Book Spotlight and Author Interview : Liberty Landing by Gail Vida Hamburg.

Book Spotlight


Book Details:

Book Title: Liberty Landing by Gail Vida Hamburg

Category: Adut Fiction, 344 pages

Genre: Literary Fiction

Publisher: Mirare Press

Release date: March 2018

Tour dates: July 2 to 20, 2018

Content Rating: PG-13 + M (This book contains love scenes, one explicit love scene, and some profanity)

Book Description:

Liberty Landing — a 2016 Finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction — narrates the American Experience of the 21st century through the lives of a polycultural cast of natives, immigrants, and refugees in Azyl Park–a town in the Midwest.

After Angeline Lalande, a journalist and historian, unearths the real meaning of the name, “Azyl,” conferred on the town in the 1800s by immigrant-hating politicians, the town elders begin the act of renaming it. During the course of the renaming, we meet the intriguing denizens of the town–survivors, strugglers, and strivers of every race and nationality, see the intersection of their lives, and the ways they find home, heaven, and haven in each other. We learn about the singular journeys that brought them to Azyl Park–a place that both transforms them and is transformed by them.

The larger story of the American Experiment is told through the personal story of Alexander Hamilton, the essential immigrant among the Founding Fathers, as Angeline writes a book about him. By the end of the novel, after Azyl Park is renamed, each of the characters has lost or found something essential.

Liberty Landing is about the personal and the political, family and loss, memory and migration, finding new love and a new home, and about history and the American Experiment. Seminal moments of the American Experience figure in this literary and historical fiction. Inspired by John Dos Passos’ USA Trilogy about early 20th century Americans, Liberty Landing is a sweeping, lush, layered saga, set in a vibrant community, with a cast of Americans marked by neuroses, flaws, secrets, unspeakable pasts, humor, warmth, vulnerability, and humanity.

Liberty Landing is Gail Vida Hamburg’s love letter to the American Experiment–the first in a trilogy.

To follow the tour, please visit Gail Vida Hamburg’s page on iRead Book Tours.


Buy the Book:
Watch the trailer:
Meet the Author:

Gail Vida Hamburg is an award-winning American journalist, author, and museum storyist. She is the author of The Edge of the World (Mirare Press, 2007), a novel about the impact of American foreign policy on individual lives. A nominee for the 2008 James Fenimore Cooper Prize, it is a frequent text in undergraduate post- colonial studies, war studies, and creative writing programs. Born in Malaysia, she spent her teens and twenties in England before migrating to the United States. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Literature and Creative Writing from Bennington Writers Seminars at Bennington College, Vermont. Liberty Landing, the first volume in her trilogy about the American Experience, is her love letter to the great American Experiment.She lives in Chicago—the setting for Liberty Landing, a finalist for the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Author Interview.

Tell us about your book? 

Liberty Landing is a literary, historical, and imagined historical fiction about the American Experiment and Experience, told through the lives of a diverse group of denizens of a fictional small town in the Midwest.

How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?

I was a journalist writing longform features and series. I felt drawn to creative writing for film at first, then novels, then theater. I’m an immigrant who’s lived in multiple cities on three continents, many of them polycultural, multicultural cities.
I have an oblique view of America that I thought would be interesting to render in fiction. This view is a socially engaged, political point of view acutely sensitive to the multicultural, polycultural world we live in.

How did you come up with the title of your book?
While mulling over the book, I’d take daily walks on the beach where I live.There’s a point along the walk through the dunes, where one sees the neighborhood, the lake, and beyond it, the iconic Chicago skyline. The title came to me, both as the aspirational name of the place in the book, and as this notion of America as a place of deliverance and salvation for so many.

What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
I love grace and lyricism in novels, thus I read literary fiction. I admire Michael Ondaatje and Anne Michaels. They’re both poets and their language is delicate and beautiful and lyrical and deeply moving.  I love Elena Ferrante, Helena Cixous, and Anna Gavalda for their intelligence and reimagining of language, in ways that enchant. I love the language in Zia Haider Rahman’s “In The Light of What We Know.”

What’s more important: characters or plot?
Both are equally, equally important, and add to that the language to tell the story. To be transported in fiction, the language has to be more than mechanical, deliberate and strategic, yet efficient and beautiful.

What are some great books you’ve read recently?
I loved Paul Beatty’s “The Sellout” about race in America. An incendiary, biting satire, it was rejected by publishers here but won the 2016 Booker Prize in the UK.
It is splendid.I loved the language in Zia Haider Rahman’s “In The Light of What We Know.”

What types of books do you enjoy in your downtime? 
I read European and Asian and Middle Eastern authors, many in translation, because I love the surprising ways other languages are rendered in English—reinventing the way one normally writes in English. Arabic, for instance, is such a beautiful, ornamental language, and when it is set in English, it’s incredible to read.

What sort of research did you do to write this book?
I did a lot of research about American history and the Founding Fathers, as well as about the geography, politics, and culture of various countries where several of my characters came from.

What are you working on now? Any chance of a sequel? 
When Liberty Landing closes, there are new relationships about to be formed, couples on the cusp of falling in love, couples finding each other, families reuniting, new babies being born, several characters overcoming loss and grief. I knew that I wanted to have these characters grow and mature, thus Liberty Landing is the first in a trilogy. I am now writing the sequel.

What are the upsides and downsides to being an author?
There are no downsides of being an author with an indie publishing house. I am in my element when I write and I have a publisher who sees merit in my books.

What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?

I’d like readers to recognize the inevitability of multicultural, polycultural societies in this era of mass migration across the globe, ​and see the humanity and essential sameness of people unlike themselves.

How do you deal with writer’s block?
Writing is a dance between thinking, reading, researching, living, and writing. If there’s writer’s block, I read, or research, or think, or bake, or go play with makeup at Sephora, or go do something else. There is absolutely no reason to sit at your writing desk and suffer when you have nothing to write. Go fill the well. Go see a movie.

What does your writing space look like?
Organized Chaos

What keeps you motivated during creative slumps?
I don’t have creative slumps. If I can’t find the words to tell my story, I’ll do something else until I find the words.

If your novel were being made into a movie, whom would you pick to play the lead roles?

My protagonist, Gabriel Khoury, is a Palestinian Christian.

I’d pick Adam Bakri, the Palestinian-Israeli actor. To me, he is Gabriel Khoury

Angeline LaLande, in my book is a journalist and historian, a Louisiana Creole of African American and French descent.

​I would pick Kylie Bun bury
the Guyanese Canadian actress.

Can you recommend any new or upcoming authors to us? 
I’d like to recommend authors, not new, but who are not well known in the US. I loved the Iranian author Zoya Pirzad’s “Things We Left Unsaid,” Christina Stead’s “The Man Who Loved Children,” the Hawaiian writer, Stephanie Han’s “Swimming in Hong Kong,” (full disclosure, she’s a friend); and Naphtalene by Iraqi novelist, Alia Mamdouch.  I find the Middle Eastern women novelists very interesting. They’re the Victorian writers of the 21st century, restricted to home and hearth, yet so full of hunger for life and ready to liberate themselves from cultural and religious restrictions.
What was your job before you started writing full time?
I was a journalist for Chicago newspapers.

What do you like and dislike about book reviews?
I don’t like book reviews that reveal too much about a book. I’d like a general essence of what a book is about and if the reviewer recommends it or not.  I want to be surprised by fiction, I want the author to talk to me and take me on a journey. After reading a book review that reveals plot, characters, their motives, how they look, what they wear, their speech, the scenes, jokes, etc  I feel like somebody has handed me something already known, or a second hand, used thing to try.

Are there any nuggets of wisdom you can impart to aspiring writers? 

Learn the craft of fiction by enrolling in classes led by writers one admires. Read great authors in the genre you’re writing in, and join a writing community.

Sit down to write when you have something to say. It all happens in revision. Just keep revising until your writing community anoints it.
​ ​

If you think you have a good book and you get rejected by agents and publishers for more than than a year, give up the torture, and go small press or indie.

Any last thoughts for our readers?

Readers are royalty to me. I would love them to enter risky territory with me into Liberty Landing.

​The book is also a wonderful experience as an audiobook, narrated by British actress, Colleen MacMahon, available on Audible, I Tunes, and Amazon.
Enter the Giveaway!
Ends July 28, 2018

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