“A new star in
contemporary women’s fiction.”
__South Florida Sun-Sentinel
After debuting in April, 2007 with the award winning novel, Catching Genius, Kristy Kiernan (Matters of Faith 2008) established herself as a voice for “Everywomen” facing daily life in a complicated world. Known for her gifted storytelling of timely issues, the author offers us her third novel, Between Friends, next Tuesday, April 6, 2010.
Described as, A provocative new novel about birth, death, and the stuff in-between, this could only be a story written of friends and family — those who love you through the good, the bad, and the challenging times of life.
The challenging times? To better understand — without *spoilers* –, please read the synopsis:
There was a time when Ali Gutierrez would have been forced to give up her dreams of motherhood. But thanks to modern reproductive technology—and the gift of her best friend’s eggs—Ali is now the mother of fourteen-year-old Letty.
Now, yearning for a second child, Ali asks her best friend’s permission to use another of the frozen embryos that have been stored away, awaiting this decision. But Cora has a secret that could not only change Ali’s plans for the future, but tear apart her life right now….
In this thoughtful, complex novel, Kristy Kiernan shows us two women struggling with life-changing decisions—and explores both timely moral issues and timeless truths about the definition of family.
The subject of infertility could not be timelier or more personal, yet — in reviewing Between Friends for Ft. Meyers Magazine –, Philip K. Jason writes “It’s Complicated” and discloses when and how the author first had the idea:
“The interest in in-vitro fertilization preceded Between Friends by 10-15 years. While on a trip to Gainesville to visit a friend, Kiernan noticed ads inside public restrooms offering money to women who would sell their eggs. She wondered if the young University of Florida women who made money this way had considered the long-range consequences of their decisions.
“As with the food allergy interest [in Matters of Faith], the author had no idea that a novel would draw upon the facts she began storing away. Years later, a conversation with a friend about kidney donation led Kiernan to explore how that process worked. More time passed, and she began to wonder how the two issues might complicate one another. What if the egg donor had a disease that could be transmitted to her genetic child? Kiernan’s ‘what if’ led her to discover PKD – and then she had the building blocks for Between Friends.”
However there is more to this backstory. For, according to her website’s Frequently Asked Questions (see left sidebar), Kristy describes that her interests “come together as a rather violent and random smashing together of ideas in my mind…much like bumper cars. Every once in a while they get stuck together, and I decide they’re a novel.”
Now logically it would seem that, since Kristy is doing the smashing, she would be in control of timing. But when asked, she said:
“I don’t decide on the timing at all. I’d like to be able to say that I pay attention to rising trends or hot topics and then pluck a few ideas I have hanging around and put them together to write a novel, but the fact is, that smashing, much like a real accident, is always a surprise to me. And, again much like a real accident, once it happens, I have to deal with it. When the novel becomes a full idea in my mind, I sit down and write it. I don’t wait for a more opportune moment. And it so happens that my topics are timely, fabulous…and accidental.”
Actually it’s sheer genius because the ideas work through the author’s empathetic writing of fully drawn characters. Like Every(wo)men, they’re selfish, imperfect, and make decisions that leave readers wondering what were they thinking?
And Kristy admits this is intentional by giving her characters free rein in decision-making even when she, “…might not personally agree with the decision, but when I’m writing it, I’m not thinking like me…I’m thinking like them. And that seems to be a frighteningly easy thing for me to do.”
Although Between Friends is filled with decisions galore, there is not one issue presented as purely black or white. Instead this writer knows the gray area of life — where there are at least two sides to every situation — and she voices both (or more) by giving alternating chapters to Ali, Cora, and sometimes the third person narration of Letty. In addition there are the very real secondary characters that bring a reality check to this novel. And Kristy acknowledges: “I always try to incorporate friends into my characters’ lives. Very few people live in a vacuum, but I keep reading books that seem to concentrate only on the main characters, and it never seems very realistic to me. We all have outside influences.”
Interestingly enough, those outside influences also affect the characters’ respective choices. For the real truth of Between Friends is what might feel and appear to be a personal choice affects everyone. The fact of this overlapping, universal connection isn’t original but the author makes it so.
Kristy confirms that truth of connection by sharing: “It’s the major theme of my whole life, Larramie, as it is everyone else’s, even if they don’t think about it that way.”
Between Friends will make you aware of that message as well as much more. While the writing flows effortlessly, the dialogue echoes in one’s mind, and the details transform fiction into reality, it is impossible to read this novel. Instead you will live within the pages and remember the characters’ experiences as a personal memory between friends.
Between Friends is available for PRE-ORDER, allowing for delivery next week. Already pre-ordered? Perhaps another copy as a gift…for your friend.
Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away two copies of Between Friends in a random drawing of all comments left on this post. The deadline is Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winners to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return on Thursday to possibly claim your book.