ALL WE COULD STILL HAVE, by author DIANE BARNES (out 11/7!)
In their attempts to have a child, a husband and wife must contend with personal desires, crossed boundaries, and broken trust as they reimagine what it truly means to be a family.
Nikki and Kyle Sebastian have a loving and healthy marriage. It’s only missing one thing they want—children. When the couple is diagnosed with “unexplained infertility” and endures several failed rounds of IVF, Kyle, for both their sakes, is unwilling to bury them deeper in emotional and financial debt.
Desperate to have a baby, Nikki betrays Kyle’s trust in an attempt to try IVF one more time. The choice fractures their once-stable union. Now burdened with suspicion, resentment, and further grief, their little family is falling apart.
Picking up the pieces of their broken home means reassessing their dreams for the future—dreams that Nikki’s not ready to give up. If she can’t find a way to forge a new path forward with Kyle, she may find herself alone at the end of the family tree she longs to help grow.
“All We Could Still Have is a deeply moving story about having no control over the thing you desire most and discovering a different way of looking at that desire along the way. Diane Barnes masterfully weaves through darkness to discover light and takes the reader on a beautiful journey with a host of compelling characters that feel like they could be any one of us.” —Suzanne Redfearn, #1 Amazon bestselling author of In an Instant
“In All We Could Still Have, Diane Barnes deftly navigates soul-achingly difficult issues and betrayals of the heart with such honesty and care that you just know—at each anticipated turn of the page—her story will leave you with the most redemptive emotion of them all: hope.” —Alli Frank and Asha Youmans, authors of Never Meant to Meet You and Tiny Imperfections
“Diane Barnes is a masterful storyteller, unafraid to lay bare the needs and desires of her characters. All We Could Still Have is the poignant story of one woman’s yearnings that lead her down a path of deceit from which she barely recovers, only for her to be thrust into an agonizing position where all her choices are heartbreaking. Or so they seem. Readers will fall in love with All We Could Still Have from the very first page.” —Barbara Conrey, USA Today bestselling author of Nowhere Near Goodbye
“With wry precision, Diane Barnes tackles what it’s like to be in a good marriage stretched to its very limits by desire, betrayal, and the definition of family. All We Could Still Have begs the question: Does deep struggle always signal a red flag to the end? Or, is it the very foils of being human that turn a good marriage into a great one? I read this book in one night, holding my breath until the very last line.” —Ann Garvin, USA Today bestselling author of I Thought You Said This Would Work
“All We Could Still Have by Diane Barnes manages to be both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. An emotional family drama, this story will leave you thinking about the ways we hurt the ones we love most and the power of forgiveness—for others and ourselves. Put this book on your TBR list!” —Alison Hammer, author of Little Pieces of Me
interview with Diane ~
us a little about yourself and how you started writing.
started writing in second grade. We came in from recess one day, and there was
a trail of big paper footprints through the classroom. The path went under
chairs, over desks, and eventually out the window. The teacher gave us a
composition book and asked us to write a story about how we think the
footprints got there. I filled the book and asked for another. When I went home
that afternoon, I still wasn’t done with my story. The teacher gave me a stack
of the composition books to take home. I filled them all, and I’ve never really
stopped writing since that day.
some things you enjoy when not writing?
most writers, I love reading, especially on the beach or by a pool. More active
things I enjoy are tennis and golf. The thing I enjoy most is spending time
with family and friends, just catching up, having drinks or food, or going for
Do you have a particular writing routine?
Write a sentence, check Twitter. Write another sentence, check Facebook.
Write another sentence, check email. Just kidding, sort of! I actually do
my best writing in our camp in Maine because there is no cell signal or
Internet connection there.
Is there anything major that changed in this novel from when you first
plotted it out?
Yes, based on comments from beta readers, I felt I had to change my
ending. I don’t want to give anything away, but if you read the book and want
to know my original ending, email me (email@example.com) and I’ll tell you
what it was.
Finish this: “I can’t write without…”
computer! I’ve tried to write in notebooks at the beach or in classes I take,
but my handwriting is so bad that even I have trouble reading it sometimes.
If I had
to spend a week on a deserted island, I would need…
husband, dog, and chocolate
career did you think you’d have as an adult?
was young, I dreamed about writing for a soap opera, General Hospital or Days
of Our Lives.
something about you that would surprise people?
comes to playing games, I am wickedly competitive. When my nieces and nephew
were young, I would never let them just win, and my brother-in-law always got
mad at me.
have a ‘day job’ as well?
I do. I
work as a Marketing Writer for a company in the health care industry. I’m lucky
that the job allows me to do what I love: Write.
the original title of this book?
My working title was Life, Unplanned.
you get your ideas, or what inspired this book plot?
was working on my debut, I was lucky enough to attend a writing workshop taught
by Elizabeth Berg. She gave each participant a customized writing prompt. Mine
was about a woman who bought sexy lingerie and parades in front of her husband
wearing it, but he ignores her. I thought about why that would happen and came
up with an idea that the couple had been unable to conceive. When I read the
scene, everyone in the workshop was laughing at the beginning. By the end, they
were all crying.
writing evoked so much emotion gave me a big boost of confidence. I finished my
debut and wrote two other novels before going back to that scene and turning it
into a novel, All We Could Still Have. During revision, I had to cut
that original scene from the book. It killed me to do so.
wasn’t an author, I might be…?
can’t imagine doing anything other than writing.
have a go-to first reader after you feel your manuscript is ready?
sister Susan and my friend Susan. As I’m writing, I always bounce ideas off my
friend Julie, who is also a writer.
tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (or this
I had a
fun type of challenge with All We Could Still Have. I sent this book to
my agent in the late spring. We did a round of revisions and went on submission
in early summer. I started working on my next novel and put that book out of my
mind. I was on vacation in our camp in Maine that has no cell service or
Internet connection. One day I was out in the boat and there are points in the
lake where I get an unstable signal, and my agent called to tell me we had an
offer, but then I lost the signal. I kept trying to call back but the call kept
dropping. By the time I was able to get to a place with a reliable connection
and talk to her, we had multiple offers. So, that was really exciting.
you working on now?
working title of my next novel is Mary Mulligan Gets a Do-Over. It’s about a
54-year-old woman who dreams about being young again. She gets her wisdom teeth
removed and wakes up from the procedure as a 24-year-old. She soon
realizes that her daughter doesn’t exist in this second version of her life so
she wants to get back to her old life.
have a favorite character?
love most of the characters in All We Could Still Have, Nikki, Dana, Aunt
Izzie, Hank, Sharon, Elizabeth, Casey, and the dog! I have mixed feelings about
Kyle. I do think the way Nikki changes throughout the story is really special.
novel Mixed Signals, I love Mr. O’Brien, and readers always mention him to me.
have other books you’d like to talk about here? (The research, how you came up
with the idea for your story, etc.)
wrote All We Could Still Have, I published a novel named More Than
with Red Adept Publishing. The idea for More Than came from a boot camp
style exercise class I attended at my local gym. The story is about Peggy
Moriarty, an overweight widow whose twin children leave for college. Before
they go, they give Peggy a gift certificate for an exercise class at the gym.
Peggy reluctantly attends. Though her body doesn’t change much in the class,
her attitude toward life does. It was a really fun book to write, and
I’ve heard from so many readers that Peggy’s story has inspired them in their
own journeys. So, I’m really proud of that book.
would your dream job be if you didn’t write books? (assuming this is your dream
for the Boston Red Sox or a professional tennis player.
have any advice for aspiring writers?
rejection is just one person’s opinion. Never give up. To be a writer, you need
to keep your butt in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard, even when
nothing is coming to you.
the downfalls of your writing career? The best parts?
part is the people I have met along the way. The writing community is so
supportive. There’s nothing like it.
band or music?
country music, Luke Combs and Carly Pearce, especially. I also have an
affection for music from the ‘80s.
you’d like to travel?
to visit Italy. It’s where my grandparents are from. Also, I’ve read a few
books that take place in Positano, and they make me want to climb through the
pages into the setting.
anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?
There are so many great books to read; thank you for choosing mine! If you have
left a review for any of my novels, I’m sending an extra thanks.