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 White Lies by Susan BarrettWhite Lies by Susan Barrett


Publisher:  Create Space (August 30, 2016)
Category: Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction; Contemporary Fiction; Family Saga
Tour Date: April/May, 2017
ISBN: 978-1536806847
Available in: Print & ebook,  164 Pages

White Lies

The story is told from three perspectives: that of Beth, the natural mother of Tess, Liz, the adoptive mother, and Tess herself.  The reader’s sympathy is engaged with each woman in turn, as the intricacies of the plot demonstrate how nature and nurture interplay in the formation of personality.

Beth is a guest at a wedding. The bride is Tess, her natural daughter, who’d been adopted as a baby. During the moments leading up to the marriage ceremony, Beth remembers the lifetime events that have led to her present state of sick fear. Recent revelations have made her suspect that the bridegroom is the first child she’d given up for adoption, and therefore Tess’s half-brother. Will she speak of this impediment to matrimony, as invited by the priest, or forever hold her peace?

White Lies gives the answer in a way that reveals the complexities of truth-telling in the context of parenthood and adoption.  An entertaining page-turner, the novel also traces the social changes in family life over the last fifty years.

My Thoughts White Lies by Susan Barrett


Have you ever thought of adopting a child or were you an adopted child?  Have you ever wondered what it would be like for the birth mother, the adoptive mother, or the child who was adopted?  With the new television series that came out last year, ‘Long Lost Family’, we get a glimpse into those lives.  However, is a “reality” television show really reality?  What goes on behind the scenes or ends up on the cutting room floor?

Thought fiction, perhaps ‘White Lies’ will give a perspective.  It is written by a mother who has adopted.

‘White Lies’ is told from the perspective of the birth mother, Beth, Liz, the adoptive mother, and Tess, the adoptee.  Beth was invited to her birth daughter’s, Tess’s wedding.  Though she should be happy to have been invited and excited to see her daughter’s wedding, she is fearful.  Could the bridegroom be the first child she gave up for adoption? Should she speak up or let the ceremony go on?

Times have changed, it use to be that there was virtually no way of finding a birth parent or birth child.  It has been getting easier, especially with the invention of DNA testing, etc.  More and more people have developed more of an open mind and don’t scrutinize unwed mothers the way they use to.  Now a days, there are even women who decide to have a child without getting married and they don’t even have to wear a big scarlet letter “A”. LOL! 

No matter what you beliefs, if you have feelings, you can’t help having sympathy for all the parties involved in this book.  I certainly did.  Susan Barrett uses her art to cast a story about the experience of adoption from all sides.  She develops believable and sympathetic characters into an excellent story of love.

This is a beautifully written story of love and loss with even a dash of humor.  I highly recommend ‘White Lies’ to readers who love strong female characters and excellent story telling.

5/5

I received the print version for my honest review.

About Susan Barrett White Lies by Susan Barrett


Born in Plymouth, Devon in 1938, Susan Barrett began writing fiction in the 1960s while living on a Greek island.  Her first novel was published by Michael Joseph in 1969.  Film rights were sold and renewed over several years. She went on to write six more novels which were published with mainstream publishers in hardback and paperback in UK and USA.   A book on Greece’s landscapes, flora and fauna, illustrated in watercolours by her artist husband Peter Barrett, was published by Harrap Columbus in 1986.  They have also produced many children’s books together, published in the US.  In the 1990s she trained in humanistic counselling and gestalt psychotherapy and has practised as a counsellor for the last twenty years.  Her latest two novels and a work of non-fiction are available as ebooks and in paperback editions.

Website http://www.aliveinww2.com
Twitter @SusanBarrett192
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/writersreadersdirect
Google+ https://plus.google.com/107631556274786388597

Buy White Lies by Susan Barrett


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Giveaway White Lies by Susan Barrett


This giveaway is for 2 print copies and 6 ebook copies of ‘White Lies’, for a total of 8 winners. Print is open to Canada, UK, and the U.S. only however, ebook is open worldwide. This giveaway ends on June 1, 2017 at midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Indie Review Behind the Scenes Mar 18 10 am cst Live Interview

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The Book Diva’s Reads Apr 6 Excerpt

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Laura Amazon Reviewer May 29 Review

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What U Talking Bout Willis? May 31 Review

White Lies by Susan Barrett

 White Lies by Susan BarrettWhite Lies by Susan Barrett


Publisher:  Create Space (August 30, 2016)
Category: Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction; Contemporary Fiction; Family Saga
Tour Date: April/May, 2017
ISBN: 978-1536806847
Available in: Print & ebook,  164 Pages

White Lies

The story is told from three perspectives: that of Beth, the natural mother of Tess, Liz, the adoptive mother, and Tess herself.  The reader’s sympathy is engaged with each woman in turn, as the intricacies of the plot demonstrate how nature and nurture interplay in the formation of personality.

Beth is a guest at a wedding. The bride is Tess, her natural daughter, who’d been adopted as a baby. During the moments leading up to the marriage ceremony, Beth remembers the lifetime events that have led to her present state of sick fear. Recent revelations have made her suspect that the bridegroom is the first child she’d given up for adoption, and therefore Tess’s half-brother. Will she speak of this impediment to matrimony, as invited by the priest, or forever hold her peace?

White Lies gives the answer in a way that reveals the complexities of truth-telling in the context of parenthood and adoption.  An entertaining page-turner, the novel also traces the social changes in family life over the last fifty years.

Praise for White Lies by Susan Barrett


“A beautifully written study of motherhood, loss and what makes us who we are. The characters are deftly drawn and the writer clearly knows her subject. The narrative is expertly woven and fast-paced, delivering pain and joy blow by blow. Sharp and incisive, heartbreaking and so relevant to today.”-Vanessa de Haan

“A beautifully written, sensitive, yet amusing, and intriguing, tale around a subject that is rarely covered in literature. A delight to read.”- Amazon Customer

“This is a gripping read. It is not only relevant to those who have been involved in adoption but to all of us. It raises questions about families, about the fragility and power of maternal bonds, about love and disappointment. It charts with particular accuracy the difficulties of the tangled web of secrecy and complication that was characteristic of adoption in the mid-twentieth century. It keeps you guessing to the very end!”-Sally Woods

“I’m looking forward to seeing how the book group I belong to find this.   I was quickly gripped by it, feeling for the central characters, all of them very real. I partly wanted to read slowly to enjoy it, confident there would be a satisfying, un-folding, but partly wanted to race to find out what happened. Will enjoy reading it again.”-Amazon Customer

Interview With Susan Barrett

How much time and effort went into your research for the book?

I’m not one of those writers who spend a great deal of time and effort on research.  I don’t write the sort of books that need to be firmly rooted in a historical period or a particular environment, outside and beyond the author’s immediate knowledge and experience.  My material comes from my own lifetime’s experiences.  That doesn’t mean my writing is autobiographical.  Rather, what I’ve learnt, where I’ve been, who I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had – all raw material goes into the pot, gets cooked and forgotten, only to emerge, maybe years later, transformed to suit the fiction.

 White Lies, in particular, is drawn from the first-hand experience of being an adoptive parent.  My interest has always been in the interplay of nature and nurture in the development of personality. Also, I wanted to show the different perspectives of the triad, those of the natural and adoptive mothers and the adoptee.  Another aspect I wanted to describe was the different attitudes to adoption, and the circumstances which lead to it, over the last fifty years. 

What are you currently working on?

Before Christmas I began a new novel which I call “Greek Gold”.   So far I have written the first three chapters, about 11,000 words of what is likely to be an 80,000 word novel.  The previous novels I have written have all been around this length.  The plot of “Greek Gold” is fairly well outlined in my mind but I know it will develop and change as I write.  I find the fiction I write takes shape much in the way a river takes shape from the rivulets that appear at its source before they all come together in the main body of water.  Unfortunately, the flow of this present novel had to stop in February with a visit to our son in New Zealand, followed by an emergency admission to hospital for me.  Now I’ll be getting back to it, and I’m looking forward to that, in an apprehensive sort of way.  Will the streams have dried up in the interim?

 What is your favourite scene in the book?  Why?

Using my memory as a prompt, I might have chosen a scene when Tess, now adult, remembers gathering greens with a local friend on the Greek island where she lived as a child with her adoptive parents.  I like to recapture snippets from our own past to fictionalise as they need to be for the novel.  However, riffling through the book, I came upon a more substantial scene, conjured entirely from my imagination.  In this, Tess, the adopted daughter of Liz, meets her natural mother Beth in a café in London.  This was a challenge to write.  It’s hard to imagine what it must feel like to be adopted, as Tess was, or to have to give your baby up for adoption, as Beth had to.  

I’d written the first section of the book from the point of view of Beth, so I felt I knew her well.  Tess was more difficult.  The scene lies near the beginning of her section, which is the final one.  Still, she’d begun to gather substance in Liz’s section, and she was ready for the page.  Now, looking back at the novel, I consider the three characters are drawn vividly and credibly enough to convince a reader of their fictional reality. 

 How do you create names for your characters?

 Usually the names come easily when I conjure up the character.  The factors that I take into account are their age, their background, the context of the time, and their parents.  I ask myself – what would the parents of this character have wanted to call their child?  That raises the question: do people become the sort of people who are called by that name?  Another question to consider is: would this character have changed his name?  A girl called Willow by her alternative life style-leaning parents might want to become much more ordinary as a schoolgirl by calling herself Ann.  Vice versa, too. 

 A writer can convey a great deal about a character through their name and their attitude to it.  The name Clyde comes to me now, as in this example of how a name can inspire an image:

 Clyde is obviously an insurance salesman living in Columbus, Ohio.  His hair is thinning but he can train a handful from low down on the right hand side of his scalp to the left.  In the mirror this does the job.  However, by peering at his reflection, he’s made two deep lines pucker between his eyebrows and the worry of that makes him worry even more.  Yesterday, his boss, back at main office, made a remark about age in Clyde’s hearing.

 Writing this answer, I’m reminded that I don’t always find names easy.  In my present novel, “Greek Gold”, I’ve changed the main character’s name several times, and I’m still not entirely happy with it.   He started as Denys, and then became Steve.  Now he’s Alex.  He’ll stay Alex for the next chapter and he may persuade me that he is an Alex.

 Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from “White Lies”

There’s an actress who appears in television dramas over here, Olivia Colman, who would make a good adult Beth.  She wouldn’t be able to play the teenage Beth, though.   A more widely known American actress who could play the part would be Renee Zellweger. 

 If you could meet 3 people living, dead, or fictional, who would they be?

 Barack Obama, for his gift for speaking and writing.  I read his autobiography as soon as he became president.

Jane Austen, for her quiet modesty, wit, gentle satire, character descriptions, understanding of human nature and her writing style.  Visiting her home in Chawton, you can feel her presence.  I would love to have been a friend of hers, living round the corner.

My last person is Tess of “White Lies”.  In my imagination, she is not a bit like my own daughter (by adoption).  I had to forget Sophie when I thought up Tess.   If I met her, I’d be able to ask her if I got her right.   A strange idea, to ask a fictional character how real I’d made them!

Susan Barrett, March 15th 2017


About Susan Barrett White Lies by Susan Barrett


Born in Plymouth, Devon in 1938, Susan Barrett began writing fiction in the 1960s while living on a Greek island.  Her first novel was published by Michael Joseph in 1969.  Film rights were sold and renewed over several years. She went on to write six more novels which were published with mainstream publishers in hardback and paperback in UK and USA.   A book on Greece’s landscapes, flora and fauna, illustrated in watercolours by her artist husband Peter Barrett, was published by Harrap Columbus in 1986.  They have also produced many children’s books together, published in the US.  In the 1990s she trained in humanistic counselling and gestalt psychotherapy and has practised as a counsellor for the last twenty years.  Her latest two novels and a work of non-fiction are available as ebooks and in paperback editions.

Website http://www.aliveinww2.com
Twitter @SusanBarrett192
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/writersreadersdirect
Google+ https://plus.google.com/107631556274786388597

Buy White Lies by Susan Barrett


Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
BookDepository

Giveaway White Lies by Susan Barrett


This giveaway is for 2 print copies and 6 ebook copies of ‘White Lies’, for a total of 8 winners. Print is open to Canada, UK, and the U.S. only however, ebook is open worldwide. This giveaway ends on June 1, 2017 at midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Follow White Lies by Susan Barrett Tour


Indie Review Behind the Scenes Mar 18 10 am cst Live Interview

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Apr 3 Interview

Rainy Day Reviews Apr 4 Review & Excerpt

Books,Dreams,Life Apr 5 Review & Excerpt

The Book Diva’s Reads Apr 6 Excerpt

Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings Apr 7 Review

Infinite House of Books Apr 18 Interview

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Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus May 5 Review

A Bookworm’s Journal May 8 Guest Post

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Laura Amazon Reviewer May 29 Review

Debbie Amazon Reviewer May 30 Review

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CT Amazon Reviewer May 30 Review

What U Talking Bout Willis? May 31 Review

White Lies by Susan Barrett

Healing of Howard Brown by Jeb Stewart HarrisonHealing of Howard Brown by Jeb Stewart Harrison


Publisher:  Create Space (August 16, 2016)
Category: Literary Fiction; Contemporary Fiction; Family Saga
Tour Date: January & February, 2017
ISBN: 978-1530900282
Available in: Print & ebook,  336 Pages

“This is your last chance to do something right, son. Don’t screw it up.”

With these words ringing in his 60-year old ears, Howard Brown, Jr., sets out from Kentfield, California to find his wayward and possibly psychotic sister and return her to their dying father’s bedside. The search leads him to the Brown family’s ancestral home near St. Francisville, Louisiana, where his Southern cousins have apparently conspired with his sister to bilk him out his inherited, potentially oil-rich property. At the same time, he discovers that a long dormant birthmark in his sternum is a portal to the land of the dead. His consciousness is suddenly inundated with terrifying visitations from a rogue’s gallery of twisted ancestors, until he fears that he is just as crazy as his sister and everybody else in their labyrinthine family. Wounded to his core, doped up and strung out, Howard discovers that his salvation is beating loud and clear, within his own weary heart, and that all he has to do is listen.

The Healing of Howard Brown is a capacious and energetic narrative of self-discovery, delivered with an authentic voice that is supple, smart, somber, witty, ironic, self-revealing, self-doubting, and wonderfully lyrical. Themes of family, trust and responsibility to others, the national as well as personal past, and the life of the spirit resound throughout, with a cultural resonance involving class and race, the North and the South, the definition of masculine identity, and, centrally, the nature of mature love in a multitude of relationships-husband-wife, brother-sister, father-son- in the face of a debilitating mental illness that runs like a poison vein through the family tree.

 My Thoughts Healing of Howard Brown by Jeb Stewart Harrison

This novel opens with the patriarch of the family on his death bed.  The family is around him but his daughter just ups and leaves, actually disappears.  As the man dying seems to have taken his last breath, he all of a sudden sits up and tells his son, Howard to go find his sister, Sisi,  Thus begins Howard’s journey of self discovery and family secrets.  

Howard starts out from California and goes to his cousin’s in Louisiana where he had heard Sisi had been. While there, Howard makes many discoveries including that his cousins were conspiring with Sisi to scam Howard out of his inheritance. There are many complex issues at play in this family drama, treated expertly by Jeb Stewart Harrison!

The Healing of Howard Brown is very unique in literary quality and humor.  I loved the writing, vivid descriptions, the quirky characters, and the laugh out loud moments!  I also enjoyed the pop culture tidbids, like the mention of ‘Lost In Space’. This is a moving meditation on life, self-discovery, and family.  I recommend it highly! I can’t wait to read more by Jeb Stewart Harrison!

5/5

I received the ebook version for my honest review.

About Jeb Stewart HarrisonHealing of Howard Brown by Jeb Stewart Harrison


Jeb Stewart Harrison is a freelance writer, songwriter, musician and painter in Stinson Beach, California. After many years as an ad agency copywriter, writer/producer, creative director, and director of marketing communications, Jeb now writes fiction and creative non-fiction, along with commercial works for hire.

Jeb’s debut novel, Hack, was published by Harper Davis Publishers in August 2012. In 2015 he received his MFA from Pacific Lutheran University at the tender age of 60, and followed up with the publication of “The Healing of Howard Brown” in August, 2016. He also records and plays electric bass guitar with the popular instrumental combo The Treble Makers, as well as Bay Area favorites Call Me Bwana.

Jeb was born and raised in Kentfield, California, and has lived in Boulder, CO; Missoula, MT; Hollywood, CA; Scottsdale, AZ; Indianapolis, IN and Ridgefield, CT.

Website: http://www.jebsharrison.com/
Blog: http://adventuresinlimboland.blogspot.ca/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/babybingusbooks/
Twitter: @JebdeLimboman
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JebHarrisonVI
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jebhop/

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Giveaway of Healing Of Howard Brown by Jeb Stewart Harrison


There is still time to enter my giveaway to win a copy of this fantastic book for yourself!  This giveaway is for the choice of one print or ebook copy.  Sorry, print is open to the U.S. only however, ebook is open worldwide.  This giveaway ends on February 28. 2017 at midnight, Pacific time.  Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Healing of Howard Brown by Jeb Stewart Harrison