I am delighted to welcome Claire Fullerton to the blog today, to chat about her new novel Mourning Dove!
Claire Fullerton grew up in Memphis, TN and now lives in Malibu, CA. She is the author of contemporary fiction, “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” set in Connemara, Ireland, where she once lived. Dancing to an Irish Reel is a finalist in the 2016 Kindle Book Review Awards, and a 2016 Readers’ Favorite. Claire is the author of “A Portal in Time,” a paranormal mystery that unfolds in two time periods, set on California’s hauntingly beautiful Monterey Peninsula, in a village called Carmel-by-the-Sea. Both of Claire’s novels are published by Vinspire Publishing. Her third novel, Mourning Dove, is a Southern family saga, published in June, 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction. She is one of four contributors to the book, A Southern Season, with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, to be published in November 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction.
The heart has a home when it has an ally. If Millie Crossan doesn’t know anything else, she knows this one truth simply because her brother Finley grew up beside her. Charismatic Finley, eighteen months her senior, becomes Millie’s guide when their mother Posey leaves their father and moves her children from Minnesota to Memphis shortly after Millie’s tenth birthday.
Memphis is a world foreign to Millie and Finley. This is the 1970s Memphis, the genteel world of their mother’s upbringing and vastly different from anything they’ve ever known. Here they are the outsiders. Here, they only have each other. And here, as the years fold over themselves, they mature in a manicured Southern culture where they learn firsthand that much of what glitters isn’t gold. Nuance, tradition, and Southern eccentrics flavor Millie and Finley’s world as they find their way to belonging.
But what hidden variables take their shared history to leave both brother and sister at such disparate ends?
Hi Claire! Welcome to the blog!
Claire: Music. I want to feel the book in my hand and “hear” the writer in my head. As for music, I live the lyrics through with personal interpretation, much as how poetry hits me.
Carrie: I’m the same way about most audiobooks – I’d rather read it instead of being read to.
Claire: Ocean. I don’t like being land-locked. I will say, however, that I love the woods!
Carrie: I love the ocean (but not the beach) but the mountains are my happy place…
Claire: Print. If I love a book, I display it on my bookshelf, which, to me, is a literary shrine.
Carrie: Yes! Me too!
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Claire: Movement. I love ballet and have always practiced it. I like the idea of being aware of how I move through space. Keeps me in touch with my spirit as it moves on God’s glorious earth.
Carrie: Movement is definitely not my superpower 😛
Q: Which books are ‘on your nightstand’?
Claire: Whichever book I am currently reading and always those written by the writers I perpetually study for “voice” and excellence of craft. Pat Conroy, Ron Rash and Anne Rivers Siddons. In my opinion, they are the height of excellence.
Carrie: Excellent choices, to be sure 🙂
Q: Writing spaces are as diverse as authors and books. Where is your favorite space to write?
Claire: I turned our second bedroom into my writer’s room. My desk faces a wall where my favorite prints are above my desk. A series of prints I bought at an art festival in Galway, Ireland are above an haunting oil painting of the moon as it hangs over the wetlands in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, which I bought the weekend I attended the Pat Conroy at 70 celebration, in Beaufort. Smartest move I ever made. At my back is an endless view of the Pacific Ocean through a sliding glass door. My office is my sanctuary with everything around me that means something to me.
Carrie: now see, i could easily make the ocean my happy place if I could see it from my house instead of having to go to the beach!
Q: Did you have the whole plot outlined before you started writing, or did you let the characters dictate what came next?
Claire: I knew the entire story of Mourning Dove as well as its point. I knew the beginning, middle, and end, and spent much time writing down southern turns of phrases and expressions before I began writing because I wanted to work them into the book to lend authenticity to the ways and means of the South. Because I knew the story, I began Mourning Dove with an eye toward establishing the Southern setting. I created an outline with the novel’s arc in mind of how to get from point A to point B, and so on. Always, I had the point of the book in mind, so the task was to create a mood and through-line. I wrote Mourning Dove in vivid scenes telling of the characters nuances. My aim was to have the reader get to the end and say to themselves, “I can see how this story happened!”
Carrie: that is great!
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from Mourning Dove?
Claire: That it’s not what we’re handed in life that matters, it’s how we handle the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Mourning Dove is about siblings that share the same history yet come to disparate ends. I want the reader to look at the main characters choices and ponder whether it is nature or nurture that shapes a life.
Carrie: oh i love that!
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Claire: My novella, Through an Autumn Window, is one of four novellas, in a book titled Southern Seasons, to be released on November 1st by Firefly Southern Fiction. All stories are set in the South. My story is centered upon a Southern funeral, because something always goes wrong at a Southern funeral!
Carrie: Often entertainingly so 😀
Claire Fullerton is giving away an ebook of Mourning Dove to one of my readers! (US only) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What interests you most about this book?