Friday, March 7, 2014

FUN FACTS: Gemini: A Novel by Carol Cassella

Hardcover, 352 pages

Published March 4th 2014 by Simon & Schuster 
A captivating medical mystery wrapped in a contemporary love story—from a practicing MD whose novels are “just what the doctor ordered” (People).

Across the Puget Sound in a rural hospital on the Olympic Peninsula an unidentified patient lies unconscious, the victim of a hit and run. In Seattle, ICU doctor Charlotte Reese receives a call: Jane Doe will be transferred to her care. But when the patient arrives—with only tubes keeping her alive—Charlotte has to dig through x-rays and MRIs to determine what went wrong on the operating table. Jane Doe’s condition is getting worse each day, and Charlotte finds herself becoming increasingly consumed by her patient’s plight—both medical and personal.

Who is this woman? Why will no one claim her? Who should decide her fate if she never regains consciousness? As a doctor and a woman, Charlotte is forced to confront these issues head on—especially when her boyfriend Eric, a science journalist, becomes involved in the case. But the closer Charlotte and Eric get to the truth, the more their relationship is put to the test. The key to unlocking Jane Doe’s secret is opening their hearts to their own feelings about life and death, love and marriage…and each other.

Filled with intricate medical detail and set in the breathtaking Pacific Northwest, Gemini is a vivid novel of moral complexity and emotional depth from the bestselling author of Oxygen and Healer.-- Goodreads
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FUN FACTS
1. How many drafts did you go through before releasing the final copy?

I can’t count that high. Each scene goes through five to ten drafts, then each chapter (scenes included) goes through four or five more drafts, then a couple of passes over the entire book again. That gives me a “first” draft, which I send to my editor, who sends suggestions back to me. From there I start over, which takes at least another year. If I counted I’d get discouraged and give up! It’s far more fun to lose myself on the page and quit keeping track. At least I don’t save them all anymore. With my first novel OXYGEN, I kept paper copies of each major revision and ended up with three bookshelves of notebooks. Thank goodness for Dropbox.

2. How many titles did you go through before picking the right one?

My original title for this novel was SAY I AM GONE, but then, in the first major draft, the voice of Raney was written in the first person. Once I switched her to third person the title didn’t work well. GEMINI was suggested by my publisher, Jonathan Karp. I mulled it for a few days, then realized it was perfect—it linked to so many themes running through the story, some of which aren’t apparent until you reach the end. 

3. What was one of your favorite scenes to write?

The rope swing scene, when Raney’s arm is injured as she jumps from the river bank, was both cathartic and exhilarating to write. It felt whole and vivid in my imagination—I could smell the leaves, feel the wind, the damp sea air, the dropping air pressure before the threat of storm. The scene was rooted in reality, which added to the hypnotic emotion. When our children were eight and nine we went to a lake and found a well known local rope swing, just as described in GEMINI. Someone had tied an extension to it and, without thinking it through responsibly enough, we started jumping. It was great fun until a wind kicked up and the nylon extension looped around my daughter’s arm, quite nearly breaking it or sheering her skin. The horror of that long moment, watching her swing out over the water and drop while her arm snapped back, has never left me. Other than the shock of it we all recovered fine, but it was a close call.

4. What scenes make you blush?

GEMINI has two brief sex scenes—pretty tame by today’s standards but still more than in my other books. I kept writing more detail, crossing it out, writing it in again, and then I spotted the problem. My mother is my one of my first readers. She would be reading this! I just couldn’t take her there. And as she represents thousands of my wider reading public, I figured that was a good lesson about when to keep it on the page and when the characters need to get a room—off the page.


5. What scenes make you cry?

Saying goodbye to Grandpa! That character carried the spirit of my own grandfather, though no one but me might recognize that on the page. He and I were very close, and he always championed me to follow my dreams. I had trouble making myself put that death scene into black and white, because in the book Raney gets to say goodbye to him, but I didn’t have that chance with my own grandfather.

6. Who has been your favorite character to write?

I’ve got to say that Raney whispered in my ear pretty regularly for three years. She kept talking to me in a Texas accent, though I kept reminding her that she had never been outside of Washington State. She just wouldn’t hear it! Just the other day I was looking up someone in my address book and found the name Raney Remington listed in my contacts. No phone number, unfortunately, or I would call her, for sure!

7. Give us some unknown secrets about your characters.

Cleet was a closet poet. He kept a box of poems written on scrap paper and napkins hidden from Raney and Jake. Before he left to work on the fishing boat in Alaska, he burned them all and left no trace.
After Bo left Quentin and Raney was still trapped and unhappy in high school, she dabbled with pot smoking for awhile, but turned away from it when she discovered that her painting suffered when she was high.

Word Search Surprises

The biggest surprise might be that I never did any word searches except to locate lost passages and, once, to confirm that yes indeed I had actually written the same scene in two different parts of the book, the second time only mildly surprised at how easily the words flowed onto the page! But now that you’ve asked, the word Water appears 58 times, Sky is used 23 times, Death 21 times, and I never once used the word Flake.
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AUTHOR
   
Carol Cassella, MD, is a practicing anesthesiologist, novelist, and speaker. She is the bestselling author of the novels Oxygen and Healer. Her new novel, Gemini, was published by Simon & Schuster in March 2014. Carol lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington, with her husband and two sets of twins. Visit her at CarolCassella.com.


Be sure to check out Carol’s10-city book tour schedule!


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