Guest Post + Giveaway: Steven Lee Gilbert: A Lovely Anti-hero

Today I have author Steven Lee Gilbert guest posting on Guiltless Reading. He talks about his debut novel A Lovely, Indecent Departure and he is also giving away two copies to my readers (scroll to the end of the post). Welcome and thank you Steven.

I found out on his website biography about his approach to writing -- self-discovery -- which is kind of like what I get from reading. Steven says:
"The writer E.M. Forster once wrote, “How do I know what I think till I see what I say?” This is the mantra I follow every time I sit down at the keyboard. How do I know what I think till I see what I say? For me, writing, especially fiction writing, is as much a process of self-discovery as it is telling a story. Writing, storytelling and art in general have the ability to move us in ways only first-hand experiences can do better."
Let's hear how he brings that into his new novel. On to you, Steven!

A Lovely, Indecent Departure: A Novel by Steven Lee Gilbert
Book Depository
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Quick Synopsis: A Lovely, Indecent Departure is the riveting and emotionally-charged debut from a promising new voice in literary thrillers, and a captivating story of a mother's love and desperation set amidst the heart wrenching landscape of child custody. Anna Miller wants only one thing, her son, and she will do anything to keep him. When a district court awards custody of Oliver to his father, she abducts the five year old and flees to Italy where with her family's help they disappear into the fabric of her native homeland.


A Lovely Anti-hero

As I was writing A Lovely, Indecent Departure, a book for which I ask the reader to root for a protagonist despite that character’s self-motivated and ethically wrong behavior, I was often reminded of just what exactly I was up against. My bookshelves are filled with anti-heroes, protagonists who aren’t quite villains but not necessarily heroes either: Caulfield. Gatsby. O’Hara. Gollum. The Kid. These are everyman characters, flawed, helpless and lacking in a world over which they have no control, men and woman (and hobbit) of various age and attitude whose rogue, inappropriate actions are enabled by the belief that the ends justify the means. A landscape, in other words, an author should tread across very lightly.

But I was reminded, too, of something else. How everyday in literature and in real life good people rise from their beds and they go about their day and their business without malice or inflicting hurt on others or make a point of not taking more than they need, and how the one day comes along that they find themselves somehow, through no fault of their own, trampled and subjugated by a stronger, more malevolent force. You know who I’m talking about, the kind-spirited archetypes who ignite our strongest sympathy and for whom we cheer most loudly when they discover in themselves the courage and will to strike back.

This is the terrain of A Lovely, Indecent Departure, the story of Anna Miller, a young woman who has felt all her life as if bad news has arrived in droves, like wild safari animals to the last known watering hole. Abandoned by her father. Pawned off on a grandmother while her mother struggled with work. Abused by a family member. Married to the first man who paid her any attention, and eventually driven to divorce. She’s a person ripe to fight back or succumb forever to a lonely, wretched existence.

This book also is a story of child custody. About parents and their children and judges empowered to decide in just a matter of hours, from biased testimony, the fate of everyone involved, all under the pretense of serving the child’s best interest. It is this notion, in fact, of a fair and impartial hearing, that forms the backbone of the novel. Such scenarios are played out everyday in the courts, where anything can be said and often is, where the truth is what you (or your lawyer) make it. In reality, there are two sides to every story, just as there are two sides to every person. There is the public version, that is the character we want others to see in us, and then there is the private version, which is undisclosed but to a very few. Often there’s only minor differences, but in others, the two personas are no more alike than night and day. And yet, we trust judges to understand, to know and do the right thing. This is what you will find, I hope, at the heart of this compelling story. More than just a crime story that begs of its reader to pull for the best worst person, it’s about self-discovery and a search for a sense of worth, about syncing who we are on the inside with the person we are on the outside.
Steven Lee Gilbert grew up in East Tennessee but has spent most of his adult life just the other side of the mountains in the Sandhills and Piedmont regions of North Carolina, where he now lives with his wife and childreb. In 2007 he was the recipient of a Durham Arts Council Emerging Artist Grant for Literature. A Lovely, Indecent Departure is his first novel.


Find out more about Steven Lee Gilbert and his writing:
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GIVEAWAY!
To gain giveaway entries, healthy discussion about the book is encouraged through the different little tasks. Have fun!

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34 comments

  1. I like anti-heroes, and the opening line and synopsis make this sound like an intriguing read.

    Thanks for holding the giveaway!

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    1. never would've though "anti-hero" -- i always thought it's either protagonist or antagonist :) good luck Chris!

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  2. This looks like something worth reading. Thanks for hosting this giveaway.

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  3. What? Nobody saves the world. Is that legal?

    Actually this sounds like a serious, thoughtful novel I might enjoy reading. It's been a while since I read one.

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    1. Hahaha! Why don't you put your name in for the draw, ABR? (You'll need to fill in the Rafflecopter for the copy of your choice). Thanks for coming by - I always appreciate new visitors!

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  4. Sounds like a fantastic read!!! Would love to kick back on my patio with a cold drink and read a good book!

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    1. Sounds like my kind of day! (esp. with this heat!) Thanks for visiting and joining in! I'll pay a visit to your blog, Mandy!

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  5. Wow! I just noticed that you have posted 167 book reviews. That's awesome! Thanks for stopping by today, much appreciated!

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    1. I'm getting there, LadyD :) I've pared down my number of books so I can write more substantial reviews.
      Thanks for joining in, good luck :) (How is the mango pickling going?)

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  6. Excellent guest post and so true about two sides to everyone. Sometimes that other side isn't shown to anyone and just kept for yourself.

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    1. *Nod* There is just so much more to people than we think! Thanks for joining, Jessica!

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  7. Scarlett and Gollum are my favourite characters. I never saw them as anti-heroes, for all their flaws makes them more human(Hobbit) and lovable and credible.

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    1. I agree, Valli, the "unlikeable" ones usually have a wonderful back story.

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  8. This sounds like a heartfelt story. Definite would be willing to read about the characters. Thanks for informing me of your giveaway and stopping by my blog.

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    1. You're welcome Sidne! Just want to spread the word! Thanks for joining in!

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  9. Author seems to be an intriguing and sound man. The book sounds thought provoking and that's right up my alley. Thanks for the chance to win this book. btw, fyi the tweet you wrote said -9 so it wouldn't let me tweet it that way so I took off the giveaway part.

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    1. Steven has been wonderful about the guest post and giveaway! Please spread the word :)
      Twitter has been giving me some grief, but no worries about the tweet!

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  10. The synopsis had me at "a story of a mother's love and desperation." Sounds like a compelling read. Great guest post too!

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    1. Thanks Kat! I know you'll want this one :)

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  11. Great giveaway! I enjoyed this book a lot (as you've seen!) Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. =)

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    1. :) so glad i got a chance to read this!

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    1. thanks theresa - good luck! and thanks for visiting my blog!

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  13. Thank you so much for this giveaway!

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    1. and thanks so much for entering!

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  14. This looks like a doozy. Very melancholy and deep, but thought-provoking.

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

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    1. It does seem that way! Btw I love your handle name! :)

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  15. I entered both, actually the International one by mistake.
    Looks like an intriguing read anti-hero and all!
    Thanks for a fantabulous giveaway!

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    1. monja, you can enter both. but if you want me to disregard the international entry, leave me a message here. thanks for joining!

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  16. I'm always looking for new things to read, and this looks great! Thank you so much!

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  17. I was looking for a book when I happened upon this. Looks like a good book to read:) Thanks soo much!

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  18. sounds like a really good read. Who wouldn't do anything for their child

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  19. mmmm another good read.. can't wait to have this book and read it on a rainy day with a hot cup of coco or coffee sitting on a comfy chair

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© guiltless readingMaira Gall