Today we have author Robin Antelak in the hot seat. She’s an interesting lady and I enjoyed having her visit for an interview. I think you’ll enjoy getting to know her a little better and learning about her latest release The Grown-Ups.
Afterward check out her blurb and don’t forget to enter her giveaway. The link is at the end of the post :)
I don’t always enjoy being the leader even though I’m often in that position, I’m mildly superstitious, and I’m a lazy chewer. That last one might be the reason I don’t eat meat. Seriously, I’ve been a vegetarian for years and years.
2. What’s your favorite hot beverage?
Coffee, hands down.
3. What genre (s) do you write?
I suppose it’s called Literary Fiction, although that’s not my label. I just write and worry about that stuff later, if ever.
4. One of my favorite parts of the writing process is choosing character names, how do you go about choosing yours?
Sometimes a character just ‘feels’ like a name… does that make sense? I’m drawn to simpler more traditional names: Sam, George Michael, Kate, Suzie etc. Sometimes I might mix it up, like I did for Finn in The Summer We Fell Apart and Bella in The Grown Ups. But I usually don’t venture into the top ten baby names list.
I tend to shake it up with character names. Sometimes I like the traditional and sometimes I like something a bit different. Thank you for sharing how you choose your characters names. I always find the answers very interesting :)
5. Finish this sentence : If I had to sum up The Grown Ups : A Novel by Robin Antalek in one sentence I’d have to say…
The Grown Ups is about families and friendships and the different ways, all our lives, together or apart, we continue to grow up.
6. What’s the first sentence from your book?
It was the summer all the children in the neighborhood caught a virus.
Now the last.
“My boys,” He said gesturing with the frame towards Sam, “my boys.”
This is a favorite question of mine…love your first sentence!
7. What makes your book stand out from others in the same genre?
That’s tough. But I’m going to say a compelling story about everyday, ordinary people. I hope I’ve told it in such a way that the reader will identify with the characters and see pieces of themselves, their friends, their families.
8. Did you have to do a lot of research for this book and if so how did you go about it?
I had to do some research, not a lot. Mostly about rehab facilities, medical schools, alcoholism and neurological disorders. As I write that it seems like quite a varied list – a depressing list! But it was far from that. Luckily, I have some amazingly accomplished friends and I was able to turn to them with specific questions.
9. Describe your writing work space.
We live in a drafty old Victorian house in upstate New York. I’m always cold, and I crave sunshine. So my desk, an eight foot long oak library table that I was lucky enough to get when Vassar College Library underwent a huge renovation is shoved into a semi octagonal bay beneath three floor to ceiling windows. My desk is covered with papers, notebooks and trays that contain a leaning tower of Pisa like arrangement of even more paper. Also in my space are overflowing bookshelves, photos, artwork, and usually my constant companion, my dog Elle.
LOL…love the sounds of your writing space. Sounds inspirational and interesting.
10. What’s your go to snack when you are writing?
Coffee, coffee, coffee.
11. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I had recently shelved a novel that I had worked on for two years, and was still dealing with the after effects of that decision. I was sitting on the floor of the used book shop in our library, surrounded by books, eavesdropping on the conversation of the two elderly volunteers manning the desk, when one of them said to the other: ‘It was the summer all of the children in the neighborhood got that virus’. I don’t know why but it intrigued me enough to write it down on the inside cover of one of the books I was buying. That sentence wouldn’t go away. Before long I had the character who voiced that sentence and then a group of characters, and a neighborhood and a virus. I wrote the first chapter as if someone were dictating it to me. It was crazy.
Robin, this is such a great story…and once again, that first sentence is awesome! So fun to hear how it came about :)
12. Would you give us a sneak peek into what your current WIP is?
It’s about a woman married to a larger than life artist and the choices she must make in order to save herself and her daughter.
The Grown Ups
By: Robin Antalek
Releasing January 27th, 2015
From Robin Antalek, author of The Summer We Fell Apart, comes an evocative and emotionally resonant coming-of-age novel involving three friends who explore what it means to be happy, what it means to grow up, and the difficulties in doing both together. Spanning over a decade, and told in alternating voices, The Grown Ups explores the indelible bonds between friends and family and the challenges that threaten to divide them. It is the addictive and moving story of these old friends who wind up confronting their past in order to find happiness in their adult lives that make this novel an anticipated winter release.
Sam Turner, the summer he turns 15, feels lucky enough to enjoy the unexpected attention of his friend Suzie Epstein, even though it’s only a few secret months. For reasons Sam doesn’t entirely understand—and will never question—the budding relationship is kept hidden from their close circle of friends. But before their summer tans can even start to fade, Sam’s world unexpectedly shatters twice: Suzie’s parents are moving away to save their marriage, and his own mother has suddenly left the house, leaving Sam’s father alone to raise two sons.
Watching as her parents’ marital troubles escalate, Suzie Epstein takes on the responsibility of raising her two younger brothers while simultaneously planning an early escape to college to seek independence. Though she occasionally thinks of Sam, it’s her oldest friend Bella Spade she finds herself missing. Embarrassed by the destructive wake of her parents as they left the only place Suzie could call home, Suzie makes no attempt to reconnect with the one person she needs. Its years later that a chance meeting with Sam’s older brother Michael will reunite her with both Sam and Bella—finally forcing her to confront her friends, her past and what she left behind.
After losing Suzie, Bella surprisingly finds her first real love in Sam. But his inability to commit to her or even his own future eventually drives them apart. Watching Suzie and Michael as they seem to have worked it all out, Bella’s only to wonder where she went wrong and how to make it right.
Mrs. Spade died in the winter of their junior year of college and they all returned home for the funeral.
Bella had called from Vassar to tell Sam. He’d picked up the phone and heard his name and then nothing, just a rush of air across the wires followed by what sounded like a far away howling. Bella and Sam had continued, despite distance and any real commitment, to find their way back to each other. She surprised him first at school, showing up at his door, and they had fallen back onto his twin mattress as if they were starving. It felt exotic, somehow, to be in a place where no one knew them as a couple. To hold hands as they shared crummy food off Sam’s meal ticket at the dining hall, to drink dollar pitchers at The Rat, to wake up next to each other and have sex without talking, like they had the map of what they liked inked indelibly in their brains. By the time Sam’s roommate returned from his girlfriend’s place, the weekend ended, the buzz would wear off, and Sam would think they wouldn’t do it again. Until one of them showed up on the doorstep of the other’s room and it started up all over again. Sam thought this thing with Bella was casual, comfortable. They had never labeled what they were or talked about where it was going. He thought that was what they both wanted. Or maybe they were just too scared to bring it up. Sam liked things the way they were until something like this happened, and he had no idea how to act or what they meant to each other.
Buy Links Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | IndieBound
Robin Antalek is the author of The Summer We Fell Apart. Her nonfiction writing has been published in literary journals and in several collections, including The Beautiful Anthology; Writing off Script: Writers on the Influence of Cinema; and The Weeklings: Revolution #1 Selected Essays 2012-1013. Her short fiction has appeared in 52 Stories, Five Chapters, Sun Dog, The Southeast Review, and Literary Mama among others. She lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Author Links: Website | Tumblr | Facebook | Goodreads
*Avon is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for Three Print Copies of THE SUMMER WE FELL APART by Robin Antelak*