Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Top 10 Challenges of Writing Water on the Moon by Jean P. Moore + Giveaway! (US/Can only)

Water on the Moon
Jean P. Moore

When her husband comes out as gay and an airplane crash inexplicably destroys her home, the mother of teenage twin daughters must rethink everything she knows.

In her debut novel Water on the Moon, Jean P. Moore introduces readers to Lidia Raven, whose life begins taking seemingly endless wrong turns. Lidia and her girls miraculously survive the plane crash that destroys their home and are taken in by Lidia’s friend Polly, a neighbor with a robust collection of first-edition books who lives alone on a sprawling estate.

Struggling to cope with each of these life-changing events, Lidia discovers a connection between herself and Tina Calderara, the pilot who crashed into her home. In the months that follow, Lidia plunges into a mystery that upends every aspect of her life.

Rife with age-old dilemmas, this contemporary novel explores the relationships between mothers and daughters and the trials and triumphs of women’s friendships. As Lidia learns to reconcile her pain with her need to be true to herself and to accept that need in others, she discovers that while life has the power to unhinge her, it also has the power to open her to new ways of being in the world.

Challenges I Faced Writing Water on the Moon

  1. Coming up with the idea: I began to have a recurring mental image of a woman putting out the trash at night. The moon was shining on her, but she looked forlorn—actually more tired than anything. And then I knew she was a single mother trying to handle everything alone. That was Lidia, the main character.
  2. Figuring out the characters: Once I had a clear idea of Lidia, the rest fell into place. I knew she had twin daughters who were quite accomplished, so even when her whole world crashed (literally) around her, she knew she had a purpose. Polly came next, the savior that a good friend can be. I loved Polly because of her indomitable spirit. Just the person Lidia would need in her life.
  3. Writing a novel when you don’t know the ending: I didn’t know the ending, and that made the writing fun—kind of like life—when you don’t know what is coming next. Well, it was fun for a while. Before long, though, I knew I would have to figure things out because of the many storylines I had created. So, can you write a novel when you don’t know how it will end? Yes, but only up to a certain point. Then it’s a matter of art, not life.
  4. Figuring out the love interest: Lidia was too vibrant and loving to be alone for too long, so along came Harry. I wanted the character she would grow to love to come from the story, not to be someone who magically appears. That Harry was an FBI agent on the case seemed plausible to me. I enjoyed writing the scene of their meeting. And I enjoyed writing their developing story.
  5. Plot turns and events: For me, the events grow out of the basic storyline I first have in mind. People often ask if characters and the story take over. I think when I answer yes to that question I mean to say I don’t know exactly how an envisioned scene will play out until I actually write it. Ideas come from the writing process itself, so it sometimes does feel as though the “story takes over.”
  6. Putting historical characters and events in a story: What fun to have your fictional characters interact in some way with historical figures you admire! While Tina Calderara, the pilot of the plane that crashes into Lidia’s house, is a sad character, she admires Amelia Earhart, and weaving Amelia Earhart into the story was a treat for me because she is such an intriguing woman. I also admire the work of Lord Byron, and it was thrilling to me to work his tragic life into the story. The real challenge, though, is to be sure your choices are relevant to your story and to your characters.
  7. How to deal with character choices: The choices your characters make are at the heart of the story; they propel the story. Presenting characters with interesting choices can make a book a “page-turner,” a good thing. But the writer must be certain that the decisions a character makes are in keeping with what the reader knows about the character, her wants, needs, and ethics.
  8. Resolving plotlines: This is a real challenge. Once you know the twists and turns your story is taking, you have to carefully keep track of them. Sounds simple, but actually it isn’t. This is where writers use different techniques, from storyboarding to detailed outlines. For me, when the time for resolution was came, I developed timelines and made notes about the timeframes and characters’ significant dates. Then I read and reread to make sure everything fell into place.
  9. Actually figuring out the ending: When I did the hard work: figuring out how the storylines would come together, I pretty much knew how the story would end. What was interesting to me, though, was how the title of the book, which I knew from the beginning, would come full circle and be the key to the theme of the novel. (Which you have to read to understand!)
  10. Saying goodbye to characters you’ve come to love: That is a challenge. I had to be sure I had taken care of them as best I could and then let them go. Then, there’s always the possibility of a sequel. (I was thinking the twins would make good detectives after they graduate. With help from Polly and Mom, of course.)

About the Author

Jean P. Moore began her professional life as an English teacher, later becoming a telecommunications executive. She and her husband, Steve, and Sly, their black Lab, divide their time between Greenwich, Connecticut and the Berkshires in Massachusetts, where Jean teaches yoga in the summers.

Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, and literary journals such as upstreet, SN Review, Adanna, Distillery, Skirt, Long Island Woman, The Hartford Courant, Greenwich Time, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Water on the Moon was published in June of 2014 and won the 2015 Independent Publishers Book Award for Contemporary Fiction.


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of Water on the Moon—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is answer Jean's question:
I am a great admirer of Amelia Earhart. I love her spirit of adventure, her bravery, and her independence. She lived her dreams in spite of the great odds against her. Of all the people you admire from another time, who do you most wish you could have known and why?
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. Jean 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 Book Tours and She Writes Press!
Giveaway ends November 3rd at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada readers only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for the 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.
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Good luck!