Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Author Interview: Marcia Coffey Turnquist: The God of Sno Cone Blue

My Daughter
Marcia Coffey Turnquist, an author and journalist, is currently writing her second novel, Skipping the Light. Before venturing into the world of fiction, she spent 12 years as a news broadcaster, working her way back to her hometown of Portland, Oregon and KOIN-TV. Marcia decided to retire from broadcasting to raise the son and daughter who ultimately inspired her debut novel, The God of SnoCone Blue. Her two children are all but grown now, with one off to college and the other not far behind Marcia lives with her husband Ed and their youngest in the soggy-but-green suburbs of Portland. Visit her website at marciacoffeyturnquist.com.
My Son

Here is a small video of Marcia introducing herself and her debut novel The God of SnoCone Blue.


There is a message from Marcia to all her readers and fans and it goes as below in her own words:

"I'm happy to Skype with any book clubs who read my book—There's a page in the paperback version with a list of questions very helpful to book clubs. "

Another message from Garcia that I received on September 28, here it goes in her own words:
Thought I'd let you know that I just won an indieBRAG Medallion from the independent review site. They're going to list me with a 5-star review and highlight my book in their Literary Fiction at the start of October! If you're not familiar with indieBRAG, I'll leave a link to the website. I'm really excited about it. :-) Marcia http://www.bragmedallion.com/


Please share some of the best memories of your childhood.

 I grew up in Portland, where I still live, and while it's a fine, temperate climate with an abundance of rain, really enjoyed getting away to drier country. We used to vacation in a borrowed camper near a ruggedly beautiful lake where I climbed trees and mountainsides, swam and explored without a care. Two memories stand out: the time my parents accidentally left me at the lakeside all alone (I wasn't too worried), and the night I skinny-dipped with my older sisters—nothing feels freer than that!
Papa with me as a girl

About your education?

As a child, I was educated in public schools, then attended private universities, Linfield College and Northwestern University, graduating with a Master's Degree in Journalism.

What career did you plan during your education days?

Like many young people, I didn't know what to do for a while, then finally settled on journalism. After college, I worked long and hard in several American towns building a career in a very competitive field as a television reporter and anchor.



What languages you can speak and write?

Mainly English. Though I studied French in high school and college, I have lost most of it to little or no practice. I learned bits of Spanish teaching my children when they were young, but my vocabulary is barely good enough to find a bathroom or buy lunch! I envy anyone fluent in multiple languages and would love to have more time to learn.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?

My children, definitely. Few people will tell you this before you're a parent, but when you have a child, you fall in love all over again. I actually made the decision to give up my career (after 12 years in television) to raise them, a son and daughter. And I haven't ever regretted it. Our family has been a source of joy, support and laughter for two decades now. In the coming years, my life will change. My son is already in college and my daughter will leave soon.


What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?

Three years ago, my daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, the insulin-dependent kind which they used to call juvenile diabetes. It was and is very difficult to see her go from a carefree, normal childhood to coping with a chronic illness that requires her to check her blood sugar and give herself shots multiple times every day. In the beginning, it broke my heart. She copes with it much better than I, but I'm learning. We all have crosses to bear and I have faith that, despite the challenge, she'll live a beautiful life.


What is your favorite genre and why?

I have trouble choosing favorites--in any category-- because I love so many things. My husband and children know this well. For example, whenever I'm enjoying an American favorite--a piece of pie--I ask aloud, "What's my favorite pie?" and my family knows to answer, "The one you're eating now!" I feel similarly about genres, if it's a good book, it doesn't matter. I have favorites in general fiction, non-fiction, history, and memoir. It's all about good writing and storytelling. A good book can be about any subject, as long as it's well told.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?

I have a journal from the sixth grade that a teacher required us to write. It's comically bad. I say absolutely nothing of substance in it, BUT I remember from a very young age dreaming of being a writer. I wrote for a living for many years as a television journalist, and while that wasn't fiction, it was great training. In news writing, you need to get to the point quickly and describe situations accurately. The background keeps my writing succinct. As far as the purpose of my writing, I think it's important to look at and address the big questions in life, with a nod to things eternal. Why are we here? How should we live? Is there
something bigger than us?


Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?

Sure! My debut novel, The God of Sno Cone Blue, is getting 5-star reviews. Here's what you'll find on the back cover:

Something is odd about Grace. She has mismatched eyes, one dark, one light. She thinks she's seen God. When her mother dies, she begins to get letters from her, as if from the grave. The letters tell of her mother's life before she married Grace's father, in time, confessing fiercely guarded family secrets. I wasn't always a Preacher's Wife… I made mistakes along the way. Looking back, as a middle-aged woman, Grace relives those transformative years, coming of age in the 1960s and losing her
mother: She struggles with questions of loss and faith and begins to butt heads with the preacher as the letters keep coming, gradually unveiling her mother's early romance. Grace devours each letter and longs for the next, searching for clues about who's delivering them. When she finally reads the last letter—and an astonishing truth—she embarks on a journey that changes her life and perspective forever.


Here is a comment from Linda Needham on Marcia Coffey Turnquist's The God of Sno Cone Blue. Linda is USA Today bestselling author -
"With a driving style and a colorful cast of eccentric characters, author Marcia Coffey Turnquist fiercely delivers equal parts laughter, sorrow and the kind of joy that will stay with you long after you've finished reading the book."
-Linda Needham, USA Today bestselling author.


What are your forthcoming writings?

I'm very excited about the novel I'm writing now. Unlike my first book, which could be classified as either mainstream or inspirational fiction, my second novel is more geared toward young adults with crossover to adult readers. The backdrop would best be described as a dystopian society of the future, similar to The Hunger Games, but with the addition of time travel. There's a love story and beautiful scenery, ugly and heroic behavior.

 The God of Sno Cone Blue is Featured in The Cedar Mill News

What keeps you motivating towards writing?

Writing is like anything, if you love it, you'll pursue it. I don't love golf, and I'm terrible at it. Same with basketball and dancing. But I'm a pretty good slalom waterskier and my singing wouldn’t hurt your ears. It takes a very long time before you get good at anything, and writing is no exception. I spent ten years writing and editing to find my voice before I published my first novel. While that sounds like a long time, it was essential, simple as that. (I might add that I'm a bit of a perfectionist.)


How much real life goes into a fiction writing?

A great deal and very little. This seems like a contradiction, but let me explain. Writers draw deeply from the well of their own experiences--it's what they know! Then they stir those waters to create new, yet familiar worlds. For example, my first book is centered around a preacher's daughter, and while that doesn't describe me, I did grown up near a preacher's family and often played with their children. Also, my parents struggled with alcoholism and, if you read my book, you'll recognize a character with similar issues. Like my father and his side of the family, he's not only flawed but very colorful indeed.

Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author?

Absolutely, without it, you're lost. However, we all have imaginations. The point is fostering them, giving them space to grow. I learned a good trick a while back from another writer. If you can't see what comes next in a story or you can't solve a certain problem, write it down as a question and then leave it, just let it sit. Your subconscious will work on it for you and usually, within a day or two, the answer comes with an "Aha!" I've tried this and it works. Long walks that set the mind free also help.


What is the last book you finished reading? What is the current book
you are reading?

I just finished reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and just started A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin.

book club with sno cones


Your favorite book and why?


Again, I have a hard time picking favorites, so I'll list a few. The book I've read the most times is the classic, To Kill a Mockingbird. I also love the following: The Glass Castle, The Time Traveler's Wife, Water for Elephants, Proof of Heaven, Memoirs of a Geisha, Straight Man, The Poisonwood Bible, The Secret History, The Kite Runner and so many more!


What is the force that drives you?

I believe in a divine force with boundless creativity, and I like to think a small piece of it exists in
each of us.

What comes to your mind when you think of India?

So many things it's hard to isolate them, and I worry because I've never traveled there, that they might sound cliché. Also, many are contrasting ideas, but here goes: A vast land of ancient civilizations, the caste system, beautiful people, delicious food and starvation, slums and gold and heat and humidity, dowries and sexism and rape, the Hindu faith and spirituality, gods and sacred cows, bathing in the Ganges, Gandhi and Mother Teresa, British occupation, tea and curry, bustling, crowded marketplaces and, finally, gleaming smiles of joy in the midst of extreme poverty.

Your Favorite Book, Movie etc.?

One of my favorite books is Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert and one of my favorite movies, for what it's worth, is Slum Dog Millionaire. I've seen it multiple times and never tire of it. I hope to have the time to travel to India one day, perhaps when I'm retired, to see it for myself.



State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote:

One quote that really speaks to me happens to come from the Indian mystic poet Kabir. 
"All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop." 
So uplifting. So beautiful and true!

Link:
Twitter handle: @marciaturnquist

Goodreads author page:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8121070.Marcia_Coffey_Turnquist



Any other links: (my website) http://marciacoffeyturnquist.com/
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