Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blog Tour- I Pray Hardest When I'm Being Shot At by Kyle Garret

Welcome to the blog tour for I Pray Hardest When I'm Being Shot At by Kyle Garret!

I have a guest post, review, and giveaway!

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, eighteen-year-old Robert Stuart had a decision to make: keep working at the steel mill in Warren, Ohio, or volunteer to serve his country. Stuart's father had served in the first World War, and service was in his blood, so he enlisted in the Marines.

Anne Davis had a decision of her own to make. The girls in her high school were going to send letters to alumni who were going off to war. She looked at the list of soldiers and saw a familiar name: Robert Stuart.
The letters Anne sent would mark the beginning of a relationship that would span sixty years, two marriages, two children, and three wars.

Over half a century after those first letters were sent, the Stuarts' grandson, Kyle, began chronicling their life together. He would discover pieces of a family history that only he dug deep enough to learn. But in the back of his mind, one concern lingered: the story of a person's life can only have one ending, and his grandfather's health was deteriorating.

I Pray Hardest When I'm Being Shot At is a true story of love and war, of three generations and two romances, one of sixty years, the other of just a few months. Pray deals with one generation trying to connect with another and how it affected them both.

Author Kyle Garret has written a guest post today:

What I Do To Prepare To Write

    Writing is hard.
     I’ve always found that saying to be funny. On one hand, writing is hard. I think that’s something that’s universally accepted. Those who have no desire or affinity for it struggle with it, and those who claim it as one of their life’s passions…well, they pretty much struggle with it, too. It’s amazing to think that the simple act of communicating can be so hard for so many people, but it is.
    When I’m not writing, the only thing in the world that I want to do is write.When I am writing, I want to do anything but. It’s a maddening cycle, but it’s one I’ve come to accept. I know the cycle exists, though, and if I learned anything from GI Joe, it’s that knowing is half the battle.
    So to get myself to write, I have to set the mood. I have to put myself in a headspace where I’ll not only do the work, but stick with it. This is difficult for me, as I have the attention span of a Cocker Spaniel. Even on my best nights, I probably don’t manage to write for more than fifteen minutes at a time without taking a break.
    My formula is strangely romantic, given that I’m writing alone: a single light, sometimes a candle, and always slow, occasionally sad music. The sole purpose of all this is to get my brain to relax, to get it to shut off enough for me to be able to give all my attention to my writing.
    In the past, I would warm up by writing in my journal, but in recent years I’ve warmed up by blogging. Blogs don’t have to be masterpieces of modern literature, so it allows me to ease myself into the writing process. It gets my brain in line with that kind of thinking.
   When I finish writing for the night, I make sure that I end at the beginning of a new section so that I have somewhere to pick up. It is so much easier to go back to something if it’s already been started. Just one sentence of a new section is like a trail of bread crumbs back to that mind set. That first line sets the tone of what’s to come, and being able to just follow what I’ve already started makes it much easier to come back.
   When I was in college, my professors all gave me the same advice: write every day. The theory – and it’s one I agree with – is that only a small percentage of what you write is going to be any good, so you need to write every single day so that you can get to that small percentage sooner rather than later. But that’s easy advice for a professor to give a student; in the real world, we have jobs, jobs that are often frustrating and demoralizing. We have places to go and people to see and writing doesn’t pay the bills or put food on the table. Writing every day is a luxury that most of us just don’t have.
   To make up for this, I write in big chunks of time. I set aside three to four hours every few days and lock myself in my office. The major downside to this is that I’m putting all my eggs into one basket. If I don’t accomplish a good amount of work on these days then I feel like I’ve fallen behind – like I wasted that time. Then again, there’s a point, an hour or so into a long writing session, when things just start to gel. You kind of get into “the zone,” as they say in sports, and the writing comes much easier.
   That’s my process. I’m sure there are probably better, more productive ways of writing, but that’s the one that works for me.

Kyle Garret, 

author of I Pray The Hardest When I’m Being Shot At

Kyle Garret is a writer from the Midwest living on the West Coast by way of the South. He was born and raised in Kent, Ohio, and attended Ohio University where he received his Master’s degree in Creative Writing. After a few years in Atlanta, he moved out West. He now lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Nicole, and their two cats. He is currently finishing work on a novel and a young adult book.

Where you can find and follow Kyle Garret:
Buy the BOOK at:
Check out the review and giveaway after the break:

This book really covers two stories. The first is the story of a man who survived three wars. Robert Stuart served in the military for a long time, and he saw combat in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Not only that, but he had a quick romance with a young woman. This turned into a love that would survive civilian life, more military tours, moves around the world, and even divorce. What was truly remarkable about Robert Stuart is that he didn't consider anything he did extraordinary. He did what he felt needed to be done. With the help of letters, newspaper clippings, and even stories from his old war buddies, Robert Stuart's story is amazing.

The other story is the author's story in actually writing the book. Kyle Garret learns things he didn't know, and he relates to his grandfather in new ways. He often seems to struggle with how to do his grandfather's story justice. It must feel like a weight at times to write about someone you know and love so well. At times I felt like he was a bit too hard on himself, but I really feel that it came from a place of love and respect for his grandfather. 

I love the sense of history in this book. There were details about where Robert Stuart served and what his home-life was like. What I found even more interesting though was the process of actually writing the book that Kyle Garret goes through. Watching him connect with his grandfather in a new way was so wonderful. It was heartbreaking to see him struggle with his grandfather's aging and illnesses, but this is something we all deal with. Life never stops marching on. He often talks about becoming the keeper of his grandfather's things, almost as if he becomes the keeper of his grandfather's memories. In the end, he has written a beautiful memorial to a man who did some pretty amazing things in his life and deserves to be remembered. 

Book provided for review.

This giveaway is for a copy of the book I Pray Hardest When I'm Being Shot At. It is open to US/Canada residents only. Just put your name and e-mail into the Rafflecopter widget. Bonus entries for commenting on this post. 

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour stops:

Thanks for stopping by!


Jaidis said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us! Writing is hard. I often have to think of only the story for a day or two, try to put myself in that situation, before I am able to sit down at my computer and write.

Chris said...

Thanks for sharing this book. It sounds great :)

Reader Riah said...

Whew! You read too much. But I guess we all do. :)

Kyle said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my book, and for your wonderful thoughts!