Thursday, May 22, 2014

Showcase: The Mark of the Hummingbird by Jessica Gollub


The Mark of the Hummingbird:
Burying the truth in the snow can’t conceal it forever. Leona was born a survivor—one of the few sheltered in a prison that withstood the plummeting temperatures of the frozen days. Now, as the weather slowly warms, she struggles to understand a culture and society vastly different than the one created by her elders. Standing on the cusp of her seventeenth birthday, the day she will officially become a woman and eligible for marriage, the tiny world she had long since accepted suddenly seems stifling. Conflicts and curiosity propel her beyond the fences of her home into a barren and uncertain future, with one asset that just might keep her alive

On Twitter: @GollubJessica
Jessica Gollub

Q.  What inspires your writing?

A. Mainly escapism. I am a stay-at-home mom with two preschool kids and writing gives me a place to “be” that doesn’t involve diapers, dishes or dirty laundry. It offers a sanctuary from the everyday and a chance to let my mind be free. Most of the book ideas I have in my head originated from the same place—rocking a baby in the dark when I should have been sleeping. Perhaps it was an extension of dreaming, or just a time when I was quiet and had nothing better to do than let my mind wander.

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

A. My favorite part has to be that I am finally fulfilling a dream that I’ve held since I was a kid. I’ve wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember (though I followed the advice of my parents and “found a job that I could fall back on”). Finding myself in the position where I can make those dreams a reality is very satisfying. It was like realizing who I really was. I should add, however, that the cherry on the top is when strangers love my book and want more.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being a writer?

A.  The hardest part has to be writing. Like I said, I have a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old at home with me all day, and as I am answering this question I can hear them yelling at each other about the best way to make the bed. I love my kids, but when “they” said it’s impossible to get anything done when you have kids at home… “they” were right. I find myself careening backwards more days than not.


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

A. Let’s see, I’ve already been a wedding photographer, administrative clerk, serial entrepreneur and mother… so maybe a neuro-physicist? I have a kind of undiagnosed attention disorder, in which I feel a deep need to try any crazy idea that leaps into my brain. (This problem combined with my utter fear of finishing this life having accomplished nothing due to a lack of trying creates a circular catastrophe waiting to happen). I have no idea where I would be, but it would probably be really fun and a great story to tell when I’m old.

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

A. I’m hoping it will be “Jessica’s Lack of Patience and How it Changed the World”, and not “How Jessica Screwed Everything Up”, but we’ll have to wait and see.


Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?

A. Good question, I’ve read so many and it’s very rare that I go back to one, but “To Kill a Mockingbird” will always be a favorite of mine. There’s something about a classic that sucks me right back in. I also really loved Dean Koontz’s “Relentless”. Any thriller that makes me laugh out loud in the middle of a scary scene is a winner in my books.


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

A. I’d love to say someone like “Katniss Everdeen”, (you know, brave, selfless, kick-ass) but if I’m honest with myself I’m more like Bridget Jones. I don’t have her relationship problems, but I have my share of bad habits, weight concerns, self-consciousness, and sarcastic wit.

Q.  What character from you book are you most like?

A. I think I’m a mix of my characters, but Leona is probably the person I see myself in most. She has a very deep sense of right and wrong and a natural skepticism that keeps her out of trouble (and sometimes gets her into it).


Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?

A. Either the Game of Thrones series (though I’d totally not RSVP to the “Red Wedding”) or the Outlander series. My life is kind of boring, so I’d go for a weekend of adventure.


Q.  What is your favorite season?

A. Not winter. Hah! (You would think I would love winter since my book is set during an eighteen-year ice age). I live in Manitoba, Canada where the temperature can dip to -40F in the winter and go as high as 90F in the summer. I like the middle temperatures, so spring and fall are probably my favorites.

Q.  What inspired your book cover? 

A. I’ve always been a kind of visual person, photography is my other passion, so I think I had the cover idea in my head for a long time before I executed it.  I don’t know exactly where it came from, but it made sense to me, so I went with it.

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

A. So far the funniest thing that happened was that someone reviewed my book and said she picked it up thinking it would be about hummingbirds, which she loved, and was surprised that it was a sci-fi novel. She loved it anyway, which is fantastic, but it gave me a good chuckle for a few days.


Q.  Are you working on something new?

A. Yes: the next book in this series, called “The Song of the Sisters”. It’s not a continuation of “The Mark of the Hummingbird” but rather tells the story of someone who was mentioned in the first book. It’s very different from the first book, which is fun, and all the characters from the “Hummingbird” will show up eventually, like a big twisted family reunion. 


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

A. Don’t be scared to take a chance on a self-publisher.  I can’t say that all indie books are good (in fact, I know a lot of them that aren’t), but there are some real gems out there. I’m one of the people who self-published mainly because I knew I could put the whole package together on my own, and because in the real world, it could take 2-3 years to get a book in print (after it’s written) while I could do it in a month (I told you about my lack of patience, right?). I haven’t even tried to shop my book around to publishers, not because I don’t think it’s good enough, but because I think it’s good enough to go it alone. Fingers crossed. Try us out, you might be surprised!

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