Monday, February 23, 2009

The Year the Swallows Came Early~ Day One

The cover art for 'The Year the Swallows Came Early' is beautiful. It reminds me of impressionist painings I have seen before. Anyway, I don't really like reading books with the jackets on them so I take them off, this book was no different. The cover of 'The Year The Swallows Came Early' under the jacket is very simple, but I wanted to tell you about it anyway. The background is a pale yellow and it is hard. In the upper center of the cover is a shiny blue swallow in flight, and around the swallow is a thin shiny blue circle. So simple, yet it explains the title in its own way. The book is about 7 inches by 5 inches, and the story itself is 271 pages long.

Enough about the format of the book, what about the author, Kathryn Fitzmaurice? She has two sons- Sam, 15, and Hugh, 12 (and she dedicated the book to them). She lives in Monarch Beach in Dana Point and she is working on a second book about the main character's friends. If you want to find out more about her, check out her blog, this article, or her website. And here is part of an interview I had with her, I will post the other part on another day of the tour, so come back to see it later.

How long did it take you to write ‘The Year the Swallows Came Early’?

Kathryn Fitzmaurice: It took me three years to write the book. During that time, I went to many writers conferences, attended writing classes at the University of California, Irvine, and joined a critique group. All of these things helped me tremendously.

Where did you get your inspiration for ‘The Year the Swallows Came Early’?

Kathryn Fitzmaurice: When I sat down to write the book, I had two ideas I knew I wanted to write about. The first was the idea of the swallows returning every year to the same place, which still to this day, amazes me. I like to think their annual return is like a promise that can never be broken.

The second idea was something that really happened in my own life, and that was that I wanted the main character to have a grandmother who left her a box of manuscripts when she passed away. I wanted my main character to have this kind of a gift in her life that would shape who she’d become in some way. When my own grandmother died, she left me a box of all of her unfinished writing. She had been a science fiction author, and so it was a huge inspiration to have all of her manuscripts with me.

Where did you get ideas for the plot, and characters? Were any characters modeled after people you know?

Kathryn Fitzmaurice: The character of the great grandmother was completely modeled after my own grandmother, right down to the last detail. I even used her real name; Eleanor Robinson. I did this because I wanted to honor my grandmother for everything she did for me. Of course, she never got to read my story, but it was still important to me to name my main character after her. The rest of the story sort of just fell into place. I am not one of those writers who uses an outline. I have a general sense of where the story is going, but really, the story sort of writes itself every day.

What was the hardest part about writing ‘The Year the Swallows Came Early’?

Kathryn Fitzmaurice: The hardest part to write was leading my main character into the place where she could forgive her father because the whole mindset of forgiveness can be a difficult place to get to sometimes. It took her a long to come around to it. I wanted to let her get there on her own time, and she finally did.

What part did you enjoy most about writing ‘The Year the Swallows Came Early’?

Kathryn Fitzmaurice: Absolutely my favorite parts were writing about the great grandmother, which was really just writing about my own grandmother. I had a lot of fun describing her owl collection, and how she stayed up most of the night writing. I even included the description of one of her science fiction books on page 148…that is her Chrysalis of Death book. So these were wonderful memories to write about.

And guess what! Kathryn Fitzmaurice wants to give away a signed copy of the book, so stay tuned to find out how to have your name entered in a drawing.

Check out these other blogs on the tour:
A Christian Worldview of Fiction, All About Children’s Books, Becky’s Book Reviews, Booking Mama, Cafe of Dreams, Dolce Bellezza, Fireside Musings, Homeschool Buzz, Hyperbole,, Looking Glass Reviews, Maw Books Blog, Never Jam Today, Novel Teen, Reading is My Superpower


Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

I really enjoyed this interview. It's great to learn about Kathryn's grandmother. I did wonder about the science fiction writer aspect.


Kathryn Fitzmaurice said...

I am smiling about your comments about what the actual book looks like without the jacket. I'm smiling because I am one of those people who only has maybe four colors in her house, one of them being a pale white/cream. And so when I saw the book without its jacket, I couldn't have been more thrilled, because it matched my house! And, of course, I love the tiny sweet swallow stamped on the front so perfectly, too!

Noël De Vries said...

Good snuff, Marie. I like that you mentioned the book's dimensions. I'm a sucker for small books.

April said...

Great post and interview! This is such a delightful and wonderful book!! I loved it as well. I agree that the artwork on the cover is very pretty and makes a person want to pick the book up, hold it and see what it is about!

Becky said...

I loved the authenticity of this book--I loved how Kathryn mentioned she had to let Groovy get to that place of forgiveness in her own time.

Christy said...

It was such a great book! It really was a QUICK-READ for me! ;]