Friday, July 22, 2011

GUEST POST: Robyn Bradley (author of Forgotten April)

Good morning, all! It's time for another lovely stop along the The Virtual Book Tour Cafe's literary route, this time featuring Robyn Bradley, who has stopped by to promote her latest work, Forgotten April.

Robyn Bradley is a Short Story Seductress and Novelist Ninja with an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University. Her work has appeared in, Metal Scratches, The Breakwater Review, Writer's Digest, and The MetroWest Daily News, among other places. In 2007, she won a short story award for “A Touch of Charlotte.” Forgotten April is her first novel. When she's not writing or sleeping, Robyn enjoys watching Law & Order marathons, drinking margaritas, and determining how many degrees really separate her from George Clooney. Learn more at

Before we get into Robyn's guest post, let's take a quick look at Forgotten April.

Forgotten AprilFor April Sullivan-LaMonica, the last ten years have been hell: her husband and young son were killed in a car accident, and soon after, her mom descended into the darkness of Alzheimer’s. So when broadcast journalist Maggie Prescott shows up claiming to be April’s half sister and tries to capture their reunion on film, April outwardly regards Maggie with much suspicion. In reality, she’s simply afraid to grow close to someone again, only to have that person leave — or worse.

Maggie, meanwhile, is battling her own demons: figuring out why her biological mother gave her up, facing a secret she’s kept from the one man she’s loved all her life, and giving herself permission to follow the dream she’s had since she was a child.

Separated by nearly two decades and radically different life paths, April and Maggie must decide if pursuing their sisterhood is worth it…or even possible.

A story of loss, love, survival, and redemption, Forgotten April will speak to anyone who’s experienced the pains — and riches — of an unexpected friendship that emerges from family ties.

Without further ado, please welcome the lovely Robyn Bradley, and her thoughs on Book Love!


Book Love: Stories That Made Me Want to Write

By Robyn Bradley

One of my favorite magazines, The Week, has a section called "The Book List." I always turn to these pages first so I can see the latest buzz on the newest books and because I love reading the "Author of the Week" and "Best Books Chosen By " columns. I particularly like the latter, probably because I hope one day to grace these pages with my own book "picks." (Hey, a girl can dream, right?) But I also enjoy seeing what books other writers consider to be the best. I've never seen two lists that are alike, and I've been a subscriber for years.

So to prep me for this auspicious moment when, perhaps, I might be invited to share my list with The Week, how 'bout I get started here by sharing six titles that made me want to write? Here we go (and a big thank you to Sally for allowing me the space to do this):

"The Veldt" by Ray Bradbury
This is a short story, but don't let its length fool you: this suspense-filled piece starts innocently enough about a nursery that literally reflects what the kids are reading and learning about. Sound like fun? Well, let's just say parents should watch out. I'm not sure exactly how old I was when I read this story (I'm guessing sixth grade-ish?), but I remember holding my breath throughout most of it. I knew, even then, that I wanted my own words to produce a similar effect.

"The Fourth State of Matter" by Jo Ann Beard (from The Boys of My Youth)
I came to Beard's collection through this essay, which originally appeared in The New Yorker. This piece made me want to write nonfiction. I especially love how Beard plays with time, using "flash forwards" to bring insight into her narrative, which she writes in present tense.

Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris
This was my first introduction to Sedaris, back in the mid 90s. Who doesn't love to laugh at the absurdity of life? Sedaris's commentaries are always spot-on and taught me that if I'm ever at a loss for material I should look no further than my own family. (If you ever get a chance to see him live, GO -- I was lucky enough to see him at Symphony Hall in Boston. It's a whole new experience to hear him read his work.)

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
I'm a big fan of Picoult, and this is the first novel of hers that I read. This book gave me permission to play with point of view. It was the first multiple first-person narrative I'd ever read, and it inspired me during my drafting of Forgotten April.

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Shriver is one of my favorite writers. (Check out The Post-Birthday World as well.) She's fearless, smart, and has insight into human behavior that transcends her to goddess territory. This book is told in letters: the main character, Eva, is writing letters to her estranged husband about their teenage son, Kevin, who committed mass murder in his high school. It's as brilliant as it is disturbing.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Here's how I described this book to a good friend of mine: it's like watching the sun set off a Cape Cod beach during a winter's day. It's a quiet book, in many ways, made up of stand-alone short stories with one common character -- Olive Kitteridge -- but in this solitude, I found profound insight and solace.

What are some books that changed your world? The comments are open!

(Thanks again, Sally, for having me!)


Thanks so much to Robyn Bradley for stopping by. If you'd like to follow her virtual journey in support of Forgotten April, check out her schedule on the Calendar of Events page at The Virtual Book Tour Cafe. You can also check her out on her Website or her Blog. Her book is available in paperback, for the Kindle, for the Nook, and for the iPod or iPhone.

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