Welcome back to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Joanne!
Hi Kathleen and readers. Thanks so much for having me here. As an author, it’s always fun to talk about the connections between writing and life. I write contemporary women’s fiction, and when I’m not writing I love spending time with my family walking, talking and sharing coffee. Music, the sea, art and relationships are all a part of my days and inspiration.
Do you have a day job, or is being an author your career?
I am a full-time author. It is my career; I write and work on my books every single day.
Please give a brief description/storyline about Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans.
Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans is the story of a group of friends who reunite at the beloved summer beach of their youth. But while sorting through their tangled adult lives, lost friendships and loves surface and intertwine, changing the course of these friends’ lives in ways they couldn’t possibly imagine …
What was the inspiration for this story?
A little treasure of a beach nestled in a crook of the Connecticut coast where I’ve spent many summers. I owe the story’s inspiration to Point O’ Woods Beach, the type of seaside haven where I could just picture my characters coming to life.
Do you write books for a specific genre?
Yes, I write contemporary women’s fiction. I love to explore themes of friendship, mothers and daughters, love and choices on the page.
When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes?
I write full-time, but love the morning writing hours with coffee the best. My week’s writing schedule is always planned ahead in my favorite leather itinerary-journal. This keeps my production always moving forward.
What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing?
It’s interesting that the things I love tend to inspire and appear in my writing—walking, spending time by the sea, visiting coffee shops, working in my garden, hanging out with my family, going to concerts together, exploring beautiful sites in New England. It’s a “whole latte” fun.
What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received?
Write the book you would want to read. Authenticity, genuineness and passion for the writing and storyline will shine through. Don’t chase a trend. When you stay true to your vision and your heart, your readers will stay true to you.
What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer?
The most gratifying experience came last June, when my debut novel Whole Latte Life was awarded First Place in the 2012 Discovery Awards at Book Expo America. To have my novel so well-received was a fulfillment of many of my writing goals and desires. I’m thankful for that recognition.
How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans?
I love interacting with my fans on my Facebook Page, Twitter and my Author Newsletter. For my readers who enjoy lingering with coffee and a good book, that's what I'm brewing on my social media. Books, talk and life ... They're all part of the mix.
Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us?
I’m immersed in the writing of my next novel. It’s set in Whole Latte Life's fictional town of Addison, Connecticut, where one sunny spring morning, lives are forever changed by an unexpected tragedy.
Thanks so much, Kathleen, for hosting me. I’ve loved visiting at Jersey Girl Book Reviews today.
Coffee Cheers. ~Joanne
Joanne, thank you for visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews and sharing a little bit about yourself and your writing career with us.
About The Author
Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut, where the coffee and stories are always brewing. She is currently at work on her next book.
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Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans by Joanne DeMaio
Publisher: Independent Self-Publishing
Publication Date: March 11, 2013
Format: Paperback - 319 pages / Kindle - 510 KB / Nook - 892 KB
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction
BUY THE BOOK: Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review.
After years of pursuing a denim design career, Maris Carrington never imagined trading her Chicago studio for a New England shingled cottage. But a forgotten home movie tucked inside a dusty attic box leads to an unexpected summer ... One of uncovering family secrets while settling her father's estate, one of inheriting a forlorn German Shepherd, one of reconnecting with old friends on a weathered boardwalk, beneath starlit skies on a beach nestled in a crook of the Connecticut coast.
Her design career had become a shell, curving around her like the intricate whorls of a conch, shielding her until now. Until fried clam dinners and carousel rides beckon a lost love. But can Maris ever really go back? Can these beach friends ever be who they were to each other all those summers ago? Now one of her circle is dead; another unemployed and struggling in a tenuous marriage; another regretting a fateful decision; while one is missing a mother, ever seeking a connection she longs for.
To the backdrop of seaside cottages and a boarded up beach hangout, to the soundtrack of whispering lagoon grasses and a vintage jukebox, Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans asks if we can really design our own lives, or if our fate lies somewhere in the stars.
My Book Review:
Just like the ebb and flow of the tide, life brings issues and changes to one's life, but the bonds of friendship, sea air and salt water are cleansing, they cure what ails you.
For a group of old friends, a summer reunion spent together on the shores of Long Island Sound in the idyllic seashore town of Stony Point, Connecticut, will bring them a chance to strengthen the bonds of friendship and provide a healing balm as they each deal with a variety life issues: love, relationships, loss, secrets, private demons, seeking redemption and second chances.
Maris Carrington is a top denim fashion designer living in Chicago, who comes back to her hometown in Connecticut to settle the estate of her late father. Old memories of summers spent in Stony Point linger, it has been twelve years since her last summer at the Connecticut shore. Maris faces an indecision of what she really wants in life: an engagement/marriage to her corporate attorney boyfriend Scott in Chicago, or the peace and tranquility of living in Stony Point. While viewing old home movies a family secret is revealed and a chance to rekindle an old love keeps Maris from wanting to return to Chicago.
Eva Gallagher is a Stony Point Realtor and is married to her childhood sweetheart Matt, a State Trooper. They have a teenage daughter named Taylor. But a happy marriage and family life isn't enough for Eva, she was adopted at the age of one and is haunted with not knowing who her birth parents are or her true identity. The wondering never goes away and her obsession with online searching of adoption websites causes issues and tension with her husband and daughter.
Jason Barlow is an architect who owns Barlow Architecture, a small design and construction business specializing in renovating beach cottages that he started with his deceased brother Neil. Seven years ago, Jason and Neil were in a motorcycle accident that took Neil's life and left Jason with a prosthetic left leg. Wracked with guilt over the loss of his brother, he is consumed with grief, Neil is now but a shadow and a whispered voice in his head. Trying to heal and move forward with his life and business, perhaps a rekindling of old friendships and an old love may be just what he needs to quiet his private demons.
Kyle Bradford is an unemployed shipbuilder who works part-time as a cook in a diner. He is married to his childhood sweetheart Lauren, and they have two children: Evan (six) and Hailey (four). Cooking is his passion, but it is also his downfall, as his continued unemployment stands in the way of maintaining a happy marriage. Lauren is unhappy with the constant financial struggle in their marriage, she longs for a lost lover and a time when she used to paint seascapes on driftwood.
For this group of old friends, a summer in Stony Point will strengthen their bonds of friendship and provide a healing solace that will help rebuild their lives.
Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans is a poignant story of rebuilding friendships and dealing with life's issues that tug at your heartstrings. In her second novel, author Joanne DeMaio weaves an emotional tale written in the third person narrative that alternates between five character perspectives, and is set in the present with flashbacks to the past. The reader is transported to the tranquil seashore town of Stony Point, Connecticut, where they follow along with Maris, Eva, Matt, Jason, Kyle and Lauren as they reconnect and deal with challenges of real life, secrets and personal demons. Each has a story to tell, they come alive as their hopes, regrets, love, loss, choices and memories are revealed to the reader.
Author Joanne DeMaio easily captivates her readers' attention with this beautifully written and emotional tale through a seamless and flowing storyline, and with a wonderful description of a tranquil beach setting that wraps itself around the reader like a sun-warmed beach towel. The characters draw you into their lives with a strong emotional pull, their complexities and flaws are true-to-life, it is easy to relate to each of their stories with compassion, empathy and hope.
Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans is an intricate story of interweaving friendships and real life challenges that is both heart wrenching and inspirational. It is a powerful and compelling story that will have you feeling the full gamut of emotions while soothing your soul, it is a story that will resonate with you long after the last word has been read.
RATING: 5 STARS *****