International bestselling Irish author Cathy Kelly's new book Between Sisters goes on sale in the US today, August 9th, 2016.
I'm delighted to publish a guest post by Cathy, who shares her inspirations for this Dublin based story, and also to host a giveaway for a copy of Between Sisters from Grand Central Publishing.
But before I share details of how to enter this little giveaway, let me first hand you over to Cathy to tell us a little about her life and writing .....
Table of Contents
Between Sisters by Cathy Kelly
Irish people are supposed to have writing in their blood, so as an avid reader since the age of three, I guess I just had to have a try.
But when I first started writing professionally, I was just twenty and a journalist, covering all beats and angles but particularly interested in women’s stories. I covered movies, sad stories and even spent a fascinating five years working as an advice columnist – known as an agony aunt on our side of the Atlantic.
Yet I just couldn’t give up the dream of writing a novel, and finally made it into publishing, age thirty.
Twenty years on, with a husband, two beautiful twin teenage sons, three small dogs and what feels like a laundry business on the side (who knew kids created so much laundry?), here’s Between Sisters, my eighteenth novel.
Like all my novels, it’s got quite the cast list going and is about what happens in life when you think you’ve got it planned out – and then that curve ball hits…
Dublin Based Story
Between Sisters is the story of sisters Cassie and Coco who’ve been raised by their grandma, Pearl – a wise, witty and elegant older lady who lives in a glorious house in Dublin’s Delaney Square, a wonderful community where a giant fig tree sits in the center garden and under which the local children play tag.
It was the perfect place for Cassie and Coco to grow up with Pearl and their dad, Jim, while he was alive. But there was just one thing missing: their mom.
Now grown up, married and with two beautiful daughters, Cassie somehow watches every woman of sixty-something she sees because deep in her heart, she’s looking out for her mother, Marguerite – the woman who left when Cassie was just seven, the woman who’d been swallowed whole by addiction and had just left.
Cassie’s so determined that her daughters won’t suffer in their childhood the way she did, that she’s over-doing it with guilt mothering: trying to work, run a home, be the perfect wife and mom, and even bake cookies. But something’s got to give…
For her younger sister, Coco, who runs a vintage dress shop, being left by their mom hasn’t affected her: no way, insists Coco. Neither has being betrayed by the man she loved.
Coco has her career, her cute apartment, her life mapped out and men just don’t feature in it. Neither do children, because what if she turned out like her mom and left?
And then life throws a curve ball. Coco’s best friend becomes seriously ill and Coco has to help with her family. The man who betrayed her comes back into her life and suddenly, all the plans she has to be a tough and single career woman in four-inch spike heels go out the window.
Cassie’s marriage begins to crumble under both the weight of her determination to be the perfect mother – and the increasing demands of her widowed mother-in-law.
Cassie’s husband, Shay, just won’t say no to his mother, Antoinette, and Antoinette’s got Shay running around for her night and day, doing errands and letting poor Cassie run their life and take care of their daughters on her own.
Her mother-in-law’s been widowed four years now and Cassie thinks she should be getting on with her own life, but why should she when she has Shay on a leash and he jumps to her every command.
And then the past flutters into her life, like a bird feather drifting past a window, and Cassie wants to know what really happened to her mother.
The only person who knows for sure is Pearl, her beloved grandma, and Pearl’s hiding something…
When I write, I love to imagine close-knit communities the way life was when I was a kid growing up and the way my life is now. As a child in Dublin, I lived on a road where every single family knew each other and the kids played tennis on the street, with the ball bouncing into yards and the only time we stopped was when a car drove in.
My mom is from the west of Ireland and I spent my holidays there, just miles from the wildness of the sea, next stop the US.
Everybody knew everybody and while that can have its negative points, it created a solid community base where people took care of each other.
Now, I live in a small village called Enniskerry in County Wicklow on Ireland’s east coast, and that sense of community is there. I know everyone in the village and even though I am hopeless at identifying cars as I drive, I wave at everyone.
Sometimes even tourists, wave back from their cars, delighted at the friendliness of the natives! The setting of my lovely village gives me inspiration for a world where people care and I love that.
I don’t create my characters from real people but wow, do I people-watch! Like most writers, the best inspiration comes from real life and I like nothing more in a book than creating people I like and then doing what life does to us all: changing things when we are least expecting them.
With Between Sisters, I came up with the idea of this amazing grandma who’d raised these two children when her son died and her daughter-in-law left. How would that affect these two girls when they were grown?
I also had great fun researching vintage clothes shopping for Coco’s shop as I adore old things, and cannot turn away from a shop selling old bits and bobs!
I loved writing it and I hope you enjoy reading it!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Cathy’s book, Between Sisters.
To enter just leave a comment on this blog post by noon on Wednesday August 17th, 2016.
Any comment will do. What you write does not affect your chance of winning, but if you need inspiration for your entry why not tell us if you enjoy reading books set in Ireland.
One winning comment will be chosen randomly. Remember to leave your e-mail so I can contact you should you win. Your e-mail won’t be published, just used to contact our lucky contestant for mailing of the prize.
The winner will be announced on Wednesday August 17th, 2016, at the bottom of this blog post.
You may check out Irish American Mom’s complete terms and conditions for sweepstakes’ entries by clicking here.
Thanks to everyone who supports this little giveaway by leaving a comment, and for sharing it with family, and friends who enjoy reading Irish books.
And a big thanks to Grand Central Publishing for providing a copy of Between Sisters as a prize.
Update – Winner Chosen
Good news. Our winner has been chosen using the randomized “Pick Giveaway Winner” WordPress plug-in.
Congratulations to …..
I’ll send you a quick e-mail to let you know you are our prize winner.
Thanks to everyone who joined in and entered this little giveaway.
And a big thank you to Cathy Kelly for writing this wonderful post to introduce her writing and to Grand Central Publishing for sponsoring this prize. Looking forward to many more books from Cathy in the years to come.
Books Set in Ireland
If you're interested in other books set in Ireland or featuring the Irish in America, here are a few more recommendations to check out...
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Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Mairéad -Irish American Mom
Pronunciation - slawn ah-gus ban-ock-th
Mairéad - rhymes with parade
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