Day 15 – Lorna Landvik, OH MY STARS
Hi friends ~
Just a reminder that from May 24th through the end of August (Read-A-Romance Month) I’ll be spotlighting one book a day.
On Fridays through July, I’ll be including an author answering the Q&A from RARM 2018.
Have you all discovered Lorna Landvik? She was a recent guest author on the Romance of Reading page (you’re all on there, right?).
I love all her books, but I have to choose one for #BookADay, so I’ll use this one…
OH MY STARS
I am convinced that at birth the cake is already baked. Nurture is the nuts or frosting, but if you’re a spice cake, you’re a spice cake, and nothing is going to change you into an angel food cake.
Tall, slender Violet Mathers is growing up in the Great Depression, which could just as well define her state of mind. Abandoned by her mother as a child, mistreated by her father, and teased by her schoolmates (“Hey, Olive Oyl, where’s Popeye?”), the lonely girl finds solace in artistic pursuits. Only when she’s hired by the town’s sole feminist to work the night shift in the local thread factory does Violet come into her name, and bloom. Accepted by her co-workers, the teenager enters the happiest phase of her life, until a terrible accident causes her to retreat once again into her lonely shell.
Realizing that she has only one clear choice, Violet boards a bus heading west to California. But when the bus crashes in North Dakota, it seems that Fate is having another cruel laugh at Violet’s expense. This time though, Violet laughs back. She and her fellow passengers are rescued by two men: Austin Sykes, whom Violet is certain is the blackest man to ever set foot on the North Dakota prairie, and Kjel Hedstrom, who inspires feelings Violet never before has felt. Kjel and Austin are musicians whose sound is like no other, and with pluck, verve, and wit, Violet becomes part of their quest to make a new kind of music together.
OH MY STARS is Lorna Landvik’s most ambitious novel yet, with a cast of characters whose travails and triumphs you’ll long remember. It is a tale of love and hope, bigotry and betrayal, loss and discovery, as Violet, who’s always considered herself a minor character in her own life story, emerges as a heroine you’ll laugh with, cry with, and, most important, cheer for all the way.
OH MY STARS came out in 2005, but Landvik’s books hold up. I’m very excited to read Landvik’s newest release, CHRONICLES OF A RADICAL HAG, but I haven’t yet. So I’ll technically recommend OH MY STARS, but really, I’ll recommend you read everything she writes. Because I have never disliked anything I’ve read by her, and I’ve read almost all of it.
Landvik is a favorite author, and I hope you’ll pick her up.
You’ll get a peek of her warmth and sense of humor in the Q&A below.
#HappyReading #100DaysofGreatBooks #SummerOfBookLove
2018 RARM Questions:
Why do you write books?
I write books because I love to read books. I love the transformative power of story, of being taken out of my own life and into the lives of others.
What do you consider to be the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
Probably going on the Great Peace March for Nuclear Disarmament. I, my husband and our then-toddler daughter joined 1,000 people in a nine-month walk across the country. When we weren’t putting in our miles, we’d work on the day care bus (there was a caravan of support buses and vehicles, food and equipment trucks, etc.). Having home be a tent and walking up to twenty-six miles a day was exhilarating and exhausting and everything in between. I might have heard ‘Kumbaya’ sung too many times in camp, but that’s a small price to pay in the quest for a nuclear-free world.
Tell us why you write romances or include strong romantic elements in your books?
Love is a pretty mighty fuel and it’s an exciting/frustrating puzzle to figure out the lives and loves of characters. To me, there’s a real romance to comedy as well, and my goal is to infuse my novels with laughter
Tell us about a romantic moment in your life. (Either romantic love, or romantic sensibility.)
Years ago, I was feeling blue and decided to submerge (literally) my melancholia in a long bubble bath. Knowing I was feeling down, my husband came into the bathroom and climbed into the tub with me. That he was fully clothed made me laugh hard, my gloominess evaporating like so many bubbles.
If you could tell your younger self anything (either as a writer or as a woman) what would it be?
Stand up for yourself. Don’t apologize for your work or yourself — it’s not your job to make sure everyone’s all right, at the expense of not being all right yourself.
Tell us something you uncovered in research that fascinated you.
In my novel OH MY STARS, the bulk of which takes place in the Great Depression and whose main characters are white and black, I was shocked to learn about the long-lasting and widespread enforcement of miscegenation laws.
How do you handle the voices in your head competing for their story to be written?
My creative mind wavers between being strong and fragile and it’s the strong part that has to assert itself, bossing the fragile part — the one that is easily distracted and wants to work on this story or that story — to ‘settle down!’ Also, I might jot down a short paragraph of characters who suddenly appear in my head and who have no place in a current project. Then, like a host trying to wrangle too many party guests, I’ll promise them I’ll get back to them in a minute. (In this case a ‘minute’ is very subjective.’)
If you could live for a month somewhere (either in the present or past) where (and when, if applicable) would it be? Why?
I could mull this question over for hours, but if I have to pick one, I’ll pick the one that jumped into my head: Central Norway, in the region where my mother’s family was from, in the 1800s, when my ancestors were about to emigrate to America. I’d like to experience not only the ruggedness of physical farm life, but all those emotions felt by those ready to leave behind all they’d ever known.
I’ll read anything by Elizabeth Berg and Anne Tyler, who always create compelling characters and worlds and I just read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and look forward to what she writes next.
Elizabeth Berg – www.elizabeth-berg.net – @Amazon
Lorna Landvik is the author of twelve novels, the most recent being CHRONICLES OF A RADICAL HAG (WITH RECIPES). She is also an actor, public speaker and playwright and performs a one-woman all-improvised show called PARTY IN THE REC ROOM.
Buy Lorna’s books:
*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and text links connect to an affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!