I am delighted to announce the release of By the Rivers of Brooklyn, by Trudy J. Morgan-Cole. Trudy is a long time friend and has always encouraged my writing habit. In honor of this occasion I wanted to insert a picture of the book, but as it turns out I am technologically incompetent and don’t have hours to spend figuring out how to do this.  You’ll have to go over to the website to see.  You’ll want to visit the website anyway, because on Wednesday, June 17, Trudy is hosting an online launch party complete with prizes.  

Speaking of the online launch party, I have a free, autographed copy of this novel to give away.  In order to be entered in a drawing for the free (yes, I said the word FREE) book, you can do one of the following things:

1.  Visit the By the Rivers of Brooklyn homepage anytime between today and midnight on the 18th, and leave a comment offering Trudy your good wishes, letting her know that I sent you on over.

2. On July 18th, tweet something nice about the novel with a link to http://www.bytheriversofbrooklyn.com or to my blog, and let me know you’ve done so.

3.  Order a copy of Trudy’s book online on June 18th.  Now, you might well ask, why do I need a free copy of the book if I’m going to order one?  Because you can give one away to somebody else, that’s why!  And then somebody else will get to read the book, and you will feel virtuous and generous, which are all good things.

And now, on to the important matter of why you should be interested in this novel anyway.  An excerpt from the back cover, for starters:

“By the Rivers of Brooklyn transforms into fiction the experience of the 75,000 first and second generation Newfoundlanders who once lived in Brooklyn, New York – and the universal experience of migration of people throughout history who have gone away to find work and prosperity but never stopped dreaming of home.”

Now, if you’re one of my friends here in the USA, you may be asking “where the hell is Newfoundland?”    I’m glad you asked that question.  Newfoundland, (emphasis on the New) is a Canadian province, located on the East Coast.  It’s a long way from Brooklyn. An interesting fact is that they have their own private time zone.  I’m serious.  Trudy’s always four and a half hours ahead of me.  Or is it three?  Anyway – it’s the half hour part that is interesting.

With that settled and out of the way, let’s move on to a couple of questions I asked Trudy the other day:

Q.  What was the inspiration for this novel?

A:  Family stories.  My family are great talkers and storytellers, and I grew up listening to stories about great-grandparents and great-aunts and great-uncles, some of whom I’d never known and who lived far away.  As I grew older I became aware that weaving through the threads of the stories we tell are the stories we don’t tell –those concealed by cryptic facts like the fact that my mother was born in Brooklyn, New York, but brought home to St. John’s to be raised by her grandparents and aunt when she was still a baby.

I love that interplay between the stories families tell and the secrets they keep, so I dreamed for years of writing a big, sprawling novel about a big, complicated family, some of whom lived back home in Newfoundland and some of whom went away, as people from Newfoundland have always done, to find work and opportunity in far places.  The borough of Brooklyn, where my mother was born, where both my parents briefly lived as young adults, and where so many of my family went to when they left home, always exercised a pull over my imagination so it was natural for me to want to set this story there.

Q: What most pleased you about how this book turned out, and what, if anything, was most disappointing?

A: What pleased me most about how the book turned out was that I was able to cut 1/3 of the word length and in the end I didn’t feel like I lost anything –the cuts made it a tighter, stronger book but everything that’s essential to the story is still there.  

At this point nothing is disappointing except the odd typo that crept past all the editors and proofreaders.  I guess I will be disappointed if I don’t find some readers (other than my close friends and family!) who get immersed in the book, relate to it, love it.  Once it’s published the book stops being all about me and becomes much more about the readers, I think, and whay they bring to it.  So what I really care about at this point is how people respond.

Q: And last, do you have a favorite quote or passage from the novel?

A: Favourite line from the book –a little out of context, but it’s from one of the few unabashedly romantic passages in the book, and I guess I like it because it sums up some of what I believe about love:

“And it’s too bad, because she sees now that he’s absolutely right, that she wasn’t meant to be either the girl locked in the tower or the knight on the white horse, that nobody can be anyone else’s savior, or else that everyone is.”

And there you have it.  Congratulations, Trudy!