**Giveaway** Interview Ashley Farley - Her Sister's Shoes
Please welcome new to me author Ashley Farley, she's here today to chat about her just released last month novel, Her Sister's Shoes, and her very personal journey to becoming an author. I know you'll enjoy our interview and your opportunity to get yourself a signed copy of Ashely's new book. Contest details below! If you're looking for a review you can count on check out The Caffeinated Book Reviewer's. Ashley, the floor is yours!
Publisher: AHF Publishing
Publication date: 5/26/2015
Set in the South Carolina Lowcountry and packed with Southern charm and memorable characters, Her Sister's Shoes is the story of three sisters-Samantha, Jackie, and Faith-who struggle to balance the demands of career and family while remaining true to themselves.
Giveaway is sponsored by Ashley for one signed print copy of Her Sister's Shoes US ONLY please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter Good Luck!
Read an Excerpt courtesy Ashley's Website:
Chapter One Samantha
Lovie and Oscar
Sweeney had been providing vacationers to the South Carolina coast with
fresh-from-the-ocean seafood since opening their doors in May of 1959—and
little had changed since then. Not the quality of the service or the layout of
the store. The same brass ship’s clock still hung on the wall above the door,
ticking away the decades. The customers didn’t mind the outdated decor as long
as the knowledgeable staff served superior product with a friendly smile. The
creaking floorboards and dusty shelves welcomed them back year after year, just
as the pungent odor of the marsh at low tide greeted them upon arrival in the
small inlet town of Prospect.
When it came time
to do something about the termites eating away at the floor joists—and to
replace the electrical system that was one spark away from a catastrophic fire
and the refrigerated display cases that were held together with hope, prayer,
and a wad of electrical tape—Samantha Sweeney, the middle daughter of Lovie and
Oscar, decided their market was way overdue for an upgrade. Their local
customers encouraged Sam to remodel in the same vintage that had brought them
success for more than fifty years, but she ignored their advice. Following her
gut instincts, Sam had opted for a radically different approach.
After years of
planning and saving, the renovations were nearing completion. With exposed
ceiling pipes and pendant lighting, subway tile wainscoting and concrete
floors, Sam had envisioned a minimalist style, the seafood being their main
event. But as she surveyed the gleaming new showroom, she worried the results
were more operating-room sterile than upscale industrial.
Sam suspected her
sisters shared her concerns.
Faith turned in
circles, contemplating the empty space. “Once the shelves are stocked and the
refrigerated cases filled, the place will come to life.”
“Why don’t we paint
the walls?” Jackie whipped her color wheel out of her oversized black patent
bag. Sam had hired her older sister, an interior decorator, to offer guidance
on trim selections. Jackie thumbed through the color strips, eventually holding
out the wheel for Sam to see. “Here we go. I’ve used this linen color many
times before. It’s neutral, but at the same time soft and warm.”
Sam barely glanced
at the color. “But the painters have already finished. They’re out back
“I’ve never known a
painter to turn down more work.” Jackie tucked the paint wheel under her arm,
and, like a cheetah in search of her prey, she glided toward the kitchen in the
back. With mahogany hair styled in a sleek bob, dressed in a tailored black
sleeveless top and white pique cropped pants, Jackie embodied the picture of
“Don’t tell her I
said so,” Faith whispered to Sam, “but I think she might be right this time.”
Sam smiled at her
younger sister, who was every bit as pretty as Jackie but in a less
“She better be. We
can’t afford another mistake with only two days left before the grand
Sam took a step
back and closed her eyes, trying to imagine the showroom walls washed in linen.
She pictured the wooden wine racks stocked with bottles and specialty dry goods
arranged neatly on the metal shelves. She envisioned fresh produce overflowing
from baskets on the carts in the front of the store, raw seafood on display in
the refrigerated cases in the center of the room, and prepared meals filling
the merchandisers along the sidewalls. She imagined customers moseying about,
sipping wine from little plastic cups while the staff offered advice on the
best practices for grilling tuna.
Sam drew in a deep
breath of confidence and exhaled any leftover feelings of doubt. She respected
her sister’s tastes. If Jackie thought linen-colored walls were the finishing
touch the room needed, then who was she to argue?
with a self-satisfied smirk on her face. “The painters promised to have
everything wrapped up by noon tomorrow. There’s hardly any wall space to paint,
considering the pass-through to the kitchen in the back and all the windows out
Sam ran through her
mental checklist. “Noon tomorrow means we’ll lose half a day of cleaning and
stocking. We’ll have to work around the clock in order to open on time on
“Why don’t you hire
someone?” Jackie said with a flippant wave of her hand, as though a
strong-bodied person might materialize from thin air.
“What about the
twins?” Sam asked. “They’re always looking for a way to earn extra spending
sixteen-year-old sons, Cooper and Sean, often showed up at the market, late in
the afternoon, peddling their day’s catch—fish and shrimp and crabs, anything
they could catch with a net, a trap, or a fishing rod. Sam paid them the same
amount she would a wholesaler, even more when their product was fresher, which
it usually was.
“You’ll have to
find someone else.” Jackie busied herself with gathering up tile and concrete
samples that were scattered across the wine-tasting table. “The boys are busy
getting ready to leave for camp on Saturday.”
“Today is only
Wednesday,” Sam said. “Since when does it take a teenager two days to pack?”
“They’re not just
packing, Samantha. They’ve made plans with friends.”
“Ask them anyway.
I’m sure they’ll want to help. They already talked to me about working at the
market when they get home from camp.”
“They’ll be busy
with football practice when they get home from camp.” Jackie flung her bag over
her shoulder. “This may come as a surprise to you, but I have higher
aspirations for my boys than running a seafood market.”
if that smelly seafood market provided you all the luxuries you felt entitled
to when we were growing up, Sam thought. “I’m not talking about a full-time
career, Jackie. The boys just want to earn some money while they have a little
“They will have
plenty of fun at camp, and they’ll get paid this year, as junior counselors.”
“Why do you send
them off to camp, anyway, when we live ten minutes from the beach?” Sam asked.
“Not that it’s any
of your business, but having them tucked away in the mountains keeps them out
“And out of your
hair,” Sam mumbled.
turned red. “Don’t you have enough to worry about with your own son without
worrying about mine?”
Sam’s eyes narrowed
and her back stiffened. She was preparing for battle with her older sister when
Faith intervened. “Curtis can help. With stocking the showroom. He’s looking
“I take that to
mean the job at the brick plant didn’t work out,” Jackie said.
Faith picked at a
hangnail. “Turns out they hired too many people. Since Curtis was the last one
hired, he was the first one they fired.”
something else soon, I’m sure. In the meantime, I can definitely put him to
work around here. At least for the next couple of days,” Sam said, thinking how
Curtis’s physical strength made up for his lack of brainpower. “I’ll work out
the details with him when I see him at the party tonight.”
“Speaking of the
party, I’ve gotta run.” Jackie positioned her oversized sunglasses on her face,
the dark frames in contrast to her pale unblemished skin. “Can one of you pick
“Since when does
Mom need a driver?” Sam asked.
“Since she’s been
acting so forgetful lately,” Jackie said. “Surely you’ve noticed.”
“Of course she’s
forgetful,” Sam said. “She’s eighty-two years old.”
Jackie slid her
sunglasses down and peered at Sam over the top of her bug-eyed lenses. “She’s
not just forgetful. She’s downright demented. I can hardly have a conversation
with her anymore. She asks the same questions over and over again.” Jackie
turned toward Faith. “You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?”
Faith shook her
head, her eyes wide with concern. “I haven’t seen much of Mama since we started
“Well . . .” Jackie
repositioned her sunglasses on her nose. “I’ve invited some important people to
my party. I don’t want Mom embarrassing herself.”
Sam glanced at the
ship’s clock above the door. “Okay, look. It’s already five o’clock. Clearly
this is something we need to talk about later.”
“I agree,” Jackie
said. “Let’s just get through tonight first.”
Sam turned to
Faith. “I might be running a few minutes late by the time I pick Jamie up from
physical therapy and help him get changed. If you can bring Mom to the party,
I’ll take her home.”
“I can do that,”
leaned over and kissed Faith’s cheek, then Sam’s. “In case I forget to tell you
both later, Happy Birthday.”
Hi Ashley welcome to The Reading Frenzy.
I’m an absolute sucker for a good Lowcountry read.
Debbie. I’m excited to visit with your readers on release day for Her Sister’s
Tell my readers a little about your new novel, Her
Sister’s Shoes is a women’s novel with a lot of suspense, a little romance, and
a whole lot of familial drama and love. Each of the three Sweeney sisters is
dealing with a crisis, including an unfaithful husband, an abusive husband, and
a teenage son recovering from a crippling ATV accident. Throw in an aging
mother exhibiting signs of dementia and the Sweeney family spirals out of
control. I hesitate to tell your readers too much for fear of spoiling the
plot, but Her Sister’s Shoes is a fast-paced #mustread for every woman’s beach
bag, young and old.
Your three Sister protagonists are a bit long in the
tooth in today’s very youthful oriented character era. And I as a woman of a “certain
age” congratulate your choice because there’s not a lot out there with older
Was there a particular catalyst or event that brought this story idea to you?
you should mention that. I turned fifty, celebrated my twenty-fifth wedding
anniversary, and became an empty nester all in one year. I love variety in the
novels I read, but mostly I like reading about characters I can relate to—modern-day
women with very real problems. I wanted to write such a novel, to share my
midlife-crisis experiences with other women. The Lowcountry setting seemed an
obvious choice as I’m originally from South Carolina. I’m reminded every year
when I visit my family how much I love the Lowcounty. I can’t get enough of the
laid-back atmosphere, salty breezes, moss-draped trees, and kind folks with
Ashley for some authors becoming a novelist is a
natural progression from other writing careers, some are accidental authors,
while some know they wanted to be an author from a very young age. Your
becoming an author was very personal and stemmed from a personal tragedy.
Could you tell us about your personal journey and about your tribute novel,
brother’s tragic death from an accidental overdose in 1999 affected me
profoundly. Neal was a wonderful person with a beautiful soul and a great big
hole in his heart. More than anything, I wanted to reach out to others
suffering from drug and alcohol addictions, to tell them Neal’s story and to
let them know they’re not alone. But every time I tried to talk about his
death, my voice shook and my eyes filled with tears. So I turned to writing,
which offered great solace for me. Because Neal and I were the closest when we
were in college, I decided to write Saving Ben about a college-aged brother and
sister whose special bond is threatened by drug addiction. And a psycho
roommate who I used to intensify the plot. ;-)
What kind of response have you received from readers
about Saving Ben?
funny. I didn’t tell anyone I was writing a novel. Not my friends or my family,
except my husband and children of course. I was hesitant to share my
aspirations for fear of rejection. At the same time, I felt the need to justify
the time I spent writing. What started as a hobby had become an obsession. The
outpouring of kindness and support in Richmond, where I live, was enormous,
which gave me the confidence I needed to reach out to the broader community.
It’s surprising how many people have loved ones suffering from addiction. If I
offer peace of mind to just one person, I feel like I’ve done my job.
You’re also an avid blogger and you call your book review
blog, Chronicles. How many books do you read in an average month
and when do you do your writing?
a slow reader. In good months, I average a book a week. In addition to
audiobooks, I’m able to work through about 7-8 books a month, which is nothing
compared to what most bloggers read. I love sharing reviews and news on upcoming
releases with others. And I love creating fun graphics and networking with
other bloggers. Sadly, however, I don’t feel like I’m working either of my jobs
to my full potential. Something’s gotta give or my husband’s gonna throw me
out. Because writing is the most fulfilling for me, I plan to scale back on blogging
in the coming months.
So Ashley now I want to talk about self publishing.
Was this always your intent to self publish?
No. I don’t think anyone starts writing with the intent to self-publish. At
least not writers who are serious about their work. I’m impatient, and because
the market is flooded with great authors, finding a literary agent is borderline
impossible. I mean, seriously. Lit agents get thousands of queries every month
and take on one or two new clients a year. Who can beat those odds? I didn’t
want to spend years trying to sell my book to an agent when I could be selling
books online. Today’s ever-evolving world of publishing is an exciting place
for anyone interested in writing. My hope is the self and traditional
publishing worlds will continue to merge into a great big playground for all
What’s the best part about self-publishing?
total control. And yes, I am a control freak. I love being able to choose my
cover and editor, and work on my own timetable. And I appreciate the way a
novel can transition from final draft to bookshelf in a matter of weeks. On the
flipside, the biggest challenge I face is the lack of support for print
distribution. There is no such thing as a perfect world in publishing.
What is the last book you read that you couldn’t wait to recommend to your
by Kristin Hannah. Have you read it? It is a beautiful old-fashioned story
about two sisters struggling to survive the atrocities of WWII. It’s different
from other WWII stories in that it’s written from the perspective of French
citizens. One of the sisters is a young mother forced to accommodate a Nazi
officer in her home, while the other sister works for The Resistance, sneaking
downed American and British pilots out of France to safety. My 21-year-old
daughter is currently reading The Nightingale and loving it. In my opinion, The
Nightingale is Hannah’s crowning glory.
Ashley, thanks so much for answering my questions.
Good luck with this new novel and all the ones in your future too!
you so much for having me and for your thoughtful questions. I’d love for your readers
to visit my website, www.ashleyfarley.net, to learn more
about Her Sister’s Shoes and participate in my launch-week giveaways.
MEET ASHLEY:I'm a wife and mother and self-published author. I grew up in the salty marshes of South Carolina, but I have lived in Richmond, Virginia, a city I love for its history and traditions, for most of my adult life.
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