Today I have author Darcie Chan on the blog for an interview! Since I already have an overflowing mountain of a TBR pile, one of you has to read The Mill River Redemption for me. 🙂
“A satisfying read with sympathetic and relatable characters that will be good for book group discussions and vacation reading.” —Library Journal
In THE MILL RIVER REDEMPTION, Josie DiSanti, recently widowed, flees her New York City home with her two young daughters to take refuge in Mill River, Vermont, and live with her only remaining relative, Ivy Collard, the local bookstore owner and a woman Josie barely knows. There, the young mother and her girls build a new life—until a shocking tragedy tears the sisters apart. Years later, the sisters are forced together for the reading of their mother’s will, and what they discover shakes up their worlds, forever shaping their futures.
***** Interview *****
Thank you for your interview. Can you tell readers a little about yourself?
Thank you for inviting me for an interview! I’m a lawyer-recently-turned-writer, although my path through that transition is rather unlikely. I like to write stories about regular people faced with extraordinary circumstances, with all the humor and heartache those situations bring. I grew up in small towns in several states, but I currently live in the New York City metro area — yet another unlikely development for someone whose hometown has only two stoplights!
In your own words, can you tell us a little bit about your book, The Mill River Redemption?
The Mill River Redemption is the story of a newly-widowed mother, Josie DiSanti, and her struggle to start a new life and provide for her two daughters, Rose and Emily. It’s told in two timelines. One takes place in the past and shows how Josie recovers from the loss of her husband to become a strong single parent. The other begins at Josie’s wake, when her now-adult daughters, who have been estranged for years, are thrust into a last-ditch scheme concocted by Josie to force their reconciliation. The two timelines merge and move forward as one at the climax of the novel.
How did growing up in small towns across the country set the scene for your novels?
It’s true that pretty much all of my childhood was spent living in small towns. The smallest of them — Cheraw, Colorado — still holds school only four days per week because it’s cheaper for the school district to go four long days than pay staff and bus expenses for a typical five-day week! I feel comfortable writing about small towns…it’s what I know best, and when I began to work out the story for my first novel, there was never any question that it would have a small-town setting. I wanted Mill River to have the same strong sense of community, peaceful atmosphere, and friendly neighbors that I’d known while I was growing up.
How would you describe the characters in your book?
I wanted very much for the characters in my books to be the kinds of people that many would easily recognize — friendly folks, most with normal, regular jobs who experience common problems. I wanted my readers to feel comfortable with the people in Mill River, much as they would feel about a friendly, long-term neighbor. However, I did want my characters to be memorable, too, so several of them have peculiar quirks, and others find themselves in extraordinary situations.
How were you motivated along the way to become a writer?
I have always loved books and reading, and I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. I think the first time that I articulated that was in middle school…I think I was eleven years old. After winning a school writing contest, I rushed home with my little trophy and announced to my parents that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. The truth is that writing makes me happy, and I write for myself, first and foremost. I suppose my motivation was rooted in that truth, and also the dreamy idea of being able to do something I enjoyed so much as a job!
It took me a while to get to a place where I felt ready to seriously try on my “writing cap.” I wanted to finish my education and make sure that I could always take care of myself financially, which is tough to do as a writer. In college, I was an English major, and I became very interested in environmental law. Later on, after finishing college and law school and settling into a legal job I loved, I decided it was finally time to attempt a first novel.
Since starting out, what has been the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer?
I’ve learned a few things since I’ve started writing full-time. First, it’s very important to have some structure to my work day. That means getting enough sleep (which I’m always tempted NOT to do since I love to write late into the night) and setting manageable daily and weekly goals. I’ve also learned that starting a career as a writer is much easier than maintaining such a career. I have readers literally pestering me about when I’ll have another book out — and this is a very good thing and something for which I’m grateful, don’t get me wrong — but I feel the weight of people’s expectations now, including my own. Learning to manage those expectations and the inevitable uncertainty and self-doubt that creeps into my mind every once in a while has taken some work.
Do you have any other books in the works?
I’ve just sent the first draft of the third Mill River book to my editor! I’m not sure what I’ll write next, but once promotion for The Mill River Redemption slows down a bit, I’ll focus on deciding which idea will become the focus of my next book.
Now for some fun! This or That!
- Hugs or Kisses? Hugs!
- Coffee or Tea? Both! Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon!
- Drama or Action? Drama.
- Dogs or Cats? Cats! (Although I love animals of all kinds!)
- Night or Day? Night, definitely. I love to write late at night, into the wee hours of the morning!
- Sand or Snow? Snow! I was born in Wisconsin and lived there until age six. I’m pretty sure that’s why I still feel like there’s something wrong if snow isn’t on the ground by Halloween!
***** About the Author *****
Darcie Chan is the New York Times bestselling author of the eBook sensation The Mill River Recluse and the novel The Mill River Redemption. She has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. For fourteen years, Chan worked as an attorney drafting environmental and natural resource legislation for the U.S. Senate. She now writes fiction full-time and lives north of New York City with her husband and son.