Veteran iUniverse author Gloria H. Giroux talks about her new book Out of the Ash, the third installment in her San Francisco Trilogy.
Please briefly describe your book . . .
My book, Out of the Ash, is the third book in what I call “The San Francisco Trilogy.” The first two books, Copper Snake and Voices of Angels (both iUniverse), explored over the course of several decades (1950s-1980s) the intricate and turbulent lives of three interrelated extended families. Set against the real-life happenings from the Summer of Love, the Manson murders, the roiling 1970s of the Nixon era and the Bicentennial, the rise of gay rights, and the early ’80s, the characters and plot incorporate fiction with history.
The families fought and vanquished the evil forces threatening their lives in the first two books; in Out of the Ash, the families experience the beauty and savagery of the late 1990s and the new millennium as they endure the impacts of 9/11, growing domestic and international terrorism, and the advent of demonic serial killers far too close to home. Their lives are in dire jeopardy from savage enemies that have risen from the ashes of the past like the mythological phoenix and are determined to destroy the families with utter finality. Who will survive? Who will not?
Do you have any particular literary influences?
Quite a few authors inspired me with their novels, including Mary Higgins Clark, John Connolly, and Victoria Holt. And, of course, Shakespeare (favorite play: MacBeth)! As a History minor at the University of Connecticut (English major, of course!) I developed a lifelong thirst for history, mythology, and the exploration of other cultures. I have traveled extensively (33 countries on six continents, and counting) and use my new knowledge to refine the tapestry of my characterizations, plots, and dialogue. I write in two genres; the second is science fiction, for which I wrote another trilogy and prequel: Fireheart, Whitefire, Firesoul, and Bloodfire (also iUniverse). I used a great deal of Egyptian and Greek history and culture to flesh out these fictions efforts.
What inspired you to write your book, and how long did it take you to finish it?
Well, two things inspired me to write Out of the Ash: one, when I wrote the last line of Voices of Angels, I knew in my bones that the story wasn’t finished; the feeling that there was more to tell nagged at me, and I needed to find out how the story really ended. And two, my fan base demanded that I write another book! I was urged in none-too-subtle ways that they, too, wanted more. Out of the Ash took about seven months to complete; however, since I have a full-time “other” job, I couldn’t devote my full time to writing. Chapters came sometimes one per week; sometimes two or three. The writing spirit moves when the writing spirit moves.
What is the one message you would like to convey to your readers?
If you are a writer, really a writer in your soul, then––you’re never too old to write; you’re never too busy to write; you’re never too frightened to write. You. Write.
Are you working on a sequel to your book?
I am actually quite a few chapters into the prequel to the trilogy. The book is called Bloodline in Chiaroscuro, and follows the origin and early life of James Danziger, one of the main protagonists of the previous trilogy. The first chapter begins on the night of the sinking of the Titanic; the book ends at the end of the 1960s. In between the plot weaves in Suffrage, Prohibition, the Great Depression, the rise of Nazism, Hollywood of the 1940s, and the rise in the 1950s and 1960s of a very powerful, flawed man who sets a dynasty in motion for the remainder of the 20th century and beyond. It is the story of a man desperately in need of redemption and inching his way towards that salvation without even realizing it.
Are there any events, marketing ideas or promotions planned for your book? Please feel free to mention any accolades you have received.
For the most part my books make the rounds of readers through word-of-mouth; however, I use Facebook to inform of new efforts. I have utilized iUniverse’s marketing to highlight my book at one Miami Book Convention.
What was your favorite part of your publishing experience, overall and with iUniverse?
I enjoyed the book cover design effort. I always design a mockup of what I believe would be the best cover to convey the essence of the book. This provides a solid foundation for me and the design team to accommodate my vision with discussion and options. I have always been extremely happy with the result of these sessions.
Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?
It sounds clichéd, but follow your dream. Be who you are, do what you do, do what you are, and don’t let anyone naysay your spirit and efforts. You don’t have to expect or have the success of a Stephen King to accomplish your best efforts. You don’t have to win a Pulitzer or any award. The fact that you have the courage and talent to put a single word on paper can be enough. If you are the only one holding your book in your hands when all is said and done, well, darn––you are successful. You are an author.