I’ve loved getting to know today’s guest. She’s got a great sense of humor and I’ve got to admire her dedication to research … she went on vacation, y’all! (I know, right? I’m jealous!) I think you guys are going to enjoy this interview, so please join me in welcoming Meira Pentermann and her new release FIREFLY BEACH to the fray.
Welcome, Meira! It’s great to have you here. Your bio indicates you’re an avid reader. When did the pursuit of writing edge into your thoughts?
Hello, Sarah. Thank you for inviting me. This is going to be fun.
I have been writing since I was twelve, mostly journals and poetry. During my thirties I had several story ideas, but I never got past a couple of chapters. In 2003, I sat down and wrote an entire novel in one month! At least I thought it was a novel. It was barely 50,000 words – not long enough to qualify as a novel – and it was frankly quite dreadful. Thankfully, I had no clue at the time. That first manuscript, which I shelved in 2007, allowed me to believe I could write a full-length novel. Faith in one’s self is a powerful thing.
You’re right about that. There’s something major in believing in yourself, and yours led you to write FIREFLY BEACH. *grin* Can you introduce readers to the story? What can you tell us that’s not found in the blurb?
FIREFLY BEACH is a character-driven novel, and I love eccentric personalities, so you can expect some quirky characters roaming through the pages. I endeavored to take the reader on a vacation to the coast of Maine, visiting both the present and the 1970s. It is a story about accepting the past, settling unfinished business, and cherishing family. . . and it’s also a good old-fashioned mystery with a few supernatural elements to spice it up.
Mystery? Supernatural? You are *so* speaking my language! Your home is in Colorado, while FIREFLY BEACH is set in Maine. What inspired you to cross the country for your first novel?
Since I lived half of my life in Seattle and the other half in Colorado, I had little experience with the eastern coast. Nevertheless, this concept of a secluded, rocky beach required the state of Maine. What a great excuse for a field trip!
I dragged my hubby through the underbrush in Maine. Literally. I did. . . drag him through the underbrush in Maine. And he’s quite pleased to remind me of that fact if I complain about the mosquitoes in our backyard.
Enjoying the hospitality of the gracious women from the Wildfire Inn in Searsport, Maine, we traveled the coast during its most rainy, least flattering season, but it was one of my favorite vacations. Virginia Point was primarily inspired by two coastal towns – Camden and Searsport, Maine.
What an absolutely amazing trip! The Maine coast is spectacular, and talk about inspiration—it’s there in spades! (Note to self: create field trips in the name of research). What might readers be surprised to learn about the plot or characters of FIREFLY?
Hmm. . . I had to create rules for the firefly. Readers might notice that it can pass through glass but only if the curtains are open. A rule of convenience, I know, but I needed a way for Beth to escape. If you saw something spooky in the backyard, wouldn’t closing the curtains make you feel safer? 😉
LMAO! That’s brilliant (er, no pun intended). Let’s have some fun with FIREFLY BEACH. What’s the first sentence?
Chapter One: “Beth LaMonte hated moving boxes.”
I bet you grab a LOT of readers with that one. (Everyone I’ve ever known who has moved has never wanted to see another cardboard box again.) What’s your favorite line in the book?
“He provided all the warmth and comfort a human presence could offer that words could not.”
Okay. A challenge. I love these questions. Great interview. . . But I stall. . . I’m going to go with:
“Beth was beset by disturbing dreams; rapid firing images flashed before her eyes – a car screeching down a country road, a yellow duck, her father’s face. She awoke with a start. Why am I dreaming about my father after all of these years?”
LMAO! First, the stall (one with compliments—how clever are you? LOL!) and then in the excerpt I adore how she wonders why she’s dreaming of her father and doesn’t question the yellow duck. (Great hook, by the way. *grin*) Which scene of FIREFLY BEACH was most difficult for you to write? Why?
Beth had an unpleasant experience with an older man. It made me uncomfortable. Perhaps it hit a little too close to home.
Intriguing answer. Turning the tide a bit (I presume), which scene would you most like to experience for yourself? From whose POV?
A great question. Small spoiler here. It would have to be the scene in which Beth cuddles the rubber ducks. From the POV of Kenny, the jeweler. Weird enough? But I would love to be there all the same.
Ducks again! I call it a hook … I’m dying to know how all this ties together! (Way to sell the book, Meira! LOL!) What inspired the title of FIREFLY BEACH?
The title was originally THE FIREFLY, but since I was having trouble getting past the query letter stage, I decided to poll some other writers. Maybe the title would make a difference. Why not? After a few rounds, the consensus was to try the title FIREFLY BEACH. I did receive a contract from Lyrical Press shortly thereafter, so who knows?
Oh, the wondering would make me crazy! But I do love the title—(*chiming in even though no one asked my opinion*) I think adding “beach” gave it a lot of personality, especially considering it takes place on the coast. (*grin*) What are you currently working on?
I recently published NINE-TENTHS, a dystopian science fiction, and I am currently working on a grade 3-6 novel called SARAH AND THE MAGIC MAYONNAISE JAR. I have genre-commitment-phobia. I can’t seem to help myself. The novel should be available by the end of 2012. I am working with an outstanding new illustrator, Rachel Loftus, and I am excited to bring my daughter’s favorite story to life.
I’ve had a recent run of bad luck with mayo (broke two lids, each on full jars of mayo, in back to back weeks … and as you may know, mayo isn’t cheap and it doesn’t last without a lid and *sigh* rubber-banded plastic wrap doesn’t make a very good replacement) so I’m fascinated to hear there is someone out there who shares my name also having mayo issues (although one can assume her mayo issues are more interesting than mine). But I digress, lol. I love that you have genre-commitment-phobia, mainly because I love that term. Anyone who can write such an awesome term can certainly, in my opinion, do great things with a book. And on that note, let’s have a look at one, shall we?
FIREFLY BEACH | blurb
When Beth LaMonte rents a cottage on the coast of Maine, she wishes only to withdraw and paint. A mysterious ball of light disturbs her peace and leads her to a secret beach where she finds the diary of a girl who disappeared in 1975. Now Beth is on a mission, not only to bury her own past, but to put to rest the spirit of Firefly Beach.
MEIRA PENTERMANN | bio & links
On slow, snowy days in her Colorado home, Meira Pentermann enjoys cozying up on the couch with a novel. Naturally, snow is not a requirement; neither is the couch. In fact, she sees no reason not to indulge in reading three-hundred-and-sixty-five days a year. Apocalyptic science fiction, mysteries, and young adult titles top her Kindle list, but legal thrillers and chik-lit make an appearance now and then.
When not absorbed in writing or reading, Meira enjoys life’s little moments with her family – the love and devotion of her black lab, the quiet wisdom of her artistic twenty-one-year-old, the trials and triumphs of her petite sixth grader, and the unlimited encouragement offered by her Dutch husband.
Meira strives to write stories that deliver the unexpected. She prefers down-to-earth characters that look and behave like regular folks. The prom queen and Adonis take a backseat to reclusive, soul-searching heroines and quirky, introverted gentlemen.
Meira, this has been a fabulous visit! I’m so glad to get to know you and some of the insider secrets from FIREFLY BEACH. I wish you all the best as you continue your book tour and with those upcoming releases, mayo and all. Thanks so much for being here! Readers, I’m honored you joined us today and hope you’ll take a moment to welcome Meira. Have a fantastic day, everyone!