Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Berkley (August 2017)
Series: Hartley-by-the-Sea – Book #3
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Welcome to England’s beautiful Lake District, where a reluctant reunion forges a new bond between a daughter and her wayward mother….
Abby Rhodes is just starting to get her life on track. After her fiancé’s unexpected death, she returned with her young son to the small village where she grew up and threw herself into helping her ailing grandmother run the town’s beach café. Then one evening, her mother, Laura, shows up in Hartley-by-the-Sea and announces her plan to stay. After twenty years away, she now wants to focus on the future—and has no intention, it seems, of revisiting the painful past.
Laura Rhodes has made a lot of mistakes, and many of them concern her daughter. But as Abby gets little glimpses into her mother’s life, she begins to realize there are depths to Laura she never knew. Slowly, Abby and Laura start making tentative steps toward each other, only to have life become even more complicated when an unexpected tragedy arises. Together, the two women will discover truths both sad and surprising that draw them closer to a new understanding of what it means to truly forgive someone you love.
See my 5-star review for A Mother Like Mine here.
I’d like to extend a warm welcome to one of my favorite authors, USA Today Bestselling Author, Kate Hewitt. Kate wrote A Mother Like Mine, released August, 2017, and it was an EXCELLENT read. It’s part-3 of her Hartley-by-the-Sea series, but it can be read as a standalone. Kate has so kindly granted me the privilege of an interview. So without further ado, let’s find out all about Kate Hewitt and A Mother Like Mine.
- Each book in the Hartley-by-the-Sea series focuses on relationships–sisters, friends, mother/daughter. What inspired you to write a series based on relationships?
I think relationships are fundamental to our existence as well as our happiness, and every relationship, no matter how loving or close, is complex. Both those things compel me to write about them.
- Although the Hartley-by-the-Sea series can certainly be read as standalone books, I love how you incorporate many of the beloved characters from prior books in the series into each successive book. How do you manage to transition characters so flawlessly from one book to the next?
Thank you for saying it’s flawless! I usually go back and re-read the prior book before writing the next, so it’s all fresh in my mind, and having lived in a village, weaving lives together in a neighborly way feels natural.
- You’re very adept at depicting fictitious events in your books in an utterly realistic way. Do you draw from your own life experiences, and/or that of others, in order to achieve this?
I think every writer draws from their own emotional experience, even if the events are different. I often find my life experiences coming into my novels almost by accident—kind of like therapy for me! The emotional experiences that shape my own life are definitely in my books, in one way or another. For example, in A Mother Like Mine, the experience of Annie and Laura during Mary’s death was taken from my experience of my father’s death.
- One of the things I love about your books is that they have an atmospheric quality that enables the reader to become immediately immersed in the narrative, as well as the setting. Is it challenging to accomplish this, or does it come naturally to you?
I love writing about setting, and I find it is so important in grounding a reader in place and experience. It’s something that is a big part of my writing and always has been, so in that way it comes naturally, although as with any aspect of writing I try to improve. : )
- As an American ex-pat living in the UK for over a decade, what’s one of the most significant adjustments you’ve had to make as far as your writing’s concerned, or otherwise?
I think the biggest adjustment has been in accepting that I sound more and more British, and my books are aimed more and more for a British audience, although admittedly one that occasionally finds my word choice jarring. I still definitely have a foot in both worlds, which is not always comfortable.
- Since British and American culture differ in many respects, do you find it easier to write about British or American characters/settings? Why or why not?
I find it easiest to write about Americans in Britain, or British people in America, because in some ways that is my experience—as I said in the previous answer, a foot in both worlds.
- Although Hartley-by-the-Sea, a lovely coastal village, is not an actual place in the UK, the beautiful Lake District, wherein it is situated, is. Can you tell us why you chose this location for the series?
Hartley-by-the-Sea is a fictional version of the village I lived in, St Bees. Having lived there, it was easy to write about, although I admit I did start confusing fiction with reality at one point and called the local pub The Hangman’s Noose, which is not its name in real life!
- You’ve written over fifty books. Are you ever at a loss as to what to write next, or does subject matter come naturally to you?
I always have a few ideas percolating, but some are more persistent and well-formed than others.
- Your books move fluidly from beginning to end without waning, a challenge which some authors lament about. Which section of a book do you find it most difficult to write: beginning, middle or end?
Definitely the middle! I always get to a certain point, about a hundred pages in, and wonder how on earth I can spin this story out and make it interesting! Usually that means I need to take a walk and have a good, long think about the plot and characters.
- A Mother like Mine concludes with an opportunity to expound upon Laura’s and Abby’s stories. Will we be reading more about them in the future?
At this point, I am not going to write any more Hartley-by-the-Sea stories, sadly! But I do have a series set in another village in the Lake District, called The Holley Sisters of Thornthwaite.
- What’s next for you?
The aforementioned series, and I am also working on a new novel I am really excited about—something more issue-driven and very emotional, similar to my novels This Fragile Life and When He Fell.
Thank you, Kate Hewitt, for the opportunity to interview you today. All the best with the new projects. I look forward to finding out more about them.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Laurie!
Kate Hewitt is the author of over 50 novels of romance and women’s fiction. A former diehard New Yorker and American ex-pat, she now lives in a small market town in Wales with her husband and five children. She loves telling an emotionally compelling story whatever the genre. Learn more about her here.
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