Happy Friday, lovelies!
I am excited to welcome guest author, Elizabeth Guider to my site today. She’s recently published a new book, Our Long Love’s Day, which I am more than happy to share with you all. Without further ado, here’s our lady of the day…
About the Author
Elizabeth Guider is a longtime entertainment journalist who has lived and worked in Rome, Paris and London as well as in New York City and Los Angeles. Born in the South, she holds a doctorate in Renaissance Studies from New York University. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, she was based in Rome where she taught English and American literature and worked as a reporter/editor at the city’s English-language daily paper. Much of the action of her first novel,The Passionate Palazzo, takes place during the social upheavals of the late Seventies in Italy.
While in Europe, she freelanced for several magazines and worked as an entertainment reporter for the entertainment newspaper Variety, focusing on the film business, television and theater. She also traveled widely, reporting on the politics affecting media from Dublin to Hong Kong as well as covering various festivals, conferences and trade shows in Cannes, Monte-Carlo, Venice, Berlin, Prague and Moscow. She also served on several festival juries, the international Emmys judging committee, and industry-sponsored panels.
Back in the States since the early 1990s, she specialized in the burgeoning TV industry and eventually held top editor posts at Variety and latterly at The Hollywood Reporter, including executive editor at Variety and editor-in-chief at THR as well as receiving several journalist awards and sitting on the prestigious Peabody Board. Most recently, she has freelanced feature stories for the magazine World Screen as senior contributing editor.
Elizabeth mostly divides her time between Los Angeles and Vicksburg, MS, where she grew up and which is the setting for her second novel, Milk and Honey on the Other Side. Also set partially in the South, Our Long Love’s Day is her fourth novel. She can be contacted via her author website, https://www.ElizabethGuider.com.
About her book
Spanning the last ten years, this unflinching but empathetic novel is a modern-day anatomy of love. A seemingly perfect marriage between two college professors goes awry, leaving everyone rattled, aggrieved or bent on revenge. The story unfolds largely from the perspective of the spouses, who, despite their high-mindedness, are as self-deluded and selfish as the rest of us. Over the course of the novel, they and those around them, including their two children, strive — sometimes painfully, sometimes comically — to right themselves, but new attachments don’t come without their own false starts and sorrowful stops. Until.
I had been thinking for some time about what it’s like — especially for women — to grow older and to be tossed away by some foolish or clueless or otherwise unthinking man. We’re all supposed to rise to the occasion and “get over things” quickly and effortlessly and without inconveniencing anyone else, especially not our own personal and professional circles. Especially when a highly regarded marriage that people consider “perfect” shatters overnight. What we often discover in such fraught circumstances is that we’re weaker and less in control than our avatars would have us believe. We behave badly and berate ourselves for so doing.
Thus, my main character, Dr Deirdre Durrell Cole, a professor of medieval studies, is a case in point. At the beginning of the story she herself is researching a trio of women in the fourteenth century who had to rise above their own challenged situations to make their mark in the world. Deirdre’s marriage to another professor, Dr Ashton Mather Cole, unravels in the very first chapter and no, she does not react in the civilized manner that the image of academics would suggest —or in the manner that her fourteenth century heroines did!
Moreover, because Deirdre is forty at the time of the break-up, it is more awkward than not for her to recommence a social and sexual life: she has sullen teenagers to deal with, a career that is sputtering, and an ailing mother from way back home to tend to. All that said, Deirdre is resilient and generous-spirited and eventually opens herself to new people and experiences. It takes ten years, new friendships and unexpected lovers to make that happen.
The title is taken from a famous Metaphysical poem by Andrew Marvell, which is reckoned one of the most important examples of the theme of carpe diem in the language. In other words, the poem is a call to “seize the day,” as it were, and Deirdre does eventually manage to. On her own terms. (Her husband, who is a professor of said Metaphysical poetry, also seizes the day by leaving Deirdre for one of his students. It would be an understatement to say it doesn’t work out well.) Writing this novel involved INSPIRATION — from concerns in my own personal life, things that happened to friends or to characters in books that I responded to. And it involved PERSPIRATION — as in a month spent on an outline, another participating in NANOWRIMO to get 50,000 words down on paper, and then daily stints for several more months in front of the computer to complete the first draft. For me, that was the hardest part.
Because I am an editor by training and profession, however, whittling things down and polishing and fact-checking and re-arranging elements and reshaping characters’ and eliminating others was, relatively speaking, the FUN part. As was working with my editor at Foundations to curb a few of my excesses and with the cover designer to come up with art that reflected both the tone of the narrative and the backdrop of the plot. As we all can imagine, publishing in the midst of a pandemic is a completely novel proposition, no pun intended. As a writer, I love physical bookstores and festivals and interaction with prospective readers, but alas, all that has vanished for the duration. I can only hope that folks will feel the urge to curl up with an actual copy or download an online version to their preferred device — and still curl up. Any feedback from readers would be most welcome.