Monday, June 16, 2014

Chatting with author Corinne Demas

I recently read and reviewed Corinne Demas' recent release Returning to Shore and loved it so much that I couldn't wait to interview her and get a little background on the story itself. If you like you can leave questions in the comments below for Corinne and you can check out my review here.

How did you come up with the idea for this book?
This book began with turtles! Northern diamondback terrapins, to be precise. I took a field school course at Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary on Cape Cod in Massachusetts and was moved by the plight of the endangered terrapins who live in the bay. I was struck by the passion of the people who devote their lives to saving their habitat for nesting grounds and a character started forming in my mind. I thought about what it might be like to have a father who seems more interested in saving wildlife than having a relationship with you, and my story began developing. The setting of this novel, an island off the coast of Cape Cod, seemed ideal for exploring an intense fathe
r-daughter relationship.

Was there an inspiration for Clare's father's backstory? A person or a memory?
Clare’s father’s backstory didn’t come from a single person or memory, but rather from a mixture of many stories of people I knew and people I heard about. He’s old enough so that many dramatic social changes have taken place in his lifetime. He and Clare grew up in different worlds, so their attitudes about non-traditional families and their views of society are quite different.

Would you ever write a sequel for Returning to Shore?
What a wonderful idea! I hope readers will ask for it!

Which character do you most relate to?
Clare, the main character, for sure. She’s not me at all, but I understand how she thinks and what she hopes for. I always have affection for all my characters (even the nasty ones!) but it’s easiest for me to relate to the life of a young female character. I’ve been there!

If you were stuck on a Deserted island, what five books would you want with you?
This is a tough question! I suppose some writers would just say they’d bring their eBook reader and have five hundred to choose from, but I prefer actual books with real paper pages. If I’m stuck there for a while, I’d want some books that would hold up when I read them again and again. Jane Austen’s novels do that for me. I particularly love Sense and Sensibility. I’d want to re-read Valerie Martin’s intriguing new novel The Ghost of the Mary Celeste. And I’d like to bring some wonderful books recently published by creative writing students whom I’ve taught at Mount Holyoke College – including Violet Kupersmith’s story collection The Frangipani Hotel, Holly Thompson’s YA novel The Language Inside, and Amy Timberlake’s YA novel One Came Home
About the Author:
Corinne Demas is Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College and a fiction editor of the Massachusetts Review. She has a Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

She is the award-winning author of thirty books, including five novels, two collections of short stories, a memoir, and numerous books for children. 

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