Friday, March 4, 2011

An Interview with Sibella Giorello

Why do you write the kind of books you do? 

For a long while, I couldn't find the book I wanted to read. So I wrote it. That's still the reason behind the Raleigh Harmon mysteries. Gritty, not gorey. Faith-based, but not preachy. And a puzzle even the author has trouble figuring out.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life? 

Not to sound morbid, but every day I wake up happy to be alive. The happiest day? I've known some great days, some amazing days. But life just gets better, so maybe the happiest day will be my last day on earth. Wouldn't that be poignant and wonderful?

How has being published changed your life?

Not so much. Getting published is the reverse of winning the lottery. Instead of free money and giving up your job, you get years of hard work. Good work. Fun work. But still, hard work. That being said, I wouldn't trade this writing life for all the Powerball winnings in America .

What are you reading right now?

For some reason, it's always several books. Right now three: "The Disappearing Spoon" by Sam Kean, a delightful look at the Periodic Table; "The Good, Good Pig" by Sy Montgomery; and some early Michael Connelly novels where he introduces LA Detective Harry Bosch.

What is your current work in progress?

I'm finishing up "The Stars Shine Bright," the fifth Raleigh Harmon novel. After that it's research on the sixth book, which has yet to be named. After naming "Stars," I hit some kind of wall. All these titles have a certain wavelength: The Stones Cry Out, The Rivers Run Dry, The Clouds Roll Away, and now The Mountains Bow Down. So if anyone out there can think of a title, I'm open. Email me.

What would be your dream vacation?

Some kind of around-the-world cruise. Plenty of time to read while visiting exotic locales, yet still sleeping in the same bed every night. Priceless.

 How do you choose your settings for each book?

The settings choose me. Certain places -- Richmond , Seattle , Alaska -- lock up my imagination and beg Raleigh Harmon to come and play. I'm happy to oblige.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

My husband. I just really enjoy his company. After almost twenty years of marriage, he still makes me laugh.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

Running. Especially mountain trails. But one day I'm going to learn to knit, although I've been saying that for half my life. Maybe THAT will be the happiest day -- when I finally learn to knit.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

Sitting still. Do. Not. Like. Which explains the knitting problem.

Somebody once suggested I get a treadmill-desk, which allows you to walk and write at the same time. But I'm not sure that's the answer.

For me, the best solution is to write as fast and efficiently as possible. Don't procrastinate. If you put off today's writing, it means you have to sit there longer tomorrow. Ugh.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

Give it time -- in every sense. Be patient while learning the mechanics of writing and the business of publishing. But also give time to your dream. If writing means something to you, don't short-change it. That might mean quitting some other hobby or activity, but writing is an apprenticeship. Dedicate the time. Harvest the fruit.

Tell us about the book.

In "The Mountains Bow Down" forensic geologist–turned–FBI agent Raleigh Harmon takes a much-needed vacation on an Alaskan cruise. But a passenger is found hanged from the ship’s railing. Everyone assumes the death is a suicide, but Raleigh suspects foul play. The FBI sends Agent Jack Stephanson to help with the investigation, but he winds up confusing Raleigh 's feelings for her fiance. To further complicate things, Raleigh 's mother is onboard and she's not coping with the cruise. Four days remain before the ship docks in Seattle . Can Raleigh find the killer without her own life getting lost at sea?

What do you want readers to take away from the book? I avoid thinking about take-aways. Readers should always decide about those. I just hope they enjoy Raleigh Harmon's company as much as I do.

Sibella Giorello

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