A Word from Katherine...
How the story came to be…
As I read C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce, I thought not only about the choices one makes at the end of one’s life, but the little ones I make each and every day. That trail led me to Lucy, the main character, and quickly Helen, her friend and mentor. These two jumped out as interesting and dynamic women and exploring their choices and lives became fascinating—who they were, how they came to see the world as they did, and what might cause them to think differently and try something new.
We’re all on that journey. I think we constantly assess our lives and our purpose deep underneath our daily goings-on. And this book became their story, my story and, I hope, something readers can find enjoyable, relatable, and a compelling read.
Lucy Alling works at Sid McKenna Antiques and Design, and books are her life. She sells rare books and will do whatever is needed to make the best profit on them. She is dating James Carmichael, but that relationship, as well as her job, is in jeopardy when her shady practices are revealed. Surprisingly, James’s grandma, Helen, seems to bond with Lucy and invites her to go on a trip to England. It appears that Helen has some secrets, and ghosts, of her own. Helen wants to right the wrongs of her past, with Lucy’s help, before it is too late. Both Helen and Lucy are about to learn that the past will be key to the future.
This truly is a tale for book lovers, particularly if you are a fan of classic British literature. Reay’s latest is beautifully detailed, particularly regarding England. It is a solid reminder that all decisions have consequences. Some of the scenes with James seem a bit cold and unnecessary, and the reader may occasionally be put off by Lucy’s habitual lies. However, these combine to add to the overall flawed, reflective nature of the characters and storyline. Helen was my favorite character, by far. The details about the Brontë house are so vibrant that I could almost imagine being there with Lucy and Helen. Lucy’s struggles with poor decisions and finding her place in the world will be relatable for many readers.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon link for purchase…
Q & A with Katherine...
Q: What are your thoughts on the publishing industry, particularly in relation to self-publishing?
A: The industry is blowing wide open! I think we can all agree on that, and in the end, it means more accessibility to great stories—and that’s a good thing. But it feels a little daunting for the writers, right now, as we struggle with “discoverability” in a rapidly expanding landscape. In the end, it’ll sort out. In the meantime, we do what we can—write compelling books.
Q: What would you be doing if you were not an author?
A: Raising the kiddos, running, eating chocolate, and dreaming of becoming an author—and working on it every single day.
Q: What advice do you have for new authors?
A: Work on it every single day. As I said before about the publishing industry, the game is changing. While there are so many ways to enter the publishing world, you still have to present a well-crafted product. So, if it’s on your heart to write, keep writing. That is the best and only true worthy advice I can give.
Q: What project are you currently working on?
A: I’m having such fun with my current project. In my head, I call it The Pizza Maker’s Wife. The title will most likely change, but it’s a wonderful story of a young woman, an impetuous marriage, a transformative trip to Italy, a little family drama, and some yummy food.
Q: What is your favorite writing-related book?
A: Donald Maas’s The Breakout Novel is a must-have. It provides wonderful basic advice on novel construction then takes it further to analyze the elements that make up the truly breakout stories.
Q: PC or Mac?
Q: City or country?
A: Suburb… I love the city but adore my green spaces.
Q: Cat or dog?
A: DOG…. Can I say that again? DOG
(and here's photographic proof!)
Q: Introvert or extrovert?
A: Well-trained Introvert
Q: Tea or coffee?
A: Coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon
Q: Mountains or ocean?
A: Tough one… Adore both! But I LOVE the sound of the ocean.
Q: Winter or summer?
A: Summer sun. Winter wardrobe.
Q: Casual or dressy?
A: Casual, preferably with Converse.
Q: Twitter or Facebook?
A: Twitter. Life in 140 characters or less. Does it get better?
Q: Mexican food or Italian food?
A: That is so hard!! I lived 13 years in Austin, TX and get twitchy without a steady influx of Mexican food. But at home, we cook far more Italian. I just spent a few weeks in Italy this summer and am in love with the entire country.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, Katherine. I'm sure my readers will enjoy getting to know you a bit better :)
Katherine Reay is the author of Dear Mr. Knightley, a Christy Award Finalist and winner of the 2014 INSPY Award for Best Debut, as well as Carol Awards for both Best Debut and Best Contemporary. She's also the writer behind Lizzy & Jane. Wife, mother, runner, former marketer, and avid chocolate consumer, Katherine and her family recently settled in Chicago, IL.
Goodreads: Katherine Reay