November 17th, 2017
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When she saves a Celtic warrior from a fae curse, can he stop her from paying the ultimate price?


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You can't escape the past . . .


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A second chance at love is the best Christmas gift of all.


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Revenge can taste damn good when it’s hot, too.


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Alaric has never met a woman he wanted for his own . . .


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Investigating a suspicious accident leads Drew on a path that points to international intrigue and ever-growing danger



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Writing a Woman's Life
How Women's Fiction Charts Our Course

Meet Barbara Claypole White, author of ECHOES OF FAMILY

Marianne Stokes fled England at seventeen, spiraling into the manic depression that would become her shadow. She left behind secrets, memories, and tragedy: one teen dead, and her first love, Gabriel, badly injured. Three decades later she’s finally found peace in the North Carolina recording studio she runs with her husband, Darius, and her almost-daughter, Jade…until another fatality propels her back across the ocean to confront the long-buried past.

In her picturesque childhood village, the first person she meets is the last person she wants to see again: Gabriel. Now the village vicar, he takes her in without question, and ripples of what if reverberate through both their hearts. As Marianne’s mind unravels, Jade and Darius track her down. Tempers clash when everyone tries to help, but only by finding the courage to face her illness can Marianne heal herself and her offbeat family. Writing a Woman’s Life columnist Yona Zeldis McDonough e-chats with Barbara Claypole White to talk about the genesis of this dark, haunting but ultimately uplifting tale.

About Barbara Claypole White

Barbara Claypole
White

A Brit living in North Carolina, Barbara Claypole White writes hopeful family drama with a healthy dose of mental illness.

Her debut novel, THE UNFINISHED GARDEN, won the 2013 Golden Quill for Best First Book; THE IN-BETWEEN HOUR was chosen by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) as a Winter 2014 Okra Pick; and THE PERFECT SON was a Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee for Best Fiction 2015.

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YZM: What drew you to this story?

BCW: Normally I find my stories hiding in dark what-if moments, but everything about ECHOES OF FAMILY came to me differently. My family and I were visiting my mother in rural England when my mind started playing out an imaginary scene set in my childhood church. I saw the flower ladies twittering over wedding flowers up by the altar while an elegant American woman watched from the back pew, eyes hidden by sunglasses. I felt their rising concern for the stranger and witnessed one of them dash off to fetch the vicar, who was attacking stinging nettles with a weed whacker. When he crouched down to say, “What’s brought you back after all this time, Marianne?” she replied, “I’ve come home to die.” That was it. I knew Marianne’s pain was mental, not physical, and I knew the setting had huge significance for her, but I put the scene aside and returned to a story I would ultimately abandon—about a single dad who ran a recording studio and his teen daughter who had undiagnosed bipolar disorder.

Fast forward several years, and I started traveling back and forth to the village more and more frequently to help my mother. Suddenly I was thinking about belonging, going home, and echoes of the past. Somewhere over the Atlantic, all the elements slipped into place. (I love writing on planes.)

YZM: Were the characters of Marianne and Jade difficult to write? If so, why?

BCW: Marianne, my manic-depressive record producer, is the most challenging character I’ve created. After months of research, Marianne’s thought process still overwhelmed me, and being inside her head was exhausting. When one of my early readers pointed out that her voice changed according to her mood, I realized I’d committed my own cardinal writing sin: I had defined a character through her mental illness. Marianne had become a bipolar heroine as opposed to a successful businesswoman, mother, and wife who happens to struggle with mental illness. Once I put the research aside and listened for Marianne’s voice, she lit up.

Jade was the opposite—one of those characters who pop out fully formed. My son is an intern in a local recording studio not unlike the one Marianne owns, and one evening he came home talking about the chief sound engineer, a young woman. I woke up the next morning with Jade front and center in my mind. And then the idea developed of Marianne working with teen girls at risk. Girls no one else wanted. Jade, I realized, had been one of those girls. I knew from the beginning she was a survivor, but it took a while to excavate her backstory.

YZM: How did you get your start as a writer?

BCW: I was five years old when I first said, “I want to be an author,” and even though life intervened, I never lost that dream. I wrote stories and poems as a child, and did lots of promotional writing and journalism in my career. After my marriage, I moved from London to Illinois and started a novel while job hunting. I dabbled with that story for years, but it wasn’t until I became a stay-at-home mom with a child in pre-school that I decided to finish it. My first novel ended up in storage—where it belonged—but it had become my learning curve. I joined writing classes, went to conferences, networked, signed up for workshops, and my husband supported me throughout. I worked hard—failed hard—and landed my first pub deal right before me fiftieth birthday. I think that makes me a late bloomer. ☺

YZM: Do you outline the entire plot first or do you work more from intuition?

BCW: I have a horrible process! I’m an organic, messy writer who loves to rewrite endlessly. Left to my own devices, I would meander down every side road and take endless U-turns. Writing to contract, however, means I’ve had to speed up and streamline. These days I research and throw down a crappy first draft while also creating a storyboard based on screen-writing beats. I’m a visual person, so analyzing a movie makes more sense to me than studying books on how to outline. The storyboard will change and then I’ll abandon it completely, but not before creating a chapter-by-chapter timeline that becomes an important tool.

YZM: Which authors have influenced you most?

BCW: That’s a tough question because every novel I read influences me. The three writers who’ve had the greatest impact are probably Jodi Picoult, Marian Keyes, and Denyse Devlin. Jodi Picoult pushes me outside my comfort zone as a reader, which is where I want to be as a writer. Plus, who doesn’t want to write like Jodi? Marian Keyes taught me you could tackle dark subjects with humor, and Denyse Devlin showed me how to peel back the layers of a relationship. Oh, and I have to give a shout-out to Charlotte Bronte, because in my opinion you can learn everything you need to know about writing fiction by reading JANE EYRE. Best. Novel. Ever.

YZM: What do you hope readers take away from your novel?

BCW: That the challenges never end when you share your family with mental illness. Bipolar is a potentially fatal disease. It demands constant management and vigilance in the same way as diabetes or cancer, and yet most people judge a broken mind very differently to a broken body. The stigma persists, and families are left struggling in secrecy and isolation. Like Marianne, I want to make noise and be heard; I want to do my bit to chip away at the stereotypes and the shame.

YZM: What’s next on your horizon?

BCW: Novel five (gulp) has a release date of January 2018. It’s based on the premise: can you be a good mother if you abandoned your baby? It also highlights a nasty corner of obsessive-compulsive disorder called harm OCD, which often attacks postpartum moms. Harm OCD bombards your mind with intrusive, unwanted images of you committing violent acts, often against people you love. Even though you know you would never do such things, the OCD holds your mind hostage. My heroine, Katie Mack, is a female metal artist with a dark secret: while struggling with undiagnosed harm OCD, she ran away from her baby, believing she was a psychopath. She lived on the streets for several years, and by the time she ended up in treatment, it was too late to return to her family. Through a quirk of fate, Katie crosses paths with her 10-year-old daughter—plus stepmom—and realizes little Maisie MacDonald has untreated OCD. Katie then has to decide whether or not to re-enter her daughter’s life for the same reason she left: to protect her baby girl from monsters.

ECHOES OF FAMILY by Barbara Claypole White

Echoes of
Family

Sometimes the only way through darkness is to return to where it began.

Marianne Stokes fled England at seventeen, spiraling into the manic depression that would become her shadow. She left behind secrets, memories, and tragedy: one teen dead, and her first love, Gabriel, badly injured. Three decades later she’s finally found peace in the North Carolina recording studio she runs with her husband, Darius, and her almost-daughter, Jade…until another fatality propels her back across the ocean to confront the long-buried past.

In her picturesque childhood village, the first person she meets is the last person she wants to see again: Gabriel. Now the village vicar, he takes her in without question, and ripples of what if reverberate through both their hearts. As Marianne’s mind unravels, Jade and Darius track her down. Tempers clash when everyone tries to help, but only by finding the courage to face her illness can Marianne heal herself and her offbeat family.

Women's Fiction [Lake Union Publishing, On Sale: September 27, 2016, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781503938137 / ]

About Yona Zeldis McDonough

Yona Zeldis
McDonoughYona Zeldis McDonough is the author of six novels; her seventh, THE HOUSE ON PRIMROSE POND, will be out from New American Library in February, 2016. In addition, she is the editor of the essay collections The Barbie Chronicles: A Living Doll Turns Forty and All the Available Light: A Marilyn Monroe Reader. Her short fiction, articles and essays have been published in anthologies as well as in numerous national magazines and newspapers. She is also the award-winning author of twenty-six books for children, including the highly acclaimed chapter books, The Doll Shop Downstairs and The Cats in the Doll Shop. Yona lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, two children and two noisy Pomeranians.

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