BOOKLIST Issue: November 1, 2014
As Close as Sisters.
Advanced Review – Uncorrected Proof
Faulkner, Colleen (Author)
Nov 2014. 300 p. Kensington, paperback, $15. (9780758255716).
Faulkner (Just Like Other Daughters, 2013) introduces us to McKenzie, Aurora, Janine, and Lilly, four
women whose bond runs much deeper than friendship. Friends since they were teenagers, they have lived
through everything together—marriage, divorce, babies, boyfriends, and girlfriends. Each summer, the
four spend a month on the Delaware seaside in Janine’s childhood home, which is haunted with painful
memories but also filled with the joyous ones they have shared over the years. But this summer it’s
different—it is the last they will spend together because McKenzie is dying. Her terminal cancer diagnosis
hangs like a black cloud over the group as they try and work through their individual demons while
coming to terms with McKenzie’s illness and a future without her. Told from each woman’s perspective,
As Close as Sisters shares the emotions of four very different women and their personal journeys through
heartbreak, hope, and joy. Faulkner addresses serious topics that will evoke both tears and laughter while
leaving readers contemplating the unbreakable bonds of friendship.
— Patricia Smith
I can't believe a year has passed since Just Like Other Daughters was released. And now my new book, As Close As Sisters, will soon be in bookstores all over the United States.I don't know why that amazes me after all these years, but I'm glad it does. So many people dream of publishing a book. I've been one of the fortunate few to realize that dream. I always tell people that its a lot more fun to SAY I'm a writer than to actually BE one because, for the most part, being a writer is kind of boring. I sit in my office alone, day after day, week after week, year after year, trying to put the story in my head on paper. Day to day, writing is more about discipline than creativity. I think we all have stories to tell; the trick is to be able to sit in that chair and write it down. But next week, when the new book is released, it will be as fun to be a writer as it is to say I'm one. Coming, October 28:
If you like feel-good contemporary romances, you have to read my friend Donna Fasano's THE MERRY-GO-ROUND. Donna and I have been friends for 25 years. She's one of those friends I don't see often enough, but when we get together, it's like no time has passed. Donna's Merry-Go-Round is sporting a new cover, so check it out.
by Donna Fasano
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: December 2, 2009
When Lauren divorces her husband, she has one thought on her mind...stepping off the merry-go-round. However, her life quickly turns into a three-ring circus: her hypochondriac father moves in, her ex is using her shower when she’s not home, and her perky assistant is pushing her out into the fearsome dating world. She also has to decide if the dilapidated barn and vintage merry-go-round she was awarded in the divorce settlement is a blessing or a bane. As if Lauren’s personal life isn't chaotic enough, this slightly jaded attorney is overrun with a cast of quirky characters who can’t stay on the right side of the law. What’s a woman to do? She can allow life to spin her in circles forever. Or she can reach out and grab the brass ring.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently writing two projects at once. I've never done this before, and I can’t decide if I love it or hate it. I’m writing a Christmas Novella entitled Almost Perfect Christmas, the story of man who enlists the help of a woman in giving his daughter a perfect Christmas. Unbeknownst to him, his little girl has every intention of playing an angelic matchmaker. The other project is the first book of a 3-book series called Following His Heart, the story of a man who is eerily drawn to a woman, and after they fall in love, they discover what brought them together, and it just might tear them apart. Yes, the description is vague, but that’s just the way it has to be for now. I’m chuckling as I type this. Both books are contemporary romance novels and are due out this fall.
What are you reading now or what do you have in your TBR pile?
I just finished Learning to Swim by Sara Henry. I’m currently reading Love Me Tender by Mimi Barbour. On my TBR pile you’ll find A Reluctant Hero by Jackie Weger, Creatus by Carmen DeSousa, The Neighbor by Dean Koontz, Three Junes by Julia Glass, One Way or Another by Elaine Raco Chase…should I go on?
What flavor is your writing style?
I always tell people I write cotton candy for the mind. Think back to when you were a kid and you took a bite of that delectable confection. What did you do? You smiled. That’s what I’m going for in my romance novels.
Was writing always the first thing you wanted to do in life?
No, I wanted to be a teacher, but then I met and fell in love with my husband. We married and began raising a family. It wasn't until my children started school that I started writing.
While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?
I believe there’s a lot of me in my protagonists. I write about women who are strong, yet vulnerable. My main characters and my secondary characters have flaws and make mistakes (don’t we all?), but then most of them do all they can to learn, grow and become better people.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
One piece of advice I often give to writers is to READ. Don’t just read in the genre in which you write. Read everything. And then figure out what you liked and what you didn't…and then think about why. Reading and analyzing the writing of talented people can help you perfect your own skills.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I bow down to readers! I am so appreciative that they spend their hard-earned money on my books and then take the time to read my stories. I am so blessed to have a job I love, and I wouldn't have this job if there weren't readers who love romance novels.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I came to writing through my love of reading. I spent many a Saturday as a kid in the local library. I loved books, but I never imagined I would ever write one. My husband gets the credit for my becoming a writer. When my children started school and I decided to find a part-time job, he looked around at the piles of romance novels in our home and said, “You've read a lot of those. Why don’t you try writing one?” So, you see. It’s all his fault.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not my latest book, but one of my titles—Where’s Stanley?—features an ending that I didn't come up with. I handed in the completed manuscript, and my editor suggested a different ending. I wasn't happy, but I did as she asked. Personally, I think the book suffered for it, but readers seem to enjoy it.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Old Yeller, Sounder, The Bell Jar, To Kill a Mockingbird…how can people read these books and not be influenced? There are so many titles that inspired me and moved me, molded and shaped me, there isn't time to name them all. The characters in these wonderful books help young readers to decide what kind of individual they want to be.
Do you ever experience writer's block?
There was a time when I’d have said no. I have a plant-your-butt-in-the-chair-and-the-words-will-come attitude. But I did suffer writer’s block while my dad was battling cancer. It’s difficult to write feel-good happily-ever-after when your beloved father is dying.
Do you write an outline before every book you write?
I do, yes. I equate an outline with a road made; how do you know where you’re going if you don’t have a map? I might write the first chapter or two on the fly, but I always take the time to plan out where I want the story to go. Now that’s not to say that the characters are going to stay on the straight and narrow. They decide to veer off the highway every now and then, and that’s when I have to do a quick reroute.
Have you ever disliked something you wrote?
I've never published anything that I disliked. I have started projects that haven’t seen the light of day, either because I couldn't figure out where to take the story, or I couldn't make the protagonist sympathetic or likable. It’s a rare occurrence, and when it happens, I just set the story aside and hope I can someday come up with a solution.
USA Today Bestselling Author Donna Fasano has written over 30 romance and women's fiction books that have sold 4 million copies worldwide. Look for Ehefrau auf Zeit (German Edition) due out September 16th, published by Amazon Crossing, and the first novel of the brand new 3-book Ocean City Boardwalk Series called Following His Heart, due to be released at the end of October.
So finishing a book feels wonderful, which means that starting a new book should feel awful, right? Sort of. I started my new book last week. And let me tell you, those first days can be overwhelming . . . and sometimes terrifying. What if I'm all out of words? Or good ideas? What if the characters I wrote about in the outline for the book don't come to life in my head? Worse, what if they don't come to life on the page? Still, midst all the fears and angst, there's this tiny flutter of excitement inside me. I have a new story to tell. New characters to meet. I think about them day and night, watching their story unfold, trying to figure out which parts to share with the reader. I spend a lot of time coming up with ways to delay sitting down at my computer (like many writers I know) but when I finally read my email and make the choice NOT to check Facebook or order something online, I find that I'm eager to read what I wrote the day before. I'm eager to write the next couple of sentences, paragraphs, scene. And once I get going, the words really do come. At least they did today. We'll see what happens tomorrow.
I never search the Internet for reviews of my books. I do read some of them on Amazon, mostly because my mother tells me to.I think I've talked about this before. Anyway, I turned in a book Wednesday so I'm playing hooky until I start the new one on Monday. How do I spend my free time? I'm making a Minecraft cake for my niece (I'll post a picture) and . . . I was checking out Amazon and changing my author bio. Mostly because I didn't have the title right on my next book. AS CLOSE AS SISTERS will be a November 2014 release. While checking the site, I noticed that JUST LIKE OTHER DAUGHTERS had quite a few new reviews, so I read through them. I've received my first one star, out of 5, review. When I read it, I smiled to myself. I suppose I should be upset-- someone didn't like my book. No, they hated my book. Which translates, for most writers, to mean that someone hates me. Worse yet, hates my baby. My darling. Fortunately, I don't look at reviews that way. I have a story to tell that I tell. Some readers will like the story, some won't. I think the important thing to me is, did it touch the reader in some way? Was there something about the book that made them think about it later? Or mention it to a friend? As a reader, I like books that touch me emotionally, negatively or positively. I like books that make me think, even if it's to think I don't agree with that character's thoughts or actions or I don't agree with how the author saw that issue. It also occurred to me that getting a one star review on Amazon once in a while is probably good. Otherwise, wouldn't readers be suspicious? I'm suspicious of a book that EVERYONE adores. So, I'm not upset about the one star, but I am going to call my mother, who's also a writer, and tell her someone doesn't like me. She has to like me; she's my mother.