A few weeks ago I received a email from Tara saying she loved my blog and wondered if I would read and review her book. After reading the synopsis of the story I wrote back to Tara and said I would not only read and review it but wanted to know if she would be interested in doing a guest post. I was happy when she accepted and am so pleased to welcome her here today!
First of all, I want to say how thrilled I am to be on Dollycas’s Book Blog! What a wonderful and welcoming resource it is for readers and a great mini-getaway (love the white-sand beach and palm trees). Thanks so much for having me as a guest. As one of this blog’s features is showing writers “caught reading” here’s one of me, enjoying The Help.
One question that’s a popular one about my novel, Barefoot Girls, is “What was the inspiration behind your novel?” I’ve answered with the short version before, but I thought the answer deserved a little fleshing out, inspiration being at the heart of creativity, so here it is!
I remember the first time I read a book about mothers and daughters that truly impacted me: it was when I read The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. I had never read anything that explored all the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship so well. There was all the love, pride, and hope that are inherent in this unique relationship as well as the miscommunications, control issues, and disappointments that plague it. Although it tells the specific stories of Chinese immigrants and their daughters, these stories were universal pertaining to matters of the heart.
It was this book that was one of my inspirations for Barefoot Girls. I didn’t imagine I would write something as spectacular as Ms. Tan’s, but I hoped to revisit its subject matter and further pursue it in my own way. The heart of the story of Barefoot Girls revolves around the troubled relationship of a mother, Keeley, and a daughter, Hannah. In the story, Hannah unconsciously writes a poison-pen novel about her mother, thinly veiling her childhood experience of neglect, and sets off a chain reaction that damages her relationship with not only her mother, but her mother’s sister-close friends who are also godmothers to Hannah. Hannah’s journey to resolving this breach and discovering the truth about her mother as well as her own ghosts follows.
Another very important inspiration was friendship. The Barefooters, as the four women are called, are lifelong best friends. This is more common than you would think; I know many women who have such friends and I know that, in today’s ever-busier world, friendships are starting to fall by the wayside as we hurry along trying to do it “all”. This is a tragedy. We need friends. I wanted to give readers a vicarious experience of the Barefooters’ friendship in the hopes it would inspire them to reach out to their own friends – maybe invite them over and mix up a few Mean Greens (the Barefooters’ cocktail specialty)!
The final inspiration was a little island where I spent my summers growing up. It’s in the Great South Bay on Long Island and bears a strong resemblance to the fictional island in the book where the majority of the story is set: Captain’s Island. It was such a unique place, a small spit of land lined with houses where there was no electricity or even running water. Instead of electricity, there were gas lamps and propane refrigerators. Instead of running water, cisterns collected rainwater which you pumped with an old-fashioned pump at the sink. That’s right – no hot water!
There were also no cars or even a ferry; you traveled to the island via your own boat. To visit your neighbors, you walked down the wooden boardwalk that connected the houses or jumped in your boat to ride over. All of this contributed to a small-town feeling that made the island a truly special place, like something out of another time. People were more sociable there and much more athletic: swimming, sailing, fishing, diving, windsurfing, etc. In the evenings, we gathered for cocktails (Shirley Temples or cola for us kids) and someone would always end up playing a piano or a guitar and everyone would sing. Talk about old-school entertainment! I wouldn’t trade my childhood summers for anything. So, I hoped to give readers a taste of what that was like by having the characters growing up on a very similar island and returning there every summer.
Those three are the biggest inspirations behind Barefoot Girls, but to be honest, everything inspires me. The world, I find, is a very inspiring place! Looking forward to hearing back from readers about the book as well as their stories of mothers and daughters, any special summer places, and, maybe, about a few lifelong friendships…
Thank you so much for stopping by today Tara!!
To Find Out More About Tara visit here website!
Check out my review below and then be sure to enter to win a copy of Tara’s book!!
This is an e-book
Bramblevine Press (February 10, 2012)
Being an author should be a wonderful thing, but when a reviewer claims Hannah O’Brien’s new novel is not fictional but in fact a memoir of her life with her neglectful alcoholic mother Hannah doesn’t know what to do. Her mother Keeley has not even read the book but believes her daughter has written lies about her and completely cuts Hannah out of her life.
Then Hannah life starts to fall apart and puts her engagement to Daniel at risk. Her landlord wants her to move to his daughter can live there instead. She just wants her mom back in her life.
Barefoot Girls to the rescue. These women have been friends forever. They spent their summers growing up on Captain’s Island and still spend a month there together each year. When Hannah was a baby that all took care of her. They convince Keeley to send Hannah the keys to the “Barefoot House”. Hannah grabs the chance to visit the little shack filled with memories.Maybe she can sort out her life if she gets away.
She needs understand her troubled childhood before she can move on.
I enjoyed this book. The story goes back and forth from past to present. Through a series of flashbacks we get to see the lives of Keeley, Amy, Zooey, and Pam’s as they come of age on Captain’s Island. Friends through thick and thin. Each of their families are unique as our their own relationships. As we see their lives today their friendship is still as strong as ever and they all love Hannah so much.
It is a very emotional story complete with several twists that moved the story. The mother’s denial upset me a bit. To believe a reviewer over her own child without ever reading the whole story. Authors draw inspiration from so many sources. Keeley was a very complicated character and as the story develops the reader gets some understanding but it was a hurdle for me. I wanted to reach into the pages and hug Hannah so tightly.
All the characters are rich and perfectly imperfect. The reader becomes quickly invested in their lives. Even one very troubled soul.
The setting sounds like a terrific place to escape. We should all take a little time to get away from all the conveniences in life. Not sure how long I would last without electricity but the beach and a bag of books could keep me content for quite awhile.
Tara McTiernan is definitely an author I am going to watch. She has a wonderful debut with this story. I am looking forward to reading more of her work.
I have to share this book with you so I am giving away 1 e-book copy!
Book will be sent from Amazon.com
Contest will end June 26 at 12:01 a.m. EST
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”