Overseas by Beatriz Williams
Putnam Adult (May 10, 2012)
Today I am delighted to share a guest post by author Beatriz Williams along with a give away of her debut novel, Overseas.
Beatriz Williams is a graduate of Stanford University with an MBA from Columbia. She spent several years in New York and London working first as a corporate and communications strategy consultant, and then as an "at-home producer of small persons." She now lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore, where she divides her time between writing and laundry. Overseas is her first novel.
Learn more about Williams and her work by visiting the author's website. You may also find the author at her blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.
When I requested a guest post by Beatriz Williams, I was asked to suggest some topics. After reading about her new book, I thought exploring the topic of Love in the 21st Century would be an excellent choice...and Beatriz agreed, writing:
Wendy, let me first say how thrilled I was when I saw your list of suggested topics for this guest post! You really understood what I was trying to convey with the love story between Julian and Kate -- namely, the vast distance between courtship and love a hundred years ago and the way it plays out today, and what that means for young men and women. I'm so excited to have the opportunity to natter on about it here -- thank you!So, I am very happy to present this guest post to all of you - ENJOY!
Love in the 21st Century
by Beatriz WilliamsAt a cocktail party the other night, the subject of Spreadsheet Guy came up for discussion. You may have heard of him: some poor geek of an investment banker who organized his dating contacts from Match.com into an Excel spreadsheet of eye-watering sophistication, complete with color coding and alphanumeric scoring. As spreadsheets go, it was a work of art. His only mistake, according to my friends at the party? He forwarded it -- heaven knows why -- to one of the women on the list.
So much has changed from the start of the First World War through the calamitous, miraculous century that followed, and nothing more profoundly than the conduct of courtship. When the idea for Overseas -- a brilliant young British infantry officer, in the doomed tradition of Rupert Brooke and Julian Grenfell, walking the streets of modern-day Manhattan -- first appeared in my brain, I wanted to dismiss it. I've always considered myself a writer of historical fiction, drawn to the intricate virtues of the past, and had never even tried a contemporary voice.
But the lure was irresistible. In Julian, I had the personification of romantic Edwardian youth -- dashing heedlessly off to slaughter, writing poetry amid the rats and mud -- now deposited into the irony and cynicism of twenty-first century Manhattan. In Kate, I had an independent young woman immersed in the casual dating scene of college and Wall Street, whose expectations of men had fallen so low she'd given up on the little dears altogether. What would happen when these two opposite poles came together?
To modern ears, Julian's expressions of chivalry and romanticism may seem excessive. In fact, they're largely culled from the historical record. In 1915, Vera Brittain wrote to her fiancé Roland Leighton, expressing impatience that he'd been kissing her photograph goodnight when he'd never kissed her in person. He wrote back from the trenches: "When it is all finished and I am with her again the original shall not envy the photograph. The barrier which She seems to have found was not of reserve but rather of reverence. But may it not perhaps be better that such sweet sacrilege should be an anticipation rather than a memory?"
Roland would be killed eight months later by a German sniper, at the age of twenty.
Naturally,Vera (an early feminist) found such rituals of courtship confining. But from where we stand at the opposite end, as men organize their romantic prospects into spreadsheets, ranked according to perceived physical beauty, the notion of sex and love as something sacred, not be undertaken lightly, seems breathtakingly...well, sexy.
What do you think? Has courtship changed for the worse since the summer of 1914? Or does our increased freedom balance out any loss of romance? What's your experience of love in the 21st century?
WIN A COPY OF OVERSEAS
Contest open from May 1, 2012 - May 9, 2012 (at 5:00 pm PST)
I am thrilled to be able to offer one lucky reader a copy of Overseas by Beatriz Williams. Please read the following carefully to be entered in the giveaway.
The contest is open internationally. If the winner is from the US or Canada, the publisher will be sending you a copy of the book; if the winner is outside of the US or Canada, your book will come directly from us.
There are several ways to enter this contest - and you may do any or all of them for additional chances to win with ONE exception - you MUST be signed up for the Chunkster Challenge to get at least one entry into the contest. If you have not signed up, you may do so by visiting this post and using Mr. Linky OR by leaving a comment on that post saying you are signing up. It is not too late to sign up for the challenge!
So to simplify:
For ONE entry, please sign up for the Chunkster Challenge, and then come back here and leave a comment telling me you are signed up and wish to be entered in the contest (if you are already signed up, just leave a comment saying "I'm signed up, enter me."
Additional entries may be earned and a comment should be left on this post for each additional entry:
- Tweet about the contest with a link to this post. Be sure to include Beatriz in the tweet by using @bcwilliamsbooks
- Visit Beatriz's facebook page, like it, and post to her wall answering any of the questions posed in her guest post above (about love in the 21st century)
- Blog about the contest with a link back to this post
You will get extra chances by doing each of the above (so you can earn up to 3 extra chances).
I will randomly select ONE winner after 5:00 pm on May 9th and announce their name here on the Chunkster blog. If you have not given me a way to reach you (ie: by leaving me your email address in your comment), then you will have to contact me within 5 days of the announcement or I will draw another winner.
Clear as mud? Any questions, please use the contact form on this blog to contact us!