Author: Laurie Breton
ISBN: ASIN (Kindle Edition): B008KJAIDC
Page count: 436
Genre: Romance/Women’s Fiction
I’ve been writing since I was eight years old, but I was a late bloomer when it came to being published. I spent my young adulthood waltzing with an approach-avoidance conflict that had me spending twenty-hour days writing furiously for six weeks or two months at a time. Then I’d set aside the work and not touch it for six months or a year. This went on for two decades before I finally realized that I wasn’t going to get anywhere as a writer if I didn’t: a) finish something, and b) show it to other people. Suddenly, the lightbulb went on over my head, and I finished that first book, the one I’d been dawdling over for nearly twenty years, in record time. The second book took seven weeks; the third took 36 days. This was the early days of e-books and online publishing, and those first three books were published by teeny-tiny online publishers and read by about twelve people before they disappeared into obscurity. Book number four caught the eye of an agent, who got me a multi-book deal with a big publisher. I published six mass market paperbacks before my publisher declined to renew my contract. At this point, I was tired and burned out from the effort of writing a book a year on deadline while working forty hours a week. I had chronic health problems, and I stopped writing for a while, focusing my creative energies on painting and photography instead.
Fast forward several years, and I emerged from my hibernation, ready to start writing again. When I looked around, I realized the literary landscape had changed drastically during the time I’d been away. Suddenly, self-publishing was readily available to everyone, and the stigma that accompanied it was quickly eroding. I started writing again, and when I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), what came out, to my surprise, was a sequel to those first two books I’d written so many years ago. I was 50k words into the story before it hit me between the eyes: indie publishing was the way to go. So I re-released those first two books, for Kindle and in trade paperback, as Book 1 and Book 2 of an ongoing series. Suddenly, I’m excited about writing again, excited to be taking control of my own life and career.
No more rejections. No more sending out manuscripts and waiting months (or even years!) to be told, “Sorry. It doesn’t fit our needs.” No more trying to conform to the ever-changing and impossible-to-decipher whims of the literary marketplace! I’m writing for myself, and for my readers, and that’s all that matters. Life is good.
Tell us about your book:
COMING HOME is a love story, but it’s also the story of Casey’s evolution from girl to woman. Just eighteen when the story opens, Casey Bradley is a budding songwriter. When Danny Fiore, her brother’s friend and bandmate, storms into her life, he turns it upside down. Danny is a singer with huge ambitions and a voice to match. He’s looking for new material, and he believes Casey can provide it. Neither of them plans on falling in love, but sometimes the heart has a mind of its own.
When Casey begins writing music with talented guitarist Rob MacKenzie, the result is an unstoppable hit-making machine that catapults Danny Fiore to a success beyond their wildest dreams. But life with Danny isn’t everything she thought it would be; rivers of darkness run through her troubled marriage, and Casey spends so many years focused on Danny’s career that she loses sight of her own dreams, her own desire for a family and some kind of normalcy. Danny loves her, but he has trouble getting the whole husband thing right, and every time he breaks her heart, it’s Rob who picks her up, dusts her off, and glues the pieces back together.
It isn’t until tragedy strikes, just when she thinks her dreams are finally coming true, that Casey begins to question who she is and what she really wants from life. In the process, she discovers the bittersweet truth that the choices a woman makes at eighteen may differ vastly from those she makes at thirty.
COMING HOME is a poignant story about the seasons of a woman’s heart, and the roundabout route we sometimes have to take to get to where we’re meant to be.
COMING HOME is the first book in my ongoing Jackson Falls series.
How long did it take to write the book?
Twenty years, give or take, although most of that time was spent not writing. Yes, this is the twenty-year book I mentioned in my author bio above. I’m happy to report that nowadays, I write much more quickly!
What inspired you to write the book?
These characters have lived inside my head since I was in my twenties. They were probably originally inspired by my teenage obsession with rock music, but that was simply a jumping-off point. I find that little pieces of real life, my own experiences and emotions, always find their way into my fiction. It all lands in a huge melting pot, which I then stir and stir until it forms something solid and coherent.
Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
When I’m actively working on a book, I usually get up at 4 a.m. and write for two hours before work. If the words are coming quickly, I write again after work, sometimes late into the night. I try to attain a specific word count each day. 1500 words is my usual, although when it’s coming fast and furious, I can easily double that. I write until my brain is fried and then I fall into bed in total exhaustion. When I get stuck, I get in my car and drive around the back roads of Maine. I do my best “writing in my head” when I’m behind the wheel. If I get really stuck, a day trip to Boston will usually get the juices flowing again.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
This is not only the Book of my Heart, but it’s also a book with heart. My hope is that it touches the hearts of readers, makes them cry, makes them laugh, makes them believe that it’s worth everything we have to go through to get to that place we’re meant to be.
Where can we go to buy your book?
Amazon.com (kindle edition or in trade paperback)
Any other links or info you’d like to share?
My web page: www.lauriebreton.com
Excerpt from book:
Hands tucked in the pockets of his Levi’s, Danny Fiore stood at the window, watching the first light of dawn touch the eastern sky and wondering when he’d stopped wanting to run away.
He’d tried to run. When running hadn’t worked, he’d decided there was no reason they couldn’t discuss the situation like two rational adults. But he’d been wrong again; he’d forgotten that the moment she walked into the room, one of them regressed to a fifteen-year-old, all knees and elbows and quavering uncertainty. So he’d done the only thing left to do: he’d given in to the tumult inside him.
And when he touched her, he knew he was lost.
He had nothing to offer her. Eighty-seven bucks and change, a rusted ten-year-old Chevy, and three years’ back issues of Rolling Stone. It was no life for a woman, at least not for the kind of woman Casey was. But if he did nothing, she would go home, back to Jesse, and half his insides would go with her.
Danny rested his forehead against the window pane and closed his eyes. What he knew about love you could put in a thimble. He was no good at intimacy. Christ, that was a lie; he didn’t know if he was any good at it. He’d never had a chance to find out. All he understood was singing, and the way the music made him feel. Until now, it had been enough.
She was sleeping in a tangle of dark hair and slender limbs and rumpled sheets. Danny sat on the edge of the bed and tried to think of the right words to say. She deserved champagne and roses, candlelight and soft music. Not a marriage proposal from some crazy wop bastard at five in the morning on sheets that hadn’t been changed in a week.
He touched her cheek to awaken her. She stretched like a cat before opening sleep-studded eyes to his. When she smiled, his heart rolled over in his chest. “Look,” he said, the words suddenly tumbling out of him so fast he was tripping over them. “I’m not in a position to offer you anything even faintly resembling an orthodox life. My life’s chaotic, and I don’t see it getting any better in the foreseeable future. Right now, I don’t have the proverbial pot to piss in or the window to throw it out of. But it won’t always be that way.” He paused for breath. “By God,” he said, “I mean to have it all. But there may be hard times along the way. And you have to know up front that I won’t change, not even for you—” He stopped, suddenly aware that he was rambling. “I’m not making any sense, am I?”
Softly, she said, “You’re doing just fine.”
He ran a hand through his hair. “I had all these flowery things I wanted to say, and I’m saying this all wrong—”
“Yes,” she said.
He blinked. “Yes, what?”
“Yes, I’ll marry you.”
He was grinning, grinning like a fool, and he couldn’t help it. “I haven’t asked you yet.”
“If I waited for you to get to the point,” she said, “ we’d have to spend our honeymoon at the Sleepytime Old Age Home.”
He took her hand in his and somberly studied her slender fingers. “There’s something you have to know,” he said. “Up front. I want to make sure you understand what you’re getting into.”
She closed her fingers around his. “Yes?” she said.
He cleared his throat. “The kind of life I lead,” he said, “is not conducive to rearing children.”
Her steady gaze didn’t waver, nor did her grip loosen. But he could hear it in her voice, the faint hint of a tremor. “Ever?” she said.
He felt himself weakening. God help him if she ever figured out that he was incapable of saying no to her. “It’s not an easy life,” he said. “I’d have to be damn settled before I’d ever consider bringing a kid into it.”
“But later,” she said, “someday—”
He brought her hand to his mouth, kissed those pale, trembling fingers. “Someday,” he said, “when things are more settled, we’ll talk about it again.”
Her eyes never left his as she removed the diamond engagement ring from the third finger of her left hand and placed it on the table beside the bed. “Are you sure?” he said hoarsely.
She smiled. “I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.”
At 4:47 on a Tuesday afternoon, in the clerk’s office at the city hall in Hayesville, Maryland, while static crackled from the police radio in the lobby and pigeons cooed from their roost along the eaves above the open window, Danny held her trembling hand in his and promised to cherish her until death. With the mayor’s secretary and an off-duty cop as witnesses, they exchanged the rings they’d bought a half-hour earlier at K-mart, and the city clerk, doubling as a notary public, pronounced them man and wife.
She signed the marriage certificate with a flourish. Casey Lynn Bradley Fiore. Danny’s handwriting was small and neat as he signed his name next to hers. The secretary returned to her typewriter and the cop went home to dinner, and Danny slipped the clerk a twenty before taking Casey’s arm and walking her out into late afternoon sunshine. There, on the sidewalk in front of God and half the homebound population of Hayesville, he swept her into his arms and kissed her until her insides turned to butter. The secretary came out the door and gave them a benevolent smile, and Casey returned the smile just from the sheer joy of it.
Danny cupped her face in his hands and kissed her again. “So, Mrs. Fiore,” he said, “where would you like to eat dinner?”
She straightened his collar. She couldn’t seem to keep herself from touching him. “Some place wonderfully elegant, Mr. Fiore. Like the Ritz.”
“I’m afraid you’ll have to settle for something a little less elegant,” he said wryly. “Like McDonald’s.”
She kissed his chin. “I can’t think of a more elegant place.”
They spent their wedding night in a motel off the Jersey Pike, somewhere outside of Philly. In a paneled room that smelled of mildew, they drank supermarket champagne from disposable plastic goblets and explored together the mysteries of love. He shared with her his fire, she shared with him her tenderness, and they drew strength from the knowledge that nobody could tear them apart now.
And in the morning, they went home to face the lions.