Archive for May, 2024

Tuesday, May 7th, 2024

Author Interview: Eileen Garvin

Eileen Garvin

LibraryThing is pleased to sit down this month with author Eileen Garvin, whose 2021 novel, The Music of the Bees, was a national bestseller, receiving accolades from the Christian Science Monitor, People Magazine, LibraryReads, IndieNext, and many more. Garvin made her debut in 2010 with her memoir, How to Be a Sister: A Love Story with a Twist of Autism, and her essays have been published in The Oregonian,, and Creative Non-Fiction Magazine, and featured on the Mom’s Don’t Have Time to Read Books podcast. Her second novel, Crow Talk, which addresses themes of friendship, hope and healing, all while set in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, was published by Dutton at the end of April.

The natural world plays an important role in Crow Talk, which features three people who have withdrawn to a rural retreat in order to nurse their wounds. What role does nature play in your story, and why did you choose the specific setting you did?

In Crow Talk, nature is meant to be a healing source for my three main characters—Frankie, Anne, and Aiden. I chose to set the story at June Lake—a fictional place—because I’ve always personally drawn solace from the natural world. When I was a child, our family lake cabin was a place of respite for all of us. As an adult I continue to be comforted and energized by woods, water, mountains, and trails. I believe nature is a powerful force.

How did the idea for your story come to you? You’re an amateur beekeeper, which must in some way have influenced the story you told in The Music of the Bees. Do you have a similar connection to crows, or to other corvine species?

Yes, my own beekeeping helped me write The Music of the Bees. While writing the book, I knew early on that my characters would get to know each other through beekeeping. I completed my Master Beekeeper Apprentice certification while I was revising the novel. I don’t have any similar hands-on experience with crows or other birds, but I’m an avid birdwatcher. I love watching the birds in my yard and in the woods around town. I also love to listen to birds and can often more easily identify them through their songs and calls than how they look. This is especially fun during migration, when an old favorite arrives in town, like the varied thrush and the robin.

The idea for Crow Talk came to me during the pandemic. All the trails in my hometown were
shut down and I was longing for the woods. I was able to make a trip back to the family place I mentioned earlier. When I arrived, I felt such relief at being alone and outside under the trees. That’s when I first got this idea—what if I took three wounded people and put them in a setting like the one I loved so much? How might the natural beauty of that place help them connect and heal?

What makes crows and other corvids so special? Did you have to do any research for that aspect of the story, and if so, what is the most interesting thing you learned?

Crows and other corvids are so smart and so interesting! While researching this book, I learned many things. For example, crows can recognize human faces. This means they recall those who have helped them as well as people who have not been so nice—for years! I learned that crows love to play and have been documented doing things like surfing the air on pieces of wood, sliding on snow, and riding an updraft just for fun. They use tools and are incredibly mischievous—teasing dogs and stealing things like windshield wiper blade, cigarettes, lit candles from shrines, cups of coffee. I loved reading about how they care for sick and injured family members too. The books of corvid expert John M. Marzluff were hugely helpful. So were books by Sy Montgomery, Helen MacDonald, and Lyanda Lynn Haupt.

One of your characters is an Irish musician. Are you fond of traditional Irish music? Do you have any favorite performers or pieces of music? (full disclosure: some of my own favorites in this vein include Altan, The Bothy Band, Karan Casey, and the sean-nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird)

Yes, I’m a big fan of traditional Irish music as well as Celtic music in general. I grew up listening to the Thistle and Shamrock and singing older ballads—Irish, Scottish, and English. My great-grandparents were Irish immigrants and everyone in my family sings, though none of us has formal training. Big fan of Altan (Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh—what a voice!), and I love Kevin Burke’s fiddle playing. I think he plays with The Bothy Band sometimes.

Tell us a little bit about your writing process. Is there a particular way you work, a specific spot where you like to write? Do you have the story mapped out in your mind before you begin?

Since I wrote my first book, my process has been fairly consistent. I have small office in the (darkest, coldest) corner of the house. I get up early, make coffee, and start working on whatever project I have underway. Any new writing happens in these first hours. I can revise and answer emails later, but the creative stuff happens early or not at all.

I write all the way through a first draft and never have the story mapped out before I start. When I wrote my memoir, I had loads of old memories and stories, but no sense of how they would hang together. When I wrote my first novel, the opening sentence just came to me when I was in the car one day. With Crow Talk, I got the idea for the setting first—a remote alpine lake—and then the characters came along. It’s been different each time and always a leap of faith.

Tell us about your library. What’s on your own shelves?

My shelves are a mix of poetry, memoir, fiction, and children’s books. I collect fairytales and children’s books—usually those that involve magical animals. I also have a collection of old novels that were my grandmother’s—Louisa May Alcott, Charles Dickens, Frances Hodgson Burnett. I cringe now to think how’d I drag those lovely old books up into the woods to read when I was a kid! But I also love that the family culture was “Read! Read everything, anywhere, all the time!”

What have you been reading lately, and what would you recommend to other readers?

Some recent favorites include the memoir by Scottish comedian Fern Brady called Strong Female Character (featuring her adult diagnosis with autism), James by Percival Everett (a reimagining of The Adventures Huckleberry Finn from Jim’s point of view), and Poetry Unbound: 50 Poems to Open Your World by Irish poet Pádraig Ó Tuama (in which he introduces the poems of others in a similar way that he employs on his wonderful podcast Poetry Unbound).

Labels: author interview, interview

Wednesday, May 1st, 2024

May 2024 Early Reviewers Batch Is Live!

Win free books from the May 2024 batch of Early Reviewer titles! We’ve got 174 books this month, and a grand total of 3,527 copies to give out. Which books are you hoping to snag this month? Come tell us on Talk.

If you haven’t already, sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing/email address and make sure they’re correct.

» Request books here!

The deadline to request a copy is Tuesday, May 28th at 6PM EDT.

Eligibility: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, the UK, Canada, Ireland, Belgium, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Austria, Germany and more. Make sure to check the message on each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

Between the Sound and SeaCounting Bones: Anatomy of Love Lost and FoundBuns Gone BadFuneral Songs for Dying GirlsJuris Ex MachinaThe Big StingThe Space Between You and MeHard LineDocile: Memoirs of a Not-So-Perfect Asian GirlThe Green Baby SwingI'm Afraid, Said the LeafMegabat MegastarOnce upon a SariYour Story Matters: A Surprisingly Practical Guide to WritingThe After Life Meddlers ClubToo Much Too Young, The 2 Tone Records Story: Rude Boys, Racism, and the Soundtrack of a GenerationCocoa the Tour DogA Choice ConsideredMeet Me at the StarlightMeeting Her MatchCold VengeanceWorld War II and Nevada: The Silver State's Contribution to VictoryEchoes of the Divine and Other Steampunk StoriesCamouflage Mom: A Military Story about Staying ConnectedMexicanos HustleThe Shield of the VanirHerman NatureDwarf DaysA Lie for a LieHow to Build a Thriving Marriage As You Care for Children with DisabilitiesRe: Apotheosis - GenesisThe Caterpillar HotelBeyond Words: A Symphony of Passion and ActionReignite The EmbersThe Golden One: A ComedySkull Kingdoms: An Imaginary OmnibusLinesYou Can't Go Home AgainHiding PlacesOf Blood and LightningThe Navigator: PoemsBig Guy: A School Horse StorySolsticeThe Devil's BerriesAnastasia And The Nuclear IncidentHow to Be in BusinessPre-Pulitzer PoetryLet's Run Our Schools TogetherTo Make the SkySwinging Away: A CelebrationBlack Like ElvisFor the Downfall of My Beloved: Volume 1An Introduction to PhilosophyThis Kind of Man: StoriesSavagesA Husband's Take on the Menopause!Laura: Finding Independence in the Highlands of KenyaThe Hedge WitchElephant and CastleHow Children Grieve: What Adults Miss, and What They Can Do to HelpThe Rogue Scholar: The Rogue To VictoryThe Arctic Corsair, Through Hull's Sacred Gates40 Years of MiraclesAlyssa's WishesWildcat: An Appalachian RomanceInto the UnknownA Horse Called NowSky Explorer: A Young Adventurer's Guide to the Sky by Day and NightAfter Dinner Conversation - Nature of RealityAfter Dinner Conversation - Equality EthicsTrue Crime Storytime: 84 Unforgettable & Twisted True Crime Cases Throughout History That Haunted People For DecadesIndia's Road to Transformation: Why Leadership MattersThe KlangarooReady for True Love: The Modern Guide for Ladies, Gents, Daters and CouplesA Thousand Faces: Volume 1Who is Amy Carpenter?HestherSong of Myself: A Gay Man's Odyssey of Self-DiscoveryTrailer Park PrinceNot Without MeThe Black Bird of ChernobylMirror ImageBecoming Brave Together: Heroic, Extraordinary Caregiving Stories from Mothers Hidden in Plain SightPresenters Aren’t Robots: A Practical Guide to Becoming a Fearless and Engaging Public SpeakerThe Corpse in the Trash RoomAlone | All In One: A Solitary JourneyThe Pearl that Lies in the Sea: A Story & A CovenantFinding HomeThe Sigils of the MoorAfter the Game: Bridging the Gap from Winning Athlete to Thriving EntrepreneurFinding Footprints: A Sasquatch SagaThe StatesDraw A Hard LineLearning to Shine: A Guide to Unlocking Your PurposeSonya: Far FutureThe Fink Needed KillingThe Shadow of the Langham HotelSonya: Music of the SpheresFrom Young To Wise: The Philosopher's Fallacy and How to Avoid ItThe Lost Women of Mill StreetLast Day in DyatloveCompanion Planting for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide to Growing a Thriving and Sustainable Garden.Soul Masters: The Hunting GroundsSteady in LoveThere Are No Bibles in Heaven: Walk and Talk with God All the Time, Just like You Will in HeavenThe ReentrantThe Magic Sea TurtleShorter Than The DayJasmineHandcrafted Lunch Meats: A DIY Guide to Delicious, Healthy, and Affordable Creations In Your KitchenChoo! Choo! Choo!: The Train at the ZooThe Fae CrisisSpace Cats: Making EnemiesHeartfeltCo-Parenting With a NarcissistThe Tale of the Little Lonely HedgehogScream of SilenceDebriefing DarlyFarewell PerformanceHunting a Cat in DogtownJourney of SoulsThe AI That Feared DeathShattered by FaithPinch HittingDating Tips for Women: Finding Love the Feline Way with Advice From CatsThe Palestine MuseumTito's Coconut TreeThe Year I Lived TwiceGod Unlimited: Why We Believe in GodThe Magic of DelusionLectures on Weird Fiction: Volume 1Nothing Short of OddThe WastelanderScorched: Burn Me Once...The Black Heart Of BudapestSonya: Fast HorsesUnfix MeThe Pelican TideArtificial WisdomPilots Dawn 2024Under WaterThe Respian ManThe Heir of the DynastyTrue Crime Trivia 3: Test Your Knowledge of Serial Killers, Unsolved Mysteries, Infamous Crimes, Hoaxes & More with 250 Chilling & Fascinating Quiz QuestionsTrue Crime Trivia 3: Test Your Knowledge of Serial Killers, Unsolved Mysteries, Infamous Crimes, Hoaxes & More with 250 Chilling & Fascinating Quiz QuestionsThe Powell ExpeditionsTricked by LoveStolen Introductions!Escaping CircumstancesThe Mad King and the False QueenSpindleheart: Trail of Shadow and SpoolMy Enemy, My PrinceJundiHow To Talk To Your Spirit Guides In Ten Simple Steps: Connect With Your Spiritual Guidance to Receive Unconditional Love, Protection and Support in All Areas of Your LifeThe Refrigerator GhostBio Marty Vita: Life Life LifeThe Dawn of DarknessPhelan's GoldShadow Work Journal & Adult Coloring Book: Unveil Your Inner Strength, Find Peace Through Animal Wisdom And Experience True Transformation Through Art Therapy, Reflection, And AffirmationsThe Phantom EnforcerSilver HeartsThe Legendary Mo SetoMIND GAME ChallengeJeza's Jesus Juice: A Drag Queen's Christian DevotionalSong for Susie EppHide and BeMy Brother, MyselfThese Cruel WatchersPride and PerjuryMoose and the Math FairyWanted Millionaire Spiritual, But Not Religious: 101 Dating Red Flags For The Wise WomanHaimaTruth HurtsEver The Same

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

After Dinner Conversation Inc Akashic Books Alcove Press
Baker Books BDA Publishing Beit Eshel Publications
Bell Jar Books Bethany House Big Ideas Library
Bywater Books Cardinal Rule Press City Owl Press
Fawkes Press Gilded Orange Books Grass Valley Publishers, LLC
Greenleaf Book Group Harbor Lane Books, LLC. HB Publishing House
Highlander Press Hot Tree Publishing IngramSpark
Islandport Press Legacy Books Press Love Moderne
Magpie Publishers NeWest Press Nosy Crow US
Paper Phoenix Press Personville Press Pixie Ink Press
PublishNation Purple Diamond Press, Inc Revell
Rootstock Publishing Sattva Publishing Inc Simon & Schuster
Three Rooms Press Tiny Ghost Press Toodat Fiction
True Crime Seven Tundra Books Tuxtails Publishing, LLC
University of Nevada Press Unsolicited Press Vibrant Publishers
Wise Media Group

Labels: early reviewers, LTER