News Flash: Dru Ann Love is Nancy’s lucky winner! Dru, congratulations, and please check your email.
Edith/Maddie writing today from Cape Cod, closing in on finishing my first draft.
And I’m so very pleased to introduce my longtime north-of-Boston author friend Nancy Crochiere to the Wicked Authors and our great reader community. She has a debut novel for you all!
For some years, Nancy and I were part of a five-author group, the Nevertheless Writers, who went around to local libraries to talk about paths to publication from the viewpoints of authors who write women’s fiction, middle-grade novels, children’s books, memoir essays (Nancy), and mystery (me, obviously).
The Nevertheless Writers at a Halloween event. From left, Nancy Crochiere, Elizabeth Atkinson, Holly Robinson, Edith Maxwell, Susan Paradis
Nancy and I have also been part of the Newburyport Writers’ Group, a cross-genre writers’ support group for many years, so we’ve been crossing the genre fence for a long time.
Nancy’s been really working her craft writing and polishing this humorous, women’s adventure novel for several years, and I couldn’t be happier that Graceland comes out May 30. One lucky commenter will win a copy from Nancy.
And here’s the blurb (I asked Nancy for a short blurb, but the long one is so delicious, I couldn’t resist using it):
People-pleasing Hope Robinson can’t seem to please anyone lately–not her slogan-spewing boss, not her pink-haired teenage daughter, and especially not her mother, the flamboyant soap-star, Olivia Grant. Olivia loves Elvis more than Jesus, and now that she’s on oxygen, she insists Hope take her on a final trip to Graceland. Unfortunately, that’s the one place Hope can’t go. Eighteen years earlier, pregnant and distraught, Hope fled Tennessee with a secret agreement: to never reveal her baby’s father and never return to Memphis.
Olivia, though, has never learned the word no. After she wrangles Hope’s impulsive daughter, Dylan, to drive her from Boston to Memphis with the promise of meeting her mystery father, Hope has no choice but to chase after them. She must stop them before they ambush Dylan’s father, exposing Hope’s lies, breaking the NDA, and igniting a political and media firestorm.
Along the road to Memphis, as the women encounter former soap actors, free-range ferrets, and a trio of Elvis-impersonating frat boys, everyone’s long-held secrets begin to unravel. In order to become the family they long to be, Hope, Olivia, and Dylan must face hard truths about themselves and one another on the bumpy road to acceptance, forgiveness, and ultimately, grace.
Isn’t that fun? I can vouch for Nancy’s funny voice, too. I asked her a few questions so you can get to know her. Don’t forget to read down for her giveaway and details about her launch party.
What genres do you write in?
My debut novel, Graceland, is humorous book-club fiction, similar to Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette? Before I tried my hand at fiction, I wrote a newspaper humor column about family life.
What drew you to the genre you write?
I like to see the humor in things and enjoy making people laugh. There’s a great deal to worry about in our world, but I try—to quote Eric Idle at the end of Monty Python’s Life of Brian—to always look on the bright side of life.
What sets your book apart from what is out there?
Graceland is a road-trip chase from Boston to Memphis with three generations of women—mother, daughter, grandmother—all at odds with one another, each with her own agenda, but each, in her own way, seeking forgiveness and grace. The novel is fast-paced and offers both humor and heart, as well as some meaty issues for book-club discussion.
Do you write a series or standalones? Why?
This is my first novel, and I don’t plan on a sequel. My next book will be completely different.
What are you working on now?
I recently completed a screenplay based on a friend’s memoir, and we’ve entered it in a contest that seeks to elevate women screenwriters over forty. I’m also in the planning and outlining stage for my next novel.
What are you reading right now?
So much! I recently loved Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus and Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. On audiobook, I just finished Kirthana Ramisetti’s Advika and the Hollywood Wives, and have begun Amy Poeppel’s The Sweet Spot. The book on my nightstand (which I was reading between 1 and 2 am last night), is Jane Roper’s The Society of Shame, which is hilarious.
Do you have a favorite quote or life motto?
I have two. The first has been attributed to Mother Teresa: We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.
The second, from Walter Swan, has been tacked to my office door for thirty years, since my daughter brought it home from first grade: Always be kind. Have a good attitude. Never give up.
Favorite writing space?
On my back deck, as long as the wasps don’t start dive-bombing me.
Favorite deadline snack?
I have a special fondness for popcorn. I maintain it counts as a vegetable.
What do you see when you look up from writing?
Photos of my two grandsons and a miniature whiskey flask a friend gave me. Family life and writing life.
Where and how did you hone your fiction writing?
My second home is GrubStreet in Boston, the writing center where I’ve taken many courses, attended conferences, and graduated from their year-long Novel Incubator program. I strongly believe that workshopping is the best way to improve one’s storytelling.
Speed quiz: Coffee or wine? Oh my God, that’s like Sophie’s Choice. Can’t even think about it. Hiking or swimming? Hiking if it’s Iceland; swimming if it’s the Caribbean. Takeout or home-cooked? Take-out. Every time. Chocolate or pizza? Chocolate. Dark. Rich. Mmmm. (Darn it–now I need some!) Beach or mountains? Beach. It’s where I feel one with the universe.
What else should we know? You already know too much. I’m going to have to kill you.
Readers: What road trip have you taken with one or more family members? I’ll send one randomly selected US resident a copy of Graceland.
And if you’re in New England…
SPECIAL NOTE: ELVIS WILL BE IN THE BUILDING! Nancy’s launch party for Graceland will take place on June 2nd at 7 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 26 Pleasant Street, Newburyport, Mass. The event will feature a special guest appearance by Elvis, who will sing a few songs and take photos with attendees. Jabberwocky Bookshop will sell books. All are welcome.
Nancy Crochiere chronicled the ups and downs of family life—including her obsession with George Clooney—in her humorous newspaper column, “The Mother Load.” Her essays have appeared in the Boston Globe Writer’s Digest, and WBUR’s Cognoscenti blog. In her free time, she acts as an extra in feature films and TV shows.
Instagram: @ncrochiere Facebook: @NancyCrochiereWriter · Twitter: @ncrochiere
This book sounds like a fun ride. Hope I win. I haven’t been on a road trip in years, but I remember riding in the back seat going to Malice from NY with a few friends and having a blast.
Thanks so much! A Road Trip to Malice would make a great book title!
That title and author looks like fun
We were moving from MA to FL, so after the house sold we took our RV with our 2 cats with a few stops along the way. I had Barnabas our big black cat on my lap all of the time when we were driving and Belle was sleeping in between us. It was so darn cute, my black cat looking out the window at everything. I miss our RV and taking trips with the cats, we even took them to Disney World. Thank you so much for the chance at your giveaway. Your book sounds wonderful. I grew up with my mom being an ex President of the Elvis fan club. pgenest57 at aol dot com
Ex-president of the Elvis fan club! Wow! That’s impressive! And I’m a cat person, too. I hope you enjoy GRACELAND!
I took a road trip to Woodstock VT with my best friend and we had a blast. The countryside was beautiful.
I love Vermont. I went to college there, and my daughter got married last year in Waitsfield.
Congrats to Nancy! This novel sounds like it will be a great read. Road trips? Many—some of the most fun were with one of my best girlfriends after college. We’d throw a suitcase in the car and head to NH or Maine, no reservations, and enjoy wherever we ended up, no internet back then, just AAA guidebooks.
Thanks, Kate! I agree–there was something so nice about the spontaneity back then. On the other hand, there’s something wonderful about GoogleMaps when you’re lost, haha.
Congratulations on your new book! My longest road trip was moving from Virginia to Maine with my son and daughter and two cats! They slept most of the way, though. Got terribly lost in New Jersey, but I kinda think that’s a common theme to many of my road trips lol!
Thanks! I agree, getting lost is a common theme, and perhaps part of the fun? Or, at least, that’s what makes the best story afterward.
Love finding new authors! I’ve already liked Nancy Crochiere on Facebook and Twitter and excited about the great sounding upcoming release of “Graceland”.
The only relatives that we have taken road trips with were my parents. As they got older and getting around was harder on them, hubby and I took lots of trips with them. Most were to family reunions, but there were a few pleasure trips of going to Branson. The longest trip we took with them was to Pennsylvania where we stayed for almost a week. I think anytime you combine family members for longer lengths of time and pretty much confined in each others company, there can be stressful situations – especially with parents. Parents still see you as their children and children as adult have developed and want their own freedom. That can really be stretched in longer trips, but we found to keep humor and respect close at hand made for an awesome time for all. What I won’t give for the chance to take my parents on a trip with us – short or long. My suggestion is to cherish each moment and make many memory making moments while you can. Looking back you will enjoy the memories and what was once a big disagreement doesn’t matter at all.
Love the description for “Graceland” and would LOVE the opportunity to read and review it. Thank you for the chance to win a copy!
2clowns at arkansas dot net
Thanks so much for your interest in GRACELAND and for following me on social media! When I was little, my parents used to just take us for “rides” in the car with no destination (except there was often ice cream involved, haha), Like you, I would give anything to be able to go for a “ride” with them again. You have a great perspective on what’s important.
Would take roads trips with my grandfather in the 70’s. cheetahthecat1982ATgmailDOTcom
Road trips with grandparents are the best!
from maryland up to Maine up to vermont so not very far
Far enough! Not the distance that matters, it’s the fun!
This story sounds fun. There have been a lot of road trips but one of the top ones was a trip to Minnesota to get my beautiful basset hound from a rescue up there. My three best girlfriends went with me and it was wonderful.
Road trips with girlfriends and a dog! Love it! You should read Ann Garvin’s novel I Thought You Said This Would Work. Same plot line!
My husband and I took a trip in our camper
with our kids from the east coast to California last year. It was a beautiful trip!!
Thanks for the chance!
You did the kind of road trip my husband’s family used to do–Massachusetts to California–only they had five boys in a Dodge Dart. Not sure how that was even possible. Before car seats, for sure.
The novel sounds fun, Nancy. I don’t think I’ve road-tripped with family since a family vacation to Boston when I was a teenager.
Thanks! Naturally, since I live in Greater Boston, I’m partial to road trips here! In GRACELAND, the journey starts in Boston. I hope you get a chance to read it!
Welcome, Nancy! I love the premise for your novel! We’ve been on so many road trips. My first was after second grade when we went from Iowa all the California coast with many stops in between. My most recent was a snowbird trip through the South.
Thanks, Sherry! Love a good snowbird trip! It’s never warm enough for me…
Thanks for visiting the Wickeds today, Nancy! Your book sounds like fun! Probably my most memorable road trip is one I took with my husband, children and one sister in Brazil. We had many adventures along the way including several detours due to civil unrest involving streets blocked off by towering tire fires. Nevertheless, it was great fun!
You sound very adventurous, Jessie! I’m not sure I would have enjoyed the tire fires in the moment, but what a great story (and image)!
My parents, my brother and I drove from NJ to Niagara Falls one year
Yes! My younger daughter and I once did a stop-over in Niagara Falls on the way to Chicago. We had a ball!
What fun! I’m looking forward to reading this. One of my favorite books as a child was titled “Take Me To My Friend.” It was the story of grandmother/granddaughter road trip from Florida to home (don’t remember where home was). Since it was a YA book it was also a cautionary tale, coming of age book, and a mystery with a happy ending. Made a big impression.
My last road trip was July 2020. Hubs and I decided in the teeth of the pandemic to leave Florida and return to Maine. We rented an RV in lieu of hotel stays, packed up our three cats and six birds and hit the road. It was a blast. We detoured around high traffic areas, took the roads less travelled, ducked anything that required human interaction.
Thanks! I do hope you get to read and enjoy GRACELAND! And what an amazing trip with cats and birds and roads less traveled. It’s amazing how the pandemic pushed us to do things we might never have considered otherwise.
When I was young we took road trips to a lakeside fishing camp which was very rustic and only a 2 hour trip in our station wagon. Now we rarely if ever go on road trips. Several years ago we drove from NM to Colo. I enjoyed this amazing and fascinating travel through time since we saw an old historic town, Leadville. What a revelation and when we were there there was a performance at the old opera house. Memorable trip and performance.
Those are the best kind of road trips, when you discover some fascinating historic place. Seeing a performance at the old opera house must have been wonderful!
I haven’t offered my own road trips, which have been many. I crisscrossed the country a number times in the 1980s solo in my boat of a 1970 Volvo sedan, and we used to drive my boys to my sister’s in Quebec every summer (we’d leave them for a week and she would drive them back) listening on cassette tapes to EB White read Charlotte’s Web (priceless).
My bestie and I road-tripped wearing driving hats from Boston to Indiana and back, detailing state capitals, our family histories, and our Life Lists (of men we’d slept with…).That was a great trip.
I also drove all over West Africa with cranky husband and two sons in temps well over 100F (flat tire, no spare, and running low of water in a completely desolate area) and dealt with threatening border guards in Ghana – luckily, my ex spoke the languages and jollied them out of requiring a bribe from us. Whew!
Can’t wait to pick up my copy of the book at Jabberwocky next week! Thanks for joining us today, Nancy.
Wow, Edith, that West Africa story takes the cake! You are a braver woman than I! Thanks for this opportunity to highlight my COMIC road trip story.
The book sounds fabulous!
My last family road trip was over 30 years ago, with my then husband & our son. Since the divorce, road trips have been with friends. One I really enjoyed a few years ago took us from NYC to PA to see friends, had some great shopping & went to a train museum. Then north to Corning, NY to visit the glass museum (one of my favorite museums!), then a stop at some wineries for tasting & off to Oneonta with a side trip to Cooperstown for more museum time. By the time we got back to NYC we were exhausted, but it was worth it.
Thanks! I hope you enjoy GRACELAND! The best kinds of road trips are those that leave you exhausted but fulfilled, like yours!
I have never taken a road trip with a family member…
Perhaps reading about one will be just as good!
My Sister and I have been on lots of road trips. We’re from Michigan and every once in awhile we like to take a trip to the UP. on our last trip we went to Mackinac Island and stayed on the Island overnight and then visited Fayette which is a state park and a ghost town. It’s so beautiful and I wish I could live there. After other stops we ended up in Sault Ste. Marie to watch the freighters go through the locks. Lots to do in the UP, but a lot of driving.
Sister road trips are great. My sister and I toured Scotland a few years back with other family members.
Welcome to the Wickeds, Nancy. It is so great to have you here. Best of luck with Graceland. I love a road trip and I love a road trip book.
I made a road trip with my family from Colorado to Connecticut which took five days. We were moving across country, and what an adventure it was! My parents drove the Buick, and my brother and I followed in a light green Volkswagen bug. (My brother did the driving because I was only 15 and unlicensed.)
Fun! A pink VW Bug figures prominently in my novel! I loved the Beetles we owned.
I went on a road trip in 2016, from Massachusetts to West Virginia. My son and boyfriend (at the time) came with me. The scenery was breathtaking and I really enjoyed the drive, stopping at different places to get memorabilia and eating at different places. The trip home was too fast! I hope to do another road trip soon. Thanks for the chance to win your wonderful book. ❤️
I did a similar road trip when researching my book and agree that the scenery was amazing!
Congratulations!! My Mom and I went from NW Ohio to her homeplace in West Virginia. After we spent time in West Virginia, we went over to spend time in Virginia. This was quite a few years ago. It was my first time driving the mountain roads. I loved it. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.
I love the scenery while driving through the mountains, but some of the twists and turns can be scary. Thanks for your comment!