Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Seeing a version of Andrea Lochen...plus a book giveaway

We're pleased to welcome Andrea Lochen back to CLC today. It's been a while since she was last here, so it's nice to see what she's been up to and learn new things about her. Her latest novel, Versions of Her, publishes today. Find out more about it right here. Andrea has one copy to share with a lucky reader!

Andrea Lochen is the author of three novels, including Versions of Her. Her first novel, The Repeat Year (Penguin 2013), was praised by Kirkus Reviews as “an engaging, satisfying read that explores friendship, love and who we really are when it truly matters.” A draft of the novel won the 2008 Hopwood Novel Award. Andrea’s second novel, Imaginary Things, was published by Astor + Blue in April 2015 and described as a, “a beautiful book, filled with vivid scenes, unforgettable characters, and oodles of heart. With a page-turning plot and an utterly unique concept, Imaginary Things entertains, inspires, and provokes thought.”

Andrea earned her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and her Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since 2008, she has taught undergraduate writing at UW Milwaukee at Waukesha and was awarded the UW Colleges Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Andrea lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two small children, and adorably fluffy dog. In her free time, she likes to bake cupcakes and cakes, see musicals and plays, and read as much as humanly possible. (Bio adapted from Andrea's website.)

Visit Andrea online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter

On the surface, Melanie Kingstad-Keyes’s life is the picture of success. She’s a tenure track professor at a prestigious university and has a perfect husband. But a recent miscarriage has left her reeling and her marriage tenuous. Selling her family’s Lake Indigo summer home, which she hasn’t visited in fifteen years, feels like the perfect distraction from her problems. Now, she only needs to persuade her younger sister, Kelsey, to go along with her plan. Stuck in a dead-end job, Kelsey Kingstad bounces from one doomed relationship to the next as she struggles to jumpstart her adult life. 

Carrying the guilt of her mother’s untimely death, Kelsey is reluctant to let go of the Victorian house filled with memories of her mom and their childhood.When the sisters find a mysterious hidden door, Melanie and Kelsey discover that they can directly view their mother’s younger years and learn all the secrets she never shared with them. 

Delving into her memories is fun at first, but Melanie and Kelsey quickly uncover difficult truths, throwing their own life choices into question and making them wonder if they ever truly knew their mother. Visiting the past may help them find closure, but the cost could be steeper than they realize. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

What is the inspiration behind Versions of Her?
The seed for Versions of Her came from an interesting question readers asked me when my first novel, The Repeat Year was published. In The Repeat Year, a woman gets the chance to relive a year of her life. At a lot of the author events, readers would ask me, “If you had the opportunity to relive a year of your life, would you do it? And if you could choose, which year would you pick?”
My answer was always, “No, thank you!” I couldn’t imagine being forced to relive a year of my life. But if I could relive just a day or two of my own choosing, I wouldn’t mind being a “fly on the wall” to observe some of my childhood memories, or even my mom’s childhood or young adulthood. How neat would it be, I thought, to get to witness my parents with me when my sister and I were little, or see my grandparents when they were much younger, or even get to watch my parents fall in love? With those thoughts, the premise behind the mysterious door that can transport the sisters back into their mom’s memories at the lake house was born.

Versions of Her is also very much a book about sisters and mothers and daughters. My sister and my mom are two of the most important people in my life, and I wanted to explore the complexity within these female relationships.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to an aspiring novelist?
Surround yourself with a supportive writing community, because you can learn so much from other novelists. But don’t get caught up in the trap of comparing yourself too much to others and their writing careers; it will only make you unhappy. Instead, celebrate each small success you achieve and make sure to lift up other writers for their successes too.

If Versions of Her were made into a movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?
For the take-charge, perfectionist, older sister Melanie, I think Rachel McAdams would be awesome. For the flighty, dog-loving, younger sister Kelsey, I think Amanda Seyfried would be perfect.

What is your favorite thing about the summer?
Everything except the mosquitos! It’s my favorite season, and in Wisconsin, it’s one of the nicest times of year to go outside, so it’s always chockful of fun events like barbecues, parades, county fairs, and weddings. I love watching my kids splash around in our plastic kiddie pool, eating popsicles on our patio, and taking my dog for long walks. I love the smell of fresh cut grass and the longer hours of daylight. I love wearing sandals! I love going on road trips and vacations with my family.

What is your go-to breakfast item?
This is kind of embarrassing to admit but Eggo waffles with a little Nutella spread on them. I know—definitely not the healthiest choice! But Nutella is SO addictive.

What is the strangest thing currently residing in your purse/handbag?
Hmmm….let me go check. Three small snack-size baggies of pretzels, for some reason? Kind of crumbled up and probably stale. I just threw them away. As a mom of two little kids, I always pack snacks whenever we go anywhere, and apparently, pretzels are my go-to that no one ever wants to eat!

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 July 28th at midnight EST.


Nancy P said...

Strangest thing? Hmmm...old business cards? Canadian penny? Anyway, very lovely cover. Thanks for the chance.

traveler said...

I would love to see (even though I do have photos) more of my mother's life when she was young. I doubt that there are any since her life was tough and there was no money nor time for photos until she was older.

LoriF said...

Looking forward to reading!

Rita Wray said...

I would love to see my parents younger lives.

Jess said...

I would love to see my husband as a child.

Michelle L said...

I would love to get a glimpse of my mother's life when she was young.

Jessica said...

My mom and dad

diannekc said...

I would like to see both my Mom's and Dad's younger years.

Mary C said...

My parents' younger years.

Mary Preston said...

My grandmother, she worked in a castle in England as a young girl.

Amy B said...

I would definitely go back and see my uncle grow up. HE had to get out of 2nd grade so he could go to work. He would tell me some stories of being a long horn handler. I think it would be really neat to see him doing these things. He was the matriarch of our family.

Grandma Cootie said...

My mom - she was a bit of a rebel.

Elena Y. said...

I would like to see more of my mom's life - she's such an inspiration

bn100 said...


Peggy Russo said...

I would love to see my husband as a child. He has such a fun, silly personality that I think he must have been an adorable kid.