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Guest post: Peggy Riley, author of Amity & Sorrow

April 15, 2013

Amity & Sorrow mood board

I just finished Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley and it knocked my socks off!  I’ll have a review for you later this week but, in the meantime, I’d like to welcome Peggy here to share a picture of her “mood board” and tell about some of the things that inspired her while she wrote the book.

I wrote the hot, red dirt of Oklahoma and Amity & Sorrow inside a wooden hut at the bottom of my garden in damp, grey Whitstable.  Some days, I could hardly remember the violent heat of the sun through a windscreen, even with the Calor gas on high, or how tyres fling dust up from unpaved roads and how you breathe it in for hours, waiting for it to settle.  I couldn’t hear the buzz of overhead power cables, crowned with glass insulators, for the sound of British rain on the roof and the tap dance of seagulls.  On those days, pictures are essential for capturing moods, jammed in crazy angles in a wire frame on the wall above my desk.  There are driving maps of California and Oklahoma and images that feel like the book to me, coal bunkers and grain silos, bits of rust, the Virgin of Guadalupe, loteria cards for Mexican bingo:  El Diablito, La Muerte, El Corazon – devil, death and heart.  There are postcards picked up in galleries, after staggering around, grappling with the story: “Summer: Young September’s Cornfield” by Alan Reynolds, “Mann im Wald” by Anselm Kiefer, and a photo of nuns in starched cornettes, dwarfed by giant cacti.  Scattered around my desk are trinkets, reminders of a land I can remember and also one I am making up.  Votive candles and worry beads, rocks whose names I can’t remember collected by rock-hound relatives,  and arrowheads found among my father’s things, after his death, there with his baby cowboy boot and his father’s dog tags.  A glass insulator from my grandmother’s house holds drafts down and two Hopi kachina dolls, bought at a pow-wow in LA, watch me with their goggle eyes.  At my elbow there is always a tattered Bible and “The Grapes of Wrath” – two Bibles of a kind for a book that owes much to both of them.  I don’t clean my desk until a draft is finished, when I find many a digestive crumb among the pages, and I don’t take a mood board down until I know I’m done with it and I’m ready to begin something new.  And then the process of gathering and sifting begins again, searching for the feel of the thing I’m trying to pin down by pinning it over my head.

Peggy will participating in a live Twitter chat tomorrow, Tuesday, April 16 at 1PM Eastern time.  Tweet questions to @littlebrown or @Peggy_Riley (or both!) with #amity or #sorrow (or both!)

Amity & Sorrow blog tour

20 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2013 7:44 am

    Well if it knocked your socks off, I’m definitely looking out for it!

  2. April 15, 2013 8:05 am

    Definitely one I will be looking out for.

  3. April 15, 2013 8:11 am

    Glad you liked it so much. Interesting guest post!

  4. April 15, 2013 8:56 am

    So intriguing! I love that mood board idea!

  5. therelentlessreader permalink
    April 15, 2013 10:57 am

    Wonderful post 🙂 I just finished reading this book and it knocked my socks off too!

  6. Beth F permalink
    April 15, 2013 11:19 am

    What a super guest post — I loved reading about her mood board and getting a look at it too. I was wondering about that boot.

  7. April 15, 2013 11:24 am

    The cover alone has me dying to read it! And wow! what a mood board!

  8. April 15, 2013 11:29 am

    Love seeing the mood board! Amity & Sorrow sounds like an intriguing read.

  9. April 15, 2013 11:44 am

    What a fun and interesting guest post!

  10. April 15, 2013 12:11 pm

    Great post! I’m looking forward to your thoughts as I have a copy of this to read!

  11. zibilee permalink
    April 15, 2013 12:21 pm

    I am in the middle of this one right now, and I have to say, it’s excellent. I don’t know what to think of all that’s going on, but I do know that it’s crazy compelling and really kind of scary. It’s excellent, and I am a little sad that I have to put it down to finish something else really quick, but I will be right back to it, that’s for sure! This memory board post was excellent, and I get the connections from the book to this post very clearly. I can’t wait to read your review!

  12. talesofwhimsy permalink
    April 15, 2013 12:26 pm

    I’m fascinated by mood boards. Great post.

  13. April 15, 2013 1:38 pm

    Nice post….thanks.

  14. April 15, 2013 3:02 pm

    Wonderful guest post! The photo of the mood board is worth at least a thousand words, and adds a lot to this post. I think many writers have their own special way of approaching writing, and need to do things in a particular way while they write. I’m looking forward to your review of this book, Kathy.

  15. Patty permalink
    April 15, 2013 5:12 pm

    Wow…I just was invited to read this and I wasn’t sure…but now I can’t wait to get to it!

  16. April 15, 2013 6:29 pm

    I love that mood board – great way to tell the story/inspiration of the book. You have me intrigued about this one!

  17. April 15, 2013 9:36 pm

    Love the idea of a “mood board” – This book sounds great and I do plan to read it. Glad u loved it.

  18. April 16, 2013 12:15 am

    On my netgalley read list…I was blown away by the author’s guest post!!

  19. bookingmama permalink
    April 16, 2013 3:08 pm

    Knocked your socks off? I totally agree. You can tell from Ms. Riley’s guest post that she is a beautiful writer.

  20. April 17, 2013 6:34 pm

    Love her mood board!! I think making that would be a blast and I can’t wait to read your thoughts on this one!

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