am so glad they worked their way into the story. I loved learning about them, and Ironhead Vann (cherokeebyblood.com) was an amazing source of information. Plus – how cool is it to get emails from a guy named “Ironhead”? 🙂

    Cialina – I’m hoping Diana’s fans will consider my books when they start wondering what to read next! Since I’m one of them, I know that feeling!

    Good luck everyone! I hope you enjoy “Under the Same Sky”.

  10. Kaki Warner says:

    What interesting questions and insightful answers. This is a great book–I’ve read it. Genevieve has a style as magical as her story and it’s a joy to sink into Maggie’s and Andrew’s lives. Any author who can create a situation (i.e. psychic connection) that is well beyond the experience of most readers, yet still make it seem totally believable and logical, is a great writer. I highly recommend this book–it’s an amazing debut.

    (No need to enter me in the drawing–I already have a copy.)

  11. And that is the greatest compliment, since it comes from Kaki Warner, an author (and person) I truly admire. Her latest book, “Colorado Dawn” is out now and is roaring up the bestsellers charts.

  12. This book is on my wishlist. Can’t wait to read it.

  13. This book sounds so interesting! One of my favorite professors loves Native American literature and I’ve been meaning to read more of that genre. While this book probably does not count since the author is not Native American herself, it’ll still be a nice start considering the amount of research she put into the book to make it as accurate as possible.

    Thanks for the chance to win!

    • I learned so much about the Cherokee, and a lot of it wasn’t even included in the book because it was too far removed from the plot. But I have a feeling I’ll have to use it somewhere … perhaps one of my fine Cherokee braves needs a story …

  14. Christina says:

    Hi Genevieve! I love seeing how excited you are by your book and its response, and it’s so inspiring to see a dream realized. Can’t wait to read it!

    • It’s really amazing, this whole journey. I never ever imagined being on the author side of these blogs! In fact, when I sign books for people, I write “Believe in dreams” because, well, first off, my book has a dream theme running through it, but this is also a dream of mine that came true. Thanks for your support – I hope you enjoy the book!

  15. Thanks for a lovely post and giveaway! I love the premise of this book! nice to have something different and I’m really intrigued.

    Thanks again!

  16. It was fun, writing “outside the box”. Let me know what you think after you’ve read it!

  17. I hope you’ll all come visit my website, http://www.GenevieveGraham.com and sign up for my newsletter!

    Thanks for having me here with you all. It’s a tremendous honour to “meet” the folks who will actually read my book.

  18. very nice book!would like to read it !

Leave a Comment

*

CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: