Talking with Mary Carter + Giveaway

What Inspired “Sunnyside Blues
Mary Carter

"Sunnyside Blues" to me, at heart, is a book about belonging, and the yearning to find a place you can call home. I know I still have this longing in me. I've moved a lot in my life, and I've never settled down (for long) with a husband and kids. Sometimes I have a yearning for the “life I didn’t live” and I try to imagine what it would be like. Other times I think I’d be terrified to be tied down like that. So I can always see both sides of the fence, and at any given time I think I’d prefer one over the other—always wanting to experience everything at once—I think that’s what drives me to write. But I think even people who do settle down still feel restless and lonely at times. There's a lot of pressure in life to answer the big questions: Where will I live? Who will I marry? What's my dream job? I also liked the idea of bringing together two characters who didn't really want to be with each other, but for one reason or other needed to be together, and in the end, their lives would truly be better for having met, that something in them, no matter how small, has been healed by being together, and that even though their time together was brief, they would remember each other forever.

I knew I wanted the settings of Seattle (where I lived for six years-- a year of it on a houseboat on Lake Union that poor Andes never gets to experience) and Sunnyside Queens, where I had just moved from Manhattan. The characters started out as a collage of people I've known in my life—but by the time the book was finished they’d grown into their own people, and no longer resembled the person or persons I used to jump-start them.

Then came Andes' religious background-- which for the life of me I can't remember where that came from-- all I know is that I now have half a dozen books on snake handling lying about the place. I found the religious practice fascinating, and I wanted to be able to write about it without casting judgment. I grew up in Ohio and spent time in West Virginia, I think it’s an absolutely beautiful state, and I just knew that’s where Andes had to grow up.

I loved the title "Sunnyside Blues" and it just so happened that the first day I moved to Sunnyside Queens, I went into a coffee shop and there was a local jazz musician selling his CD, "Sunnyside Blues". And I had just offered up that title to the publisher for the book, so it was kismet!

Inspiration often starts with a tiny spark of an idea, a person you knew, a place you’ve been, or as often is the case with me, a scenario you can see in your mind’s eye. A famous writing adage for beginners is: “Write what you know.” I prefer: “Write what you can imagine.”

Thanks for letting me share!


Check out her website

How to win a copy of this book:

All you have to do is leave a comment for Mary. Please leave your email address in the comments.

I will pick a winner July 18th.


KR said…
I enjoyed reading about Sunnyside Blues. We also have a Sunnyside here in SC at the beach. My Mom had wonderful memories of summers spent there. I can't wait to read your book!
Take care,
Mary Jane

scottsgal said…
I love the cover of this book - it's just drawn me in. I have it reserved at the library but would love to win it!!
msboatgal at
Ann Diana Dinh, said…
Ah this looks really good...and I love the cover and title!

mindy said…
sounds great thanks for the giveaway minsthins at optonline dot net
Unknown said…
This looks like a great book. I love the title. Thanks.

Debbie F said…
So want to read this book!

thanks for the opportunity!

dcf_beth at verizon dot net
Julie said…
Please enter me, sounds like a good read!

Valorie said…
Inspiration can strike anywhere, but takes talent to be able to put it down. :D Not everyone is that lucky, unfortunately!

Ellie Wright said…
I've wanted to read this since I first saw the cover. It really draws the eye. Thanks for the giveaway.
eswright18 at gmail dot com
Mary said…
First off, great name! :) I love your line "write what you can imagine". It opens so many possibilities.
Andrea said…
This book is on my WL..please enter me!
Nickolay said…
I know someone who has really been wanting to read this. Thanks for the chance

Fedora said…
Wow, thanks for the introduction to Sunnyside Blues--I wouldn't have known about it otherwise but this definitely sounds like the kid of story I'd enjoy!

Thanks for the contest, too!

f dot chen at comcast dot net
minishoes1 said…
This sounds like a really good book! Thanks!
Alicia said…
This looks like a great story.

Thanks for the giveaway >^..^<

bloggyig at gmail dot com
Debs Desk said…
I would love to be included in your giveaway. I have read some great reviews.
Gwendolyn B. said…
I've had this book on my wish list - thanks for the chance to win a copy. Houseboats, snake handling - I'm so curious!

geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com
Ali said…
I love books about my local area! Snake handling??? Making it even more interesting! I'd love to read this book!

gibbylet21 at hotmail dot com
Lady Roxi said…
Love to have this.


GoneGirl said…
I can relate to the wanting to belong. I was raised an army brat. We moved every two years. Now, I am married and I still feel the urge to move. I never feel like I'm 'home'.
Belinda M said…
Great interview and I look forward to reading your book soon. If I do not get it on this giveaway chances are I shall go and purchase it in the very near future

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Kristi said…
This sounds like a really good book - and one to share with my daughter as she begins to think about leaving home - Love the cover!

kherbrand at comcast dot net
Marie said…
Great interview! I love the title -- every time I see it, it makes me smile :-)
Sharon said…
Mary I love the background info on the book and the cover is wonderful so inviting, calling the reader to grab a glass of iced tea and warm blanket on a nice chilly morning. Thanks for the giveaway

sharr1226 at yahoo dot com
wendy wallach said…
I love her statement " write what you can imagine". Gives a whole new take on stories.

madamerkf at aol dot com
Mishia said…
The cover alone makes me want to read this book! It sounds great.
Nicole D. said…
This looks like a great book - I can relate to being scared to settle down, and scared to mvoe around!
ndz917 [at]
patrick m said…
thanks for being the wonderful author you are..
CherylS22 said…
Thanks for the post - I'd love to read "Sunnyside Blues".

Please count me in - Thanks!
Charlotte said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlotte said…
Sounds like my kind of book, neat cover.

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