Thursday, May 14, 2015

Blog Tour with Author Interview & Giveaway: Summer Of The Oak Moon by Laura Templeton

I say this a lot, but I'm really incredibly excited to be a part of the Summer Of The Oak Moon blog tour! Laura Templeton, is an amazingly talented and inspiring author that has written such an emotionally driven and gorgeously painful novel that comes to life in so many ways. These characters, the setting, and the conflict they find themselves embroiled in, are definitely relevant to what's currently going on in our communities and society as a whole right now. 

It's real, it's raw, and it's stunningly heartbreaking and amazing to read!

If you're looking for a book that is going to let push the envelope and an author who isn't afraid to tackle such sensitive subject matters, then Summer Of The Oak Moon by Laura Templeton is the book that you'll want to pick up. This isn't a story that you'll be likely to forget any time soon.

Today, I'm lucky enough to have Laura Templeton on the blog talking about the importance of these characters, the issues they'll be facing in society, along with a couple other things. There's also a tour wide giveaway going on that you can enter if you fill out the Rafflecopter below. 

First, though, I want to share with you a little more about Summer Of The Oak Moon.

Summer Of The Oak Moon
by Laura Templeton
Published: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books
Age Demographic: New Adult
Pages: 300

Rejected by the exclusive women’s college she has her heart set on, Tess Seibert dreads the hot, aimless summer ahead. But when a chance encounter with a snake introduces her to Jacob Lane, a black college student home on his summer break, a relationship blooms that challenges the prejudices of her small, north Florida town. 

When Jacob confesses that Tess’s uncle is trying to steal his family’s land, Tess comes face to face with the hatred that simmers just below the surface of the bay and marshes she’s loved since birth. With the help of her mentor Lulu, an herbal healer, Tess pieces together clues to the mysterious disappearance of Jacob’s father twenty-two years earlier and uncovers family secrets that shatter her connection to the land she loves.

Tess and Jacob’s bond puts them both in peril, and discontent eventually erupts into violence. Tess is forced to make a decision. Can she right old wrongs and salvage their love? Or will prejudice and hatred kill any chance she and Jacob might have had?

If you would like to purchase a copy of Summer Of The Oak Moon by Laura Templeton please visit Amazon or Barnes&Noble to make your purchase.

An Author Interview With
Laura Templeton

Hi Laura, thank you so much for being on the blog today. It's definitely nice to have you here, talking with us about your book Summer of the Oak Moon. It's such a powerful novel with a poignant and important message, can you shed some light on what inspired you to come up with this particular story?

Thanks so much for having me—and for the kind words about my book! 

In the months before I started writing Summer of the Oak Moon I spent a lot of time reading about the civil rights movement. One of the first books I read was John Lewis’s Walking With the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement, which inspired me to read more. In addition, I attended some local events dealing with civil rights-era crimes, and I discovered that an unsolved 1946 murder of two black couples had occurred not far from where I now live. As I reflected on my reading and thought about my own experiences growing up in the South, I knew that I wanted to tackle the subject in novel form. A coming of age story set against the backdrop of the 1980’s and the 1950’s seemed to fit the bill.

One of the things I love about Summer of the Oak Moon, is that you are unafraid to tackle sensitive issues like racial tension, the pressures of an inter-racial relationship, and the affect that it can have on someone like Tess for example. Was it hard, writing parts of this novel or did it just come easy and flow natrually?

I was born and have lived all my life in the South, and I can’t imagine living elsewhere. I love the natural beauty of the land and the friendly people who live here. I enjoy the casual, relaxed culture that persists to this day (flip-flops at the office anyone?) But I knew that in Summer of the Oak Moon I had to capture the darker side of the South—the stubborn resolve to stick to old, outdated, even wrong ways. In that sense, it was hard to write at times. Writing some parts of the book felt like I was exposing all my over-stuffed closets and under-the-bed dust bunnies to my most discriminating houseguest. (Okay, confession here—writing comes before housekeeping for me, as you can tell.) But in my writing, I try always to be truthful. And I do feel that the story, while at times not pretty and presentable—in language and action—is nonetheless an accurate representation of the time periods. I also feel strongly that young people deserve to be entrusted with difficult stories, in whatever form they take. 

Both Tess and Jacob has quite a bit to deal with, between the outside pressures surrounding their relationship and the secrets and lies that Tess discovers regarding his father. How was it writing Jacob and handling all of the issues that he faced throughout the novel?

While Tess and Lulu practically wrote themselves into existence, the character of Jacob was a little slow for me to flesh out. At first, he was more the strong, silent type—a prop for the characters of Tess and Lulu. But over time, I began to know him better, and I hope I was able to engage the reader in understanding his predicament. He, like Tess, is at a crossroads. Does he go to law school? Or seminary? Does he join Tess is pursuing information about his missing father ... against his mother’s wishes? Or does he continue to ignore his nagging doubts? Jacob goes through a similar transformation as Tess, growing up, owning his past, and working to make the present a bit better.

As an author and without giving away any spoilers, do you think that Tess and Jacob can both survive everything that's thrown at them in this book and come out on the other side better and fully intact or do you think that it will be difficult navigating the tentative waters of a relationship such as theirs?

Well, I tend to be an optimist... Jacob and Tess both are survivors. They each are strong, though in very different ways (which is perhaps why they are attracted to each other.) But both of them are forced to face things about their past that change their entire worldview. They will need time to assimilate this knowledge and move forward. Can they sustain a long-term relationship with all the challenges that would bring? I honestly don’t know. I’ve thought a lot about that myself and haven’t come to a conclusion! But if pushed ... I’d say yes. After twenty-nine years of marriage, I’m a believer in happily-ever-after.

Again, I want to thank you so much for agreeing to be on the blog today, is there anything important that you'd like to say regarding Summer of the Oak Moon?

As I read the news these days, what I already knew is confirmed—race is still an issue not just in the South but also throughout the country. Yes, prejudice today tends to be quieter and less overt than in the past. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. We have to look to and understand our society’s past in order to redefine our future. The fear, greed, and hatred that led to heinous events like those 1946 murders that occurred in my county need to be examined, along with their vestiges that lead, today, to more injustice. I hope that in a small way, my novel can spark some much-needed dialogue around the still-relevant issue of racial prejudice.

Giveaway Details
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Laura Templeton lives near Athens, Georgia, with her husband, son, and a menagerie of animals. When she’s not writing, she enjoys gardening, learning to figure skate, and taking long walks on the quiet country roads near her home. Something Yellow is her debut novel, and her creative nonfiction has appeared in various publications.

For more stops along the tour, check out the official tour schedule!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Susan. Running a little late on this, but thank you so much for the interview! And I'm glad you enjoyed the book!


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