How Far Is The Ocean From Here, Amy Shearn
Words To Mouth
Carrie Runnals

Episode 44 - How Far Is The Ocean From Here, Amy Shearn

I've had this interview in my back pocket for awhile. I took to heart an expert podcaster's advice to have at least 10 shows in the hopper, so as to be prepared and it sort of backfired. I think I do best living life a bit more on the edge. apologies on the delay to Amy. I think you'll agree, it's worth the wait ~ She's a pleasure. Listen in as we talk about her life, her book, and her blogs.

Afterwards, don't forget to comment below and/or call 206-309-7318 and leave a voice mail message to be entered to win a FREE copy of HOW FAR IS THE OCEAN FROM HERE. You'll need to subscribe to my e-newsletter to make it quick and easy for me to announce the winner! Please leave me a review on iTunes and don't forget to subscribe to Words To Mouth to get it delivered to your computer for free, so you can listen wherever and whenever you'd like. “Thanks” as always to Natalie Brown for You Gotta Believe from the Podsafe Music Network.

Susannah Prue is a young, unmarried surrogate mother who, in the days before her delivery date, panics. Jumping into her car, she flees her Chicago home and a few days later pulls up to a bleak motel in the Southwest—the Thunder Lodge. There, she encounters misfits, much like herself, who also carry secrets: the motel’s terse proprietors, their mentally disabled son, and a woman transporting her niece to the father she’s never met. But when the parents of Susannah’s baby discover her whereabouts, she can no longer ignore the profound power she holds over their lives.

Beautifully written, How Far Is the Ocean from Here explores the ways in which people care for one another and the ways in which they fail, the kinds of families we create when we have no one else to turn to, and the strangeness and unpredictability of love.

Book Excerpt:
Chapter One, "Otherhood"

Along the highway in that stretch of desert, some-where between West Texas and East New Mexico, there was nothing and nothing and nothing and then the Thunder Lodge. But what a nothing! There the horizon had a weight she hadn’t known a horizon could have; a plain unvaried by cactus or tree, unstirred by lizard or coyote, undimpled by even a shadow, only here and there the slightest swell of hills. A house, a diner, a roadside attraction—an abandoned gas station with leaking, ancient snouts; a gigantic plaster dinosaur; a man in a gorilla suit advertising discounted tires—any distraction would have inspired as raucous a land ho as has ever been heard. But there was nothing, and still she moved onward, and still the desert lay insensible to any human who entered it.

That is to say, the highway was so forgotten in those stretches that it was difficult to believe it had ever been built. Out walking on its dusty shoulder, her hands pressed to her belly as if it might detach in the heat, sweat trickling between her shoulder blades, Susannah tried to imagine the men who had done such a thing, these ghostly men who’d installed the devolving asphalt: bending their backs in the sunlight, their lungs struggling in the grit of reddish dirt, the hides of their legs and hands torn from arguing with the sinewy tangles that accounted for vegetation. On the whole she spent entirely too much time daydreaming—it was a weakness, she knew— picturing what it was like to be somebody else, trying on different versions of herself like suits of skin. Now she was entirely out of context, a paper doll slapped onto an unfamiliar backdrop, just any pregnant girl standing on the side of the highway twisting her spine, giving the overheated car a minute to tick time-bombishly, a chance to stop steaming from the hood. (For more, go to the full excerpt on Amy's website

Amy's Book Recommendations:

  • The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton  ~  "It is so wonderful. If you just want to spend a weekend at home weeping, I highly recommend it," says Amy.
  • Amy says about her favorite author: "Virginia Woolf inspires the same time making me feel like there is no point in writing anything"