Special Guest Tara McTiernan Author of Barefoot Girls (Giveaway too!)

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!

Hi Tara!

Hi everyone!

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!!

Barefoot Girls
This is an e-book
Bramblevine Press (February 10, 2012)

Barefoot Girls




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.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

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.  

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

I have to share this book with you so I am giving away 1 e-book copy!  

International Giveaway!!  

Book will be sent from Amazon.com  

Contest will end June 26 at 12:01 a.m. EST    

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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.”

35 thoughts on “Special Guest Tara McTiernan Author of Barefoot Girls (Giveaway too!)

  1. I have a few lifetime friends. One I met in 1st grade. We were very different, but somehow our friendship worked. One is 20 yrs. older than me, but she’s been my BFF for 30 yrs. The rest are friends from jr. high and high school. Although I moved away, I still keep in touch with them all.

  2. Mothers and daughters are so complex. I am looking forward to this book. Most of my lifelong friends are no longer with us.

  3. What a great post! I have one lifelong friend. We went to high school together and were each other’s maid of honors at our weddings. We live far apart now, but we occasionally keep in touch through things like Facebook. Not nearly as much as we should, though.

    This book sounds wonderful.

  4. Most of my “life long friends” have faded away, geographically and emotionally, but my daughters are becoming closer friends all the time, especially now that they have their own families!

  5. Thanks so much for hosting me and reviewing on your blog! It’s great to hear from readers about their friendships –

    Vicki: that’s wonderful about your first-grade-friend! Especially as you’re so different, yet you make your friendship work. And you even have a second BFF – one just like mine: twenty-some years older than me and we’ve been close since I was sixteen years old. It’s fantastic that you’ve stayed in touch with all your old school friends as well. You’re an inspiration!
    Dee: I hope you enjoy the book! There are definitely some complex mother-daughter relationships in it 🙂
    Yvonne: I, too, have a high school friend that has slipped away and I’m working to get back in touch with. It’s great to be with someone who “knew you when”, particularly the younger and more innocent you.
    Mary Ann: My mother is one my best friends in the world. So glad you and your daughters are close. I’m sure they can really appreciate the challenges of being mothers now that they have their own families!
    Margaret: You’re very welcome and good luck on winning!

  6. I have reconnected with my best friend from high school, we live about 2 miles from each other now. We talk and get together from time to time and it’s great. I’m also still great friends with my college roommate who was my maid of honor, hope to see her in just a few weeks. But I have a great group of girlfriends I have made in the last year and I believe they will be my lifelong girlfriends. We are all at the place in our lives where we are past the backstabbing and we are all about uplifting each other. I love these girls and they have renewed my faith in friendship. I can’t wait to read Barefoot Girls, it sounds wonderful!

  7. Hi Crystal! Wow – sounds like you have an amazing group of both long-term and recent (to-be-lifelong) friends! I think this is something that most women crave and will benefit from: both reconnecting as well as making new close friends. I know my friends are at the heart of my happiness along with my family and my husband. Hope you enjoy the book!

  8. my daughter and one of my sister are my best friends. I know i can count on them at anytime and they won’t judge me but they will set me straight, I can tell them anything,

  9. Most of my lifelong friends have went in separate directions. They’ve moved, started different lifestyles, etc. My mother and I had our differences as I was growing up but now that I’m older, we’re a lot closer.

  10. Hi Ruth!
    It’s funny you mention family members as best friends, because one of my best friends is my first cousin, Yvette. She knows me better than anyone and is very honest with me as well. I know you how you must appreciate them and being able to be yourself with them 🙂

  11. Hi Ashley,
    It is hard to stay in touch with friends – especially these days – and my heart goes out to you. I hope you will reconnect with them at some point, it can and does happen very often. My mother and I weren’t always close, either. But we’ve come a long way and are very close today. It’s great to be able to call your mother a good friend; so glad that’s happening for you!

  12. My lifelong friends are the ones you won’t see for a long time, but when you do it is like you were never apart. It is hard to stay in touch as we all get older and move away from each other. I am thankful to have the great friends I have that I know will always be there for me.

  13. Hi Julie,
    I couldn’t agree more – when you see good old friends, it’s like no time has passed at all. Glad you have such great lifelong friends!

  14. I just lost my Mother in December 2011 (she was 90) She was married to an Alcoholic physically abusive man ( my Father) I am the Youngest of our brood of 4. I was a menopausal baby there for I stuck to her like glue.
    When she left my father & moved to Scotland (home) life was better still very close relationship. 1975 brought us to Canada though Mother moved back to the UK I had met my DH to be so I stayed. even though we were across an ocean Mom & I had a Strong bond.
    I enjoy reading about Mothers & daughters Father & sons.
    Great review I am adding it to my TBB list.

  15. Ann/alba: I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. Considering your strong bond and all you both went through, it must be very hard. I hope you enjoy the book and wish you every happiness….
    Hattie: Mean Greens are basically super-charged margaritas and the Barefoot Girls’ favorite drink! For a good top-shelf margarita recipe, hop over to my blog where I posted a great “almost Mean Green” recipe 🙂

  16. A very enjoyable interview. I like the plot and setting of your book a lot. We can all relate to Mother’s and Friends. Many of my Friends either got married or went to College. I stay in touch by email and one BFF I see as often as we can get together. Relationships need tending to as they wither or die on the vine. Through the ups and downs of life… friends are the gems in life..especially after polishing. The “Mean Green” drink sounds tasty. Thanks for the recipe:)
    I sure can’t wait to read “Barefoot Girls”!

  17. Hi Cyndee!
    I agree – some of our deepest and most rewarding relationships are with other women, whether they’re our mothers, our sisters, other relatives, or friends. It’s great that you’ve made an effort to stay in touch and understand the importance of “tending” your relationships…I always think of them as beautiful flowers that need plenty of care and I love what you wrote about them withering on the vine, so true! Hope you enjoy the book (along with a Mean Green) 🙂

  18. I have been friends with Donna for 31 years. Our husbands (now her ex) worked together and we went out one night. We clicked and have been friends ever since. My hubby and her ex still work at the same company but don’t see each other at all.

  19. Cheryl – how wonderful, 31 years! There is nothing like that “click” when you know someone is very special, and that you’ll probably be friends forever….

  20. I love the guest post. It is rare that we are able to get such a detailed story about the inspiration behind a book. It is especially nice to hear about a long term friendship. They are rarer and rarer. Everyone is so global now and our ability to stay in touch is better than ever, yet so many of us seldom do.
    I appreciate your review as well. I was not familiar with this title, but will now keep an eye out for it.

  21. Hi fabr steph,
    I’m so glad you liked the post. What you said is extremely true: everyone is very global and mobile, and the fallout seems to be close relationships. In small towns, they were inevitable. In our hectic and expanding world, these important parts of our lives are being lost. Yes, it is easier to stay in touch, but also, we’re far more overwhelmed and distracted. Thanks for your thoughtful comments and hope you enjoy the book!

  22. I actually don’t have any lifelong friends. Sadly, I’ve lost touch with the ones that I was closest to. However, I do consider my mother my dearest friend. She’s so much more than a mother, and I love how she is extremely close to my girls – more like a second mom really than a grandma!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  23. Funny you should ask. My 30-year high school reunion is coming up this summer, and someone started a FB page for the class, and we started the reunion early. Some of us have remained in touch through the years, and some of us have reunited online, and some of us just learned to appreciate one another in the past few months, but no matter, it’s been great talking with people with whom we share a past. Many of us have moved far from home through the years, and our lives are very different, but we share a past that our current friends just don’t understand. We have come to understand that in some ways we share a closeness that others just can’t duplicate.

  24. I love giveaways – thanks for the chance. Looking forward to reading your book.

  25. Victoria: You’re very welcome! Did you add your entry above where you login? Make sure to do that so you have a chance at winning 🙂
    Darlene: I’m sorry to hear you’ve lost touch with your close friends over the years. Know that you’re not alone. So many of us move and start families and life gets so busy. That’s wonderful that you’re so close with your mother! There is nothing in the world like a close mother-daughter relationship – it’s the best. Good luck with the giveaway!

  26. Thank you, Mary – hope you enjoy it! If you haven’t entered in the giveaway yet, make sure to submit your entry for a chance at a free (ebook) copy 🙂

  27. The book sounds great! My closest “life-long” friends are actually family (cousins). My mom is also my best friend and a life-long friend.

  28. Hi Amanda!
    That’s such a coincidence as one of my best friends is my first cousin on my mother’s side. How wonderful that you are so close with them as well as with your mother! There’s nothing like a friend who’s known you since you were little 🙂

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