Susan Bishop Crispell is here today to kick off "Family" month at CLC. She's celebrating the publication of her debut novel, The Secret Ingredient of Wishes, and St. Martin's Press has THREE copies to give away!
Susan has a B.F.A. in creative writing from The University of North Carolina - Wilmington. She lives--and writes--near Wilmington, NC with her husband and their two literary-named cats. Aside from writing, Susan obsesses over swoony fictional boys and baked goods and watches quirky TV shows, most of which got canceled way before their time (and she has a wax lion to prove it!). Visit Susan at her website, Facebook, and Twitter.
26-year-old Rachel Monroe has spent her whole life trying to keep a very unusual secret: she can make wishes come true. And sometimes the consequences are disastrous. So when Rachel accidentally grants an outlandish wish for the first time in years, she decides it’s time to leave her hometown—and her past—behind for good.
Rachel isn’t on the road long before she runs out of gas in a town that’s not on her map: Nowhere, North Carolina—also known as the town of “Lost and Found.” In Nowhere, Rachel is taken in by a spit-fire old woman, Catch, who possesses a strange gift of her own: she can bind secrets by baking them into pies. Rachel also meets Catch’s neighbor, Ashe, a Southern gentleman with a complicated past, who makes her want to believe in happily-ever-after for the first time in her life.
As she settles into the small town, Rachel hopes her own secrets will stay hidden, but wishes start piling up everywhere Rachel goes. When the consequences threaten to ruin everything she’s begun to build in Nowhere, Rachel must come to terms with who she is and what she can do, or risk losing the people she’s starting to love—and her chance at happiness—all over again. (Courtesy of Amazon.)
How Family is Made
For me, the most compelling stories revolve around family. But family can take many forms. It can be best friends who know all your secrets (and jokingly offer to help hide the bodies). Or residents of a small town who dole out gossip and hugs in equal measure. Or the people who take care of you when you can’t take care of yourself. And all of these types of families appeal to me.
Because family isn’t about blood. Don’t get me wrong, biology gives people a really great start toward something more, but family at its core is about emotion. Connections to other people. And that’s especially true in fiction.
When I was writing THE SECRET INGREDIENT OF WISHES, I knew I wanted family to play a big part. The only problem? My main character Rachel didn’t have much family. She accidentally wished her little brother out of existence when they were kids, and unable to handle the truth—that they’d had a son and forgot about him—her parents abandoned her. Her dad by taking off and her mom by retreating into a destructive spiral of questioning reality. Rachel still had her fiercely loyal best friend, but until she got lost in Nowhere, North Carolina, that was the extent of her family.
So when I stranded Rachel in Nowhere, I had to give her a family, a place to call home. Enter Catch and Ashe. They’ve created an unconventional family of their own, choosing to rely on each other when so many others have let them down. They’re family because they want to be, not because they have to be. And that’s what makes them work.
I pulled qualities from my own family as well as fictional ones that got it oh, so right. Here are some of my favorite fictional families and the qualities that make them so lovable.
The Weasleys (J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series)
The Weasleys with their ginger hair and matching sweaters and unwavering acceptance set the family bar pretty dang high. They are loyal and brave and unabashedly themselves. They stand up for what they believe in and fight for what’s right. And they love unconditionally. Even when it’s not always deserved (ahem, Percy).
The Gilmores (The Gilmore Girls)
When it comes to family, nobody does it like the Gilmores. From Lorelai and Rory’s shared love of coffee and pop culture and junk food to Emily’s desire to ensure only the best for her daughter and granddaughter, the bonds between them are unmistakable. Then there’s the quirky and heart-warming residents of Stars Hollow—Luke! Sookie! Miss Patty! They were Lorelai and Rory’s family when they had no one else. And every single one of them played a part in making Lorelai and Rory who they grew up to be.
The Waverleys (Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells and First Frost)
Apart from being delightfully magical, Claire and Sydney Waverley don’t have much in common. At least on the surface. They’re sister but not friends. But when Sydney shows up on Claire’s doorstep with her little girl in tow, none of that matters. Because even though they are virtual strangers, they’re family. And when you’re a Waverley, family comes first.
The Firefly Crew (Firefly)
Captain Malcolm Reynolds loves his boat. The only thing he loves more than Serenity is the crew that has his back at every turn. With the exception of Zoe, everyone else who became an integral part of life on the firefly was a stranger to start. But over time, they become friends, then family. And their differences are what keep them together. They balance each other out, Zoe is the voice of reason to Mal’s rash decisions, Wash is the comic relief to Simon’s stone-cold seriousness, Kaylee is the wide-eyed innocence to Jayne’s guns-blazing attitude. All of those personalities cooped up in one little spaceship shouldn’t work, but they do.
Thanks to Susan for her lovely guest post and to St. Martin's Press for sharing her book with our readers.
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Giveaway ends September 11th at midnight EST.