Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Entering the Blue Stone by Molly Best Tinsley

Welcome to Author Molly Best Tinsley

Air Force brat Molly Best Tinsley taught on the civilian faculty at the United States Naval Academy for twenty years and is the institution’s first professor emerita. Author of My Life with Darwin (Houghton Mifflin) and Throwing Knives(Ohio State University Press), she also co-authored Satan’s Chamber (Fuze Publishing) and the textbook, The Creative Process (St. Martin’s). Her fiction has earned two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sandstone Prize, and the Oregon Book Award. Her plays have been read and produced nationwide. She lives in Oregon, where she divides her time between Ashland and Portland. 

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

Entering the Blue Stone is an emotionally gripping page-turner; it also provides a detailed map for one of the most universal and challenging of human experiences.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

I’m always being asked, “How do you find the discipline to sit and write for six hours a day?”  But when you think about it, it isn’t finding discipline that’s the challenge, it’s letting go of it.  It’s giving yourself permission to forget about the to-do list—answer emails, fold laundry, do taxes, get oil changed—to close yourself in a room and daydream/brainstorm.  Writing takes a release from pressure, not the application of more.  For creativity to happen, you need to toss discipline out the window and relax.  
How do you react to a bad review?

Similar to the five stages of grief, first I crumple in despair.  Then I get angry.  Then I calm down and try to see if there is any merit to the criticism, anything I can learn.  Then I get a good night’s sleep, during which the whole experience is largely repressed.  By the next day, I can be philosophical about the subjectivity of taste and the futility of trying to please all the people.

You have won one million dollars; what is the first thing that you would buy?                                     I would hire an excellent editor to help me polish and perfect the potentially wonderful manuscripts being submitted to Fuze Publishing, the small press Karetta Hubbard and I founded three years ago.                       
If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?

William Shakespeare, if only to ask him, “Are you for real?”  His work is amazing beyond description.

Night owl, or early bird? 

I’m an incorrigible night owl.  Or maybe it’s that I hate the early bird experience—hate getting up before the sun is well-established.  Somehow darkness at the beginning of the day is unpleasant, whereas darkness at the end of the day feels like free time. 

One food you would never eat?

I’m a vegetarian who occasionally eats chicken.  So one food I don’t think I could even swallow would be organ meat of any sort—that would be sort of the worst of the worst.

What do you do in your free time? 

Attend duplicate bridge tournaments.

Pet Peeves?

I get really annoyed at drivers who don’t shift lanes when they see the sign warning that theirs will be closed ahead, but rather cruise right up to where their lane ends and expect someone to let them cut in.  Similar to passengers at the airport who show up a half an hour from flight time and expect to be pulled to the front of the line.  It’s sort of the “I’m more important than anyone else” syndrome, and it gets me.

Any other books in the works?

I’m working on the first draft of “Hotel Limbo,” the sequel to Satan’s Chamber, a “feminist spy thriller” (as one reviewer dubbed it), written in collaboration with Karetta Hubbard and published in 2009.  It may seem totally unlike Entering the Blue Stone--it’s pure fiction, packed with the genre’s suspense and mystery.  But it’s also founded on solid research into the global tragedy of human trafficking, and thus we hope that while the invented story will captivate readers, it will also raise awareness of this real problem.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? 

As a child, I loved Peter Pan.  I hated Hansel and Gretel, and had permission to go in the cloakroom and bury my head in the coats when the teacher read it to the class.

If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why?

I am intensely curious about life on earth in the near future.  There are so many problems at or near the tipping point—geo-political, economic, environmental, health—it kills me (pardon the pun) to be slotted to check out before they are all resolved.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

As a military brat, I lived all over the world, and that pattern of moving to a new location every couple years got etched in my brain.  I’d like to live in a lot of different, juicy and exotic places, each for about a year or two—Manhattan, London, Tuscany, Provence, the Caribbean, Montreal—as well as the two places in Oregon—Ashland and Portland—between which actually I divide my time.

What happens when one’s larger-than-life military parents–disciplined, distinguished, exacting–begin sliding out of control? The General struggles to maintain his invulnerable façade against Parkinson’s disease; his lovely wife manifests a bizarre dementia. Their three grown children, desperate to save the situation, convince themselves of the perfect solution: an upscale retirement community. But as soon as their parents have been resettled within its walls, the many imperfections of its system of care begin to appear.
Charting the line between comedy and pathos, Molly Best Tinsley’s memoir, Entering the Blue Stone dissects the chaos at the end of life and discovers what shines beneath: family bonds, the dignity of even an unsound mind, and the endurance of the heart.

Giveaway Details
1 PDF copy of Entering the Blue Stone
Open Internationally
Ends 6/24/12

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