I am writing from the peace and quiet of my dining room. I’m ALONE. I haven’t been alone in a week and a half! My daughter was on Spring Break and we had the best time. We spent an entire day downtown, we watched movies, we ate ice cream, we got manicures, we did art projects, we shopped, we played outside, and so much more. I’m EXHAUSTED but it was so worth it. I now have a solid 2.5 hour chunk of time while both of my kids are in school and I can relish the sound of nothing except for Michael Buble’s voice from the Pandora station on my phone. I even have a candle lit as I’m typing this! Glorious.
In book news…I did somehow manage to read this entire book (full blog review and giveaway coming soon) over Spring Break. I just started reading this book a few nights ago and I’m LOVING it!
I have a wonderful giveaway for you today! Have you read this book?
Full disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book to read and review for my blog. All opinions are my own.
Giveaway details will be given at the bottom of this post!
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Newly widowed and on the threshold of seventy, Lizzie Warton questions the value of her remaining years. Uncharacteristically, she decides for the first time in her life to do what she wants, instead of what everyone expects.
Against the wishes of family and friends, she sets out for Africa to work at a Ugandan middle school. When she lands at night in the Entebbe airport, her hosts are not there to meet her. Near panic, she hires a local taxi. The driver drugs her, steals everything, and dumps her limp body in a slum. Waking in the dark, she feels someone tugging off her shoes.
Without money, a passport, clothes, or medications, Lizzie is forced to start over and find a way to survive.
Soon she learns that nothing in Africa is as it appears. The grind of daily life in the third-world is beyond anything Lizzie imagined. Nevertheless, encouraged by budding friendships in surprising places, and against every sensible instinct she’s ever developed, Lizzie’s own personal search for meaning becomes the grand adventure of a lifetime.
I’ve always been drawn to books which take place in different cultures. I find learning about other cultures and places fascinating and as soon as I read the synopsis of this book, I immediately knew that it was one I needed to read.
I found myself learning and researching a great deal while reading this book which is always such a bonus for me. I love when a book is so well written that it makes me want to learn more about the subject and/or place, and this book is a perfect example.
There were many different characters and storylines and all were interesting. I found myself being able to connect to many of these intriguing characters and truly became immersed into their lives.
My favorite parts of the book took place in Owino Market…what a fascinating place that must be! The descriptions of the market were so rich and colorful that I felt like I was there!
Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with E.A. Fournier through social media and email quite a bit and he truly is such a kind person. Always such a bonus to learn that the person behind the words is as lovely as the words are themselves.
I loved this wonderful book and the ending made me cry. Such a special story which begs for a sequel!
A Conversation with E.A. Fournier, in his own words:
How did you create the idea for your book?
I carried the beginnings of Lizzie’s story in my head for years. At one point, I wrote it out as the opening for a screenplay. An older woman sits alone at the bedside of her comatose husband. He comes conscious long enough to apologize for not sharing the major decisions in their life. It’s his biggest regret. He asks her to choose to do something, after he’s gone, that she’s always wanted to do. He slips back into the coma and a few days later he’s dead. I could never quite resolve what the wife would choose to do, so I put it aside.
Years later, I challenged myself to write women’s fiction. It seemed to me that the leads in most of that genre were young, smart and lovely. I wanted to feature someone significantly older: a woman with wide hips and grey hair, someone sensitive but not sappy, big-hearted but seasoned. I considered revisiting Lizzie’s story. Since I’m the wrong gender, I wondered if I could pull it off and make her character ring true. I decided I was willing to try. The question that remained was what Lizzie wanted to do.
It turned out that the answer was right in front of me. My small church funded an orphan home in Kampala for street boys. The young founders were my friends. My son traveled there to teach art and make a film. His efforts not only helped the orphans, but won him a lovely Ugandan bride. It seemed clear to me that Lizzie had finally found her unlikely destination.
What audience would be most interested in your book?
The special audience I had in mind when I first created Still Breathing was women over forty. At this point in their lives many of them question their own significance. I felt that this group would uniquely appreciate a determined main character like my 69-year-old Lizzie.
However, I’ve discovered that the power of the book’s characters reaches far outside my demographics. At one end, my granddaughter, a sophomore in high school, loved Lizzie and her journey. She posted a very perceptive review on Goodreads and promotes the novel to her YA friends. At the other end, my 70-year-old male acquaintance, John, begrudgingly agreed to give my book a chance. He only reads non-fiction. John called me a week later to say he’d finished. He would have called sooner, he admitted, but was crying so much that he didn’t know if he could talk on the phone. I reminded him that it was only fiction. He replied that it sure didn’t feel like fiction to him.
So, the novel seems to be seeking out its own wider audience, despite what I think.
Where can your book be purchased?
The book’s available in digital, paperback or hardback from Amazon or Barnes & Noble
It’s also available in digital-only formats from Apple, Google Play, or Scribd
In addition, you can find it internationally at these sites: Thalia, bol.de, Angus & Robertson, or the Mandadori Store.
Use 3 adjectives to describe your book:
Any additional information that you would like to provide about you or your book:
Most of the situations and events in the story come directly out of my research and from interviews with former Ugandan street boys, teachers and house fathers. For example, the plight of boys on the street, the scarcity of copper, the way boarding schools work, the corruption of customs officials, the perils of marriage for women, the new method to send money from the U.S.—these all came out of the research.
I peppered the book with accurate local language and flavored it with open markets, tribal clothes and native foods. Many of these elements came directly from my Ugandan daughter-in-law, Diana. Luganda, the language used in the book, is the main dialect spoken in Kampala. Fortunately, most Ugandans also speak English.
I tend to write by the seat of my pants and let my characters tell me what comes next, but I’m enough of a plot and outline guy to limit their scope. People don’t understand that there are times when characters talk back, or refuse to say lines, or do the opposite of what you ask. Really. It’s why I laugh when people say a writer’s life is lonely. No, it’s not! It’s stuffed with noisy imaginary people who interrupt each other, argue and laugh and cry, and are certain of their own opinions—just like people in the everyday world.
I have 1 autographed copy of to give away (the autographed copy will be mailed to you if you live in the US or you will receive an electronic copy if you are located internationally)!
To be entered, please complete these 3 simple steps:
1. Follow and/or subscribe to my blog
2. Leave a comment below telling me one place in the world where you would love to visit.
3. Tell me in your comment if you are located within the US or if you are located internationally.
**You must complete ALL 3 of these steps to be eligible for the giveaway and you must complete them here on my blog (not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)**
Giveaway will close Sunday (4/7/19) morning at 6:00 CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced in Monday’s blog post (4/8/19).
Make sure you check the blog on Monday to see if you’ve won (you will have 48 hours from the time I post the winner to email me your mailing address. If I don’t hear from you within 48 hours, I will pick a new winner).
If you already follow and/or subscribe to my blog, you are still eligible…just leave a comment below to be entered 🙂
Good luck! Can’t wait to read your comments!
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Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link. When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo