The Life Plan blog-stop here today!

As you all know I am a total bookworm and today I have the honor and pleasure of being a blog stop for Sybil Baker who is on tour for her novel The Life Plan.

What is a blog tour?

Well a blog tour is similar to an author’s book tour, but it’s hosted online, instead of at, say, a bookstore. The touring author visits a number of blogs (otherwise known as “blog stops”) over a set period–typically, a month. And today it’s me!

“Official” Summary: In The Life Plan, when Kat’s husband Dan enrolls for a course in Thailand to study massage, Kat is compelled to go with him to save the marriage. Soon Kat finds herself not only fighting for her marriage, but her career, and reputation as well. Yet when Kat has a chance to regain all that she has lost, she finally questions her own reasons for pursuing her rigid life plan.

About the author: Sybil Baker spent twelve years teaching in South Korea. During her extensive travels throughout Asia, she became increasingly interested in the allure and alienation of American travelers and expatriates, and this has heavily influenced her writing. Her fiction and essays have appeared in numerous journals, including upstreet, The Bitter Oleander, Paper Street, and Alehouse. Her essay on American expatriate literature appeared in AWP’s The Writer’s Chronicle in September 2005. Her website can be found at www.sybilbaker.com.

My review: I read this book in 3 days! I was drawn to it immediately just by the fact that it involved travel abroad, in Asia, and specifically Thailand. Having been previously married to a Thai guy and having insight into their culture, I was interested to see how Ms. Baker used the location as party of the story. There are a lot of extreme characters in this book and I like how they interact and collide. Because each character was an “extreme” you didn’t latch on and relate to one character specifically in the book, but rather pieces of each one. Which I think is a good thing.

I, for one, am a planner, but sometimes life just happens and you have to go with it. And that is what Kat does when she decides to follow her husband to Thailand in order to try to save her marriage and to ensure her life plan is executed to perfection. It just so happens that a few bumps along the way make that a little bit more adventurous than Kat would want. And that is precisely what makes interesting!

Although this book is definitely “chick-lit” which often times follows a very successful (and very sell-able) formula, The Life Plan is in no way predictable. There were many times when I thought I had the story figured out, only to be surprised by a twist. It is that freshness that kept me turning the pages until the end. If I had any complaint about the book at all, it is that at 192 pages, it might be a little too short!

My mini-interview with Sybil: After reading the book, there were a few questions I wanted to ask and Sybil graciously provided them to me in the following interview:

With your extensive travels in Asia, why did you choose Thailand as the setting for The Life Plan?
Even though I lived in South Korea, I’d been to Thailand 5 or 6 times–once for almost two months. I love the country and thought it would make a great setting for a novel. I wanted to write about not only Thailand as seen through a tourists eyes but also the backpacker scene in Asia.

How long did it take you to get The Life Plan published after you wrote it?
I started this novel in Fall 2004 and Casperian books accepted the book for publication in January 2008. During that time I worked off and on on the novel, finishing the first draft in the fall of 2005, and then revising it many times after that. I submitted it to Casperian Book in Fall of 2007–they liked it except for the last third of the book. I rewrote the last third of the novel in December 2007.

Any similarities between you and Kat? On the surface we’re quite different. I was more liberal and nontraditional than Kat when I was in my twenties and unlike Kat dreamed of living abroad. Kat is more status and career oriented (at the beginning of the novel at least) than I was too. But we are similar in that I had to deal with a marriage falling apart and the accept the changes in my life that brought. I try to have her sense of humor and loyalty too.

Kat is not a very prepared traveler, and is very much like the typical American tourist, got any advice for people who have never traveled outside of the U.S. how to not be pegged (and maybe targeted) as American?

You won’t die if you don’t have air conditioning, have to take a cold shower, or use a squat toilet–more of the world lives that way than the way we do. Don’t be afraid to try local food because it looks or tastes different or you’re afraid of getting sick. In my travels all around Asia (including Mongolia, Laos, Indonesia, Burma, Vietnam, and Cambodia) and other countries (like Turkey and Peru) I’ve never gotten food poisoning. Don’t be afraid of smoky bars, staying up late, walking instead of renting a car, checking out the local markets, and trying food on the street. Don’t go to a foreign country just to spend your time shopping. Don’t expect the world to be like where you grew up, don’t try to replicate your lifestyle at home when you travel, and appreciate and enjoy the difference.

Good advice Sybil! And there you have it. I highly recommend this book, it was an enjoyable foray into Thailand and into the mind of intense, yet quirky female character who you couldn’t help to root for. And P.S. I think this is a perfect script for someone like Jennifer Garner or Drew Barrymore if someone in Hollywood decides to turn it into a film, I think it is a good candidate.


If you have a blog or website and would like to host an author, WOW-WomenOnWriting are accepting a few choice blogs to participate in their programs. Come and join the fun! Email Angela & Jodi at blogtourATwowwomenonwritingDOTcom.

About Andi Fisher

I'm a lifestyle blogger focused on travel and food. A marketing gal who gave up my job to travel around the United States in an RV with my hubby. I'm now settling into the Portland area where I'm looking for my next career adventure! I love to travel via my stomach. Eating, seeking out local artisans and features to share. I've got more than 26 years of experience in marketing focused on content, social media, and direct marketing and I've mentored many bloggers, old and new.

Comments

  1. Thanks Andi for hosting me and reviewing my book!

  2. Sybil,

    When you describe traveling to other countries you really seem to encourage us to immerse ourselves in the culture. Are their any countries you’d like to experience that you haven’t yet?

  3. I’m gonna have to check it out!!

    Have traveled much through the States?

  4. Hi Kel – is that a question for Sybil? Or me?

  5. Beth, there are many countries and places in the States I'd still like to go to. When I was in Korea I had a trip to India planned, then couldn't go because of surgery. I'm going to South Africa (where my husband is from) in May and am very excited. And there are still so many places in Tennessee that I haven't been to…

    Kel, When I was growing up I traveled up and down the East Coast. I've been to Seattle, San Francisco, LA, the Grand Canyon, New Mexico, and lived in Colorado for 5 years. There are so many more places that I'm hoping to go to & look forward to doing that now that I'm Stateside again.

Speak Your Mind

*