Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Colleen Oakley Author Interview


Photo Content from Colleen Oakley

Colleen Oakley is the critically acclaimed author of Before I Go, Close Enough to Touch and the forthcoming You Were There Too. Colleen’s novels have been longlisted for the Southern Book Prize twice and shortlisted for the French Reader’s Prize. Her books have been translated into 18 languages, optioned for film and have received numerous accolades including:

  • *Indie Next List Pick Jan 2015 and March 2017
  • *People magazine Best New Book
  • *Us Weekly “Must” Pick
  • *Romantic Times Top Pick
  • *Library Journal Big Fiction Debut
  • *Publisher’s Lunch Buzz Books
  • *In Touch Weekly: Grade A
  • *Pop Sugar’s Books We Can’t Wait to Read
  • *Real Simple’s Best Books List
  • *Bookbub’s 12 New Books to Read If You Love Jodi Picoult
A former magazine editor for Marie Claire and Women’s Health & Fitness, Colleen’s articles and essays have been featured in The New York Times, Ladies’ Home Journal, Women’s Health, Redbook, Parade, Woman’s Day, Fitness, Health, Marie Claire and Martha Stewart Weddings. A proud graduate of the University of Georgia’s school of journalism, Colleen currently lives in Atlanta with her husband, four kids and the world’s biggest lapdog, Bailey.

        
  


What inspired you to pen this novel? 
Along with being a novelist, I’m a freelancer for a lot of magazines. A few years ago, I was writing an article for WebMD on sleep and during my research I fell down a rabbit hole on the Internet, and started looking into all of this information on dreams. I came across this fascinating study—where a group of dream scientists agreed there was enough anecdotal evidence to say that mutual dreaming (sometimes called dream telepathy), where two people dream about each other, often having the same dream on the same night. Typically it’s people who know each other really well, like best friends or siblings or husband and wife. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and, then of course, because I write fiction, I had to take it up a notch—what if two strangers were dreaming about each other before they met? What would it mean? And I knew I had to write that story.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way? 
This is kind of like asking “why are you the person you are” in that so many people and books and authors have influenced my writing over my lifetime. It’s so hard to pinpoint just a few, but I admire Jojo Moyes for the way she makes good stories read effortlessly and Liane Moriarty for her ability to end each chapter in a way that makes you HAVE to turn the page.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
When readers email me to tell me they connected with one of my books in some deep, profound or emotional way. Nothing beats that feeling.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel? 
That it’s THE BEST BOOK THEY’VE EVER READ. J

Please tell us about YOU WERE THERE TOO!
Mia Graydon's life looks picket-fence perfect; she has the house, her loving husband, and dreams of starting a family. But she has other dreams too — unexplained, recurring ones starring the same man. Still, she doesn’t think much of them, until a relocation to small-town Pennsylvania brings her face to face with the stranger she has been dreaming about for years. And this man harbors a jaw-dropping secret of his own—he's been dreaming of her too.

Determined to understand, Mia and this not-so-stranger search for answers. But when diving into their pasts begins to unravel her life in the present, Mia emerges with a single question—what if?

For those who are unfamiliar with Mia, how would you introduce her? 
Mia is a struggling artist, who isn’t sure if she will ever be successful in her chosen profession or really even what that success might look like. She’s also a woman who desperately wants to be a mother, and has had trouble bringing that dream to fruition. And finally, she’s a wife to the devoted and lovely Harrison, a best friend to Raya and a sister to Vivian.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Ooh! This is a GREAT question. I might introduce the two best friends of my protagonists: Raya from YOU WERE THERE TOO and Kayleigh from BEFORE I GO. They both have a wicked sense of humor and I think they’d have fun together—and I’d love to join them!

Tell us about any other books you have written.
BEFORE I GO is the story of a 27-year-old Daisy who is dying from cancer, and decides to find her husband Jack a new wife to take care of him after she’s gone.

CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH is about Jubilee Jenkins, a woman who has a rare and deadly medical condition—she’s allergic to other humans. And of course, she falls in love, which makes things complicated.

What is one piece of advice you would give to your readers?
Write reviews and preorder books from the authors you love—from you local independent bookstore, if possible! Or request it from your library. It helps authors, especially new and upcoming, more than you can imagine. And we are so ridiculously grateful for your support.

TEN FAVORITE BOOKS READ THIS YEAR.
  • The Mothers, Brit Bennett
  • The Great Believers, Rebeccca Makkai
  • Heavy, Kiese Laymon
  • The Giver of Stars, Jojo Moyes
  • Red, White & Royal Blue, Casey McQuiston
  • This is How it Always Is, Laurie Frankel
  • Unmarriageable, Soniah Kamal
  • Educated, Tara Westover
  • City of Girls, Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Mrs. Everything, Jennifer Weiner


Acclaimed author Colleen Oakley delivers a heart-wrenching and unforgettable love story about a woman who must choose between the man she loves and the man fate has chosen for her in a novel that reminds us that the best life is one led by the heart.

Mia Graydon's life looks picket-fence perfect; she has the house, her loving husband, and dreams of starting a family. But she has other dreams too — unexplained, recurring ones starring the same man. Still, she doesn’t think much of them, until a relocation to small-town Pennsylvania brings her face to face with the stranger she has been dreaming about for years. And this man harbors a jaw-dropping secret of his own—he's been dreaming of her too.

Determined to understand, Mia and this not-so-stranger search for answers. But when diving into their pasts begins to unravel her life in the present, Mia emerges with a single question—what if?

Praise for YOU WERE THERE TOO

“You Were There Too is a surprising and incredibly satisfying story of chance and fate. From the book's enticing first pages to its startling and electrifying conclusion, Colleen Oakley knocks it out of the park.” —New York Times bestselling author Taylor Jenkins Reid

“A beautifully woven story of love, grief, and the power we do and don’t have to choose our fate, You Were There Too brought me to tears. I read it in one long gulp and didn’t want it to end.” —New York Times bestselling author Jill Santopolo

"Hypnotically beautiful, You Were There Too delves into the chasm between the life we have and the life we imagine for ourselves. Unique, lyrical and thoughtful." —New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins

"A rare gem of a novel. Colleen Oakley checks all the boxes with this one: exquisite, careful writing, beautifully drawn three-dimensional characters, and a twisty plot that defies premonition. This is a book about connections, and discovering that why we are connected to each other is a lot less important than the fact that we are. I couldn't wait to find out what happened next, while at the same time hated for this lovely book to end. This is the kind of book we all long for, one to read and savor, and then read again." —Karen White, New York Times bestselling author of Dreams of Falling

"I have been a fan of Oakley since her debut novel, but with this book, she has risen to a new level. You Were There Too took me through the gamut of emotions--confusion, anticipation, grief, hope. Oakley's writing is taut, fresh and doesn't waste a single word. I devoured this novel in three sittings but I will be thinking about it for much, much longer. A slam dunk bestseller for sure." —Sally Hepworth, bestselling author of The Family Next Door and The Mother-in-Law

"A heartbreaking and thought-provoking exploration of fate, love, and choice sure to bring on a few tears." —Kirkus

"There is a splendid blend of humor throughout Oakley’s alternately romantic, idiosyncratic, and foreboding love-conquers-all tale that easily engages new readers and will please the author’s fans." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Fans of relationship fiction that explores women’s inner lives and choices by Jennifer Weiner or Amy Hatvany will be unable to put this book down.” —Booklist (starred review)

You can purchase You Were There Too at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you COLLEEN OAKLEY for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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