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Jill Fordyce | Full of First Love and Heartbreak, Friendship and Secrets, Family and Forgiveness

Jill Fordyce




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February 2024
On Sale: January 30, 2024
Featuring: Jenny; Heather; Gino
272 pages
EAN: 9798888451748
Hardcover / e-Book / audiobook
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Also by Jill Fordyce:
Belonging, February 2024

1--What is the title of your latest release?



2--What’s the “elevator pitch” for your new book?

Spanning three decades, Belonging is about first love and heartbreak, friendship and secrets, family and forgiveness, hometowns and coming of age, and memory and music. The heart of the story is Jenny’s struggle to undo the binds of a childhood that have deeply affected her life, the painful path to love endured by children raised in alcoholic families, and the grim reality of believing you must hide a part of yourself in order to belong.


3--How did you decide where your book was going to take place?

I grew up in Bakersfield, California and have always felt so much affection for the town, and the Central Valley in general. I wanted to explore the things that made it feel special to me, that were so stuck in my memory: the country music in the middle of California; the farmland, the flat horizon, and the river; the heat and the fog; the history; the food; the families who have been there for generations.


4--Would you hang out with your protagonist in real life?

I would! But I would probably rather hang out with Henry.


 5--What are three words that describe your protagonist?

Loyal, earnest, brave.


6--What’s something you learned while writing this book?

When I decided to call the novel Belonging, I wanted to fully understand the concept, so I did a deep dive into the philosophy of belonging. I learned a lot about what it means to belong, and what it feels like when you feel like you don’t. I learned how central it is to humanity, that we all have a need to belong—whether it is to a family, a faith, a place, a friendship. Belonging is fundamentally an undoing of aloneness, something that is so vital to all of us.


7--Do you edit as you draft or wait until you are totally done?

I free-write for a day (meaning no editing or reviewing at all), then edit the next day, and then repeat that process.


 8--What’s your favorite foodie indulgence?

I love the whole “set up” at a traditional Basque Food restaurant, which includes vegetable soup, green salad, beans, salsa, pickled cow’s tongue, and crusty French bread, French fries, spaghetti, and tomato salad. Also, movie popcorn is a favorite indulgence.


9--Describe your writing space/office!

It is a bright space with yellow bookshelves and turquoise blue desks, children’s artwork, old photos, a worktable covered in paint, and lots of light. It used to be my children’s “project room” and has now transformed into my project room.


10--Who is an author you admire?

Joan Didion


11--Is there a book that changed your life?

 When I first read Raymond Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love in college, it was life-changing for me. It was the first time I’d read and studied stories that were minimalist in style, and they felt both accessible and so powerful. I was also moved by the themes: stories that depicted everyday human interactions, struggles, and relationships. It was life-changing because it formed an idea in my mind of the type of writer I aspired to be, both in subject matter and style.


12--Tell us about when you got “the call.” (when you found out your book was going to be published)/Or, for indie authors, when you decided to self-publish.

I was in Dallas with my youngest daughter, Hope, who is in college there. I was working in a little cove office of our Airbnb, when I received an email from my agent, Mel Parker, that Debra Englander at Post Hill Press was interested in acquiring the book. After waiting for so long for this moment, I actually wasn’t sure if I’d read it correctly! Hope and I celebrated that night by baking cookies and watching old episodes of Felicity.


 13--What’s your favorite genre to read? 



 14--What’s your favorite movie?

It’s a Wonderful Life


15--What is your favorite season?



16--How do you like to celebrate your birthday?

Cooking at home, the doors open to the backyard, music, my whole family around a crowded table.


17--What’s a recent tv show/movie/book/podcast you highly recommend?

I loved the movie Aftersun from 2022. The film is incredibly moving, so quiet and beautiful. I’ve rewatched the last scene many times; it is very gripping. Paul Mescal is wonderful. I also highly recommend the book The Creative Act by Rick Rubin, especially the Audible version, which he narrates. It feels like Rick Rubin is talking directly to you!


18--What’s your favorite type of cuisine?

Homemade Italian, especially a cooked-all-day polenta with plenty of cheese.


19--What do you do when you have free time?

Bake, make homemade soup, walk in the woods, wander around town, listen to music, take photos, watch movies. (All of these activities are better if accompanied by family.)


20--What can readers expect from you next?

My new novel, which I’m currently calling Ballad is about a musical prodigy, Whitney Garrison, the only child of Butch and Lynnette, star-crossed teenage parents who grew up in rural Tennessee. The seeds of the novel began by actually writing a few songs in Whitney’s voice. It includes an ensemble cast of characters, a family saga, and a love story, too.

BELONGING by Jill Fordyce


Belonging is a story about the events that transform our lives: the innocence and heartache of your first love, the confusion and sadness of a cherished friendship slipping away, the way we are all shaped by the places we come from, and the fierce desire to make a family when your own family has failed.

Jenny is thirteen when an epic dust storm rolls into her central California town in December 1977. Bedridden after contracting a life-threatening illness in the storm and suffering a shocking loss, Jenny realizes she will never be cared for by the mother who both neglects and terrifies her or the father who allows it. She relies on her cousin, Heather, who has the loving home Jenny longs for; her beloved great-uncle, Gino, the last link between generations; her best friend, Henry, a free spirit with whom she shares an inexplicable bond; and earnest baseball star, Billy, who becomes her first love. After a stunning turn of events in both their lives, Jenny and Henry leave for college in LA together in the summer of 1982—Jenny fleeing a broken heart, and Henry running from something he can’t reveal, even to his best friend. When she returns home years later, the life Jenny so carefully created collides with the one she left behind.

Spanning three decades, Belonging is about first love and heartbreak, friendship and secrets, family and forgiveness, hometowns and coming of age, and memory and music. The heart of the story is Jenny’s struggle to undo the binds of a childhood that have deeply affected her life, the painful path to love endured by children raised in alcoholic families, and the grim reality of believing you must hide a part of yourself in order to belong.


Coming of Age | Small Town [Post Hill Press, On Sale: January 30, 2024, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9798888451748 / eISBN: 9798888451755]

Buy | Kindle | | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Powell's Books | Books-A-Million | Indie BookShops | Ripped Bodice | Love's Sweet Arrow | | Audible | | | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Jill Fordyce

Jill Fordyce

Born and raised in Bakersfield, California, Jill Fordyce received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Southern California and a law degree from Santa Clara University. While practicing law, she continued to study writing through the Stanford Continuing Studies creative writing program. Belonging is her debut novel.

Jill and her husband, Craig, have five adult children and live in California and Tennessee.





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