A stone plopped into water formed ripples, creating concentric circles that moved out from thecenter and subsided gradually if nothing impeded their progress. Whether or not they ever came to a full stop, Teo wasn’t scientist enough to know. It looked to him as if the molecules touched by movement became propelled in an infinitely wider arc, slower perhaps as they achieved distance, but still there, still moving, still affecting other molecules and pushing them to confront whatever lay in their path. (from page 335, Sailing out of Darkness)
A writer sends her work out like that stone plopping on water, hoping the ripples will touch readers. Rarely have I read a review of my work that showed just how deeply someone had been moved. I hope you’ll indulge me as I share them with you. I am humbled.
From a Goodreads reader came this five-star review:
“Our favorite literary characters are written indelibly into our hearts as we experience them living out the very pains and hopes which have been written deeply onto our souls. Normandie has a gift of writing wounded characters to life, characters who publicly reflect the wounds we keep private. As I read of Sam and Teo’s relational struggles I began to recognize the same struggles in my life. With the turning of each page I saw more and more how my present relationships are dictated and even defeated by my past rejection. Actually, as I connected with Sam I realized that I most likely became a “water person” due to past relational rejection. My boat is my safe refuge from destructive people and pain, but Sam story encouraged me to put my past fears and failures behind me and to step out in faith! This book has restored a hope to my heart, a hope for new and exciting relationships with unexpected people in unplanned places! Normandie, thank you for writing Sailing Out of Darkness!”
I admit it: I’m a terrible blogger. There’s so much else I’d rather do, like work on my next book or read or spend way too much time on social media, checking in with the world on that huge, huge time-hole called Facebook.
And, no, the picture above has absolutely nothing to do with a review or with wasting time. I just like it…and can’t wait to get out on the water again.
Anyway, back to the review. The first words made me giddy:
“Normandie Fischer is at it again–illustrating the complex heart of the mature woman. Hers aren’t the novels of first love and high hopes for the future. They aren’t aimed at fresh-faced youngsters looking for romance–and a husband, children, and a house with a white picket fence. They’re aimed at women who have already been there, and wear the tarnish to prove it.”
So writes author and editor Linda Yezak. Isn’t it a great beginning?
Yes, I write about tarnished folk. Women such as I who need a bit of buffing every so often to bring out the shine. You can read the rest of her kinds words on her blog:
This essay made its first appearance in 2010 on This Southern Gal’s View of the World when blogger Linda Apple asked me to write a guest post while we were still cruising in Mexico. Wednesday morning, I received a worried query from friend and critique partner Robin Patchen. Did I have something I could send for her group blog? Immediately? As in right then? Which, of course, led me to my writing folder.
Now, making its second appearance in the blogging world, “Contrasts” is up at Quid Pro Quills.
Here’s a taste of what you’ll read there, along with some fun pictures from along the way:
Sipping an espresso on New York’s Upper East Side at an elegant sidewalk restaurant, I felt worlds away from the trash-strewn streets of the garment district through which I’d passed that morning. I had the same experience when I visited cities in Jordan years ago, and then later in Lebanon. I remember rolling rice into a ball as I ate from a plate of mansuf at the home of middle-class Jordanians. We were mere kilometers from the King’s palace, where riches slipped through jeweled fingers instead of outward to alleviate that nation’s poverty and the squalor of the refugee camps.
The rich of New York or Amman inhabit the same city as the poor, and the poor like it not. “The poor you will always have with you,” Jesus said. Which I suppose means that we’ll always have the rich with us as well.
The assumption seems to be that the rich fare better than their poorer brethren. But I’m not all that convinced that the rich neighbors in New York or Amman bask in the sublime either. There’s never quite enough, is there? Never quite enough money or things or good times or love. For either group. So, who lives in the greatest poverty?
You paint a picture, create a sculpture, write a poem or a book. Folk say they love this or that. A few say they don’t like anything you’ve done. Well, you try for a thank-you to them anyway, because that’s what you’ve been taught to do. Smile. Be polite.
And then someone writes a review of your newest and shows that she gets it. She gets the purpose and the heart of your story, although she doesn’t normally read in your genre–or in this case, genres.
Yesterday, that happened when a reader wrote these words about Sailing out of Darkness. I don’t care that she only gave it four stars while she gave my first (Becalmed) five. You’ll see what I mean when you read her words, these from Goodreads:
Normandie Fischer’s latest, Sailing Out of Darkness, includes some of my favorite things: sailing, travel, mystery, and even a bit of fantasy thrown in. Fischer’s latest novel seamlessly melds multiple genres–romance, Christian fiction, women’s lit, and literary–without settling entirely within any one. Don’t think that’s a criticism. For me, I found the balance just right: the romance never gets sappy, the thread of faith/Christian fiction runs through subtly, never pounding the reader over the head with it as so much of that genre does, the mystery and conflict over Samantha’s past coming back to haunt her kept me on edge without becoming melodramatic, and her literal and figurative voyage of self-discovery moves at an engaging pace that never falls over the line from relatable introspection to banal self-absorption. Sam, Teo, and all of the characters’ personalities come through clearly and their interactions and dialogue flow smoothly. Fischer is a master at transporting the reader into the scene. The beauty and foreignness of exploring new places is captured pitch perfect in Sam’s ponderings as she makes her way through Italy. I could picture the Italian countryside, feel the rhythm of the boat on the Mediterranean Sea, and my heart ached and pulse raced when Sam confronted…well, read it to see what and how she overcomes the ordeals she faces.
My publicist, River Laker of Silver Seas PR, shot these on board Sea Venture at Liberty Landing Marina, where we’d docked while I played grandmother to my daughter’s newborn a ferry ride away in NYC. Obviously, (sans doute!) I had no script. Nor the benefit of a make-up and hair artist (big sigh). Still, they give voice to some of my thoughts on the story.
Tomorrow is Launch Party Day on Facebook. And here is our party schedule of appearances. Please stop by and win one of these lovely books!
9:00-10:10 Barbara Davis
10:10-11:20 Lynne Hinkey
11:20-12:40 Jessica Topper
12:40-1:50 Robin Patchen
1:50-3:00 Jessica Dotta
3:00-4:10 Barbara Claypole White
4:10-5:20 Laura Wharton
5:20-6:30 Anne Barnhill
6:30 -8:00 yours truly
If you’re curious–okay, fine, nosy,–you want to know about other folk.
Not the bad stuff, please. Not the gossip. But what makes them tick, what influenced them to become the person they are today. That’s one of the reasons I love to read interviews, especially ones that dig a little deeper. You know what I mean?
I think Aaron Gansky did just that in his blog interview today on Author Spotlight. Here’s the link if you’re curious (nosy) about how I got from there to here. (Or at least, a few more bits and pieces than you may know already.)
And take a look at all the things Aaron’s doing while you’re there: teaching, speaking, writing.