Guest Post by Ellen Meeropol

Today I’m pleased to welcome Ellen Meeropol to Bookfan. I asked her about the inspiration for Kinship of Clover:

Three things inspired me to write my new novel, Kinship of Clover.

First of all, there was a character who just would not leave me alone. Jeremy was nine when I said goodbye to him at the end of my first novel, House Arrest. He was a minor character, a quiet, sensitive little guy who grew up in an oddball cult who worshipped the Egyptian Goddess Isis. Jeremy loved plants, hung out in the family greenhouse, and liked to draw. I never would have expected him to harass me so mercilessly, insisting that I bring him alive on the page again. Oh, he did it nicely, whispering, “Don’t you want to know what happens to me?” Of course, I did want to know. And when I found out that there was something amazing that he had kept from me all through the years of writing, revising and promoting House Arrest, well, then I was hooked. Jeremy deserved a book of his own.

The second inspiration was my mother, who developed Alzheimer’s disease long before I wrote this novel. I spent a lot of time with her during the final years of her illness and I wrote down many of our conversations, often verbatim. As she had been when her brain was intact, my demented mother was brash and smart and funny and irreverent and occasionally spectacularly insightful. After her death, I put that notebook away for several years. The loss was raw and I couldn’t imagine revisiting that material. But years later, when I started writing this book, I found myself thinking about my mother, and weaving some of her some aspects of her personality and her humor and her experience into a character named Flo.

The third thing was climate change. I’ve always been interested in global warming, but it felt far away until 2008, when my granddaughter Josie was born. Then, as I started reading the scientific reports more carefully, I realized how personal this fight must be. At that point, Jeremy’s interest in drawing and growing plants exploded into his obsession with disappearing and extinct plants. And when those plants started burrowing under his skin, I had to finish this book. For Jeremy, for my grandchildren and yours and all the children of the world.

Of course, there’s a long road between inspiration and a finished novel manuscript. Jeremy’s fascination with disappearing plant species is logically connected to climate change, but fiction is better at asking important questions than answering them. So Jeremy had to come into conflict with different ways of addressing our pressing global warming issues. One was a group of college-aged climate justice activists, and another was Flo, who had been a political activist for six decades and had advice for Jeremy about how to change the world. How to get Jeremy and Flo together? Ah, Flo’s granddaughter Zoe was another minor character in House Arrest, and when they meet up again in this book, there’s chemistry there!

It all starts with inspiration. But then comes the work. The challenge and pleasure of writing fiction is getting to know the characters as deeply as possible, fitting the pieces of the puzzle together into a plot with conflict and something important at stake, and – somehow – bring it all to a satisfying conclusion. I love this work!

Thanks for sharing your inspiration with us today, Ellen!


About the Author:

Ellen Meeropol is fascinated by characters on the fault lines of political upheaval. Previous work includes a dramatic script telling the story of the Rosenberg Fund for Children which has been produced in four U.S. cities, most recently in Boston. Elli is the wife of Robert Meeropol, youngest son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Elli is a former nurse and independent bookstore event coordinator and the author of two previous novels, House Arrest and On Hurricane Island. She is a founding member of Straw Dog Writers Guild. Short fiction and essays have appeared in Bridges, DoveTales, Pedestal, Rumpus, Portland Magazine, and the Writer’s Chronicle.  Connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and GoodReads.


About the Book:
He was nine when the vines first wrapped themselves around him and burrowed into his skin. Now a college botany major, Jeremy is desperately looking for a way to listen to the plants and stave off their extinction. But when the grip of the vines becomes too intense and Health Services starts asking questions, he flees to Brooklyn, where fate puts him face to face with a group of climate-justice activists who assure him they have a plan to save the planet, and his plants.

As the group readies itself to make a big Earth Day splash, Jeremy soon realizes these eco-terrorists devotion to activism might have him and those closest to him tangled up in more trouble than he was prepared to face. With the help of a determined, differently abled flame from his childhood, Zoe; her deteriorating, once rabble-rousing grandmother; and some shocking and illuminating revelations from the past, Jeremy must weigh completing his mission to save the plants against protecting the ones he loves, and confront the most critical question of all: how do you stay true to the people you care about while trying to change the world?

Add to GoodReads:

Kinship of Clover

Available on Amazon.


Advance Praise:

“Ellen Meeropol has an uncanny knack for examining the big topics of our contemporary world and putting a human face on them. In Kinship of Clover, she does this with intelligence and a big generous heart. An important book by a unique writer, it’s a must read.” —Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle

“Midway through this wonderful novel, you will find a woman dancing in her wheelchair. That scene is one of many memorable moments in a story about young people organizing for a sustainable future, even as their once-radical elders try to hold on to a gradually disappearing past. This is a book about time and love, politics and family, and it is sharply observant and deeply compassionate.” —Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love

“Ellen Meeropol brings her keen political sense and psychological understanding to this story of family secrets and family trauma. Kinship of Clover is compelling and the characters stay with you long after you’ve finished the book.” —Nancy Felton, co-owner, Broadside Bookshop (Northampton, MA)


Tour Schedule: 

April 3: CelticLady’s Reviews (Spotlight)
April 4: Diary of an Eccentric (Guest Post)
April 6: Lovely Bookshelf (Review)
April 7: All Roads Lead to the Kitchen (Guest Post)
April 7: Samw00w (Review)
April 11: Jorie Loves A Story (Review)
April 13: Angel M. B. Chadwick (Interview)
April 17: The Book Connection (Interview)
April 18: Bookfan (Guest Post)
April 19: Everything Distils Into Reading (Review)
April 20: A Bookish Way of Life (Review)
April 21: Bookilicious (Review)
April 26: Readaholic Zone (Review)
April 28: Sportochick’s Musings (Review)
May 5: True Book Addict (Review)


 

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

  • Title: Beartown
  • Author:  Fredrik Backman
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  336
  • Pub. Date:  April 25, 2017 – Atria
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world. (publisher)

My take:  Beartown is about a small town near the woods. The hockey team is one of the only bright spots in life for the people of Beartown. There are gods in Beartown – they are the stars of the hockey team. This novel addresses town culture, hockey culture, pack mentality, and human nature in general. You don’t have to know hockey to appreciate it. Fill in any other sport in place of hockey and you will probably relate on some level. One of the old salts in town tells a hockey coach that “most people don’t do what we tell them to. They do what we let them get away with.” The people of Beartown will show their best sides and some will reveal their worst when the unthinkable occurs. Fredrik Backman really gets to the core of human nature in his novels – so much so that the reader may need to take a break once in a while. Even so, I found it difficult to stop reading. It’s bittersweet, honest and will make you think. I really liked it.


 

Spotlight/US Giveaway: Beyond the Wild River

ABOUT THE BOOK: The day comes sooner than expected when Charles, prompted by a near-scandal between Evelyn and a servant, brings her on a business trip to New York City and the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Evelyn welcomes the chance to escape her cloistered life and see the world.

But a fishing expedition up the Nipigon River in Canada takes an unexpected turn when Evelyn discovers that their river guide is none other than James Douglas. Even more startling, her father betrays no shock, simply instructing Evelyn not to reveal their past connection with James to the rest of their party.

Evelyn never believed that James was guilty, but speculation about her father’s role in the killing has made her fearful. What is he hiding? As they travel deeper into the wilderness, and further from the constraints of polite society, the secrets and lies surrounding that night are finally stripped away, revealing the true natures of everyone in their party.

 

BEYOND THE WILD RIVER by Sarah Maine

Atria Books Paperback | On-sale: April 18, 2017 | ISBN: 9781501126956 |

352 pages | $16.00

eBook: 9781501126970, $11.99


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sarah Maine was born in England but grew up partly in Canada before returning to the United Kingdom, where she now lives. She is the author of The House Between Tides.

FIND SARAH MAINE ONLINE:

photo credit: Susie McDonald at Brick Lane Studio


ORDER:


US Giveaway

Please click here and fill out the form

GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED

Giveaway ends on April 19, 2017 


 

Any Day Now by Robyn Carr

  • Title:  Any Day Now
  • Series:  Sullivan’s Crossing #2
  • Author:  Robyn Carr
  • Pages:  384
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pub. date:  April 18, 2017 – Mira Books
  • Source:  Publisher; Little Bird Publicity

Description: The highly anticipated sequel to #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr’s What We Find transports readers back to Sullivan’s Crossing. The rustic campground at the crossroads of the Colorado and Continental Divide trails welcomes everyone—whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend getaway or a whole new lease on life. It’s a wonderful place where good people face their challenges with humor, strength and love. 

For Sierra Jones, Sullivan’s Crossing is meant to be a brief stopover. She’s put her troubled past behind her but the path forward isn’t yet clear. A visit with her big brother Cal and his new bride, Maggie, seems to be the best option to help her get back on her feet. 

Not wanting to burden or depend on anyone, Sierra is surprised to find the Crossing offers so much more than a place to rest her head. Cal and Maggie welcome her into their busy lives and she quickly finds herself bonding with Sully, the quirky campground owner who is the father figure she’s always wanted. But when her past catches up with her, it’s a special man and an adorable puppy who give her the strength to face the truth and fight for a brighter future. In Sullivan’s Crossing Sierra learns to cherish the family you are given and the family you choose.  (publisher)

My take:  Any Day Now is the second book in Robyn Carr’s Sullivan’s Crossing series. We meet Cal’s sister Sierra who is one year sober and looking for a new start in the small town her big brother now calls home. She’ll stay at Sully’s campground and help out while looking for another job. It’s the best possible place for her to start fresh. Soon she also has a waitress job at a diner in town which makes meeting locals very easy. One of those people will become quite special to Sierra and she to him.

I love how Robyn Carr creates a sense of place in her novels. She populates them with the kind of people most readers will relate to easily. I look forward to seeing several of the secondary characters in future books in the series. Most of all, I love the second chance trope. I wasn’t disappointed with Sierra’s story.

There’s a reason Sierra doesn’t drink anymore and that reason eventually catches up with her. That provided a dark and dramatic finish to the novel. I was happy to read the epilogue that closed out the book with an upbeat scene.  Recommended to fans of Robyn Carr and the Sullivan’s Crossing series.


Robyn Carr is an award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River and Thunder Point series, as well as highly praised women’s fiction titles such as Four Friends, What We Find, and The Life She Wants.

Robyn has won a RITA Award from the Romance Writers of America, and in 2016 she was awarded RWA’s Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the genre. Her novels have been translated into 19 languages in 30 countries.

Originally from Minnesota, Robyn now resides in Henderson, Nevada, with her aviator husband; they have two grown children. When she isn’t writing, Robyn puts her energy into community service: she has mentored a seniors’ memoir-writing group, attends book club chats in and out of state whenever possible, and is working with her local library on the Carr Chat Series, a program centered on fundraising and visiting author events that bring writers, their books, and the community together.


Praise for #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Robyn Carr:

“Capturing the best of small-town romance.” — The Washington Post

“Appealing characters and a fresh and heart-tugging twist to a familiar conflict, coupled with what-did-she-just-say? dialogue and a cozy sense of community, all help make this latest installment in the Virgin River series a true romantic getaway.” — USA TODAY

“Robyn Carr delivers yet another fictional win that will speak to the soul of every feminist reader.” — Coastal Living

“Carr sets the bar for contemporary romance.” — Booklist Starred Review

“Carr continues her brilliant community-building as a number of storytelling threads come together in a rich narrative tapestry.” — Kirkus Reviews


Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

      

    

Last week on Bookfan:

      

Reading plan for this week: