Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Release Day: Daisies by Joshua Senter, a Guest Post, and a Giveaway!


Daisies by Joshua Senter
Published July 22nd 2014 by Diversion Books

Love is a lesson learned over lifetimes.

Spanning three generations, Daisies is a stirring debut novel from a singular talent. In 1954, awkward Gwen Hisel falls in love with the affable Willie Bennett on the dusty Oklahoma prairie. What follows is a harsh life for the two youngsters as they struggle to make the best of their difficult circumstances.

Twenty years later, Sheila Hisel, daughter of Gwen and Willie, marries Darrel McAllister. But while her parents’ love for one another had seen them through tribulation and adversity, Sheila’s own marriage crumbles under the strain of hard times.

Now, if Sheila’s son, Lonnie, ever wants to succeed in love, he must unravel the mysteries of two very different relationships to discover the secret to true happiness.

About the author

Joshua Senter was raised in the Ozark Mountains where he was homeschooled along with his four sisters on a five hundred acre farm. He moved to Los Angeles in August 1997 to pursue a degree in filmmaking from Art Center College of Design. In 2002 he started writing for the hit Showtime series The L Word. A year later, he joined the international phenomenon, Desperate Housewives, where he was nominated for a Writer’s Guild of America award for his episode, Don’t Look at Me. In 2013 Joshua began writing and co-producing a new show for ABC Family, Chasing Life, which will begin airing in 2014.

Daisies, is Joshua’s debut novel.

What No One Else Can Hear
By Joshua Senter

You're walking along, minding your own business. Maybe you're at the zoo or the park or on the subway. Maybe you're lying in bed after a night out or sleeping in on a Sunday morning, and suddenly there is a voice that is your own but which you feel disassociated from, too. From inside your head it talks to you only. It informs you that some thought, some idea, some little moment you just experienced is more than just a moment, it is a concept worthy of fleshing out. You listen to this voice because it stills all others in your head. It has this incredible power to focus you. You grow quiet. You listen. It begins to sprout tendrils like an ivy inside your mind branching off to other places and other moments it has also brought to your attention before, weaving different concepts together in a delicate tapestry, light as a cloud and just as fragile. Then, sometimes in the midst of listening to this voice you are distracted and for a while you move on to other matters. And sometimes the cloud that was forming dissipates. But sometimes it mushrooms until it is so distracting that you must take what the voice in your head has drawn your attention to and write it down so that it is released into the world for others to hear.

In the case of my novel, DAISIES, the voice gnawed at me to tell the story of how people learn to love from those that came before them. And this concept grew determinedly, connecting with other ideas until like a massive chorus it became so loudly trumpeted in my head that nothing short of a novel would do it justice. So, I sat down to write my first book. And it's incredible that despite how loudly the inspiration clamors, when you sit down to a blank computer screen, it suddenly vanishes as though playing coy, or maybe it just seems to vanish because you become overwhelmed by the massive organism one idea has branched out into. But instead of beating a hasty retreat, the trick is to pick one small tendril of thought from the massive symphony and listen to its whisper. For DAISIES, I first heard the wind over the Oklahoma prairie. And then, Gwen (one of the protagonists) arrived under the warm summer sun wearing a limp, thread bare dress. She was old enough to be a woman but young enough she was still a little awkward. She was in love with a boy named Willie. It was true love. And their romance would work out in the long run because for them it was simple love, untainted and without bruise. Gwen spoke so softly it was almost hard to hear her. But, Willie spoke even more gently. It was such a charm to write them both. Then, came Gwen and Willie's daughter, Sheila, who was incredibly feisty and opinionated, the polar opposite of her parents. And with Sheila arrived Darrel and her son Lonnie and a host of others all separated out then blended, once again, into my story.

Scientists say that the brain reacts to what is imagined the same way it reacts to what is real. This is why reading and writing feel so magic. And that's why, when people wonder how I can be alone all day with just the click, click, click of my typewriter keys, I tell them I'm not alone at all. In one writing session, I can be joined by a variety of characters, and they surprise even me with their antics. Sometimes, they literally depress me. Sometimes, they make me laugh. Sometimes they make me cry or nervous enough I bite off all my fingernails in the process of telling their story. And just like that initial voice that is my own but is also completely unattached to me, all of the characters in the stories I write come from me but are not me. I know this because when I finally finish a project, I always take a step back to get my mind off of it. Then weeks later I return and read what I've written, and I can never remember how the story I'm reading came to exist. I remember being there as a siphon of sorts -- I must've been for the words now stare back at me from where once they didn't exist! But in truth, it’s as though I had gone out of body to do my work and now returned to find it complete. It's magic. It's also a little insane, I suppose. And after all is finished, after all those voices inside you have been unleashed, everyone blames the result whether good or bad on you the writer no matter who your accomplices.

And then the journey begins all over. You're walking along, minding your own business. Maybe you’re at the grocery store or sipping a cup of coffee and there is a voice that speaks to you and only you. And you wonder if it will be persistent, or if it will dwindle away. If it stays. If it grows. If it becomes a choir of other voices, then you know what you must do. And that’s when you begin to write, once more.

Connect with Joshua

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  1. I left you an awesome comment and got rerouted to a Google thing. Oh well! Hope you are having a great week!

  2. I've nothing to say but...what a handsome writer!

  3. I love that there are three generations involved here. Tell Joshua that I also lived in Missouri ( Springfield) for 2 1/2 years going to college and I also homeschooled my kids ( still doing it). Good luck to him in all of his endeavours!

    1. Cheryl, How wonderful that you are homeschooling your kids! I'm not sure I would be who I am today if my mom hadn't taken the time to teach me so patiently all that she did. And Springfield was my old stomping grounds when I wasn't on the farm a couple hours away. I hope you get the chance to read DAISIES. It was a story I felt I needed to tell and my favorite parts in it are the word pictures I tried to create about the Ozarks. -Josh

  4. Daisies sounds like a wonderful story. I would enjoy reading this book.

  5. fascinating - looking fwd to a great read [& totally cute cover!] =)
    thanks for hosting!
    pinning HERE


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