This book released on October 1st and is already a best-seller! Make sure to pick up a copy of this must-read!
An enchanting novel about fate, second chances, and hope, lost and found, by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of The Last of the Moon Girls.
Soline Roussel is well schooled in the business of happy endings. For generations her family has kept an exclusive bridal salon in Paris, where magic is worked with needle and thread. It’s said that the bride who wears a Roussel gown is guaranteed a lifetime of joy. But devastating losses during World War II leave Soline’s world and heart in ruins and her faith in love shaken. She boxes up her memories, stowing them away, along with her broken dreams, determined to forget.
Decades later, while coping with her own tragic loss, aspiring gallery owner Rory Grant leases Soline’s old property and discovers a box containing letters and a vintage wedding dress, never worn. When Rory returns the mementos, an unlikely friendship develops, and eerie parallels in Rory’s and Soline’s lives begin to surface. It’s clear that they were destined to meet—and that Rory may hold the key to righting a forty-year wrong and opening the door to shared healing and, perhaps, a little magic.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.
I’ve been writing all my life in some form or other, though I didn’t pursue writing as a career until about ten years ago, when I was laid off from my corporate job in the jewelry business. I’d been sitting on an idea for a novel for about four years, and when I found myself out of work my husband urged me not to get another job, to stay home and chase my dream of being a women’s fiction author. It was a scary decision, for a lot of reasons, but with his support, I wrote The Secrets She Carried and was blessed to find a wonderful agent who sold it to Penguin a few weeks later. It’s been like a dream, and as I work on my eight book, it still feels that way.
What are some things you enjoy when not writing?
I love to cook and to travel with my hubby, Tom. We’re both foodies and love trying new restaurants and local wineries. I’m also a HUGE college football fan, (Go Gators!) so in the fall my Saturdays are spent in front of the television, where I have sole control of the remote until the last game ends around midnight!
How do you start your day (a routine of sorts?)
I have a process I call “Bringing the Joy” that I run through every morning before I start to write. I decide what “My Three” are for the day: the three areas where my focus will yield the best results. Then I decide how I want to FEEL while engaging in “My Three.” (ie: focused, empowered, energized, on purpose) Next, I mentally run through what might derail me during the day, (ie: interruptions, stress, distraction) and come up with proactive strategies to cope with or avoid the derailments. Last, but not least, I come up with three things to feel excited about or grateful for, and let them fill me up as I begin to work.
The whole process takes about ten minutes, and I find that focusing on how I want to FEEL and how I can stay “on purpose” makes an enormous difference in my level of clarity and joy throughout the day.
Finish this: “I can’t write without…”
Coffee. (dark roast w/hazelnut creamer)
Where do you get your ideas?
I wish I knew! As a rule, I don’t hunt for ideas. They just seem to find me, often nearly fully formed, and always when I’m not expecting them. It’s always a rush when an idea shows up like that. One minute it isn’t there, the next minute it is. I never know when it’s going to happen, but when it does I grab a pen and a notebook and just pour it all out onto as many pages as I can fill.
The idea for my first novel was triggered by an oddly placed gravestone on the side of the road. Moon Girls came to me while I was driving and listening to a song called Water’s Edge. When Never Comes showed up while I was cleaning the toilet. Whoosh! I had the whole thing all at once. It still feels a little overwhelming when it happens, but I’m always grateful when it does.
Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve loved books and wanted to write, but in middle school I absolutely fell in love with To Kill a Mockingbird and it turned up the creative flame. I wanted to be able to do what Harper Lee had done to me, to set a reader down in a stranger’s shoes and make them feel all those emotions way down in their own bones. And to do it with such beautiful, lyrical language. I still read To Kill a Mockingbird every few years—or any time I feel my prose is getting flat or stale. It always flips that switch for me.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on something kind of fun and different. It’s about a woman named Ashlyn who owns a rare bookstore and has the ability to hold a book in her hands and feel the echoes of it’s previous owner’s emotions while they were reading it. One day she stumbles onto a beautifully bound book dated 1940, but there’s no author name or copyright page. The book is entirely anonymous, but the minute Ashlyn touches it she registers an almost palpable sense of betrayal.
The book reads like an angry letter from a jilted lover to the woman who broke his heart—a woman named Belle. Ashlyn tries to research the book’s history, but there’s no record of it ever being published. It’s as if the book doesn’t really existed. The plot thickens when a second book turns up, apparently written by Belle herself, as a rebuttal to the first. When read together, the books read like a bitter lover’s quarrel, portraying very different versions of the same events. Convinced the lovers actually existed forty years ago, Ashlyn embarks on a mission to discover their identities and learn once and for all which version of the doomed affair is true.
Do you have a favorite character?
My favorite characters, in my own books as well as those by other authors, are always those who have endured the most adversity, so I’d have to say Soline is my favorite. She has lost so much and buried so many dreams. Yet she comes through it all with such wisdom, grace, and empathy. Like most of us, she has scars, but she’s had to learn to live with them, and even move beyond them, and eventually uses her own understanding of grief to help others.
What was some unique research you had to do for a book?
I loved learning about The American Hospital in Paris, which was located directly across the street from Nazi headquarters and remained open throughout the war because letting the American Hospital treat wounded Allied servicemen allowed the Nazis to conserve their own valuable resources. During the occupation, the hospital’s Chief Surgeon, Sumner Jackson, was actually instrumental in smuggling wounded servicemen to safety, and was eventually arrested for collaborating with the resistance. He died while in Nazi custody.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Here are my Big Five: 1) Read good books by good authors. Study them: how their scenes work, how their dialogue works, how they pace their action. 2) Read books on craft. Learn about novel structure, dialogue, scene pacing, character arc. You really do need to know all that stuff. 3) Write every day. Real writers don’t wait for inspiration. They show up to the page every day, and create their own inspiration. 4) Get feedback on your work. Not your mom or your BFF. Real feedback, as in a writing group or a critique partner. Then be willing to listen and act on what you hear. 5) Keep Writing. No matter what, just keep writing. It’s the only way to get good.
What are the downfalls of your writing career? The best parts?
The biggest downfall for me is that it’s such a sedentary job. You’re basically sitting on your butt eight hours a day, and the inertia that develops during all those sedentary hours can eventually lead to some unpleasant health issues if you don’t counter it with regularly scheduled movement. The upside is absolutely the people I’ve gotten to meet along the way. Book lovers make great friends because you never ever run out of things to talk about!
Favorite band or music?
I grew up in performing arts and was the front girl for an 80’s cover band for several years, so I have pretty broad taste when it comes to music. I love anything I can belt out at the top of my lungs. (Adele, Benetar, Streisand) and adore old school R&B (Gap Band, Midnight Star, Earth Wind & Fire) But if I had to chose one band to listen to for the rest of my life I’d have to go with Depech Mode.
Favorite book and/or movie?
Books: To Kill a Mockingbird, Jane Eyre, Outlander
Movies: Schindler’s List, Now Voyager, The Lion in Winter
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?
Yes! I want them to know how much I value each and every one of them. Our lives are so crowded these days, with so many things vying for our attention every day, that I’m honored and grateful that they would chose to spend a slice of that busy life with one of my books. Thank you for reading, sharing, and reviewing. You’re why I do what I do, and why I love what I do every single day.To connect with Barbara:
Barbara Davis, best-selling author of women’s fiction
The Keeper of Happy Endings
The Last of the Moon Girls
When Never Comes
Summer at Hideaway Key
The Wishing Tide
The Secrets She Carried