Monday, October 12, 2020

Winter Light by Martha Engber - Book Tour + Giveaway

Winter Light

Fifteen-year-old Mary Donahue of suburban Chicago is a kid on the cusp of failure during the brutal blizzard winter of 1978-79, the end of a hard luck, hard rock era sunk in the cynical aftermath of the Vietnam War.

Though a smart, beautiful kid, she’s a motherless girl raised by an uneducated, alcoholic father within an extended family of alcoholics and addicts. Aware that she’s sinking, she’s desperate to save herself and so reaches out to an unlikely source, Kathleen, a nice, normal kid from English class.

But when the real storm hits, the full force of a harsh adult world almost buries Mary. Only then does she learn that the only difference between life and death is knowing when to grasp an extended hand.

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Author Q&A

 1.  What is the first book that made you cry?
“A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara. She did such an excellent job of showing a beautiful person systematically destroyed from birth by abuse. If Ms. Yanagihara’s prose was any harsher, the reader would stop reading. Any less harsh and they wouldn’t finally, fully — as I did — understand the burden under which people live.

2.  How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
An interesting question! My first draft only takes 2-6 months. Then I need another 10 years of rewriting before I feel the book is truly ready. Even I think that’s a long incubation time and am always amazed by authors who can publish a book a year. During that 10 years, however, I’ll be working on other projects — articles, poetry and short stories — which keeps my writing life fresh.

3.  Favorite childhood memory involving books?
I loved walking to the library, which was always a cool, orderly place, and perusing the rack of literary paperbacks. I chose the thickest book I could find, knowing that would impress adults. That’s how I found — and loved — most of the classics, including “Jane Eyre” and “Gone With the Wind.”

4.  What would you consider to be your Kryptonite as an author?
Spending too much time in my head. I think most authors are of the same ilk, because being in the world you create is immensely engrossing. Yet staying there too long can lead to dark thoughts. I’ve changed my routine to include periodic mundane tasks, like unloading the dishwasher, to purposely pull myself out of that make-believe, which makes for a much happier day.

5.  If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Intense. Introverted. Mover.

Of the three, only the last would be obvious to people who don’t know me well. I control my intensity and introversion to foster fun activities and meaningful relationships in my life.

6.  What is your most unusual writing quirk?
I’ve got to be sipping some tasty, non-alcoholic drink, usually a mocha.

7.  If you were the last person on Earth, what would you do?
That is such a sad thought! I could say something pithy like that I’d walk around naked while eating as much chocolate as I wanted. But realistically, if I was the last person on earth, that means something went terribly wrong, so I’d most likely spend most of my time trying to survive. The rest of the time I’d take refuge in observing nature as a way to stave off crushing loneliness and sadness.

8.  What fictional character would you want to be friends with in real life?
I’d want to be friends with Mary in my book, “Winter Light.” Specifically, I’d want to know her when she’s middle-aged. If we were both in high school, she’d be the kind of girl who’d scare me, though I’d never show it.

9.   Did you want to be an author when you grew up?
Being an author seemed too much like a dream job for someone as common as myself. That and my parents made clear the goal of college was to learn a profession that would allow me to support myself. But I was an intense kid and didn’t have a good means of expressing myself. That intensity needed someplace to go and naturally flooded out when I began keeping a journal. I’d say writing is more a means of self-preservation than an occupation.

10.              Tell us 10 fun facts about yourself!

   When growing up in the Midwest, I mercilessly made fun of California and everyone who lived there. 

   I moved to California in my early 30s and learned to surf and mountain bike and now love both.

   I don’t like cilantro.

   Though I’ve worked as a journalist, I’m now a personal trainer and fitness instructor and literally dream up workouts in my sleep.

   I’m a huge cake fan with a preferred 1:2 ratio of frosting to cake, because as frosting fans know, cake is just a place to put the frosting.

   I wear flip-flops year-round.

   If I could somehow arrange it, I’d never drive.

   My dream day is to write for awhile, do something active, eat something tasty with someone I love, write some more, go to bed.

   A naturally frugal kid, I bought Jujubes. Even though they taste like rubber pellets, you get a lot in one box (more bang for your kid buck).

   I love the scent of a California forest on that day in August, when, for the first time, the air smells of the coming fall.


Connect with Martha!
My website: 


 Wordpress writing blog:

 Fitness blog:




 Facebook fan page (Martha Engber’s Creatives):

 GoodReads author page:


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-      pre-order video:


-      business account:

Author Bio
Martha Engber’s next novel, WINTER LIGHT, will be published Oct. 6, 2020, by Vine Leaves Press. She’s also the author of THE WIND THIEF, a novel, and GROWING GREAT CHARACTERS FROM THE GROUND UP. A journalist by profession, she’s written hundreds of articles for the Chicago Tribune and other publications. She’s had a play produced in Hollywood and fiction and poetry published in the Aurorean, Watchword, the Berkeley Fiction Review and other journals. She’s also a freelance editor, workshop facilitator and speaker. She currently lives in Northern California with her husband, bike and surfboard.


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Giveaway to Win an e-copy of Winter Light (Open INT)

Giveaway to Win a Book Club Chat from Martha Engber (Open INT)

Giveaway to Win a free hour book development consultation with Martha Engber (Open INT)a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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