Blog tour: All the Places That Were Hurt

Welcome to the blog tour for All the Places That Were Hurt by Mish Cromer. The author agreed to answers some of my questions so let’s go ahead and dig in!

Hi Mish! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of All the Places That Were Hurt! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: Hi Silvia, thank you so much!  All the Places that Were Hurt is about a young, recently bereaved woman, May, who leaves her home and beloved sister in London, and returns to rural Vermont in the hope of finding some of her past happiness. Harley, the man she loved and left under painful circumstances ten years before, has unexpectedly also returned and it is their relationship that forms the backbone of the novel. Through this, the story explores the devastating and lasting consequences of trauma and how we might begin to heal from it and find our own place of belonging. It’s also a bit of a love song to the natural world and is very much shaped by the passing seasons.

Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page?

A: I think, for me, the story always grows and takes unexpected turns. And, in my experience, it also always starts with one character who starts to keep me company on walks; a voice.

Was All the Places That Were Hurt your working title? Either way, how did you choose it?

A: It was not my working title. When I submitted the manuscript to my publisher, Jan Fortune at Cinnamon Press, we both realised that there were many, many titles of the same name. In an overcrowded market the last thing you want as an independent author is that kind of camouflage. My previous novel Alabama Chrome inspired me to find something within the text, that would work on its own and also give the reader a moment of recognition when it appears in the book. Let me know if that happens for you Silvia!

If this novel was going to be turned into a film, who would you cast in the roles of May and Harley?

A: Okay, I love this question and I want to play that game with you…but I’ll have to pass. I would hate to get in the way of the reader’s imagination! I’d love your answer when you’re done, so let me know, on the quiet!

Without giving too much away, can you tell us about a scene in the book that you love or that was particularly difficult to write?

A: This is a hard one. I love the ensemble scenes where the characters are carousing and loving and eating together. Those really helped me while I edited during lockdown and I was missing that myself. I think a particularly hard scene was getting the pitch right when May asks Harley what he thinks is going on between them.

Is there anything that didn’t make it into the final version of the book?

A: Loads! There’s definitely a cutting room floor.

If you are already working on your next writing project, would you mind giving us a little anticipation of what we are to expect?

A: Well, my writing preoccupations are always about the fine detail of relationships, and how our origin stories inform how we love; ourselves, our friends, our families, our lovers, so my next project is a continued exploration of this. I’m interested in what makes us vulnerable to particular types of personalities and how we might change that script if it’s harmful to us.

Readers of All the Places That Were Hurt will recognise some familiar characters and locations, although each is a standalone novel.

What are you reading at the moment?

A: I always have a few on the go and at the moment I’m reading Susan Furber’s debut The Essence of an Hour, Elizabeth Strout’s The Burgess Boys, and Tish Delaney’s debut Before My Actual Heart Breaks has just come out in paperback. I read it on Kindle when it came out earlier this year and loved so much, I’m reading it again.

Due to the popularity of social networking websites, interacting with readers – be it via Twitter, Facebook Instagram etc. – is becoming increasingly important. How do you cope with these new demands on authors and do you think that they somehow disrupt your writing schedule?

A: It’s a double edged sword for sure. For various reasons I never had any social media at all until Alabama Chrome came out; this past year has been a sharp learning curve. And yes, it can without doubt create quite the tool for procrastination. I certainly have far more understanding of what kids have to mange than I did before.

The way I manage it is by being disciplined about my writing time – no phone, internet off – and by trying to schedule a social media time too. Easier said than done. The great unexpected joy, though, has been connecting with other writers who are incredibly supportive, and hearing from readers that my words have touched them in some way, is just breathtakingly lovely; a gift I never expected nor imagined.

What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: Just the one? Really? Okay…join-a-writing-group-do-morning-pages-and-read-read-read!

Thank you for your time!

A: Thank you for yours.

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