Friday, July 9, 2021

THE TIGER MOM'S TALE, by LYN LIAO BUTLER

When an American woman inherits the wealth of her Taiwanese family, she travels to confront them about their betrayals of the past in this stunning debut by Lyn Liao Butler.

Lexa Thomas has never quite fit in. Having grown up in a family of blondes while more closely resembling Constance Wu, she's neither white enough nor Asian enough. Visiting her father in Taiwan as a child, Lexa thought she'd finally found a place where she belonged. But that was years ago, and even there, some never truly considered her to be a part of the family.

When her estranged father dies unexpectedly, leaving the fate of his Taiwanese family in Lexa's hands, she is faced with the choice to return to Taiwan and claim her place in her heritage . . . or leave her Taiwanese family to lose their home for good. Armed with the advice of two half-sisters (one American and the other Taiwanese, who can't stand each other), a mother who has reevaluated her sexuality, a man whose kisses make her walk into walls, and her self-deprecating humor, Lexa finds the courage to leave the comfort of New York City to finally confront the person who drove her away all those decades ago.

With fond memories of eating through food markets in Taiwan and forming a bond with a sister she never knew she had, Lexa unravels the truth of that last fateful summer and realizes she must stand up for herself and open her heart to forgiveness, or allow the repercussions of her family's choices to forever dictate the path of her life.

Reviews ~

"The Tiger Mom's Tale is a heartfelt, delightful read. Lyn Liao Butler's story of Taiwanese and American identity had me turning pages and laughing (and drooling over the delicious descriptions of food)."—Charles Yu, author of Interior Chinatown, winner of the 2020 National Book Award

One of PopSugar's Best New Summer Books of 2021!

"Sharp and humorous, The Tiger Mom's Tale is a scenic, debut novel with a cast of complicated characters sure to bring laughter and discussion to your next book club. I can't wait to read what Lyn Liao Butler writes next!"—Tif Marcelo, USA Today Bestselling author of The Key to Happily Ever After

"Butler’s riveting debut follows a half-white personal trainer who reconnects with her Taiwanese family after her biological father’s death...Butler weaves in convincing descriptions of Lexa’s navigating of the dating scene and the fetishizing of Asian women, and depicts a fascinatingly complex antagonist in Pin-Yen, who by the end must contend with the effect of her past actions. Butler breathes zesty new life into women’s fiction."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Q & A with Lyn ~

Tell us about yourself and how you started writing.

I used to dance professionally (ballet and modern) in NYC. When I moved to the suburbs, my friends wanted to know what I was doing, “up in the country.” So I started a blog to keep them posted, and those blog posts became the idea for my first book that I wrote in 2015. I had no writing background, hadn’t even taken a writing course except what was needed for school, so it was quite ambitious of me to think I could write a full-length novel.

Where do you get your ideas?

From my life, the people I come in contact with and things I hear in the news. There’s a saying, Be careful of being friends with a writer. You never know if you will end up in their book. That is so true for me. I do get my ideas and inspirations from the people and things I see in life, but I always spin them in a way that most people wouldn’t recognize myself. For instance, I take a trait of someone, or something that happened, and I build a whole fictitious story around it. So even though I’m getting inspiration from the people and events in my life, it’s never about the people or events that sparked the idea.

Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write? 

Yes! I say this in every interview but Liane Moriarty is my all-time ultimate writing idol. I read her books during a very hard period in my life, when literally everything fell apart. I identified so much with her books, even though they were set in Australia and I live in New York. There’s something magical about her writing; I connected with the themes and feelings expressed in her book so much. I never thought I would be a writer. I’ve always been a voracious reader. But after reading Liane’s books, it inspired me to try writing, to see if I could help someone else with my writing. She is the reason I even thought to write a book, and I credit her with pushing me into this career that I never imagined I would do.

What are you working on now?

My debut and the following book are adult fiction. Because I’m so far ahead in my writing (book 3 is already written and book 4 is being plotted), I started writing YA. My agent encouraged me to try it since I can’t sell another adult book until my current publisher, Berkley, exercises my option. I pitched a YA idea to my agent and she loved it so much that I wrote 40,000 words of it in two and a half weeks. It’s lighter, more rom-com than my adult books, and I’m finding that I’m really enjoying tapping into my inner teenage self.

What was the most unique research you had to do for a book? 

I like to go to the places where I set my books so that I can experience it firsthand. Most recently, I lived in Kauai for two months doing research for Book 3. For some reason, someone always dies in my books, and I was trying to figure out how a character was going to perish in Book 3. After hearing about the flooding that happens during bad storms, I thought that would be a natural way someone could die (yes, I know, kind of morbid to plot out a death). So I went around asking people, “If there was a bad storm and the Wailua River flooded, could someone who can’t swim be swept away and drown?” And when they said yes, I answered with, “Oh, good! Then that’s how she’s going to die!” Which earned me many strange looks as I tried to convince them I was a writer, really, and not someone plotting a murder.

Author of THE TIGER MOM'S TALE, Penguin/Berkley (7/6/2021)

To connect with Lyn:

https://twitter.com/lynliaobutler

https://www.instagram.com/lynliaobutler/

https://www.facebook.com/lynliaobutlerauthor

https://www.tiktok.com/@lynliaobutler

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/lyn-liao-butler

Connect with me on Instagram

Check out what's new in my etsy shop, Pinot by Lyn





 

 

Monday, May 24, 2021

YOU WILL REMEMBER ME, by author HANNAH MARY MCKINNON (out May 25th!)

An unputdownable amnesia thriller that begs the question ~ how can you trust anyone when you can't even trust yourself? Forget the truth. Remember the lies. He wakes up on a deserted beach in Maryland with a gash on his head and wearing only swim trunks. He can’t remember who he is. Everything—his identity, his life, his loved ones—has been replaced by a dizzying fog of uncertainty. 

But returning to his Maine hometown in search of the truth uncovers more questions than answers. Lily Reid thinks she knows her boyfriend, Jack. Until he goes missing one night, and her frantic search reveals that he’s been lying to her since they met, desperate to escape a dark past he’d purposely left behind. Maya Scott has been trying to find her estranged stepbrother, Asher, since he disappeared without a trace. Having him back, missing memory and all, feels like a miracle. But with a mutual history full of devastating secrets, how far will Maya go to ensure she alone takes them to the grave? Shared fates intertwine in a twisty, explosive novel of suspense, where unearthing the past might just mean being buried beneath it. 

Reviews:

"Skillfully plotted and paced, every twist deepens the story until it explodes with an ending that made me gasp.”—Samantha Downing, USA Today bestselling author of My Lovely Wife and He Started It  

 "Riveting, smart, and utterly diabolical."—Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author of Confessions on the 7:45

Q & A with Hannah ~ 

Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.

Writing novels wasn’t on my radar until we moved from Switzerland to Canada in 2010, and before that I was the CEO of an IT recruitment company. When we arrived here, I started up my own business, but it failed. I had a decision to make—continue on the corporate road or reinvent myself. After a long while (with lots of trepidation and anxiety) I realized what I wanted to do was write novels. My writing career was, essentially, born from failure.

 My debut was a rom com called Time After Time (2016) a light-hearted story about paths not taken. After that I decided I wanted to write grittier stories, and quickly transitioned to the dark side of suspense. The Neighbors published in 2018, Her Secret Son in 2019, Sister Dear in 2020, You Will Remember Me is slated for May 25, 2021, and Book 6 is scheduled for 2022 – all of them in the suspense genre. Sister Dear also published in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. It’s an exciting journey to say the least!

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I read a lot, as one might expect, and love being whisked away into the worlds other authors create—thrillers, or otherwise. I love getting outdoors for a hike, I’m a huge fan of the movies (I love the trailers and the popcorn), I go to the gym and participate in a few obstacle runs in the summer (I live for the mud and obstacles, I’m absolutely useless at the running part).

We have three teenage boys, so my husband and I spend time with them as often as they’ll let us. Watching films as a family is one of my favourite things. There’s something deeply comforting about us having a laugh together and just hanging out. Oh, I cook too, and love to bake. I make a mean zucchini-lime loaf, and Mark Bittmann’s No Knead Bread (we like to say “there’s always a need for bread!”). I’m not great with meat, so I leave that to Rob, who’s King of the BBQ in our house.

What is something about you that people would surprise people?

 

Until I wrote my first novel at age 41, I didn’t think I had a creative bone in my body.

 

Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?

 

Does being the CFO (Chief Flipping Organizer) of a family of five count? Oh, I also run the admin for my husband’s electrical contracting business, but writing takes most of my time.

 

Where do you get your ideas?

 

So far, I can pinpoint exactly how each book started. Time After Time is a story about a woman who’s unhappy with her life, which was me when we moved to Canada and my company crashed and burned, although the rest of the novel is fictional. The idea for The Neighbors came to me when two houses on our courtyard went up for sale, and I wondered who might move in. Her Secret Son stemmed from a news segment I saw while I was at the gym (wishing I were eating cake instead). Sister Dear was a radio segment about a woman who’d found a wedding ring at a playground and was trying to locate the owner through social media.

 

I’ll elaborate more for You Will Remember Me: A few years ago, a man from Toronto vanished from a ski hill in Lake Placid while there on vacation and showed up six days later in Sacramento. He had amnesia and couldn’t remember much, including the cross-country trip he’d made as he’d hitchhiked across the US. Everything worked out for the man in the end and he found his way home, but it made me wonder—what could have gone wrong? That was the start of my developing You Will Remember Me.

 

Do you have a go-to first reader after you feel your manuscript is ready?

 

It depends on the book. For You Will Remember Me, I asked my fab friend and brilliant author A.F. Brady for input. She’s a psychotherapist and was able to help me figure out a number of plot points I couldn’t get my head around. Her input was invaluable. Generally, though, my editor and agent are the first people to see the complete manuscript.

 

Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?

 

Jennifer Hillier, no question. While waiting for my son at our local library I spotted her debut Creep on a shelf. Intrigued by the cover, I picked it up, read the blurb, took it home and couldn’t put it down. It was a turning point in my writing career. When I was younger, I mainly read thrillers, but after a personal tragedy in my early 20s, I could only stomach light-hearted reads. Creep reminded me of my love of thrillers, and I realized the second book I was working on, The Neighbors, was far grittier than my debut (rom com Time After Time). Jennifer’s book gave me that final push I needed to cross over to the dark side. Fun fact: we live in the same town and have become great friends. Jennifer is an inspiration to me and fiercely talented, and I have all her books. I’ll read anything she writes!

 

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you’d change?

 

Getting published—I’d rush less. And I’d take creative writing courses far earlier!


How do you market your work?

In collaboration with my publisher, HarperCollins who are incredibly supportive and have a fabulous team I can’t praise highly enough. I’m also very active on social media and love connecting with other authors, readers, reviewers, and bloggers. My author friends are fabulous champions of my novels, too. Their tireless enthusiasm is a balm for the writerly soul and I’m grateful to every single one of them. It really does take a village.

 

What are you working on now?

 

My 6th book (for 2022) is done and in my wonderful editor’s hands. It’s written from the anti-hero’s point-of-view, which I’ve never done before, and is the story of Lucas, who hired a hitman to kill his wife. A month later, Lucas receives a partial photograph of his spouse in the mail. Who sent it? What do they know? And, more importantly, what do they want? I can’t wait to introduce you to my characters! In the meantime, I’m plotting and outlining Book 7, but it’s too early to give anything away.

 

Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?

No! Thankfully not as I write thrillers. I do sprinkle little details here and there my family would recognize: Superman pajamas, a stuffed toy, mud runs—those kinds of things but otherwise I pull very little from my life. My job is to make things up and it’s a part of the process I thoroughly enjoy.

 

Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?

Probably the ending because it’s twisted and hopefully unexpected. My books generally don’t tie up with a cherry on top because I like it when things made you go “hmmm…” (except if I’m reading romance, then it HAS to work out for everyone)!

 

Do you have a favorite character?

 

They were all interesting to write for many different reasons, predominantly because they’re flawed. Maya was probably the most complex, certainly one of the darkest point-of-view characters I’ve ever written. Although Lily is a sunshine girl, she has her secrets, too, which were fun to explore. As for “the man from the beach,” unearthing him was a longer process, and I kept remining myself that because I knew his history, it didn’t mean he could because of his amnesia.

 

What would your job of choice be if you didn’t write books?

I worked in IT recruitment for fifteen years before coming to Canada. Perhaps I’d still be doing that if I didn’t change careers a decade ago. If I was told I had to stop writing today, then I’d have to find a job in publishing somewhere. I can’t imagine working in another industry now.

 

What was the most unique research you had to do for a book?

Yikes! I bet I’m flagged on databases everywhere. Hiding an extra body at a graveyard without it being detected, muddling a crime scene enough to mess up forensics, how allergy meds can jumble your memory, how a person can die while working under a car, and, more recently, how the dark web works. It’s all for my books though, I promise!

 

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?


Read as much and often as you can and listen to audio books. I wrote an article about how the latter make you a better author here. Write, even if you think it’s rubbish, because an empty page is impossible to edit. Another tip someone once suggested was to skip ahead if I couldn’t get a grasp on a chapter or scene, that I should focus on another part of the manuscript and trust myself enough to backfill later. It was revolutionary to me, and it beats the heck out of staring at a blank page or shoving my hand in the cookie jar. 


Also, I was advised to read my manuscript out loud. Every. Single. Word. Doing so helps avoid repetition, improves cadence, and zaps stilted dialogue. I use the Read Aloud function in Word for this, too. And, finally, share your work. It can be scary, but it’s the only way you’ll get feedback and improve your craft.

 

What are the downfalls of your writing career? The best parts?


I love the camaraderie of the writing community, it’s like nothing I’ve experienced elsewhere. Authors, readers, agents, publishers—we all love books and it’s truly wonderful. Downfalls? I’ll have to get back to you on that.

  

Favorite band or music?  Favorite book and/or movie?


I listen to all kinds of music (one of our sons shared his Spotify list with me) but I’m useless at remembering the names of singers or bands. Impossible to choose a favourite book although Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is high on the list. My favourite movies are Love, Actually and About Time, both by Richard Curtis. I watch Love, Actually every Christmas when I’m wrapping presents, know most of the words and absolutely adore it.

 

Place you’d like to travel?

Once things go back to normal, I’m looking forward to visiting my family and friends in Switzerland. I can’t wait to get back into the mountains.

  

Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

 Readers, reviewers, bloggers and bookstagrammers are so generous with their support and everything they do for the book community. They are creative, insightful, witty, and wonderfully gracious. It’s truly a delight to behold. I’m so grateful to each and every one of you. Thank you for reading, sharing, and raving about my books. It means the world!

 

Blurb:   “Forget the truth. Remember the lies.

 

He wakes up on a deserted beach in Maryland, wearing only swim trunks and a gash on his head. He can’t remember who he is. Everything—his identity, his life, his loved ones—has been replaced by a dizzying fog of uncertainty. But returning to his Maine hometown in search of the truth raises more questions than answers.

 

Lily Reid thinks she knows her boyfriend, Jack. Until he goes missing one night, and her frantic search reveals that he’s been lying to her since they met, desperate to escape a dark past he’d purposely left behind.

 

Maya Scott has been trying to find her estranged stepbrother, Asher, since he disappeared without a trace. Having him back, missing memory and all, feels like a miracle. But with a mutual history full of devastating secrets, how far will Maya go to ensure she alone takes them to the grave?

 

Shared fates intertwine in a twisty, explosive novel of suspense, where unearthing the past might just mean being buried beneath it.”

 

Bio:

 

Hannah Mary McKinnon was born in the UK, grew up in Switzerland and moved to Canada in 2010. After a successful career in recruitment, she quit the corporate world in favor of writing. While her debut, TIME AFTER TIME, was a rom com, she transitioned to the dark side thereafter. Her suspense novels include THE NEIGHBORS, bestsellers HER SECRET SON and SISTER DEAR, and her forthcoming YOU WILL REMEMBER ME. Hannah Mary lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband and three sons. Connect on Facebook and Instagram @HannahMaryMckinnon, and on Twitter @HannahMMcKinnon. For more, visit www.hannahmarymckinnon.com

 

To connect with Hannah ~

Website:         www.HannahMaryMcKinnon.com

Facebook:       www.facebook.com/HannahMaryMcKinnon (@hannahmarymckinnon)

Instagram:       www.instagram.com/HannahMaryMcKinnon/ (@hannahmarymckinnon)

Twitter:           www.twitter.com/HannahMMcKinnon (@hannahmmckinnon)

Goodreads:     www.goodreads.com/author/show/15144570.Hannah_Mary_McKinnon

Bookbub:        www.bookbub.com/authors/hannah-mary-mckinnon

 




                                                             

Monday, May 17, 2021

LOCAL WOMAN MISSING, by author MARY KUBICA (book debuts tomorrow!)

In this smart and chilling thriller, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes domestic secrets to a whole new level, showing that some people will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.

People don't just disappear without a trace…

Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. Not long after, Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah, vanish just blocks away from where Shelby was last seen, striking fear into their once-peaceful community. Are these incidents connected? After an elusive search that yields more questions than answers, the case eventually goes cold.

Now, eleven years later, Delilah shockingly returns. Everyone wants to know what happened to her, but no one is prepared for what they'll find…

Reviews ~

“[A] daringly plotted, emotionally eviscerating psychological thriller.” Publishers Weekly

“Impossible-to-see-it-coming…. [Kubica] takes readers to a whole new level of deceit and irony.” Booklist

“[Local Woman Missing] will appeal to fans of Lisa Jackson and Gregg Olsen…. The twists, turns, and an unpredictable ending make it irresistible.” —Library Journal

“I’m shamelessly addicted to Mary Kubica’s juicy, unpredictable reads, as much for her well-rounded, fully human, flawed characters as her sizzling plots—and she just keeps getting better. LOCAL WOMAN MISSING is a propulsive journey through a winding maze of secrets, leading to a jaw-dropping twist that I never saw coming. Loved every minute.” —Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Never Have I Ever

“Dark and twisty, with all the white-knuckle tension and jaw-dropping surprises readers have come to expect from Mary Kubica.” —Riley Sager, New York Times bestselling author of Home Before Dark

Q & A with Mary ~

Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.

A cousin got me into writing when I was a young girl. Once I started, I couldn’t stop! I loved creating fictional worlds and getting to live vicariously through my characters. I started writing professionally around 2005, after I left my teaching career to raise my family. It took two years and dozens and dozens of rejections before my first novel found an agent, but I feel so fortunate that it did!

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I love spending time with my family and friends. I volunteer at an animal shelter as well as foster cats and kittens, which I really enjoy doing; it’s incredibly rewarding. I’m also a runner, with plans to train for my second marathon this summer.

Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?

I feel very fortunate to be able to write full time. I used to be a high school history teacher before I got into writing professionally.

Where do you get your ideas?

For the most part, my imagination! They always start as a tiny seed of an idea that grows as I write. I’m a pantser (I fly by the seat of my pants!) so I rarely have any notion where these ideas will lead me until they happen on the page.

Do you have a go-to first reader after you feel your manuscript is ready?

My editor, agent and husband are the only people who read my books in draft form.

How do you market your work?

I have an incredible marketing team at HarperCollins/Park Row Books and they do all of the heavy lifting. For me, social media is huge. It’s the way I can connect to my readers on a more personal level. I also attend many bookstore and library events to visit with my readers in person (or virtually as we’re doing these days thanks to Covid).

Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?

No, everything is fictional! (thank goodness!)

Do you have a favorite character?

I actually feel quite close to most of my characters, but I have a soft spot for the underdogs: Colin in THE GOOD GIRL, Willow in PRETTY BABY and Alex in DON’T YOU CRY.

What would your job of choice be if you didn’t write books?

I would go back to teaching high school history. It was a job I adored!

What was the most unique research you had to do for a book?

WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT deals with insomnia, among other things. I think one of the most interesting things I’ve learned while doing research is about a condition known as Fatal Familial Insomnia, a hereditary condition, in which a person actually loses the ability to sleep. It’s rare but always fatal.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Getting published is hard and can take time. Stick with it! Expect rejection; it happens to almost everyone. Be true to your writing. Don’t write to please others but write the book that moves you and that you would like to read.

What are the downfalls of your writing career? The best parts?

Writing is isolating and can certainly be lonely at times. There is no proverbial water cooler to gather around with co-workers and chat. When you encounter a problem like writer’s block or bad reviews, you mostly have to deal with it alone. That said, one of the best parts is the author community. I’ve made so many wonderful friends over the last few years and am so grateful for their endless encouragement and support.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you so much for reading my books, and for all the love and support I see on social media and places like Goodreads. I’m so grateful! 

To connect with Mary ~

Instagram: @marykubica

Twitter: @marykubica





Monday, May 3, 2021

A SONG FOR THE ROAD, by author KATHLEEN BASI (debuts May 11th, 2021)

Cheryl Strayed's Wild meets Katherine Center's How to Walk Away in Kathleen Basi's debut novel about an unconventional road trip and what it means to honor the ones we love.

It's one year after the death of her husband and twin teenagers, and Miriam Tedesco has lost faith in humanity and herself. When a bouquet of flowers that her husband always sends on their anniversary shows up at her workplace, she completely unravels. With the help of her best friend, she realizes that it's time to pick up the pieces and begin to move on. 

Step one is not even cleaning out her family's possessions, but just taking inventory starting with her daughter's room. But when she opens her daughter's computer, she stumbles across a program her daughter has created detailing an automated cross-country road trip, for her and her husband to take as soon-to-be empty nesters.

Seeing and hearing the video clips of her kids embedded in the program, Miriam is determined to take this trip for her children. Armed with her husband's guitar, her daughter's cello, and her son's unfinished piano sonata, she embarks on a musical pilgrimage to grieve the family she fears she never loved enough. Along the way she meets a young, pregnant hitchhiker named Dicey, whose boisterous and spunky attitude reminds Miriam of her own daughter.

Tornadoes, impromptu concerts, and an unlikely friendship...whether she's prepared for it or not, Miriam's world is coming back to life. But as she struggles to keep her focus on the reason she set out on this journey, she has to confront the possibility that the best way to honor her family may be to accept the truths she never wanted to face.

Hopeful, honest, and tender, A Song for the Road is about courage, vulnerability, and forgiveness, even of yourself, when it really matters.

Reviews ~

Advance Praise for Song for the Road:
"Basi's exquisite, gut-wrenching debut is filled with loss, hope, and secrets that fans of Julianne Maclean's A Curve in the Road will enjoy.”
—Booklist

“An emotionally complex story about reconciling love with loss, and the healing power of music…I loved every scene from the first to the last.” 
—Barbara Claypole White, bestselling author of The Perfect Son and The Promise Between Us

“In a novel filled with music, heartbreak, and surprising laughter, Basi takes us on a journey that encompasses both unimaginable loss and the powerful resilience of the human heart. A book club must read.” —Kerry Anne King, bestselling author of Whisper Me This and Everything You Are

A must read! Basi’s insights into the human experience make A Song for the Road an unforgettable journey. She introduces us to life, loss, love, and the resurgence of hope—she introduces us to ourselves. The beauty of her prose and this adventure will linger long after the last page.”
—Katherine Reay, national best-selling author of The Printed Letter Bookshop

Q & A with Kathleen ~

Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.

I grew up on a farm, and I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I used to write in the tree house, in the hay barn, even on a low barn roof. My whole life, writing stories has been my “me” time. When I was studying music in college and grad school, writing was my reward for four hours of practicing a day. Even now, when it’s progressed from hobby to profession, I still get excited every day. Also, I still like writing outside. I don’t use a smart phone, so when I’m away from wifi I am well and truly undistracted!

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

Cooking, bicycling, kayaking, hiking, and gardening—to name a few.

Do you have a go-to first reader after you feel your manuscript is ready?

I have a top-notch group of critique partners who review my rough drafts chunk by chunk. Conventional wisdom says “don’t edit while you’re drafting!” But my critique partners flag problems that could derail the whole thing. Sometimes they see the same section three times before I move forward in my rough draft. It slows the drafting phase but saves a TON of time in revision!

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

This is the fourth book I’ve queried (in other words, pitching to literary agents). It was a roller coaster getting to a book deal, that’s for sure! I had to cling obstinately to my belief in my writing. I knew I was good enough, but waiting for the break and not getting it can crush your spirit if you let it. Thank God, I also do nonfiction writing and musical composing, so I had other things to keep me busy in the interim.

Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?

Like Miriam in A SONG FOR THE ROAD, I’m a church musician. Some of the questions she wrestles in its pages are questions I’ve also wrestled—but thankfully not the central question of the book!

Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?

So many! But the one that comes to mind was among the last to be written. Midway through the book, Miriam plays her husband’s guitar on rural Iowa’s High Trestle Trail Bridge (go look it up!). This scene had been consistently problematic because the situation she encountered at the bridge was so absurd. At the suggestion of my editor at Alcove, it became something totally different. Miriam encounters a widower, and her music facilitates a wonderful moment of healing and connection. It’s absolutely gorgeous and uplifting.

What are you working on now?

My next book is set in California wine country. It’s the story of a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law struggling to rebirth their family business and their own lives after the man they shared (son/husband) self-destructed, burning down the winery with himself inside it.

Favorite band or music?

I have two degrees in music, so classical is my happy place. Here are three standouts:

O Magnum Mysterium, by Tomas Luis de Victoria

Rachmaninov Piano Concerto #2 (the Russian pairs skaters Mishketunok & Dmitriev skated to it at the Lillehammer Olympics and it was spectacular!)

Dvorak’s 8th Symphony. I got to play first flute on this in college and it was such a thrill! Bonus: Appalachian Spring. This version is staged by a university and it’s glorious.

Place you’d like to travel?

Everywhere! I hope to walk the Camino de Santiago someday—when the kids are self-sufficient, and one of my lifelong dreams is to live a year in Alaska, so I can really see the northern lights.

To connect with Kathleen:






Tuesday, April 27, 2021

GOODBYE, LARK LOVEJOY, by author KRIS CLINK

Lark’s lost her husband, and the expiration date has come and gone on her fake-it-till-you-make-it “Happy Mommy Show.” Healing her broken family requires drastic measures, like returning to her hometown in the Texas Hill Country. But she’s going to need more than clean air and a pastoral landscape to rebuild a life for her and her young sons.

After years of putting off her dream of becoming a winemaker, Lark puts every cent into a failing vineyard, determined to work through her grief and make a brighter future for her children. The last thing she expects is to fall in love again. Especially not with Wyatt Gifford, an injured Army vet with a past of his own to conquer.

Coming home may not be the reset Lark imagined, but it does take her on a journey filled with humor and reconciliation, one that prepares her for a courageous comeback.

Reviews ~

Featured in Bustle's “The Best New Books To Read This April”

“An uplifting tale about family, second chances, and the complexity of making fine Texas wine.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A wonderful new voice in women’s fiction.”
―Kristan Higgins, author of Life and Other Inconveniences

“In her debut, Goodbye, Lark Lovejoy, Kris Clink explores what happens after the traumatic events that shaped her characters’ lives, and the hope that love and acceptance offers. You’ll want to say hello to these charming, complicated, and refreshingly flawed characters.”
―Amy E. Reichert, author of The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go

“I didn’t want to say goodbye to Lark and the cast of characters in Kris Clink’s debut. With a confident voice, smart humor, and masterful handling of difficult subjects, this story is full of heart and has so much to love.”
―Leah DeCesare, author of Forks, Knives, and Spoons

“A sweet, charming, romantic interlude in the winemaking hill country of Texas―a lovely vicarious vacation, and just the rosy dose of optimism and hope we need right now.”
―Phoebe Fox, author of A Little Bit of Grace

“Kris Clink takes us on a delightful trip to Texas wine country in her heartwarming debut. With a large and engaging cast of characters that never feels like too much, Clink introduces us to an endearing community you’ll want to revisit. Goodbye, Lark Lovejoy is a touching tale about moving past grief, building the life you want, motherhood in all its forms, and finding love again against the odds.”
―Lainey Cameron, author of The Exit Strategy

“Lark Lovejoy is fierce, funny and unforgettable. Clink’s debut is a heartwarming and uplifting story that reminds us it’s never too late to go after your dreams, that age is just a number, and you can find love in unexpected places. I can’t wait to see what Kris Clink writes next!”
―Alison Hammer, author of You and Me and Us

Q & A with Kris ~ 

Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing. I have always been a writer, although I’ve spent most of my adult life writing for other people—technical writing for marketing, medical, and nonprofit work. At the ripe old age of forty-six, I quit my job to write full time. Five years later, I published Goodbye, Lark Lovejoy. 

What are some things you enjoy when not writing? Cooking for my family and friends, playing pickleball, riding my bike, and listening to music and audiobooks.

What is something about you that people would surprise people? I consider myself Willie Nelson’s biggest fan. When I was young, my big sister introduced me to his music, and I was hooked. I think I’ve attended eight of his concerts—almost always on the front row so I can sing along. (Pretty sure those around me wish I wouldn’t).

Where do you get your ideas? Watching people, listening to conversations, reading other books, watching movies. There are so many books I want to write and so little time.

Do you have a go-to first reader after you feel your manuscript is ready? My husband reads aloud as we go along, and one of my sisters reads the first finished version. She has an eagle-eye for catching things that don’t line up.

Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write? When I began writing full time, I was introduced to Kristan Higgins’ books. Until then, I couldn’t put it into words the way I wanted my readers to feel when they read my books. Kristan has a way of pulling the reader into a story and making them feel right at home the entire way as they read.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (or this book?) I had many “almosts” with agents. Ultimately, I decided to take a different approach and went with a hybrid publisher who would give me more control while putting my books on multiple sales platforms.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you’d change? You know, the writing road is rarely straight. For every twist or turn, there’s been a valuable lesson to be learned.

How do you market your work? I hired a publicist to take care of the pieces I couldn’t, while I contacted other authors, bloggers, and reviewers to ask for their support.

What are you working on now? I’m writing the third book in the Enchanted Rock series (set in the Texas Hill Country), and I’m interviewing other authors for my podcast, Kris Clink’s Writing Table.

Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences? Walter Cronkite, the dog, was a lot like my daughter’s dog.

Do you have a favorite chapter or scene? The scenes with Bianca made me laugh as I wrote them.

Do you have a favorite character? Again, Bianca made me laugh … and cry. She’s a gem!

What would your job of choice be if you didn’t write books? Wedding singer. Just because I know the words and sing them enthusiastically doesn’t mean I can hold a tune.

What was the most unique research you had to do for a book? Visiting the Center for the Intrepid in San Antonio, a facility created to address the unique injuries suffered by veterans of Desert Wars.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Don’t grieve over those manuscripts that don’t grab agents or publishers. Keep writing. Your writing will improve, and your voice will become clearer.

What are the downfalls of your writing career? The best parts? We put ourselves out there, heart and soul. Every day is a new high or low. One reader loves our work, another thinks it’s garbage. Yet, we can’t stop doing it because we love writing.

Favorite band or music?  Willie Nelson. I love all kinds of music from Billy Joel to Otis Redding and everything in-between.

Place you’d like to travel? Europe.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans? Their time is valuable, so it’s a great honor when they use it to read my books. 

To connect with Kris:

@krisclinkbooks for Facebook & Twitter; @kriserinclinkbooks for Instagram.