Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Guest Post and Giveaway by Barbara Delinsky

Please join me in welcoming Barbara Delinsky, author of Not My Daughter to Always With a Book! If you missed my review, you can read it here. Today Barbara guest blogs about her moving from writing romance novels to fiction.

Enjoy and be sure to enter the giveaway below!

Breaking Out is Hard to Do...

Okay. I know what at least a few of you are thinking. "Barbara Delinsky - isn't she that famous romance writer? I don't read romances (well, not that I admit to!). Why is she reading at a bookstore/appearing on a talk show/popping up on a blog that celebrates 'good' fiction?" Normally, I ignore it. My books have changed so dramatically over the span of my writing career that I figure anyone who reads me now knows what I write. But the problem is, some readers won't pick up my books at all because they think they won't like what I write.

So let me be clear. I do not write Romance. I did once. That's how I got my foot in the door of publishing, and I will be forever grateful to the genre for that. I also have the utmost respect for that genre. Romance writers work hard. And most of the time, they earn very little respect - thought I do think that is starting to change - see the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blog.  

Romance writers will always have my respect. Their books are interesting, well-crafted, and fun. They're also sexy - which, way back when I wrote romances, caused some memorable family moments. My husband was often asked if he helped research the bedroom scenes. His sister refused to read my books; "I don't read trash like that," she said with some scorn. And, to this day, when we bump into an old friend, a Congressmen in the US House of Representatives, he puts an arm around my shoulder, lowers his voice to a seductive drawl, and murmurs, "How's my favorite romance writer doing?"

As teenagers, my sons actually found my books to be "girl-getters."

But my favorite story involves my oldest son. When he hit high school, we sent him to an all-boys school. Well, as kids get to know each other, they talk about what their parents do. So one day Eric brought in one of my books to show his friends. It was an early book of mine, written under a pseudonym. The title? The Passionate Touch. Apparently, the boys at nearby desk were leaning over his shoulder to read what I assumed to be the ... juiciest pages, when the teacher said, "Hey, Delinsky, what have you got there?" Eric quickly stuffed the book in his desk, but the teacher was already down the aisle, holding out his hand out for the book. He studied the cover, thumbed through a few pages, looked at my son in horror and said, "What would your mother say if she knew you were reading something like this?"

As it happened, I was doomed as a romance writer. My books were too realistic. I soon began writing full-length novels, all with a harder edge, more in-depth plots, even an issue. And I loved doing this. But in the 1980's, that's not what romance publishers wanted. I know things are a lot different now, but I had to deal with then. So I thought I'd simply switch shelves in the bookstore - off the romance shelf, onto the plain-old-fiction shelf.

But I quickly learned on thing: Breaking out is hard to do.

I first hit the publishing scene as a Romance Writer. Changing that image has not been easy. I've tried everything. I deliberately sold my work to publishing houses known for literary fiction. I wrote sagas that follow multiple generations over many years, something not generally done in the romance genre. I killed off a main character, definitely a no-no in romance back then, and tackled another then-taboo topic, serious sexual abuse. My most recent novels have been published by Doubleday, a well-respected literary house, and there has been zero sex in these books. And still, some of you out there think ... you-know-what.

So. Let's get past it right now. What do I write? I write books about relationships, often about relationships between friends, more often about relationships between family members. Writing about family crises is truly my niche. In recent books, I've tackled subjects like sibling rivalry and marital angst, illness, infidelity, even infertility. I write about situations in which the unexpected happens - like when a black boy is born to a white couple, as happens in Family Tree - and I write about these things because I'm interested, and because if I'm interested, I figured my readers will be too since I am my quintessential reader. 

People intrigue me. I want to know how they handle crises. Do they run away? Do they freeze? Or do they use those crises as vehicles for growth?

My agent calls this domestic drama. I call it reality. I create real people, who have real friends and real family, then I put them in situations that test their mettle. My characters are very much like you and me and people we know. I build a history for them, so that their personalities ring true, because I do believe that we are shaped by the events in our lives.

I certainly was. My mother died when I was eight. That shaped me. I gave birth to three sons, no daughters; that shaped me, too. I was diagnosed with breast cancer fourteen years ago. More shaping, in every sense.

These were all situations that tested my mettle, which is what I do to my characters. The end result is I hope, a well-written, fully-realized story that moves. As in pages turning because you have to find out what happens next. That's always my goal. One of the best compliments a reader can give me is to say that she couldn't put my book down. And happily, that's a compliment I hear a lot from my wonderful readers. If you haven't read one of my novels yet, I hope you'll take the time to enter this contest to win a copy of NOT MY DAUGHTER




About the author: Barbara Delinsky is the author of more than seventeen bestselling novels with over twenty million copies in print. She has been published in twenty-five languages worldwide. Barbara lives with her family in New England. Visit Barbara's website for more information.

Thank you Barbara for visiting and now on to the giveaway.

GIVEAWAY RULES:

Jen at Random House has provided five copies of Not My Daughter for readers of this blog! 

Rules:
  • Open to US/Canada
  • No PO Boxes please
  • Be sure to include email address in case you win
  • Book will be mailed out by the publicist
  • All comments must be separate to count as more than one
How to Enter:

  • Required entry:  Leave me a comment letting me know you want to win Not my Daughter. Please include your e-mail address in your comment, so that I have a way to contact you if you win. No e-mail= no entry!
  • Bonus Entry (+1)  Follow my blog. If you already do, thanks, and please let me know in the comments. You're eligible for the extra entry as well.  Must be in a separate comment to count for the bonus entry!
  • Bonus Entry (+2)  Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link. Must be in a separate comment to count for the bonus entries!

Don't forget to LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT for each entry. The total possible number of entries for each person is 4.   

Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!

GIVEAWAY ENDS
AT 6 PM, EST, NOV 30th
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36 comments

  1. I'd love to win this book. I have read all Barbara's books and love them all.

    Thanks

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  2. I love BD's books, read and re-read them. I am so disappointed that thie chance t win is again a NO PO BOXES PLEASE. Where I live that is all, no home mail delivery thank you! It certainly limits things.

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  3. I'm following your blog! Glad I found it :)

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  4. I'm in the UK so not eligible to win this book but I do want to leave a comment on Brabara's post. I first came across Barbara's writing when I picked up a copy of "Family Tree" at an airport. I've never known a flight pass so quickly, as I was totally absorbed in the book. I then scoured the shelves of the library for her other books and found her early romance works. So some of us come to Barbara's work from the opposite perspective - admirers of the serious novelist who are surprised to discover she was once a romance writer.

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  5. I love BD novels...would also love to win Not My Daughter...don't we all have this fear? Please picks me...LOL. My email is pianolady_62 at yahoo. THANKS BD

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  6. I am subscribed to your Blog...always have been...(-: My email address is pianolady_62 at yahoo. Thanks for the second chance to win Not My Daughter!!!!

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  7. I absolutely love Barbara Delinsky's writing, and would love to own this book to add to my growing collection.

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  8. I am already following her blog. My email is onlymikesstacia@yahoo.com

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  9. huge fan of yours Barbara, would love to win this one
    Sherri
    beachcombermom2004@yahoo.com

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  10. I have never read Barbara's work but after reading this guest blog post, I am intrigued. As a fellow blogger, book reviewer and wanna be writer, I enjoyed reading of Barbara's struggles in changing her genre. Just getting published is difficult, never mind changing genres. I would love the opportunity to read "Not My Daughter". I too follow this blog.

    Here's my email: riverboat38@hotmail.com Good luck to all!

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  11. I saw your review and immediately wanted to read it.

    teresasreadingcorner at gmail dot com

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  12. I am a GFC follower.

    teresasreadingcorner at gmail dot com

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  13. Here is where I added it to my wish list. I don't know if that counts or not...

    http://teresasreadingcorner.blogspot.com/p/wish-list.html

    teresasreadingcorner at gmail dot com

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  14. I am interested in seeing how the different mother reacted. I worked in a small town once and know news spreads at the speed of sound! I would definetly like to read this book.

    CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

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  15. +1 I am a Google Friend Connect Follower of this blog.

    CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

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  16. I've already read this book and thoroughly enjoyed it, therefore, I won't be joining in the Giveaway.

    I really enjoyed the interesting things Barbara shared with us today. I did not know she was a romance writer in her early career. I just found her newer books, and really enjoyed them. At the Library Book Sell I bought a book or two of her books, I will have to check and see what the copyright is in them. I may be disappointed if they are the smut ones. I'm glad she cleaned up her act and is writing novels with the interesting story lines. I happen to be one of her readers that once I start reading one of her books I hate to put it down.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  17. i enjoy reading barbara delinsky's work...thanks for the chance to read this novel of hers.

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  18. I'd love to read her again. I havent' for a very long time. Sounds great!
    jacque
    twinmomx5atgmaildotcom

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  19. Looks like a great book! Would love to win :)
    hisprincess886(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  20. I'm a new follower - gfc
    hisprincess886(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  21. I so want to read Not My Daughter...to win a copy would be wonderful...(-: My email is pianolady_62 at yahoo. THANKS

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  22. I am connected to your blog...great reviews and guest posts...please enter my for the second chance to win BD's novel...(-: THANKS pianolady_62 at yahoo.

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  23. Never read anything by her but sure would love to. Please enter me, thanks.

    ruthiekb72ATyahooDOTcom

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  24. I follow you on my yahoo home page.

    ruthiekb72ATyahooDOTcom

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  25. I have not read a Barbara Delinsky novel yet but this sounds wonderful!! Thanks for hosting this contest: booksncity (at) gmail (dot) com

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  26. I follow your blog in my google reader.

    booksncity (at) gmail (dot) com

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  27. I want to win Not my Daughter!! Thanks for hosting!
    reginahott at gmail dot com

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  28. I'm a long-time follower!
    reginahott at gmail dot com

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  29. I posted & Tweeted:
    http://www.hottbooks.com/2010/11/always-with-book-is-giving-awaynot-my.html
    http://twitter.com/#!/hottbooks
    regina hott at gmail dot com

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  30. I want to win Not my Daughter.

    Check out my giveaway here:
    Giveaway: Signed Copy of Afterlight by Elle Jasper

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

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  31. I'm a follower.

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

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  32. I would love to win not my daughter. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

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  33. Please enter me in the contest to win Not My Daughter. I wanted to blog about this contest but am having problems with blogger. (I cannot write new blogs nor edit previous ones. In some cases I cannot link to join memes either. So, as an aside, does anyone know how to fix this?)

    riverboat38@hotmail.com

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  34. This book sounds very interesting. Enter Please :)

    PelicanJL(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  35. I love Barbara Delinsky and would love to win this book.

    kherbrand at comcast dot net

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  36. I am a new follower.

    kherbrand at comcast dot net

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Thank you so much for leaving a comment! I love interacting with other book lovers and appreciate any thoughts or feedback! If you read a book after seeing my review, please let me know. Come back and leave me a link to your review so I can read it. Thank you!!!

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