Tuesday, February 21, 2017

**GIVEAWAY** Interview with Sally Hepworth The Mother's Promise

Today I'm so happy to welcome back bestselling author Sally Hepworth, her last novel The Things We Keep was an extraordinary read. She's here today to chat about her new release just out today, The Mother's Promise and I can't wait to get my hands on it.
Sally's publisher St. Martin's Press is sponsoring a giveaway, details below.

ISBN-13: 9781250077752
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: 2-21-2017
Length: 384
Buy It: B&N/Amazon/Kobo/IndieBound/Audible

"A page-turner. All the pieces masterfully come together at the end to create a beautiful novel of courage and love in the face of sorrow." —Booklist (starred review)
All their lives, Alice Stanhope and her daughter Zoe have been a family of two, living quietly in northern California. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works—until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and needs to fight for her life.
Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers, but who are her only hope: Kate, a nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets—secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family. Imbued with heart and humor in even the darkest moments, The Mother’s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the unbreakable bonds between mothers and daughters, and the new ways in which families are forged.

St. Martin's Press is offering one print copy US ONLY
of The Mother's Promise
Please use Rafflecopter form below to enter
Good Luck!

Read an excerpt courtesy of St. Martin's Press:


When the doctor gave Alice Stanhope the news, she was thinking about Zoe. Was she all right? Was today a bad day? What was she doing? In fact, Alice was so swept up in thoughts of Zoe that when the doctor cleared his throat she startled.

“Sorry,” she said. “I zoned out for a second.”

Dr. Brookes glanced at the nurse on Alice’s right, who sat with her hand close to, but not quite touching, Alice’s. The nurse’s role in this hadn’t been entirely clear until this moment, when she scooted a little closer on her chair. Clearly she was here to translate the medical speak. “Alice, Dr. Brookes was just saying that, unfortunately, your test results … they’re not what we hoped for. Given the ultrasound, and now these test results, I’m afraid…”

On the wall clock, Alice noticed the time: 10:14 A.M. Zoe would be in third period. Science. Or would she? Some days, if she wasn’t feeling up to it, she skipped a class or two in the middle of the day. Alice always covered for her. In fact, if it weren’t for this appointment, she might have suggested Zoe have a day at home today. Instead she’d watched as Zoe packed up her books and bravely headed out the door. In a way, the brave days were the worst. The strained smile, the I’m fine, Mom, was somehow more painful to take than the I ache, Mom, I can’t face the day.


Alice looked at the nurse, whose name she’d forgotten, and apologized again. She tried to focus, but Zoe lurked in the shadows of her thoughts—so much that the nurse started to look a little like Zoe. The nurse was older, of course—thirtyish, maybe—but she was pretty, with the same chestnut hair and pink lips Zoe had, the same heart-shaped face. She even had Zoe’s pallor, off-white with purplish shadows under her eyes.

“Would you like to go over it again?” the nurse suggested.

Alice nodded and tried to concentrate as the nurse talked about a “mass,” a CA 125 score, a something-or-other-ectomy. She knew this nurse—Kate, according to her name badge—and Dr. Brookes didn’t think she was taking it seriously enough, but Alice simply couldn’t seem to conjure up the required feelings of fear and dread. She’d been through it too many times. The irregular Pap smear, the unusual breast lump, the rash no one could seem to diagnose. She seemed to have a knack for attracting illnesses and ailments that required just enough investigation to be financially and emotionally draining, but—and she knew she ought to be grateful for this—always stopped short of the main event. Now it was happening again. She was prepared to go through the motions—as a single mother, she was committed to looking after her health—but what she really wanted was to get it over with, so she could get to work.

“Alice,” Kate was saying, “I’m concerned that you’re here alone. Is there someone I can call for you? There was no emergency contact listed on your paperwork. Perhaps you have a family member or a friend…?”


“You don’t have anyone?”

“No,” she said. “It’s just my daughter and me.”

The doctor and nurse exchanged a look.

Alice knew what they were thinking. How could she not have anyone? Where are her family and friends? They probably couldn’t wait to leave so they could talk about her. Alice couldn’t wait to leave too.

“How old is your daughter?” Kate asked finally.

“Zoe just turned fifteen.”

“And … Zoe’s father…?”

“… isn’t in the picture.”

Alice braced for a reaction. Whenever she imparted this particular piece of information, women tended to wince and then offer a sympathetic noise as if she’d told them she’d broken a toe. But the nurse didn’t react at all. It raised her slightly in Alice’s opinion.

“What about your parents?” she asked. “Siblings?”

“My parents have both passed away. My brother would be less than useless as an emergency contact.”

“Are you sure,” she started. “Because—”

“He’s an alcoholic. A practicing alcoholic. Not that he needs the practice…”

Not so much as a smile from either of them. Dr. Brookes sat forward. “Mrs. Stanhope—”

Ms. Stanhope,” Alice corrected. “Or Alice.”

“Alice. We need to schedule you for surgery as soon as possible.”

“Okay.” Alice reached into her tote and pulled out her day planner. She flicked it to today’s date. “Is it possible to do a Friday, because I don’t work Fridays. Except the first Friday in the month, when I drive Mrs. Buxton to her Scrabble meeting—”

“Mrs. Buxton?” Kate said, suddenly animated. Alice realized the nurse had mistaken her for a potential support person.

“Oh no,” Alice explained. “She’s eighty-three. I look after her, not the other way around. It’s my job. I mean, I’m not a nurse or anything. I keep elderly people company, cook and clean a bit. Drive them around. Atherton Home Helpers, that’s my business.” Alice was rambling; she needed to get it together. “So … the operation … is it a day procedure?”

There was a short silence.

“No, Alice, I’m afraid it’s not,” Dr. Brookes said. His eyes were incredulous. “A salpingo-oophorectomy is major surgery where we take out the ovaries and fallopian tubes. You’ll have to stay in the hospital for at least a few nights. Maybe up to a week, depending on what we find.”

Something hardened in the back of Alice’s throat. “A … week?”


“Oh.” She stopped, swallowed. Tried again. “Well, uh, when can you do it?”

“As soon as possible. Monday, if I can arrange it.”

Alice felt a strange jolt, a lurch, into awareness. Kate’s hand finally touched hers, and maybe it was the shock, or maybe their earlier moment of camaraderie, but Alice allowed it.

“Maybe your daughter should be here,” Kate said. “If she is going to be your primary support she probably needs to—”

“No,” Alice said, pulling her hands back into her lap.

“This will be hard for her,” Dr. Brookes said thoughtfully, “and we will be mindful of that. But at fifteen, she might be able to handle more than you—”

“No,” Alice repeated. “Zoe doesn’t need to be involved in this. She can’t handle this. She isn’t like a normal teenager.”

Dr. Brookes raised his eyebrows, but Alice didn’t bother explaining further. Doctors always turned it around on her, making it seem like the whole thing was her fault—or, worse, Zoe’s.

“Zoe won’t be my support person,” Alice said, with finality. “She doesn’t need to know about any of this.”

Dr. Brookes sighed. “Alice, I don’t think you fully understand—”

“Maybe there’s someone else, Alice?” Kate interrupted. “A friend? Even an acquaintance? Someone to drive you home from surgery, to be at these kinds of appointments?”

Alice shook her head. Dr. Brookes and Kate conferred with their eyes.

“We can get a social worker to contact you,” Kate said, finally. “They’ll be able to attend appointments with you, they might be able to organize meals, or even get access to special funding to help with out-of-pocket costs.” To Kate’s credit, she wasn’t reeling off a speech; she appeared genuinely engaged in what she was saying. “The thing is, Alice, you are going to need someone. We need to do more tests, but the current information we have indicates that your condition is very serious. You have a mass in your ovaries, your CA 125 levels are up in the thousands, and you have a buildup of fluid in the abdomen, indicating the cancer may have already spread. Even in the best-case scenario, if everything goes well in the surgery you will most likely have to have chemotherapy. We will do everything we can, but I promise you … you are going to need someone.”

If she’d felt a jolt earlier, this was a cannon, blowing a giant hole right through her. “Cancer.” Had they used that word earlier? She didn’t remember it.

Apparently appeased by her expression—finally the reaction they’d been waiting for—the doctor began to explain it all again, a third or maybe fourth time. Once again, Alice zoned out. Because … she couldn’t have cancer. She was barely forty, she ate well, exercised occasionally. More importantly, she couldn’t have cancer. She had Zoe.

Dr. Brookes finished his spiel and asked her if she had any questions. Alice opened her mouth, but no sound came out. She thought again about what Kate had said. You are going to need someone. Alice wanted to tell her she was wrong. Because if what she was saying was true, Alice wasn’t going to need someone. Zoe was.

Copyright © 2017 by Sally Hepworth

Sally first congratulations on being a new mommy! And congratulations on your upcoming release. Tell my readers a bit about The Mother’s Promise.
Thank you! Clementine is my third, and we are all just mad for her.
The Mother’s Promise is a novel about the unbreakable bonds between mothers and daughters, and the new ways in which families are forged.
All their lives, Alice Stanhope and her daughter Zoe have been a family of two, living quietly in northern California. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and needs to fight for her life.

Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers, but who are her only hope: Kate, a nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family.

Sally I love all your titles, they and the covers make me want to read the novels.
How many times over the course of writing a book do you change the title or are you a one and done kind of girl?

As much as I yearn to be a one and done type of girl, I always seem to go through several titles before finding the one. As you say, the title is so important, so it usually takes a while to find something that fits.
With this novel, my working title was By Myself with You because it was essentially an exploration of all the ways a person can be alone. Unfortunately it didn’t really give the reader a clue of what the book was actually about. My publisher came up with The Mother’s Promise, which I think is a great title.

Each of your books are poignant and emotional and pull at a readers heartstrings yet each is very different too. Was there a certain event in your life, news article or something else that drew you to write The Mother’s Promise?
It was a news article that inspired me to write The Mother’s Promise. The article was about a single mother, diagnosed with terminal cancer, who was searching for a guardian for her eight-year-old son. Her son’s father was not in the picture, her own parents had passed away and she didn’t have any siblings or friends or colleagues she felt she could ask. After reading the article, I couldn’t stop thinking about this woman. I asked myself: how does someone become so alone? I thought this was a good question to explore in a novel.

Sally your last release, The Things We Keep, which for me was a two box of Kleenex read and wonderful, was a Library Journal and Indie Next Pick last year. Congratulations! Did those accolades put extra pressure on you for this book?
Thank you so much!
Actually I’d say the opposite is true. There is always pressure when it comes to releasing a new book but the knowledge that I have done it before helps immensely when I’m slogging through a novel. I also try to keep my focus on the next book, which keeps me from worrying about things I can’t control.

This is our third interview yet we’ve never delved into what led you down the path of authordom. Have you always wanted to write, did the bug bite you later on or was it something entirely different?
I’ve always wanted to write. Boring, right? But it’s true. I’ve been writing stories all my life, and when I was in third grade, I announced to my class on ‘occupation day’ that I was going to be an author when I grew up. So, when I went on maternity leave with my first child, it made perfect sense to me to try my hand at writing a novel (I had no idea how much time newborns take up!). I’ve been writing ever since.

Sally you live in Australia yet this latest book is set in California.
Did you travel to the US for research or do you let the internet be your roadmap?

I did travel to the U.S., but I also used the internet a lot. I feel great sympathy for authors in the pre-internet days because we are so lucky these days to have such an abundance of information at our fingertips. I know a lot of authors who research from the internet alone—with great success. That said, nothing beats walking the streets your characters are walking, tasting the tastes and smelling the smells.

I love empowering, strong women characters and in each of your novels there is always at least one. Is there a message there or is it simpler than that?
I’m glad you think so. I like to read empowering women, so of course I try to create them. That said, the best characters (in my opinion) are both strong AND vulnerable. I like to make my characters flawed enough to make them real, but strong enough to inspire.

Sally its always a pleasure to reconnect with you. Congrats again on your new baby and your new book! Are you already hard at work on the next one?
Of course! If I’m not writing, I drive my family crazy, so it’s best for all if I just keep my head down. Thanks for having me!
Sally's other titles

Connect with Sally - Website - Facebook - Twitter

Meet Sally:
Sally Hepworth is a former human resource professional and a graduate of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Sally has lived around the world, spending extended periods in Singapore, the UK, and Canada, and she now writes full-time from her home in Melbourne, where she lives with her husband and two young children. She is the author of The Mother's Promise.

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  1. You always do great interviews Debbie, love them! Thanks for sharing this one!

  2. Thanks for this captivating and wonderful giveaway. I have read Sally's novels which are memorable, unforgettable and beautiful. A talented author who can write novels which are profound and meaningful.

  3. Fantastic interview. You have me curious!

  4. No I have not read anything by Sally, however I love finding new authors !

    1. Hi kmcgrew welcome to the blog if you love women's fiction you'll love her!

  5. I loved her two other books and I have seen amazing reviews the last few days for this one so it looks like I just have to read it.... soon!

    1. Yeah you do Kathryn sorry the giveaway is on US :(

  6. Haven't read any of her books, but want to.

  7. Neat how it all came about from a news article. Wow, this one does sound like it will grip the heart.

    Great interview, ladies!

  8. I think that often! How did we survive without the internet?!! Ha! That's cool she got to visit where she was writing about, though :)

    1. Heck if I leave home w/o my phone I'm like - what if something happens never mind that I used to travel all the time without a phone because they didn't exist!

  9. I haven't read any of her books yet. She is a new author to me!


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