Sunday, August 19, 2012

Andrea Thalasnios - An Echo Through the Snow - Author Interview

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
Actually I didn’t. It was my agent Marlene Stringer’s idea. The original title of the book was HUSKY.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are so many messages, but if I have to pick one, it would be to follow your gut. In an era so sophisticated and analytic it’s that simple. Even when it seems crazy and everything around you is indicating otherwise, step out, commit yourself, do what you feel inside is right for you in a given situation. 

3. How much of the book is realistic?
I believe the entire book is realistic. As for Rosalie, people go into early stupid marriage and get out of them. People see animals that are being neglected or abused and rather than turning away, they take action to correct that, even if it is at the expense of their own safety or own self-interests. And sometimes after having followed those ‘gut’ impulses they find their lives change course. Sometimes in a direction they might have never seen or chosen otherwise. I guess you could Rosalie’s one decision served as a catalyst or agent of change. Doors swing open, others shut if you let them. Sometimes your life is trying to work its way towards you.

With the Chukchi, the brutality of Josef Stalin has been well documented. As for Tariem throughout his life, the ‘fog of war’ is something that people for millennia have struggled with. You lose loved ones, get separated. In today’s day of smart phones, internet, it’s not difficult to track people down. But in 1930s Siberia? Think about it.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Yes. I would get more inside of Rosalie’s head. Part of her character was to be evasive, painfully shy, lacking confidence, but even that could have been developed much more. 

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Believing in myself. Since I don’t have an MFA or the traditional writing credentials or pedigree, I kept questioning my ‘authority’ to be writing fiction. I believed in the story all along, but believing I could do it justice was the hardest challenge. 

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned everything from my book. Not only to write well but to trust the process. Writing is a process. It’s a mysterious thing that you have to sit with sometimes for long periods of time to allow it to work itself out in the subconscious. It can’t be rushed. It has to be trusted and believed. That was what I learned. 

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Many years ago as a small child when I had a writing assignment for school and the lights went during a blackout in New York; I had to write a story by oil lantern at the kitchen table. 

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
There are many authors I love. Off the top of my head: Marilynne Robinson—Gilead, Home, Housekeeping. Some of my all time favorite novels. The subtlety of character, their warmth, their private struggles. And Housekeeping is just magical. It gives me chills to just remember it. Also Joyce Carol Oates—masterful how she draws character, pulls you in and develops the narrative. And Russell Banks. What can I say? Continental Drift, Rule of the Bone and his latest, Lost Memory of Skin. He goes where no one else will dare treat and I love that about him.

9. Tell us your latest news.
I woke up this morning and I’m enjoying a cup of coffee.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
It’s my wish that you enjoy, learn about a way of life you hadn’t previously known and have something new to take away from the experience.

About the Book

In today's climate of hopelessness and despair, Madison College professor Andrea Thalasinos’s AN ECHO THROUGH THE SNOW (A Forge Hardcover; On Sale: August 21, 2012; $23.99) is a story of relationships between unlikely people that compel them to persevere with the belief that a better world is possible. Far eastern Siberia and the Red Cliff Indian Reservation on Lake Superior in Wisconsin become center stage when the forces of personal and cultural destruction entice the characters into surrender and desperation.

In 1919 when young Jeaantaa's betrothed dies in a hunt on the Bering Sea, she is pressured into an unwanted marriage to Tariem, his older brother. Ten years later as Stalin's Red Army advances to their village on the Bering seacoast, Jeaantaa is forced to make a decision about their dogs, called guardians. Her actions put her at odds with both her husband and the ancient ways of the Chukchi. Thwarting their family's plan to escape into reindeer country, she vanishes after a meeting with Robert Ramsay, a young man from Nome, Alaska. Her disappearance leaves Tariem haunted for a lifetime as to her fate and the whereabouts of dozens of their young dogs.

In 1992, eighteen-year-old Rosalie McKenzie is at odds with the world. Stuck in a destructive marriage along with a string of dead-end jobs, she breaks ranks to save Smokey, an abused husky, at great consequence to her own well-being. As Rosalie gains a passion for this elegant animal, she unwittingly ventures along a path of self-discovery. Hired as a dog handler by Jan and Dave, who own a local sled dog racing kennel, she finds herself center stage in the world of competitive dog sledding.

At a competition she meets Charlie Gokee, a veterinarian and retired Alaskan dog musher who sees in Rosalie all the spirit, strength and potential she fails to recognize in herself. Rosalie shines as she comes into her own. And it's through a series of mysterious events or remembrances that Rosalie embodies the spirit of Jeaantaa as a contemporary Keeper of the Guardians. Through Charlie, she meets legendary musher Robert Ramsay who opens doors to the many puzzling dreams and intuitions that served as the initial impetus for saving Smokey.

Price: $23.99
Pages: 368
Publisher: Tor Forge
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Buy Links: Amazon,  Barnes and Noble 

About the Author

ANDREA THALASINOS, Ph.D., is a professor of sociology at Madison College. Her respect for huskies grew while she was running her own sled team of six dogs. She helped found a dog rescue group in the upper Midwest for displaced northern breeds. Andrea lives and writes in Madison, Wisconsin. AN ECHO THROUGH THE SNOW is her first novel.

Link to connect with Andrea:
Web Site

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