Please join me in welcoming debut author Allie Larkin as the special guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress.
Allie is the author of the women’s fiction, STAY. She had been scheduled to make a stop during her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book recently but due to unforeseen problems was unable to. She’s here to today to tell us why she loves to read and write women’s fiction.
I’ve always been a reader. I love the escapism of books. I love the intimacy of reading about characters. The books that stick with me the most are the ones with characters who feel like old friends.
I remember reading ANNE OF GREEN GABLES and feeling like Anne Shirley was a “kindred spirit.” I knew what it was like to find awe in a friendship, or to wish I had a different name, or a different hair color or a different life. I knew what it was like to dream about a dress, and how it felt to be the girl who always seemed to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. I knew, like I think everyone knows, what it’s like to long to be really and truly accepted. Because I had those same emotions, I identified with a character who was supposed to have existed a hundred years before me. To me, there’s magic in the fact that fiction can make us feel a part of something we’d have no experience with otherwise.
I don’t know what it’s like to live in London, or work for a news station like Bridget Jones. I’ve never accidentally worn a bunny suit to a non-costume party. But I’ve felt like a square peg in a round hole. I know what it’s like to have the numbers on the scale dictate the way I feel about myself. I remember what it’s like to lust after someone who probably wouldn’t have been good for me anyway, and before I met my husband, I had times when I felt like a “Singleton” in a world full of “Smug Marrieds.”
I’ve never found a baby in my car, like Taylor Greer in THE BEAN TREES, and I’ve never even been to Kentucky, but I do know what it’s like when dreams get derailed, and I know the magic of finding family in unexpected places.
We spend a lot of time talking about what makes us different – political leanings, which team we root for, where we grew up, the way we talk, how we dress – but when we focus on what makes us the same first, we get to see the differences through a new lens. We get to empathize. We get a new perspective. That’s what I love about women’s fiction – the way it deals in universal emotions and the way those universals suck us in and take us along for the ride.
I hope you don’t ever accidentally buy a German Shepherd from Slovakia off the internet while drinking grape Kool-Aid and vodka and watching a Rin Tin Tin marathon, but if you read Stay, I hope you identify with Van. Because haven’t we all struggled with loss, fought heartbreak with ice cream, and wanted a friend who would always be on our team? And really, don’t we all sing loud to cheesy music on the radio sometimes?
Allie, thank you for guest blogging today and sharing your feelings on women’s fiction. It may be called women’s fiction but I think even the guys can relate to this a little on some level. Can’t you guys?
Here’s a brief synopsis of the STAY: Savannah “Van” Leone has loved Peter since the day they met. The problem is, Peter has loved Van’s best friend, Janie, since the moment they met. And now they’re walking down the aisle, with Van standing nearby in a Halloween orange bridesmaid dress, her smile as hollow as a jack-o-lantern. After the wedding, Van drowns her sorrows in Kool Aid-vodka cocktails and reruns of Rin-Tin-Tin, and does what any woman in her situation would do: She buys a German Shepherd over the internet.
The pocket-sized puppy Van is expecting turns out to be a clumsy, hundred-pound beast that only responds to Slovakian. Van is at the end of her rope—until she realizes that this quirky giant may be the only living being who will always be loyal to her, no matter what. And thus begins a friendship that will alter Van’s life in ways she never imagined.
Joe leads Van to Dr. Alex Brandt, a rugged vet with floppy blond hair and winning smile. But just as things are starting to heat up, the newlyweds return from their honeymoon, forcing Van to decide just how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to have everything she ever wanted. Warm and witty, poignant and funny, STAY marks the arrival of an irresistible new voice.
In case you missed the book trailer for Allie’s book earlier, here it is again. Enjoy.
For a little background on Allie. She lives in Rochester, New York, with her husband, Jeremy, their two German Shepherds, Argo and Stella, and a three-legged cat. She is also the co-founder of TheGreenists.com, a site dedicated to helping readers take simple steps toward going green. For more on Allie, visit her website at www.allielarkinwrites.com.