Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Blog Tour & Giveaway: He's Gone (Deb Caletti)

“What do you think happened to your husband, Mrs. Keller?”
The Sunday morning starts like any other, aside from the slight hangover. Dani Keller wakes up on her Seattle houseboat, a headache building behind her eyes from the wine she drank at a party the night before. But on this particular Sunday morning, she’s surprised to see that her husband, Ian, is not home. As the hours pass, Dani fills her day with small things. But still, Ian does not return. Irritation shifts to worry, worry slides almost imperceptibly into panic. And then, like a relentless blackness, the terrible realization hits Dani: He’s gone.
As the police work methodically through all the logical explanations—he’s hurt, he’s run off, he’s been killed—Dani searches frantically for a clue as to whether Ian is in fact dead or alive. And, slowly, she unpacks their relationship, holding each moment up to the light: from its intense, adulterous beginning, to the grandeur of their new love, to the difficulties of forever. She examines all the sins she can—and cannot—remember. As the days pass, Dani will plumb the depths of her conscience, turning over and revealing the darkest of her secrets in order to discover the hard truth—about herself, her husband, and their lives together.


Deb Caletti is an award-winning author and a National Book Award finalist whose books are published and translated worldwide. Her first novel was The Queen of Everything (Simon & Schuster, 2002),of which a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly proclaimed: “This marks Caletti as a writer to watch.” Although written for adults, its coming-of-age themes gained it acclaim as a Y/A book. It made the cover of the esteemed review journal The Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books (the first trade book to do so in the journal’s history), and then was chosen for PSLA’s Top Forty of 2003 and the International Reading Association’s Young Adult Choices for 2004. It is currently in its thirteenth printing.
Deb’s second book, Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, was a finalist for the National Book Award. Kirkus called it, “tender and poetic,” and the book earned other distinguished recognition, including the PNBA Best Book Award, the Washington State Book Award, and School Library Journal’s Best Book award. It was a finalist for the California Young Reader Medal and the PEN USA Literary Award, and was also a 2005 IRA Notable Book, an SSLI Book Awards Honor Book, and made the New York Public Library’s Best Books for the Teen Age, Chicago Library’s Best Books of 2004, and the Texas TAYSHA’s list. Her third book, Wild Roses, won acclaim with starred reviews in Publisher’s Weekly, which deemed it, “rich,” and School Library Journal, which said the book was “multifaceted and emotionally devastating,” with “profound observations and vivid language.” It was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award and was chosen as a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age and a RT Book Club Magazine’s finalist for Best Y/A Book of 2005. The Nature of Jade was a summer 2007 Booksense pick, a Books A Million Book Club selection, and was a finalist for RT Magazine’s Best Y/A Book of the Year.
Her fifth book, The Fortunes of Indigo Skye, was released April 2008, followed by The Secret Life of Prince Charming in 2009, The Six Rules of Maybe in 2010, Stay in 2011, and The Story of Us in 2012. In addition, several anthologies include work by Deb, including “First Kiss, Then Tell,” a Bloomsbury anthology benefiting NPR Youth Radio, and two collections of non-fiction critical essays developed by Borders Books: “The World of the Golden Compass” and “Through the Wardrobe: Your Favorite Authors on C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia.” In 2013, Deb’s first book for adults, He’s Gone, will be released from Random House.
Deb grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and earned her journalism degree from the University of Washington in Seattle. When Deb is not writing books or reading them, she is a painter and a lyricist, and speaks widely to audiences on writing and life as an author. Deb lives with her family in Seattle.



What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

The inspiration came much the same way the book begins. I woke up one day, and my husband wasn’t there. I did that listening you do, where you try to see if the TV is on in the other room, or if there’s the sound of the toaster lever being pushed down. And suddenly there was the What If that often begins a book. What if you woke up one day to find that your husband had vanished? And while my own was merely out walking the dog, the situation was much more complex for Dani and Ian in He’s Gone. 

Who is your favorite character in the book?

Every character in this book is a mix of terrific and flawed. They all make good decisions and terrible ones, from Dani and Ian, to Dani’s mother and Ian’s business partner. So, for the simple and very uncomplicated joy he brings, I choose Pollux, the dog. Come to think of it, even he makes a few terrible choices. Still, he is earnest and steadfast – and he may know more about what’s actually happened than anyone. 

Which came first, the title or the novel?

The title came right at the same time as the idea did. This isn’t always the case. With some of my books, the title came much later, or was even changed after I finished. A good eight months after I turned in the book, though, a shocking thing happened regarding the title of this one – the release of Gone Girl. I confess to doing a little freaking out when I saw that title with its similarities to He’s Gone. Aargh! Still, similar titles, covers, story lines – those are things that just inevitably happen sometimes in publishing. Now, though, in part because of the similar titles, I hear the books being matched and compared. But they are very different books, with very different goals. While He’s Gone has thriller aspects, it also leans toward the literary and thought provoking. 

What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?

I am most proud of two scenes which have echoes of each other – the scene with Dani and Ian and Ian’s father in the restaurant, and the scene with Dani and her mother late at night when… Wait, I can’t give it away. Enough to say that these scenes exist to show the pull our own history has on the decisions we make. I think it’s an important message when looking at situations like Dani’s and Ian’s infidelity, which are often easily judged. Actually, I think it’s an important message in general. 

Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

I’ve learned that the most impactful books, to me anyway, are the most honest ones. My early, unpublished books were stories, but not ones I was fully and intimately connected with. Your heart and your own voice are what speak most powerfully to other people. Writing this way requires a degree of letting go, of vulnerability, and probably a degree of confidence that comes with experience. 

What do you like most about the cover of the book?

I LOVE that cover. It’s perfect for the book. I love the upside down words “a novel,” and the way the hazy is transposed with the clear. I love that green umbrella. But probably most of all, I love the rather polite and correct black shoes with that red dress.

What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2013?

I’m looking forward to Lionel Shriver’s new book, Big. I loved her We Need to Talk About Kevin. Also, I just saw that Jonathan Safran Foer is expected to release a memoir. I love literary fiction and have a particular weakness for a well-written memoir, so this should be an interesting combination. 

What was your favorite book in 2012?

The Last Waltz, by Anne Enright. The book dealt with many of the same themes as He’s Gone – marriage, adultery, love in all its beauty and disappointments. But, wow – it was written with such a deft and masterful hand that I just wanted to bow down. Great writing is so inspiring. 

What’s up next for you?

My next Y/A will be released next April from S&S. It’s called The Last Forever, and it may be one of my favorites of all the books I’ve written. I’m also about to start writing my next adult novel for Random House, which is expected to release in 2015.

Is there anything that you would like to add?

After nine Y/A books, crossing over to the adult world with He’s Gone is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. I want to thank you all, especially my longtime readers, for making the leap with me. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!!! I really enjoyed the interview!