Friday, March 7, 2014

Author Interview: Corinne Demas, author of Returning to Shore

Today Corinne Demas is stopping by to tell us a little about herself and her novel, Returning to Shore! If you're looking for a perfect beach read this summer, you'll definitely want to give this book about family and growing up a try. Check out the synopsis below:

Her mother's third marriage is only hours old when all hope for Clare's fifteenth summer fades. Before she knows it, Clare is whisked away to some ancient cottage on a tiny marsh island on Cape Cod to spend the summer with her father - a man she hasn't seen since she was three. Clare's biological father barely talks, and when he does, he obsesses about endangered turtles. The first teenager Clare meets on the Cape confirms that her father is known as the town crazy person. But there's something undeniably magical about the marsh and the islanda connection to Clare's past that runs deeper than memory. Even her father's beloved turtles hold unexpected surprises. As Clare's father begins to reveal more about himself and his own struggle, Clare's summer becomes less of an exile and more of a return home.

Tell us a little about yourself?

I grew up in New York City (and wrote a memoir about it, called Eleven Stories High, Growing up in Stuyvesant Town, 1948—1968.) Now I live with my family part of the year in Western Massachusetts, where I teach at Mount Holyoke College, and part of the year on Cape Cod, which is the setting for Returning to Shore. I have two miniature donkeys and we cart them back and forth in a red trailer.

People are always asking me “Why donkeys?” Perhaps it has something to do with Eeyore, or perhaps it’s my Greek heritage. Or maybe it’s just their soulful eyes.

Was writing always something you aspired to do?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. On my website,, you can see a photo of my first novel—at least I thought it was a novel---written at age six in a black composition book.

What are a few of your favorite books and did they inspire you in any way?

My favorite books include ones that I use in the classes that I teach at Mount Holyoke College. It’s exciting to read a book year after year and keep discovering new things in it. And I’m certainly constantly inspired by what I read. I’m currently teaching a course on the short story, which includes James Joyce’s Dubliners, and collections of short stories by Eudora Welty and Katherine Mansfield. In a seminar called “Daughters” I included two novels that I love, is Elizabeth Bowen’s The Death of the Heart and Elizabeth Strout’s Amy and Isabelle.

When you were a teenager what would you have thought of Returning to Shore's main character Clare?

I imagine that I would have empathized with her and I think I would have wanted to have her as a friend.

What is your favorite quote from Returning to Shore and why would you call it your favorite?

It’s so hard to choose! I’ll pick a moment towards the end of the novel, when Clare is in the car with her father, and he understands, instinctively, what has happened between her and her so-called friends. I’m interested in the way people come together, and at this place in the novel father and daughter communicate without using words.
He took the steering wheel in his left hand and with his right hand he reached out towards Clare and stroked her hair back over her head. His hand rested there behind her head and she leaned back into it, and let the weight of her head, the weight of everything, rest in his palm.

For more about Returning to Shore check out these sites!



  1. This book has been everywhere lately. You asked some great questions, I particularly liked the last one. I'd think it would be nearly impossible for an author to choose a favorite quote from their own book.

  2. Great interview! Loved learning more about the author and I love that quote she picked. I haven't seen this book before but I really think I would like it. :)

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We love to read them. :)

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