Harvest - Beth Martinu
Over the years we've seen some unusual takes on the Grim Reaper concept. I think I was first introduced to the idea of a Grim Reaper by none other than Ray Bradbury in his short story regarding a man, his new farm, a wheat field, and a scythe. Then there's the Family Guy version of the Grim Reaper with the voice of, I believe occasionally, Norm McDonald(?). Don't quote me on that. And then there was that Sci Fi show that I loved, Dead Like Me, in which a young girl dies and is forced to return to life as a reaper of souls.
Long intro, huh? The point I'm getting that is that I've seen this done in numerous ways. HOWEVER, I've never seen it done with the approach that Beth Martinu takes in her book Harvest. In this book, young Frankie picks up a dropped necklace and unwittingly becomes a collector of souls.
Frankie is young, charismatic, excited about life, and, seemingly, ready to take on the world. Yet there is a lot holding her back. There's her emotionally broken father, classes that seem to be draining her life away, a best friend who, although sweet and caring, is a little overly attached to material items and "partying" away her youth, and last but not least, another best friend who is trying to tie her down emotionally.
While Frankie is already out of high school, I definitely saw this as a coming of age story. She constantly worries about her father and is frustrated about his needs, but when he comes to terms with his past and begins to move on, she finds that she's not as ready to move on as he is.
Without this new direction in life that the necklace brings her, Frankie might have found herself floundering even more -- feeling unneeded by her father and lost without her best friends.
While she takes tremendous strides in "growing up" and "finding herself" in this book, the transition is very obviously not over. I'm anxious to see where Martinu takes this story and how Frankie is able to come to terms with all that has happened to her.
The plot is great and it moves along at a nice pace. Frankie is easy to love and you find yourself with way more questions than the author is willing to answer. I always love that in a book. Overall an excellent read!
Some Bio Information
Beth Martinu has aspired to be a writer for as long as she can remember, yet could never find the time or the patience to sit still long enough to get anyone’s story down on paper. Though characters and plot lines would swirl in her mind, they were always pushed to the side in favour of more pressing issues, eventually fading away.
When Frankie appeared on the scene, she assumed she would follow suit; but she fought for her story, leaving Beth precious little peace until it was complete. As a mother of three completing a teaching degree, it took close to a year to write her first novel, Harvest, and months more worth of edits to get it to the stage where she felt her words did Frankie justice.
Beth Martinu is from Melbourne, Australia, learn more about her work at her website bethmartinu.com or forward queries and comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Author website: http://www.bethmartinu.com
1. What’s your favorite part of Harvest?
I have a few and they all tend to circle around the dynamic between Frankie and Cameron. I’m particularly fond of the moment in the park where Cam and Frankie figure it all out. I love the final scene of the novel between these two, and how although it is not “typical” it seems natural for them. I love how far both Frankie and Cam have come by that point.
2. Who’s your favorite author?
It’s hard for me to say- I find myself drawn to storylines and characters over writing styles. Although I’d say my favourite books of all time are To Kill a Mockingbird and Catch-22, I wouldn’t say that either Joseph Heller or Harper Lee were my favourite authors. I do love the world that JK Rowling created for Harry Potter and the strong character that was Rose in the Vampire Academy series.
3. Is Frankie’s story over?
Definitely not! She’s still not quite come into herself yet- she’s on her way, but she still has some growing and learning to do. Harvest is the first book in Frankie’s trilogy. She has a few more adventures in her yet!
4. What’s your least favorite part of the writing process?
Writer’s block. Those times where it takes about 3 hours to get one page out and it’s barely passable and will need extensive editing anyway. I can be quite impatient and days like this just kill me.
5. Describe the best writing environment.
I don’t find that I’m influenced too much by my environment. I wrote a lot of Harvest in a café (yes, the one referenced in the novel), but also at a library, by my pool or sitting at the kitchen table. Though it can prove distracting, I’ve found myself writing most of book 2 in the lounge during family TV time.
6. What’s your ultimate writing goal/dream?
I just can’t wait until Frankie’s story has been told in its entirety. Of course, I’d like lots of people to read Harvest and the rest of the trilogy and love it to bits, but ultimately finishing her story and having it on my own bookshelf will be accomplishment enough for me.
7. What would you like your readers to take away from Frankie’s story?
I guess from a “moral of the story” sense the importance of inner strength and being responsible and accountable for yourself. There seems to be a trend for female lead characters to be victims and need saving. On the other side of the coin, I hope that this helps people see that a character doesn’t have to be a bad-ass either in order to be independent. There is a whole middle area on the scale that isn’t often explored. While Frankie complains a lot, she learns how to take care of business for herself.