Interview with Jessica Strawser, author of Almost Missed You

Ya’ll! Today I have Jessica Strawser, author of Almost Missed You, at Traveling With T to talk about her debut, missed connections and more!

Let me set the scene before the interview begins…. Picture it.. Sicily 1922… No really, it was around October/November 2016 and an early copy of Almost Missed You arrived at my house. I devoured it. And quickly wrote this Goodreads review!

On to the interview…. Continue reading

Interview with Samantha Hayes, author of Until You’re Mine

until you're mine by samantha hayes

Photo Credit: Crown Publishing


Hello, hello! As you know, all this week at Traveling With T and Ivory Owl Reviews– we’ve teamed up to discuss the heck out of the book UNTIL YOU’RE MINE by Samantha Hayes (released April 15, 2014!) When me and Rhiannon were talking about things we wanted to feature this week, an interview was definitely something that was high on the list. Guess what? We (and ya’ll!) got lucky and scored an interview with Samantha Hayes. Read on for Samantha’s thoughts about writing, some authors she enjoys, and the inspiration for UNTIL YOU’RE MINE.

Continue reading

Author Interview: Elizabeth Maxwell, author of HAPPILY EVER AFTER (& a giveaway!)

author interviews

Today, today, today…. Traveling With T has author Elizabeth Maxwell, author of HAPPILY EVER AFTER, hanging out at the blog! I recently read (and pretty much devoured) my review copy of HAPPILY EVER AFTER (note: Do not read in the dentist office if you are prone to laughing out loud #truestory) and I enjoyed it so much, so I was excited to get to chat with Elizabeth. And then…. when I found out there could be a giveaway (well you know how I feel about that! ♥♥♥♥ ) Even better… TWO COPIES to be given away! Two! Count them, two! Twins! Doubles! 2 times the happiness! Continue reading

Author Interview: Samara O’Shea, author of LOVES ME…NOT

author interviews

Today, on Traveling With T, I had the pleasure of an interview with Samara O’Shea. Samara is an author and her recent book is LOVES ME…NOT: How to Survive (and Thrive!) in the Face of Unrequited Love . Samara also is a contributor to Huffington Post– most notably for these 2 articles: Interview With An Adulterer and How Many Marriages End in Happily Ever AfterContinue reading

Author Interview: Ariel Lawhon author of THE WIFE, THE MAID & THE MISTRESS

author interviews

Today, I have the lovely Ariel Lawhon stopping by to talk a bit at Traveling With T. Ever look at someone and think “How does she do it all?” Ariel is one of those people. She writes, she is one the creative geniuses behind She Reads, she has 4 kids and she’s a force to be reckoned with on social media. Ariel inspires me daily.

Ariel’s debut novel, THE WIFE, THE MAID and THE MISTRESS (read my review here) has book lovers all a-twitter! Political corruption, scandal, showgirls, and a missing judge- plus 3 women who all have their own reasons for keeping what they know about the judge secret- book clubs, you have met your next book (you’re welcome!)  Continue reading

Interview with Adria J. Cimino, author of Paris, Rue des Martyrs

author interviews

Adria J. Cimino is here today to talk to Traveling With T about her debut novel, Paris, Rue des Martyrs- which can be purchased at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and coming soon to Apple IBookstore.

Interview with Adria J. Cimino

Adria, thank you for stopping by Traveling With T to talk about your book, Paris, Rue des Martyrs.


It’s my pleasure! Thank you for inviting me to chat!


Adria, can you tell the readers a little bit about Paris, Rue des Martyrs?

Paris, Rue des Martyrs is actually four stories in one: Four strangers, each at a crossroads of sorts, find their lives and stories entwining. The novel is about the importance of relationships and how certain encounters can change the course of our lives. And it is a commentary about city life: While the city may represent liberation for one, it can mean oppression for another.


Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes… and no. I’ll explain. I always wanted to write, but was an extremely shy bookworm as a child. So the idea of actually sharing what I wrote with anyone was terrifying. Especially the idea of fiction, which to me is a lot more personal than the news articles I’ve written as a journalist. Luckily, I lost a bit of the shyness and couldn’t resist the temptation to follow my heart.


Do you have a writing space or a writing routine?

I wrote a lot of “Paris, Rue des Martyrs” in the commuter train at 6 a.m.! And then, once we moved into Paris, I wrote on the weekends. Now that I’m no longer working full-time in an office, I have the luxury of writing for a shorter time each day. So no more two-day writing marathons! My writing space is the dining room table. Apartments are often small in Paris 🙂


What is the best advice that you received in your journey to be an author?

From my mom, who I so wish was still around to see my book published. She told me never to give up, never to even think about the possibility of failure.


Today, many authors are not only writing books- but they are having to build a following on social media. How are you using social media to help find a fan base?

I think social media is absolutely essential today for both new and established authors. I’m on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. I post on my blog twice a week and regularly visit my favorite book and travel-related blogs. I’m also on Google+. And I never, ever send out generic messages. If I don’t have time to send someone a personal message, I won’t send a message at all.

I realize that for any success that I may have, I will have to thank social media and especially the book blogging community. Sure, you can be a good writer, but if no one knows about you…


What was the best part about writing Paris, Rue des Martyrs?

The best part of writing this novel was re-examining life in Paris from four completely different points of view and making those perspectives of the city convincing and real. It was challenging and a lot of fun!

Adria, can you tell the readers of Traveling With T about any future book plans?

Sure, since I’ve been seriously writing for more than a decade, I actually have two novels waiting in the wings. I have to remain vague at this point, but I can say that one is about the role of destiny in a young woman’s life. It is set in New York and London. And the other is about a young perfumer and is set in the perfume capital of Grasse, France. (I mention the setting because location isn’t just an arbitrary decision for me, but always has a larger role in my work.)


Paris Rue des Martyrs FB

Photo Credit: Provided by Author


Some encounters make a difference.


Four strangers in Paris. Each one is on a quest: to uncover a family secret, to grasp a new chance at love, to repair mistakes of the past. Four stories entwine, four quests become one, as their paths cross amid the beauty, squalor, animation and desolation of a street in Paris, the Rue des Martyrs.


Rafael’s search for his birth mother leads him to love and grim family secrets. Cecile’s view of herself as an unsatisfied housewife is radically changed by the promise of a passionate liaison. Andre, an aging actor, troubled by the arrival of the son he abandoned years ago, must make a choice, to either lose his son forever or put aside pride and seek redemption. Mira travels to Paris to begin a new life and forget about love… or so she intends.


Four strangers, four stories, one riveting novel.


adria J. Cimino

Photo credit: Provided by author

Connect with Adria: Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus,




*Thanks Adria for the author interview!


Happy Reading and Bookishly Yours,

T @ Traveling With T

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Interview with Gigi Pandian, author of PIRATE VISHNU (plus signed bookplate promo!)

Pirate Vishnu by Gigi Pandian- Henery Press

Photo Credit: Henery Press

Today, Gigi Pandian stopped by Traveling With T to talk about her latest book, PIRATE VISHNU, Jaya (her character’s) #literaryconfessions and Indiana Jones. Read on for all the details in this fun interview with Gigi. And don’t forget- after the interview, there is the info you will need to get a signed bookplate (Shut UP! I know, right?!)

Interview with Gigi Pandian, author of PIRATE VISHNU

Hi Gigi- Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed at Traveling With T!


Thanks for having me!


Can you describe Pirate Vishnu (A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery) in 15 words or less?

A treasure map of San Francisco’s Barbary Coast leads to mystery and romance in India.


Why will readers connect to Jaya Jones? What sets her apart from other characters?

Jaya is a classic adventurer in the tradition of Elizabeth Peters’ strong-willed heroines, but she puts her own multicultural twist on the genre. She was born in India to an Indian mother and an American father, and grew up to be a professor of Indian history in San Francisco. She brings her experiences with her to her adventures, which helps her solve mysteries of the past linked to present-day crimes.


“Maneuvers a complicated love life she didn’t count on”- ooh, Jaya’s dealing with a love triangle! Do you, as the writer, know which part of the love triangle complements Jaya better? Or are you still deciding?

When I wrote Artifact, the first book in the series, I thought I had everything figured out. But my characters surprised me! They’ve taken on lives of their own and I’m not yet sure how they’re going to work things out. I can’t wait to find out.


RT Book Reviews says “Forget about Indiana Jones. Jaya Jones is swinging into action.” How does that make you feel? Indiana Jones is a pretty big pop culture icon- so being compared must be kind of cool!

It’s definitely exciting to see reviews comparing Jaya to Indiana Jones! When I was a kid, I created a cartoon strip called “Minnesota Smith” — the adventures of a female Indiana Jones. It’s surreal to have come full circle.


Is Jaya Jones based on anyone you know, Gigi?

I traveled with my anthropologist parents a lot when I was a kid, so I invented all sorts of mysterious treasure hunts as I played in castle ruins. When I began writing a novel I wanted to capture that spirit, so Jaya was initially based on me – but she grew into her own unique personality more than I was expecting!


What is the 1 thing that Jaya would never be without?

Jaya needs her high heels – she’s only 5 feet tall.


Does Jaya have any  #literaryconfessions?

Jaya Jones #literaryconfessions

Jaya Jones has a pretty big literary confession: She tells people she doesn’t have time to read fiction, since she’s a second-year professor who doesn’t yet have tenure, but she secretly loves classic adventure novels. She doesn’t admit to herself that she loves the thrill of the treasure hunts she gets pulled into, but her favorite novels are Victorian escapist adventures like King Solomon’s Mines.

*Thanks Gigi for a great interview!


Photo Credit: Provided by Author

Gigi Pandian Bio:

Gigi Pandian is the child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico and the southern tip of India. After being dragged around the world during her childhood, she tried to escape her fate when she left a PhD program for art school. But adventurous academic characters wouldn’t stay out of her head. Thus was born the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series. The first book in the series, Artifact, was awarded a Malice Domestic Grant and named a “Best of 2012″ debut novel by Suspense Magazine. The follow-up is Pirate Vishnu. Gigi loves writing locked-room mystery short stories. Her latest, “The Hindi Houdini,” is an Agatha Award nominee for Best Short Story.

Connect with Gigi: Facebook, blog, Twitter and website.

Signed Bookplate Info:

Signed BookPlate from Gigi

Photo Credit: Provided by Author

Want a signed bookplate for your copy of PIRATE VISHNU? Order PIRATE VISHNU by February 17th and email proof of purchase to: (while supplies last). For more info, visit Gigi’s site for all the details on the signed bookplate.

Where to buy PIRATE VISHNU:

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, A Great Good Place for Books, & Murder By The Book.

Author Interview: Julie Kibler, author of Calling Me Home

calling me home 3

Photo Credit: Author Provided


Julie Kibler’s debut novel, Calling Me Home, holds a special place in my heart. Not because it’s good (It is, though), but because it was the first She Reads book chosen after I became the She Reads Twitter Chat and Online Discussion Leader. And boy, this book made THAT memorable! I won’t spoil the book by going on and on about it- for 2 reasons- 1. today is all about Julie and 2. I want you to read this book (psst… Goodreads is having a giveaway!)


On to Julie’s interview 🙂


Julie Kibler, author of Calling Me Home

Calling Me Home is your first book, Julie- and it made quite a splash! It will be made into a movie, it was a Pulpwood Queen and She Reads Book Club selection- and several authors posted it on their “must read” lists. How does that make you feel?

It has been an exciting year, to say the least. Some days I have to pinch myself.

Calling Me Home is fiction- but it’s inspiration was from a family story about your grandmother.  Did that make writing this book easier or harder?

It made it easier in that I had a muse in my deceased grandmother and an inkling of a story and an unusual setting. It made it harder because I knew I couldn’t tell the “true” story because of not knowing all the details—I had to really give myself permission to just go with my imagination. I’m sure the resulting story is really very different from what happened to my grandmother. I’d love to know, but that won’t happen this side of the grave!

Has there been any progress made in the news that Calling Me Home will make it to the big screen? Will you, as the author, have a choice in the cast?

I haven’t heard anything new lately. I don’t have any specific rights in cast choice, but I imagine I might be consulted at some point. I figured I’ve done my job—writing the book. The rest is up to the producers and directors!

After writing, the edits and all the other things that go into making a book- when you finally saw the first copy of Calling Me Home- what was your reaction?

I was at the Pulpwood Queen’s Annual Girlfriend Weekend in Jefferson last January and received a box of my books at the bed and breakfast where I was staying. They were intended for giveaways that weekend—my personal copies would arrive the next week. Still, it was an unforgettable moment, feeling the texture of the pages and seeing the lovely buttery yellow of the cloth cover for the very first time. And don’t tell anyone, but I did keep one! 🙂 (I made up for it later.)

Do you have any more book signing events planned?

I’m about to attend the Pulpwood Queen’s 2014 weekend again, this time as a panelist, which is exciting! I have a few Kentucky events in the works for late spring and will be at the DFW Writer’s Conference in early May. Other than the launch events I already did locally, I’m not doing a bookstore tour for the paperback, but often visit with book clubs or do library events or events with other organizations here and there.

Julie- what are you working on next? Are you in the process of gathering ideas for a new book?

I’m working on a new story. I’m really excited about it and hoping to find real time to devote to it this spring. I think readers who enjoyed Calling Me Home will be pleased, as I’m finding myself obsessed once again with the concepts of home, family, and the geography of the road.



*Thanks to Julie for answering the interview questions! Connect with Julie via Facebook or Website.



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Interview with Randy Susan Meyers, author of The Comfort of Lies

comfort of lies

I’m happy to announce two things: 1. This week on Traveling With T- Randy Susan Meyers stops by for an interview and author spotlight (where she reveals a special surprise for book clubs that have chosen The Comfort of Lies for their reads!) and 2. that The Comfort of Lies will be August’s Book Lovers Unite online book club selection. August’s selection will be hosted here at Traveling With T (Jen @ Book-alicious Mama had a wonderful time hosting The Painted Girls for July!) For more information on August- read here.


Interview with Randy Susan Meyers

Randy Susan Meyers- thank you for agreeing to be interviewed!

Thank you for choosing my novel for your group! It’s an honor that I truly appreciate.

What was the inspiration for The Comfort of Lies?

How do you create characters? Are the characters based on people you know?

Hope this is okay—I am answering the above questions together, as the answers are quite linked.

I didn’t give up a baby for adoption nor adopt a child, but with every pregnancy scare I had, I wondered about the choices I might make. Infidelity? I struggled with the issue in ways that allowed The Comfort of Lies to come frighteningly alive in my mind (and hopefully on paper.) I haven’t suffered through all of my characters’ crises but I’ve been close enough to imagine them all far too well.

Writing this book drew me to dark places and gloomy themes (falling hard for a man who isn’t yours; learning your husband has cheated; an unplanned pregnancy; thinking that you’re not cut out for motherhood; giving up a child for adoption; wrestling with the pull towards work and the demands of motherhood; failing at work.) Blowing up emotional truths into a “what-if” novel forced me to visit past sins of my own, sins that were visited upon me, and sins that had always terrified me as my future possibilities. People disappearing, or not being what or whom one thought—these themes are at the core of my writing and my life. The Comfort of Lies is not autobiographical—but I drew on bad times and exploded those stretches into “could be far worse” and “what if.”

I examined that thin line teetering between morality and absolution. These are themes I seem to visit in all my writing: the many ways women approach motherhood, fear of truth, forgiving others for sins and forgiving oneself for sins.

There something a little creepy about knowing that when friends, family, neighbors, and mailman read the novels I wrote, that they’re probably thinking:  So that’s what she thinks about when she has sex! Oh, that’s how she really views her kids! My God, she lies to her husband?

No matter how much I insist that no, the mean cheating husband is not really a faintly disguised version of my husband (or ex-husband), I’m quite sure that their nod of agreement translates to, Sure. I just bet.

How to explain a writer’s joyous transmogrification of demons into fiction? How to tell someone that no, that is not my mother, my sister, my husband, but a stew of the emotions and fears and love that I’ve absorbed. Philip Roth said it well in an interview (that I can’t locate) where he explained how it was the very goodness of his mother that allowed him to write about awful mothers. I understood that, because it was only after I entered a warm loving relationship that I could explore the darkest parts of myself without fear.

I’ve tried to explain my work process, in answer to those knowing glances about my characters: No. It’s not me—it’s nuggets of all my fixations blown up into a world of crazy. It is, as I read in The Nobodies Album, a novel by Carolyn Parkhurst, the butter that I can finally put in the cookies, a phrase from Parkhurst’s main character, a writer, who muses:

“There’s an analogy I came up with once for an interview who asked me how much of my material was autobiographical. I said that the life experience of a fiction writer is like butter in cookie dough: it’s a crucial part of flavor and texture—you certainly couldn’t leave it out—but if you’ve done it right, it can’t be discerned as a separate element. There shouldn’t be a place that anyone can point to and say, There—she’s talking about her miscarriage, or Look—he wrote that because his wife has an affair.”

I hope I never forget the phrase (and that I always give proper thanks to Parkhurst) about “the butter in cookie dough”. What a perfect capture for fiction—taking the elemental issues with which one struggles, giving those problems to one’s characters, and kneading those thorny emotional themes that haunt into the thoughts, minds, and actions of those characters until, hopefully, you can beat that sucker into submission.

Then move on to the next one.

How do you explain to a neighbor that your lifelong struggle with a mother obsessed with vanity became a character’s need to re-invent herself as a cosmetic tycoon? That your daily struggle with weight grew into a character’s morbid obesity? That your lonesome childhood morphed into a Dickensian orphanage?

How do you answer the questions, “Where did you get that idea?” There’s not a book club I’ve visited that hasn’t asked me that question about my book, and while the answers I give are honest: a childhood incident, the work I’ve done, a letter to the editor I read—those are the answers about the book’s recipe.

Now, thanks to Pankhurst, I have the answer to how the emotions marbling the story really came about:

It’s the butter in the cookies.


In Comfort of Lies, there are several characters- did you have a favorite?

If there’s any character I can call a favorite, it would be the most silent: Savannah. The little girl captured me from the first time I wrote her name/s. (The fact that there were two names represented, for me, the pull on this child.)

The book has nothing written from her point of view—but my original manuscript ended with an epilogue from Savannah, a scene that takes place seven years after the end of the book, when Savannah is 13. I might have written that scene just for me, as I had to know what happened to her (and the rest of the characters.)

After much back and forth, my editor and I decided not to end with that epilogue, but now, so many readers have asked what happens to Savannah, that after the paperback comes out (Feb 2014) I am going to send a PDF of that scene to all book clubs who’ve chosen The Comfort of Lies for their group. (This is the first time I’ve written about this plan, Tamara! I’m breaking this news here.)

As for the main characters—(in order of appearance!) Tia, Nathan, Juliette, and Caroline—it was never a matter of favorites, but of challenges. Each character forced me to access a different side of my self and of other people I know, of beliefs, of experiences. I found that fascinating. I write each character from a very close point of view, entering their world in totality. We are all the stars of our own show. The same is true of characters. They believe the reality they tell themselves, so each character must be written with a sense of empathy for self, the same as we hold for ourselves.

The only time I consciously base a character on someone I know is in the case of minor or walk-on characters. These are characters that are allowed to be more ‘one-note’ so I can have some fun by pulling up memories and either honoring (or not) people from my past.

When writing Comfort of Lies- did you know how it would end? Or did the ending reveal itself as you were writing?

I outline about ¾ a book before I write. This gives me enough of a road map to know where I am going. Then, as I write, I am drawn to what will become the inevitable (to me) conclusion. This outline gives me the structure that I need, without losing the momentum I want for passion and discovery.

As I wrote The Comfort of Lies I had that anxiety of “what are they going to do!” that keeps me on edge, keeps me taking long walks to figure out what everyone will do. I search for the most logical and honest-to-the-characters ending, while keeping in mind a satisfying arc for the reader (and for me!)

Randy, I remember reading an article that you had written about being a writer of a certain age. Do you think being older helps in your writing? Are you more focused now than possibly at an earlier time?

Yes, yes, and yes! I always loved writing (and in fact co-authored a nonfiction book in my twenties) but due to circumstances (single-parenting, working two jobs) it took many years before I could concentrate on my true love (besides my children and 2nd husband) of fiction.

One of the main advantages in waiting to write is this: I believe using emotional experience from the past gives me greater control in my work than I had when I was writing from fresh wounds. When I look back at some of my earlier work (unpublished!) I see that I was far less able to be honest. I was not able to write without “the reader over my shoulder.” It is obvious to me (with much wincing) how much I was writing to either heal my own past or justify decisions I’d made. Now I don’t feel that constraint.

And, very important, now I can have a calm life while infusing my work with every bit of drama I can squeeze in, living by these words from Gustave Flaubert:

Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”

How long did Comfort of Lies take to write?

Drafting and editing the novel took about eighteen months. Then there is an entirely new set of edits and revising that one does with their editor, so from conception to publication was about three years.

If Comfort of Lies was made into a movie- Randy , do you have a dream cast in mind?

These were the actor-images I imagined as I wrote—vague dreamy versions of them. Caroline was a combination of a young Meryl Streep and Laura Dern. Tia held a sense of Natalie Portman’s coloring and fragility (along with Keira Knightly.)  Nathan held a hint of a young Andy Garcia combined with Craig Bierko. And Juliette, although the coloring is wrong, I had a feel of Julianna Margulies.

How would you describe Comfort of Lies?

The short version is:

The Comfort of Lies, a novel about the collateral damage of infidelity, reveals the darkest and most private thoughts of three women. A little girl’s birthday triggers a collision course for three women—the woman who gave birth to her, the woman whose husband fathered her, and the woman who adopted her—forcing them to face the damages of infidelity and make decisions about marriage, motherhood, and their careers. The Comfort of Lies, a novel about the collateral damage of infidelity, reveals the darkest and most private thoughts of three women.

The longer version would include:

Three Mothers. Two Fathers. One Child.

Five years ago Tia fell into obsessive love with a man she could never have. Married, and the father of two boys, Nathan was unavailable in every way. When she became pregnant, he disappeared, and she gave up her baby for adoption. Now, she’s trying to connect with her lost daughter and former lover.

Five years ago, Caroline, a dedicated pathologist, reluctantly adopted a baby to please her husband. She prayed her misgivings would disappear; instead, she’s questioning whether she’s cut out for the role of wife and mother.

Five years ago, Juliette considered her life ideal: she had a loving family, a solid marriage, and a thriving business. Then she discovered Nathan’s affair. He’d promised he’d never stray again and she trusted him. But that was before she knew about the baby.

Now, when Juliette intercepts a letter containing photos meant for Nathan, her world crumbles again. How could Nathan deny his daughter? And if he’s kept this a secret from her, what else is he hiding? Desperate for the truth, Juliette goes in search of the little girl. Her quest leads to Caroline and Tia and before long, the women are on a collision course with consequences that none of them could have predicted.

Any ideas as to what the next book will be about, Randy Susan Meyers?

In my next novel (which has a current release date of September 2014, from Atria Books/Simon & Schuster) social worker Maddy Illica shields herself with pills and work as she protects herself and her children from husband Ben ‘s temper. Public defender Ben dreams of being a hero while his family crumbles under his periodic rages, until his recklessness precipitates a tragedy. Maddy can no longer protect anyone and nothing is certain. The story is told from the point of view of Maddy, Ben, and their 14-year-old daughter.


*Special thanks to Randy Susan Meyers for agreeing to be interviewed!


randy susan meyersRandy Susan Meyers, author of The Comfort of Lies, is working on her 3rd novel. For more information on Randy, visit her website, Facebook, Twitter, HuffPost, Pinterest, and Goodreads pages.


Interview with Karen Brown- author of The Longings of Wayward Girls

the longings of wayward girlsKaren Brown, The Longings of Wayward Girls author, agreed to be interviewed about The Longings of Wayward Girls, her writing space, and her thoughts on social media as how it would relate to her main character, Sadie.

Check back on Wednesday, as I’ll feature an Author Spotlight on Karen Brown- and she’ll reveal favorite books, #literarycrush and more!


Interview with Karen Brown:

1. What was the inspiration for The Longings of Wayward Girls?

The novel emerged from a combination of two short stories, “Little Sinners” and “Housewifery,” that appear in my second collection Little Sinners and Other Stories. Both stories are set in the same Connecticut suburb. “Housewifery” explores the world of stay-at-home mothers who discover a hidden pond, while “Little Sinners” focuses on two young friends who play a prank on a neighbor girl. The town in the book is loosely based on the one where I grew up—we used to put on shows, and play Old Fashioned Days House. Our parents hosted an annual Lobster Bake. When you grow up in a place filled with very old houses and barns you always feel a part of the past. I was aware of this while writing the book, and I read a lot of diaries and journals of colonial New England women. I wanted to reveal a world in which certain ideals of marriage and motherhood remain the same, despite the era, but also show how women who transgress ultimately suffer. And yes, I vaguely remember as a child hiding notes under a stone to trick a neighbor girl. Thankfully, without the repercussions in the novel.
2. From the beginning to end, how long did The Longings of Wayward Girls take to write?

I began the novel in May of 2010 with some notes about a group of children in a neighborhood who want to put on their own Aquacade, a swimming show like the one they discover in a 1930s New York World’s Fair playbill in a neighbor’s house. About this time I also wrote a story, “Housewifery,” which appeared in Good Housekeeping in July 2011. I knew I wanted to involve the women from this story in my novel. After a year of drafting I showed it to my agent, who worked with me tirelessly, and after a major revision sold the book last summer. Of course, that wasn’t the end—I revised the book some more, with the help of my brilliant editor, until October 2012.

3. Do you have a writing space? A writing routine?

I like to write in the mornings. This was always after my children were dropped at school, and the house was empty and quiet. I used to sit in one room, in one chair, but I’m lucky that my house is large enough, with multiple rooms with couches and chairs, that I can branch out. I know, though, in which place I’ve written which story, or which scene, so I am a bit superstitious about choosing places. I’ve learned to write with the television as background noise on the weekends—right now, for instance, I think I hear “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

4. Are any of the characters based on people in real life? Or just figments of your imagination?

I never base main characters on real people, but I will use people I meet in random places in supporting roles. So, pregnant Emma with her red hair and lovely tattooed arm is someone who served me breakfast at an Inn in St. Augustine, Florida.

5. Will you be going on a book signing tour? If so, what are you looking forward to the most about the tour?

I have a few places in Connecticut and in Florida lined up for readings so far. I love talking with readers about my work, and I’m most looking forward to revisiting the book again after time away from it.

6. Do you want The Longings of Wayward Girls to be made into a movie one day? If so, who are the actors that would comprise your dream cast?

It would be wonderful to see the book as a movie. I wouldn’t begin to guess who would play what role—I’d rather be surprised. I like the idea of leaving it up to the new creator’s expertise and interpretation.

7. Sadie, the precocious main character in Longings of Wayward Girls, is a character that is hard to forget. How did you create her? Was it hard to write about a character like her?

I think children can be filled with resentment and spite without really knowing why, and Sadie’s cruelty toward Francie seems to arise out of her own sorrow and confusion about growing up. For this reason I was able to sympathize with her and understand her. Because she does some of the things I did as a child (I really wrote a musical called “The Memory of the Fleetfoot Sisters”) I could relate to her creative side. The adult Sadie’s actions were harder to imagine and write about—but I felt that the two Sadies—young and old—are so closely linked. She’s never grown out of the past, and I felt I was essentially continuing her story.

8. Describe Longings of Wayward Girls in 10 words or less?

A suburban mother reawakens old love and a haunted past.

9. The setting for Longings of Wayward Girls is an idyllic, sleepy town. Way before the days of Facebook and Twitter. Can you picture Sadie as a precocious girl using social media?

The “letters under the stone” incident in my own past occurred to me after reading one of the many reports occurring now in which someone corresponds via social media with an unknowing victim. I think it’s all too easy now to pretend to be someone else, and sadly I’m sure Sadie would have taken Facebook and Twitter in stride with similar disastrous results.

*Special thanks to Karen Brown for this interview!



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To find out more about Karen Brown or her book, The Longings of Wayward Girls– please visit her website, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest pages.