About the Book:
Caroline remembered how her mother would head to the garden as the first signs of spring approached, rolling up her sleeves and planting wildflowers as the sun set. But there was a lot she didn’t know about her mother, and the family secrets hidden in her hometown that would change everything…
When Caroline left Lake Summers thirty years ago, she thought she’d never go back to the place where she lost her parents. But when she finds out that the town’s lily garden lovingly built by her mother is going to be destroyed, she knows she must return from Chicago to save it.
Welcomed by the warm smile of her mother’s best friend Maxine, and piles of pancakes at her cozy little restaurant in town, Caroline and her daughter Lee immediately begin their campaign to save the garden. And Caroline soon learns that she isn’t the only person invested in their plan: handsome historian Aaron is new to town but he sees how special the garden is too. As Caroline gets to know him, strolling along the sparkling lakeshore, she can’t imagine anywhere else she’d rather be.
But then Caroline learns a terrible secret about the day her mother died. If she continues fighting to save the garden, she may uncover more painful truths that will affect her whole family. But if she leaves now, she will have to give up a future with Aaron, and the beautiful town that has always been in her heart…
An utterly uplifting and heart-warming story about forgiveness and family. Perfect for fans of Carolyn Brown, Debbie Macomber and Mary Alice Monroe.
Where to Buy:
About the Author:
Barbara Josselsohn is an award-winning writer who loves crafting stories about strong protagonists facing a fork in the road. Her novels include The Bluebell Girls, The Lilac House, The Last Dreamer, and her newest release, The Lily Garden. She has published hundreds of articles about family, home and relationships in national and regional publications, and also teaches novel writing at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. She lives just north of New York City and enjoys escaping to the beach or the mountains whenever she can. Other than writing, her biggest passion is her family: her husband, her three kids, and her indefatigable shih-poo! Visit her online at http://www.BarbaraSolomonJosselsohn.com, @Barbara_Josselsohn_Author (Instagram), @BarbaraJoss (twitter) or Facebook.com/BarbaraSolomonJosselsohnAuthor
- Where did the inspiration for the book come from?
The central relationship in THE LILY GARDEN is between a mother and her seventeen-year-old daughter as they embark on a college road trip, which quickly becomes an even more consequential journey for both of them. So the main inspiration came from my own relationships with my two daughters. I’ve found it really hard sometimes to see my daughters growing up. I love that they’re becoming independent adults, but I also miss having them as babies! Those months before a daughter moves out on her own are so intense and emotional. I wanted to explore how a mom and daughter can struggle to rework their relationship — and come out smiling on the other side! So that was the original seed for the book. As I began to let the story unfold, however, the book became about so much more. It became about family — the one your born into and the one or ones you choose to create at various times of your life.
- Do you have any tips for how I can hook people from the beginning in my own books?
For me, books start with a character and a deep “want” — something a character yearns for with her whole heart. Wanting to be heard, wanting to be acknowledged, wanting to be accepted, wanting to be loved — these are universal, and very relatable. These “wants” motivate us to take action — sometimes productive and sometimes not so helpful. Give me a unique character, a strong want, and a plan that may or may not work, and you’ll have me hooked from page one!
- How can I create a beautiful and visual setting (like a garden) for a book?
I take lots of pictures when I’m researching a book. For example, I live twenty minutes away from the extraordinary New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, and I go there all the time and take pictures of plants and flower that move me, that sing out to me, that connect with me. I print these out and put them on a bulletin board in my office, and then I begin to find the words to describe them, and to convey how they make me feel. I also use scented candles, music playlists, and scented lotions to help me get deep inside my imagination. Smells and sounds can be so evocative when you’re trying to create a setting and a mood!
- Which was the hardest part of writing this? And the easiest? Why?
In the book, my main character – Caroline – is trying to save her hometown from destroying the lily garden that her mother created and cared for many years earlier. She faces a lot of roadblocks and resistance, and for me, those were the hardest scenes to write. I was so invested in Caroline’s quest, so it was hard for me to see her struggling. These easiest scenes to write were the romantic scenes between Caroline and Aaron, the handsome college professor she befriends. It makes me smile, to put myself into the shoes of a character who’s falling in love. I sometimes write with my writing group on Zoom, with the camera on while I’m working on a scene. My critique partners tell me that they always know when I’m writing a love scene, because I look so happy!
- How can I make my writing emotional and people love the characters?
People love characters who are real to them. So don’t be afraid to make your characters flawed, to have them misbehave sometimes or act out of jealousy or fear. The more human they are, and the more they struggle to do the right thing or to prevail against enormous odds, the more we will become emotionally invested in their story.
- What do you love to do when not writing?
I love to spend time with my family doing fun things — going to the beach, hiking, eating out at fun restaurants. I also love New York City, which is about a half-hour drive from where I live. I’m so happy to see the city opening up again. I cannot wait for Broadway shows to come back — and it looks like they will in just a few weeks!
- What is the best thing about being an author?
The best thing is that I get to make up stories! I truly think that’s the most fun thing in the world to do. I love inventing characters and putting them in different locations, with different challenges and experiences and memories. I also have to say that I love speaking to readers. There’s no better feeling than hearing that a story you wrote touched someone’s life or expressed something they always felt but didn’t know how to articulate.
- What is your favourite scene in the book? Why?
My favorite scene is the evening Caroline takes Aaron to the lily garden for the first time. She brings him up to the little footbridge in the middle of the garden, and it’s there, with the moon above reflecting in the inlet below, that she begins to tell him about her memories of the garden and her mother, who died so young. I just love that moment when a character realizes she’s found someone she can trust, someone she can open up to, someone who wants to hear everything she wants to say. I love the tingle Caroline feels when she thinks about kissing him!