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Interview with Diane Hammond-Friday's Harbor

[ Edited ]

I'm so excited to welcome today Diane Hammond author of Friday's Harbor. Here's something you may not know about Diane, she was Keiko the Killer Whale's spokesperson from 1996-1998. When I asked her about her role here's what she said––"...It was my privilege to tell his remarkable story to thousands of journalists. What writer wouldn’t jump at the prospect of spending two years watching this amazing animal regain his health and prepare for his return to the wild?..."
Read her entire interview below and then enter the contest for your very own copy of the novel.

 

Friday's Harbor  

 

FOR A SPECIAL TREAT VISIT MY BLOG

 

Overview:
Hannah the elephant is thriving in her new home, peacemaker Truman Levy is the new director of the Max L. Biedelman Zoo, and life in Bladenham, Washington, has finally settled down . . . or has it? From his eccentric aunt Ivy, Truman learns of the plight of a desperately sick, captive killer whale named Friday...

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Diane, I’m so excited to welcome you today.
Thank you for having me!
 
Tell us about the new novel Friday’s Harbor.
At its core, FRIDAY’S HARBOR is a story about loneliness and solitude, love and salvation. When a dying killer whale in a Colombian amusement park is rescued and brought to the struggling Max L. Biedelman Zoo in Bladenham, Washington, a small group of men and women commit themselves to Friday’s rehabilitation--and, ultimately, their own. The characters who do FRIDAY’S heaviest lifting include a wealthy sixty-something woman whose money makes Friday’s move to the zoo possible; an animal psychic summoned to the zoo by Friday from her home in the San Juan Islands; and a marine mammal expert who both fractures ands leads the rehabilitation team.
 
The novel is touted as a sequel to Hannah’s Dream. How is a novel about an aging elephant and a novel about a Killer Whale connected?
HANNAH’S DREAM ends with the loss of the Max L. Biedelman Zoo’s lone Asian elephant. FRIDAY’S HARBOR opens three years later, picking up the lives of many of the characters readers loved in HANNAH’S DREAM: Sam and Corinna Brown, Truman and Winslow Levy, Neva Wilson, Reginald Poole, Johnson Johnson and Martin Choi. All play roles in Friday’s unfolding story.
 
Friday’s Harbor has a special place in your heart and in your past.
Can you tell us about your relationship to Keiko, the star of Free Willy.
From 1996-1998 I was Keiko’s spokesperson. During those years the killer whale was brought to the Oregon Coast Aquarium for rehabilitation, and became the darling of media all around the world. It was my privilege to tell his remarkable story to thousands of journalists. What writer wouldn’t jump at the prospect of spending two years watching this amazing animal regain his health and prepare for his return to the wild? It was a life-changing experience.
 
You’ve had a varied and eclectic career path, from working in a department store, to working as an editorial assistant of a trade newspaper. What was the worst job you ever had and why?
When I was one year out of college, I worked in Honolulu as an editorial assistant for a publisher of building industry trade newspapers. At my first office Christmas party there, the executives exchanged, with a lot of fanfare and as tokens of their highest mutual regard, a surplused torpedo and a decommissioned oceanic mine. The staff was then encouraged to exchange sexually explicit gifts which we were to open on the spot, for the amusement of the group (this was in 1977, before there was such a thing as sexual harassment lawsuits). I lasted there for two years.
 
All along that career path mentioned above you harbored aspirations of being a writer.
Was there one particular catalyst that first ignited and then fueled those aspirations?
The most important thing I learned in my four years at Middlebury College was that I could write fluently in James Joyce's stream-of-consciousness style without breaking a sweat. Thank you, Dr. John Elder. After graduation I began developing a voice of my own and before I knew it I was hooked. I also recognized for the first time that I am and always have been a literary snob. To this day the writing accomplishment I’m most proud of is that editors at both The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorkerbecame mentors (and no, I never had anything published in either periodical, which I still rue).
 
Diane I’ve heard authors tell stories about what in their personal lives suffers for their craft especially when deadlines are looming and you retreat to your writing cave.
Does this happen to you. Is there a particular story that you’re reminded of?
See the question below, about my writing self vs my public self.
 
 
What’s the biggest compliment a reader could give you?
“I gave a copy of your book as a gift.”
 
On your website you say that writing a book is one of the most solitary pursuits there is.
Does your public persona differ from your writing persona?
My husband would tell you that he “loses me” for a year or more for every book I write. I don’t know about that, but I certainly sink to my most introspective, hermit-like state when I’m in the thick of writing. You have to, to stay plugged into an imaginary world inhabited by imaginary people over months and months. This state comes to me much more naturally than my public persona. I’ll never overcome my uneasiness with making public events “all about me.” I’m much more comfortable shining the limelight on the people around me. It’s why I made a great PR person. The stories I was telling were never about me.
 
 
Diane do you read for pleasure and if yes what and who do you enjoy?
When I’m writing, I can’t read fiction because I have a tendency to mimic other writers’ voices. So I read biographies and memoirs. When I’m not writing, I look for fiction writers with voices I wish were mine: Jane Smiley, Lionel Shriver, Elizabeth Strout, Anne Lamott, Zoe Heller, Louise Erdrich, Barbara Kingsolver. 
 
Diane will there be any signing events for the release of Friday’s Harbor?
Those details are yet to be determined, but yes, I know there will be signing events.
 
Diane thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions. Good luck with Friday’s Harbor and please stop by any time to let us know what’s going on in your world.
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