Review: The Good Sister

Why I picked it: Manic Mommies Book Club selection.  The MMBC is now available on iTunes or you can listen online by clicking the link above. 

Synopsis: Roxanne Callahan has always been her younger sister's caretaker. Now married, her happiness is threatened when beautiful and emotionally unstable Simone, suffering from crippling postpartum depression, commits an unforgivable crime for which Roxanne comes to believe she is partially responsible.

Type: Fiction

Quick Take: Highly Recommend - Let me start with the end, when I finished this book I thought... wow, this is a powerful book. Everyone who was lucky enough to get a copy of the book and happened to be at the Escape was talking about it.  I can't wait for the author's next novel which will be released in 2012.

Source: Review Copy

Author Q&A:

Tell us a little about yourself: I was born in Melbourne, Australia and came to this country when I was a baby. My mom is one of five sisters and I'm the eldest of more than ten cousins and despite rarely seeing each other, I'm still tight with many of them. What amazes me is how much alike we all are. My Dad was an American and took us to live in a beautiful small town (big now) in Northern California. I was blessed with a wonderful childhood. I've always been a reader, a daydreamer, but most of all a storyteller, going back to sixth grade when I wrote a novel called "A Designing Young Teacher." My husband, Art, is a law professor and poet and we've been married a long time and still really like each other. We have two sons and three grandchildren, two large dogs and four horses.

What was it like getting your first novel published? This requires a longer answer than I think you want but I'll try to hit the high points. I've actually had two separate and very different writing careers. During the first one I wrote ten historical novels in four years and in order to do that I became addicted to a number of illegal substances. I went into treatment for addictions and came out of that a different woman. My style and subject matter changed radically and it took me almost twenty years to sell another book. During that time I continued to write but my style and subject matter had changed so much that one editor complained to my (then) agent: "Why doesn't she write like she used to?" For years I studied the craft, read constantly across all genres including the dictionary, kept a deeply boring and introspective journal, and wrote novels that no one wanted. When "Wildwood" sold to Kensington in 2001, I was overcome with relief and gratitude.

If you could interview anyone, who would if be and why? What would you like to ask them? Marilyn Monroe. I've always been drawn to real and fictional characters like Norma Ray whose lives go off the rails. In the real world these individuals come in for a lot of criticism and derision and judgmental moralizing, but I'm convinced that if we could see to their cores we'd be in sympathy with them. And what would I ask her? All the questions anyone would, plus those no one but me would think of.

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