When Emma discovers she’s pregnant, she’s torn between the needs of her family and the demands of her work. While Ned pressures her to do the unthinkable, her husband, Tim, decorates the nursery. Unwilling to abandon her research, Emma attempts to keep both sides of her life in balance.
Emma knows she needs to reconcile her past with her present and walk the fine line between mother and physician. But Ned has a secret, and when Emma discovers what he’s been hiding, the foundation of her world cracks.
Nowhere Near Goodbye is a story of family, failure, and second chances.
Jennifer Klepper, USA Today Bestseller author of Unbroken Threads
The past versus the present. The desperate needs of a family against the desperate needs of work. And secrets that could derail everything. Conrey's beautifully written novel probes the choices we make - and the choices we regret, and she does it with grace and aplomb. Caroline Leavitt, New York Times Bestselling author of Pictures of You and With or Without You
Emma Blake is a character not soon forgotten. NOWHERE NEAR GOODBYE is Emma's story, told with exceptional honesty and heart. Meticulously written, with powerful characters, this debut novel delves into friendship and family, deception and forgiveness, ultimately leading the reader to an emotional but satisfying conclusion. Rebecca Hodge, Author of Wild Land
Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.
Well, the first thing you might want to know is that I'm seventy. Actually, I turn 71 next month. So I'm an almost 71-year-old debut author during a global pandemic. Talk about timing!
I've always wanted to write, and I dabbled. I wrote opinion pieces for my local newspaper about my family, searching out the perfect Christmas tree, Thanksgiving dinners that went horribly awry. That kind of thing.
Everything I wrote tended to be humorous, yet when I wrote my debut, Nowhere Near Goodbye, the story leans more on the emotional side.
What are some things you enjoy when not writing?
Reading! I love to read. Almost anything. And then there's buying books. I think I have an addiction; the minute I reach the last page of a book I'm reading, the next one is waiting for me.
I love to be outdoors, so I'd also say hiking – I've hiked most of Vermont and only recently had to start choosing trails that are not so daunting. It's hard to admit that I can't do everything I did twenty years ago.
Do you have a 'day job' as well?
I'm retired. I retired when I was sixty-four and immediately starting writing full time. I so admire younger authors (much younger, I might add) who handle a day job and are raising young children. I do not know how they do it.
Where do you get your ideas?
Well, I can tell you how I got the idea for Nowhere Near Goodbye. A friend of mine lost a loved one to glioblastoma, and she was devasted. The only thing I knew about the disease was that it killed Ted Kennedy, so I started researching it, for no other reason but to commiserate with my friend.
I knew then, and this was probably twenty years ago that I wanted to write a book where the tumor didn't win. Because in real life, the tumor almost always wins.
Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?
Many authors inspire me: Leif Engle, who wrote Peace Like A River. I've probably read that book three times.
Jodi Picoult, who wrote everything, practically. I own and have read all of her books and what I love most about her is she writes with passion. She writes what she is passionate about, and she's not afraid to use her platform for what she believes in, personally and politically. I joke that I want to be her when I grow up, but the reality is, I'm old enough to be her mother. I think her newest book, The Book of Two Ways, is my absolute favorite.
Robert Dugoni, who wrote The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell. A book so simply written, yet so moving.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I'm a practical woman. I dabbled with querying agents. Maybe I sent out a half-dozen letters and received lovely rejection letters. And then I thought about the process of procuring an agent who then had to shop the book around until a publisher was interested, and I decided to skip the middle-man. Not that I don't think agents are essential, I do, but I don't have the kind of time young authors have. By the time an agent and a publisher fell in love with me and my book, I could be dead.
So I started looking at small press publishers, and through talking with other authors who have gone that route, I chose Red Adept Publishing. So I sent my manuscript to them, and they loved it.
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 think I did everything the way I was meant to.
How do you market your work?
Marketing is a struggle for me. I'm not at all good at promoting myself and much, much better at promoting others. So I'm still learning what works best; it's a process.
What are you working on now?
I'm working on a prequel to Nowhere Near Goodbye. There's a minor character in my first book, Miss Maggie, and she intrigued me, so I knew I had to write about her to find out what her story is.
Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?
Just that GBM is real. There's also a subplot that involves rescue beagles. The reality is that 96% of the animals used for medical and product testing are beagles because they are mild-mannered and trusting. The Beagle Freedom Project is real: https://bfp.org/
Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?
THIS: "Do you think everything had to happen this way? I don't know, not for sure, anyway, but maybe Ali's the reason GBM struck Kate's brain and not mine. Maybe Ned and Laura, and everyone who loved Kate can finally accept Kate's death because something good came from saying goodbye when we should have been nowhere near goodbye."
What was the most unique research you had to do for a book?
For Nowhere Near Goodbye, I watched a video of a surgeon operating on a glioblastoma brain tumor. Well, I mostly watched it. I had to close my eyes at some parts.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
My advice is to write because you love it. Don't write because you want to be published. But if your dream is to be published and you write because you can't not write, then don't give up. No matter how many rejections you receive, no matter how often you doubt yourself, don't give up.
I recommend finding a writer's tribe. Mine is Women's Fiction Writers Association (WFWA), you don't have to write WF to join, and you will receive support and friendship and the opportunity to enhance your craft.
Is there anything you'd like to say to your readers and fans?
Oh, yes! Thank you for your support and belief in me. I truly never expected the positive reaction that Nowhere Near Goodbye has received. I feel truly blessed!
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