Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Q&A and giveaway with Catherine Gildiner - After the Falls

I am thrilled to welcome Cathy Gildiner to A Bookworm's World today! I reviewed Cathy's second memoir After the Falls yesterday - loved it - and welcomed the chance to do some Q&A! Make sure you enter to win a copy at the end of the post!

Have your children read your books? Your husband? What did they think?

Everyone in my family read my first book. They were all shocked and had no idea that I had had a ‘different’ childhood. I had never talked about it. I also had no idea I had an unusual childhood until readers commented on my ‘strange’ upbringing. I thought it was normal.


My husband is Jewish from Europe. His family came to North America in the late 50’s when he was a teenager. His parents live near us in the same city. They had some harrowing experiences during the war and the children know them as their grandparents. They often talked about the trauma of the past so I never mentioned what I thought was my idyllic childhood.


My husband was surprised by two things: The first was that I was a writer at all. He thought I was only a practicing psychologist. I used to get up early every morning to write what became Too Close to the Falls so he was shocked by the fact that a book existed. When I invited him to my book launch he asked ‘Who wrote a book?” Secondly, he was surprised by the content. He said ‘for someone who talks a lot, I realized I knew nothing of your past other than you worked in your Dad’s store from a young age.’ He had met my mother so there were no surprises there.


My eldest son, who was in his twenties when Too Close to the Falls was published, said that now he understood so much more about me. He said my attitude toward work and my loathing of kitchen activity made more sense. He said that he always felt I was different from other mothers, but he couldn’t put his finger on the specifics. He said he first noticed it when he was two years old when we went to the park -- he thought it was strange that I used to swing on the swings with him while the other mothers sat on the benches and talked. (He preferred the latter.)


My twins liked Too Close to the Falls. One of my twins, Sam, was on a train in a remote part of northern India and saw a gorgeous American woman reading Too Close to the Falls. He went up to her and said that his mother wrote the book. She said, “I bet” and he had to show her his driver’s license before she believed him. Then they started dating. He said that he was glad I had written the book as it was a great pick-up line.


By the time I wrote After the Falls it was ten years later and now two things had happened. I was known as a writer, at least in local circles, and my children were now in their thirties.


My husband was not shocked by the book as he has met many of the people who are portrayed within it. I am still close to my friends from high school and he has been present when we have laughed over our past antics. He was surprised by the painful parts of the book as I had never presented that side of the story to him or to anyone.


My eldest son refused to read After the Falls saying he had no desire to know of his mother’s past romances since it was ‘creepy’. I can’t say as I blame him. The Twins read it and both said they were proud of me for having been in the civil rights movement. I have one twin, David, who is now in Sierra Leone, Africa working on a legal commission. He pointed out that while reading the book he realized he was now doing similar work to what I had done over forty years ago.

How much influence did your parent's style have on your parenting methods? Any of your sons remind you of yourself as they grew?

I did not parent as I was parented because I have a completely different personality. I am very type A and I parented that way. My mother had the opposite type of personality. I wish I had parented much more like both of my parents. It would have made life easier on all of us. Kids are going to do pretty much what they want anyway. I did find it difficult to discipline three little boys since I had no idea how to do it. (When I was really bad my mother just went to bed with a headache.) My twins were exactly as wild as I was in school—then add the testosterone. I got paid back –doubly! We had some tough times, as I am sure my parents did, but everyone has turned out well. No one makes me laugh as hard as those guys and I am proud of the fact that they all are involved in careers that directly deal with issues of social responsibility and saving the planet.

Although names are changed, did you hear from anyone from the past after the book(s)were published? What happened at your high school reunion!?

When Too Close to the Falls was published in 1999, both of my parents had long been deceased.I was an only child so I had no relatives. My cousins were nuns and they wrote “My prayers are with you” when they read the book. When I gave a talk in my home town of Lewiston, New York, I was surprised by the hundreds of people who came and who had remembered the delivery car so well. I was happy to find that no one had any real quibbles with the book and most people laughed over some of the scenes. My mother’s old bridge club remembered the scene where they ran out the door when I told them that the local prostitute we delivered drugs to said they were hypocrites and that she saw their husbands more than they had. These people were now in their 80’s and enjoyed reliving all the memories.


After the Falls was supposed to be published at the time of my high school reunion. I had even organized a booth set up to sell it last August at my huge high school in Buffalo. However, the publication was postponed until this November so I have not had any reaction yet. It should be interesting.

Although many events are recounted in After the Falls, is there one that particularly stands out in your mind and why?

There are several surprises in the book. There are also a few traumas. In both cases I have made terrible judgment errors that I will have to live with for the rest of my life. In one I realized that I have been horribly selfish and there was no way to repair the wrong. It was too late to fix it no matter how hard I tried. In the other I had been a naive fool and everyone knew it but me. I had to live with that as well. If I tell you exactly what these moments were you will not be surprised when you read them. I prefer that you realize them as I did -- as a shock.

In After the Falls, you go head to head with civil rights/racism and more. What causes/challenges/etc have caught your interest now?

I have not been involved in any causes since I left civil rights. After leaving that movement under duress, I have never been involved in anything like it ever again. I have had many people ask me to join movements but refused.


Any plans to go beyond age 25 in your memoirs - I know that the third volume is due out in 2011?

The end of the trilogy will be on my wedding day in 1975 at the end of my third volume. (We all know nothing happens after marriage anyway!) My husband and children have made it clear that they do not want to be portrayed in my book. Since there is no way to camouflage them, I will have to turn elsewhere for inspiration.

Cathy, thank you so much for stopping by. I have really enjoyed your books and look forward to the third.  You can catch up with Cathy on Facebook or on Twitter. And I'm quite enamored with her new blog.

Read an excerpt of After the Falls.

I have a copy of After the Falls to giveaway. Open to US and Canada. Leave a comment to be entered. Ends Sunday Nov 28 at 6 pm EST.

47 comments:

Linda said...

I don't read many memoirs, but this one sounds so interesting. Thanks for the giveaway.
lcbrower40(at)gmail(dot)com

reederreads said...

Wow - what a great interview!!! Well done! I can't wait to get my hands on this memoir :)

Email: reederreads@gmail.com (for the giveaway)

Sarah said...

Thanks for the great interview! I would love to reads this book.

foxchick0323@live.com

minishoes1 said...

This is another book I have been wanting to read! I love memoirs and know my sister would love to read it too. thanks! jacquecurl1(at)gmail(dot)com

Mystica said...

This memoir sounds so good. Do not count me in though as I am overseas.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, doll. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

gcpeach17 said...

Boy, what a great interview! I am so very intrigued now I cannot wait to read this book!

gcpeach17 at aol dot com

Linda Kish said...

I am curious! Count me in, please.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Shana said...

A fantastic Q & A--I'd love to read this!

shanaelyse@gmail.com

Tina said...

I'm doing a "Month of Memoirs" on Tutu's Two Cents and would love to have this one to add to the list. Thanks for a great review and giveaway.

tbranco (at)hughes (dot)net

Jennifer said...

Looks like a good read. Count me in for the contest! Thank you.

AmandaSue said...

I'd love a chance into this giveaway, I love memoirs thanks!

unforgetable_dreamer_always (at) hotmail.com

topkat said...

fun stuff

Cheryl F. {The Lucky Ladybug} said...

I would love to read After the Falls :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!
http://scr.im/ladybugemail

rubynreba said...

Great interview. I'd love to be entered. Thanks.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Amber said...

Cathy won me over in this interview - I would love to enter please.
Thank you for the giveaway :)
hurdler4eva(at)gmail(dot)com

Nicole C. said...

I would love to read this book.

choateorama(at)gmail(dot)com

409cope said...

This lokks like a great read! cardshark42(at)hotmail(dot)com

linett said...

would love to read this book, thanks

pippirose said...

Definitely count me in!
Looks like a great book.
:o)
pippirose59 at gmail dot com

Joanne said...

sound interesting

Susan said...

I enjoyed reading the interview. This book looks really good. I'd love to win it.
susanbillietaylor [at] gmail [dot] com

Aik said...

I'd love to enter!

aikychien at yahoo dot com

Teddy Rose said...

I love everything from the 60's and would love to win.

teddyr66 at yahoo dot com

maria said...

Count me in!!!

billiondollarprincesss@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

sounds great, count me in too!

sheryljeffries at verizon dot net

Laura H. said...

Thanks for the giveaway! Sounds like a great book.

BornajhawkATaolDOTcom

Amy said...

I like memoirs and I think After the Falls sounds like a remarkable and honest acoount of Catherine Gildiner's life. I am really looking forward to reading it and would love to win a copy.

Aimala127 (at) gmail 9dot) com

Marjorie said...

Sounds like a very interesting storyline and I would like to read this book.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

Ruthie said...

I'm right around her age & would love to read this. Please enter me, thanks.

ruthiekb72ATyahooDOTcom

Andria said...

I would love a chance to win. Thank you.

Becca said...

This sounds really interesting, thanks! sbcashortie at hotmail dot com

RoseE said...

I've looked at your website and it's quite apparent that you bring a varied and interesting background to your writing and have an amazing list of accomplishments. After the Falls sounds intriguing for sure! I'd love to win a copy!

Rose in Ontario, Canada

amy said...

This one sounds like a great read - love the interview. I'm hoping to win but just in case I saved her website to look up the books later and read more

tallcapp said...

I read a lot of memoirs (especially honest ones) and not only do I wish to own this one, but I want to go back and read the first one as well.

loni said...

Count me in to win please


trippyjanet at hotmail dot com

Diane52 said...

Interesting interview, makes me want to read this book.
Diane Baum
esldiane@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good read.
shawnac68@hotmail.com

Deborah Wellenstein said...

Thanks for the interview-I want to read this!

susan1215 said...

Sounds interesting

s2s2 at comcast dot net

Anonymous said...

I love a good book

jim.coyne2@verizon.net

nhmoose99 said...

Sounds very interesting.

nhmoose99 at yahoo dot com

Vinci said...

Greetings:
What a amazing story. The part
about the pick-up line was
really "cute".
Would love to win the book.
what a gift to give the
readers of your books.

cheekychann said...

this sounds so good.i would love to read it.

purango said...

It sounds like a very interesting book. I would love to read it. garrettsambo@aol.com

kathy pease said...

Thank you for the great giveaway please count me in :)
kathypease(at)gmail(dot)com

Brittany said...

I would love to read this. Thanks.

bjerding@live.com