Author Interview | Meet @glucaswrites and her debut novel #authorinterview #literaryfiction #bookish
Here at Book Heaven, we love meeting debut authors. It’s our pleasure to introduce you to Gloria. She writes literary fiction and is an up and coming author. I asked for an interview with her, and she agreed. So, grab your favorite beverage and join us. Gloria, take it away!
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
I name my characters depending on a variety of factors. Sometimes a name just feels right for a character. Before I started writing The Man Who Turned Into a Mountain, the line, “One day, Paul realized he was turning to stone.” popped into my head. I never changed his name. However, his wife and daughter’s names are Rose and Lily. Those names were chosen because they are significant to the plot.
Alternatively, I’ll choose a name because I like the sound of it or because of its meaning. Less often, I’ll look up popular names for certain regions (like Mexico or France).
Have you always liked to write?
Growing up, reading was an escape for me. I loved being able to imagine entirely different lifetimes and to get lost in different worlds. When I realized I could craft colorful characters, strange places, or even explore difficult questions through writing, I was hooked.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Writing is a marathon. Make realistic goals and stick with a plan as much as possible. Be open to critique and feedback but remember that even best-selling authors get bad reviews.
Are you a plotter or a pantster?
I am a pantster for the most part. Is there a mix of the two? That might be more accurate. When I get to a sticky part in the story or if I feel less inspired, I’ll jot out a plan to see if it works. Usually that helps me get through it. However, if I had to make detailed outlines like some authors (and I’m not hating on them, I’m jealous!), I’d never finish another story.
What is your best marketing tip?
Bribe people. I’m just kidding. At this point, what has helped me talk about my book is pretending my best friend wrote it. I’m very proud of my work but somehow a bit shy when presenting it out to the world. When I pretend I’m sharing someone else’s work, it feels more palatable.
Also, I have found some luck with scheduling social media posts a couple times a week. It helps me “remember” to keep the chatter alive surrounding my newest works. And lastly, to keep organic reach as high as possible, I try to foster genuine relationships between fans, friends, and other authors.
What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?
Do you have a favorite spot to write? What is it?
I like to sit at my desk and prefer to be completely alone.
Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)
How Deep the Ocean is my first novel. I have written a couple of short stories, including The Man Who Turned into a Mountain (published in Palaver Journal) and False Teeth and Bifocals (which was later renamed The Bittersweet Work of End-of-Life Care and published online in Tell Your Story). I have also written several creative non-fiction pieces which are published under various publications under Medium.
What are you working on now? What is your next project?
I am working on a novel about a toddler who is brought into the United States by his mother in search of a better life. When they are caught at the border among a group of other asylum seekers, they are separated and at the mercy of the court systems. An American family fosters and then adopts the baby, sparing him the fate of his biological mother: deportation. However, when the full truth of the fight between adopted and biological parents is discovered by the boy as a teen, love and loyalty is tested.
What is your biggest failure?
I don’t know about biggest, but my most common failure is the promise I make to myself that this time will be the time I utilize the brand new, colorful planner I bought to its full potential.
Do you drink? Smoke? What’s your vice?
I’m guilty of drinking more wine than I need to. And buying office supplies.
What is your biggest fear?
Dying before my children are adults, especially my oldest two. They lost their father and I promised them I’d live a long time. So, if the universe could do me a solid and help me keep that promise, that would be super.
What literary character is most like you?
I recently read Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahimi. One of the short stories has a woman who finds little Christian trinkets hidden in certain areas of their new house. Much to the chagrin of her husband, she begins to display the collection of knickknacks around their home and even outside. Imagine his frustration as she hyperfocuses on these small prizes instead of dusting or unpacking. In the middle of the day, he finds her reading a book and she informs him she was bored. One evening, she crafts a rather pleasant soup but didn’t write down how much of each ingredient she used. Her husband fusses at her because what if she wants to replicate it one day? She shrugs and responds that she’ll remember.
Anyway, I’ve never felt so seen.
What secret talents do you have?
I can be amazingly awkward.
If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
Probably a cat because that’s what I’ve been compared to before. And I have to admit that’s essentially my personality: wants to nap a lot, usually looks annoyed, likes attention until I don’t.
Do you have any scars? What are they from?
I have a scar above my chin from when I was dropped as a child. Yep.
What were you like as a child? Your favorite toy?
I was very opinionated, very imaginative, clumsy, socially awkward. I was the: gifted child but an absolute mess. Much later in life (read: adult), I was diagnosed with ADHD among other things. Now my childhood makes sense and I have figured out how to either cope or advocate for myself when I’m overwhelmed because there are too many overlapping noises, too many people, etc.
My favorite toy was a little teddy bear that I was gifted by a police officer. I was in first grade and my mother had run out of gas that day. She called 911 to send someone to meet me because she wouldn’t make it home before the bus. I did arrive home to find a locked door but when the police arrived, I was terrified. I thought they were there to take me away and I’d never see my family again (long backstory). One of them must have been a dad or just great with kids because he got me a teddy and calmed me down while we waited on my mother. I kept the teddy bear for years until it got wet and my mom threw it away. Clearly, I’m still upset.
Thank you, Gloria, for sharing a bit about yourself, your writing journey, and your struggles. Readers, scroll down to read all about Gloria’s debut novel…
Title – How Deep the Ocean
Author – Gloria Lucas
Genre – Literary Fiction
One year after her husband’s suicide, Mia finds herself struggling with grief. Austin’s death fills the empty spaces of her home with a loneliness so heavy it weighs her down as she navigates being a working, single mother. One day, she reluctantly accepts an invitation to go dancing with friends. There she meets a new man with whom she feels an instant connection, but guilt accompanies desire. Her friends celebrate the new romance and urge her to follow her heart but she isn’t sure a broken heart can be trusted.
How Deep the Ocean is a story that takes an unflinching look at trauma and its impact on mental health. It is a story of love, loss, and healing.
The dream dissipated like fog encountering the morning sun. Mia’s throat was thick with emotion, and when she opened her eyes, one fat tear escaped, quickly making its way down past her temple and into the dip of her ear. She hated the feeling, but didn’t move to wipe it. Light filtered in through the bedroom curtains, painting the room gold. For a moment, she thought she picked up the scent of her husband’s woodsy, floral cologne. The weight of loss sat squarely on her chest. Her hand stretched out across the coolness of the bed, her breath catching as it glided against fabric and found nothing.
Even after so much time had passed—a whole year!—the emptiness startled her. Periodically, she’d walk into the living room, expecting to see Austin relaxing on the couch watching his favorite show. Instead, she found emptiness, the television’s black screen a dark mirror. There were times she envisioned herself ripping it off the wall, throwing it across the room, watching stoically as the screen exploded into a thousand tiny shards. The rage scared her, and she would wait at the edge of the room until the impulse passed.
There were times in the shower, eyes closed, rinsing her hair, when she would brace for his surprise arrival. “I got Isaiah down for his nap. You got room in there for me?” Her stomach would jump in anticipation, a flutter of desire and regret.
But he did none of those things. Not anymore.
The only times he visited were in her nightmares; mercifully, those were rare. Days typically ended with the meeting of body to bed, the exhaustion of survival clinging to her skin, which meant most nights were spent in the abyss of unconsciousness.
She found his appearances in troubled dreams ironic. Before, if she ever woke from a bad dream, she’d wake him too. Half-asleep, he’d pull her close and murmur that she was safe, he’d keep them safe. He knew some of what haunted her as she knew some of what haunted him. They were broken children, trying their best to smooth over the jagged pieces. As he held her, she’d smile and press her face against his chest, breathing him in.
Those were the only promises that made her feel better. Looking back, she wasn’t sure why. It wasn’t that he never lied. Nor was she trusting by nature. Maybe it was the vulnerable state she’d wake in, the magical window between asleep and awake, the sacred space that allowed monsters to scare adults and promises to mean something. In it, she was a child again, and as much as she hated to admit it, she wanted someone to protect her. She wanted to drop her guard, her constant vigilance.
Perhaps that’s why, a whole year later, she still reached for him.
She knew now that loss was not abstract. Loss was the vacuum left after someone died, the loneliness that followed her. It constricted her heart, pressed in on her ribs, made it harder to breathe.
A memory came then, unbidden. Laughter.
He had worked late into the evening, well past Isaiah’s bedtime. Annoyed, she went to bed as soon as their son was down and took up as much of the bed as possible. Her body was cocooned in pillows and bedding, partially because she knew he’d have to wake her to join her in bed and partially because without him, she felt cold.
When he walked into the bedroom, she heard a laugh. Then, a heavy thud as he jumped onto the bed, his body perpendicular to hers.
She hadn’t been sleeping, but she protested anyway. “Hey! Can’t a girl get some sleep?”
He giggled. “I see you, bed hog.”
“It’s not hogging if you’re not here. I’m just taking advantage of the bed.”
“Oh,” he said. “You want to take advantage of the bed, huh?” He righted himself and kissed her nose and her cheek, then met her mouth as he worked the covers down.
It was funny, though; now that the bed was completely hers, she never dared trespass onto his side. It was as if his death had left a negative space that took up all the vacancies within their home.
Giveaway: I’m one of the authors participating in the Gobble Up Books Giveaway and you can win an autographed copy of How Deep the Ocean by Gloria Lucas (US only).
Runs November 1 - 30 and is open internationally for many prizes. Winners will be drawn on December 1, 2022.
Gloria Lucas is an author of literary fiction. She has published several short stories including The Man Who Turned into a Mountain and is a contributor to the Fiesta Nights Limited Edition Anthology with her short story Un Cafecito at Midnight. How Deep the Ocean is her first novel.
She is a Navy veteran and has had a varied career. She has been an aviation electrician, a birth doula, midwife’s apprentice, medical assistant, and now works in the pharmaceutical industry. She holds an MBA in Healthcare Management.
When she isn’t writing or plotting her next crazy idea, one can find her spending time with her family, hiking bits of the Appalachian Trail, karaoking, or knitting mistake-riddled blankets.
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