Giveaway & Guest Post: Naomi Bulger, author of Airmail

 

I’m happy to welcome Naomi Bulger to Book’d Out today. Her debut novella Airmail hit the stores in April 2011 and  Airmail has since won both the Editor’s Choice and Rising Star awards at iUniverse.  Airmail is a story that teases out the line between sanity and insanity, set in a world made up of eccentric outcasts and surreal delusions. Reclusive old Mr. G.L. Solomon’s favorite things are single malt whiskey, Steve McQueen movies, and gingersnap cookies. He hates processed cheese, washing detergent commercials, and the way the teacup rattles in the saucer when he picks it up. Solomon has become accustomed to his lonely routine in Sydney, Australia-until the day he begins sporadically receiving letters in his mailbox from a complete stranger. On the other side of the world, Anouk is a mentally delicate young woman living in New York who insists she is being stalked by a fat woman in a pink tracksuit. When Anouk declares to Solomon that she is writing “from the Other Side,” the old man breaks away from his daily grind of watching soap operas and reading Fishing Worldand travels to New York to find her. As he is drawn into Anouk’s surreal world of stalkers and storytelling, marbles and cats, purgatory and Plato, Solomon has but one goal-to unravel the mystery before it is too late.

Today, Naomi is sharing how she developed one of the lead protagonists of Airmail,  Mr G L Solomon into an authentic and complex character. Naomi is also offering the opportunity for one lucky reader to WIN a print edition of Airmail, read on for details.
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The Tricky Old Man

Thanks so much to Shelleyrae for hosting me here on Book’d Out, I’m so thrilled to be here!

When I was first writing Airmail, I struggled to pull together the character of the old man, Mr G.L. Solomon. As a 30 year old woman, writing a 70+ year old man didn’t come easily. I’d put words in his mouth and send him off grocery shopping, but he’d toddle about looking and acting completely stiff and unnatural.
You know in some movies, when a young actor has to play themselves in the future, so the Costume Department puts talcum powder in their hair, Makeup paints wrinkles on their face, and they stoop and shuffle as they walk and insert a quaver into their voice, but none of us are fooled? We all know we’re seeing a young actor trying to act old, and they’re not even doing a good job of it. My old man was the literary version of that. I was the author and even I wasn’t fooled.

I had a friend who was an actor, and I’m sure if you put talcum powder in his hair he’d have convinced you he was positively geriatric. He was very talented, and studying at NIDA (the National Institute of Dramatic Arts) at the time. He took pity on my frustration so, together, we came up with a fun and rather unique method to more realistically portray my old man. We workshopped.
First, I gave my friend a very brief overview of the old man. Something like this:
* He’s in his mid-to-late 70s
* He lives alone in Glebe, a suburb of Sydney’s Inner West
* He is grumpy, and doesn’t like cats
* He is a trivia buff
* He enjoys reading fishing magazines

“Ok,” said my friend, “got it.”

If you’ve read Airmail, you’ll know that the trigger for all the action in the book is that a young woman in New York writes highly self-revelatory letters to the old man. The woman is a complete stranger to the old man, and he receives her letters out of the blue. The letters become increasingly disturbing and strange.
Back at my own apartment, I sat down, and started writing letters in the character of the young woman. When I finished a letter, I’d seal it in an airmail envelope, often with some kind of memento from my latest visit to New York (a book of matches from a bar, a coaster on which I’d drawn a picture, a ticket stub from a show…). I even pasted used US stamps on the front of the letter. Then without warning, I’d slip the letter into my friend’s mailbox.
Two days after I’d ‘posted’ the first letter, my friend rang. “The old man is struggling to read her handwriting,” he said. Hmm.
For my next letter, I took out my grandmother’s rusty old typewriter and clunked away on that. Then I drew pictures around the borders. The only ink I had was red, but that served to add to the strangeness of this character, so it worked.
Each time my friend received a letter, he’d read it while in the character of the old man, just as he would approach something similar on stage or preparing for a film. Then we’d meet for coffee and he’d brief me on his responses.
I didn’t take everything my friend said, but developed it based on his advice as we went along. The process was golden.
Together, we came to understand how this particular curmudgeonly old man might respond to apparently-crazy letters received out-of-the-blue. We learned that the old man was driven by routine, that was how he punctuated his lonely days. We learned that he had a formidable self-discipline, holding himself to the routine even when his inner emotions cried out to react more impulsively.
And we learned that he had an inner spark, a secret desire for company and adventure, that was just waiting to be drawn out.
I came to absolutely love this complex old man, and I hope you do, too.

——————————

About Naomi Bulger

Naomi Bulger is an Australian journalist who moved to New York City for adventure and found love instead. She now lives in Sydney, Australia, with her new family. She is the author of Airmail, non-fiction books Talk Without Being Interrupted and Seventeen Summers, and her poetry was included in the Australian Poetry Encouragement Award anthology in 2002.  She has been published in several magazines in Australia and the US (including Nett, One+, Smarter Business Ideas and Forces of Good), was the Editor of two magazines, and broadcast to more than 100 radio stations while senior journalist at Le Gras News. Naomi is also a seasoned copywriter, writing and editing content and strategy for more than 30 companies across the corporate and not-for-profit sectors.

Website I Facebook I Twitter

——————————

Enter to Win

1 print edition of

Airmail

Open worldwide

Required To Enter:

Leave a comment

+1 Include your name, email address and country.

For extra entries

+1 Add Airmail to your Goodreads, LibraryThing TBR page, or Amazon wishlist

+1 Comment on or Like my review of Airmail where posted

+1 tweet or facebook this post Use the icons below to make it easier and provide a link OR include @bookdout in the tweet

 Entries close August 26th 2011

Drawn via Random.org

Good Luck!

24 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. emmjaepenniman
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 09:18:56

    From the United States here and the book sounds interesting.

    Like

    Reply

  2. krystallarson
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 09:28:53

    I would love to win this novel, USA Krystal Larson edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom

    Like

    Reply

  3. Margaret
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 09:32:37

    This sounds like a great book!

    I’m in Canada

    Margaret
    singitm@hotmail.com

    added to my shefari TBR

    added to my goodreads wishlist

    commented on review

    Like

    Reply

  4. Tahlia Newland
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 10:09:33

    This sounds like a really interesting read. I’d love to win it. Thanks for the chance.
    tahlia.newland(at)yahoo.com

    I’ve tweeted it, liked your review and added it to my to read shelf on Goodreads, so thats 4 entries.

    Like

    Reply

  5. BryOak
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 10:10:36

    I’ve never heard of this book but it sounds really interesting and right up my street (plus I just love the cover!)

    Rhian aka BryOak in Australia
    candlecottage@iprimus.com.au

    Like

    Reply

  6. Monikarw
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 10:15:42

    Sounds like a great book!:)
    Original idea! I’d love to read it.
    Monica Restivo. Mexico.
    Monica_restivow(at)yahoo(dot)com

    Like

    Reply

  7. Brittany Gale
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 10:47:49

    I’d love to read this. Please count me in 🙂

    quixoticdreamer(at)hotmail(dot)com

    Like

    Reply

  8. Brittany Gale
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 10:49:15

    I added airmail to my Amazon wishlist

    quixoticdreamer(at)hotmail(dot)com

    Like

    Reply

  9. Brittany Gale
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 10:50:39

    I commented on your review of Airmail

    quixoticdreamer(at)hotmail(dot)com

    Like

    Reply

  10. Brittany Gale
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 10:51:04

    I tweeted

    quixoticdreamer(at)hotmail(dot)com

    Like

    Reply

  11. tinaburiedunderbooks
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 10:55:16

    This sounds like a really great read. Thanks for introducing me to a new author.
    +1 kamwh1207(at)att(dot)net, USA
    +1 added to Goodreads “to read”: http://www.goodreads.com/kamwhe
    +1 liked review
    +1 tweeted post: https://twitter.com/#!/TiDubb/status/103264710664790017

    Like

    Reply

  12. Mystica
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 12:45:57

    I would like to be counted in. Thank you for making it international. Much appreciated.

    Name – Mystica
    Email – mystica123@hotmail.com
    Country – Sri Lanka

    Like

    Reply

  13. Lolawid
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 15:27:54

    Ooohh, looks like a great book! Would love to read it!

    widsfam7 @ digis dot net

    USA

    Like

    Reply

  14. Carol Thompson
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 16:20:28

    I found the author’s account of how she and her actor friend role played the young girl and the old man very interesting. Puts a new slant on doing research.
    Sort of like method acting for novel writing.

    I would dearly like to read the book that this experiment resulted in so please enter me in the giveaway.

    I am from South Africa.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

    Like

    Reply

  15. Janhvi Jagtap
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 19:02:32

    I would love to read about this complex old man!I am intrigued by this book.

    +1 Name-Janhvi Jagtap
    email-justjanhvi at gmail dot com
    country-India
    +1 I added to my “Goodreads” to read- http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/5212646?page=2&shelf=to-read
    +1 I commented on your review of Airmail
    +1 I tweeted-http://twitter.com/#!/justjanhvi/status/103388846233878529

    Thanks!
    Janhvi

    justjanhvi at gmail dot com

    Like

    Reply

  16. Mary Preston
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 12:00:07

    I think I rather like Mr G.L. Solomon already. AIRMAIL makes my list. I would love to read it as it intrigues me.

    Mary Preston
    AUSTRALIA

    +1 Include your name, email address and country.
    +1 Add Airmail to your Goodreads
    +1 Comment on review of Airmail

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    Like

    Reply

  17. Sarah Bibi Setar
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 23:07:54

    I read your review of Airmail when it arrived in my mailbox the other day and I was instantly captivated and intrigued. I hope to be able to read this soon.

    Name: Sarah Bibi Setar
    Email: sarah.setar@gmail.com
    Country: South Africa

    +1 Include your name, email address and country.
    +1 Add Airmail to your Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/624302?shelf=to-read
    +1 Comment on review of Airmail: Sarah Bibi Setar
    +1 Tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/SweetNSensible/status/103814690848776194

    Thanks for the giveaway:)

    Sarah
    sarahDOTsetarATgmailDOTcom

    Like

    Reply

  18. krystallarson
    Aug 19, 2011 @ 23:55:05

    Thank you for the great giveaway! Sounds like a good book. edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOtcom

    Like

    Reply

  19. emmjaepenniman
    Aug 20, 2011 @ 01:08:54

    Forgot to leave my e-mail address, mj8989_5@live.com

    Like

    Reply

  20. ikkinlala
    Aug 20, 2011 @ 02:27:20

    This looks like an interesting book.

    Nicole
    ikkinlala AT yahoo DOT ca
    Canada

    Like

    Reply

  21. April
    Aug 20, 2011 @ 04:27:36

    I am so excited to read this book. I immediatly added it to my goodread wish list.

    April Krause
    aprilk01(at)yahoo(dot) com
    United States

    Like

    Reply

  22. Naomi Bulger
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 14:16:05

    Thanks again Shelleyrae for hosting me on Book’d Out, and thank you everyone for your kind comments. Good luck in the competition!

    Like

    Reply

  23. Aik
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 22:33:57

    +1 Include your name, email address and country.
    +1 Add Airmail to your Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/2944417?page=2&shelf=wishlist
    +1 Comment on review of Airmail: Aik
    +1 Tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/aikchien/status/105617776693084161

    Aik, Malaysia
    aikychien at yahoo dot com

    Like

    Reply

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