Some years ago, my aunt and uncle used to flee the soul numbing cold and snow and darkness of the winter months in their homeland, Finland. They stayed in a condo in Fort Myers, Florida, painted delicious pictures of the pleasures they experienced. It call came across as so delightful; the warmth, the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the swaying palm treed, the rich and colorful flowers, I had to see it for myself. Together with my husband, we ended up by renting a house in Florida, complete with a pool, a back yard with an orange and a lemon tree. This was the beginning of my love affair with Southwest Florida; I loved it all and still do. I’d go for walks in my neighborhood and gasp, “Oh, look at that!” I’d grab my husband’s arm, point at a flock of pristine white ibis, “Oh, how lovely,” staring in admiration at the sky with ever-changing clouds and supercells.
When I started writing my first novel LIFE IS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE it was a given I’d set the story in Southwest Florida. During one of my walks I stopped to admire a tall jacaranda tree with blue-purple flowers. The florescence was rich, an azure burst against the white billowing clouds. When Nina, my female protagonist in LIFE IS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE, meets Michael, much about him attracts her, but she “falls” into his jacaranda blue eyes, compelling, arresting in their intensity. I was able to pour into this story my passion for gardening, experiencing it vicariously through Michael’s trial-and-error attempts to grow the perfect rose.
I must have inherited my fascination for gardening from my father. Despite the harsh weather conditions in my native Finland, my dad tended a gardenia in our home. When he first planted it, it was no more than a twig. Over time and with tender care it grew into a luscious bush. Each years in early April it carried a few buds. For my father’s birthday at the end of April it produced one white flower to honor his day. When I bought my house here in Southwest Florida, before I did anything at all about the yard, I planted a gardenia outside my bedroom window. Its spicy and exotic perfume fills the air when the bush is covered in white flowers—in April. And of course the intoxicating scent of gardenia wafts through the pages of my novel LIFE IS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE.
On a less perfumed and exotic note, my second book THE WOODEN CHAIR is set in, to me, more familiar places, Helsinki and Geneva. My protagonist, Leini Bauman, is an amalgam of stories based on my clinical experiences as a substance abuse counselor. As a young girl I had a passion for writing. It never left me, but life and responsibilities interfered until recently. Now I have the time to indulge and write, write, write.
Genre: Family saga/literary fiction
Publisher: Untreed Reads Publication
Date of Publication: May 15, 2013
Number of pages: 317
Word Count: 100,00
Winner of the Royal Palm Award, Florida Writers Association
Set against the background of the Finno-Russian winter war, this story starts I Helsinki in 1943 and spans over fifty years of Leini Bauman’s life.
As a child, Leini stands ready to do anything to win her mother Mira’s love. This effort costs her the sight in one eye and as a result, causes her to endure bullying from kids her own age. As a teenager, with her Grandpa’s help, she undergoes one more surgery to straighten her eye, but the psychological scar of the events of her childhood remain.
Leini struggles to break free of Mira’s tyranny by leaving her native Helsinki to study psychology at Geneva University. A few years later, married, herself to a wonderful man, about to become a mother, she is determined with her own children not to repeat Mira’s behavior. With the help of a psychiatrist, she labors through the pains of past hurts to become a nurturing and loving mother and wife, as well as a successful professional, as she grows from victim to victor over adversity. Can her efforts lead her to the one thing she needs to discover the most - the ability to forgive her mother?
PRAISE FOR THE WOODEN CHAIR:
The Wooden Chair is a beautifully written period piece. When I began reading, I didn’t stop until I turned the last page. Ms. Golay’s descriptions are so powerful, the characters so true to life, they’re unforgettable. Leini’s journey from an emotionally abused child to a self-confident woman should be read by all who’ve suffered any form of abuse and persevered. Quite the most powerful novel I’ve read in years." --Suzanne Barr, Author of Fatal Kiss
The Wooden Chair took hold of me in the first paragraphs and never let go. I kept expecting—and wanting—someone to rescue Leini from her wildly unpredictable mother who told Leini she wasn’t wanted. Leini’s disappointments and longings as she faced serious issues for such a young girl kept me engrossed. I wept at Rayne Golay’s vivid descriptions of Leini coping in an unfair world, and I rejoiced at her remarkable quest to change, at her acceptance as she grew into adulthood. Rayne’s high quality writing in The Wooden Chair makes it an emotionally charged read, a compelling story of one woman’s valiant struggle to grow away from past hurts. A triumphant story! --Elizabeth (Bettie) Wailes, Author and Editor