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All In The Family

All my professional life, I've heard this:  "Writers write what they know."  I'm not 100% sure about that.  I make a lot of stuff up.  But I do believe that statement to be true in matters of theme and heart -- at least in this writer's case.  

One of the things I hope readers will find in THE SWEETHEART OF PROSPER COUNTY is a strong sense of family.  Not a perfect family.  Not a traditional family.  But a difficult yet enduring mother/daughter relationship along with an extended family of supportive friends.  In this case, I write what I know.

My first EVER book signing (Advanced Reading Copies) was in Houston at the Texas Library Association convention this past March.   Feiwel & Friends booked me into a wonderful hotel and scheduled me to attend a fancy dinner and breakfast.  I had an official itinerary that said AUTHOR.  I had an author badge.  Yeah, I was stoked.  My novel would finally be in the hands and hopefully hearts of readers.  A dream come true.

Then my mother suffered a heart attack the day before I was supposed to leave.  Just. Like. That.  My world came to a screeching halt.

Mom knew about the event.  She'd been talking about it for weeks while quietly dealing with her chest pain.  And from her pre-op bed on her way into surgery for a triple bypass, Mom insisted that I make the trip to TLA.  I promised her I'd try, but I couldn't imagine her being in good enough shape for me to leave town.  In the wee hours of the morning I was to leave for Houston, I went into the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.  She'd been out of surgery fewer than 15 hours.  I expected to find her on a breathing tube and still out from anesthesia.  Instead, Mom opened her eyes.  Her first words were "Why aren't you in Houston?" 

That's how we roll. 

If you got a galley at TLA in Houston, it's signed in a special shade of pink in honor of my mother. 

If not, and you'd really like one, I'm giving away 2 this week.  That's right.  TWO ARCS signed in pink.  Just leave a comment here or contact me through my website or facebook.  I'll put the names in a Stetson on Friday and pull out two lucky winners.  And feel free to share your favorite "strong sense of family" book.  (I'm a big TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD fan.)

THE SWEETHEART OF PROSPER COUNTY debuts next week.  Let's get this party started!


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 24th, 2009 12:32 am (UTC)
I'd love an ARC! Look forward to reading it!

Happy Healthy Hip Parenting
Aug. 24th, 2009 07:43 am (UTC)
Jill, what a great question about the strong sense of family books. Two came to mind immediately as influential when I was younger (and I still re-read them from time to time): SE Hinton's The Outsiders, and Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. And I'm right there with you on To Kill a Mockingbird.

Aug. 24th, 2009 09:10 am (UTC)
I would love an ARC. I too am a big To Kill a Mockingbird Fan. Family is important. I can't think of a mother/daughter relationship that springs to mind. I know my mother and I enjoy discussing the books we have read and are reading.
Kim Lashbrook
Aug. 24th, 2009 10:47 am (UTC)
Please throw my name into the hat! :)

Judy Blume's "Summer Sisters" has a strong sense of family (not in the traditional sense). Definitely worth reading.
Aug. 24th, 2009 01:04 pm (UTC)
Congratulations & signed arc
I would love to be "put in the hat" for a copy. The reviews read great; I wish you much joy & success! Just email me if I win & I will send you the rest of my info.

Sharon Savage
New Castle Public Library
Aug. 24th, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
Strong sense of family book and name in the hat
Hi Jill,

One of my all time favorite books is Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta. I thought Francesca and her family had a VERY strong sense of family as she, her dad, and little brother tried to cope with her mother's depression. The way she felt about and treated her little brother made me weep. Even though she felt betrayed by her mother in some way, Francesca still loved her.

Barbara Connolly (barbara.connolly@riverdell.org)
Aug. 24th, 2009 02:55 pm (UTC)
2 Arc's in Pink
I'd love a chance to win one of the ARC's. This year I really enjoyed Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen, it had a great sense of family that carried the character through as she realized what family really is. Thanks!

~Adriana (Teen Librarian, Alhambra, CA)
Aug. 24th, 2009 02:56 pm (UTC)
My info....
Adriana (Teen Librarian, Alhambra, CA)

Aug. 24th, 2009 04:01 pm (UTC)
I'd love an ARC
I think on of my favorite books about family relationships is the Harry Potter Series. I like how Ron and his family take Harry in and how Ron, Harry, and Hermonie become a family of sorts as they attend school at Hogwarts.

Provo City Library
Aug. 24th, 2009 04:02 pm (UTC)
Ann-Marie's e-mail address
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )