Next month, on April 11, I have a brand-new book coming out from Montlake called “Talk of the Town.” Set in the fictional town of Skagiton, it’s about moms, meddling and matchmaking.
The heart of the story centers on an unsuspecting Little League coach named Peter who suddenly becomes the most popular bachelor in town and has no idea why. Unbeknownst to him, his sister has advertised for him in the Skagiton Moms Facebook group. She posts things like “If you want to meet my brother, stop by Carol’s Diner at 8 a.m. and you can ‘accidentally’ run into him.” With his sister’s endorsement, Peter becomes a magnet for every single mom in town — except the one he wants, a young widow named Noelle.
I began each chapter with a thread from the Skagiton Moms Facebook group. That meant showing the power of online communities at their best — and worst. The same group that helps a young mom figure out how to force her deadbeat ex to pay child support, also spreads misinformation about organic food. The same community that figures out how to rescue an injured owl, has contentious debates over whether hygiene kits should be available in local schools. Anyone who has ever taken part in a Facebook group where someone has posted “Moderator! Please help!” will get a chuckle.
One of my favorite passages from “Talk of the Town” is this one:
“Women need to talk with other women. We spend so much of our lives rushing from one task to the next. Everyone relies on us. Our kids. Our spouses. Our bosses. Our parents. And then there’s always another load of laundry waiting in the dryer for us to fold.”
I feel this passage deep in my soul. I wouldn’t be the mother I am today without the support of other women.
As for the location of the book, I’m excited to introduce readers all over the world to the beauty of Skagit Valley. Mount Vernon was my inspiration for Skagiton. I wanted a setting where there was nearby farm country as well as an influx of newcomers driving up the real estate market.
Here’s what I wrote in the author’s note at the end of the book:
“Skagiton is a fictional place, but the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is real. There is no Carol’s Diner, but you can eat the best breakfast of your life at the Calico Cupboard Café and Bakery in Mount Vernon or La Conner. Thank you to Skagit Valley farmers, who grow over ninety crops, including flower bulbs and berries. I am grateful for all you do.”
Will readers fall in love with Peter and Noelle? I sure hope so. “Talk of the Town” is a lighthearted romance filled with small-town humor and hijinks, but it has a deeper message as well. Women need women. Sometimes the best thing you could do for a person is to listen.
Jennifer Bardsley is the author of “Sweet Bliss,” “Good Catch” and more. Find her online on Instagram @jenniferbardsleyauthor, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as @JenniferBardsleyAuthor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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