Interview with Sheila Curran

Today, I’m hosting author Sheila Curran who has a wonderful new book out, Everyone She Loved. A book to read, folks, and summer is the perfect time!

About Sheila Curran – in her own words

While I’m essentially the same person you can read about from my 2005 ABOUT THE AUTHOR page, I’ve had a recent brush with a somewhat rare form of tonsil cancer.
Photo of Author Sheila Curran
Oddly, my tonsils were removed when I was ten. Apparently however, there was enough of a molecular launch pad to set off a chain reaction that began with surgery (a breeze) followed by radiation therapy (best not mentioned in polite company) and ended with a rather anti-climactic convalescence from the effects of having one’s mouth, tongue and throat fried, refried and blackened for good measure. Smoothies and soups. Smoothies and soups. Repeat as necessary.

While this experience has eroded my opportunities for food evangelism and martini drinking, it has certainly reinforced the truth of my final things you might want to know about me, in 2005.

I have been kept alive, literally and figuratively, by the affection and support of my family and friends, whose sum total is my proudest boast and matters much more to me than my bank balance or intelligence quotient.

About the Book: Everything She Loved

A wise and triumphant novel about powerful bonds among four women who’ve come of age together only to discover that – when it comes to the essentials – life’s little instruction book will always need revising.
Penelope Cameron, loving mother, devoted wife and generous philanthropist, has convinced her husband and four closest friends to sign an outlandish pact. If Penelope should die before her two daughters are eighteen, her husband will not remarry without the permission of Penelope’s sister and three college roommates. For years, this contract gathers dust until the unthinkable happens. Suddenly, everyone she loved must find their way in a world without Penelope.
Cover of Everyone She Loved
For Lucy Vargas, Penelope’s best friend, and a second mother to her daughters, nothing seems more natural than to welcome them into a home that had once belonged to their family, a lovely, sprawling, bed and breakfast on the beach. This bequest was only one of the many ways in which Penelope had supported Lucy’s career as a painter, declaring her talent too important to squander. But now, in the wake of a disaster that only lovable, worrisome Penelope could have predicted, Lucy has put her work on hold as she and Penelope’s husband, Joey, blindly grasp at anything that will keep the girls from sinking under the weight of their grief.

With the help of family and friends, the children slowly rebuild new lives. But just when things start to come together, the fragile serenity they have gained is suddenly threatened from within and the unbreakable bonds they share seem likely to dissolve after all.

In this moving and uplifting novel, Sheila Curran explores the faith one woman placed in her dearest friends, the care she took to protect her family, and the many ways in which romantic entanglements will confound and confuse even the most determined of planners. A story about growing up and moving on, about the sacrifices people make for one another, about the timeless legacy of love, Everyone She Loved is, above all, about the abiding strength of friendship.

Reviews and Buying The Book

You can read reviews of Everyone She Loved at her website

If you’d like to buy this wonderful story you can find several links to sources at Sheila’s website.

The Interview

Q: Tell me a little bit about the book.
Four women, friends since college, live in a charming southern beach town. One of them, Penelope, has more money than God. Which may be why she insists on playing the deity from time to time. Despite her beauty and inherited wealth, she becomes preoccupied with what might happen to her husband and children if she died. So she talks her husband into signing a codicil to her will. If she should die, he won’t remarry unless the new wife (and more importantly) mother, has been approved by her sister and three best friends. Years go by, the codicil gathers dust, and more than its share of hilarity, until the unthinkable happens and everyone she loved must find their way without Penelope. Simply told, it’s old money in the New South, romantic confusion, legal entanglements, and the unbreakable bonds between four women — and a man.

Q: If your protagonist were to wake up one day with a super power, what would that super power be?
She would be able to change the electro-magnetic field of the earth so that all weapons were useless and all bullies became physically helpless.

Q: Would your villain (or antagonist) prefer to be Emperor Ming The
Merciless or Darth Vader?

Darth Vader. Because his backstory is so complicated, it makes the hero’s actions carry more emotional weight.

Q: What do you consider the heart of your story? That is, what is the issue or emotion that propels things forward? Spill your guts on this one.
The story is about how those who are in mourning often battle guilt. They sometimes sabotage their own well-being out of that guilt. It’s about how fragile we are as humans, at least those who are emotionally connected, and that connection can both weaken us against people who don’t share our sentiments, and also strengthen our powers to bounce back.

Q: If you were in charge of casting the movie adaptation of your book, who gets the call?
Patrick Dempsey (McDreamy on Grey’s Anatomy) or Liam Neeson could play Joey Adorno. Jessica Sarah Parker or Kyra Sedgewick could play the interloping nutritionist. Penelope Cruz or Holly Hunter would be great as Penelope. Lucy, Kate Winslet, Scarlett Johannsen, or Catherine Keener, who played Harper Lee in Capote and the love interest in 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN. Martha: Frances McDormand, Cameron Diaz or Ellen Barkin. Susannah: Sandra Bullock, Tea Leoni or Kate Hudson.

Q: Is there a scene you cut from the book that you kind of wish you
could put back in?

Not in this one. In my first novel, set in England, my first line was Diana Lively is naked under her shiny yellow Mac. My editor at Penguin told me that too few Americans would understand that Mac is short for Mackintosh, or raincoat. So we changed the line to Diana Lively is naked under her bright yellow raincoat. The reason she’s standing there in her shower, wearing her raincoat is because she’s phobic about insects and has just discovered her pre-schooler with a packed of "Walking Stick Insect eggs" her brother has sent away for in the mail. Originally, the infestation was head lice but my friend Jane Ulrich told me lice are too "icky." I trusted her, but I hated to lose the head lice because they provided such a perfect contrast for the opulent living conditions at her husband’s suite in the Oxford colleges.

Q: Do you have a sample chapter posted?
Please go to my my website to read the first chapter. I dare you not to want to read the rest!

Q: Tell us why your editor is the best editor ever in the universe.
Because she picked up a nobody like me. Her other writers are Jodi Picoult, Vince Flynn, Brad Thor and Jennifer Wiener. And she took a chance on me! Plus, when I didn’t like the first cover they sent, she actually listened and had the new one made. Plus, she’s got a knack for cutting out superfluous and self-indulgent prose. PLUS, she came up with the title, and I think it’s a gem. It’s short, sweet, and can be understood on so many levels.



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