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Tuesday 20 October 2015

ℚ♫ The Secret Letters - Abby Bardi

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about The Secret Letters (, AUS Impulse, 168 pages) a Contemporary Romance.

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

A big welcome to Abby Bardi; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter.

What was the inspiration for The Secret Letters?

"My inspiration for The Secret Letters was a car accident across the street from me that all my neighbors gathered around to enjoy.  It sounds strange, but I had never actually met any of them, and I never saw most of them again, but I started making up stories about them in my head and they became the Barlow family."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"The characters in the book are nothing like me, or for that matter, anyone I actually know.  They seemed to invent themselves and then insist that I write about them.  I can’t think of anything that actually happened to me that also happens in the book, but the fictional town they live in, Patapsco Mills, bears a suspicious resemblance to my own town, Ellicott City, Maryland.  Both the fictional and the real town seem to me to have an aura of sadness hanging over them because they have turned into suburbs and lost their identities as small towns."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for The Secret Letters - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"The publisher, HarperCollins Australia, came up with the cover, and I loved the concept, but the first photo they used seemed to be of a town in Australia.  I sent them a photo of Ellicott City and they found a more Maryland-like photo to use.  I think it’s somewhere in Annapolis, but I can’t really tell, and it has a characteristically Maryland-style tower in it that I like."
Why should we read The Secret Letters and what sets it apart from the rest?   What makes your book unique?
"Gosh, I don’t know!  There are a lot of wonderful books out there.  I think what makes The Secret Letters, and for that matter, The Book of Fred unique, or at least fun, are the lovable characters. That’s what people tell me, anyway."
Can you tell us something quirky about The Secret Letters, its story and characters?
"Well, since I know you like to hear about music, I should mention that one of my initial inspirations for The Secret Letters was Brian Wilson’s Smile album.  Back when the book first began taking shape in my mind, Smile was still only a legend among hardcore Brian fans. I spent hours scouring the internet for sound clips from the album, and I read a lot of books about Brian—who thank goodness has finally gotten the recognition he deserved as a musical genius and released the Smile album to great acclaim.  But when I was in the throes of my Smile obsession, he was going through a period of obscurity: I saw in him concert in Baltimore and there were rows and rows of empty seats.  So, to make a long, quirky story short, Smile is organized around the elements, and so is The Secret Letters; there is a section for each element: earth, water, air, fire."
Here is the third movement from Smile - The Elements.

Who would you recommend The Secret Letters to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?

"Yes, thanks for asking: my characters cuss a lot.  I told them to stop, but they said they couldn’t help it, it was just the way they talked."
If you could / wished to turn The Secret Letters into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"There’s only one possible answer to this: John Waters.  He understands Baltimore women.  And of course, it would be filmed here in Ellicott City."

What do you like to write and read about?  Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"I like to read and write in a variety of genres, but I guess I gravitate toward things that are funny.  Dickens, for example, is hilarious.  Right now I’m reading a novel about academia called Dear Committee Members that has me literally LOL.  I think all good humor has a core of great seriousness."
What is your writing process?
"I think of ideas for novels all the time, but I only pursue them if they give me a tingling sensation.  Then I walk my dog a lot while thinking about the characters and the plot.  I map out my ideas in a rough outline that I will keep altering as I go.  When I feel ready to write, I wait until I have a first line that feels right, and then I start.  Sometimes I give up after a hundred pages, if it doesn’t seem to be working.  I write every day during writing season, several hours each morning.  Then I walk my dog some more."
What is in store next?
"My next novel, Double Take, will be released by HarperCollins Australia next year—right now the date is March."
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?
"B.B. and me"

Wonderful - and an active part of your writing process ;-)  Thank you for sharing with us!

The Secret Letters - available NOW!

UK: purchase from purchase from Nook UK purchase from Kobo UK purchase from iTunes UK purchase from Google Books find on Goodreads
US: purchase from purchase from Barnes & Noble purchase from Kobo purchase from iTunes US

2 comments: said...

Thanks so much for hosting this! I'm happy that you included a link to Smile. :)

BooksChatter said...

Hi! thank you for popping by! I love finding out about music and oddities :-)