Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Top 5 Things You Didn't Know About Violet Kupersmith and Giveaway! (US only)

The Frangipani Hotel
Violet Kupersmith
Follow the Tour!

An extraordinarily compelling debut—ghost stories that grapple with the legacy of the Vietnam War

A beautiful young woman appears fully dressed in an overflowing bathtub at the Frangipani Hotel in Hanoi. A jaded teenage girl in Houston befriends an older Vietnamese gentleman she discovers naked behind a dumpster. A trucker in Saigon is asked to drive a dying young man home to his village. A plump Vietnamese-American teenager is sent to her elderly grandmother in Ho Chi Minh City to lose weight, only to be lured out of the house by the wafting aroma of freshly baked bread. In these evocative and always surprising stories, the supernatural coexists with the mundane lives of characters who struggle against the burdens of the past.

Based on traditional Vietnamese folk tales told to Kupersmith by her grandmother, these fantastical, chilling, and thoroughly contemporary stories are a boldly original exploration of Vietnamese culture, addressing both the immigrant experience and the lives of those who remained behind. Lurking in the background of them all is a larger ghost—that of the Vietnam War, whose legacy continues to haunt us.

Violet Kupersmith’s voice is an exciting addition to the landscape of American fiction. With tremendous depth and range, her stories transcend their genre to make a wholly original statement about the postwar experience.

Things You Didn't Know About Me and The Frangipani Hotel

  1. The Frangipani Hotel all began because I had a crush on a hotel doorman. The summer before my senior year of college I was an intern at a publishing house in Hanoi, and spent those months living in a musty hotel (on a street that sold nothing but tombstones!). One of the doormen was super dreamy and I was smitten (and probably also suffering from heatstroke—the Vietnamese summer is merciless), so I started casually lurking around the downstairs lobby in my spare time, and naturally, began jotting things down. My creepy hotel surveillance resulted in what would eventually become the story “Reception.”
  2. Like the character Tien in that piece, I, too, once accidentally broke the hotel’s bathtub.
  3. Several of the stories in the collection are loosely based on my grandmother’s Vietnamese ghost lore. One tale of hers that I am very fond of (but sadly, did not use) involves a malevolent spirit that takes the form of a huge, disembodied head with a mouth of fire. She maintains that the only way to defeat it is by stuffing the mouth with poop.
  4. I usually write late at night. This, plus the supernatural subject matter of my stories, multiplied by my scaredy-cat nature and runaway imagination, means that I often freak myself out while I’m working. Once, around three in the morning, I actually convinced myself that there was a ghost trapped inside my laptop and had to go sleep at a friend’s place.
  5. After graduating from college I spent a year teaching English in the Mekong Delta and working on the book. While I was living there, I gathered a lot of my material by going out with Vietnamese friends to the local pub. After a couple rounds of rice wine they would always begin talking about ghosts and exchanging spooky stories… and I just stuffed myself on grilled squid and listened. Best research ever.

About the Author

Violet Kupersmith was born in rural Pennsylvania in 1989 and grew up outside of Philadelphia. Her father is American and her mother is a former boat refugee from Vietnam. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College she received a yearlong Fulbright Fellowship to teach and research in the Mekong Delta. She is currently at work on her first novel.


Books à la Mode is giving away one finished print copy of The Frangipani Hotel—yay!! To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
Violet's short story collection has strong ties to traditional Vietnamese folklore. What country's traditional stories are you most drawn to? Is there any folk tale in particular you love? If not, what culture are you most interested in learning more about?

Don't forget to include your email address or Twitter username in your comment so I know who to contact when I choose a winner. Don't make me track you down!!!! No email = No entry!
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Violet and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher—a huge thank you to TLC and Random House!
Giveaway ends March 25th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US residents only—sorry, international readers! Check out my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide—there are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!