Seeker by Rita Pomade Blog Tour and Giveaway

Monday, June 29, 2020
Seeker: A Sea Odyssey is the story of two people who meet in Mexico and fall in love. Rita is an American part-time English language teacher and freelance reporter for an English language tourist magazine struggling to raise two young boys on her own. Bernard is a French geologist under contract to the Mexican government to search for underground thermal springs. She dreams of finding Shangri-la after witnessing a bloody government crackdown from which she barely escapes. He dreams of having a yacht and sailing the world. Their dreams mesh, and they immigrate to Canada to earn the money to build their boat.

Print Length: 330 Pages
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Guernica Editions (MiroLand)
ISBN-10: 1771833513
ISBN-13: 9781771833516

Seeker: A Sea Odyssey is available to purchase at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, and IndieBound. You can also add this to your Goodreads reading list.

Book Giveaway Contest

To win a copy of the book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey by Rita Pomade, please enter using Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. Giveaway ends on July 5th at 11:59 PM EST. We will announce the winner the next day on the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author, Rita Pomade



Rita Pomade, an intrepid nomad originally from New York, now lives and writes in Montreal. Her work has appeared in literary magazines and poetry reviews, and her monologue for auditioning actors was selected for inclusion in the Monologue Bank. An excerpt from her forthcoming memoir Seeker: A Sea Odyssey was included in two travel anthologies.

---- Interview by Nicole Pyles

WOW: First of all, congratulations on your memoir, Seeker: A Sea Odyssey. What inspired you to write this book?

Rita: During our years at sea, I sent letters to a childhood friend from every port where we dropped anchor. Thirty years later, my ex-husband —we divorced soon after our adventure—Skyped to say he had a chance to sell a yacht moored in Tunisia, but felt the best market was in Tahiti. He asked if I’d sail with him. “It’ll be better this time,” he said. “It’s a well-equipped yacht.” I told him I’d think about it and wrote my friend about his offer. In response, she sent me a packet with every letter I’d sent her throughout our six-year voyage, thinking it might help in my decision. The letters brought back huge swaths of memory including smells, touch and even dialogue. I relived those years, but with more maturity and reflection. My revisiting the past was as much an adventure and eye-opener as it had been when I first made the voyage. I realized not only how unique an experience it had been, but how much I’d gained from it. I felt my journey could be of interest to others. It motivated me to put my story on paper.

WOW: That must have felt incredible to read all those letters! What advice do you have for authors who have a story to tell but don’t know where to begin?

Rita: Personal stories need time to ripen, like a good wine or cheese. When you’re too close to your material, it doesn’t allow for enough distance to make the story universal. Letting the story simmer a while takes you away from the rut of this happened and then that happened, and creates more texture and nuance. While the story is ripening in your subconscious, do some preparation. Jot down fragments. Keep a journal of ideas. Make mind maps around a memory you want to explore in more depth later. None of this needs elaboration. The brain will click into these prompts and bring up more details as you write. From bits of text in my letters, whole scenes came tumbling back. Also, you can’t know what you’ll put on the paper before you put it there. You start with a sentence, but that sentence takes on a life of its own and dictates where it wants to go. Trust the process and let it take you. I’m often surprised at what comes up. As you write, you gradually see how threads of your story fit together. Don’t aim for perfection. It’s inhibiting. You can deal with the editing in your next draft, or the one after that.

WOW: What you said resonated with me about not aiming for perfection! What was your process in writing the memoir?

Rita: I thought of my book as a patchwork quilt. I wrote it in sections. The “quilt pieces” were tentative chapters. If I got stuck in one section, I worked on another. When I had all the parts, I sewed my quilt together. In the process of connecting the pieces, I made adjustments to make them fit seamlessly.

Before working on the memoir, I often wrote a poem as a warm up. It didn’t have to be good. I was the only one who’d see it. Or I jotted down a few lines of observation about something or a fragment from a dream. It removed the terror of a blank page when I’d first sit down at the computer. Also, I’d think about my story when taking a walk, and had it in mind as I went to sleep. I’d put out an intention, and my subconscious often delivered. To keep me in the story, I had photos of myself on the journey pinned to the wall in front of my desk, and looked at them as I wrote. I also had a little note taped to my computer that said “Success is fear, but doing it anyway.”

WOW: I love that quote! You are so incredibly well-traveled. How has traveling changed you and how you see the world?

Rita: I grew up in a small, insular town in upstate New York. All I knew of people who were different from me came from a world history course in high school. I didn’t question what I was taught, and my perception of the world was colored by what I had learned. My first foray into a different culture was Mexico where I taught English literature and Mexican history. I learned the Mexican-American War was not as I had been taught. For the first time I realized different cultures have different stories that give a different perspective on life. And their stories are as valid as ours. I leaned that whatever their stories, they laughed, cried, felt pain and joy, and loved their children with the same degree of intensity as we do. I learned that you can’t dislike a people once you know them, and how much more we are alike than different. Humanity and its lack are as universal as is suffering and sorrow, love and longing. Travel opened my heart to all people. It made me more compassionate, broadminded, and far better informed than my academic education. I no longer think in terms of “them” and “us.” We are one species sharing space with other species on a beautiful but fragile planet.


"Humanity and its lack are as universal as is suffering and sorrow, love and longing. Travel opened my heart to all people...We are one species sharing space with other species on a beautiful but fragile planet."


WOW: What a beautiful way of looking at the world! I was reading an interview where you said, “By revisiting the past, I was able to reshape my present.” How did writing this memoir transform how you saw your life at the time you lived this experience?

Rita: Living on a small, minimally equipped yacht with my husband for so many years and in so many countries put me on constant alert for survival. I didn’t allow for the fact that my husband had to deal with much of the issues I was struggling with. And beyond that, it was his responsibility to keep us afloat, out of the way of pirates, and alive on a fickle sea. I had never sailed before our adventure, and took more interest in our travel adventures than I did in sailing. He felt I could not sail the yacht alone and would drown at sea if anything happened to him. I didn’t allow for his anxieties. I interpreted his distance as rejection—and it often was. I reacted to feeling unappreciated. He responded defensively. Our exchanges brought out the worst in both of us. I couldn’t respond to his insecurities, and he couldn’t understand my need for appreciation. On reliving our trip, I could allow him in, see his insecurities, and understand the building of tensions that had no outlet. From a less self-centered, more mature perspective, I was more open to compassion and understanding. My story had been frozen in time with all its hurts and resentments. In the process of revisiting our adventure, I could see more objectively, and it healed the past. As a result of my writing Seeker, he and I now live together after a 25-year hiatus.

WOW: How profound! Another quote: “I think writing, particularly memoir writing, takes tremendous courage.” What advice do you have for authors who want to start their memoir but are afraid to?

Rita: It helps to have a small critique group to work with, preferably a group that’s also writing memoirs. It bolsters confidence to know where your weaknesses are and what parts need to be edited for more clarity. A group will give you encouragement and support when it’s too painful to delve into certain aspects of your story. They’ll let you know when you’re not in your story or skirting the issue. And they’ll praise the good parts that will keep you on track. When you’re really discouraged and want to give it all up, you are motivated to plow ahead because you need to have something to show them the next time you meet. Their feedback stimulates you to keep going, and having deadlines gets the adrenaline going.

I felt more confident working on my memoir when I thought it was for someone else. While I was writing Seeker, I had my granddaughter in mind. I wanted her to know about her grandmother. I also thought about whom I wanted my readers to be, what kind of insights I wanted to share with them. When your story has broader implications than its linear progression, it takes it out of the realm of ego and into having a greater message, which makes it feel less personal, and takes away some of the fear.


"When your story has broader implications than its linear progression, it takes it out of the realm of ego and into having a greater message, which makes it feel less personal, and takes away some of the fear."


WOW: I think writing for your possible reader is an excellent approach! What are you working on now? What can we expect from you?

Rita: I was a breech birth with the umbilical cord wrapped twice around my neck while I floated in toxic waste due to my mother’s toxemia. Toxemia is a condition where the mother’s body does not recognize its embryo and thinks it’s a foreign invader that has to be destroyed. My mother went blind for three months, and was told not to have more children as I had weakened her body. There is family history behind that birth, and its influence impacted my development. At eleven years old, I burst out of its hold through a fortuitous event. Recent research in the field of biogenetics has shown that familial memory can pass from one generation to the next, especially if there was something traumatic in the parent’s past. Its influence plays a powerful role in a child’s development. We may come into this world innocent, but often we carry the emotional burden of our forefathers. The next memoir, that I’m tentatively calling Genesis, is a slice of life from birth to eleven years old through the lens of biogenetics. It’s a story of how genetic history, social and political environment, and temperament came together to mold one child—me.

WOW: That sounds so interesting! I can't wait to read it. Best of luck to you and your book!

---- Blog Tour Dates

June 29th @ The Muffin
What goes better with coffee in the morning than a muffin? Grab your coffee and join us in celebrating the launch of Rita Pomade's book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey. You can read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.
https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

July 2nd @ Fiona Ingram's Blog
Visit Fiona's blog and you can read a guest post by the author about how she could have enriched her journey at sea.
http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

July 5th @ CK Sorens' Blog
Visit Carrie's blog today and you can read her review of Rita Pomade's memoir Seeker.
https://www.cksorens.com/blog

July 6th @ Create Write Now
Visit Mari L. McCarthy's blog where you can read author Rita Pomade's guest post about what she learned about herself through writing.
https://www.createwritenow.com/

July 7th @ The Faerie Review
Make sure you visit Lily's blog and read a guest post by the author about cooking on a shoestring at sea.
http://www.thefaeriereview.com/

July 8th @ Coffee with Lacey
Visit Lacey's blog today and read her review of Rita Pomade's book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
https://coffeewithlacey.com/

July 10th @ 12 Books
Visit Louise's blog and read her review of Rita Pomade's book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
https://12books.co.uk/

July 11th @ Bookworm Blog
Visit Anjanette's blog today and you can read her review of Rita Pomade's book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
http://bookworm66.wordpress.com/

July 12th @ It's Alanna Jean
Visit Alanna's blog today and you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade about the ten best traits you need for living aboard a yacht.
http://itsalannajean.com/

July 13th @ The New England Book Critic
Join Vickie as she reviews Rita Pomade's book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
http://www.thenewenglandbookcritic.com/

July 14th @ Bev. A Baird's Blog
Visit Bev's blog today and read her review of Rita Pomade's book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

July 15th @ Reviews and Interviews
Visit Lisa's blog today where she interviews author Rita Pomade about her book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/

July 16th @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog
Visit Anthony's blog where he reviews Rita Pomade's book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

July 17th @ 12 Books
Visit Louise's blog and read author Rita Pomade's guest post discussing sailing myths.
https://12books.co.uk/

July 18th @ Author Anthon Avina's Blog
Visit Anthony's blog today and read his interview with author Rita Pomade.
https://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

July 20th @ Bev. A Baird's Blog
Visit Bev's blog again and you can read author Rita Pomade's guest post featuring her advice on writing a memoir.
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

July 21st @ Jill Sheet's Blog
Visit Jill's blog where you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade about how her handwriting analysis skills made her a better writer.
https://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

July 22nd @ A Storybook World
Visit Deirdra's blog today and you can checkout her spotlight of Rita Pomade's book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
http://www.astorybookworld.com/

July 23rd @ Choices
Visit Madeline's blog today and you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade about the benefits of spending time abroad.
http://madelinesharples.com/

July 24th @ Books, Beans and Botany
Visit Ashley's blog today where she reviews Rita Pomade's book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
https://booksbeansandbotany.com/

July 24th @ Tiggy's Books
Visit Tiggy's blog today and read her review of Rita Pomade's book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey. She'll also be chatting a bit with the author!
https://tiggysbooks.com/

July 26th @ CK Sorens Blog
Visit Carrie's blog today and you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade about how she jumpstart her writing process.
https://www.cksorens.com/blog

July 27th @ Memoir Writer's Journey
Visit Kathleen's blog today and read her review of Rita Pomade's book Seeker.
https://www.krpooler.com/

July 28th @ Lady Unemployed
Visit Nicole's blog today where you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade talking about stepping outside of one's comfort zone.
http://www.ladyunemployed.com

July 31st @ Wild Hearted
Visit Ashley's blog where you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade about why she jumped at the chance to go to sea.
https://wild-hearted.com/
 

***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****

To win a copy of the book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey by Rita Pomade, please enter using the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway ends on July 5th at 11:59 PM EST. We will announce the winner the next day on the Rafflecopter widget and follow up via email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 comments:

Angela said...

What an inspiring interview! Rita, I'm also writing a memoir of an adventure about a relationship that takes place in Mexico where I lived (early 90s), and I'm using some letters but mostly diary entries as inspiration. It IS surprising what comes up once you start writing. I like the idea of writing a poem as warm up, and fragments make the process manageable. Your critique group sounds great--especially calling you out on skirting the issue. We all need that. I can't wait to read your book! Good luck on your tour, and also on your next memoir. :)

Thomas Gibson said...

A Sea Odyssey sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing.

TRIPPER2365 said...

Very good interview looking forward to readibg your book .

Christina Gould said...

I love the cover, especially the faded image of a veil. Thanks for the giveaway!

lilyk said...

This book looks very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

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