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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Winds of Change by Mary Metcalfe (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Mary Metcalfe, author of Winds of Change!

Author Guest Post

How Many Points Of View Is Too Many?
By: Mary Metcalfe

I was emailing with a writer who is struggling with her manuscript this morning and the issue of Point of View (POV) came up. She’s working on her first novel and plans to stay in the heroine’s point of view throughout. That made me think, if there needs to be some level of conflict in a breakout novel, how can you achieve and maintain conflict if you stay in a single POV? People resolve conflicts both internally and externally. We have a conversation or argument with ourselves and work our way through the conflict, even as it is playing out with the other character(s). But, if you only have one POV, how will you know how the other central character(s) are working through their conflicts?

In my debut novel, Winds of Change, I did something no newbie author should probably attempt: I had four adult characters who each had their POV. They were a generation apart in age and aspirations; a younger couple and an older couple. Of course, they weren’t couples when the story began.

As I wrote Winds of Change, it became essential for the characters to show their inner dialogue as a way to explore their thinking and motivations. Thanks to my critique partner, what I was careful to do was bring out only one character’s POV in any scene. Another scene could then feature another POV. As I was polishing the novel, I also had to think about whether the right character’s POV had center stage.

For example, at one point, the young widow Lana brings Mark Powell and his dad home for a backyard barbecue with her son Danny. Neither of the men have current experience with how to cook a steak medium rare. The scene is in Lana’s POV: “Lana was pretty sure she’d detected some hesitation over the steak cooking business. Say about four minutes per side for steaks this thick I think. What would you say?” That scene would have become confusing and jumbled had the POV of either of the men been explored. Also, her thinking and comments underscore Lana’s independence, competence and sensitivity to the feelings of others.

In another chapter and scene, however, the only way to explore Ben Powell’s decision to retire from front-line journalism is to explore the way his feelings about his work and lifestyle have changed. Some of that is accomplished through dialogue with other characters, but to be truly believable, it requires personal introspection by the character himself: “Now, deadlines were in his past. He felt at sea for the first time in decades, he realized.” This is an intimate glimpse into his feelings that, in my view, couldn’t be fully felt through external dialogue. Only from Ben’s internal narrative could the reader fully experience the emotional power of the scene.

What I was trying to achieve by having four viewpoints in Winds of Change was to tell the stories of four strong characters and have readers grow to know them well and to care about them and their lives. It seems to be working. One reviewer wrote: “Fantastic, full rich characters who aren’t perfect.” Another wrote: “It was the kind of book I wanted to just keep reading and reading. I was sad when it ended but I loved the ending!" Clarion Review called it “A sparkling debut… readers will love being swept along by Winds of Change.

But to answer the question in the title? I’ve read that four points of view is about the limit. Some authors have used more but then the story itself is likely to be of epic proportions in order to have time to pull everyone together and find a coherent ending.

About The Author

Mary Metcalfe lives in the foothills of the Laurentians in Quebec, Canada with her husband, three demanding cats and a large Canadian Eskimo Dog rescue. Mary has been a professional writer all her working life but only started writing fiction a few years ago. Now, she refuses to write anything else!

Mary Metcalfe's Winds of Change Virtual Book Tour Page On Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours

Winds of Change Book Trailer

Book Review

Winds of Change by Mary Metcalfe
Publisher: Laskin Publishing
Publication Date: September 24, 2012 (2nd Edition)
Format: Paperback - 274 pages / Kindle - 594 KB 
ISBN: 0987930028
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Winds of Change

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours.

Book Description:

After losing her husband and daughter in a plane crash, Boston social worker Jennifer Barrett is rebuilding her life. Finding solace in her work, Jennifer helps young client Mark Powell find work at the seniors’ residence where her father lives. After learning Mark hasn’t seen his father, an internationally-known broadcast journalist, in over four years, she can’t understand how a father could abandon his only son to chase war stories.

When Jennifer meets Ben Powell, she is prepared to dislike him, despite his charm and affable manner. But, when he reveals he’s been battling post-traumatic stress disorder, she realizes he didn’t want to bring his demons home to Mark, who has suffered from clinical depression. As Jennifer gets to know Ben, she realizes there may be room in her heart for laughter and new love.

Lana Fitzpatrick, a close friend of Jennifer’s and a young nurse helping care for Jennifer’s father, is also a widow, raising her young son Danny alone. As Lana gets to know her handsome co-worker, Mark Powell, and sees him bonding with Danny, she finds her heart swelling with love.

As new family bonds form, all discover the power of friendship and love to overcome loss so they can face life with renewed hope.

Book Excerpt:

                                                  Chapter 1

Jennifer Barrett was almost sprinting down the long hallway when she heard her name being called out.

“Jennifer. Hold up a second.”

She was so focused on getting to her father’s room she found it difficult to slow down. Her pulse was racing as she slowed her steps and finally turned around.

“I’m pretty sure your dad is okay.” A petite young nurse caught up to her. “Dr. Anderson is checking him over now.”

“Hi Lana. Got here as fast as I could.” She willed her breathing and heart rate to slow down as she absorbed the news, combing her fingers absently through her short auburn bob. “What happened this time?”

“It looks like he went back to his room after breakfast and tripped. He went down between the bed and the window. Sprained his wrist as he tried to break the fall.” Lana Fitzpatrick looked up into Jennifer’s worried face. “He refuses to use a walker. We’ve all been concerned this might happen.”

“The nurse who called was talking about calling an ambulance. The traffic was so sluggish. It took me forever to get here.”

“Judging by his complaining, I’d say he’s fine. He really hates anyone fussing over him.”

“My father is such a curmudgeon.” Jennifer was feeling more reassured. She smiled and sighed. “I don’t know how my mother put up with him for over fifty years. It’s only gotten worse with the Alzheimer’s. He gets frustrated so easily.”

“Dr. Anderson’ll page me when it’s clear for you to come up. I examined him. There are no broken bones as far as I could tell, but his right wrist will be sore for awhile. He’s got a nasty gash on his right temple, which I sutured.” Lana was the charge nurse for Art Severn’s floor.

Jennifer patted down some silver hairs that were beginning to frame her face. The movement helped her loosen up, if only slightly. “I can’t help it. I won’t be able to relax until I see him for myself.”

“Won’t be long. I expect a page in a few minutes. I brought Danny with me today. He has a dentist appointment after lunch. Let’s check up on him while we’re waiting.” Lana guided Jennifer along the brightly lit hall towards a sun-drenched solarium.

As they walked arm in arm along the long corridor, Jennifer smiled at residents she recognized and said hello.

“I remember the day he moved in permanently. He was so confused and upset. He couldn’t really remember you or Brentwood from his respite stays.” Jennifer waved to an elderly resident in a wheelchair. “He demanded I take him home. It almost broke my heart to have to tell him no.”

“He wanted to go back home in no uncertain terms. I haven’t been lectured like that since nursing school and never as sternly.” Lana chuckled at the memory.

“You managed to calm him down and stop threatening to leave. I was impressed.” Jennifer remembered being surprised the young nurse had handled her father so adroitly. She was young enough to be his granddaughter.

“I overpowered him with sweetness and charm.” Lana’s slight Irish lilt carried the humor in her voice. “He just couldn’t resist the Fitzpatrick magic. But really, I think it was when we took him out to the gardens. As soon as he started to talk gardening with Fred, I knew he’d be fine.”

“I wasn’t so sure. I had to really cajole him into going for that ride. Told him we were going to visit the place with the pretty gardens. But he’d seen me put the suitcases in the trunk. Somehow he knew he wouldn’t be going back home.”

“You didn’t have a choice.”

“I know.” Jennifer shook her head slowly. “I think every child wants their parents to live forever and be strong and healthy.”

“Doesn’t work that way. It’s called life.”

“True enough. True enough.” Jennifer shook her head again and looked at Lana. “Would you and Danny like to come over for dinner this Sunday?” She and Lana had forged a strong friendship over the past few years. She was even honorary aunt to Lana’s son.

“Sure. My turn to make dessert.”

“You’re on. Just make it a diet dessert.”

“No such thing in my cookbook.”

My Book Review:

Winds of Change is the poignant story about four people each dealing with loss and changes in their lives, who are brought together serendipitously to form a bond of friendship and family that will bring them hope, love and a second chance of happiness in their lives.

In her debut novel, author Mary Metcalfe weaves an emotional tale written in the third person narrative with alternating perspectives, that draws the reader into the lives of Jennifer Barrett, Mark Powell, Ben Powell and Lana Fitzpatrick. Each of them are struggling with the ups and downs of life, with a common thread of dealing with lingering loss, emotional challenges, and changes that will interweave their stories, and bring them together to form a bond that will help them go on with their lives.

With complex and realistic characters that the reader can relate to, the emotional pull of their stories is palpable, you can't help but feel for their losses and hope they find the strength to move on with their lives. Each of the character's stories are poignant, but when their lives intertwine it provides a story that is even more powerful and compelling. Rich in detail and descriptions of land and sea settings, engaging dialogues and interactions, and a storyline that will tug at your heartstrings and have you reaching for tissues, Winds of Change is a deeply moving story that will resonate with you long after the last page has been read.



  1. Thank you for the amazing treatment you gave to Winds of Change, Kathleen! And all that during Hurricane Sandy! Much appreciated. And thank you for the lovely review here and on Amazon.

    All the best,

    1. Hi Mary! Thank you for the opportunity to read, review and host your virtual book tour event. I loved Winds of Change, it is a truly poignant story that touched my heart. :)