by Suzanne McKenna Link
Genre: Contemporary Romance/New Adult
Word count: 113,000
Loving someone through their hard fall from grace takes a lot of grit.
In school, Toby Faye was a moody kid who sat in the back of class and looked like he wanted to be anywhere but there. Claudia Chiametti, the perfect student, always sat in the front row. She might have forgotten him if it weren’t for the fact that his family had been involved in two tragic events. In the small town of Sayville, Long Island, many knew of the family’s dark history.
Hired on as a caretaker to Mrs. Faye, Claudia is thrown into the lives of the widow and her son — a world where sadness lingers and old wounds run deep. Now twenty-one, Toby is not so quiet. A mass of muscles and unruly hair; he is a real head turner. He is jaunty with the confidence his masculine good looks afford him. While not immune to his sexual advances, Claudia sees beyond the cocky grin. Up close, his blue-grey eyes expose something else.
Despite her father’s stern warnings about the family’s violent history, Claudia is empathetic to their plight and vows to help both mother and son move past the hurt. This endeavor forces her to face situations she never imagines possible. She must be tougher than she’s ever had to be. Does Claudia have the grit to love Toby through his fall?
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Suzanne, how did you come up with the title for your book? Does it have any special meaning?
This is a working title that fit the story. Toby Faye is a troubled guy whose story goes from bad to worse. As Toby begins a dark, downward spiral, I wanted readers to wonder, and worry, how and if he’d be able to pick up the pieces.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Toby – this is his story; his journey, and I enjoyed writing his POV. From his humor to this angst, his cocky arrogance to his emotional fallout, he was such a great character to write.
Does your book have any underlying theme, message, or moral?
Yes! This story is an inner journey to find one’s true self, with the notion that you are truly the only person responsible for your own happiness. In the end, it is Toby who saves himself.
What would/could a reader or reviewer say about this book that shows they “get” you as an author?
I wrote the story to be an emotional read of both highs and lows. When a reader exclaims that the story put them on an emotional rollercoaster, and that they cried and laughed while reading the story, I feel they got me.
Give us an excerpted quote from your favorite review of this book:
This book had such tangible characters. I felt like I was living out their experiences, their joy, confusion and turmoil. That I can connect so much to all these characters, speaks very highly of the writer/author of this book. That is pure talent!!!
Where can people learn more about your writing?