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Monday 17 October 2016

ℚ♫ A Life for a Life [1] - Lynda McDaniel

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about A Life for a Life (, Lynda McDaniel Books, 226 pages).

“Marvelous read! A compelling story told through the eyes and voice of two remarkable narrators who seem like polar opposites but are deceptively similar. They possess the same hopes and dreams for a new life. Not only are they courageous and determined, but most importantly, they share a special friendship. They describe their home life in such great detail that you feel like you have been transported to a small mountain town and are fortunate enough to catch a stunning beautiful glimpse into living and working in the deep woods. The intricate plot the will have you guessing until the end.” —— Yvette Klobuchar, author of Brides Unveiled

Synopsis | Trailer | Teaser: KCR Preview | Author Q&A | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

A very warm welcome to Lynda McDaniel; thank you for joining us!

Here at BooksChatter we love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in A Life for a Life, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"Music I listened to:
1. “Appalachian Spring” by Aaron Copeland
2. “Appalachian Waltz” and “Appalachian Journey” with Yo-Yo Ma and Mark O’Connor. O’Connor’s fiddle took me right back to my mountain home."
What was the inspiration for A Life for a Life?
"Several years ago, I realized how often I start telling stories that begin, “When I lived in the mountains of North Carolina ….” I noticed, too, that so many things I enjoy doing today—a sizeable list that ranges from writing and hiking to gardening and putting foods by—took root in Appalachia. More importantly, I recall the people who taught me so much. “A Life for a Life” is a tribute to them and the beautiful mountains they call home."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"“A Life for a Life” is an autobiographical novel. I wanted to share some of the experiences I had while living in the Appalachian Mountains—but without the confines of a memoir. Many of the characters are drawn from real life and much of the backstory is true. That said, I’m awfully glad I’ve never found a dead person or experienced a mugging, but those story elements gave me a compelling backdrop for the colorful characters I wanted to spotlight."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for A Life for a Life - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"Abit Bradshaw, one of the lead characters in the novel, has a favorite chair he sits in to follow the goings-on at the store next door. I took a photograph of an old chair I found at a jumble sale and added a cola bottle (he drinks a lot of sodas!) and a hypodermic needle (which figures into the murder). For a bit of color and balance, I added a pot of hyacinths, like those that grow outside the store. I wanted to capture a scene that is representative of the people and action in the book."
Why should we read A Life for a Life and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"Because this is an autobiographical novel, the people and places are unique to my life; no one else has my stories. I’ve brought my perspective on what makes life worth living and how we can all learn to be more caring and loving to one another. Throughout the book, I explore how we need to believe in each other’s vast potential and creativity—and how we all deserve a second chance."
Can you tell us something quirky about A Life for a Life, its story and characters?
"Abit’s real name is his father’s—Vester. Below is an excerpt that explains why he’s called Abit (by everyone but his mother and few other caring souls):
A few year ago, I overheard Daddy explaining how I came by my name.

“I didn’t want him called the same as me,” Daddy told a group of men killing time outside the store. He was a good storyteller, and he was enjoying the attention. “He’s a retard. When he come home from the hospital, and people asked how he was doin’, I’d tell ‘em,‘he’s a bit slow.’ I wanted to just say it outright to cut out all the gossip. I told that story enough that someone started calling him Abit, and it stuck.” 

Some jerk then asked if my middle name were “Slow,” and everybody laughed. That hurt me at the time, but with the choice between Abit and Vester, I reckoned my name wudn’t so bad, after all. Daddy could have his stupid name."
Who would you recommend A Life for a Life to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"“A Life for a Life” is appropriate for young adults to octogenarians. I wanted to craft a book that wasn’t overly violent. Too many mysteries I pick up today include an ever-mounting numbers of body bags. Sexuality is addressed, but in a modest way. And the occasional curse word is probably no worse than kids hear on the TV or playground (at least in America!)."
If you could / wished to turn A Life for a Life into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"I’d like the movie to be directed by Lasse Hallstrom in the style of his “Cider House Rules” era. It would be shot in North Carolina, not only for the mountain setting but because the state has a well-developed film industry. Hmmm … as for stars, Rachel Weisz would make a good Della, with Robbie Kay as Abit and Guy Pearce as Della’s ex-husband, Alex."
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"Mysteries in the style of P.D. James have always been a favorite: not too much violence and a lot of thoughtful detective work. I read a lot of mysteries, but also general fiction. Some of my favorites are Paradime, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Art of Racing in the Rain, and A Man Called Ove."
What is your writing process?
"I’ve been a professional writer for 30 years, mostly nonfiction books and articles, so I have a well-developed writing process. I know what works for me—and what doesn’t. For example, I know that the romantic idea of stealing away to a cabin to write is not productive for me. Too much pressure, too much of the same thing, day after day. Instead, I make sure to carve out time to write regularly. My favorite practice is 100 x 100, i.e., write 100 words every day for 100 days. The beauty of this method is your left brain relaxes. “Hey,” it says, “100 words is nothing, so she won’t be taking time away from the more important things I think she should do today.” Once I start writing, though, more often than not, I produce 300 or even 500 words. But on those days I really am in a rush, I can finish my 100 words with a satisfied sense of accomplishment. And by the end of 100 days, the least I’ll have is 10,000 words, though most people who try this method end up with 25,00 to 30,000 words!"
What is in store next?
"I am working on the sequel to “A Life for a Life”—the second book in the series. Abit leaves home to attend school, where he gets framed for a financial crime he had no involvement in. Needless to say, Della helps him get out the jam. Along the way, Abit explores the American South on his own and discovers a big, new world out there."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"Meet Mollie McWillis, a mix of border terrier, sheepdog, and love, who’s the best writing companion anyone could ever have!"
Hello Mollie! Lots of belly rubs to you, beautiful girl!
Thank you for sharing Mollie with us :-D

A Life for a Life
Available NOW!

purchase from purchase from purchase from Barnes & Noble find on Goodreads


CMash said...

WOW! Great interview. I read this book, which was a fantastic read, so found this interview quite enjoyable. Thank you for sharing.

Unknown said...

Thank you for this opportunity to share more about what inspired my characters and stories. As I mentioned, I'm working on the sequel, and I'm so enjoying spending time with Abit again. (Since Della is basically me, I spend a lot of time with her!) And thanks for letting me share Mollie McWillis with you and your readers. She's is a beautiful girl!