Sunday, April 26, 2015

Showcase with review: Girl Underwater by Claire Kells


An adventurous debut novel that cross cuts between a competitive college swimmer’s harrowing days in the Rocky Mountains after a major airline disaster and her recovery supported by the two men who love her—only one of whom knows what really happened in the wilderness. 

Nineteen-year-old Avery Delacorte loves the water. Growing up in Brookline, Massachusetts, she took swim lessons at her community pool and captained the local team; in high school, she raced across bays and sprawling North American lakes. Now a sophomore on her university’s nationally ranked team, she struggles under the weight of new expectations but life is otherwise pretty good. Perfect, really.

That all changes when Avery’s red-eye home for Thanksgiving makes a ditch landing in a mountain lake in the Colorado Rockies. She is one of only five survivors, which includes three little boys and Colin Shea, who happens to be her teammate. Colin is also the only person in Avery’s college life who challenged her to swim her own events, to be her own person—something she refused to do. Instead she’s avoided him since the first day of freshman year. But now, faced with sub-zero temperatures, minimal supplies, and the dangers of a forbidding nowhere, Avery and Colin must rely on each other in ways they never could’ve imagined.

In the wilderness, the concept of survival is clear-cut. Simple. In the real world, it’s anything but.

Claire Kells

I'm a writer, a second-year resident, and a bagel eater. Seriously, I can't start my day without a hot bagel and a Diet Coke (from the fountain only - and yes, this means I'm out there walking those San Francisco hills at dawn to get it!). I don't have many other quirks. That's not true. I have many. Thanks for stopping by and I hope I haven't confused/scared you.

I love a good story - fiction, non-fiction, mystery, spy novel, romance, Young Adult. I'll read anything with a good story at its core. As a writer, I live by the same rule. 

GIRL UNDERWATER is my first novel, coming in March 2015 from Penguin/Dutton.

Brilliant, emotional and completely stunning, Girl Underwater, will leave the reader emotionally exhausted in the best possible way! 4 stars

Q.  What inspires your writing?

A. Great books. I have always been inspired by stories.

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

A. I love connecting with readers. Nothing is more gratifying than hearing from someone who escaped into your story for a few hours. 

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

A.  For a long time, rejection was the toughest part for me. After a while, I somehow learned to accept that rejection is a reliable and permanent part of this process. It’s not personal. I had been through the submission process twice before with manuscripts that didn’t sell, and it was that experience that taught me how to fail gracefully! 

These days, the hardest part is finding the time to sit down and write. I prefer to write for days and hours at a time, but my job makes that impossible. My time is never really my own. I do look forward to vacations when I can sit down for long periods and lose myself in whatever I’m writing. 

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

A. Well, I’ve got my medical career, so I guess there’s that! But in a fantasy world, I would love to be a director. I’m kind of obsessed with the entertainment industry.

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

A. Can You Speak Up?

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?

A. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

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

A. Esther Greenwood from The Bell Jar. When I read this book for the first time in college, I felt as though I was reading my autobiography! I connected with Esther on so many levels, which I know is worrisome because Esther is so depressed, but it was more than that. The ways in which she glimpsed happiness and purpose despite all the “noise” in her life really resonated with me.

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

A. I’m probably most like Colin’s youngest sister for reasons that are hard to explain because she’s hardly in the book. She’s kind of my cameo.

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

A. Harry Potter.

Q.  What do you want to be remembered for 100 years from now?

A. I hope someone remembers that I existed 100 years from now. That to me would be a victory.

Q.  What is your favorite season?

A. Summer—except in San Francisco. Summer in SF is cold and damp! I love a hot, humid New Jersey summer down the shore.

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

A. I didn’t have much say in the cover design, but that turned out to be a good thing because I absolutely love it. 

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

A. When I first received the Advanced Reader Copies, I showed them to friends and family. Everyone was like, “Wow! That’s so cool that you’re on the front cover!” It is true that the girl on the front looks like me, but it’s definitely not me. My friends and family still don’t believe this. 

Q.  Are you working on something new?

A. Yes! Always.

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

A.  I’m just so thrilled and flattered to be here! Thank you for having me. 

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