Do you remember that song, “Another Opening, Another Show”? One stanzas goes, “You cross your fingers and hold your heart. It’s curtain time and away we go…” I can’t cross my fingers (makes typing impossible), but I do hold my heart and my breath as I write to you: Here’s Scout studying the cover of my next novel, sent to him by the publisher. The Book of CarolSue will come out on August 25. Scout is, as usual, dismayed about their terrible decision to omit a noble yellow Lab from the cover. However, he notes that at least this time he’s not been insulted by the prominent display of a chicken there, and his quick skim of some chapters on my computer screen proved there is a yellow Lab in the story this time. (Apparently he didn’t notice that Marvelle the cat lives on, and the dog is not a major character. I dread the moment he discovers that.)
This is the first time I’ve written a story that has the same setting and characters as the one before, although it’s called a stand-alone, meaning you don’t need to have read the first to follow and enjoy the second.
In my 2018 novel, The Testament of Harold’s Wife, after tragedy strikes Louisa’s family, the smart, sassy, irreverent retired schoolteacher has two choices: she can fade away into her grief or concoct a Plan. Louisa is definitely not the fading-away type. The Book of CarolSue begins two years after Testament ends. It brings Louisa’s sister, CarolSue, who’d critiqued Louisa’s Plan long-distance until Louisa quit being strictly honest with her, back to the Indiana farmland she left when she married and moved to Atlanta fifteen years ago. The farm life never was exactly second nature to CarolSue. Not even fourth or fifth nature. It’s like being an immigrant, displaced and alone. Or maybe it’s not similar at all. Maybe that’s a whole world about which both sisters will find they’ve been seriously clueless.
Thanks to my generous publisher, I have three copies of The Testament of Harold’s Wife that I will sign and inscribe to give away to readers who might like to read or gift that now (and who, incidentally, might be willing to post a brief review on Amazon–always such a huge help to a book. If you’ve already done that, thank you from my heart!). To enter a random drawing for one of these copies, just leave a brief comment below about any time you have felt lost, alone or frightened. Or anything else you might want to comment on or question, really. I always post an answer. Winners will be announced on March 9 at noon.
Also, for you readers who prefer to read on a kindle or other electronic platform, Testament will be going on a publisher’s sale sometime this spring. If you’ll follow me on BookBub, you’d get a notice when that happens. (I’ll try to let you know on social media, too.) I review a lot of novels that I like on BookBub, too, in case that interests you.
Thank you so much for sticking with me! I’m so hoping that you’ll love both novels and help spread the word. If you’d consider pre-ordering The Book of CarolSue, it would be an enormous help. Why? it helps gauge early interest in the novel to the sales force and booksellers, which in turn helps the publisher determine how large an initial print run to schedule. It really makes a huge difference!