Hi guys! Today, we have a debut novel that readers of classics and retellings would like: Stone Field by Christy Lenzi. I'm a fan of classics myself and was really intrigued by the book after I read its synopsis on Goodreads. I hope you find Stone Field as interesting as I did, after this interview. We're giving away a copy later, so stick around! ;)
Tell us about your setting. How and why did you come to select this place as the setting of your story?
The setting is inspired by my childhood home in southern Missouri—the Ozark highland region. The wild landscape, culture, history and mood of the place permeate me. The connection is deep-rooted. The hills, woods, caves, creeks and springs—I feel like I belong to them. Reading Wuthering Heights always gave me the sense that Emily Bronte felt that connection to her remote piece of the Earth, too, so it seemed natural to me that if I were to re-imagine the story, this is where it must take place.
What or who inspired Stone Field? How?
First, it was that sense of place. Connected to that was my interest in the history of the place as it related to my own people. Growing up, I heard stories about our infamous ancestor, Bushwhacker Bill Wilson, who once lived on the same piece of property that I did. When the Union soldiers had tried to conscript him into the army during the Civil War, Bill resisted and became a violent outlaw. His story horrified and fascinated me and I began to do research about the area. The wildness of the time and place seemed to suit a story similar to Wuthering Heights, whose fierce main characters perplexed me as much as Bushwhacker Bill did. It was satisfying to gather these interests together into one project.
"Catrina and Stonefield fall dangerously in love." What is your style in terms of romance development? Do you like whirlwind romances and or do you keep it burning slow until it shows on the pages?
Certainly there are all sorts of love and all sorts of ways to think about love. What one person might be convinced is love, another might perceive differently—perhaps as instant infatuation. Cat’s friend Effie would be the kind of person whose love slowly develops over time. It might appear more real. But Cat is not Effie. Cat is impetuous and her emotions rule her actions. Her love as she experiences it is a whirlwind. She is also mentally unstable and an unreliable narrator. But her emotions are valid and just as real as Effie’s. I hope my style of romance development is flexible and depends upon the personality of the character.
How different is the final version of Stone Field from its first version?
Haha—the last half of my original version was so bizarre. I was trying to rethink the new generation we read about in Wuthering Heights, the children of Cathy, Heathcliff, and Hindley, and I had divided my story into two parts. In Part 2, a curse that had been on my two main characters in the 1860’s had carried into the present day and had to be lifted by their descendants. The present day family ran a corn maze business on their farm in Stone Field. It had some pretty mystical elements that seem absurd, now. It was fun to write, but ultimately, it felt disjointed and didn’t work. I threw out the entire second half and tried again, concentrating on my two main characters.
What were the challenges you faced while writing a retelling of Wuthering Heights, which is one of the great classics of all time?
One challenge I faced was in changing the perspective. I wanted to see the Heathcliff character through the eyes of the Cathy character while maintaining the sense that outsiders saw him (and her!) very differently than she did. The challenge was making it so the reader could see both perspectives in an organic way.
Another issue I faced was how far I might push the limits of Cat’s personality and still keep the reader engaged with her. She can be pretty intense and…slightly unhinged. The classic story allows us some distance from the characters, so I had some concerns about how I was going to manage my version from inside Cat’s head.
Thank you, Christy!
Christy lives with her family in California’s Central Valley, not far from the mountains, the big trees, and the Pacific Ocean. When she's not working, writing, or reading, she is fond of stuffing messages into bottles, making art, and zooming around on her motor scooter, Roxanne.
Find Christy: Website | Goodreads
Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: March 29th 2016 by Roaring Brook Press
In a small town on the brink of the Civil War, Catrina finds a man making strange patterns in her family’s sorghum crop. He’s mad with fever, naked, and strikingly beautiful. He has no memory of who he is or what he’s done before Catrina found him in Stone Field. But that doesn’t bother Catrina because she doesn’t like thinking about the things she’s done before either.
Catrina and Stonefield fall passionately, dangerously, in love. All they want is to live with each other, in harmony with the land and away from Cat’s protective brother, the new fanatical preacher, and the neighbors who are scandalized by their relationship. But Stonefield can’t escape the truth about who he is, and the conflict tearing apart the country demands that everyone take a side before the bloodbath reaches their doorstep.
Inspired by Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, Stone Field is a passionate and atmospheric story of how violence and vengeance pervert the human spirit, and how hatred can be transcended by love.
Thank you to Christy and her publisher for this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: Copy of Stone Field
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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