Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Getting to know Siri Mitchell & Aussie Giveaway

Siri Mitchell is talented in many ways, none the least as a writer, world traveller and sushi maker! I own all of Siri's books and each one has my highest recommendation - do check out her back list!

It is pleasure to have Siri back here at Relz Reviewz ~ enjoy our little interview and the Extras below.

Thanks Siri:~

If you could have chosen your own name, what would it be?

Probably Suzie Louie (it’s the name I gave my first doll).

Your first pet’s name?

Kelly. She was a cocker spaniel.

Your best friend’s name in primary (elementary) school?

Amy when I lived in Delaware and Tara when I lived in Oregon

Did you have a special toy that went everywhere with you when you were young? Please describe.

I did! He was called ‘Billy Boy’…a white cat with a music box that played ‘Where Have You Been, Billy Boy, Billy Boy…’ Apparently I liked to suck his fur. Not sure I really believe it. He was lost in one of our moves. Not sure I believe that either!

If you were stranded on a desert island what one object would you want with you? (Besides your Bible)

My husband. (He counts, right? He’s the object of my affection, after all!)

What's your favourite ice cream flavour?

Vanilla. Really.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A singer, a musician, a beautician, a waitress, a flight attendant…just about everything except a writer!

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Antarctica. To check it off the list. You can’t really go there on the way to anywhere else.

Favourite movie?

While You Were Sleeping

Favourite book?

Possession by A.S. Byatt.

Heroes, Bones, Lost or The Brady Bunch?

I can’t say House? Okay. The Brady Bunch.

Scrapbooking, knitting, cooking or aerobics?

I don’t scrapbook although I do have a ‘scrapbox’ that’s kind of the family joke. I don’t have any rhythm, so aerobics is out. If I could knit something besides scarves I might pick that. I guess that leaves cooking. (Can it be chocolate mousse?)

French, English or Japanese?

French, please…although if you’re talking about food I could go for some sushi.

Where is the most interesting place you have been?

You get to choose this one: the aircraft carrier Nimitz; Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe; inside the belly of the Great Buddha in Kamakura, Japan.

Great Barrier Reef, Uluru (Ayers Rock) or Sydney Harbour Bridge?

I’ve already seen the Harbour Bridge, so I’ll have to go with Uluru. (I have an allergy to sharks.)

What's your most fervent prayer?

For those in my family who don’t know Christ.

What is your favourite Bible verse (or "one" of your favourites) and what does it mean to you?

Deut. 33:26 “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty. (NIV) I interpret this to mean that God is proactive. He’s looking for ways to help us. This verse gives me a picture of God on a sort of celestial Harley-Davidson. I once heard a poet describe God like this: ‘My God is so gentle he knits sweaters for the lilies of the fields, and my God is so tough he can kick your {butt}.’ I’ve always kind of liked that juxtaposition.

Besides God, who has influenced you the most?

My husband.

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

Sent a manuscript out on query.

How did your husband propose?

He arranged with my roommate to sneak into our apartment and fix me breakfast one morning. The ring was hiding beside the waffles.

What is the best advice you have received about marriage?

It’s not a 50%-50% proposition because that’s negotiable and it’s likely that at one point, one of us will fail to meet our ‘quota’. Marriage is 100%-100%.

A Constant Heart

You are writing historical books with a contemporary premise – please share the inspiration behind these new novels?

I’ve always been interested in both fashion and history. And as I researched for Chateau of Ech
oes, I stumbled upon an instance of people’s lives and health being placed in danger for fashion’s sake. That thought niggled at me for several years, during which I realized there were many more instances, throughout history, of women doing similar things. I began to realize that we haven’t changed very much in the past 500 years.

As women, we still demand that others live up to our expectations. We still have all kinds of roles to play and we still want to do the best was can at all of them at the same time. We still worry about our looks and the appearance of wrinkles. And we still judge each other according to impossible standards of behaviour and beauty. It’s my hope that readers might recognize themselves within the pages of these books. I hope that they
ask themselves what lengths they are willing to go to in order to fit their society’s standard of beauty. And then, I hope they start to draw some lines.

Describe each of your main characters with one word

Marget – devoted

Lytham - misguided

Nicholas - honest

Joan – loyal

Lady de Winter - grasping

In A Constant Heart, Lytham and Marget go to extreme lengths to meet the demanding expectations of their monarch, Queen Elizabeth ~ how do you see that happening today?

I think that any time a person wields extreme power, it’s very easy to start issuing demands. If you’re not careful to surround yourself with strong people who are willing to serve as a check to your expectations, you soon start making unreasonable demands…and what’s more, you expect them to be fulfilled! Many powerful people, even today, surround themselves with those who say only ‘yes’. No thought is ever questioned; no demand is ever examined. Wishes very quickly become commands. Common sense is swiftly overcome by the desire to please. And the end (pleasing the person in power) becomes vastly more important than the means used to get there.

This tyranny is also present in the world of fashion. I think that as women, in conjunction with the media, we often allow one person to set the standard of beauty. I see it today in our celebrity culture all the time. Why should one color of hair be better than another? And why should one shape of nose or lips or legs be valued more than any other? I can’t blame any particular woman (whoever she happens to be at any given fashion moment), but I do grieve for our culture which has left women feeling so depleted that they would rather take on someone else’s persona than learn to be the best at their particular unique brand of beauty.

Your previous books have been contemporary novels ~ what differences did you find writing an historical novel compared to a contemporary one?

There’s a lot more research involved up front. In my contemporaries, I would hit a research gap now and then in the process of writing, but with historicals, I need to spend a lot of time reading up at the beginning in order to re-create the historic world.

What is in your writing pipeline?

In June, my next historical, Love’s Pursuit, releases. The fashion element in this story is the dress codes the Puritans enacted. This is the blurb: In the small Puritan community of Stoneybrooke, Massachusetts, Susannah Phillips stands out both for her character and beauty. She wants only a simple life but soon finds herself pursued by the town's wealthiest bachelor and by a roguish military captain sent to protect them. One is not what he seems and one is more than he seems.

In trying to discover true love's path, Susannah is helped by the most unlikely of allies, a wounded woman who lives invisible and ignored in their town. As the depth, passion, and sacrifice of love is revealed to Susannah, she begins to question the rules and regulations of her childhood faith. In a community where grace is unknown, what price will she pay for embracing love?

And way off in the horizon is She Walks in Beauty. Set to release in spring 2010, it’s set in 1890s New York City. The fashion element in play is the tight-laced corsetry Victorian women wore.

Thanks so much, Siri ~ it has been a pleasure getting to know you a little bit more! I have chosen Love's Pursuit for my book club later in the year - sight unseen - something I rarely do but I know it will be worth it!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Reviews of A Constant Heart, Chateau of Echoes, The Cubicle Next Door & Moon Over Tokyo

Character spotlight on A Constant Heart's Marget & Lytham

Interview with Siri in 2006

Visit Siri's website

Buy Siri's books at Amazon or Koorong

Aussie Giveaway

I have a copy of A Constant Heart to giveaway! To enter:~

You must have an Australian mailing address and post a comment by Sunday 12th April, telling me the European city you would most like to visit.


Beth said...

Hi Rel,
Please enter me!

Hmm ... the European city I'd most like to visit is Vienna. One day I'd really love to go to the New Years Eve concert where they play all the waltzes. Plus I'd like to see places from The Sound of Music.

alihsee said...

Take me to Bath, England please Rel :) How much fun ladies must have had there :)

I also "heart" the description of A Constant Heart!!

Tracy said...

Thank you to both of you for a fantastic interview. Siri holds a special place on my bookshelf too. I either have or have read most of her books.

For my entry to win 'A Constant Heart', the European city I'd like to visit would be.....oh I have lots! Paris and Vienna would have to be at the top of the list.

Leola said...

Thanks for another great interview! I have really enjoyed the books by Siri I have read - and I am looking forward to those coming! Please do enter me in the draw for 'A Constant Heart' As for the city in Europe, I have to say Paris, and I have made my husband promise to take me there at Christmas. YEH!!!!!!!!!!

jaana said...

Oh I'd love to win this book! Siri is one of my favourite authors. The European city I would most like to visit has to be Helsinki, as if I was given a choice how could I pick any other! I was born there and have many friends & relatives I'd like to see again, as well as many familiar sights. After Helsinki it would be any city at all either in Italy or in Ireland. Oh yes and the old city of Tallin would have to make the list too! It is one of the most intriguing places I have ever been to.

Barb said...

I think Siri Mitchell is my favorite author. I cannot recommend her books highly enough. They are so entertaining yet have elements that cause me to really think. I don't know how many times I have read Kissing Adrien - I love it and would like to experience Paris with someone like Adrien, Claire, or Cynthia.

Elyse said...

Thanks for posting this interview.. It's cool to hear where authors are coming from! This book sounds great. Please enter me! Thanks Rel!

best_before_10 (at)

Jewelz said...

Cool interview!
I'd love to go to Paris, France!
Please enter me :D

joyfuljewelz (at)

Naomi said...

I would love to go to Venice. Don't know why.Please enter me in the draw.

ad said...

I love Siri,s books too and the interview was really good.I would love to see London again as there is somuch to see !Please add me in .

Misty Nakamura said...

Please enter me! I have really enjoyed the Siri Mitchell books you have given me to read! I want to visit Paris! Thanks, Misty

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