Hello readers! Today I am happy to introduce author Sibella Giorello to Reviews By Jane!
First off, would you mind telling us a bit about yourself and something about you that might surprise your readers?
I'm a homeschool mom who gets up verrrry early to write. Sometimes as early as 3 a.m.
But that's not the surprise. It's this: My writing schedule was inspired by Iditarod dog sledder Susan Butcher. Growing up in Alaska, I always admired her work ethic. She beat her opponents by training herself to sleep in fifteen-minute intervals on the trail.
She once said something to the effect, "You'd be surprised what your can do if you just give up a little sleep."
To which I would add: Naps are beautiful things.
Whoa that's cool! 3am?! Haha that's crazy! But I guess a writer does what a writer's gotta do! ;)
What inspired you to write the Raleigh Harmon series?
I couldn't find the book I wanted to read.
It was that simple. I adore mysteries. But the books were getting more and more gory, and they kicked around Christians like soccer balls. All I wanted was a gritty mystery without all the shallow sex and gratuitous cursing, and a story in which Christians were portrayed realistically. Not as perfect, not as preachy religious people. But as forgiven strugglers in a fallen world.
When I couldn't find that book, I started writing it, mostly to amuse myself when I was home with young children.
But the story really took off when Raleigh Harmon walked onto the page spouting her southern sarcasm and sympathy for the underdog.
All these years later, I'm still laughing and crying alongside her.
That's excellent! I love that about your books. :)
What prompted you to write a story with the lead character an FBI agent?
I majored in geology in college (like Raleigh), but I never knew the FBI had a forensic mineralogy department. Since I was working as a reporter, I called up the FBI, hoping to write a magazine story. The bureau gave me clearance to interview their geologists. Smart and generous and interesting people, but about a month later, I gave birth to my first child. Then my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer and moved in with us so I could take care of him.
Nothing seemed more important than staying home.
It was years before I got back to the FBI. And it was a long fallow period, a difficult trial for someone who always found writing relatively easy. But during those fallow years I meditated on "He who waters will himself be watered" (Proverbs 11:25). I knew God wanted me to focus on family, not writing. It wasn't easy, but then obedience rarely is.
Years later, when I came back to the story, everything seemed laid out in advance. As I just needed to take dictation.
I was watered.
Has your faith influenced your writings?
My faith is intrinsic to my writing. No way could I maintain this schedule -- homeschooling while writing one book each year for five years-- unless every single morning I went to God and admitted I can't write without His help.
I'm fully aware of my limitations, and constantly surprised by His limitless mercy and love.
Did you base any of your characters on people you really know?
Nobody directly. But it's surprising how bits and pieces from various people cobble themselves together into new people. Like literary Play-Do!
The same phenomenon happens with places, particularly places I visited as a newspaper reporter.
Sometimes my mind seems like a deep closet -- stuff shoved way in back, then I open the door, and it all falls out.
That's cool. I notice that when I write, too!
Which book that you've written was your favorite to write?
I've enjoyed writing all of them -- I mean, if I didn't enjoy doing this, why get up 3 a.m.?
But "The Mountains Bow Down" had some personal delights, because it was a way of thanking my grandmothers for investing so much in me. Both Alaska pioneers, they fed me a steady diet of wonderful, shocking, and amazing stories. Talks about characters!
When you started writing, where did you begin? With an outline? Or did you just jump into it and let the story form as you wrote?
Outlines don't work for me. I like to explore. But I need some compass points for the journey. To start writing, I need to know how the adventure begins. Then some crucial scenes along the way. And the ending. That's it.
If I outline beyond that I get bored. Like I'm looking at pictures from someone else's dreary vacation.
Wow I'm the exact same way! Too much outline and I start to get bored...I like the story to just unfold as I go. :)
You've written and published several books. Which one required the most research? Which took the longest time to write?
The research for the first book was the most extensive. I probably made four trips to the lab in DC from Richmond, then another four to interview an FBI agent who also was a geologist. I filed several Freedom of Information Acts requesting data from old cases, then started bothering the Richmond field office and a Special Agent named Wayne Smith. This guy, I’m certain, was a gift from God.
Other people helped too. A young female agent described what it was like being a chick in an old boy’s world. Two cold case detectives in Richmond let me hang out at the cop shop late at night. A state geologist carried soil to my house in a Ziploc baggie and explained why it was special.
If a writer is genuinely curious, and conscientious, people are happy to help with your research. Just don’t waste their time.
Since then, the research has become more focused. I know my character, so now it's a matter of figuring out what science puzzle is going to confront her.
|Angie Harmon as Raleigh|
Who would you have play Raleigh, Demott, and Jack if your books were made into movies?
I like Angie Harmon as Raleigh -- and hey, they share a last name. I haven't considered an actor for DeMott or Jack, probably because I watch TV once every blue moon.
Oh WOW! Angie Harmon is PERFECT! I think perhaps Yannick Bisson for Jack and Patrick Wilson for Demott.
Who is your favorite author?
It's a three-way tie between John Steinbeck and John D. MacDonald and C.S. Lewis. Three guys who would probably dislike each other with intensity!
Do you have another book in the making? Can you give us some insight on what it's about?
|Patrick Wilson as Demott|
I really cannot wait for that to release! I'm SO excited!
How can our reader's reach you?
I love hearing from readers. They can contact me through my website: www.sibellagiorello.com
Thanks for visiting Reviews By Jane!
My pleasure, completely!
Not only has Sibella been gracious enough to allow me to interview her, but she is also willing to giveaway a copy of her latest release - The Mountains Bow Down - to one lucky commenter! USA ONLY! Enter soon! This giveaway ends on April 29th!
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