I haven’t been reading as much as I like to lately. Life has gotten busy, which usually happens this time of the year. I have to remember to slow down and enjoy the holidays. One of my favorite ways to do that, besides spending time with my family, is to curl up on the couch by the Christmas tree with a fire going in the fireplace….reading a good book.
Before the mad rush to Thanksgiving started, I did get my hands on a great, newly released book and devoured it quickly. How I Came To Sparkle Again, by author Kaya McLaren who wrote Church Of The Dog and On The Divinity of Second Chances was released on October 2, 2012, and is getting great reviews from folks like best-selling authors Kristin Hannah, Susan Wiggs and Nancy Thayer. I can see why.
For me, good books are just like a yummy feast…they are food for my soul. This one has a lot to offer readers in terms of reframing a negative situation and starting over. There are a lot of hope-filled messages to pick up on in between the lines of an entertaining story.
Here’s the skinny:
Jill Anthony spent her young adulthood in the ski town of Sparkle, Colorado. But more than a decade has passed since she left when, only weeks after a very late miscarriage, she finds her husband in bed with another woman, she flees Austin, Texas for the town she knows: Sparkle.
Lisa Carlucci wakes up one morning after another night of meaningless sex, looks in the mirror and realizes that she no longer wants to treat her body like a Holiday Inn. She’s going to hold out for love. The only problem is, love might come in the form of her ski bum best friend, who lives next door with his ski bum friends in a trailer known as “the Kennel.”
Cassie Jones, at age ten, has lost her mother to cancer and no longer believes in anything anymore. She knows her father is desperately worried about her, and she constantly looks for messages from her deceased mother through the heart-shaped rocks they once collected in the streams and hills of Sparkle.
So yeah, each of Sparkle’s main characters are going through quite a bit. Which may make you believe that the book is heavy. But it’s not. The relationships that develop between all three make for a pretty uplifting story and while it doesn’t have the suspense of a page-turning “who dunnit”, I found myself turning them quickly until I came to the end.
If you are a skier or fan of Colorado (like me!), you are going to love the setting of this book. I wanted to jump in the story on several occasions and soak in the beautiful, winter atmosphere.
I had the fabulous opportunity to ask author Kaya McLaren some questions about the book. If after you read through her answers you want to dive into the book yourself, you’ll be happy to hear this – I have two books to give away to Still Living The Dream readers just in time for the holidays!
1. Where did you find the inspiration for the main character, Jill?
I was living and teaching on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation, and by the spring of my first year, I’d pull into the driveway of the school each morning and cry because I didn’t know if I could make it through one more day with the really tough class I had that year. And then I rediscovered skiing. The next year, I got a season pass to Wolf Creek. There, a group of young guys took me under their wing and helped me be a better skier. They were such unlikely angels, but man, they pulled me out of a deep funk and brought me back to life. They absolutely were my angels. So I really wanted to write something that was a tribute to them– something that showed what good friends on snow could do for a girl’s spirit. Woven into that, I had a friend who was an OB/GYN nurse who had a miscarriage, and another friend whose parents were missionaries in Africa and would send out mass emails implying that she wasn’t going to be with them in heaven.
2. Why did you choose a skiing community in Colorado as a setting in the book?
3. You seem to be deeply moved by the environment. Why are Jill’s surroundings (the snow, change of seasons, small town) so crucial to her healing?
4. Tell me about the unique dynamic between Jill and Lisa and the Kennel boys. Is there any hope for guys like Eric and Hans to find love and a lasting relationship?
5. I found the descriptions and character views of “kidney love” versus “luv” so interesting. How did you come up with this perspective on male/female relationships? Have you experienced “kidney love”?!
6. Jill experienced a lot of loss and troubled relationships. Why was her struggle with her parents and the Mormon religion an important part of her story?
7. I loved renaissance man and supporting character, Uncle Howard. Did you have an Uncle Howard in your life that this character was based on?
8. Things wrapped up pretty neatly for most of the Sparkle characters. Did you consider taking a different approach to the book’s ending? Do you believe in happy endings?
9. All your books contain a common theme….second chances. Did you get a second chance that changed your life?
Oh, no, that’s not it. I just think life is a series of mistakes and second chances.
How I Came To Sparkle Again is available to purchase at Barnes and Noble, but how about the chance to win a copy of your own?! All you have to do is leave a comment below about what you love about the holidays. Two winners will each receive a copy of the book to enjoy over the holiday season (Christmas tree, couch, cozy slippers and fire in the fireplace must be all provided by you!!) Two winners will be selected at random on 12/2/12 at 11:59 p.m. CST.
Life’s about second chances, right? How about five more chances to win?! You know the drill, leave a separate comment for each that you do below.
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- Tweet this: “I want to win a copy of the book How I Came To Sparkle Again @jpatrickcomm http://www.stilllivingthedream.com/2012/11/how-i-came-to-sparkle-again-book-review-author-interview-and-giveaway.html”