Friday, October 26, 2018

Blog Tour: Gap-Toothed Girl by Raymond Harvey #giveaway #interview #contemporary #fiction

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Contemporary Fiction
Date Published: August 2018
Publisher: Pearl Button Press

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“Tournament night in a sweltering Las Vegas stadium, and the girl with the gap-toothed smile stood bleeding in her ballet slippers.”

Thus begins Gap-Toothed Girl, the story of Dusty May, a Lakota orphan with an iron will, who runs away from the horrific circumstances of her foster home and her foster father — a man of beast-like brilliance and power — to pursue her dream of lightness and ballet, even as her foster father unleashes an army to bring her down.

Part literary fiction, part thriller, part dance story, Gap-Toothed Girl is at its core a tale of human joy and freedom of will — a “relentlessly paced novel” combining “the surreal imagery of Nabokov with the psychological complexity of Dostoevsky” (Fort Collins Forum) to investigate the depths of the human psyche and the indomitable will to succeed, ultimately plumbing the very nature of human happiness and the human soul.


Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp?

Yes, there is: that the human will is unconquerable, and not even God can conquer it.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Undoubtedly the most challenging aspect of the process for me is integrating the theme of a given piece into a convincing plot-line. Theme is the meaning that the events of a story add up to. Skillful plot-theme integration — such as you see in Les Miserables, for instance — is one of the truest tests of timeless literature. 

How many books have you written and which is your favorite?

I’ve written and had published eight books, my favorite of which is my latest: Gap-Toothed Girl, the story of a little runaway with indestructible integrity. 

If You had the chance to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who would you pick and why?

Isabelle Fuhrman — because she’s physically near-perfect for my main character Dusty May, and also because she’s a wildly convincing actress, strong yet vulnerable.

When did you begin writing?

I didn’t begin writing seriously until age 20, when I had small, early success with a poem and then a short story — after which, I very consciously decided I would be a writer: this, I said to myself, is what I’d do with my life. It was over a decade later before I saw another word of mine published. My apprenticeship, in other words, was long and grueling. It’s been said that if a painter knew at the outset how much she has to learn before she began painting, she’d likely never take up the task. I can say something very similar about literature in my case.

How long did it take to complete your first book? 

Nine years! And another year after that to find a publisher. That book is called More and More unto the Perfect Day, and it is a book every word of which I bled for.

Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?

I’m from a very small town in southwestern Colorado called Ouray (pronounced: yoo-ray, population 700), and there was a fellow who lived just down the street named Kent Nelson, who was a published writer. He’s somewhat reclusive, but I’ve since come to know Kent a little — he’s an excellent writer, who’s won a Pushcart Prize, as well as the Ed Abby award for fiction — and he was definitely an early inspiration. Later, Dostoevsky came to mean a great deal to me, and my first published novel, the previously mentioned More and More unto the Perfect Day, was hugely influenced by both Crime and Punishment and also Demons.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Creating strong, convincing characters whom I’d like to meet in real life.

Describe your latest book in 4 words.

Iron-willed orphan girl.

Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?

My current work is the story of a little Lakota orphan girl who runs away from the horrific circumstances of her foster home in order to pursue her dream of becoming a ballet dancer. By age 16, she’s an accomplished gymnast, but when she sees a photo of a certain ballerina walking en pointe upon wine bottles, it changes her life, so that ballet soon comes to represent for her poise and balance in harmony with strength and skill. This is something she quickly begins thinking of as an explicit metaphor for her own life. Meanwhile, her foster father Kenneth Dvorak, an enigmatic and brilliant man who loves her dangerously, will not let her runaway so easily…. 

In addition — or, perhaps I should say, as an elaboration, Gap-Toothed Girl is also a story about the relationship of music and dance, body and brain. It’s a story of integrity in the literal sense of that word: integrated, entire, all of a piece. 

The future of my writing is to keep creating stories and poems that I hope will inspire and make you shiver. 

About the Author

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Ray A. Harvey, novelist, essayist, published poet, athlete, and editor, son of Firman Charles Harvey (RIP) and his wife Cecilia, youngest of thirteen half brothers and half sisters, was born and raised in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. He’s worked as a short-order cook, copyeditor, construction laborer, crab fisherman, janitor, pedi-cab driver, bartender, and more. He’s also written and ghostwritten a number of published books, poems, and essays, but no matter where he’s gone or what he’s done to earn a living, literature and learning have always existed at the core of his life.

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