Welcome! This week’s Friday56 and Book Beginnings on Fridays’ choice is…
Happy Friday !
I can’t wait to visit your blogs to find out. Have a great weekend.
May your books be with you!
Luv Sassy X
Secrets From A Happy Marriage, by Maisey Yates, is her latest book, in a new genre, but maintaining the same great story writing. This first women’s fiction novel has a mystery, some history, some romance, and a lot of family interaction. It delves into the relationships between mothers-daughters, and sisters-sisters, where forgiveness, hope, love, acceptance, and starting over are important themes.
The story opens with mail order bride, Jenny Hansen, writing a letter in response to an ad from the Chief Lighthouse keeper, Olaf Hansen, at the Cape Hope Lighthouse on the Oregon coast. Readers will get to know her through letters and find a connection with the current occupants of the Cape Hope Lighthouse Inn: a grandmother, Wendy, her two adult daughters, Rachel and Anna, and Rachel’s teenage daughter, Emma. They manage the lighthouse’s bed and breakfast.
Each of these four women are keeping secrets, having their own issues, problems, and grief. Wendy is a single parent of two daughters. Many years ago, when her daughters were young, in a tiny little Oregon town, she won a contest to fix up the Lighthouse and turn it into an inn. Now decades later, they still run the place. She’s done things she’s not proud of, things she desperately wants to keep from her girls, yet keeping quiet is now not an option.
Rachel has been married to her high school sweetheart, the love of her life for over twenty years. She never really dated since they became married at a young age. But Jacob has been slowly dying from a variety of illnesses leaving Rachel to become his caregiver. Yet, through all the hardships they still maintain a true love. Unfortunately, he succumbed to his illness leaving Rachel to ponder what will become of her life. She feels her family is falling apart, losing Jacob to death, and her daughter Emma to college.
Emma realizes that her beloved father won’t be at her high school graduation or even there for her 18th birthday. She realizes it is possible to have a relationship with someone she has had a crush on, 21-year-old car mechanic and high school dropout, Luke. Emma must also decide if she wants to go across the country to her dream college that has a great Marine Biology program. Besides dealing with grief over losing her father she wonders what her choice of college will do to her relationship with Luke and how will her mother handle not having her around.
Anna is Rachel’s sister, the one with the supposed picture-perfect marriage. The popular pastor in town, Thomas, has been her husband for more than 15 years, yet she has felt him pulling away from her and becoming ever more distant as time has passed. Anna has tried to speak with him, but with no response. Feeling unloved and ignored she makes a shocking and life-changing decision that affects everyone around her.
People will question what they would have done under similar circumstances. The plot is very realistic and the characters come to life. A range of emotions from sad to happy will be experienced by readers because of the deeply emotional, thoughtful, and heartfelt story.
Elise Cooper: So, you ventured into a new genre?
Maisey Yates: I was very uncertain about doing women’s fiction because I am primarily a romance writer. I knew if I were to do this new genre it had to have romance in it and needed a happy ending. My readers would see a book by me and think they know what to expect. I do not want to violate their trust.
EC: You will continue to write the other genres?
MY: Yes. I will be writing Harlequin Presents, the Cowboys and Women’s Fiction. The new genre allows me do some different aspects with the characters. All these allow me to have variety in my writing and keeps me fresh. Fundamentally all my writing comes down to having a story with a safe space. As a reader myself, I would want a novel to have women go through complications and difficulties yet come out the other side stronger and happier. “Sad” endings do not appeal to me.
EC: What is the difference between this book and the others?
MY: In the others, romance is central. The relationship between the hero and heroine must have a happy ending. There is as much page time between my hero and heroine’s journey. In women’s fiction the focus is on the family where the journey is mainly the women.
EC: How would you describe one of the sisters, Anna?
MY: She has choices and options to figure out who she is. Anna did not need a man to make a life for herself. Throughout the story she comes into her own. Overall, she is determined, a bit disconnected, strong, and resilient.
EC: What about the other sister, Rachel?
MY: I think I am most like her. She was married from an early age just like me. We both never really dated and just had our husbands. Rachel is complicated, not perfect, and a typical older sister. She must make a new life for herself considering her husband has died and her daughter is leaving to go to college.
EC: How would you compare her husband Jacob with her new lover, Adam?
MY: Rachel and Jacob are a love story. He loved her, valued her, and made her feel special. I knew someone like that. He wrote a post just before he died saying everything is great because I was with you. I thought this couple is not tragic. The life turns were sad, but not tragic.
With Adam, Rachel had a physical relationship. It was a novelty to have someone take care of her instead of the other way around. I would describe him as Luke from “Gilmore Girls.” He is grumpy, no nonsense, but is a good person for her. Both he and Rachel had a lot of baggage in their lives, with a before and after.
EC: Anything else about Adam and Rachel’s relationship?
MY: He was there for her emotionally before he ever got to be with her romantically. He understood where Rachel was coming from and gave her the space she needed in all the different aspects of her life. At first it was just light conversation, then he was her confidant, and finally they had a physical relationship. He knew to push her when she needed to be pushed.
EC: What about the mother, Wendy?
MY: She closed herself off to protect herself from her past that included a toxic affair. Wendy passed on her own issues to her daughters. Because she wanted and never was able to become safe and happy, Wendy put pressure on her daughters to marry, thinking that would make them safe.
EC: Emma, Rachel’s daughter, also had issues?
MY: She lost her father, which put a freeze on childhood. I consider her an old-soul. Writing teenagers scares me. I wanted to show that her friends did not know what to do when she was sad. I spoke with people who handled grief over the years. Someone told me they lost a parent as a teenager, and gave me a lot of insight on what it was like to lose a parent at that age. I was so uncomfortable writing Emma’s love scene since I consider myself a prude. I think she was very protective of her mom, but more like her Aunt Anna.
EC: What role did the lighthouse play in the story?
MY: I see it as a character. I remember looking at this lighthouse up on a hill with a beach below. Since it is now a bed and breakfast I decided to go there. I took notes. They showed me the Inn and told me about the history. It was almost like going through the lives of this house since it has such a rich history. The story could not have been told if it was set in another place and I could not have told the story if I had not visited it. I love the idea we are connected through history and how the history of this house contained generations of people.
EC: You place the lighthouse in the relationships?
MY: Yes. There is a scene where Luke and Emma look up as they are leaning against the lighthouse. I actually did it. In the scene the lighthouse is hovering over them, almost like a protector. In another scene I described the lighthouse and what it meant to Emma, how the light transformed in the darkness, how each beam was strong and sure, and how it represented a special place for her and her dad. The book quote, “Because it would no longer just be the site of those girlish hopes and dreams, but of these extremely adult feelings.”
EC: Mother’s Day just passed and you dedicated the book to your mom. Can you talk about your feelings?
MY: Mom gave me the confidence to be myself. Both my parents wanted me to realize my dreams, while instilling in me a work ethic. She is everybody’s mom. She even helped my brother’s friend who became disabled. His parents traveled all the time so my mom brought him to live with them. Both my parents love me and support me and encouraged me to put forth my best effort. They taught me I could do anything I want. I am really lucky because they live next door to me now.
EC: Your next books?
MY: The next women’s fiction, out next April, is titled, Confessions of A Quilting Circle. It is about three sisters and their mom finishing their grandmother’s memory quilt. It is based heavily on my grandmother and my complicated family history.
My next cowboy book, The Bad Boy of Redemption Ranch, will be out this June. It is West Caldwell’s story, who is one of Hank Dalton’s illegitimate sons. He meets police officer Pansy Daniels who has just given him a ticket and finds out he is her landlord. It is a bad boy, good girl romance.
Out in July is The Hero of Hope Springs. The hero is Ryder Daniels who at the age of eighteen, raised five children. Sammy Marshall has been his best friend forever. After she gets pregnant that turns into something else.
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