It's not everyday I get to welcome a new author in their journey past the publication threshold. And not just any writer, I'm talking about a fabulous writer with a great story to tell. Just listen:
Pam Wheeler checked every box. Happy marriage? Check. Fantastic kid? Check. Booming career? Check.
So when her husband dies in a freak accident and their DIY empire goes on life support, Pam must fix the relationship with her troubled and grief-stricken daughter and save the family business.
Sounds interesting, right? Author Sarahlyn Bruck writes contemporary women's fiction and her debut novel, Designer You is set to publish in just a few short hours. I recently had a chance to chat with her and learn more about the inspiration behind her book. Why not pour yourself a nice cup of tea (or a large glass of wine because sometimes that's just what's needed) and listen in?
Joy: The main character in Designer You works within the home renovation industry. As a former addict of the original Trading Spaces (yes, I do own my own coveted Trading Spaces smock) and having lived through both a home and travel trailer DIY reno, I was instantly fascinated. Is home reno and design a particular passion of yours and why did you choose to write about it?
Sarahlyn: We live in an old Philadelphia townhome—built in 1869. Our family loves the house and we live in a really special neighborhood with great friends who share a love of old homes. In fact, Pam and Grace’s house was modeled after mine. And I think it’d be tough to live in one of these homes if you didn’t have at least a passing interest in renovation and design—they take a lot of maintenance. When we moved into the house six years ago, the third floor was a shell. It didn’t even have walls yet and the floor was a mess. My husband put up walls and installed the kitchenette. We had the floors refinished and built in a full bathroom. It’s now a very functional little apartment. And my husband built the adjacent deck, too (which inspired the beginning of my book, FYI).
Joy: Goodness! Your home is older than my country. (Go Canada!)
Designer You explores the themes of grief, loss and moving on. When I read the Designer You blurb this resonated with me as there are similar themes in my debut, Out of Play. What type of research did you do? And can you tell us what you learned about yourself from writing on these topics?
Sarahlyn: Great question! My mom lost my dad when they were both only 55, an age when my siblings and I were starting to leave the nest and my parents were looking forward to the next stage in both their lives. And I had just gotten married which at the time seemed like such a weird juxtaposition—I was at the beginning of this life with my new husband and my mom was sadly at the end. And I watched her grieve and pick herself up and move forward. She had to completely redefine her life and adjust her identity. She’s an incredible, strong woman. And very happy today!
Joy: I'm very sorry to hear. It sounds like it was a very pivotal time in your life. And you mom--I can't help but be inspired just listening to her story.
The central characters in Designer You are not only married, but run a business together. That means they probably spend...oh, I don't know...24/7 together! I'm slightly amazed by couples who can do this and maintain a happy and healthy relationship. Can you see yourself doing this or are you more of an absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder kind of person?
Sarahlyn: Oh goodness, I don’t think my husband and I could work like Pam and Nate. We work very differently, and what we have now—I work primarily from home, he outside the home—suits us both just fine. I need long stretches of quiet time to focus and concentrate. He likes noise and energy buzzing around him. I think if we worked together, we’d both drive each other crazy. Right now, we look forward to seeing each other at the end of the day.
Joy: If you were able to have a glass of wine and chat with Pam, the main character of Designer You, what would you want to ask her? What characteristic do you find most inspiring about her?
Sarahlyn: I’d want to ask her about her eye for design detail. I am missing the design gene, and I’d love to pick her brain over a glass of wine and ask her advice about what to do in my own home!
Sounds like fun! Let me grab my smock and join you :)
One last question: where can we get our hands on a copy of Designer You? And where can readers find out more about you?
Thank YOU, Joy! It’s been so much fun. I appreciate the opportunity to talk a little about my book. You can find Designer You here.
And more about me here:
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