Tuesday, September 04, 2012

MOTHER OF PEARL - Kellie Gilbert - One Free Book

A former legal investigator and trial paralegal, Kellie Coates Gilbert writes with a sympathetic, intimate knowledge of how people react under pressure.  Her stories are about messy lives, and eternal hope.

Kellie’s upcoming novel, MOTHER OF PEARL, Abingdon Press Sept 2012, tells the emotionally compelling story of a high school counselor who discovers her own teenage daughter had an inappropriate relationship with the football coach . . . and how she risks everything to bring him to justice.

For more information, go to www.kelliecoatesgilbert.com


Barrie Graeber has two great kids, a loving husband, and a respected job as the high school counselor in her close-knit community. Without warning, everything unravels when her teenage daughter, Pearl, is betrayed and lashes out.

Nothing prepares this mother for the helplessness that follows when her attempts to steer her daughter back on course fail, and Pearl shuts her out . . . or when Barrie discovers the unthinkable about her nemesis, the football coach.

Emotionally riveting and profoundly moving, Mother of Pearl brings us into the heart of a mother bound by an incredible burden, who ultimately finds she must recognize her own vulnerability and learn to trust in something much bigger.

When did you decide to become a writer? 
I’m a former legal investigator and trial paralegal, who worked on many high profile cases, including the Jack in the Box e-coli litigation in the mid-nineties and the largest cattle fraud in the United States. People are often at their most vulnerable in these tense situations where much is at stake, which has allowed me a unique perspective on the human psyche. Early in my legal career, I recognized there could be value in telling stories about people facing life-changing circumstances.

I made a serious commitment to pursue my writing in 2004, when I attended my first writer’s conference at Seattle Pacific University. Driving home, a deep longing formed and I awakened to what I was always meant to do. 

What did you do when you found out Mother of Pearl, your first novel, was going to be published? 
After telephoning my husband, I walked outside, looked up at the sky and said, “Well now, aren’t You something?”

Years back, I’d prayed and asked for the outrageous. He heard.

Why did you want to tell the story of Barrie Graeber? 
I didn’t even know how many things there were to be afraid of until I had my first child. From the moment that tiny infant was placed in my arms, a fierce need to protect bubbled from the deepest part of me.

As a novelist, I asked the question: What would a mother do if suddenly life took a turn and she learned the child she thought she’d protected had fallen into the hands of someone unsafe? And what if she found out too late?

Early, when the inception of this story was still noodling in my brain, I saw a sadly recurring event on the news, the story of a coach who had inappropriately been involved with a teenager. The cameras were honed on the major players in the courtroom, but I couldn’t help but wonder if that girl’s mom was seated out of view. What was she feeling?

How did you prepare/research for Mother of Pearl? 
Until I completed my research, I don’t think I was aware how prevalent this situation is, where adults cross proper boundaries and engage in inappropriate relationships with minors.

I spent time with Dr. Sherry Bithell, author of Educator Sexual Abuse, A Guide for Prevention in The Schools (Tudor House Publishing, 1991). Her book was cited in a U.S. Government study report on the issue. Her work helped me to understand how blurred the lines get in some situations and how often perpetrators are allowed to quietly resign and move to a new school, especially coaches.

Nearly a year after I turned in my manuscript to my publisher, the Sandusky/Penn State situation hit the news—another sad reminder of how often people look the other way when a sports program is at risk.

I’m not necessarily a “soap-box” novelist. I have no agenda. But, I would not be sad if readers close the last page of MOTHER OF PEARL with more understanding and a desire to keep an eye out for our kids.

Readers will be able to relate to this story on different levels. What do you hope readers will take away from it? 
People have many layers, and never more than in family dynamics and hard times. I’m intrigued with the coping mechanisms we employ to fill our empty places, the chasm only God can fill.

When readers find themselves in the deep places in life, I hope they will think of Barrie Graeber and remember that life-changing circumstances can be conduits to His majesty.

How does your faith impact your writing? 
St. Augustine tells my own faith story with this quote:
“In my deepest wound, I saw your glory and it dazzled me.”

I try to paint that sentiment on every page, but in a subtle manner. I want my books to appeal to all kinds of readers – those who sit on church pews and barstools alike.

What’s your ideal writing environment? 
A quiet, organized place with lots of light streaming through the windows, Pachelbel’s Canon playing on the stereo, and a large glass of iced tea on a coaster next to my MAC.

Did you have any expectations for your experience as a first-time novelist? 
Lots of hopes, but few expectations. I’d heard too many stories from other novelists to believe the publishing journey is a panacea.

I do long for readers to cry with Barrie, and cheer her on as she risks everything she holds dear to bring the coach to justice.

Women are busy people and time is precious. Anyone who spends their hours immersed in the pages of my book is a treasure. I write for these readers, and I hope they find the time well spent.

What’s next for you? 
I blog regularly at www.kelliecoatesgilbert.com. Fun, light topics that only take a moment or two. (check out the post where I tell readers how I discovered a soup pot makes a great safety helmet during a tornado scare!)

And, I’m currently working on a manuscript about a wealthy Texas socialite who loses her Neiman-Marcus lifestyle when her husband is arrested for cattle fraud.

That sounds like a fun book, Kellie. Thank you for sharing you life and debut novel with us.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Mother of Pearl - paperback
Mother of Pearl - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


authorkathyeberly said...

This sounds like a very moving story.The topic is a very prevalent one for today. I would love to win a copy of the book.

Ladette Kerr said...

Saw this for the first time recently... would love to win and check out this new author!

Ladette in GA

pol said...

Opened to look at your blog because My sister is Pearl, This books sounds like a wonderful story for any Mother to read, we do want to protect our children no matter what they have done or how old they become. I would like to be in your drawing.
I live in Ga.
Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

Casey said...

This book is definitely on my wish list! I love the premise of it. Congrats on your debut!


monica said...

Wow this story sounds riveting. Unfortunately the situation is too common. Very interested to read it.

Monica, Ontario

Kellie Coates Gilbert said...

Good luck, everyone! Thanks so much for commenting and entering to win MOTHER OF PEARL. I'm writing this sitting in an airport on the way to Boise, Idaho where we'll launch the book at a big fancy party. (and I'm going to be on television for the first time....ugh! I'm a bit nervous).

If you read MOTHER OF PEARL, I'd love to hear what you think of this mother's story. Barrie Graeber became dear to my heart as I wrote about her journey to bring the football coach to justice.

THANKS, LENA for introducing my debut to your readers!

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book. It sounds wonderful.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

LadySaotome said...

This sounds like such a good story and topic. Something so difficult to imagine going through. My sister experienced the pain of a person betraying her trust with her daughters & I'll never be able to understand the grace that led to one of her biggest reactions being prayers for the man who did it. Your comment about the fierce need to protect your children is something I 100% understand. Like the song "In My Arms" by Plumb.

From the Black Hills of SD.

marybelle said...

MOTHER OF PEARL has already come to my attention. On my reading list. It looks fabulous.

Mary P


rubynreba said...

Congrats on your first novel! I wish youmuch success with it. I know it is a book I certainly want to read!
Beth from IA

apple blossom said...

oh, thanks for the chance to win a copy of this book

live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Kandra said...

Wow, this one sounds fascinating!
from Tennessee

A Cooking Bookworm said...

Sounds very interesting. I would love to win a copy!

Binghamton, NY

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond

Sarah said...

Enter me!

Veronica Sternberg said...

I love stories that are ripped from the headlines. This sounds fascinating! I live in MN.

Diana Gardner said...

Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks! Portsmouth, VA

Kristie said...

This book sounds unique and interesting! At my high school we had a teacher who was in charge of the Christian Club but he became involved with a student and was fired. He said that when he met her he had no idea that she was a student at our large high school. The rumor was that they met at a nightclub and that she might have gotten pregnant. Oh my! I also watch "To Catch a Predator" on Dateline NBC and you see some interesting adults from all ages and walks of life. It's almost unbelievable but the truth is stranger than fiction, huh? I'm from Ohio. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.