Shout Her Lovely Name
Isn’t that a great title?
I want to read this book just because of the title. And that does not happen very frequently.
I also adore this cover design, which is why I’m putting it at the top instead of the author’s headshot.
Love poppies. Love them! (At least I think they are poppies.) And I am just crazy about the movement in this photograph.
Bravo to the book cover designer who created this design! (I would love to know the story on this cover, as well. Maybe Natalie will come and tell us after her book winner drawing takes place.)
The book is a debut, a collection of short stories written by author mama Natalie Serber. I’m so glad that her publicist dropped me a note.
Once I read the bio on Natalie’s website, I knew she was a perfect match for this giveaway. Please help me welcome her.
I grew up in California, six blocks from the ocean. I spent my youth riding my bike, reading incessantly, and sun tanning at the beach, always with friends, and never with the benefit of sunscreen. My undergrad days were spent at University of California at Irvine where I studied English with a writing emphasis and then I studied at UC Santa Cruz taking a degree in education. I imagined I would be a teacher like my mother, or maybe I would write for magazines, but, as an only child of a single, hard working mom, what I really wanted to do was to stay at home with my children, and that worked out for our family.
I gardened, cooked, volunteered at their school. When my youngest entered preschool, I took a writing class and then I took another. Soon I gave up gardening and took up early rising until my morning shufflings–making coffee, letting the dog out, writing at my desk–woke the household at five. With my kids in elementary school I wrote in coffeehouses and at the library, in the parking lot where I waited for them after school. I published in literary journals, The Bellingham Review, Inkwell Magazine, Third Coast, Fourth Genre, Hunger Mountain, to name a few, and the publications sustained me. They allowed me to continue believing in my work and led me to pursue an MFA in fiction at Warren Wilson College.
I was lucky enough to win some prizes, John Steinbeck Award, Tobias Wolff Award, H.E. Francis Award, I was short listed in Best American Short Stories. I received a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund for Women Artists. I was also invited several times to attend Ragdale, an artists colony, where I was able to spend weeks focused on my work. Through the raising of my family I continued writing. Now as my youngest enters college and I teeter on the cusp of an empty nest and a new decade of my life, my collection, SHOUT HER LOVELY NAME is forthcoming with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. There’s a lovely symmetry to my timeline and if I wrote it in a story, no one would believe it. Learn more at www.natalieserber.com.
About Shout Her Lovely Name
Mothers and daughters ride the familial tide of joy, pride, regret, loathing, and love in these stories of resilient and flawed women. In a battle between a teenage daughter and her mother, wheat bread and plain yogurt become weapons. An aimless college student, married to her much older professor, sneaks cigarettes while caring for their newborn son. On the eve of her husband’s fiftieth birthday, a pilfered fifth of rum, an unexpected tattoo, and rogue teenagers leave a woman questioning her place. And in a suite of stories, we follow capricious, ambitious single mother Ruby and her cautious, steadfast daughter Nora through their tumultuous life — stray men, stray cats, and psychedelic drugs — in 1970s California. Gimlet-eyed and emotionally generous, achingly real and beautifully written, these unforgettable stories lay bare the connection and conflict in families. Shout Her Lovely Name heralds the arrival of a powerful new writer.
The Very Short Interview
When did you know for sure that you were a writer and that writing would be a major energy focus in your life?
It wasn’t until I was enrolled in a creative writing class in Jr. College that I felt like writing was something I could do. My professor, Kirby Wilkins, was an incredibly generous and positive reader. He really encouraged me and gave us all a sense of safety and community. It was completely okay to write really bad, rough, raw pieces in his workshop. You have to have that freedom in order to grow as a writer. From then on, I knew I wanted to write. Fast forward through college, marriage and children to when my youngest child began preschool, I read Ellen Gilchrist and was so inspired by her humor, her sass, her characters that I again enrolled in a creative writing class at my old Jr. College with, yes you guessed it, Kirby Wilkins. From that workshop forward I wrote hard. I wrote early in the mornings. I wrote in the parking lot outside their preschool. Writing began to define me. Because I came from such a tiny family (single mom, only child), having a family of my own was paramount to my life plans. I feel that once I was married and had my children I could finally turn my attention and energy to this other part of me, the writer.
Who has always been behind your writing career and who helped pull you up the ladder of success?
There have been a couple people who encouraged me as a writer. I already mentioned Kirby Wilkins. Another writer, Debra Spark, really supported me. She was the one who suggested I apply to graduate school. Before that it hadn’t occurred to me. She wrote letters and advised. I am ever grateful for her belief in my work. But the person who has been most behind my writing career is my husband, Joel. He worked as a partner with me, making it easier for me to go away for chunks of time to my low-residency MFA program at Warren Wilson College. He always shows great pride in my work. In the face of yet another rejection he listens to me rail about how I suck and then he leaves me alone to write.
What is the most frequent comment you hear about your book (or books) from readers? Tell us a little story about the response to your work.
Because my book is not yet out, this question is difficult to answer. But I will tell you that I have received many heartfelt responses to my story, “Shout Her Lovely Name.” The story is from the point of view of a mother struggling to help her daughter who suffers with an eating disorder. I have had many personal notes from moms explaining to me that the story made them feel less alone and from daughters who tell me that for the first time they understood their mother’s pain. Feeling less alone is why I read and why I write. If I can make others feel that they are not alone in their experiences, both joyful and sorrowful, than I have the best work in the world.
And Now, Your Turn
Now it’s your turn. You remember how this works right?
I ask you a question. You answer in the comments for your chance to win a book each day.
Please just respond once, even if you make a typo.
Answer in the comments in 50-200 words (no less and no more to qualify to win one of today’s books). Please read the complete rules at least once!
Thanks for participating in the Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway! I hope to see you here every day this month. Bring your friends!
Children ask where babies come from, but writer mamas should ask, “Where do awesome titles come from?” Where do you think awesome titles come from? How do you find yours? If you are unsure, share some titles you think are brilliant. (Don’t forget: 50 words is the minimum comment length).
Ready, set, comment!