It's a delight to read a story with haunting agony that yearns for release with just the right blend of love, humor, and second chances. Park's release, Strangers, hits the notes in all the right places. A little bit of sorrow. A little bit of hope. And a lot of human connection to round out this contemporary story. Life will never be the same for Abby. After suffering heartbreak (and in her wedding dress!) she can't pick her self up to move on, until the day she meets the stranger. He's all that she's been looking for since that fateful day, but can she allow herself to finally have these new yet familiar feelings of love and bury the man her soul wanted to marry? Strangers is a beautiful tale about learning to love again, a journey of the heart bruised by agony and troubled by longing. It's a tearjerker, just so you know, but worth the moments you find yourself nudging Abby on and into the arms of a perfect stranger.
1. Before you tell us about your book, why don’t you share a little bit about yourself.
I am starting on my second career. I started out writing, graduated with an English degree, then decided on law school. The writing bug snuck up after many years sometime last year, and I have been unable to do anything but write. So, I am letting the law books gather dust, and writing about these amazing characters that keep popping into my psyche.
I live with my husband, kids, and spoiled dog outside of Washington DC; but I have lived all over the U.S., most recently in San Diego. I am very lucky to have an understanding and supportive husband that not only doesn’t gripe at me when I sit in front of a computer typing away about fictional characters and their lives all day long, but he also reads all my stuff and gives great feedback in a genre that he would not read if I didn’t write it. Lucky girl, right here!
2. Outside of writing, what sort of activities do you enjoy?
I don’t understand the question. There are other things to do outside of writing?
Well, like all writers, I spend a good deal of time reading. Since it is football season, I am either attending college football games, or watching them on TV. We do not have family close by, but we have great friends that we go out with, have bbq’s…the usual. We live on a wooded lot, so we have lots of nature trails that we walk on with the dog. Play soccer with my daughter…outdoorsy stuff.
3. Do you have a favorite food, snack, and/or beverage?
COFFEE!! I have a coffee bar that consists of a regular coffee maker, coffee maker with built in grinder, and a Keurig. I am lobbying for a Keurig in my office, and the bedroom…it is pathetic.
I love Mexican food, seafood; pretty sure I could live on guacamole and chips. I am also patiently waiting for it to get cold enough to justify making a huge pot of chili.
Oh, and wine…for there must be wine.
4. Authors draw from a wide variety of experiences, from their own lives as well as the lives of others. Which is the richest source for you?
I have been so lucky to have travelled and lived in so many parts of the U.S. and abroad. Those experiences have been a wonderful resource in my writing. Just about every place I write about, I have been.
I also have a family rich in dysfunction. And I draw on the experiences and emotions in my writing. I have yet to use any specific instances in my writing, though. Some things are just too real to write about yet.
5. Of the stories you have written so far, which is your favorite and why?
I am writing a legal suspense trilogy, and am just about ready to send out queries. It is a huge MS, and I have spent the better part of the last year writing it. I know those characters better than I know some members of my family. It has been amazing learning how to let them take hold of their story, and feed it to me. I just love the characters, and their story.
That said, my debut, Strangers, is very near and dear to my heart because it is my first published novel.
6. Embarrassing moment. Do you have one? Or better yet, are you sure you want to put it out there?
I typically have one per day! I think I am old enough now that I can just let them go a little easier. I guess the time I had too much to drink at a party, in my younger less inhibited days (no not last week!), and I dirty danced very badly…it was awful…with a guy that I did not remember the next day. Unfortunately, he did remember and felt our dancing escapades had deep meaning.
He was not my type, at all…but it did not stop my friends from harassing me about it for, well, forever. It starts off with, “Remember that guy you danced with…”
Still haunts me…
7. What genres do you write for? Are there any that you haven’t that you would like to explore?
I write mostly contemporary romance or romantic suspense. I am trying straight suspense with some romantic elements, also.
8. What advice would you give new authors?
Write, write, write…then write some more. When you are not writing – read! Do not let yourself get bogged down in the business of publishing as much, especially early. If you cannot produce something worthy of publishing, that people want to read, then no amount of understanding the publishing side of the business is going to matter. Put the majority of time and effort into your craft. And never stop learning and improving.
9. Now that we’ve had a chance to get to know you, tell us about the latest story you have out now?
Strangers. I am so excited about where this book ended up taking me. It is so different from where it began. It started as a prompt in a challenge. It was 300 words; then a 3,000 word short story. I decided to make it into a full-length novel, and it grew to 50,000 words, before adding about 28,000 words prior to publishing it.
It is a romance through and through. It is available through Amazon on Kindle, or paperback. I also have signed paperbacks that can be purchased by emailing me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Bereaved bride Abby Clark is tortured by visions of the fatal crash that took her fiancé on their wedding day. She succumbs to a dark existence where loneliness, sadness and nightmares dwell; until handsome, brooding Bryce Holden walks through the door of her favorite coffee shop, wearing the same cloak of despair and grief. Abby discovers in Bryce someone who understands love and loss, and soon their close friendship grows into a deep love. But ghosts make strange bedfellows, and Abby is forced to battle the tormenting images that continue to haunt her, and confront the ethereal presence of a beloved wife to protect her future with Bryce.
The city streets were bustling and alive with people moving quickly, gliding around each other with ease and grace, as if in an orchestrated ballet. The soft, swaying tones of Adele crooning about a love lost seemed at odds with the fast-paced dance that was occurring outside the window of the small café where Abby sat drinking her cappuccino, in no hurry to go anywhere or do anything. It was Valentine's Day, but the day meant nothing to her. Well, that was not altogether true – it meant nothing good to her. It meant reliving the worst day of her life.
It should have been a day overflowing with reminders of vows, pledges of love, and exchanges of rings. Instead, it was a jumbled mass of incoherent visions of wreckage, and blood, and goodbyes that came too soon. She recalled standing with her father in the Bride's room, knowing the church was filled with friends and family. She was ready to go, the time had come, but the wedding planner had not opened the door to usher them out. So she stood, holding her father's hand, trying to envision Trevor standing at the altar waiting for her.
The door creaked open slowly. The wedding planner poked her head around, and motioned towards her. Abby let out her breath and started to leave the room. Her father was asked to come out into the hall for a moment, leaving Abby standing alone, in her white dress, with her bouquet of white roses, and her red satin garter discreetly hidden away.
Her father returned; a grim look on his face. Even now, Abby struggled to recall exactly the words he spoke to her; only able to remember the rush of emotions they evoked that propelled her out the door, down the steps of the church to the white Rolls Royce limousine that made its way hastily to the emergency room. She went to him, over the vehement objections of the doctors and nurses. She grasped his hand covered in his blood, looked into his beautiful blue eyes, and demanded that he keep his promise to love her forever, to marry her and spend their lives together. Trevor returned her gaze, looked past her eyes, deep into her heart and settled into her soul. His hand grazed her cheek, a sweet simple smile on his face. He told her she would be okay. He whispered that he loved her. And then closed his eyes forever.
Find STRANGERS on Amazon
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Her next novel, THE RETURN, has an anticipated release, December 6.
Here's a synopsis: Eve Carlisle had a singular purpose - sell the rustic house nestled in the Colorado ski resort town. Tortured by her husband’s betrayal, the beautiful divorcee refused to give her heart to another man. But Jake had been a happy surprise, with his mesmerizing blue eyes, warm smile, strong but gentle nature – as well as being incredibly sexy. She had convinced herself the relationship with Jake was nothing more than a fling. After all, she had a life in Newport, with society friends and a lucrative career as a family court judge. Still, Jake had a definitive hold over her, and she was finding it hard to think clearly where he was concerned. The demons of prior failed marriages haunt them both, and threaten to end things just as they are beginning. When Jake tells Eve he is falling in love with her, Eve refuses to believe it can last. Returning to Newport, the hollowness of her existence exposed, she must confront her fears before she loses Jake forever.