Sunday, 11 November 2012

Interview with Kate Campbell, Author of "Adrift in the Sound"

Original Title: Adrift in the Sound
Author: Kate Campbell
Publisher: NutTree Media
Release Date: May 22nd 2012
Genre: Literary Fiction

In 1973, frazzled Seattle street artist Lizette Karlson tries to pull herself together and turns to the Franklin Street Dogs for help. This low-life tavern softball team is a horrifying choice for a fractured spirit like Lizette, who's only trying to stay warm and make it through another rainy night. The Dogs think she’s a head case and don't realize that while Lizette’s beautiful, talented, and a bit off kilter—she’s also cunning and dangerous.

Lizette wants to make it with top-Dog, Rocket. He's fixed on next door neighbor Sandy Shore, the little snake dancer who strips for soldiers coming home at the end of the Vietnam War. Everybody sleeps with everybody—whatever gets you through the night—it’s a sexual free-for-all until Sandy turns up pregnant and the scene go haywire.

After witnessing a murder and getting kicked out by the Dogs, Lizette is on the run again, crisscrossing Puget Sound. She hides out on Orcas Island and paints in a secluded cabin owned by her childhood friend Marian, a gifted midwife who recently inherited her family's ranch. On the island, Lizette works with Lummi tribal leaders Poland and Abaya, who stick to their cultural values, guard their family secrets and offer her unconditional love. Along the way, Lizette sorts out crippling secrets in her own past, unwittingly makes a splash in the New York art world—and finds the only thing that really matters.

If you lived through the free-love 60s, if you've ever wondered what happened the day after the music died, ADRIFT IN THE SOUND picks up the beat and offers unforgettable insights into a turbulent time in American history. It's a story about fighting the tides, surviving the storm, and swimming for shore.

Readers are calling ADRIFT IN THE SOUND an important exploration of the resilience of the human spirit in a radically changing world. In both lyrical prose and gritty street language, Kate Campbell rocks our understanding of contemporary history and challenges our fiercely held beliefs. She reshapes old myths and creates new folktales to delight our imaginations.


What inspired you to want to become a writer? For me, life is story. It always has been. Ask me a question, you get a story. But, I decided to take my writing and storytelling seriously while attending San Francisco State University, which has an acclaimed English Department and creative writing program. I took my degree in journalism because, as a single mother, it was a way to support my children and practice my craft, which I’ve done for the past 30 years.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. Unexpectedly, a friend, a man, (not that kind of friend) sent me a note that he’d taken Adrift in the Sound on vacation to Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California and read it. He loved the book, loved that the story was set to a large extent on Orcas Island off the coast of Washington State, and like most readers, he cared about what happened to the characters after the story ends. He said Adrift in the Sound was the best part of his vacation. I was thrilled by his response.
If you could jump into a book, and live in that world, which would it be? Perhaps the Antebellum South, brought to life in Margaret Mitchell’s book Gone with the Wind. I toured her home in Atlanta a few years ago and was struck by how small and cramped it was compared to her sweeping vision and story.
What is your dream cast for your book? Apparently every novelist harbors dreams of seeing their story turned into a movie and I’m no exception. I try not to be drawn into this fantasy, but I’m weak. So, my main character, the beautiful, fragile artist Lizette would be played by Lindsay Lohan or McKalay Maroney, depending on acting range, like I can be picky, LOL! Would someone please send Adrift in the Sound to Lindsay or her mother?.
Her best friend Marian, might be a scruffy Jennifer Love Hewitt. Rocket, the sort-of love interest, Kato. Toulouse the poet: Johnny Depp looking scraggly. Unfortunately Keith Richard is way too old to play Toulouse, but he would have been perfect in his younger days. Sandy the little snake dancer, let’s see, maybe Britany Spears, but much rougher and more conniving.
What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? Probably my earliest love was Scottish poet Robert Lewis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, my favorite poem: “Time to Rise.”
A birdie with a yellow bill
Hopped upon my window sill,
Cocked his shining eye and said:
“Ain’t you ‘shamed, you sleepy-head!”
Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters? I’ve worn out several CDs during the writing of Adrift in the Sound, including blues man Taj Mahal’s albums “Giant Step” and “De Ole Folks at Home.” The lyrics from Taj’s version of “Light Rain Blues” appears with permission in Adrift in the Sound, as well as lyrics from “Six Days on the Road.” When asked if I could use lyrics from his album, Taj’s lawyer wrote: “Taj is cool with this.” Wish more lawyers talked that way.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? Put the seat of your pants in the seat of the chair and just do it—write!
If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why? At heart, I’m an Edwardian. I grew up in an Edwardian-style home on the edge of the gateway to San Francisco Bay. Our home had touches of Art Nouveau, a beautiful Tiffany-style leaded glass skylight above the stairs to the second floor, gumwood paneling, hardwood floors inlaid with Philippine mahogany, leaded glass doors on the library book shelves, filled with leather-bound copies of the classics passed down from my great aunts and grandmother, and tons of popular books from Book-of-the-Month Club.
While in college I took an English class that required reading the complete works of Joseph Conrad. I’ve read many of the Edwardians: J. M. Barrie, who wrote Peter Pan, which I’ve read many times, dreaming I was Wendy; Rudyard Kipling, loving the short story “Rikki Tikki Tavi; and the plays of George Bernard Shaw, especially “Major Barbara.” Vita Sackville West.
If you could be one of the Greek Gods, which would it be and why? Athena, the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, just warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill. Who wouldn’t want these attributes? I’ve always wanted to be a beautiful, noble warrior.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? In my childhood home, well, maybe not. Maybe West Marin County where my family had a small ranch while I was growing up. I love horses and dogs and long walks on the beach. Afraid I’m not much of an adventurer, more of a homebody. My idea of an exotic destination is Reno, Nevada.
What is your favorite Quote? “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Plato. This reminds me to go easy for everyone has an important story to tell from their battle. My job is to open my heart to listen and learn, not judge.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”? Judith, Queen of France.
If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why? A young Elizabeth Taylor or Vivian Leigh—stunningly beautiful and so much more.
How did you know you should become an author? That’s like asking how did you know you should breathe. I have always told stories. Journalism is a small canvas, however, and I’ve always wanted to paint with words on a big expanse. Perhaps I have spent too much time thinking about and studying the masters. A better question might be how did you know it was OK not to be perfect? That’s a more important question for me. I think close examination of the world’s great writers can be paralyzing. I don’t recommend the approach.
Advice from many great writers to beginners is to write, don’t read the work of others and compare. I got confidence in telling a story fully from, of all places, Walter Mosley, a writer of Los Angeles mystery/detective novels. In his book, This Year You Write Your Novel, he said a novel has the space to tell a long story, but it’s not an excuse for sloppy writing. I got the sense from this that I could write as much as I want, but must be disciplined about using that much canvas. I recommend Mosley’s book on writing. It gave me the kick in the pants I needed to get on with who I am.
Who are your favorite authors of all time? John Steinbeck, always John, but Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, (maybe I’m a Russian novelist at heart. Who knows my heart? I’m too busy examining the hearts of others) Virginia Woolf, who always makes me feel like writing, James Joyce, Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset, author of the historical trilogy Kristen Lavransdatter set in 14th Century Norway. I love big, meaty books.

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