Saturday, December 4, 2010

Winter Extravaganza: Maurissa Guibord

Maurissa Guibord is the author of Warped.

SUMMARY: Tessa doesn't believe in magic. Or Fate. But there's something weird about the dusty unicorn tapestry she discovers in a box of old books. She finds the creature woven within it compelling and frightening. After the tapestry comes into her possession, Tessa experiences dreams of the past and scenes from a brutal hunt that she herself participated in. When she accidentally pulls a thread from the tapestry, Tessa releases a terrible centuries old secret. She also meets William de Chaucy, an irresistible 16th-century nobleman. His fate is as inextricably tied to the tapestry as Tessa's own. Together, they must correct the wrongs of the past. But then the Fates step in, making a tangled mess of Tessa's life. Now everyone she loves will be destroyed unless Tessa does their bidding and defeats a cruel and crafty ancient enemy. (Publishes on January 11, 2011.)


I’m so pleased to be here at Books Obsession for the Winter Extravaganza. Thanks for inviting me Ashley! I live on the coast of Maine with my family and I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of a cool wintry story to tell or some special memories to share, you know, the ones sprinkled with holiday goodwill and wafting apple–cinnamon scent. But guess what? Our winters (and holidays) are usually not picture perfect around here. Keeping that in mind, I do want to share something special that happens at our house each winter.

On certain special nights the wind blows in from the Northeast, whispering through the pine trees. We watch from a warm, cozy spot as it storms outside. Through the windows we see the heavy snowflakes, glittering with moonlight as they fall in swirling, dancing clouds. It’s spectacular. It’s breathtaking. Then the power goes out. Yeah. Suddenly it’s spectacularly dark. And before long it’ll be breathtakingly cold. As I stumble around, looking for the flashlights, candles and matches I bump into furniture and step on the odd Lego or cat. And mutter to myself. Things like, “Why on earth do we
live here?” Now when I first came to Maine, I had always lived in the city. I wasn’t that familiar with the concept of electricity. Yes, I knew to pay the bill and not stick my digits in the sockets, but that was about the extent of it. The fact that electricity could just decide to um, not be there- that was new. I discovered when the power goes out everything in our house stops working. The lights go out, the stove won’t work, you can’t make coffee. Even the furnace doesn’t run… What?? You mean you need electricity to burn oil? Those thermodynamic laws are certainly not working in my favor. But that’s not the most special thing. Cold and dark is not enough. We have a well, from which water is pumped into our house by, you guessed it, electricity. So when the power is out there is no running water. You can’t even flush the toilet. You heard me.

Welcome to the Dark-and-sometimes-smelly-Ages. Now this may sound very unpleasant- but once you’ve lived here for a while you get used to dealing with these things, and can prepare. Most people have a stack of wood for the fireplace or woodstove, a supply of water to use for drinking and washing (and flushing), lots of candles and kerosene lamps. Some smart folks even have emergency generators. And it’s not all bad. When the power goes out there is no TV, no internet and no video games. People gravitate, not toward these distractions- but toward each other, seeking company and body heat.
And those chocolate peanut butter cups that I knew were around here somewhere...

You suddenly discover the beauty of very simple things: the light of a glowing candle and the warmth of a soft quilt. I’ve always enjoyed reading but on a dark and powerless night it is the perfect solace and entertainment. And nothing’s more comforting to a nervous child (or adult) than listening to a story read aloud. Roald Dahl is a special favorite around here. My kids even sort of
enjoy power outages. We light a fire in the fireplace and spread sleeping bags on the floor, making our living room look like a giant campout. Then we scribble titles of movies and books on scraps of paper- and have a really silly (and unreasonably loud) game of charades. Then we have a shadow puppet show on the wall. When it’s time to go to sleep we all stay together- snuggled close like a pack of dogs in the woods. Hours later (hopefully) when the lights flicker on- yes it’s a relief. But I find that I miss the closeness and the pleasure we had in those simple things, even as I rush madly to check my email.

So take my advice. Some night, if you want to experience an authentic Maine winter just turn off the lights, and turn down the heat. Bundle up next to someone you love and light some candles. Then, by the flickering lights and dancing shadows read a book, play a board game, tell a story, or maybe write one. Give up the power and discover a little magic. But feel free to flush. You don’t have to be
that authentic. Hope you all stay warm and snug this winter and have a joyous holiday season.

Thank you so much for writing up this wonderful guest post, Maurissa! :)


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  1. Ha! I live in Western Maine, so I can totally relate to your "authentic" winter experience. In fact, today's proving to be pretty wintery with all of the snow and such. I love it!

    I cannot wait to read your book--There are lots of YA authors from Maine or authors setting their stories in Maine lately. I think it provides a pretty rough and tumble setting and lots of interesting characters. There are certainly some fun/ crazy characters where I live!

  2. That's really cool that you and your family take advantage of thtas time without distractions to be with one another. Although I am glad that I don't live where it gets too terribly cold. ^_^

  3. such a great way to take advantage of no electricity. I might have to buy this book as a christmas present to myself haha :)

  4. My bags are packed. I have books and chocolate and some candles. When should I arrive? ;)

  5. I would love the reading by candlelight and snuggling by the fire, but I couldn't take the cold or the no water situation. Bless you!

  6. The wintertime in Maine seems very cozy. I live in NJ so we get a decent amount of snow. I totally understand what you mean by reading by candlelight.Its the best time of the yaer.

  7. As one who is dying to move to Maine, I just loved this post. It's such beautiful country!

  8. Wow, I live in Athens, Greece and it's not rural at all.
    I can only look at apartment buildings from across the street, so Maine, despite the power outages sounds pretty good to me! :P

    And this seems so nice: You suddenly discover the beauty of very simple things
    We miss that in cities!

  9. Mary D

    Maine has always sounded like a beautiful state in which to live, power outages and all! We live in the rural Midwest and, although not on a par with Maine, it can get pretty brutal here, too.

    Yes. There is such a simple quietude when the power goes out. Last time that happened here, we played word games by candlelight and talked half the night away. And honestly, we were both relieved AND disappointed when the power did finally come back on. lol

  10. having never experienced a true winter (live in hawaii), maine in the winter sounds lovely. great post.

  11. How fun! I'm no stranger to power outages, and while they do have plenty of downsides, I agree that they aren't so bad. It's actually kind of fun sometimes!

  12. Loved reading this posts! Thanks for sharing!


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