I was excited to be approached by a novelist’s publicists a few months ago about the opportunity to work with her to help promote an author on my blog. The author, Jean Stone, has a new book, The Secrets Sisters Keep, coming out that happens to take place in Westchester, where I live. In her books, Stone writes about the dynamics of friendships between women – the good, the bad and the tastefully unfortunate. It seemed to fit in right in with blog…and my life.
Stone writes about the dynamics of friendships between women – the good, the bad, and the tastefully unfortunate. She also writes under the name Abby Drake. She has a lot of books under her penmanship: Trust Fund Babies, The Summer House, Once Upon a Bride and Three Times a Charm.
Stone lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, on the opposite side of the town where Emily Dickinson lived. On Thursday, October 21st, from 5-8pm, at Field on 2095 Boston Post Road in Larchmont, Stone will be in Larchmont to sign her new book, The Secrets Sisters Keep. Come for a glass of wine and to meet the owner of the eco-chic boutique, Gunda, who happens to be my friend. I’m actually involved in the event, too, so come support to me, as well.
I asked Stone a few questions in anticipation of her new book’s release:
The Culture Mom: Please tell us about your background. When did you start writing fiction?
Stone: I’ve been making up stories all of my life. I always wanted to write novels: 20 years (and 17 books) ago I closed my advertising agency and “got serious!”
The Culture Mom: Please tell us a little bit about The Secrets Sisters Keep, without giving too much away.
Stone: It’s a playful, fun, yet heart-tugging story with three very different sisters – well, four, counting Carleen, if she dares to show up – who reunite for their quirky Uncle Edward’s 75th birthday celebration, mostly to find out which of them will inherit his fortune. Of course, it’s not that easy, not when they realize their lives have been built on secrets, lies, and unreasonable expectations for each other – and themselves.
The Culture Mom: Is there any auto biological element to the book?
Stone: No – unless you consider the secrets that my sister and I kept. They weren’t as exotic or entangled as the secrets in my book, although when we were around eleven and thirteen, we found a copy of Peyton Place in our prim-and-proper mother’s bottom dresser drawer, and that seemed pretty shocking! We promised each other that neither of us would ever tell…
The Culture Mom: Where did you get the idea for the book and how long did it take you to write it?
Stone: I got the idea from voicemail. A friend of mine had stopped answering his phone. I didn’t know if he was hibernating, or if he was off doing something more exotic. I liked the exotic scenario better. His name is Edward, so the opening line of the book popped into my head: Uncle Edward had wandered off. Because I enjoy writing multiple women characters, the rest sort of evolved. It took about a year.
Question: Your book is set in NY. Did you grow up here? Do your other books take place in NY?
Stone: I grew up in western Massachusetts, but my family had close friends in Stamford, CT, so I spent many school vacations in Fairfield County. Visits to New York were frequent and inspiring for this country kid. After college I lived in the city for a while. All of my Abby Drake books to date take place in Westchester County. My Jean Stone books are set on Martha’s Vineyard and in western MA, but have many scenes in NYC.
Question: Who inspires you? What are your favorite writers?
Stone: People inspire me! I never know who, until I hear their stories. I am most moved by people who have overcome obstacles; people who live ordinary lives and figure out what’s really important to them. (One of my earlier books, Good Little Wives, was inspired by a real Wall Street wife I met who learned her husband was living a double life. It was her reaction to the situation that created quite a story!) I have a million favorite authors and an eclectic library. I pick and choose an author and/or a genre depending on my mood.
Question: What are you working on now?
Stone: I’m working on two books: another Abby Drake romp (this one about four Westchester friends whose daughters are about to graduate from Miss Porter’s – plot is currently under wraps) and another Jean Stone tale that takes place on Martha’s Vineyard.
Come to the book signing on Thursday at Field in Larchmont. To order a copy of The Secrets Sisters Keep, head over to Amazon.