‘Dear Dad’ by Giselle Green was published yesterday, 31 March. I have this for review and am only sorry I wasn’t able to read it in time for publication but I’m delighted to have a Q&A with Giselle below and my review will follow.
Can you please introduce yourself and tell us about how you approach the writing process, do you research and plan in detail first or do you start writing and just run with the story?
Hi Karen! Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog today. The question about the writing process is always an interesting one. It seems to go differently every time I write a book. I’m not one of those authors who heads off into the novel with a detailed plan (or even a rough plan) of every chapter, from the start. What I do need to have, is a very good sense of my characters, though. I’ll happily spend months thinking about them and getting a good felt sense of who they are and where they’re at in their lives before I begin writing them. Then I drop them into a difficult situation that’s going to ruffle up their lives and force them to start making tough choices that’ll hurt – for sure – but it’ll also teach them about who they really are and release them from outdated beliefs that were holding them back. Once I know who they are, I let them run.
From your books that I have read so far, they all have a heart wrenching and emotional theme. How do you deal with writing about such difficult subjects.
I always recall one reviewer who said; ‘Books are often described as heart-wrenching but Giselle Green’s books are heart-mending.’ I don’t know who she was, but thank you whoever you were – I love that!
You’re right, these emotional themes can be very difficult to write, but that reviewer really nailed my motivation in tackling tough themes. Without sounding too lofty, I really do want to help mend my character’s broken hearts, show them that even when life seems very hard, there’s a way through.
On a practical level, this means taking it much slower than a lot of my other author friends. I sometimes bemoan the fact that I can’t write quicker, be more prolific … but writing emotionally taxing emotions is in itself emotionally taxing. I need to have a break after each one, and that takes as long as it takes.
Is there any part of the writing process which you enjoy (or dislike) the most – i.e. researching, writing, editing?
I love it when I’ve found my stride in a story. I start to write very fast then and it all flows beautifully. I love it when small acts and symbols that I’ve randomly inserted into a story early on suddenly come alive and their meaning becomes clear to me. It’s as if a lot of threads that were always connected underneath the story start coming together but this time, in plain sight. I don’t mind doing research – there is always some, and it can take up quite a few writing hours but it’s all part of the process.
I guess the only bit I really don’t savour is the editing. That’s why I need a good team around me!
How do you feel about social media, do you find it helpful or a distraction?
Being a bit of a Luddite, I’ve never really been too distracted by social media but these days it’s starting to get its grip, even on me! The truth is, it’s really helpful in connecting authors with readers and as I’m navigating my way though it now, I find I’m enjoying it much more. Once I start my next book I’ll have to be a lot more disciplined, I imagine. You can lose hours!
Name 3 favourite books.
One of my favourite books of all time is still The Thorn Birds by Colleen Mc Cullough. With its themes of a young girl falling in love with a priest and he with her, it wouldn’t work today, would it? But in its time, it was a true love story. The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald remains an all-time favourite. Most recently, I’ve loved Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.
Your latest book ‘Dear Dad’ is published on March 31st 2016. Can you please tell us a little about the story and the inspiration behind it.
The premise of a child reaching out, writing ‘Dear Dad’ letters to a stranger because he’s desperate for a father, was an extrapolation of an idea I picked up in a newspaper. The story was about how a guy acted as someone’s dad, to help them out. It got me thinking about the kindness of strangers and how when we open our hearts to others, that allows goodness to pour into our own. I started by doing research on stepdads and men in general who take on other mens’ children and bring them up as their own. I realised what a great bunch of underrated superheroes for kids (of both sexes, in fact) we have out there in the non-biological parent – and my story’s hero Nate became one of them.
This is a story about how a young boy’s search for a dad ends up helping, not only himself, but a couple of caring but wounded people who’d never have met without him. It’s a ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ without anyone being related. It’s about a lot of things. How PTSD can cripple even the bravest among us; how even an impossible situation becomes tenable when seen through the hopeful eyes of a child and lastly, it’s about how even the most wearied hearts should never give up on the possibility of love because you never know if this time it’ll all work out.
Congratulations on the publication of Dear Dad and thank you for taking the time to answer my questions Giselle. More information about Dear Dad is below.
About the book
Handsome, 28-year old, Nate Hardman is a frontline reporter with a big problem. Suffering from shell-shock and unable to leave his house, he’s already lost his social life and his girlfriend. Now his career prospects are sinking fast.
9 year-old Adam Boxley who lives alone with his ageing nan, also has big problems. Neglected at home and bullied at school, he’s desperate to reach out to his dad – and that’s when he sends his first letter to Nate. Only Nate’s not who he thinks he is. Will he help? More importantly – can he?
Across town meanwhile, caring but impulsive teacher Jenna Tierney really wants to help Adam – except the feisty redhead has already had enough of teaching. Recently hurt by yet another cheating boyfriend, Jenna’s now set her sights on pursuing a dream career abroad … only she’s about to meet Nate – her dream man who’ll make her re-think everything.
The big question is; can three people desperate to find love, ever find happiness when they’re only connected by one big lie?
About the author
Born in Chiswick, Giselle Green was brought up in Gibraltar where she has extensive family. She returned to the UK to study Biology at King’s College London, followed by an MSc in Information Science at the City University. She is also a qualified Astrologer, with a particular interest in medieval astrology.
Her debut novel Pandora’s Box won the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writer’s Award in 2008. Her third novel, A Sister’s Gift achieved best-selling number one slot on Amazon kindle in 2012.
Her sixth novel DEAR DAD, released on 31st March 2016 is available on Amazon.
Giselle lives in Kent with her husband and their six sons.