Today we continue with blog tour madness! This time it’s The Guest Book by Andrea Hurst. It’s amazing what randomly found objects can lead a person to do. Sometimes they’re just something to put away, yet sometimes we all stumble upon something life changing. Andrea is here today with an interview, but first let’s find out a little about her book!
This book weaves together the heart of Nicholas Sparks, the romance of Nora Roberts, and the charm of Debbie Macomber.
Fleeing her picture-perfect marriage among the privileged set of Brentwood and the wreckage of a failed marriage, Lily Parkins decides to move to the only place that still holds happy memories, her grandmother’s old farmhouse. The lush and majestic setting of the Pacific Northwest calls to her and offers a place of refuge and perhaps renewal. Her grandmother has passed away, leaving the Madrona Island Bed & Breakfast Inn to Lily.
Left with only an old guestbook as her guide–a curious book full of letters, recipes, and glimpses into her family history–Lily is determined to embrace her newfound independence and recreate herself, one page at a time. With the help of the quirky island residents she has befriended, she slowly finds the strength to seek out happiness on her own terms. But as soon as she has sworn off men and is standing on her own two feet, Lily meets Ian, the alluring artist who lives next door, and her new life is suddenly thrown off course. The last thing she wants to do right now is to open her heart to another man.
Ultimately, Lily must decide if it’s worth giving up her soul for security or risking everything to follow her heart.
SJ: Every writer has some sort of process. Give us a glimpse into yours. Do you meticulously outline? Do you write depending on what calls are out there?
SJ: Are you a meticulous planner or do you believe in the muse? Where do your ideas come from? Do they filter in through your dreams? Do they show up at inopportune times and whap you upside the head? Do they result in a shady deal with a dark power?
AH: I truly believe in the muse, with enough planning, research, and craft to back it up. My first book came from an experience I had with a friend, while the second one came from a dream. The ideas haunt me until I write them
SJ: What’s the book/story that’s closest to your heart? Is there a piece that you clearly feel is a piece of you? Do you play favorites?
AH: The book that’s closest to my heart at the moment is the one I just completed, called Always with You. It just started writing itself. The protagonist, Cathy, told me her story. I find at times I am overwhelmingly sad or touched by the narrative. I hope I can touch readers with this book as much as it’s touched me. On the other hand, The Guestbook, for me, was a total sensual escape into a beautiful setting, wonderful food, and romantic love. Who wouldn’t want to go there?
SJ: If you could only write one genre ever again upon pain of being sacrificed to Cthulhu, what would it be and why?
AH: Women’s fiction. It’s the genre that motivates me the most, both reading and writing. It also has such a diversity to it, from literary to romance
SJ: What’s your biggest frustration as a writer? What do you consider the downside, or is there one? Is there any cliché that makes you want to wring people’s necks?
AH: Not having enough time. With having to run a literary agency and a consulting business, I have trouble finding time to write my own books. The downside of writing is that you have to share it with someone else, which can be a vulnerable and painful experience.
SJ:If you had to be stuck in one of your own books/stories for the rest of your life, what would it be and why? If you had to stick a loved one in one of your own books, what would it be and why? An enemy?
AH: I’d be happy being stuck in The Guestbook as Lily, with her beautiful home, adoring husband, wonderful friends, and great food.
SJ:Do you think it’s possible to develop a sure-fire recipe/formula for success as a writer? Would you want to, or does that compromise the art or the fun of it?
AH: Absolutely not. There is no one formula that works for everyone. I also think success is very subjective. Sometimes just having someone write me about how much my book touched them is worth all the money. That said, it would be nice to have a sure-fire recipe for getting my book out to its audience, widespread.
SJ: Everyone has words of wisdom for young writers, so I’m not going to ask you about that. With a few unknown writers becoming success stories, a lot of people seem to think it’s an easy career choice. What would your words of wisdom be to these people?
AH: Writing is probably one of the hardest career choices and least likely for someone to make money and be successful at. Write for a joy of it and the pleasure of sharing your story with others. You can hope for success and desire to be a bestseller, but know in the end it is a long journey and if your heart is not in it, you’ll never see the finish line.
SJ: It seems like everyone likes to gang up on certain genres as being inferior, less meaningful, or cheap entertainment (especially if it’s speculative in nature). Make a case for the genre you write.
AH: First of all, I don’t see any genre as being inferior. If a book entertains a reader—brings hope, joy, escape, makes their life easier, makes them laugh, or just plain entertains—that is enough. I know that not everyone reads the genre I write in, nor will they enjoy them. However, I also know there are many people who respond to love stories and books that take them on a journey to another place, another time, and touch their heart.
SJ: What do you want people to instantly think of when they hear your name or your work mentioned?
AH: I want people to think that my books will make them feel, make them think, and ask questions about life and love.
SJ: Please tell us about your latest/favorite work or a little bit about what you’re working on right now. It’s plug time, so go for it!
AH: My new book, Always with You, takes place on the Russian River in 1977 Northern California. It has been extremely compelling to write and has been a great emotional journey. I’m excited to be able to share it.
I have also begun working on the sequel to The Guestbook, which is called Tea and Comfort. At this point, I have my characters, setting, and plot down, but I need to do more research to really pull the novel together.
In the first book, there are three women that become close friends: Lily, Kayla, and Jude. The Guestbook features Lily and her inheriting the bed and breakfast and leaving a troubled marriage to follow her passion and find herself. Tea and Comfort features Kayla, the owner of the local herb and tea shop. It will uncover her mysterious background. Without giving away too much from the first book, it deals with why she made the decisions she has in the past and her deciding whether she can love again.
When not visiting local farmer’s markets or indulging her love for chocolate, Andrea Hurst is an author and literary agent. Her passion for books drives her to find and write stories that take readers on a journey to another place and leave them with an unforgettable impression. She is a developmental editor for publishers and authors, an instructor in creative writing at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, and a webinar presenter for Writers Digest. She lives with her dachshunds in the Pacific Northwest, on an island much like the fictional Madrona, with all of its natural beauty and small town charm. Her published books include The Lazy Dog’s Guide to Enlightenment and Everybody’s Natural Food Cookbook, and she co-authored A Book of Miracles. To learn more about Andrea and her books, visit http://www.AndreaHurst-author.com or http://www.andreahurst.com.
Book on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16086669-the-guestbook