I’m travelling this week and internet is spotty at best. But I’ve been looking forward to introducing you to my guest today, debut author Tracy Gardner Beno. She’s joined us to talk about her writing, her new novel The Fall of Our Secrets, and life.
First car purchased on my own: 1991 Chevy Camaro. Red. Gorgeous, powerful, seductive machine. If it had been a guy I’d have married it.
2. Star Wars, Star Trek, or Firefly? While I love just about anything Joss Whedon, I’ll have to say Star Wars. I’ve seen each movie more than once, and enjoy the storylines, mythology, and all the good versus evil debates (one might say arguments) the series sparks in my family.
3. Worst movie ever? The one that comes to mind is City of Angels. Meg Ryan as a surgeon is fantastic. Nicholas Cage as the conflicted angel was perfect. But after seeing the end of that movie, I wanted the last two hours of my life back! No movie has ever made me so angry!
4. Who would you most like to sit next to on an airplane? Easy. Stephen King. Or, if he was busy, maybe Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong.
5. Best guilty pleasure ever? Attending a really great concert. Been waiting for my favorite band to come back around forever, but in the meantime, others fill the void. The best thing ever is being in the general admission pit, as close as possible and the louder the better.
6. Who would play you in the movie? I have no idea how to answer that. I’d probably have an easier time casting the characters in my books!
7. What is the one thing you can’t live without? There are things I need in order to function on a daily basis. My husband and kids supporting me, bugging me, and generally keeping me grounded and sane instead of floating off into some fictional world I’ve made up. Coffee. My playlist. Sorry, I know that’s a lot more than one!
8. As a child (or now!), what did you want to be when you grew up? How cool would it be if I said writer? I guess I’m not cool. Like tons of kids, I wanted to be a veterinarian. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I started to want to be a writer. I was always a writer, but the idea of people actually reading my work never really occurred to me until then.
9. Are the names of the characters in your novels significant? Only in that the names have to be a great fit for the character’s personality. I’ve never deliberately named a character with a real person in mind. I have changed names halfway through a manuscript to improve the fit once that character starts taking on a life of his/her own; sometimes they outgrow their original names. One good friend of mine wears the official naming hat: anytime I am just really stumped and can’t decide on a name, I give her the personality traits and what the character looks like, and we throw ideas back and forth until the right one is spoken–many times by her.
10. What is the single biggest challenge of creating the settings in your novels? Sometimes I have to force myself to step out of my comfort zone. I can write about places I’ve lived, but I love the challenge of taking my characters somewhere new. Of course the internet helps, but I’ll also draw on memories and photos from my travels. My mom is on vacation in Alaska right now and I gave her the assignment of taking as many pictures as possible of a small town I visited a while ago, to refresh my memory for my next book.
11. What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever heard? Stephen King (okay, maybe I’m a little obsessed, but really, I could open his book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, to any random page and find wisdom. Having nothing to do with the horror genre, the heart of his success lies in the fact that he writes–very well–about people) said, “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” I think that’s great advice for writers and for life in general!
Laura and Nicole, childhood friends separated by mysterious circumstances, meet again quite by accident and renew their friendship. Laura is a devoted single mom. She’s stuck in a going nowhere relationship, but doesn’t realize it until she meets Adam, her newly dubbed Airport Hottie, on the flight home after spending a whirlwind weekend with Nicole. Nicole is now married to the man of her dreams, but she carries deep wounds from a childhood filled with secrets, constantly afraid to trust any true happiness she encounters. Together these two best friends work toward uncovering the long buried secrets of Nicole’s horrific past, ultimately freeing her to believe in and embrace the new life she’s worked so hard to create. The friendship nurtures both women and Laura finds her own self confidence and the revelation that what she needs is within reach, hers for the taking. THE FALL OF OUR SECRETS takes the reader on a hopeful journey of love and discovery.
- Book Title: The Fall of Our Secrets
- Authors: Tracy Gardner Beno
- Genre: Romantic Mystery
- Length: 352 pages
- Release Date: September 23, 2014
- Purchase Links: Amazon
My Review: 5 out of 5 stars for The Fall of Our Secrets
Did you have a special friend once? Was she that girl you told everything to, the one who always picked you for her team, who wouldn’t drop your arm at Red Rover, who giggled with you during your sleepovers until one of your mothers yelled that this time you really had to be quiet and go to sleep? I did. Her name was Leslie, and she held my hand, kept my secrets, had my back: she got me. But California—even back in those pre-Silicon Valley years—was a transient place, full of families moving around in a newly-modern world. I’ve wondered what ever happened to her, but I couldn’t find her online. Like me, she may have moved far away, changed her name, grown up. Become someone different. But I’ll always wonder, because she will always have a part of my soul.
Laura and Nicole are those kind of friends until they turn fifteen. That’s when something happens that is so devastating it has Nicole’s family disappearing in the middle of the night, leaving behind almost everything they own. In the years to follow, life deals cataclysmic blows to both girls, leaving Laura a single mother and Nicole reeling from years of physical and emotional abuse. A chance meeting brings them together again as adults. As the women tentatively explore and rebuild their friendship, they not only rediscover themselves, but realize that each holds the key to the other’s happiness.
On the outside, Nicole is the stunningly beautiful, confident wife of a wealthy attorney. She seems to have it all: loving husband, security, social success. Laura has a wonderful son, her own home, a promising and successful start to a new career. But Nicole is still the girl victimized by her father, and Laura is still so emotionally insecure that she’s locked into a shallow, unfulfilling relationship. As the women rediscover the strength of their childhood bond, they use that foundation to offer each other the support necessary to move past their traumas. Laura helps Nicole explore the mystery surrounding her family’s middle-of-the-night flight. Nicole helps Laura see her own beauty and worth when she hesitates to respond to Adam, the “Airport Hottie”.
The Fall of Our Secrets, by Tracy Gardiner Beno, is an incredible debut novel. The writing is spare and beautiful, the pace has enough action to keep you hooked, while allowing enough time to slowly reveal the secrets of the past and the developing romance of the present. Characters make bad choices, families make mistakes, and people behave according to both their worst and best impulses. This is no thriller, where adrenalin and body count builds to an explosive climax. Instead, as with the very best mysteries, slowly revealing the secrets of the past allows the main characters to grow, forgive themselves, and embrace their future.
The Fall of Our Secrets is a five-star read. If you like well-rounded characters who are able to use the developing events, their own flaws, and each other to grow as their tale unfolds, if you enjoy watching a fragile romance blossom, or if you just like a well-written mystery, I recommend A Fall of Our Secrets. I can’t wait to see what’s next for Tracy Gardiner Beno: she’s heading straight for my auto-buy list.*I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**