Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Queen Of The Owls by Barbara Linn Probst + #Giveaway + Guest Post

Join us for this tour from Sep 9 to Sep 25, 2020!

Book Details:

Book Title:  Queen of the Owls by Barbara Linn Probst
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +),  307 pages
Genre:  Upmarket Women's Fiction
Publisher:  She Writes Press
Release date:   April 2020
Tour dates: Sep 9 to Sep 25, 2020
Content Rating:  PG-13: Includes situations and discussions of adult subject matter.

"A stunner" — Caroline Leavitt, best-selling author

"A must-read"
— Barbara Claypole White, best-selling author

"Nuanced and insightful" — Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times
best-selling author

Book Description:

A chance meeting with a charismatic photographer will forever change Elizabeth’s life. Until she met Richard, Elizabeth's relationship with Georgia O’Keeffe and her little-known Hawaii paintings was purely academic. Now it’s personal. Richard tells Elizabeth that the only way she can truly understand O’Keeffe isn’t with her mind―it’s by getting into O’Keeffe’s skin and reenacting her famous nude photos. In the intimacy of Richard’s studio, Elizabeth experiences a new, intoxicating abandon and fullness. It never occurs to her that the photographs might be made public, especially without her consent. Desperate to avoid exposure―she’s a rising star in the academic world and the mother of young children―Elizabeth demands that Richard dismantle the exhibit. But he refuses. The pictures are his art. His property, not hers. As word of the photos spreads, Elizabeth unwittingly becomes a feminist heroine to her students, who misunderstand her motives in posing. To the university, however, her actions are a public scandal. To her husband, they’re a public humiliation. Yet Richard has reawakened an awareness that’s haunted Elizabeth since she was a child―the truth that cerebral knowledge will never be enough. Now she must face the question: How much is she willing to risk to be truly seen and known?

Guest post:  Getting into Georgia O’Keeffe’s Skin by Barbara Lynn Probst

Queen of the Owls is a story about a woman’s search for the missing sides of herself, framed around the art and life of iconic American painter Georgia O’Keeffe.

If you haven’t heard of O’Keeffe, stop and Google her. I’ll wait—because this essay will mean a lot more if you’ve had a chance to look at a few of her paintings. 

Okay, all set?

The story is set in motion when a charismatic photographer convinces bookworm Elizabeth that the only way she can truly understand O’Keeffe, whose little-known Hawaii paintings are the topic of her thesis, is to get inside O’Keeffe’s skin and “do what she did.”  As you’ll discover when you read the book, that means reproducing the nude photos that O’Keeffe posed for—which Elizabeth does, with disastrous results. 

When I talk about the research I did for the book, the question inevitably arises about what I did that helped me understand Elizabeth’s experience, and I usually answer, “I visited the places where she lived and worked, went to see her paintings in person. The only thing I didn’t do was to pose nude—well, not yet.”  It always gets a laugh, yet it’s not really a joke because I did try to get into O’Keeffe’s skin.

One of the ways I did that was by going to Hawaii (I know, poor me, the things we writers have to do) so I could understand, through my body, what O’Keeffe might have felt while she was there.  And to my surprise, I got it.

I captured my experience in this passage, about halfway through the book:

“Everything about Hawaii was the inverse of what Georgia was used to. Breathing itself must have been strange and new. In New Mexico, Georgia had breathed air that was crisp and dry; in Hawaii, the very oxygen was thick and soft, heavy with a different kind of heat. Volcanic mountains replaced New Mexico’s bare red hills. High and craggy, emerald and jade against the azure sea. A landscape lush and fecund and wet, unlike anything in Georgia’s experience. 
“How had Georgia coped, a desert creature flung into the tropics? The weight of the air, hot and moist on her skin—it must have pushed at her with the relentless question. Who am I, here, in this place? 
“Elizabeth could almost feel it. The sensuality, everywhere. Georgia had to paint. It was the only way to keep from drowning in sensation.”

I would never have been able to write that passage—or understand the embodied experience that Elizabeth craves, and finds—if I hadn’t gone to Kauai.  But I didn’t know that until I was actually there.

Authors spend a lot of time learning about the world of their characters, collecting material and taking notes that never appear in the actual book. It’s part of the behind-the-scenes process that can make the story seem so effortless! 

So no, I didn’t pose nude—although I did have an amazing experience surrendering to the camera when I was beginning to work on Queen of the Owls and preparing to launch a new website. That experience was, in fact, the seed for the descriptions of Elizabeth surrendering to Richard’s camera in his studio.  It’s often like that. We take the kernel of what we’ve actually experienced and enlarge it, translate, re-embody it in a fictional character.

You could say that I got into Elizabeth’s skin, as well as O’Keeffe’s.  A very different kind of “research” than reading books and articles!

Meet the Author:

BARBARA LINN PROBST is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, living on an historic dirt road in New York’s Hudson Valley. Her debut novel QUEEN OF THE OWLS (April 2020) is the powerful story of a woman’s search for wholeness, framed around the art and life of iconic American painter Georgia O’Keeffe. Endorsed by best-selling authors including Christina Baker Kline and Caroline Leavitt, QUEEN OF THE OWLS was selected as one of the twenty most anticipated books of 2020 by Working Mother, a debut novel “too good to ignore” by Bustle, and "one of the best new novels to read during the quarantine" by Parade Magazine and Entertainment Weekly. It won the bronze medal for popular fiction from the Independent Publishers Association, placed first runner-up in general fiction for the Eric Hoffer Award, and was short-listed for the $2500 Grand Prize. Barbara has a PhD in clinical social work and blogs for several award-winning sites for writers.

Connect with the Author:  website  ~ facebook  ~ instagram ~ goodreads
Tour Schedule:
Sep 9 – Rockin' Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Sep 9 - Locks, Hooks and Books – book spotlight / giveaway
Sep 9 - Working Mommy Journal - book spotlight / giveaway
Sep 10 – My Fictional Oasis – book spotlight
Sep 10 - Bookish Paradise – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Sep 10 - Book Corner News and Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Sep 11 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – book spotlight / giveaway
Sep 14 – Pen Possessed – book spotlight / giveaway
Sep 15 – Lamon Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Sep 15 – fundinmental – book spotlight / giveaway
Sep 16 – I'm Into Books – book spotlight / giveaway
Sep 16 - Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Sep 17 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book spotlight / giveaway
Sep 17 - Library of Clean Reads - book spotlight / giveaway
Sep 18 – Hall Ways Blog – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Sep 21 – Sefina Hawke's Books – book spotlight
Sep 22 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Sep 22 - Deborah-Zenha Adams - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Sep 22 - Sylv.net – book spotlight / giveaway
Sep 23 – StoreyBook Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Sep 23 - Alexis Marie Chute Blog - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Sep 23 - Books for Books – book spotlight
Sep 24 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – book spotlight / guest post
Sep 25 - Novel Escapes  - book spotlight
Sep 25 - 100 Pages A Day – book spotlight / giveaway

Enter the Giveaway:
Win an Autographed copy of QUEEN OF THE OWLS and gift basket.
(USA only) (ends October 2)

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Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Barbara Linn Probst / Women's fiction / Books from America