Author Interview with Georgia Beers

18 01 2013

Hello, Readers!

This week I interviewed Georgia Beers about her book 96 Hours. 96 Hours is a romance set against the tragedy of September 11th, 2001. It is a beautiful and heart wrenching story about love, grief, and community.

What makes a good story?

For me as a reader, I think it depends on my mood that day. Sometimes, I want to be able to relate to the main character; I want to read about somebody that could be me. Other times, I want escapism. I want a character who is nothing like me (but I might want to be like her) working through a crazy situation. I tend to read suspense and thrillers more than anything else.

For me as a writer, I feel a good story is made by writing characters my readers can relate to. I write romance for the most part, and I think people who read romance want to read about either somebody who could be them or somebody they could run into. They want to escape their lives for a while, yes, but they also want to be able to insert themselves into the story, thinking, “That could be me,” or “I know somebody like that.” I do my best to write real, relatable characters that my readers could run into any time during the course of their day…at the grocery store, the gym, the office, wherever.

When you are not writing what do you like to do?

I am quiet and I am a homebody, so I tend to stick near my house and do introvert things. I read. A lot. I love to spend time with my dogs; they’re my kids. I love movies; I enjoy going to the theater as well as searching my Netflix account for movies I may have missed and then watching them on my laptop cuddled in bed. I lift weights (at home), which has become something much more fun than I expected.

Who is your favorite author and why?

I have several. For general fiction, I am in love with Ann Patchett and have been for years. The Magician’s Assistant is one of my all-time favorite books. She is the author I’d most like to emulate when it comes to the magic of stringing words together. There isn’t a novel of hers that hasn’t made me stop mid-chapter to read a sentence or paragraph out loud to my partner, just to share the awe. The woman is magical. I’ve had the honor of meeting her several times and corresponding with her through letters, and she’s incredibly witty and intelligent, which is just icing on the cake.

As I’ve said, the majority of what I read is suspense/thrillers. In that genre, I have my Lisa Trifecta:  I love Lisa Gardner. She writes mystery with a gentle coating of humor that I envy. Lisa Unger is a recent favorite. She’s a bit more literary in her suspense, and her plots are complex. Lisa Scottoline is somebody I’ve read for years. She is very funny, but writes an amazing mystery. She also crosses genre lines slightly by veering a bit more into drama territory rather than suspense. Beyond the Lisas, I am a huge fan of Tami Hoag, Sue Grafton, Laura Lippman, Kristin Hannah (who writes drama rather than suspense and makes me cry every time), and many, many others.

The idea for the 96 Hours began after watching a documentary. Could you tell us a bit more about the documentary you saw?

My partner, Bonnie, and I were watching the 2010 Winter Olympics when, in between sports, NBC showed a documentary about the town of Gander, Newfoundland. It’s an amazing piece (I think you can find it online if you Google it), and we were both riveted by the stories of the residents and how they took care of the stranded passengers on 9/11. Admittedly, I am not one of those who believe in the inherent goodness of people, but this documentary really left me wondering if I’m not mistaken. I was totally touched by the examples I saw. Then they showed a couple—a man from England who was on his way to Texas for business, and a woman who was a native Texan. They were on the same plane and got stranded together. They ended up falling in love and marrying. Bonnie looked at me and said, “Oh, my god, wouldn’t that be a great setting for you to write a romance?” And so I did.

What challenges did you have to face to bring a story about September 11th, 2001 to life?

I think the biggest issue was the fact that I was writing a romance. And wrapping a romance—something that’s supposed to be “feel good”—around  an event so horrifically tragic was dicey. I had to step very carefully. I did not want anybody to think I was making light of 9/11. At the same time, people in the documentary were proof to me that a single event can change a person in a big way, and I wanted to explore that.

The other difficult part was the research. In order to accurately convey the horror of what the Plane People felt watching the planes hit the Towers for the first time, I knew I had to watch it again. It was ten years after the fact, but I was no less horrified when I watched the news reports online. I made myself watch a few times, just to be sure I got all the detail, but it was awful. If I never see that coverage again for as long as I live, it will be too soon. Heartwrenching.

Erica is often criticized for being cold and unfeeling by the other character do you think this is a fair assessment of her?

Of course not. But to Abby, who is the epitome of a free spirit, that’s exactly what Erica is. And in any other circumstances, Abby wouldn’t think twice about Erica beyond the fact that she’s hot. But because they’re stuck together, Abby’s almost forced to dig deeper, to understand that there’s much more to Erica than a haughty exterior and a need for routine.

What do you think of Abby’s carefree life? Is she lazy like Erica suggests?

Abby wasn’t as easy for me to write as Erica was because I tended to lean towards exactly what you said: Abby’s a little lazy. Ultimately, I think I thought that way because I am much more like Erica than I am like Abby. I like routine. I am a big fan of manners and etiquette. But I know people like Abby, and they are not lazy, so I had to grab onto that and get past my own hang-ups and judgments. It was interesting for me.

Did you travel to Gander, Newfoundland to write 96 Hours?

I did not, though I thought about it more than once. It ended up not being in the cards for me financially at the time, but I did as much research as I could, right down to printing out a map and placing all my locations on real streets in Gander. I would still like to go there at some point. It’s not terribly far from where I live, and I adore Canada.

What sort of research did you have to do for the book?

In addition to watching the coverage of the planes hitting the Towers and printing out maps of Gander; I read books about that time in Gander during 9/11; I read conversations from chat rooms (many of the Plane People have chat groups with the friends they made, both on their planes and in Gander); I read accounts of people on the planes during the diversion of their flight when they were still in the air; I spoke to a couple people from Gander. It’s the most research. I’ve done for any of my books.

Are there messages about grief and love you would like the reader feel after reading 96 Hours?

Well, I guess what I learned is the same thing I’d hope my readers come away with: that even in the midst of terrible grief, there can be a glimmer of hope…that love and kindness do tend to prevail, even in the most tragic of circumstances. Somewhere in the book, Erica says that it took the most heinous act of cruelty to introduce her to the most wonderful humans in the world. That’s the strangest, most interesting twist of fate to me, and I have no idea how to reconcile it in my mind. I think about it often.

What are your upcoming projects?

I am currently working on a new romance, one my friend Rachel lovingly calls “the epic.” It follows the same couple through 25 years of romance, heartache, heartbreak, recovery, etc. In addition, I have several short stories in the works, and a fun novel in which I collaborated with the four members of a writers group I taught. Busy, busy, busy!

Where can my readers buy 96 Hours?

It’s available directly from my publisher at www.bywaterbooks.com and at most booksellers (Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com).

Do you want to get to know Georgia Beers a little better? Go to her website http://www.georgiabeers.com, or follow her on facebook: Facebook: Georgia Beers or twitter@GeorgiaLBeers.

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Author Interview Calendar

26 11 2012

Charles Henry Editing has lined up author interviews for the next several weeks. Here is a calendar of our slated authors and the work(s) we will be discussing with them.

November 30th- Cristina Martin. Buy her first novel, The Automat, on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo and Barnes & Noble.

December 7th, T.H. Rahman. Buy his debut novel, Dead Rich, on Amazon.

December 14th, Kate Moretti. Buy her book, I Thought I Knew You, on Amazon.

December 21st, Clive Eaton. Buy his book, The Pyramid Legacy, on Amazon.com

December 28th, Marianne K. Martin. Her books can be bought at http://www.bywaterbooks.com

January 4th, Mari SanGiovanni. Buy her books: Greetings from Jamaica, Wishing You Were Queer, and Camptown Ladies at http://www.bywaterbooks.com

January 11th, Elana DywomonBuy her book, Risk,  at http://www.bywaterbooks.com

January 18th, Georgia Beers. Buy her book, 96 Hours at http://www.bywaterbooks.com

January 25th, Jill Malone. We will be discussing her upcoming novel, Giraffe People, which will be out April, 2013 by Bywater Books.

I hope you check out these books and come back to learn more about them from their authors!








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