Bond of Love by Amy Suzanne #interview #giveaway

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As a picturesque mother and wife, forty-one year old Avery Richards seems to have it all. Married to a successful veterinarian named Noah and mother to a spunky daughter named Kara, her life is far from awful but she is stuck. With the recent move of their daughter, who has just flown the coop for college, this story examines the deep and often-tumultuous bond between mother and child and the lengths we are willing to go to, as mothers, to sacrifice our own happiness for the ones we love.

As we watch Avery walk through her ‘new’ way of daily life, without her ambitious and stubborn child around to mother any longer, we are given a very unique opportunity to tip toe in the front row of their lives, from three very separate views. We will see life as it plays out through her mature and motherly eyes, through Kara’s young and sheltered heart, and then through ‘someone else’s eyes’ that has a vested interest in them both.

As Avery’s well-hidden web of lies come crashing down in an unexpected way, her secrets that she’s safeguarded for years will threaten to rip her peaceful world apart, as well as the world of the ones she loves most. As readers, we will watch how ONE single choice can alter everything. Each character will then be forced to examine what the true meaning of love and forgiveness means to them.

Every gamut of emotion will be explored: humor, sadness, love, joy, betrayal, hate, and forgiveness. Bond of Love will leave you pondering the age-old question: How well do YOU actually know the ones you love most?

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Interview

1. Who do you think would most enjoy reading your book and why?

I think that ANYONE who is a parent, male or female, will be able to relate to both the struggles of parenthood and life in general, in my book. Therefore it’s not just a “chick-book,” like some people categorize them. My story is based on a secret and it does go far beyond the relationship between a mother and a daughter. Anyone who has ever tried to conceal a secret knows what it feels like to harbor that kind of burden. It’s painful and it tends to eat away at both your mind and flesh. I would say that it is most appropriate for high school aged teens and up. As a parent of four girls, three of my own and one stepdaughter, I like to know what is safe for my children to read and what is not. With that said, there is a life lesson that can be learned from my book, therefore I do think that young readers, as well as mature ones would both benefit from reading it.

2. How did you come up with the names and the characters? Are any based on real people?

Picking names for characters is tricky because you never want the readers to assume that you are emulating or talking about them, if you are not, when they see THEIR name in print. Each character’s name was chosen specifically and carefully for this very reason. I put a lot of time into choosing each and every name. The name Avery was chosen for the mother’s name because I have always loved the name. I feel that it is both beautiful and strong. I wanted to name all of our daughters it, but in the end, my husband and I always went with something different, so this was my chance to finally use the name. To allow the name to be born into someone I could be proud to know. Kara’s name was chosen as the daughter’s name because I wanted her to have a name that reminded me of happiness and innocence. My very best friend in Kindergarten was named Kara. She always made me smile and happy. The Crosby’s, who live across the street in my book, were the actual real names of our neighbor’s when I was a little girl, although they lived down the street. Although neither Mr. or Mrs. Crosby (in real life) were anything like my characters (in real life BOTH of them were exceptionally wonderful), I have always remembered their kind nature and wanted Avery’s neighbor’s to be named the Crosby’s. It just seemed right. As far as all of the men in my book, all of their names were chosen because I just liked the sound of them and they seemed to fit their personalities in my mind. They were not based on any particular person in my past or present life though. The same goes for Sue too, the owner of the animal shelter. She is a simple but charismatic person and I felt she needed an ordinary name. Her personality definitely makes her shine, not her name.

3. Are you planning any more books?

A month ago, when I was on a long flight from CA to New York City with my husband, a new story came to me out of the blue. For three hours I hunched over that mini-sized tray table, and wrote an entire outline for a new book! So yes, I have an outline, but I have only written very little on it because I am still too immersed in getting Bond of Love out there. Soon though my fingers will find my keys on my laptop again. I can’t wait!

4.  How did you research?

Most all of my research was done on the Internet.

5.  Best thing about being an author?

The best thing about being an author is the feeling of love that I have felt from all of my many family members, friends, acquaintances from long ago and now, and even from total strangers. So many people have made an effort to tell me how excited they are for me, how they can’t wait to read my book, and how proud they are of me. I feel like a little girl every day, receiving piles of golden star stickers! I am humbled and eternally grateful for the outpour of excitement and support that I have been shown. I am not a showy person, sometimes I can be a bit self-conscious and private, and therefore this praise is overwhelming to me sometimes. I guess I didn’t expect so much support, from all walks in my life. My heart feels a bit like it is about to overflow, even just at this stage in the game. Regardless of how successful I become as a writer, I feel proud that I gave it my all! Putting your writing out there, for the world to see, is never anything less than terrifying! At least I can say to my girls that I was brave enough to TRY! I never want them to be afraid to reach for their dreams, however big or small. I feel so blessed that I have been lucky enough to have a football field full of supporters, cheering behind me all the way. It’s an exciting ride, that’s for sure! I am honored to be able to call myself an author. It makes me feel like I have accomplished something worthwhile and challenging. Something just for me!

6.  Favorite movie. When did you see it and who with?

My favorite movie is Sixteen Candles and I saw it with my cousin when I was a young teenager. I also love Sweet Home Alabama. I could watch both of them 100 times!

7. A character from your book you would like to vacation with…where would you go?

I would like to vacation with Sue, the animal shelter’s owner. She’s funny, carefree, and free-spirited. She says exactly what she thinks, regardless. I like her attitude towards life and her willingness to help all living things. I also love her dedication to the people she loves.

8.  Favorite book as a child? The Fourteen Bears: Summer and Winter written by Evelyn Scott and pictures by Virginia Parsons. It is so worn and old now, from both my many years of love and my girls all loving and reading it too. It is full of vibrant pictures and it tells the tale of a very large family, who does everything together. To this day, I still love to read it to our girls and they love to hear it even though they are probably much too old for it now. My favorite book as a budding teen however was Forever by Judy Blume. My eyes were glued to it and my mind entranced. I had never read anything like it at the time and it sucked me in.

9.  A word you think should be banished.

Well, it would go against me nature to actually SAY the word, so I will whisper it to you. I DO NOT like the word pussy. I think it is rude. No, no, no…I do not like it at all!

10. Hardest chapter or scene to write? Favorite scene?

The hardest chapter for me to write was also my favorite. It is chapter six. The scene between Kara and her daughter very much mirrors talks I’ve had with my girls about their body changing and sex. It makes my heart palpitate even now just thinking about it. When I was young, I wanted ALL the answers, but all I got was books. My dad use to try to tell me about the birds and the bees, but I always sang the Star-Spangled Banner when he tried. I know, strange…but it was “our thing.” It’s just what we did. I don’t think he ever told me a single fact, nor my mom, except they both vehemently told me NOT to do anything naughty and to behave myself. However, with our girls, I have pushed myself WAY out of my comfort zone and answered all of their burning questions. I’ve bought the body books and have sat beside them answering awkward questions that I would’ve rather ignored. That first realization on their faces, when they realized that their dad and I had actually had sex, was not a look I’ll ever forget. Our youngest one has still yet to get “the talk,” so I have one left to go. I’m dreading it! I was not sure if I should include the chapter in the book because it is VERY hard for me to talk about sex and the chapter was very personal. Many times I took it out, but in the end I decided that it needed to be included, no matter how uncomfortable it made me feel. It’s how “little-changing girls” think and the questions that Kara asks her mom, are ones that every little girl with an inquisitive mind wants to know. Telling my girls the facts has NEVER been fun, however, I have always been honest with their questions; no matter how clinical or embarrassing they were. That’s why it is both my favorite and hardest chapter in the book. It freaks me out knowing it’s out there, floating around for all my family, friends, and strangers to read, but it’s the truth. So I left it in. Begrudgingly.

11. Name an author you would like to be your mentor.

I would like Kristin Hannah to be my mentor. I love the way she tells her stories and makes her characters come alive.

Meet the Author:

This is Amy’s second published work, the first being a memoir written exclusively for her children. As a former second grade teacher, and long time professional photographer, she has been writing and filling journals since she was young enough to hold a pencil and form words. Although writing brings her to a place of solace and joy, her most ambitious and fulfilling job in life thus far has been being a mother. Married for nearly two decades now, she and her husband share four daughters, who fill their lives with amusement, love, and drama daily. It is her lifelong goal to preserve her family’s history through the written word, pictures, and the human touch of love.

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