Friday, December 8, 2017

#MMBBR #Interview with @judyfogarty ‏author of #BreakingandHolding

Breaking and Holding: A Novel by [Fogarty, Judy]
For Patricia Curren, the summer of 1978 begins with a devastating discovery: an unfamiliar black pearl button in the bed she shares with her controlling husband, Jack. Seeking the courage to end her desolate marriage, Patricia spends a quiet summer alone on beautiful Kiawah Island. But when she meets Terry Sloan, a collegiate tennis player trying to go pro, their physical attraction sparks a slow burn toward obsession.
Once Patricia and Terry share closely guarded secrets from their pasts, they want more than a summer together. But their love soon fractures, as a potential sponsor takes an unusually keen interest in Terry—both on court and off. And when single, career-driven Lynn Hewitt arrives, other secrets must surface, including the one Patricia has kept from Terry all summer.
An intimate portrait of the folly of the human heart, Breaking and Holding explores buried truths that are startlingly unveiled. What’s left in their wake has the power not only to shatter lives…but to redeem them.

Judy Fogarty
Judy Fogarty lives, writes, reads, and runs on the historic Isle of Hope, in her native Savannah, Georgia. She holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Illinois and has served as Director of Marketing for private golf and tennis communities in the Savannah/Hilton Head area, including The Landings on Skidaway Island, Berkeley Hall, and Callawassie Island. She is a devoted (even rowdy) tennis fan as anyone who has ever had the pleasure (or displeasure) of watching a match with her will attest. Breaking and Holding is her debut novel. She is happily at work on her second, and as always, enjoys the invaluable support of her husband, Mike, and children, Colin and Sara Jane.



Q.  What inspires your writing?

Things I know and love inspire me and find their way into my work. In Breaking and Holding, my character, Patricia, shares my love of reading—of great stories and beautiful writing. Though I've never played tennis, I love the sport and am a devoted, sometimes rowdy fan. Not surprisingly then, Patricia's love interest, Terry, is a collegiate tennis player, and while the book's title refers to the challenge of relationships, it also refers to breaking and holding serve in a tennis match. Lynn and Jack have careers in advertising, as I did for many years. Finally, I love the beach and the beauty of the coastal South, so I set my novel on Kiawah Island, near Charleston.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

The process—especially the first draft. I write in the early morning, starting at four, while it's dark and quiet outside. My cozy office—that room of one's own that every writer needs—becomes a world of my own. The people at play there often act on their own and surprise me. (Really? Did she say that? Did she do that? And what window or door did that new character come in?) In the early hours, I'm totally, happily lost in both craft and story, but I never fail to hear the first bird sing, a sound I love.  

Q.  What is the toughest part of being a writer?  (Two choices here. Help me pick!)

Believing in yourself and your work, which I guess holds true for all of us in all meaningful tasks we undertake. I usually love my manuscript in the morning with total faith that others will love it too. But my opinion sometimes changes radically over the course of a day so that by the time I put my head on my pillow to sleep, my manuscript shrinks from excellence to mediocrity. Working through doubt, persevering, and taking risks are inescapable parts of the process, but I love to write and these lines from the poem Berryman by W.S. Merwin keep me going: you can never be sure/you die without knowing/whether anything you wrote was any good/if you have to be sure don't write.

Q.  If you could not be a writer, what would you do/be?

Along with writing, music is my passion. I have a master's degree in vocal performance, and while it's a too late for a career onstage in that area, I'd love to teach music appreciation or music history.  

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?  

I'd borrow a line from Tom Montana, a character in my new novel who is a former Olympian with a mysterious past. His mantra is a way of living I believe in: Start With Your Head, Finish With Your Heart.

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?

Ah, The Great Gatsby. I marvel at this gem of a novel that can be read on so many levels, that is so beautifully written, and that reflects an era so vividly—all in under 200 pages! I love Fitzgerald's prose. I love the characters, their situation and relationships, and especially Nick Carraway's description of Jay Gatsby as having an "extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again." No wonder Breaking and Holding has Gatsby-esque strains! Like Gatsby, it's a story of obsessive love and betrayal. It's set in a freewheeling era, the 1970s instead of Gatsby's 1920s. And narrator Lynn, like Nick, is a good friend and observer caught in the middle of a love triangle destined to implode.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?

This question totally stumped me, so I called on my writing group (True Lit), a close friend, and a sister for help. Evidently, I'm a mix of Nancy Drew, ("inquisitive, polite and a little feisty when pushed"), Hermione Granger (daring and "a wizard with words"), Pollyanna (always glad to find the sunshine in the rain), and Piglet from Winnie the Pooh (no explanation given, though I am petite)! Maybe I should try my hand at children's literature!

Q.  What character from all of your books are you most like?

Darcy, the protagonist of my new novel. A classical singer and professor of voice, she is deeply moved by both the music and poetry of art songs, and finds fulfillment in sharing and teaching music. Above all, she is a devoted single mother, whose four-year-son Zach is the center of her world and heart. There are differences, however, between Darcy and me. I'm married, my children are long past four, and other unusual qualities that are hers alone.
Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim. What could be better than escaping to a small medieval castle on the Italian Riviera for the express purpose of being "quiet and still"?
Q.  What is your favorite season?

Spring. It's gorgeous here in historic Savannah. As the season begins, azaleas blanket the city. As it ends, the salt marsh at the edges of our rivers and tidal creeks begins to green. Late March and early April aren't quite warm enough for swimming in the ocean, but May is, and even in early spring the beach is the perfect place to be—especially with a good book.

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?

Of my many favorites, I'll choose the cover of The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell. It's dramatic, intriguing and represents the story well. Both the title—slightly smudged and appearing to have been manually typed in traditional Courier font—and the typist's partial profile with deep red lips and a hint of a flapper hairstyle, identify the story's era of underworld speakeasies and jazz. Even more intriguing is the typist's subtle, shadowy upside down reflection, barely but eerily there. When I gave my publisher's design team a list of covers that I liked, I included this one. It definitely influenced the cover of Breaking and Holding.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.

At my launch party in my hometown, people I hadn't seen in decades turned out to buy my novel. Many, I'm sure, didn't know its elements: an illicit love affair, a hot steamy summer at the beach, and the Me Decade of the 1970s, with its "If it feels good, do it!" philosophy. At one point, I looked up from my signing table and saw a contingent of octogenarians, including my elementary school librarian, my childhood ballet teacher, and a very sweet neighbor, hobbling on two canes. All of them are dear to my heart, and I still wonder what in the world they thought of the book.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

Only that, as a first-time novelist, I'm grateful for every reader. While it's exciting to find just the right word for a sentence or create a paragraph that sings on the page, nothing means more to me than being read. I love hearing from readers too—whether it's about Breaking and Holding, which hopefully entertained and even resonated with them, or any book they've enjoyed. Readers are my tribe.


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