Tuesday, December 12, 2017


Critically acclaimed author Julie Lawson Timmer returns with a tale of how a community can heal the brokenness in all of us.
Markie, a forty-something divorcée who has suffered a humiliating and very public fall from marital, financial, and professional grace, moves, along with her teenage son, Jesse, to a new town, hoping to lick her wounds in private.

But Markie and Jesse are unable to escape the attention of their new neighbor Mrs. Saint, an irascible, elderly New European woman who takes it upon herself, along with her ragtag group of “defectives,” to identify and fix the flaws in those around her, whether they want her to or not.

What Markie doesn’t realize is that Mrs. Saint has big plans for the divorcée’s broken spirit. Soon, the quirky yet endearing woman recruits Markie to join her eccentric community, a world where both hidden truths and hope unite them.

But when Mrs. Saint’s own secrets threaten to unravel their fragile web of healing, it’s up to Markie to mend these wounds and usher in a new era for the “defectives”—one full of second chances and happiness.

“Another winner from the very talented Julie Lawson Timmer. Fans of Matthew Quick's The Silver Linings Playbook will devour this sweet, surprising story.” —Sarah Pekkanen, internationally bestselling author of The Perfect Neighbors

"Warm, witty, and with the most satisfying ending I’ve read in years, Mrs. Saint and the Defectives is absolutely delightful. This novel won’t just keep you turning the pages; it will inspire you to be a better person.” Camille Pagán, bestselling author of Life and Other Near-Death Experiences

“I savored every page of this delicious novel. Charming and poignant, funny and wise, Mrs. Saint and the Defectives is perfect for fans of Fredrik Backman and Anne Tyler.” —Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List and Sweet Forgiveness
“An uplifting journey…” Kirkus Reviews

Some Q & A with Julie ~

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

I always wanted to write, but I told myself I was too busy with work and family. To find time to write a novel, I’d have to give up sleep, and who wants to do that? The idea nagged at me though, some years more than others. For some reason, the year I was turning 45, I had a very strong sense that if I reached the end of my life and had never given writing a novel a shot, I would regret it. That idea took hold and would not go away. So, I told myself I would have a draft of a novel by my 45th birthday. To make that work, I starting getting up at 3:45am and writing from 4-6am, before heading to the office. I met the goal--I had a (very bad) draft by my birthday, and then I set other goals for revisions, querying, etc. It took 2 years to land an agent and a book deal--2 years of 4am drafting and revising sessions--but it was totally worth it.

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?
I love to read, and don’t seem to be able to do this while I’m writing, so I always grant myself lots of time off between writing books so I can read all the ones I’ve been collecting over the months. I also enjoy working out--spinning, weights, hot yoga, Pilates, mountain biking. My husband and I recently bought a house that backs up onto “The Arb,” a 100+ acre area of forest and trails in the middle of Ann Arbor, and I love to go for long walks with him and the dogs in the Arb.

Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?

Yes, I’m a lawyer. It’s great training for writing, I think because you learn to write under time pressure. On the flip side, it’s a mentally draining job, so it’s often very tough to write after a day at the office. I have learned to write before work when my brain is fresh.

Where do you get your ideas?

I get them from life, newspaper articles, NPR stories, and my imagination. I have often told my family, “Well, this may be the last book I write,” because unlike so many authors I know, I do *not* have one hundred book ideas floating around in my head at one time. At any given moment, I have a single idea--for the book I am writing then. I always wonder if another idea will come to me, or if my work in progress really will be my last novel.

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?

No. I have no regrets at all, and wouldn’t change a thing. I have had a wonderful experience with publishing, and am very grateful for every moment of it. There have been great moments, and not-so-great ones, but they’re all part of the writing life, I think.

How do you market your work?

Haha--not very well! I don’t like to push my own books, and my answer to, “Tell me about your latest book” is often, “Let me tell you instead about my friend’s latest book.” It drives my marketing/sales husband batty, but he’s learned now to expect it from me and has given up on my ever pushing my own books.

What are you working on now?
I’m revising a book due to my publisher in January, and scheduled to come out in October 2018. It’s about a single mom, a little boy, an elderly woman, and her goddaughter, all of whom are in Flint, Michigan, during the water crisis, and all of whom are each struggling to overcome something beyond the contaminated water.  

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

Each of my books have some real-life element to them--some issue I have grappled with, a character who represents someone I have lost, some question about life I want to answer through writing. For me, the way to keep up the motivation it takes to write a novel is to have a deep personal connection to it.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Never quit! Plan on tons of rejection. Plan on plenty of moments when you feel your book is terrible and no one will ever read it. Plan on such intense self-doubt you wonder why you ever thought you could write a sentence, let alone an entire novel. We all experience these things--you are not alone. So, plan on them, acknowledge that they are happening when they do, tell yourself, “This is normal,” and keep writing.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you! 

To connect with Julie:

Twitter: @JulieLTimmer