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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

ℚ♫ The Promise of Pierson Orchard - Kate Brandes

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about The Promise of Pierson Orchard (, Wyatt-MacKenzie, 288 pages), a Women's Fiction Novel.

“Brandes checks off all the boxes for quality fiction: the characters are well-rounded, the settings, such as the apple orchards, the crisp Silver Creek, and the rocky outcrops, are vividly described, and the plot is well-organized and crisply paced. The tension between the characters satisfyingly rises to a crescendo that's in sync with the larger environmental crisis that threatens the town 

An expertly paced, moving exploration of grief and responsibility and an eloquent portrait of a small town struggling with compromise.”
Kirkus Review 


|| Synopsis || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||


A very warm welcome to Kate Brandes; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

To start, today Kate has shared with us some of the music she listened to while drafting The Promise of Pierson Orchard - enjoy!

What was the inspiration for The Promise of Pierson Orchard?
"I’ve spent most of my career, not as a writer, but as an environmental scientist. I didn’t start writing creatively until I was in my mid-thirties. I’ve always loved stories about complicated families and relationships. I first learned about fracking (a method of natural gas drilling using deep rock fracturing) through my environmental science career. One of my first thoughts was that it would make a great metaphor in a novel about a fractured family.

The Promise of Pierson Orchard is the story of a Pennsylvania family threatened by betrayal, financial desperation, old flames, fracking, and ultimately finding forgiveness.

In the novel, Green Energy arrives, offering the impoverished rural community of Minden, Pennsylvania, the dream of making more money from their land by leasing natural gas rights for drilling. But orchardist, Jack Pierson, fears his brother, Wade, who now works for Green Energy, has returned to town after a shame-filled twenty-year absence so desperate to be the hero that he’ll blind their hometown to the potential dangers. Jack also worries his brother will try to rekindle his relationship with LeeAnn, Jack’s wife, who’s recently left him. To protect his hometown and to fulfil a promise to himself, Jack seeks out his mother and environmental lawyer Stella Brantley, who abandoned Minden—and Jack and Wade–years ago.

When LeeAnn’s parents have good reason to lease their land, but their decision leads to tragedy, Jack must fight to find a common ground that will save his fractured family, their land, and the way of life they love."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"I drew on my professional experience as an environmental scientist. I have a graduate degree in geology and I worked for a while as a consultant specializing in groundwater contamination and supply issues. I’ve never worked on fracking as a geologist, but I understand how water moves through rock and fractures in the subsurface.

The book is told from a rural perspective and so I also draw on my experience living a rural life. My family is descended from Welsh immigrants who settled in a rural Pennsylvania coal area because that landscape and lifestyle was familiar. My grandfather mined coal. I spent much of my youth in a rural area and early in my adult life I lived on a dairy farm. Farmers and the land are intertwined by necessity. So I wanted to write about that bond and it’s why I chose an orchard as the story setting."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for The Promise of Pierson Orchard - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"The credit for my cover goes to my publisher, Nancy Cleary of Wyatt- MacKenzie Publishing. She did the design. She developed several options and we decided it would be fun to share them on my Facebook page and have people weigh in. We got A LOT of feedback, and that definitely informed the final cover design."
Why should we read The Promise of Pierson Orchard?
"Here’s a small excerpt that will give readers a sense of the story
“A brand new black pickup was parked between LeeAnn’s red Chevy and Jack’s old beater. A man stood beside it, with his hand raised in greeting, but he said nothing more. Coming from the bright light of the barn into the dusk prevented Jack from making out the man’s face. Jack stared in his direction. Some tug of memory caused him to hesitate. There was something familiar about the slight curl in his shoulders.
      LeeAnn emerged from the edge of the orchard and the man turned at the sound of her boots on the gravel drive. “LeeAnn?” the man said. She stopped. “Wade Pierson?” She hesitated a moment more and then walked slowly toward him. “Is it really you?”
      There, right in front of him, was his brother. Wade. Back after twenty years. He was still alive, at least. Wade’s arms encircled LeeAnn.
      Jack clenched his fists and went back into the barn. He offloaded the fruit from the wagon, bruising most of it. He washed apples with shaky hands and then crushed them for the cider press. LeeAnn and Wade came through the doorway.
      “Jack, look who’s here.” Jack glanced up and then couldn’t take his eyes from his brother’s face for a long moment. He wasn’t a sixteen year-old kid anymore. He’d grown taller than Jack and filled out. Damn if he didn’t look even more like their dad now, with that same dark red hair and fair skin. That curl of the shoulder used to give Wade the look of someone unsure of whether he belonged. But now Wade stood there smiling, like he would be welcome. Like he could just show up after all this time with as much warning as he gave on the night he left.”"
If you could / wished to turn The Promise of Pierson Orchard into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"This is a fun question.

Jack - Patrick Dempsey,
Wade - James Norton,
LeeAnn - Angelina Jolie, and
Stella – Meryl Streep"
What is your writing process?
"For me the hardest part is getting the first draft done. I much prefer the phase of editing and shaping the story. As the book gets better and better, I get more and more energized by the work."
What is in store next?
"I’m at work on my second novel, partly inspired by Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang. It will be another book club fiction novel with an eco-bent, but it’s a completely different story from my first novel. "
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"Here’s a pic of me and my beloved dog Gus, taken last fall along the Delaware River in Pennsylvania."
Beautiful and peaceful. Thank you for sharing it with us; and of course lots of head scratches to Gus.

The Promise of Pierson Orchard
Available NOW!

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