I have been blogging about my favourite subject – books, for some considerable time now, but no matter how many review and promotional requests I receive, I always get that same amazing buzz, to think that an author, promotor, or publisher, has taken the trouble to search out and complete that ‘Fiction Books’ contact form, then hit the ‘send’ button!
Julie C. Gardner, is one such author and that she so graciously agreed to consider a Guest Post spot and then produced this totally personal copy with such alacrity, only bears out my belief in the power of the written word.
So without further ado, I’ll pass this post over to Julie, to share her journey in her own words …
‘FORGETTING OPHELIA‘ (Friendship & Secrets #3)
Ever-hopeful Lia thinks she’ll be with handsome, brooding Jake forever. Until one day he completely blindsides her and makes her question everything she knows…
Lia Townsend is expecting a ring and a trip to Hawaii for her fifth wedding anniversary. Instead, her husband, Jake, walks out on her. Out of the blue. Devastated, Lia vows to win back Jake and the perfect life they shared.
Because it was perfect, wasn’t it?
But as Lia searches for the truth behind Jake’s departure, the cracks in the shiny varnish begin to show. And once she uncovers his secret, all that she once knew and believed in crumbles.
Lia’s eccentric mother, her best friend, and two vastly different men each pull her in new directions, and Lia attempts to push past the pain and start anew.
But Jake isn’t gone for good. When an accident rocks the lives of their best friends, Lia and Jake are thrown together. Will Lia choose to salvage her old life with the man who broke her heart – or was everything they shared an illusion?
If the first few lines of a book are normally that ‘make or break’ moment for you, then check out the opening of ‘Forgetting Ophelia’ here.
Hi! Nice to meet you. I am author JULIE C. GARDNER
I am a former high school English teacher who, after 16 years and on the eve of my 40th birthday, traded in my classroom for a writing nook.
Oh! and I also ran my first marathon! The trials (trails?) and tribulations of training became the subject matter of my first book, Running With Pencils, a humorous memoir of one woman’s midlife marathon.
Forgetting Ophelia, is my 4th published novel, as I am also the author of Lily by Any Other Name, Letters for Scarlet, and its prequel Guest List.
I live in Southern California with my family, and three dogs.
When I’m away from my computer, I can be found with a good book, a glass of wine, or a pair of running shoes, although these days, I am something of a lapsed marathon runner.
My best days feature all of the above.
Keep up with all the latest news on my website
Connect with me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
ON CRAYONS AND CLASSROOMS
“At ten years old I wrote this in my diary: When I grow up I want to be a teacher like my dad, and a writer like Judy Blume. In a shocking display of goal-achievement, I did become a teacher and am now a published author. My works explore conflicts in friendship and family, in love and life”
I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I could hold a crayon in my fist. Before I knew what the word ‘author’ meant, or could sound out simple syllables, I scribbled on the pages of my books and memorized every line of the stories read to me. Once I could read on my own, I was hooked, consuming two or three novels at a time. Books I especially loved I’d revisit over and over. I couldn’t get enough. First off Judy Blume, then Stephen King, John Irving and Barbara Kingsolver.
Hoping to bring my respect of the written word to others, I got my degree in English at UCLA and became a high school Language Arts teacher. For 16 years I encouraged my students not only to appreciate good literature and write well, but also to follow their dreams.
And yet, while Walt Whitman sounded his barbaric yawp across the rooftops of my classroom, a big dream of mine still hovered out there; a metaphorical dangling carrot—or crayon, in my case. So, with my husband’s encouragement, I took a leave of absence to write a book of my own. Just one year, I told myself. Just one project. We’ll see how it goes.
Once again, I was hooked.
One year turned into ten. Since then I’ve written four novels and a humorous memoir about running my first marathon at 40.
A month before my fortieth birthday, under the influence of inspiration (not to mention half a pitcher of margaritas), I concocted a specific plan-one that offered an obvious starting line, a concrete ending and clearly digestible nuggets of achievement along the way. For the next five months I’d train for a race. Not just any race.
A midlife marathon.
While I convinced my forty-year-old legs they could run more than three miles at a time, I would also write a memoir chronicling tales of gladness and woe. Twenty weeks of running. Twenty weeks of writing. All I needed was a new pair of shoes, a couple of notebooks and a handful of pencils, and by springtime, I’d be ticking two big items off my bucket list: completing a marathon and a book. What could be simpler?
And while my fiction is just that—fictional—I weave in authentic details gleaned from my own life: universal truths about family and friendship; about loss and love; about what makes humans tick.
Of course the people from whom I’ve borrowed traits and experiences (both the wild successes and the painful stumbles) are wonderful and I’m endlessly grateful. In fact, the seed of the plot for Forgetting Ophelia came to me while I was stuck in traffic on the 405 freeway driving home from my sister’s house in Orange County.
For this reason, I set Lia Townsend’s story in two different beach communities along the coast of California with tie-ins to the fictional town of Conejo Springs I first introduced in Letters for Scarlet and Guest list. The next book in the Friendship & Secrets Series will gather the previous novels’ characters together in Conejo Springs.
As someone who walked away from a career she loved to embrace a new and risky goal, I wanted to explore that feeling of the unknown—the what now thrust upon Lia by Jake Townsend.
Lia’s Happily Ever After is ripped away from her unexpectedly by the man she thought she’d be with forever. Faced with an uncertain future and no home, she must find new meaning, a fresh purpose. This can be easier said than done, and easier to imagine than to write successfully. Still, I had a lot of fun challenging my characters, and I hope you enjoy the read.
The invitation for her ten-year high school reunion sits in her inbox, but Corie cringes at the idea of actually going.
She thinks back to the tragedy that took place back then, the friendship lost, the lives shattered.
Her former best friend, Scarlet, now an attorney in San Francisco, also dreads the reunion. Still, she considers attending, considers facing Corie and all the memories she’s tried to block.
But will she have the strength to go through with it—accompanied by the man she refuses to let get too close?
Guest List, a prequel to the novel Letters for Scarlet, begins the story of two women and a friendship torn by lies and betrayal.
Pain can take a lifetime to heal, but hope lasts even longer…
Corie Harper is twenty-eight years old when she is first visited by a ghost—in the form of a graduation letter she forgot she wrote. Although she spent a decade burying that desperate girl and her regrets, each page resurrects the past, dragging Corie back to a time when all she craved was Scarlet Hinden’s friendship and Tuck Slater’s heart. But she couldn’t keep them both and keep her word.
Scarlet is haunted in her own way, by memories of Corie and of a night that left her wishing she were dead. But Scarlet is not only alive, she’s carrying new life: a baby she never wanted and is terrified to have. Convinced she would be a disastrous mother, she questions whether or not she deserves the love of any man. Especially the father of her child.
Letters for Scarlet traces one friendship from deep roots to branches torn by broken promises and loss.
As for you making your own dreams come true, consider this my gentle nudge in that direction. Take the road less traveled or run a marathon. Grab your own metaphorical crayon and get to scribbling.
That’s me you’ll hear at the finish line cheering you on all the way.
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