Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Book Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Secret of You and Me by Melissa Lenhardt


Genre: Women's Fiction / Romance 
Publisher:  Graydon House (Harlequin)
Date of Publication: August 4, 2020
Number of Pages: 352

Scroll down for the giveaway!
True love never fades—and old secrets never die . . . 

Nora hasn’t looked back. Not since she fled Texas to start a new life. Away from her father’s volatile temper and the ever-watchful gaze of her claustrophobically conservative small town, Nora has freed herself. She can live—and love—however she wants. The only problem is that she also left behind the one woman she can’t forget. Now tragedy calls her back home to confront her past—and reconcile her future.

Sophie seems to have everything—a wonderful daughter, a successful husband, and a rewarding career. Yet underneath that perfection lies an explosive secret. She still yearns for Nora—her best friend and first love—despite all the years between them. Keeping her true self hidden hasn’t been easy, but it’s been necessary. So when Sophie finds out that Nora has returned, she hopes Nora’s stay is short. The life she has built depends on it.

But they both find that first love doesn’t fade easily. Memories come to light, passion ignites, and old feelings resurface. As the forces of family and intolerance that once tore them apart begin to reemerge, they realize some things may never change—unless they demand it.

A portion of royalties are going to the It Gets Better Project
(Click for more details.)

(Personalized/signed copies available through Interabang)

A compelling story of second chances and being true to yourself.” 
Harper Bliss, bestselling author of Seasons of Love

Lenhardt convinces in her portrayal of the conflict between desire and control.” —Publishers Weekly
Melissa Lenhardt is a women’s fiction, mystery, and historical fiction author. Her debut mystery, Stillwater, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest, and Sawbones, her historical-fiction debut, was hailed as a "thoroughly original, smart and satisfying hybrid, perhaps a new sub-genre: the feminist Western" by Lone Star Literary Life. The New York Times called her sixth novel, Heresy, “An all-out women-driven, queer, transgender, multiracial takeover of the Old West." The Secret of You and Me, her seventh novel and her first contemporary women’s fiction novel, was published on August 4, 2020.

When Melissa isn’t writing, she’s thinking, “I really should be writing,” and eating Nutella or peanut butter straight out of the jar. A lifelong Texan, she lives in the Dallas area with her husband, two sons, and two Golden Retrievers.

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- How has being a Texan (or Texas) influenced your writing?
Texas is a complicated place, and we are way too arrogant for our own good—native Texans, that is. I'm guilty of a little of that arrogance about my state also. I love it, faults and all. Unfortunately, Texas is easily stereotyped (and they’re not wrong!). I like to show that there is nuance here, beneath the bluster and bragging about our size and the Texas Miracle.

- What do you think most characterizes your writing?
Heavy reliance on the em-dash, great dialogue, and an uncanny ability to clearly write scenes, usually dinner scenes, with way too many characters, all with a different agenda. Easily my favorite scenes to write.

- What projects are you working on at present?
I delivered another women’s fiction novel to my publisher last week. It will come out sometime next year. I'm waiting on edits, so I'm technically between projects, but I have some ideas. Ideas are the easy part, sadly.

- What do your plans for future projects include?
I want to write in three genres: mystery, women’s fiction, and historical fiction. Writing a mystery is up next. I've neglected the genre for too long, and the mystery community is absolutely my favorite. I'll have to be more productive to keep up, and that's always been a challenge for me, but I’m pretty motivated these days.

- Who would you cast to play your characters in a movie version of your book?
Nora – Carrie Coon
I cast Carrie Coon in nearly all of my dream casts because she’s such a phenomenal actor. Her portrayal of Nora on The Leftovers inspired the character's name and part of Nora's personality, so she’s the obvious choice.

Sophie – Olivia Wilde
A beautiful woman with amazing cheekbones? Yep, that’s Olivia Wilde.

Charlie – Chris Pine
Chris Pine is also a perennial on my book casting lists. (He’d make a great Jack McBride.) Those eyes of his are Charlie’s eyes, no doubt. There’s no way I’d let him shave his beautiful hair for the role. He could even have a beard. I DON’T CARE I JUST WANT TO MEET CHRIS PINE!

Emmadean – Margo Martindale
We should all bow down to Margo Martindale because she is brilliant. She’s also an East Texas girl like me. She is Emmadean.

Dormer – Harry Dean Stanton
I know he’s dead, but he’s perfect.

- How important are names to you in your books? How do you choose names?
Names are fun, and names are hard. Some come to you quickly, like Margaret Parker in Heresy. Some take a while, like Sophie Wyatt in Secret. I used to go to graveyards to get names, especially for my historical-fiction novels. Scrivener has a name generator that does the work for my contemporary books. The most popular baby name sites are good too.

I try to pick common names from when a character was born. Nora is named after the character from The Leftovers. Emmadean is named after a neighbor down the street. Dormer is the name of a long-dead uncle of mine. Logan is what I wanted to call my second son and got outvoted. I've known so many Kims in my life, I've lost count. Alima’s last name, Koshkam, is the name of a family in my neighborhood. I hope they don’t mind that I used it!

- What do you want your tombstone to say?
Insert witty epitaph here.

- What is something you want to accomplish before you die?
Hike the Appalachian Trail.

- Do you have a mantra for writing and/or for life?
Tomorrow is another day.
Win a signed hardback of The Secret of You and Me by Melissa Lenhardt and your choice of either a FaceTime call or virtual book club visit with the author, Melissa Lendhardt - two winners!
August 11-21, 2020
(U.S. Only)


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