Reviewed by A.M. Leibowitz – http://bit.ly/2aGUwnb
This is an intense read, but I’m glad I picked this one up. Because there are already social stigmas against LGBTQ+ people, it can be difficult to talk about how communities are affected by intimate partner violence. This book does not mince words, and I think it’s an important story to tell.
Jeya is a compelling narrator, and its easy to be sympathetic toward her. I actually found it harder to like Roman, her best friend who wants to help her leave her abusive girlfriend. I understand his protective nature, but it sometimes felt like he overstepped, and his own anger was obviously difficult for Jeya to manage. I appreciated that Rayne wasn’t a stock villain—she was as complicated as Jeya, and I had sympathy for her as well even while wanting her to get help and stop hurting Jeya.
The only thing holding me back with this book was that a lot of it felt like telling us more back story than we probably needed. I wanted to spend more time in the moment, but there was a lot of extra detail I didn’t find relevant to the specific storyline. I would have liked instead to have more about Jeya’s work, especially with the young woman who came to her for help. Drawing that out in parallel to Jeya’s personal issues would have been compelling.
Despite that, I came away from this feeling like I’d learned something. This is definitely a worthwhile read, and I highly recommend it.
For deep insights, a strong main character, and a good exploration of a sensitive subject, this gets 8.5/10 fountain pens.
On sale August 12 – can’t wait, get your copy today – http://amzn.to/2512nUS
What inspired you to write this story?
I was inspired to write this story for a number of reasons. The initial inspiration came from thinking about a past relationship and how manipulative it had been. My first book had some conflict but nothing to this degree. I wanted to write something that had more conflict for the characters and decided I wanted to write a story about an abusive relationship.
I also wanted to bring awareness to the issue of intimate partner violence in same sex relationships, particularly women. There’s a misconception that it doesn’t happen or it isn’t viewed with the same gravity as intimate partner violence in heterosexual relationships.
Is there a character you feel especially connected to? Why?
I love all of my characters and have a place in my heart for them all. But I am especially connected to Trevor, a secondary character in the book. When Trevor was introduced into the story, I immediately fell for him and wanted to tell his story. His childhood is an interesting one. I am considering a novella for him.
My MC, Jeya is a character that I am connected to as well. I had a tough time at one point finishing her story. It was through her that I came to some hard truths about my own past, and so there is a connection we share because of that process.
What was the hardest part of writing this?
The hardest part of writing Fistful of Love was acknowledging my own truth. The manipulative relationship that I mentioned before was more than that. It was abusive, something that I speak to on my acknowledgements page. That was a hard realization, but writing this was cathartic for me.
Choose a favorite line or short passage. What do you like about it?
Roman reached in his back pocket for his wallet, and took out enough cash to cover both meals. He placed the money on the table and stood up. He looked down at Jeya, his heart constricted at seeing the tears brimming in her eyes. He leaned down and placed a soft kiss to her cheek and whispered in her ear. “I love you, always will, but I can’t love you more than you love yourself. I guess I am not strong enough for that.” And then he left.
I chose this passage because it was actually heart breaking in the moment as I wrote it. Roman and Jeya are best friends. Their friendship means the world to each other. Roman is the only person Jeya calls family and to have him walk away from her, was heartbreaking. It’s actually one of my favorite scenes in the book.
Tell us a little about any upcoming projects.
My first novel “Tastes Like Cherry” has a sequel coming. I need to give it a lot more time and attention, but my plan/hope is to have it released by the end of the year. The working title is “Tastes Bittersweet.”
I plan to write a sequel to Fistful of Love and maybe a novella, with Trevor and his boyfriend Marco. They are secondary characters in the book, but I love them dearly.
I have a few WIP’s that are vying for my attention as well. I’ve thought about doing an anthology of some of those stories, but only time will tell what happens with that.
Are there any types of scene you find hard to write (action, love, death, etc.)?
Action scenes are hard for me to write. I feel like I wouldn’t do a good job of capturing what is actually happening. There is an action scene in Fistful of Love and I can admit that it was a struggle.
What do you do when you feel stuck (writer’s block)?
I walk away from the story (sometimes for too long) and then come back to it. I read a lot while I am not writing to get inspired to go back. It’s hard to bounce back, because when I have writer’s block, I begin to doubt myself. I question my ability as an author and feel unqualified.
How do you handle a story that doesn’t go as you planned?
I embrace it. It’s part of the process, as frustrating as it may be. Sometimes the change is much better than what I had planned. It reminds me that I am not always in control and that my characters are driving the story.
What’s your favorite food? Macaroni & Cheese
What’s your favorite movie? Dirty Dancing
What’s a charity/cause you support? AIDS Action Committee Boston
Do you have any body art? 7 tattoos (updated since initial interview on 5/23/16)
If you could have any career (other than writer), what would it be? Choreographer
Link to interview and review: http://bit.ly/2aGUwnb
On sale for .99 cents – Friday, August 12 http://amzn.to/2512nUS
Blurb: At the age of 23, social worker, Jeya Wellington was pretty much on her own. The devastating loss of her parents left her bereft and alone. Her best friend, Roman and his family have been li…
At the age of 23, social worker, Jeya Wellington was pretty much on her own. The devastating loss of her parents left her bereft and alone. Her best friend, Roman and his family have been like surrogates, but they could never replace what she lost. She needed a different connection. Shortly after losing her parents, she finds love and comfort in the arms of Rayne Watson, a correctional officer.
Rayne was exactly what she needed at the time, but now, two years later, Jeya wants out. She never expected love to come with bruises. She didn’t anticipate losing friends and living in fear. This was not her idea of true love. With the support of Roman, Jeya finds a way to leave. But Rayne isn’t letting go that easily. They made a commitment to each, and she has the tattoo to prove it – ‘Til Death Do Us Part.
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Today I’m very lucky to be hosting Renee Cronin author of Fistful of Love! She’s going to tell us a little about herself and what she wanted to be when she grew up. Thanks for visiting, Renee…
- An autographed copy of both of my books – Fistful of Love & Tastes Like Cherry
- A digital copy of both books – Fistful of Love & Tastes Like Cherry
Swag gifts included in either choice!
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Raffle ends April 5th