Kelley McNeil joins us this week to chat about her novel, A Day Like This

Author Name: Kelley McNeil

Book Title: A Day Like This

Book Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release Date: November 1, 2021

Publisher: Lake Union

Welcome, Kelley! How would you describe, A Day Like This?

This is a story of intuition and ennui, of roads not travelled, and the all-encompassing love of a child. It’s about the way we question and second-guess ourselves and the voice that lives inside us, begging to be heard.

What sparked the idea for this book?

The answer comes in several parts. It was only when I wove them together that Annie’s story was born. It first began with an idea I had while driving with my young daughter on a rural, winding road one rainy day: “What if we were in an accident and she disappeared?” As a mother, the thought made me shiver. I often thought it would make an interesting storyline to explore and had so many possibilities.

And then there was the idea of a woman losing a beloved house, and the way we tend to develop a kind of rosy recollection about past times and places in our lives. The story is often very much like a love letter to her “Yellow House” and the Catskills Mountain region which becomes a sort of living, breathing character in the book.

Somewhere along the way, I came across the Welsh word Hiraeth, which is roughly translated to: A homesickness or longing to return to a home or place that you can’t return to, or never existed. That phrase helped create the overall mood of the book and the feeling of Annie’s ennui that I think many of us have felt, even in a seemingly perfect life.

What drew you to this subject matter?

I wanted to explore a story in which there was a major conflict between what a woman feels or knows intuitively verses the proven facts that are presented to her. The main character of Annie was raised in an environment that caused her to be unable to trust herself as an adult. I liked the idea of placing a person like that in a situation that was completely strange and unexplainable, and watching her use it to find new confidence and footing in herself while healing her past.

I also came across some very strange and compelling real-world accounts of people who claim to have experienced something similar as Annie (albeit somewhat less dramatic.) This led me down a rabbit hole into some fascinating research into the intersections of science, mental illness, and the supernatural which sparked a great deal of my imagination when writing.

If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read, A Day Like This?

As a reader, I like to come away from a book feeling as though I’ve learned something about myself or the world along the way, and it’s my hope that as an author, I’ve accomplished this. A Day Like This is the kind of story that invites the reader to look at their own life and their own beliefs, and to interpret the story through that lens while perhaps gaining a new perspective on the world around us. I like to think that the book weaves the idea of memory, self-identity, and the meaning of happiness together in an immersive way that challenges the reader to dive in and go alongside the main character’s journey of self-discovery.

Thank you, Kelley! A Day Like This is OUT NOW.

What if everything you’ve ever loved, ever known, ever believed to be true…just disappeared?

Annie Beyers has everything—a beautiful house, a loving husband, and an adorable daughter. It’s a day like any other when she takes Hannah to the pediatrician…until she wakes hours later from a car accident. When she asks for her daughter, confused doctors tell Annie that Hannah never existed. In fact, nothing after waking from the crash is the same as Annie remembers. Five happy years of her life apparently never happened.

Annie’s marriage is coming to an end. Now a successful artist living in Manhattan, she’s no longer home in their beloved upstate farmhouse. Her long-estranged sister is more like a best friend, and her recently deceased dog is alive and well. With each passing day, Annie’s remembered past and unfamiliar present begin to blur. Haunted by visions of Hannah, and with knowledge of things she can’t explain, Annie wonders…is everyone lying to her?

The search for answers leads Annie down an illuminating path far from home, to reconcile the memories with reality and to discover the truth about the life she’s living.