Thursday, February 21, 2019

Joanne Serling is new to our neighborhood...plus a book giveaway

We'd like to welcome Joanne Serling to CLC today. Her debut, Good Neighbors, recently celebrated its first birthday. Joanne is excited to share TWO copies with some lucky readers!

Joanne Serling’s fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in New Ohio Review and North American Review. She is a graduate of Cornell University and studied and taught fiction at The Writers Studio in New York City. Previously, she worked in women’s magazines, high tech public relations and as Director of Public Affairs for American Express. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and children and is at work on her second book. (Bio adapted from Joanne's website.)

Visit Joanne online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram


Synopsis:
In an idyllic suburb, four young families quickly form a neighborhood clique, their friendships based on little more than the ages of their children and a shared sense of camaraderie. When one of the couples, Paige and Gene Edwards, adopt a four-year-old girl from Russia, the group's loyalty and morality is soon called into question. Are the Edwards unkind to their new daughter? Or is she a difficult child with hidden destructive tendencies?

As the seams of the group friendship slowly unravel, neighbor Nicole Westerhof finds herself drawn further into the life of the adopted girl, forcing Nicole to re-examine the deceptive nature of her own family ties, and her complicity in the events unfolding around her. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

In one sentence, tell us what your journey to publishing was like.
The road was long and at times, difficult (looking for an agent for eight months!) but the results were joyful and life changing; I realized that with enough grit, I could reach any goal.

What is the inspiration behind Good Neighbors?
If you’ve ever had young kids, then you know how easy it is to jump into intense friendships with people you hardly know just because you both have kids that are the same age. I know I was often guilty of that, and I wanted to explore this phenomenon. I also wanted to write about denial and explore the gray space between empathetic acceptance and something more dangerous like deceit. I wanted readers to ask themselves what they would do if they suspected a friend or neighbor was subtly mistreating, or even abusing, a child. All of these ideas bubble up in my novel.

If a movie were made about Good Neighbors, who would you cast in the lead roles?
Good Neighbors explores the world of four suburban families who consider themselves “like family.” When one of the couples, Paige and Gene Edwards, adopts a four-year-old girl from Russia, the group’s morality and loyalty are soon called into question. Are the Edwards unkind to their new daughter? Or is she a difficult child with hidden destructive tendencies?

The story is told by neighbor Nicole Westerhof, an insightful if unreliable observer who has her own hidden demons. I have always considered Amanda Peet the perfect actor to play Nicole; she has incredible emotional range and can appear both likable and emotionally unsteady. Even more unreliable than Nicole is Paige Edwards, the beautiful yet cold adoptive mother who is slightly unstable and highly manipulative. I’m certain that Margot Robbie could nail this part. Two other friends complete this neighborhood tableau. Lorraine Weinberger is a good-natured gossip who stops by Nicole’s house nearly every day after work to rehash the day’s events and trade stories about Paige’s strange behavior. Drew Barrymore could pull off this part with aplomb. The fourth ‘friend,’ is Nela Guzman-Veniero, a corporate lawyer who works long hours in Boston. She has serious misgivings about being associated with the other neighbors and insists that “in Puerto Rico, you don’t get involved with your neighbors.” Tiffany Haddish, though neither Puerto Rican, nor as serious as Nela, would make this role her own, spicing up Nela’s brand of feisty resistance.

What is your favorite thing to cook?
My family loves when I make Pasta Carbonara. It’s much more decadent than the normal fare I prepare, so when I make it, it feels like a special occasion and everyone’s grateful and cheery. In reality, however, I love to bake more than I love to cook. If it’s snowing, I’m making cookies or brownies or my famous Nutella swirl cake.

If money was not an issue, where would you go on vacation right now?
I am currently watching a documentary TV series called Tough Rides created by two brothers Ryan and Kyle Pyle who took a 60-day motorcycle journey around the entire perimeter of India. If I could, I’d get on a plane right now and check out the memorable sights they document in this unforgettable country. But then, I love to travel and there are very few countries I’m not eager to visit. I was lucky enough to visit China for a month when I was still in high school and it gave me the travel bug. I spent the summer after I graduated college in Israel and Egypt and then moved to Seville, Spain for a year to teach English-as-a-Second Language. I’m proud to say that I’m still fairly fluent in Spanish, although my accent is truly awful.

What is the last book you read that you would recommend?
I’m a reading fiend so I can’t recommend just one. I really enjoyed CLOVER BLUE by Eldonna Edwards, a coming-of-age story set in a in 1970's California that’s coming out this May. It’s a fast read with wholly original characters that forces you to consider whether there’s such a thing as a healthy cult, and whether a heinous crime can ever be forgiven. Other favorites from the last few months are MY YEAR OF REST AND RELAXATION by Ottessa Moshfegh, THE WINTER SOLDIER by Daniel Mason, and THE GREAT BELIEVERS by Rebecca Makkai.

Thanks to Joanne for chatting with us and sharing her book with our readers!

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway ends February 26th at midnight EST.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

My aunt and uncle adoped a baby girl and then a few years later baby boy.

Vera Wilson said
snoopysnop1@yahoo.com

Janine said...

I know several people who have adopted kids. One of my sisters was adopted when she was a baby. I have adopted cats, but I know that doesn't count.

Suburban prep said...

Due to a health issue my sister was unable to have biological children so she adopted and a good friend of mine has adopted.

Linda May said...

A friend of my Son & Daughter-in-Law first fostered a toddler & then they were able to adopt her & then a few years later after they finally had a biological child. Thanks fpr your great generosity.

Peggy Russo said...

I worked in school's for years and knew many families who adopted children.

traveler said...

I have never met anyone who has adopted a child.

Linda Kish said...

I have a friend who has adopted several children. They have a lot of love to give.

Bonnie K. said...

I do. My brother-in-law adopted his second wife's daughter. You wouldn't know she wasn't his first born child if you just met them.

Amber Kuehler said...

We have good friends that have adopted and it has been a wonderful experience!

Mary C said...

My brother has two adopted children.

Rita Wray said...

My husband's brother and his wife adopted two children.

Elena Y. said...

I have a distant friend and relative who is adopted. Thanks for the chance!

Dianne Casey said...

One of my co-workers adopted his son from Russia.

StoreyBookLover said...

I know a few people that have foster kiddos come live with them and have ended up in adoption. Much respect for people that open their homes and hearts to help those kiddos in need! <3

Mary Preston said...

No, I don't know anyone who has adopted or been adopted.

Kelly Rodriguez said...

My aunt adopted two children from another country.

Anonymous said...

BrendaS (Canada) back in the late 1980's, a high school friend put her baby girl up for adoption. It was an open-adoption so my friend has been a part of her daughter's life this whole time. Her daughter got married a few years ago and my friend is now a grand mother. They have a great relationship

debb1955 said...

I know a few couples who have adopted children and are all very happy.

Grandma Cootie said...

I had a co-worker who went to the Ukraine with her husband to adopt a child. Has worked out very well, beautiful family.

bn100 said...

yes

Burma Turner said...

I have always known I was adopted :)

Tatum Rangel said...

Two of my former coworkers and their spouses adopted children. :)

Kelley B said...

I do and adoption is a blessing!

Susan Schleicher said...

One of my best friends at work is adopted. Also my DIL gave a daughter up for adoption when she was young. She and my son are now expecting their 3rd child.