Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman, which made my Best of 2013 list, is due out in paperback this month. Her second novel weaves “a story that will enchant readers with not only its southern charm and hospitality, but also the mysteries of family connections and miscommunications.”
Today, Beth will regale us with her wit and charm in a short interview.
Thank you so much for inviting me to chat with you, Serena.
1. In Looking for Me (on Kobo), Teddi Overman has a gift for restoring old furniture, but she seems unable to cope with the past. How do you think her ability to restore furniture reflects her inability to address her own past or the life she leads after high school?
Teddi adores her brother, and her hope for his survival is a tangled mess of guilt, unbearable grief, and even anger. These feelings translate into how she believes even the most severely damaged piece of furniture can be resurrected. By immersing herself in her craft, each repair represents how she’s trying to mend herself and her past.
2. Have you ever restored furniture or found a piece that just spoke to you?
Though I’ve restored a few pieces, I don’t have the patience to do what Teddi did. She was a master. Yes, certain pieces speak to me, and when they do it’s like being reunited with an old friend. Years ago I walked by an antiques shop and saw a circa 1908 Herschell-Spillman carousel horse in the window. My reaction was so powerful that nothing could have stopped me from having him. He was far outside my budget, but I found ways to scrape together enough to finally bring him home. I named him Ziggy.
3. When we leave home, we often leave behind who we were or were expected to be, how is this true of Teddi and do you think those pieces we leave behind can ever be recaptured?
The best way I can sum up my feelings is to quote Teddi: “I thought about that old saying, how we can never go home again. But I think it’s more like a piece of us stays behind when we leave—a piece we can never reclaim. One that awaits our next visit and demands that we remember.”
4. Between Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and Looking for Me, could you describe your experience in publishing and editing the books? How were they the same and how were they different?
CeeCee’s story was my debut, and I had no idea what to expect once it was acquired.
I had edited the manuscript with a ruthless hand, so the re-pub editing was minimal and easy. But when the book published I felt like I’d been shot out of a cannon! I’m an introvert, so having a big spotlight shined on my face was frightening. Plus, I didn’t know how grueling a book tour could be. But it was an amazing experience that I wouldn’t trade.
When Looking for Me published I knew the ropes and had my feet beneath me, so I was better prepared.
5. What current projects are you working on? Care to share any details?
I recently started a new novel, and so far I’m enthralled with the characters. The story takes place in two historic districts that sit back-to-back in Northern Kentucky (Newport and Covington). The two female main characters (one in her early 30s and one in her silver years) are both hiding something. It’s through their unusual friendship that their mysteries unfold.
Thanks, Beth, for sharing a little bit about your books with us and about your new work. I know I cannot wait to read it!
****Enter to win a copy of Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman by leaving a comment here. You must live in the continental U.S. to enter. Deadline to enter is May 9, 2014, by 11:59 PM EST.***