I love doing these author interviews! It’s one of the awesome perks of my job! Today Orly Konig is here to tell us about herself and her new book, The Distance Home. Today is her book launch day too! So go get a copy of The Distance Home right now!
Orly and I met through a mutual writing friend and together we worked on a candle inspired by her book. The candle is called Jumping Frog Farm. When we were discussing candle colors and names, she asked if Jumping Frog Farm was too corny. I told her NO because it is the primary setting for The Distance Home. Anyone who reads the book will LOVE this reference to the story. And fragrance works so well with the book. I am excited about how it all turned out.
So let’s get to the interview. I think you are going to love getting to know Orly Konig!
Hi Orly! Thank you for taking some time to talk with us today!
Thank you for having me. 🙂
I want to start off by saying how much I enjoyed your book, The Distance Home. Congratulations on such a wonderful debut novel! I’m curious how this story presented itself to you?
I’d been struggling with a new manuscript while waiting on responses to queries and full requests on a previous book. The new story I was working on had stalled and I couldn’t figure out how to move it forward. We were driving to the beach for a family vacation and, as I always do when I’m a passenger, I was staring out and imagining myself galloping on a horse, keeping up with the car and jumping fences and anything that remotely looked like a jump. I’m not sure what triggered the actual story but somewhere on that 4 hour drive, the seed was planted.
Fitting in has always been an issue for me and the more I thought about the new idea, the clearer this theme became. And since horses were my safe place growing up (even as an adult, for that matter), it was a natural fit to have the story revolve around the connection between humans and horses.
In The Distance Home, there are multiple themes that drive the story. Was there one aspect of the story that took you by surprise?
Oh wow, great question. I’m frequently surprised by something a character does or the direction a plot point veers. Emma’s mom is probably the biggest surprise – let’s see if I can tip-toe around this without giving too much away. I knew that she would have died when Emma was young but the how took a turn from my original plan and opened up new possibilities for the story.
The candle we worked on together is called Jumping Frog Farm, after the farm in the story. Where did you come up with that name for the farm? (I love it!)
The stable was originally called Three Spruce Farms but that never felt right and about half way through the first draft, I changed it to “Something Awesome instead”. Since the farm name is the first thing we see in the book and it sets the stage for Emma’s need for a magical place to escape, the name needed to have a hit of whimsy without being ridiculous. I remember reading something in passing about jumping frogs and thinking “holy frog, that’s it, that’s my something awesome.”
I have to talk about the yarn store. I loved that part of the story, as I could totally relate to losing track of time in a place like the one Emma finds herself. What do you think happens to Emma there?
I loved that part, too. 🙂
A few years ago I picked up crocheting as a release. I find that when I get stuck in a busy-brain loop, crocheting is the perfect way to unravel my thoughts (as long as the yarn isn’t unraveling!!). I can sit for hours and work on a crochet project, my fingers moving, and my mind going wherever it wants. The Distance Home yielded a throw blanket, a couple of shawls, and a handful of beanies that no one wants to wear but I think are adorable. Although making the crochet ponies as giveaways for the book has been the most fun.
Sorry, veered off the question there. What do I think happens to Emma at the yarn store? She realizes the extent to which her life has gotten away from her. It’s so easy to get caught up in the frenzy of our lives, the demands of careers and families, the expectations we put on ourselves. One day you wake up and years have gone by, relationships have slipped away.
Now it’s time to get to know you! Did you always want to be a writer? How did you find yourself where you are today as a published author?
I’m a late bloomer to writing fiction. When I was in college my dream was to work as an editor in publishing and after grad school I started working as an editor at a monthly magazine. Life took a detour to corporate communications and then freelance marketing. Then about 8 years ago, I was looking for a creative outlet and took an online workshop on writing chick lit. That fist manuscript was fun to write but will never see the light of day. It did, however, ignite a passion for writing.
Once I decided that I wanted to do this as more than a fun hobby, I joined writer’s organizations, linked up with critique partners, and took as many workshops as I could. And wrote. A lot.
The Distance Home is actually the my fourth completed manuscript. Throughout the writing, revising, querying stage, I never faltered on what my end goal was — be published through a New York publisher. I took each rejection as a challenge to improve and pushed myself out of my comfort zone. It wasn’t easy but boy was it worth it!
Where do you find inspiration for new stories or when you’re writing?
Those are actually two different things for me. The inspiration for stories comes from various places and at wonky times. It could be an item that sparks my interest or a title that pops into my head or someone I see in the grocery or any number of things. That one seed will then bounce around in my head for a few days until the missing pieces around it come together and I have a solid story idea.
The inspiration for writing comes from sitting my butt down to write. I’m not an everyday writer by any means and there are days when I simply can’t string two sentences together. Those are the days I crochet or work on something for the Women’s Fiction Writers Association or whatever else needs to be done. The stories are always in my head, though, and even if I’m not actively writing, I’m noodling ideas.
I know today is release day for The Distance Home, but are you working any other novels?
Today may be launch day, but it’s also a month out from my deadline on book 2. Here’s the write-up from Publishers Marketplace: A mysterious inscription carved on the belly of a historic carousel horse and a cryptic letter left on her grandmother’s grave, lead an art restorer on a quest for the truth buried within family secrets.
The warm weather around here has me getting ready for summer – which for me means a summer reading list! I know we’d love to hear what’s on your summer reading list.
My TBR pile is huge. And with so many amazing books, it’s hard to know where to start. But, a few on my list … Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L. Walsh, Perfectly Undone by Jamie Raintree, The Salt House by Lisa Curry, The Horse Dancer by JoJo Moyes, Forever is the Worst Long Time by Camille Pagan, The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert, Everything We Left Behind by Kerry Lonsdale, and Slightly South of Simple by Kristy Woodson Harvey. The stack is much, much bigger but those are at the top and I’m desperately trying not to buy more. Oh who am I kidding … I’ll be buying more!
It was so great chatting with you today, Orly! I can’t wait for my followers to read The Distance Home and get Jumping Frog Farm to accompany it!
Thank you so much for having me here, Nalana! It’s been such fun sharing the story and characters with you. I love, LOVE my special Jumping Frog Farm candle!!
Connect with Orly online in any of these places!
Jumping Frog Farm
is inspired by The Distance Home by Orly Konig
A comforting scent of fall leaves and cedar barn doors in green.
What I loved about The Distance Home:
This story is so relatable! Although the character’s path is specific to her, the place she’s come to when we begin her story in The Distance Home is something most of us have dealt with. Life is different than we planned, and sometimes we need to deal with the past so the present can be enjoyed. I think anyone who knows the healing power of horses, the struggles of “adulting” when your childhood was less than perfect or who loves a story about someone finding their way to happiness will absolutely adore The Distance Home.- Nalana @ Book Scents