Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Spotlight/Book Giveaway/Guest Post: The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

About the Book

Genre: Fiction, Women's Fiction
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: March 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads...

A provocative and hauntingly powerful debut novel reminiscent of Sliding Doors, The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who must reconcile her reality with the tantalizing alternate world of her dreams

Nothing is as permanent as it appears . . .

Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. She can come and go as she pleases, answering to no one. There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn’t quite work out the way Kitty had hoped.

Then the dreams begin.

Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends. It's everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted—but it only exists when she sleeps.

Convinced that these dreams are simply due to her overactive imagination, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. But with each visit, the more irresistibly real Katharyn’s life becomes. Can she choose which life she wants? If so, what is the cost of staying Kitty, or becoming Katharyn?

As the lines between her worlds begin to blur, Kitty must figure out what is real and what is imagined. And how do we know where that boundary lies in our own lives?

Guest Post

What’s It Like to Be Married to a Debut Novelist? An Interview with My Husband

By Cynthia Swanson, author of The Bookseller (Harper, March 2015)

For this piece, I interviewed my husband, Peter Swanson. We’ve been married for 12 years and have three kids. I wanted to know, from his perspective, what changes have occurred in our lives since I started writing The Bookseller five years ago and saw its publication this month.

Our lives have changed a lot in the past few years. Back then, we had very young kids at home; you maintained a steady paycheck and I worked on The Bookseller in whatever small moments I could find. Now we have school-aged kids; you’re still in programming but you work for a fast-paced startup. And I spend my time promoting The Bookseller and writing a new novel. What’s been the biggest adjustment you’ve had to make in the past couple of years?

In the beginning, it was learning to respect those little bits of time you needed to get through the first draft of this book. I remember one time early in your first draft stage I randomly interrupted your work. I had a friend with me; I was showing him our newly-remodeled house. And you started to cry, saying you only had a 15-minute window to write before you had to pick up our daughter from preschool, and with my friend and me in the house, your concentration flew out the window. That made me realize how precious those tiny morsels of writing time were for you.

These days, with all three kids in school full-time, your working hours are more plentiful. But I know that if your office door is closed, I need to be quiet and make myself scarce.

You’ve known me a long time. When we met, I was working on a different novel. I took a lengthy hiatus from writing fiction when our kids were babies and toddlers, but I didn’t give up completely. You were very encouraging when I started writing The Bookseller; you were thrilled to see me writing fiction again. What’s been the biggest surprise for you about my process of finally seeing a novel in print?

How much things changed once you solidified a second or third draft. At that point, you felt ready to let the manuscript see the light of day.  You started taking workshops at Lighthouse Writers here in Denver, and you attended their annual conference, LitFest. I remember how jazzed you were to be part of a writers’ community again, getting feedback from both your peers and the pros. All of that paid off - it was through Lighthouse that you met a freelance editor whom you hired to review the finished manuscript. She later introduced you to your agent, who sold the book to Harper.

Readers of The Bookseller are dying to know: is Katharyn’s oh-so-perfect husband Lars based on you?

Very loosely. Lars is extraordinarily patient - something I aspire to, but don’t always achieve. But Katharyn’s character had enough troubles to deal with; she didn’t need a chauvinistic husband or a stressful marriage on top of everything else. For that reason, you intentionally made Lars rather flawless. I agree with that choice; I think it works for this story.

And finally, what’s with that thank-you to “Sammy” at the end of the Acknowledgements in The Bookseller? Who is “Sammy”?

Sammy is my alter-ego. It’s a nickname friends gave me years ago. When we met, I explained that I associate the name Sammy with happy times and close companions. You generally call me Sammy when you talk to me, and Peter when you talk about me. I know that if you directly call me Peter, something serious is about to go down. When you call me Sammy, all is well.

CYNTHIA SWANSON is a writer and a designer of the midcentury modern style. She has published short fiction in 13th Moon, Kalliope, Sojourner, and other periodicals; her story in 13th Moon was a Pushcart Prize nominee. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband and three children. The Bookseller is her first novel.

Connect with Cynthia:


Now you can win The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson? Thanks to Meg at Tandem Literary, I have one book to giveaway to one lucky winner.

Just a few simple rules...

1) You must fill out the rafflecopter form below.

2) Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old

3) US Residents Only

4) For one extra entry: Tweet about this giveaway.

5) For one extra entry: Leave a comment for the author.

6) For one extra entry:  Follow this blog...old followers, too!  Just let us know how you follow and under what name.

7) For one extra entry:  Follow me on Twitter.

No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited.

The giveaway begins on March 11th (midnight est) and ends on March 24th (midnight est).

The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter. The winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be chosen. I will announce the winner here on my blog.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I can hardly wait to read Bookseller

  2. The Bookseller is captivating and unique. Thanks for this great giveaway and wonderful feature. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. This sounds like a book I should read

  4. Love the synopsis, sounds like a good read.

  5. Sounds like an intriguing novel. Thanks for the giveaway.

  6. Thanks for the review. I am anxiously waiting to obtain a copy to read.

  7. This sounds like an interesting book.

  8. I don't live in the US but will be looking out for a copy of this book!

  9. This does sound interesting. It also reminds me of the movie, Sliding Doors. Wonder if there will be a handsome man like James in the book.

  10. I've been curious about this one since I started seeing it on most anticipated lists for 2015. This sounds like such an interesting read!

  11. Yvonne, thank you for hosting this terrific giveaway! I've had my eye on this book for a while now.

  12. I cannot wait for this one! It's been on my TBR. It sounds sooooo good!

  13. I think that this book sounds amazing. That she can go from her real life into another life in her dreams. I would love to find out which one she chooses. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  14. Love the sound of this book! I also love that the author's husband is so understanding and has an alter ego. My husband and I did too!

  15. I love this very different take on an author interview. I really enjoyed reading about how the process of writing affected the family.

  16. I keep hearing about this book and I am so eager to read it! I really enjoyed reading What’s It Like to Be Married to a Debut Novelist? An Interview with My Husband.

  17. Ok this sounds good. I like the dream aspect, thanks for the chance!


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