Judy Fogarty lives, writes, reads, and runs on the historic Isle of Hope, in her native Savannah, Georgia. She holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Illinois and has served as Director of Marketing for private golf and tennis communities in the Savannah/Hilton Head area, including The Landings on Skidaway Island, Berkeley Hall, and Callawassie Island. She is a devoted (even rowdy) tennis fan as anyone who has ever had the pleasure (or displeasure) of watching a match with her will attest. She is happily at work on her second novel, and as always, enjoys the invaluable support of her husband, Mike, and children, Colin and Sara Jane. Visit Judy at her website, Facebook, and Twitter.
For Patricia Curren, the summer of 1978 begins with a devastating discovery: an unfamiliar black pearl button in the bed she shares with her controlling husband, Jack. Seeking the courage to end her desolate marriage, Patricia spends a quiet summer alone on beautiful Kiawah Island. But when she meets Terry Sloan, a collegiate tennis player trying to go pro, their physical attraction sparks a slow burn toward obsession.
Once Patricia and Terry share closely guarded secrets from their pasts, they want more than a summer together. But their love soon fractures, as a potential sponsor takes an unusually keen interest in Terry—both on court and off. And when single, career-driven Lynn Hewitt arrives, other secrets must surface, including the one Patricia has kept from Terry all summer.
An intimate portrait of the folly of the human heart, Breaking and Holding explores buried truths that are startlingly unveiled. What’s left in their wake has the power not only to shatter lives…but to redeem them.
In one sentence, what was the road to publishing like?
The road was long (decades if you count the first version of this novel, which unsuccessfully made the rounds in New York long ago and slept in my attic for many years); tedious (100 query letters to literary agents); discouraging (99 rejections); exciting (1 offer of representation which quickly led to a sale); and totally worth it.
What was the most challenging part of writing your debut novel? The most rewarding?
When I polished my first draft of Breaking and Holding, I had sentences I loved, scenes that sang right off the page, and a circle of characters who I knew as well as I knew myself. What I did not have was a soundly structured, tautly paced story. Revising was necessary, challenging and painstaking. I've never counted the number of versions of Breaking and Holding that are saved on my computer, but in revision, the original 189,000 words fell to 96,000, and as much as it pained me, every one of those darlings needed to go. As for the most rewarding part of writing the novel? Having someone read and respond to my work is a reward like no other. That was true as I wrote the novel, when encouragement from my writing group, family and close friends kept me going, and that is true for me today as a published author. I love hearing from readers.
Which authors have inspired you to write Breaking and Holding?
New novelists are well-advised not to link themselves to literary giants. I would never say that F. Scott Fitzgerald inspired Breaking and Holding, or that I even dream of writing a novel of the caliber of The Great Gatsby. But I do admit that my debut novel has Gatsby-esque overtones. Both Gatsby and Breaking and Holding are stories of obsessive love and infidelity. Like Gatsby, Breaking and Holding plays out against the backdrop of an era of social change and moral turmoil—Fitzgerald's novel against the Jazz Age of the 1920s, and mine against the Me-Decade of the 1970s. Most importantly, in my novel, first-person narrator Lynn Hewitt, like Nick Carraway, is caught in the middle of an affair involving people she loves and is helpless to protect. For me, it's Lynn's perspective and presence that enrich Breaking and Holding.
Since the story takes place in 1978, what are some songs from that year that would be on the soundtrack of Breaking and Holding?
"Wonderful Tonight" (Eric Clapton)
"Just the Way You Are" (Billy Joel)
"Who are You?" (The Who)
"Prove It All Night" (Bruce Springsteen)
"You're the One that I Want" (Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, from Grease)
"Stayin' Alive" (Bee Gees, Saturday Night Fever)
"Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys" (Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson)
"Do You Think I'm Sexy?" (Rod Stewart)
"Got to Get You Into My Life" (Earth, Wind and Fire)
"Peg" (Steely Dan)
"Still the Same" (Bob Seeger)
Running on Empty (Jackson Browne)
If you could take us on a tour of Savannah, Georgia, where would we go first?
We would start a few miles from the city, on the historic Isle of Hope, where I live (and where my next novel is set). With a short walk on Bluff Drive, which borders the Skidaway River, I would give you a sense of the area's rich history and the natural beauty of the Southeast Coast. Some of the small cottages and grand homes along this bluff date from the 1840s and 50s when city residents used the island as a summer retreat. They're stunning but eclipsed by the river, salt-marsh, tidal creeks, and stately oaks with Spanish moss—a landscape I've always loved.
What is your favorite way to escape?
A day at the beach with an excellent book. The beach could be anywhere but is often Tybee Island, a twenty-minute drive from my house. And the book? A page-turner is always nice, but for me, prose matters too. I'm not married to a particular style. I'll take rich, atmospheric or rhythmic. Quirky, original or clever. But a good story deserves to be written well, and when I find one, I'm on the beach until the tide comes in and the sun goes down.
Thanks to Judy for visiting with us and to TLC Book Tours for sharing her book with our readers.
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