Today, I’m delighted to be joined by the lovely Loretta Nyhan.
Loretta is the author, most recently, of All the Good Parts (Lake Union Publishing), which officially drops tomorrow. Previously, she co-wrote two historical fiction novels with Suzanne Hayes: the I’ll Be Seeing You, which earned a starred review from Kirkus, and Empire Girls. Her solo works include the teen paranormal thrillers The Witch Collector Part I and The Witch Collector Part II. A lifelong reader, Loretta’s bibliophilia evolved into the need to write; she contributed to trade magazines and taught writing to college freshmen before trying her hand at fiction. Loretta makes her home in the Chicago area with her family.
Praise for All the Good Parts:
“A surprising, sweet, and unconventional story about family and friendship.”—Booklist
“All the Good Parts is wildly original and features a mixture of heartfelt and laugh-out-loud moments. The main character’s quest for motherhood is poignant and relatable…[but] it’s the ensuing complexities that arise as the main character tries to find a suitable daddy donor from a varied potential list that make this story hard to put down.”—RT Book Reviews
“Deceptively lighthearted and delightfully written, All the Good Parts is the story of a woman of a certain age, pondering a dream with a timestamp: that of becoming a mother. Should she or shouldn’t she? What’s best for her? Who should the father be? Everyone weighs in on the question: her sister, her brother-in-law, her niece. Even her home healthcare clients. But the hilarity of choosing among some mighty unusual suspects is tempered with compassion and wisdom that speaks to the very heart of what matters—of what makes us matter to ourselves and each other. And the clincher? What takes All the Good Parts over the top into must-read territory? There’s a twist near the end that will leave you breathless.”—Barbara Taylor Sissel, author of Crooked Little Lies
From the publisher:
At thirty-nine, Leona Accorsi is broke, single, back in school, and living in her sister Carly’s basement. She’s perfectly content being quirky Auntie Lee to Carly’s four children. That is, until Leona’s doctor tells her that if she wants to have a child, she’d better do it now.
Leona does want a baby. She always has, but the circumstances have never been right. Now she has a huge decision to make: face motherhood on her own or risk missing out on its rewards.
Unfortunately, she’s let her romantic life go stagnant. She barely even knows any single men. She has just a few prospects: a Vietnam vet and partial amputee, his intimidating son, the sweet but troubled man who tutors her niece, and a fellow nursing student she’s never actually met.
As Leona discovers more about each one, she realizes any of them could be the right man for the job. The more important question is, has she become the right woman?
Now, Loretta Nyhan reveals a few pages from the book of her life …
John Valeri: As a child, did you wear your literary lust loud and proud or were you a closet bibliophile?
Loretta Nyhan: I come from a pretty great family, but they weren’t readers. I recall hiding in the bathroom with my Nancy Drew books, because that was the only spot I could get some peace and quiet. Still, my mom often pounded on the door, begging me to go to the mall. How could I choose books over shopping for frosty eye shadow and Members Only jackets? Hard to believe, but I always chose books.
JV: What book(s) were you likely to be caught keeping company with under the covers?
LN: Ha! Wifey by Judy Blume. My mom found it under my mattress and noticed I’d marked a few key passages. THEN she was interested in what I was reading!
JV: What are you reading currently & what is your initial impression?
LN: M Train by Patti Smith (incredible—so vivid) and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (if you saw my desk, you’d know why).
JV: What one book do you always recommend when asked?
LN: Fiction: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. A perfect book in my ever-so-humble opinion. Non-Fiction: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. What a life-changer.
JV: Which of your own books would you suggest to readers & why?
LN: I have a special place in my heart for I’ll Be Seeing You, but I am truly excited to spring All the Good Parts onto the world! It’s probably my most humorous book, but it deals with a subject I take very seriously—overcoming fear. Leona, the main character, realizes she doesn’t have to give up on her dreams, she simply needs to find the courage and creativity to go about fulfilling them in a less-than-conventional manner.
JV: Is there a book or author that readers would be surprised to know you’ve read and liked?
LN: I love those New Adult-ish motorcycle club romances, like the ones Joanna Wylde writes. I won’t even say they’re a guilty pleasure—pleasure reading shouldn’t inspire guilt!
JV: Who is the one author that would, or did, make you weak in the knees upon meeting?
LN: I stood behind John Irving on an escalator once. This is going to sound creepy, but I was seized by an odd desire to grab the back of his jacket and hold on. I didn’t! But…it was tempting. I kept mentally trying out things to say to get his attention, but he was gone before I came up with a line that would have only mildly embarrassed both of us.
JV: Has there been an “I’ve made it” moment in your career?
LN: I went to BEA (Book Expo America convention) for I’ll Be Seeing You, and got invited to a party Harlequin was throwing at a gorgeous rooftop bar. The stars were shining, the drinks flowing, and the glittering Chrysler Building was so close I felt like I could reach out and give it a hug. I could feel something shift—not necessarily that I’d made it, but that I’d crossed over into a category where making it was a possibility.
JV: What is your greatest literary ambition?
LN: I’m not that lofty. I write to entertain people, to move them, to spark a little self-reflection—that’s really it. If I’ve created a character a reader wants to spend precious time with, then I’ve done my job.
JV: Fill in the blank: John B. Valeri / Hartford Books Examiner is _____.
LN: … an old school, omnivorous reader, and a heroic supporter of books and the folks who write them.
With thanks to Loretta Nyhan for her generosity of time and thought.