Tammy Harrow joins The Spotlight to discuss her debut, All the Salt in the Sea

Author Name: Tammy Harrow

Book Title: All the Salt in the Sea

Book Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release Date: January 11, 2022

Publisher: Red Adept

Welcome, Tammy! Please tell us a little bit about All the Salt in the Sea.

All the Salt in the Sea is a story about a broken St Augustine woman who discovers a secret that sets her on a path to freedom. While traveling Europe, she meets and falls for a family friend and makes plans for a new life with him. One problem—her estranged husband refuses to let her go.

How long did it take for you to write the book? Did you do any research?

All the Salt in the Sea is my debut novel. It took me about ten years, on and off, to write. I would complete a draft, put it away for a few months, then pull it out again. 

I did research several topics in the book. Military and mental health treatments were probably the most extensive subjects.

What’s your favorite part about writing/being an author? What do you find challenging?

I have two favorite things about being an author. One is daydreaming about new book ideas and the colorful characters I want in the stories. The other is the camaraderie I’ve found in the writing community. I’ve made so many connections and met many wonderful people I’m happy to call my friends.  

If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read All the Salt in the Sea?

All the Salt in the Sea, at its core, is about finding freedom after facing impossible decisions. Half of the story is set in the tourist town of St. Augustine, Florida (where I live), and the other half is set in five different European countries, beginning in Southern Italy. As an avid traveler, I do my best to bring those countries to life on the pages. The story is a great escape both for those who travel internationally and for those would love to, but can’t. It’s also a story for anyone rooting for women struggling to gain their independence.  

What about the writing/editing/publishing process has been the most surprising to you so far?

The length of time it takes from completing a first draft to having a print book in your hands completely took me by surprise. 

Any words of wisdom you give your pre-published writer self or to a new writer?

Be patient and don’t give up.

What are your interests outside of writing and reading?

I’ve been an avid solo traveler for about twelve years. I absolutely love immersing myself in a foreign country alone. There’s no better way to soak up the culture and really take in the surroundings. But I do also love traveling with my family. We usually take a summer trip to the mountains to hike and camp. We just finished converting a Promaster van into a home on wheels and I can’t wait to hit the road.

Other than travel, I enjoy throwing pottery and doing any type of art project. I’ve been a photographer for about thirteen years now so I love taking photos, especially when it’s not required (as in a paid job). Candids of people and landscapes are my favorite.

In my former life, I was a pastry chef. I still enjoy baking but I have a fierce sweet tooth and can’t resist cookies. These days, I’m trying to eat healthy, so I’ve been working hard to convert recipes into healthier plant based versions. I love converting savory dishes as well. 

Are you working on a new project? Please tell us about it.

I recently completed a travel memoir about my twelve year journey as a solo traveler. I’m about to start a second draft on my next fiction novel, currently titled Half Life. It’s about two female best friends in law enforcement chasing down a vigilante serial killer who targets drug dealers.

Where can readers find you? 

https://tammyharrow.com

https://www.instagram.com/tammyharrow/

https://www.facebook.com/TammyLHarrowAuthor

https://twitter.com/TammyLHarrow

https://www.tiktok.com/@tammyharrow

Thank you, Tammy! All the Salt in the Sea is out now and available everywhere.

In her first year of medical school, Abby West’s goals for the future were derailed by an unexpected pregnancy. Reluctantly, she discarded her dream of becoming a physician in favor of being a wife to one. Nineteen years later, Abby discovers her powerful, well-connected husband has been keeping a secret— an eight-year-old son from an old affair.

Devastated by the betrayal, she flees to her grandmother’s hometown on the Amalfi coast. There, Abby meets Daniel Quinn, a former American soldier turned travel photographer. As she travels across Europe with him, she begins to imagine a new life, one without a controlling and unfaithful husband.              

Empowered by a newfound sense of freedom and courage, Abby returns to St. Augustine to settle things with her husband. But nothing goes as planned, and what awaits may very well destroy her.

BIO:

Tammy Harrow is an international solo traveler, writer, and photographer. She’s spent much of her life in the publishing industry, the first half in newspapers and more recently working for various Florida magazines. Every couple of months, she escapes to a new city or country in search of adventure. Along the way, she often finds interesting stories to share with the world. 


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.


Susan Frances Morris joins The Spotlight this week to talk about her memoir, The Sensitive One

Author Name: Susan Frances Morris

Book Title: The Sensitive One

Book Genre: Memoir

Release Date: Available Now

Publisher: She Writes Press

Welcome, Susan! Please tell us a bit about your memoir.

My memoir—The Sensitive One is a story of redemption—of a woman who manages to escape harrowing circumstances and start anew—but it’s also a story of how our legacy lives within us, and how healing from the adverse effects of childhood can truly take a lifetime.

What was your research process like for The Sensitive One?

Most of the research I did was related to ACEs (adverse childhood experiences). I had never heard that term before, and I wanted to learn more. 

I read many articles and multiple books on dysfunctional families, mental illness, domestic violence, childhood trauma, and what it means to be a sensitive person.

Any new writing projects in the works?

I am enrolled in the creative writing program at UCLA, and right now, I am taking my first class in Poetry and am loving it. I am writing articles for the Covey Club and Complex PTSD foundation. I think that’s where my strength is – sharing personal stories that offer hope and encouragement to others. I’m also working on another memoir, not titled yet.

Where can readers find you?

I have an author website, susanfrancesmorris.com, that contains information and events coming up. I blog about events that interest me and offer inspiration for others. Social media sites are on there. You can also order the book from there.

Thank you, Susan! The Sensitive One is OUT NOW. 

At age fifty, Susan Morris is diagnosed with breast cancer—and she’s floored. Desperate to pinpoint the cause, one night she decides to type a question into her search engine: “What are the risk factors of getting breast cancer?” She’s surprised to discover research showing that long-term exposure to stress and traumatic childhood experiences can both increase the risk of breast cancer.

The Sensitive One is a braided memoir that alternates between Morris’s childhood—as a sensitive child and then teenager who shouldered the burden of caring for her younger siblings as her dad’s alcoholism tore at the threads of their home life—and an adult who for a decade-plus has been living a trauma-free life with a caring husband and rewarding career in nursing . . . only to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

This is a story of redemption—of a woman who manages to escape harrowing circumstances and start anew—but it’s also a story of how our legacy lives within us, and how healing from the adverse effects of childhood can truly take a lifetime.

BIO:   

Susan Frances Morris was raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, the second oldest of seven siblings with two sets of twins. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing and was a practicing nurse from 1989 to 2011, primarily in Women’s Health.  The highlight of her career has been the time she spent at Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven Connecticut working in nursing management alongside international experts in the field of women’s health.​

She met her current husband, Bruce, in 1989. Her passions are walking and bike riding in nature, yoga, traveling, photography, and jewelry design. She has three grown children, four grandchildren. She lives with her husband and two dogs in Clifton Park, New York.

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