Book Tour and Giveaway: Gibbin House by Carola Perla

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Gibbin House

Book Details
Author: Carola Perla
Format: eBook and Paperback
Publication Date: September 21, 2011
Publisher: Self-Published
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Book Synopsis
During the Second World War, a Hampstead villa named Gibbin House was a refuge.for artists and intellectuals fleeing the continent. But nearly five years later, this former beacon of hope has become a prison for the four men who remain exiled there. The mysterious arrival from Vienna of Anka Pietraru – a young woman unable to voice the unbearable secret of a mother’s sacrifice – will test the men’s perceptions of love and loss. And as Anka unearths old grievances within Gibbin House, its residents will be forced to decide if they have the strength to begin living again or if it is simply too late.
Gibbin House Giveaway
Giveaway Info
The giveaway for Gibbin House by Carola Perla is incredible!
There will be a total ofthree winners; one grand prize winner and two additional winners.
The Grand Prize Winner will receive:
1. A signed copy of Gibbin House
2. ‘Vienna Romance’ stationary by ATELIER 1022 Company
3. Limited edition reproduction Stereocard of Trafalgar Square, London – this
Edwardian Era 3-D photograph, dated 1901, served as the novel’s cover art
4. Viewing lorgnette
5. Collector’s edition prologue ‘letter’
Two additional winners will receive:
A signed copy of Gibbin House
Author Carola Perla
Author Bio
Carola Perla was born in 1977 in Timisoara, Romania, to parents of Peruvian and
German-Romanian heritage. She spent her early childhood in Lima and Munich,
before moving with her family to the United States.
She holds degrees in German Literature and Art History from Florida State
University. Since 2001 she has been a resident of Miami Beach, where she
co-founded an international public relations firm and worked as a freelance
journalist. Her recent projects include the launch of the Atelier 1022 Art Gallery in
Wynwood. Gibbin House is her first novel.
1. Carola, the men who live at Gibbin House are all very unique individuals. When you

add Anka to the “family” the characterization becomes even more diverse. Did you

find yourself struggling at all to switch between the various character voices?

The switch in voices was made relatively easy by the fact that I knew the characters of Anka and

Theodor so well. They are based on people and experiences which greatly shaped me as a young

person. Before I ever put pen to paper, the characters had long existed in my mind, and I had carried

on lengthy conversations with them. Admittedly, the earliest draft was written as two separate

stories from opposite perspectives, which I pieced together after. But by the third draft, switching

from one voice to another came second nature.

2. Since it is mentioned in the long book synopsis I don’t think it is a spoiler to mention

that Anka is mute. It’s an unusual character trait for a protagonist. How did you

decide to write a mute protagonist and what is the symbolism behind this trait?

Anka’s story, that of a young woman in exile, is strongly influenced by my wanting to write my own

version of the heroine journeys I loved as a child. In those stories, muteness was often a central

motif (Hans Christian Andersen is especially known for this). The process of finding one’s ‘voice’

is a powerful symbol for a woman’s self-actualization. Perhaps this is why, as an introverted child

and immigrant, I associated with it so closely. Writing a character who is speech-impaired is not

a light choice and carries with it a certain responsibility, but on a psychological and practical level,

it seemed to serve Anka’s story. And although Anka remains speech-impaired throughout the

novel, she learns to relate and communicate to others in significant and emotional ways. She finds

her ‘voice’, which I feel is much of what her journey is all about.

3. There are thousands of books on the market that relate to World War II but you

took a different approach by writing about a London refuge for those who fled the

war. What inspired you to take this route as opposed to more traditional perspectives

on war-torn Europe?

The old adage is ‘write what you know’, which obviously is not always the easiest task for writers of

historical fiction. Especially when writing about such an extreme period in history as World War II.

An author is responsible to readers who still remember that time. There must be absolute emotional

authenticity. I have always been keenly aware of the war, having grown up in Germany and having

continued to study its culture well into graduate school. The German-Romanian part of my family

was also greatly affected by its events, which I tried to pay homage to by the setting and circumstance

of Anka’s origins.

However, what I learned throughout my life about the war made it abundantly clear to me that I

could not do this very raw and tragic subject justice. So much of what happened then is beyond what

I could imagine or recreate, because it is in its essence unimaginable. I know many other writer of

my generation have set their novels in World War II with much success. I leave it to them. I would

not presume to add anything new or to use it as a vehicle for flexing my creative muscle. My interest

lies in the aftermath of things, in the way experiences resonate, in beginnings and in hopefulness.

4. A photograph of Trafalgar Square, London (dated 1901) served as the novel’s cover

art (a copy of which is included in your amazing giveaway). How long did it take you to

settle on this image for your cover and why did you ultimately make this decision?

The cover originally was going to be an image similar to a portrait from the Romanian painter

Grigorescu, which shows a young woman’s face in a red kerchief set against a black background.

The title of the book, which remained the same for almost nine years before I changed it on the final

draft, was “Bearing Still Lifes and Landscapes”, with the story focused much more on the events in

Vienna and Romania. Over time I I realized that this detracted from the forward motion of the plot.

Once I redirected my focus to the ‘present’ in London, with Vienna and Romania as flashbacks or as

novel excerpts, I also changed the name to “Gibbin House”. The house is one of the main characters,

after all. Serendipitously, my mom had this original stereoscopic photograph of Trafalgar Square

and suggested I used it for the cover. She thought it hints at both the British setting and the early


Century time frame of the story. I think she was right.

5. What is the most valuable lesson you learned while researching, writing and

publishing Gibbin House? Any regrets?

The most valuable lesson I learned was to trust my instincts. There are infinite ways to say one

thing, and not trusting your choices can lead to endless overthinking and editing that often sucks the

life and immediacy out of your writing. If something feels right, leave it alone. I’ve compared early

drafts with the final one, and it’s amazing to see that the portions of prose I wrote without forcing

them are the only ones that remained unchanged throughout each incarnation of the novel.

If I have any regrets about “Gibbin House”, it’s that it took so long to write, I was impatient to put it

out there and did not plan a promotional strategy. As a self-published author, I should have devoted

at least a couple months to spreading the word, getting reviews, etc., before releasing the book. But I

suppose that’s all part of experience. I’m looking forward to getting things right with my next book,

“Humboldt’s Riches.”