Today we’re wishing a happy book birthday to The Odds of You and Me by Cecilia Galante! To celebrate I’m excited to share with you a short Q & A with the author!
Q & A
Did you learn anything new or surprising while writing your latest book?
I did, actually. The most obvious were all the strange facts I researched for James’ Curious Facts and Data book. Sometimes research for a book can be tedious, but the incredible information I uncovered for this one, including how the human heart beats more than 100,000 times a day, and that there is an actual name for the metallic way the air smells after it rains, were so interesting that it never felt like work. It was just so much fun!
How would you say the landscape in which you grew up (i.e. the region, culture, family) has shaped you as a writer?
I always sigh a bit when I get this question because I know I’ll have to go into a lot of strange detail about my somewhat unusual background (born into and raised in a fanatically religious cult for the first fifteen years of my life in upstate New York) but I’ve also learned that sometimes it’s is not the physical place or the culture that shapes people who end up writing – it’s the books along the way. At least that was true for me. I’d be errant if I said that growing up without a solid relationship to my parents has influenced several storylines in my books, (including this most recent one) but I’m also pretty sure I became a writer because my eleventh-grade English teacher, who may have noticed that I was a little bit out of my element, having just moved from the cult into the “real world,” left a copy of The Catcher in the Rye on my desk.
I read the novel in a day, finishing the last chapter inside the school’s bathroom stall, weeping uncontrollably. In a world where almost nothing made any sense, here was someone who told the truth – no matter how ugly or scary or funny it was – without worrying whether or not others would stop loving him if he did. Was that how things worked out here? Were we really allowed to write and say things that might make us look weak or even downright crazy? Because if it was, I knew that day, that it was all I ever wanted to do with the rest of my life. And it still is.
What is the difference between a fleeting idea you have for a book, which you eventually forget or discard, and one that gets you putting pen to paper, so to speak?
I’m not sure if there is a difference between the two. I’d say it’s more of a seed and soil analogy; almost all of my ideas that have eventually led me to the page have always started off as a fleeting thought of some sort. Sometimes it’s not even an idea; it’s just a character who has found herself in a ridiculously interesting situation. That might be the glimmer of the idea. The one that gets to the page is the one that keeps on glimmering, day after day, week after week, until it gets so bright you’ve got to put the damn thing down before you go blind.
Who or what inspires your characters? Do you have a particular type of character that fascinates you?
If I admitted to all the people I’ve known over the years who have influenced a character of mine in some way, I’d probably get in a lot of trouble! I’ve rarely based a character completely off someone I know; the process is more of an organic one, in which I start off thinking of someone and then watch as the character flourishes into someone in her own right. It happens like that all the time, and it always amazes me when it does, because the finished character is almost nothing like the original one I had in my head. The process is just incredible.
As for characters that fascinate me, I’d have to say the angry ones. Or more accurately, the ones that aren’t afraid to be angry or piss people off. I LOVE writing characters like that, probably because I am the polar opposite of them. It’s freeing to live vicariously through someone else for a while, even if it’s just on the page.
What is the best piece of advice you have received that has influenced you as an author?
Best advice I’ve ever received as a writer: Sit down and write.
Best advice I’ve ever received as an author: Don’t take no for an answer.
What is the most important thing you want readers to take away from your book?
Probably what I discovered while writing it: that God and parents and everything that goes with them are nothing without love.
About the Book
Published on January 31, 2017 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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In the vein of Meg Donohue and Sarah Jio, Cecilia Galante’s second novel delivers the powerful story of one young woman who’s faced with an impossible choice—one that could have her making the biggest mistake of her life.
Thirteen days. That’s all Bernadette, “Bird,” Sincavage has left to go until she’s done with her probation and can be free again. Free from making payments to the supermarket she wrote bad checks to. Free from living at home with her overzealous mother who’s constantly nagging her about attending church again. Free to give her four-year-old son, Angus, the normal life he deserves. Her impending freedom and move to Moon Lake, where she’s plunked down a deposit on a brand new apartment, is so close she can almost taste it. What trouble could she possibly get into in just 13 days?
But trouble does follow in the form of James Rittenhouse—someone she worked with a few years ago. At first, Bird is stunned to see James make the evening news when he’s arrested for assaulting someone in a local bar. But that’s nothing compared to the shock she gets when she discovers James hiding out in an abandoned church choir loft. Somehow he escaped police custody, broke his leg, and got his hand on a gun, which he’s now pointing at her.
Although Bird doesn’t tell anyone she saw James, there’s no way she’s helping him. She can’t screw up her probation or her second chance for a new future. And she has her son’s welfare to think about. Still. If only she could stop thinking about the terrified look in James’ eyes and the fact that he’s hurt. If only she could forget that once, long ago, James helped her out, and she owes him a debt like no other.
Will Bird jeopardize her future for someone who helped her out in the past? A past that holds secrets she’s not quite sure she’s ready to face? Or will she turn a blind eye and learn to live with the consequences?