Friday, April 26, 2013

Indie Author Interview: Catana Tully


Author Interview with Catana Tully - Author of the Memoir Split at the Root: A Memoir of Love and Lost Identity.

Interview w/ Author Catana Tully
Author Catana Tully
Dr. Catana Tully grew up trilingual (German, Spanish, English) in Guatemala where she attended elementary and middle school. In tenth grade she entered a boarding school in Jamaica, WI and received her Advanced Level Higher Schools Certificate from Cambridge University, England. Expecting to become an international interpreter, she continued her studies at the Sprachen und Dolmetscher Institut in Munich, Germany.
However, she was called to work in a play and discovered her affinity for the dramatic arts. She became the actress and fashion model Catana Cayetano and appeared in Film and TV work in Germany, Austria, and Italy. In Munich she met and married the American actor Frederick V. Tully ultimately moved to the United States. They have a son, Patrick. In Upstate New York, she completed the BA in Cultural Studies, an MA in Latin American and Caribbean Literature, and a DA (doctor of Arts) in Humanistic Studies.
She held the position of tenured Associate Professor at SUNY Empire State College from which she retired in 2003, returning in 2005 for part time work in ESC’s Center for International Programs, where she served as Mentor and instructor in the Lebanon program, and as Interim Program Director for the Dominican Republic. In 2011 she retired completely to dedicate herself to publishing Split at the Root. She is currently preparing an academic version discussing the psychological issues imbedded in the memoir.

Interview with Catana Tully

Alan Kealey (Indie Author News): What is your (writing) background?
Catana Tully: I have been writing for quite a long time, but only in the past twenty years can I say that I started to craft a story.
Who are your favorite writers, your favorite books, and who or what are your writing influences?
Thomas Mann, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Maryse Condé, lately, Orhan Pamuk. I made a point to visit Istanbul after reading his books. Writing influences… I’d say Isabel Allende and Maryse Condé. To me, their descriptive quality is mesmerizing in it’s brevity.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
When I had a solid story I wanted to tell.

Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?

Mornings. Early in the morning, usually I start before dawn and work until 9 or 10, when I have to walk my dog.

What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?
Easiest is getting the material to paper.
Hardest is fixing it. I find rewriting and editing quite torturous.

Catana, please tell us a little about your Memoir 'Split at the Root: A Memoir of Love and Lost Identity'.
I began to write Split some seventeen years ago when it seemed there was an explosion of international adoptions. I felt I could share with parents and older adoptees the issues that began surfacing much later in life.

Split at the Root (Catana Tully)
Click to Read an Excerpt

What inspired you to write the book?
My husband and friends always contended that I should write a book about the fairy-tale life I was leading. From being a Black child adopted by a German family and growing up trilingual and privileged, to becoming a successful fashion model and actress in Europe, and then later coming to the US and getting a doctoral degree in Humanistic studies… It was very much a fairy tale to others. Not necessarily from my perspective, however. I have absolutely no complaints regarding my life. But Split is about the times when I felt I just didn’t fit into America’s racialized society. In spite of all the love I received, my story is ultimately one of cultural disinheritance.

"[...] A must read for anyone who loves literature."

Who do you see as your target audience and where can we buy the book?
The story resonates with everyone, adopted or not. If you want to read a good story about cross-cultural parenting, international relationships, this is it. A few college professors and high school teachers are using Split in their courses. On many levels it’s a psychological mystery. One reviewer said “If you think you know Latin America, Jamaica, the British Isles, Germany or the United States, "Split at the Root" will teach you anew about people who call each of these places home -- and, it will do it with an elegant, energetic prose style that we can only call original and Dr. Tully's own. A must read for anyone who loves literature.” I agree, and am pleased that the story is well written. You can get it on Amazon, or have your bookstore order it for you.

Would Split at the Root be an appropriate gift for Mother’s Day?
Absolutely! It’s a book about mothers. There’s a birth mother, an adoptive mother… their profound, sometimes obsessive love for the one child. There’s conflicted filial love and sibling rivalry. Then the search for the real story, for family, truth and belonging… Split resonates with women and men of all ages. It’s a perfect Mother’s Day gift.

"The reviews are all excellent [...]"

How would you describe the success of your book so far? (Sales, Awards, Reviews)
The book has only been on the market a few months. The reviews are all excellent, and the sales have been quite brisk. It may be a bit too early to think about award results.

How long did it take to write the book?
The first 400-page draft was completed in five weeks. Everything was great and all who read it found it compelling, etc… Unfortunately, I listened to a book doctor’s editorial advice and lost the voice. I’d work on it sporadically through the years. Now that so many celebrities are adopting interracially I figured I needed to buckle down and completely re-write the story. So, some 17 years, all sum.

Please, tell us where you self-published the book.
On Amazon: Create Space, and the e-book on Amazon KDP.

How smooth went the self-publishing process? Any issues? What are things to look for when self-publishing a book?
I had no issues at all. I did the e-book and then had a graphic designer help me with the formatting of the paperback version.

Did you hire an editor and/or Cover Designer for your book?
The cover design was my idea; my graphic designer fine-tuned it. I got some editorial advice and at the end engaged a proof-reader.

Are you working on another book project? Can you tell us a little about it?
I’ve started to work on an academic version of Split. There are other psychological concerns regarding cultural and racial misplacement that can come from such an experience, not just the ones that related to me. Because they are painful for the adoptive parents, the topics have remained outside the realm of discussions.

"The Indie experience has been nothing but positive."

Are you planning to move forward as an Indie author or are you looking forward to have one of your next books to be traditionally published?
Too early to tell: I’m still laboring on getting the next book written. The Indie experience has been nothing but positive. Why not, really!

Where do you see the book market in 5 or 10 years? Will there be only eBooks and will book stores disappear like record stores disappeared?
I’ve had a Kindle since they came out and by now I carry over a hundred books on mine. It’s just logical to have one, at least when traveling. But I hope bookstores don’t disappear. Most of my friends prefer to hold a book in their hands.

How can readers connect with you?
Through the contact page on my website www.splitattheroot.com
Through my blog: www.splitattheroot.com/book-blog
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ctully26
Please “Like” me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Splitattheroot


Thank you very much for the Interview, Catana.



About the Book Split at the Root: A Memoir of Love and Lost Identity

Split at the Root (Catana Tully)
Click to Read an Excerpt
In this dramatic and beautifully written memoir, the author explores questions of race, adoption and identity, not as the professor of ethnic studies that she became, but as the black child of German settlers in Guatemala, who called her their “little Moor.” Her journey into investigating the mystery of how these White foreigners became her parents begins when she reluctantly considered joining an African-American organization at the U.S. College where she taught. She realized it was not just her foreign accent that alienated her from Blacks. Under layers of privilege (private schools, international travel, the life of a fashion model and actress in Europe) she discovered that her most important story is one of disinheritance.

"The author’s determination to find out who her mother and father really were, and why she was taken from them, tests the love of her White husband and their son, leads her to embrace and then reject the charismatic man she believes to be her biological father, and takes her to the jungles of Guatemala to find a family that has kept her memory alive as legend. In the book’s shocking ending, she learns truths about her mother, and the callous disrespect committed long ago against mother and child in the name of love." - Tristine Rainer, Director of the Center for Autobiographic Studies; Author of The New Diary and Your Life as Story




Links to the Book

Link to the Paperback Split at the Root: A Memoir of Love and Lost Identity with Excerpt on Amazon

Link to the eBook Split at the Root: A Memoir of Love and Lost Identity with Excerpt on Amazon


1 comment:

Barbara McDowell Whitt said...

Catana Tully has accomplished so much in her life. It is fortunate that she took the time to write and publish her remarkable and unique story.

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