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