Sunday, April 26, 2015

Showcase: A Foolish Consistency by Andrea Weir

Book Description
When a trip to the emergency room on Christmas Eve brings Callie Winwood together with Will Tremaine, the man she once thought she’d marry but has not seen in twenty-five years, their chance meeting reignites feelings each has harbored for more than two decades. 

Their journey toward one another is anything but simple, however. Following the death of his wife, Joanna, two years earlier, which he believes he caused, Will has devoted himself to his two young children. 

As Will and Callie struggle with their own personal histories of love and loss, they must also navigate the complex emotions of Will's children who still grieve for their mother. At the same time, they must struggle with Joanna's family, who refuse to accept that she is gone, and will do anything to avoid facing the truth. 

Just as Callie and Will find happiness at last, they are forced apart when a scandal threatens to unravel their respective families. Putting their children above all else, Callie and Will separate — willingly but painfully — until an unexpected ally intervenes. 

A Foolish Consistency explores the damage — emotional and otherwise — wrought by unacknowledged fear and grief, as well as the futility of trying to control the uncontrollable. Yet, it is also a passionate love story, and a statement on the power of hope, the importance of forgiveness, and, ultimately, the joy of redemption.

About Andrea
Andrea Weir is an accomplished journalist whose work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country and around the world. Born in Boston, she grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area then completed a degree in English literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She and her husband continue to live in Santa Barbara, where they raised their two daughters, Rebecca and Catherine. An avid reader and writer since childhood, Weir composed her first stories in grade-school notebooks, and has filled upwards of 30 journals since she received her first one as a gift at age 13. She has led writing workshops for high school students, and seminars on journaling for people of all ages.

Among the highlights of her writer’s life is a trip to the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth Village in West Yorkshire, England, where Charlotte Brontë created Jane Eyre and Emily Brontë penned Wuthering Heights.

A Foolish Consistency is Weir’s first novel. She is currently working on the sequel.

Q.  What inspires your writing?
A. I am inspired by the stories of people’s lives. In my own writing I like to explore universal human emotions and experiences — love, loss, sadness, grief, joy, redemption. In A Foolish Consistency, for example, grief plays a central role (“looms large … becoming something of a character in itself,” according to Kirkus Reviews), but the story is about how people deal with it, and what happens when they don’t.

The best works of fiction, I think, are those that resonate with people and allows them to glimpse reflections of themselves.
Q.  What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
A. The freedom of expression. My characters say whatever words I put in their mouths, and through them I can explore all kinds of circumstances, situations, and experiences. I start with the statement, “I wonder what would happen if …” and see where it takes me.
Q.  What is the toughest part of being a writer?
A. Exercising the self-discipline to sit down and write. Actually, I think the toughest part is first telling the internal editors and other naysayers in my head to be quiet, and then exercising the self-discipline to sit down and write.

It’s also tough to stay balanced and not be undone by the business of writing and publishing. For a writer, the only thing that matters — that should matter — is to tell a good story. Sometimes I have to remind myself that. A writer writes, first and foremost. The rest — be it fame, fortune or anything else — is secondary to the work itself.
Q.  If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?
A. I would probably teach literature. I love that fiction enables us to explore different worlds and try on different personas. It gives us opportunities to practice compassion and empathy; it allows us to consider people in ways we might not otherwise, and to understand motives behind their actions. And we can bring some of that understanding into our real lives.
Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?
A. “All In Good Time”
Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?
A. There are so many books I love, but I think my favorite of all time is Becky’s Birthday by Tasha Tudor. It’s the first book I checked out of the library when I was six or seven years old, and I absolutely adored it. We were allowed to keep books for two weeks, and I’d check it out every other visit. I was enthralled by the writing, the illustrations, and by Becky’s loving family.

It is the book that taught me it’s possible to get lost in fiction, and it is the first book I fell in love with.
Q. What character from ANY book are you most like?
A. Jo March in Little Women. There’s the writing, of course, but also her commitment to her family, her strength combined with compassion, her stubbornness, and also that she’s a bit unsure of herself.
Q.  What character from any of your books are you most like?
A. I’m probably most like Callie, because our childhood experiences are so similar. She has taught me a lot about life and about myself.
Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
A. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Armin. It’s the book on which the film Enchanted April is based. Who wouldn’t want to spend a weekend in San Salvatore, a castle high above a bay on the Italian Riviera? Who wouldn’t want to spend a weekend with those four women?
Q.  What is your favorite season?
A. I don’t have a favorite season. I really like them all for their individual qualities. I love long summer days and warm evenings, but I also like curling up by the fireplace on a cold winter night. Shakespeare said it much better than I can: “At Christmas I no more desire a rose,/Than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled mirth;/But like each thing that in season grows.
Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
A. Roses figure prominently in my novel, beginning with the epigraph, a quote from Emerson’s essay on self-reliance: “The roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones; they are for what they are …”

Also, the background is reminiscent of an exterior wall or a headstone — depending on how you look at it.
Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
A. I don’t know that I’d call this funny, but a woman approached me in a bookstore after a reading and shared practically her entire life story with me. Over the course of the conversation she interrupted herself a few times to say she couldn’t believe she telling me such personal details when we had only just met.
Q.  Are you working on something new?
A. Yes, I’m working on the sequel to A Foolish Consistency, though it doesn’t have a working title yet. It answers some of the questions that didn’t get completely resolved, and explores a new set of themes (though loss and grief and difficult relationships still figure prominently). It also provides a broader family history and looks at issues related to mental health.  
Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A. Aside from, “I hope you’ll read my novel?” (That was a joke.) Actually, what I’d like to say is, “Thanks for reading — anything.” Books make us more intelligent, more interesting, more curious, more discerning, more everything. They make us better people. 
And can I put in a plug for my novel by way of mentioning that I just learned I am a finalist for a Foreword Review’s 2014 IndieFAB Book of the Year Award? The winners will be announced in June.

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