Hello Everyone! I have Deidre Havrelock of Saving Mary as a guest poster and I have a review to share today. Ms. Havrelock is on tour with Virtual Book Tours! So let’s get started:)
If you’re a fan of supernatural fiction then you will be captivated by this true story about a spiritually sensitive girl and the path that led to her possession. Part one of a two-part series, Saving Mary is the story of a modern-day Mary Magdalene—the woman from whom Jesus cast out seven demons.
Deidre Daily is drawn to anything seemingly spiritual, desperately seeking a spiritual existence. But inside this vibrant girl hides a terrified child who sincerely believes she has married the devil. Through a series of spiritual encounters her fear turns into reality, and she ends up possessed.
Deidre’s fascinating memoir relays her story from childhood to adolescence: invisible eyes leering at her from the corner of her bedroom, horrible nightmares tormenting her, and her desperate attempt to find God—only to end up possessed. It is a candid account of possession from a first-person perspective. This dark memoir brings to light an intricate world of deceitful spirits hell-bent on manipulating and damaging an innocent girl’s life, not only through her dreams, but also through seemingly every-day encounters.
Genre Spiritual Memoir
Publisher Etcetera Press
Release Date April 1, 201
Website Link www.deidrehavrelock.com
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Link to Tour on Main Site – http://www.virtualbooktourcafe.com/3/post/2012/04/saving-mary-the-possession-by-deidre-havrelock.html
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Deidre believes theology is for everyone! It’s for working moms and soccer parents and for introverted engineers who don’t know what to say at dinner parties. It’s for energetic athletic-types who traverse mountains on cool bikes and for lethargic teenagers who write dark poetry. It’s for Trekkies and Twihards and Gleeks, nurses and teachers and those who Twitter and Ping. It’s for older people with Labs and round-faced happy people with too many cats. In other words, theology is not just for theologians. Did you get that? You do not have to be an intellectual to comprehend theology. You do not have to be a preacher. And yes, there is so much more to the Bible than what churches, on average, are currently teaching. Understanding the spiritual teachings of your Christian faith is fun … and more than that, it’s important.
Ms. Havrelock will speak on reader vs. writing, the challenges of memoir writing,advice for beginning writers and more on Gothic genre…
A Reader or a writer, which would you rather be?
When I first started writing, I went to a weekend writing retreat that was held on the prairies up in the Cypress Hills of Alberta. This workshop was led by a Canadian cowboy writer by the name of Guy Vanderhaeghe. He wrote a book called The Englishman’s Boy (which was later turned into a film). One of the first questions he asked us all was, “Tell me now, how many books have you read this year?” (To which I internally responded, One! Don’t judge me!) The thing is, even though I wanted to be a writer, I hadn’t yet even become a reader. Guy told us, his little herd of wanna-be writers, what we desperately needed to hear, that we simply could not become writers without being readers first. (So I bought his book.) Anyway, this was the year I became a reader. I think I read fifty books that year. (Which is pretty good, considering I had only read a handful of short gothic romances up until this point.) After reading Guy’s book, The Englishman’s Boy, I exclaimed: “Holy-moly, this guy is a great writer!” (I mean he is super great…Margaret Atwood kind of great, except he writes cowboy type historical fiction). I was over the moon. How did this rather shy guy write this amazing book? I mean, just listen to his voice and syntax…“The other horses trickled down the slope after them, filling the coulee as water fills the bed of a river. One by one they dropped from sight, tails switching, heads bobbing, ghostly gleaming horses running back into the earth like shining, strengthening water.”
I was convinced. I couldn’t be a writer without being a reader. So I read and read and read. I read all kinds of books—every type of genre. And then the inevitable happened. After all, when you’re a reader eventually you start to think, “I really could write something like this.” And when I hit the genre of memoir I knew this was it…this was the type of book I wanted to write. I wanted to write a memoir using the voice of a kid and the voice of a teenager.
So in regards to who I would rather be—writer or reader, my answer is both. Reading is great…escaping into someone’s life, learning about abstract ideas all while being entertained, seeing yourself in someone’s fictional character, learning how to handle tragedy or how to find courage through someone else’s words. All this comes from reading. But writing is great too…pushing yourself to finish a manuscript, editing until you wanna puke, reworking structure, learning to control voice, dreaming up characters, or crafting a real person into a character. This is writing. And it’s great.
What are the mistakes you see in beginner writers?
Ha! I guess we should start with the ones I made: sending material out before it’s done, lack of proofreading, lack of patience. Patience is the big one, though. Writing takes time. You have to re-write and edit. You have to read things over and over. You have to be sure about what you’re trying to say.
I originally sold my book Saving Mary: The Possession (under a different title) to a large publishing house (back in 2002/03). Looking back, I see that I had originally sold a first draft; and as the publishing process chugged along, I became more and more uncomfortable about my book being released. It simply wasn’t finished, at least not in the way I meant for it to be done. My lack of focus (I personally think) transferred to the publishing house and I was soon faced with a problem: what I had meant to be a “personal memoir” had somehow turned into “Christian fiction.” Eventually I was allowed out of my contract so that I could rework the book as true memoir. You see, I had changed my name (and the names of most people in the book) simply because I was uncomfortable with being in a book (I figured other people might be just as uncomfortable). I didn’t think this would be a problem since “A rose is a rose, by any other name.” But it was. First of all, you simply can’t be uncomfortable with being in a book if you want to write a memoir. You just have to get over yourself. This is your life: your experiences, your friends, your view. You have to own it. The second problem was that the author of A Million Little Pieces had just been scolded by Oprah for not sticking to the rules of memoir. My publisher wanted to take no chances and so they switched my book to “fiction.” Without consulting me. So, with all this being said, make sure you finish your book, staying true to the vision you see and hear in your head.
The other big mistake I see writers making is showing their work to the wrong people. Not everyone should critique your work. Not everyone believes you can succeed as a writer. And too many opinions can confuse a new writer. Figure out what you want to say and then work at saying it as best you can.
What are the challenges you face as a writer in your genre
I think for memoir writers, the challenge is marketing. Memoir is said to be the least read genre. In fact, I was once told, “No one wants to read about ‘you.’ (What? Are they sure?) They want to read a story about something.” Which is true. So marketing a book about ‘me’ has to be done in the context of sub-genre. In other words, I can’t just write a memoir (unless I’m famous). I have to write a horror, a spiritual journey, a paranormal romance. I have to find my audience outside the realm of memoir. In my case, I’ve written a true story about a little girl who ends up possessed. It’s a spiritual journey gone terribly wrong. It’s a horror…it’s a paranormal adventure.
With the ebook, I think I stumbled into something wonderful in the way of marketing. Just recently, as I gave my ebook away for free on Amazon’s Select program, choosing to give it away for five consecutive days, I suddenly found myself taking the #1 spot in the category of “supernatural.” Due to my ranking, on day four my little memoir suddenly began being downloaded at a crazy pace. I gave away 2200 ebooks that day alone and 4623 all together. I had been thinking to only do a three-day ebook giveaway and then changed my mind. Thank goodness I did. By the end of day four I hit the #2 ranking on the free memoir list.
Another difficulty with the genre of memoir…is the remembering. When I started out, I first wrote down every seemingly important memory. Then, much later, I spoke with friends who were in the book—this helped me realize that I got a lot of it right. (I also had a few details wrong.) I had great conversations with friends mentioned in the book, learning about their spiritual journeys and their spiritual problems. (Let’s just say I’m not the only kid in the book who had spirits following her around!) When writing a memoir, you can get caught up in worrying about your memory, but you just have to trust it and do your best. Think of my book like, “This is what being me was like…these are the events that impacted my spiritual journey the most.”
What is your favorite genre…and why?
Gothic, of course. My first gothic book was titled, The Bloody Dagger. (I wrote that in grade three, for my mom.) It was a story about a man who hides in the shadows, killing unsuspecting people. A kid finally hunts him down and rats him out. I’m sure my gloomy story impressed my mom. I know it impressed my teacher, Mrs. Whalen, who asked, “Don’t you have any happy thoughts?” I have a lot of happy thoughts…the guy got caught, didn’t he?
Actually, I haven’t met too many people who don’t love a good gothic book. I even heard that The Monk is being released fairly soon as a movie. (I can’t wait. In fact, I wanted to write a screenplay for that book…drat, I’m too late!) It seems gothic has definitely risen to the top of some people’s A-lists. Which is somewhat weird, gothic is after all dark and depressing. But I think the genre has gotten a bad reputation due to a horrendous misunderstanding.
Feminists tend to dislike the female gothic tradition because it portrays women as weak and needy (think The Mysteries of Udolpho). FYI, in the female gothic tradition, a girl struggles to survive under the burden of a patriarchal society (think The Handmaid’s Tale), and most often she waits to be saved, usually by a man (think Saving Mary: The Possession). This pathetic desire to be saved (without lifting a finger to save herself) certainly would put feminists on edge. After all, it’s true—women don’t always need to be saved. But a totally intolerant stance against the female gothic tradition misses the beauty of it.
If anyone is a fan of gothic they should read Art of Darkness by Anne Williams, where the male and female gothic traditions are discussed. Like this author, I don’t see the female gothic tradition (which includes the need to “be saved”) as intrinsically weak and pathetic. I see it as reflecting a talent within all of us…it just shows up best in the weak. It’s the ability to ask for help and accept help. And whether we like it or not, there are instances in life where we are simply incapable of saving ourselves (read my book and you’ll see); and, therefore, faith in the mysterious other (to save us) kicks in.
Both traditions (including the male gothic model—which includes the need for punishment) are core issues inside all of us. FYI, in the male tradition the protagonist usually has to die or at the very least suffer for his/her vile and sinful life (think Anne Rice’s books or The Monk or The Picture of Dorian Gray). Typically, the male gothic model is condemned by Christians (as opposed to feminists) because of the model’s focus on sin and punishment. (In male gothic there is no salvation for the character, only hopelessness.) But again, dislike for this model can be caused by a misunderstanding for the genre. Christians, after all, should understand the concept of eternal damnation more than anyone.
In these contexts, gothic isn’t about horror. It’s about life: oppression and sin, salvation and damnation. Either way you look at gothic, if someone gets saved or someone gets a final punishment—it means the darkness has passed. And that’s why I love it.
We all live in a gothic world, and we have to learn how best to survive it.
REVIEW( Short review a more detailed review will be coming soon)
This was an eerie, haunting tale…Gothic lore at it’s best; and all the more chilling due to the storytelling is based in true events! I was pulled into the world created by Ms. Havrelock, and was simply stunned that so much happened to someone so young!
I recommend this book…not to the faint of heart, but to all those who would love a story they would be hardpress to forget!