Welcome back to Jo Knowles, this time to celebrate the release of her newest novel, See You At Harry’s! Keep reading to find out how you can enter to win a free signed copy of this fabulous book! Jo is the author of Lessons From A Dead Girl (Candlewick Press), Jumping Off Swings (Candlewick Press), and Pearl (Henry Holt). See You At Harry’s (Candlewick Press/2012): Twelve-year-old Fern often feels invisible in her family, everyone seems to be busy with their own issues – Dad with running the restaurant, Mom and her meditation, eldest sibling Sarah who is spending a gap year helping out (but not really) at the restaurant, and 14-year-old brother Holden who seems to be struggling with his identity. The only family member who seems to pay her any attention (excessive in Fern’s mind) is 3-year-old Charlie, constantly happy and the center of everyone’s world. When tragedy strikes, and guilty feelings abound, the family must come together, or be lost. Fern and her family feel so incredibly real, full of all the uncomfortable and feel-good moments families share. There is pain and there is love. A must read to be cherished for favorite characters you won’t want to let go of.
Spotlight on Jo Knowles:
What was the initial spark for See You At Harry’s?
Many years ago when I put up my first Web site, I described growing up in the restaurant business on my bio page. My agent, Barry Goldblatt, read and loved the description of the trouble my brother, sister and I used to get into and said, “You need to write a book about this!” I agreed! But there wasn’t really a story there, just a setting. In addition to that, I knew writing any story that involved memories of my brother would be painful (he died 8 years ago). But, Barry’s suggestion stayed with me. One day, I decided the only way to write the book was to sit down, open a new file, and see what happened. So I did.
I adore Fern, the main character in See You At Harry’s – she is vulnerable, kind, and feels a little invisible. What were the challenges in getting to know her and the other family members in the story?
Oh, thank you! I love Fern too. She’s the me I wish I was. We have a lot in common, but Fern has way more spunk and snark than I do. For me, the big challenge was making this family different from my own. When I first started writing, I found myself rewriting real scenes from my own childhood, and that was keeping me from finding my way into the fictional world of this other family. But as I worked my way deeper into the plot, the “truth” of each of us slipped away, and I was able to discover who each of these characters were and what made them unique and special.
I love the diner – you grew up in a restaurant family. What are some of your favorite memories?
I loved the ice-cream. What can I say? J My dad’s first restaurant was also an ice-cream factory. In the back of the restaurant, there was this huge room where the mixing tanks were. When the batches were ready, my dad would fill big containers with the fresh ice-cream. He always let us have some right out of the tank. When it first comes out of the machine, it’s still soft, like “soft serve” I guess you’d say, but it was sooooo much better than soft serve because it was far more rich and creamy. I also loved it when my parents let us make our own sundaes, and we could pile on as much chocolate and caramel sauce and whipped cream as we wanted. But mostly, my favorite memories are simply of all of us being together in what was basically our second home.
Little Jo loves her ice cream! :)
Win a signed copy of See You At Harry’s!
Jo has generously offered to send a signed copy of her book to a winner of this drawing! Make sure you follow the rules! This is a book you don’t want to miss reading! If you are reading this via a feed, click here to comment/enter the drawing.
1. Comment on this post – and for fun, tell me the name of your favorite ice cream flavor! If you’re like me and can’t eat ice cream, tell me the name of your favorite substitute! Mine is dark chocolate sorbet.
2. Please include your email address so I can notify you if you win.
3. Leave your comment by midnight EST, Friday, May 18th. Winner will be announced on this blog on Tuesday, May 22, and will be contacted by email.
4. Winner must have a US or Canada mailing address.
Good luck and thanks for stopping by!