Friday, November 23, 2012

Down At The Golden Coin blog tour: Guest Post & Author Interview with Kim Strickland

Today I'm proud to be a part of the  CLP blog tour for Kim Strickland. She's here with an interview and a guest post about her favorite literary heroines! 

How would your life change if you met your Messiah at the laundromat?

During the horrible recession, DOWN AT THE GOLDEN COIN’s main character, former airline pilot Annie Mullard, feels she has sunk to new low when she is forced to go to a run-down laundromat, The Golden Coin, after her washing machine breaks, but it’s here she meets a messiah named Violet. Even though she can read minds, send Annie into past lives and levitate Tide with Bleach Alternative, Violet isn’t anyone’s idea of a messiah. But Violet is equipped with the wisdom, love and humor to help Annie find a way to a more authentic life, one in which Annie’s free to create her own reality and where money is not the key to happiness.

1. Who are your top five heroines in literature?
Oh wow, only five? Okay, in no particular order, there’s Catniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games. She’s pulled up as a new favorite. The mother from The Poisonwood Bible, Orleanna Price. The daughter in Bee Season, Eliza Naumann. Madeleine McCarthy from Ann-Marie McDonald’sThe Way the Crow Flies. Sugar from Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White. The protagonist from The Lovely Bones, Susie Salmon. Wait, that’s already six. Okay, I’ll stop.

2. If you could live in any book, what one would it be? Oh, there’s always so much conflict in a good book. Do I have to, even hypothetically, live in one? All right, someplace with a beach and no crowds: Robinson Crusoe. Wait, isn’t there a book called “Margaritaville”?

3. Do you have a favorite comfort read & has it influenced your work? I’ve read and re-read Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch countless times. And yes, it’s been an enormous influence not only on my work, but on my life.

4. What was the inspiration for Down at the Golden Coin?
During the recession, I began seriously worrying I was going to lose my job flying. I was angry and upset and just wished I could talk to God about it, in order to ask Him/Her why this was happening? And why now? And I wanted concrete answers. It struck me that this was a great idea for a story—for someone who actually was unemployed and totally down-and-out on their luck to have a real meeting with God, in the flesh, and that’s what sparked the idea for Down at the Golden Coin.

5. What character was the hardest to write & which was the most fun to write?
Violet was the hardest to write, not because of her character, per se, but because of who she represents in the story. She’s God’s messenger. I mean, that’s a tricky one, right? Putting words into God’s mouth?
I thoroughly enjoyed writing the Little Old Smoking Lady: a minor character, a foil, she was totally fun for me. I mean, really no pressure as far as what came out of her mouth, as compared to Violet’s.

6. How did you decide on the setting of a laundromat for the book?
I wanted a down and out place as the setting and thought a laundromat would work well, because it would allow me to have characters come and go. Plus, there’s some symbology in the “cleansing” aspect of it. Another factor that played a role, was that my first novel, Wish Club, had so many settings and characters and plot lines. With Down at the Golden Coin, I wanted to keep it simple. So I committed that huge literary crime of challenging myself to see if I could make it as different from my first book as possible. I went with two main characters and one main setting, even using first person and present tense. Although when it was finished, I ended up with the same theme, which cracks me up. I guess I must have something to say about our ability to create our own realities

Kim is talking about her Favorite Literary Heroines!

It’s midnight. It’s the night before my blog tour. I have one more guest blog to write. And of course, I’ve put it off until the last possible minute.

For my CLP blog tour I’ve written a grand total of eight guest blogs. Going into it, I thought, No big deal. I’m a blogger, too, after all. How hard could it be? (note to self: stop asking that.)

This is the final blog. And while most of the other bloggers left the subject matter open, Colette gave me an assignment for my blog topic. Sort of like a homework assignment: write a blog about your favorite heroines in literature. I know, it’s not like writing an essay on what I did last summer, but even so, I naturally did what I always used to do with homework. Waited until the last possible minute to do it. My thought on the process was, How hard could it be?

So now here I am, drinking coffee and thinking of literary heroines and so far, the only one that comes to mind is Katniss Everdeen. Even though she’s tough as nails and rocking cool under pressure, I’m afraid to admit she’s one of my favorites, because she’s from a YA novel and I don’t want any potential new readers of my books to think I’m only capable of liking heroines from books originally meant for twelve-year olds. I move on to more adult heroines, and come up with another recent favorite: Lisbeth Salander. Super smart, not to be underestimated and able to fend for herself. Plus I like how she’s always eating sandwiches and going shopping and making coffee. But man, she’s messed up. And a little slutty.

It’s one a.m. and panic is setting in. Because I think you probably feel, like I do, that the heroines we enjoy most in literature are the ones we can relate to, the ones we identify with the most. And thus, aren’t they a reflection on ourselves? Gaaa. It’s one a.m. No more coffee. Maybe some Chardonnay…

Rifling through the pile of books I’ve pulled from my shelves, I search for heroines. Each one I find is more troubled than the next. In spite of their courage and daring and strength, they all have such foibles and neurosis, as well they should. Every great character must have her flaws! But if I say I love Scarlett O’Hara, will people think I’m arrogant? If I say I love Emma, will folks think me pretentious?

We identify with characters in books because we see ourselves, or at least a part of ourselves in each of them. We see our strengths and, alas, our weaknesses. But when these heroines overcome their character’s flaws and achieve greatness, that’s when we cheer, because on some level at least, it gives us the hope and maybe the courage, to know we can overcome the obstacles in our own lives to achieve our goals. Even if it’s a goal as simple as finishing up the final blog for a blog tour at two a.m., because as we all know, how hard could that be?

Author Bio: 

Kim Strickland lives in Chicago with her husband, three children, two cats and one dog. She also blogs as A City Mom at ChicagoNow. Down at the Golden Coin is her second novel. When she's not being a mom or a writer, she flies jets for a major airline, which means, every once in a while, she gets to eat an entire meal sitting down.  


Where to find Kim: 

Buy Links: 

 Other Stops On The Tour: 

November 19 - Mrs. Mommy Booknerd Book Reviews - Guest Post, Interview, Excerpt

November 20 - A Novel Review - Review

November 22 - Samantha March - Interview and Excerpt 

November 23 - A Buckeye Girl Reads - Guest Post, Interview

November 26 - Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf - Review

November 27 - Whooopeeyoo - Guest Post, Review, Excerpt

November 30 - Storm Goddess Book Reviews - Review

December 1 - Shelley's Book Case - Guest Post, Interview, Excerpt, Review

December 2 - Lost In Literature - Guest Post

December 3 - Chick Lit Plus - Guest Post