Meet THE Author
Meet THE Author
MEET AUTHOR GEORGIA BOCKOVEN
Name: Georgia Bockoven
Birthday: August 7th
Hometown: Northern CA
Writer & Photographer
If it is to be it is up to me!
Alaska, Yellowstone, British Columbia, California, Italy, England, and soon to be South Africa and Botswana.
Interview with Georgia
Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm married to a terrific guy who retired after thirty years as a captain on the Sacramento City Fire Department. He's my hero and a hero to a lot of other people, too. If you'd like to know more about him, he's "Rick" in Disguised Blessing, a book that came out in 2000. We have both picked up cameras again and, with great enthusiasm, embarked on a second career. We have two sons, one incredible daughter-in-law and five brilliant and beautiful grandchildren--are there any other kind? The first grandson, John, (named after his grandfather) was the inspiration for my first book for Harper, A Marriage of Convenience, which was made into a CBS movie starring Jane Seymour and James Brolin.
I'm an observer, a skill developed early during my father's migrant military life. By the time our family settled in California, I was a freshman in high school and had attended seventeen different schools throughout the country. Always being the "new kid" was hard and when I set down roots, I set them deep. But there's a wanderlust in my soul that can only be satisfied by travel, and I do so as often as possible.
Two cats share our house, a silver tabby Maine Coon and a grey rescue with a clipped ear, of questionable lineage. She is the seven-pound master of this universe, controlling the eleven-pound silver tabby with sheer force of will and the belief that attitude is everything. I've learned a lot from this cat.
Would you give some details about your writing background?
I sold my first book to Harlequin in 1982 after a seven-year career in freelance journalism and photography. After ten structured romance novels I was itching to spread my writing wings and sold my first mainstream women’s fiction book to Harper Collins. The Year Everything Changed is my eleventh novel with Harper Collins and is published under the William Morrow imprint. In between I wrote If I’d Never Known Your Love, one of the most interesting stylistic challenges I’ve ever had.
What drew you to writing women’s fiction?
I'm a sucker for a love story, always have been, all the way back to grade school when I discovered and fell in love with the book, Mrs. Mike. And yet, while a woman’s world is fueled by the people she loves, there is so much more to her life’s story. Women are day-to-day heroes in ways that aren’t readily recognized by society. They deal with grief and joy and crisis with incredible strength, reaching out to other women in ways men have a hard time understanding. We get support from each other, sometimes in a simple, “I know,” sometimes in a spontaneous, long hug where everything is understood in the touch. This is my world. I’m blessed with an abundance of amazing women friends. It’s a joy to write the stories that celebrate being a woman.
What do you think is the one thing that helped you more than any other to become the writer you are today?
Reading. I'd probably have a hard time convincing you that I was born knowing how to read, but I can't remember a time that I didn't have my nose buried in a book. I was one of those kids who sneaked a flashlight to bed to read under the covers. If it was a particularly good book and more than I could finish in one night, I would try to convince my mother that I was too sick to go to school the next day. Sometimes it worked, most often it didn't.
Every novel I read is a textbook of sorts. When an author makes me laugh or cry or see something in a new way I stop reading to analyze how they did it. One of the drawbacks to becoming a writer was losing the ability to suspend disbelief the way I did when I was that kid reading a book under the covers with a flashlight. I remember what it was like to be completely swept up in a story and I miss that feeling. Now, no matter what I'm reading, a part of me is paying attention to character development, point of view, plot, and all of the subtle things that make a book either wonderful or awful. But to be honest, I don't give the awful books the time I once did. I used to think if I started a book, I had to finish it. Not anymore.
You’ve written two books set at the same location, The Beach House and Another Summer. How did you come up with the idea to use this location and use each summer month to tell a different story?
The book started out as an idea I had for an anthology. I'd never done one and thought it might be fun to work with two or three friends on a book. The more I developed the idea, the more possessive I became with the characters and their stories, so possessive, in truth, that I couldn't imagine turning them over to anyone else. Which is how I wound up doing the entire first book myself. Then it only made sense to do the second one myself, too.
There are two characters in particular that resonate with readers in The Beach House. Can you talk a little about them?
I took a chance with the older couple, Joe and Maggie, but I wanted to tell a story that fulfilled the promise implied in all love stories-that they lived happily ever after. Yes, their story was hard to write. I cried the entire time and I cried when I reread the story as a book. Joe and Maggie were real to me; all of my characters are. I know these people. I get inside their heads. I know what they are thinking and why. I'm disappointed when they are, I laugh when they do, and I fall in love when they fall in love.
When I was asked to do the sequel, Another Summer, I worked hard to find a way to bring Joe and Maggie back without it seeming like a ghost story. What I like the most about the way I finally wrote them is that if someone hasn’t read The Beach House they simply accept this couple as brand new characters.
It’s been awhile since you’ve had a new book out. Why has it taken so long? What have you been doing?
Well, I thought I had retired from writing and was concentrating on the wildlife photography business my husband and I started www.bockovenphotography.com and then my incredible editor, Lucia Macro, chased me down to talk about reissuing The Beach House and Another Summer--and by the way, how would I feel about doing a new book for her?
And that new book is The Year Everything Changed. Tell us about it.
I love writing stories that explore ideas and prejudices that are tightly wrapped around fascinating characters. In this case I was reading about the lifelong effects on children when they are abandoned by a parent. One thought jumped to another and I tried looking at the reasons a person who is otherwise wonderful might abandon a child. Is it ever justified? Understandable? And is it fair or right to judge someone by today’s standards when the action took place during a time of different social standards.
Now how to wrap this around an interesting story! I came up with four women who didn’t have a clue that they were sisters. They are summoned by their father (one daughter had no idea that she’d been adopted) as he’s near death. Jessie believes that even though he’s failed at fatherhood in every other way, he can give his daughters this last gift of each other (along with ten million dollars each). The fireworks he expects is not even close to what he gets. None of the women care that they have sisters and are not the least bit interested in developing a relationship.
Lucy, Jessie’s attorney who has loved him since the day they met, finds a way to give Jessie one last gift. When Jessie dies she tells his daughters that there is a catch to their inheritance, they must meet one day a month for six months to listen to the tapes Jessie left behind.
Elizabeth, even though sustained by a loving family, has suffered the most from Jessie’s abandonment. While coming to terms with his story, she will have to deal with a daughter facing her own crisis.
Rachel learned of her father’s existence the same day she discovered her husband of ten years has been having an affair. She will receive the understanding and support she needs to survive from an unlikely and surprising source.
Ginger is in love with a married man when she discovers she was adopted. She will be forced to reevaluate every relationship she’s ever had.
Christine is a young filmmaker, barely out of college, who now must decide if her few precious memories of a man she believed to be long dead are enough to give him a second chance.
Bonds are formed and broken and lives are altered forever in The Year Everything Changed. I had sooo much fun writing about these women. I hope they’re as much fun for the reader.