1. What is the name of the book and when was it published?
COME BACK TO ME, Greenforge Books, November 1, 2011
2. What’s the book’s first line?
Suha huddled over the hand-drawn map, wishing the shadows from the candle would stop dancing across the page and thankful that the sandstorm had finally ceased.
3. What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.
Tess Johnson has it all: her handsome photographer husband Beau, a thriving business, and a newly discovered pregnancy. When Beau accepts an overseas photography assignment, Tess decides to wait to reveal her secret—only she’s never given the chance. Beau’s helicopter crashes in the desert.
Tess struggles with the news of Beau’s death and tries to put her life back together. Alone and dealing with a pregnancy that only reminds her of what she has lost, Tess is adrift in a world of failed plans and fallen expectations. When a new client appears offering more than just a new project, Tess must confront the circumstances of her life head on.
Meanwhile, two Iraqi women who are fleeing honor killings find Beau barely alive in the middle of the desert, his body ravaged by the crash. Suha, a doctor, and Samira, a widow and mother of three young children, nurse him back to health in a makeshift tent. Beau bonds with the women and children, and together, with the help of an underground organization, they continue their dangerous escape.
What happens next is a test of loyalties, strength, and love.
4. What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?
This is the second time that I was inspired while running. It was the summer before my husband was to be deployed to Iraq, and I was in Cape Cod, running down a major road. I thought about what it would be like the next summer, when he was gone and I was at the Cape alone. I can’t tell you what thought came to me next, because it will spoil the book, but let’s just say that the timing was perfect and Tess was born.
5. What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?
I tried very hard to create characters that were significantly different than my previous characters, and while I think Tess has many distinctive qualities–she’s a loyal, hard working woman, who is also sensitive and very human, I find the most distinctive character to be Suha, an Iraqi woman who is fleeing the country. She is very pragmatic and a realist. She’s selfless and possesses inner strength that is quite commanding, and yet there is an underlying softness to her that one cannot ignore.
As for who these characters remind me of, there was no person–real or fictional–that I drew from when creating them.
6. What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?
For a great escape. This book will tug at the reader’s heart strings, but it will also bring them the joy of knowing new characters with distinct voices and dramas. It will leave them wondering what they might do given the same circumstances, and it will bring true love to the forefront, leaving them feeling warm all over.