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Author Suzanne Redfearn Talks About Hush Little Baby and a Giveaway
I’m delighted to be a part of debut author Suzanne Redfearn’s virtual book tour for her riveting page-turner about a determined mother’s fight to rescue her children from her violent husband in HUSH LITTLE BABY (Grand Central Publishing; Trade Paperback Original; On-Sale: October 8, 2013; ISBN: 9781455573202; 368 pages; $15.00).
Thanks to Suzanne and the lovely Marissa at Grand Central Publishing, I have a print copy ofHUSH LITTLE BABY to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for details. This book tugs at the heartstrings. Here’s a brief synopsis:
Jillian Kane appears to have it all—a thriving career, a gorgeous home, a loving husband, and two wonderful kids. The reality is something else entirely. For nine years she has hid the bruises and the truth of her abusive marriage in order to protect Addie and Drew, knowing, if she left, Gordon would destroy her—destroy them. When, in an act of desperation, she flees, she finds herself on the run with two young children, no money, and no plan. Gordon is in hot pursuit and there is only one inescapable certainty: No matter where she goes, he will find her. Kill her. And take Addie and Drew. HUSH LITTLE BABY exposes the shame and terror of domestic violence, as well as the disturbing role sabotage can play in the high-stakes game of child custody. Suspenseful and unforgettably moving, it is a novel about the unbreakable bonds of family and the astounding, terrifying devotion of a mother’s love. This compelling family drama will resonate with lovers of Jodi Picoult, Gillian Flynn, Lisa Scottoline, and Anna Quindlen.
Suzanne joins us now and has graciously answered some questions about writing this book.
Mason - What inspired this gripping tale of domestic violence?
Suzanne: A friend of mine was going through a divorce. Until she separated from her husband, the two seemed like the picture of happiness. But the story she told over drinks one night of the abuse and cruelty she endured behind closed doors was so frightening it made me wonder how many other marriages are not what they appear.
The curveball came about a month later when we went out again and my friend’s story had changed, the tale altered and now with glaring inconsistencies from the earlier version that caused an alarm to blare in my brain. What if she was making it up? Custody of the kids was at stake. Could she be setting her husband up? For over ten years, I’d known her husband as a stand-up guy, the baseball coach who never yelled, the neighbor who happily carted your Christmas tree home in his truck, the kind of guy who always showed up and did his part. Yet, how quickly I dismissed all that based on a story over drinks; how quickly everyone dismissed it, so easily accepting that he was abusive and dangerous.
So I got to thinking how easy it is to sabotage a life, that if my husband set out to destroy me, to preemptively strike before I realized what was going on, he could do it. He knows my weaknesses, my failings, my vulnerabilities. If he had the inclination, he could easily undermine my reputation and portray me as unstable or a bad mother, ensuring that if we divorced, he’d get custody of the kids.
My friend loves her children above all else, three beautiful boys. At the time they were four, nine, and twelve, and their futures, as well as her own, hung in the balance. To this day, nearly three years later, I don’t know if she was telling the truth or manufacturing lies. Either way, her story was a captivating cautionary tale that made me wonder how far someone might go to keep their spouse from getting custody of their kids, and then, if the kids were in danger, real danger, how far the other spouse might go to get them back.
Mason - In writing this book, did you discover any facts that surprised you?
Suzanne: Originally the novel had been titled Swing Low, and I had named it that because the hymn references Jillian's Christian upbringing and alludes to Jillian compromising her morals and stooping to the level of Gordon in order to save her children.
A wonderful surprise came when I researched the song and discovered it was actually a song written by a black man who went to live with the Choctaw Native Americans after escaping slavery. The song is about him being separated from his family when he was sold as a young boy, and his hope to be reunited with them in heaven. He is praying to Jesus, asking if he will be forgiven for the bad things he's done to survive – nearly the exact internal struggle Jillian deals with in the story. It was a wonderful discovery.
Mason - What was the hardest part of writing this story?
Suzanne: Authenticity. I needed to figure out and then explain how a strong, independent woman like Jillian ended up in an abusive marriage and why she stayed in it for eight years. I did a lot of research on domestic violence to gain a better understanding of abusive relationships and the factors that contribute to the victims feeling trapped and powerless to change their circumstances.
Mason - Is there any message you want readers to take away from your book or is it just a story to provide reading enjoyment?
Suzanne: There is no message, but there are questions. I'm thrilled if a reader simply enjoys the novel, but I also hope that for most there is a lingering contemplation of the story after it is done. What if it were you? Is there evil and good in each of us? Could you destroy your spouse's reputation, could your spouse destroy yours? Are your values and perspectives out of whack, what is truly important in this world? How much are we victims of our vanity, afraid to reveal the truth for fear of the judgment of others?
Mason - What can readers look forward to next from you?
Suzanne: I am working on an exciting new story about another mother protecting her kids. Though the mother-bear theme is similar to HUSH LITTLE BABY, the story is entirely new and the protagonist wonderfully different from Jillian. She's more of an every-woman – a young single mom, bumbling her way through life who finds herself in an extraordinary circumstance that quickly spins out of control. One kid thrives while the other two struggle, and difficult choices need to be made, this mild-mannered mom faced with the daunting challenge of taking the reins of the her runaway life before they all go over the edge, and she loses everything.
Suzanne, thanks for joining us today. You have definitely touched on an issue that brings fear to the heart of parents. This story will tug at your heartstrings on so many levels.
Now a bit about Suzanne.
Suzanne is a summa cum laude graduate from California Polytechnic University and, like her protagonist, is an architect. She is an avid surfer, golfer, skier, and Angels fan. She lives with her husband and children in California.
“This snappily paced, cinematic novel about the dysfunctional modern American family from architect and first-time author Redfearn contains heavy doses of violence, danger, and fear. Events hurtle along with great urgency to a rousing climax. A smart, suspenseful debut.” — Publishers Weekly
“Beware! This psychologically astute, swiftly paced story raises disturbing questions about the power one human can have over another and will leave you wondering ‘what if’ even after the last page is turned.”— Christina Schwartz, New York Times bestselling author
“I can’t remember the last time that I was pulled in by a novel as I was by this literary thriller… I look forward to more books by Suzanne Redfearn. She’s a new author on the scene, and welcome at that.” — Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, host of “Writers on Writing” and author of Pen on Fire, a Los Angeles Times bestseller
“Hush Little Baby is a gripping exploration of psychological warfare between husband and wife. Redfearn’s writing is addictive and her plot twists kept me up all night. A brilliant and harrowing read!” — Anita Hughes, author of Monarch Beach, Market Street and Lake Como
“Hush Little Baby is a brilliant debut. Powerful and compelling. Impossible to forget.” — Jane Porter, bestselling author of The Frog Prince, Flirting with Forty, and The Brennan Sisters trilogy “A compelling tale of the deceit, violation and anguish that undergird the myth of suburbia. Redfearn’s debut ratchets up the tension page by page, as husband and wife try to inflict the most damage on each other without harming the kids. Every character hides something, and each surprising revelation torques the plot further. The emotional and physical injuries mount, driving inexorably toward a surprising climax.” — Kirkus Reviews “Top Pick! 4 ½ stars! With clear, efficient dialogue and authentic scenes, this story rings universal. Equal parts suspenseful and moving, Redfearn’s skillfully told, candid story flows easily within a well-defined plot, making this novel a stunning and captivating read.” — RT Book Reviews GIVEAWAY DETAILS… This giveaway is for one print copy of HUSH LITTLE BABY. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only.
To enter this giveaway, please send me an e-mail (email@example.com) with the subject line, “Win Hush Little Baby.” Your message should include your name and mailing address. The deadline to enter this giveaway for a chance to win a copy of HUSH LITTLE BABY is 8 p.m. (EDT) on Friday, Oct. 18.
Thanks so much for stopping by today. Does this chilling novel remind you of people you know or have known in similar circumstances?
Hi, I'm Mason Canyon and I love reading and that is why I do reviews. I post them here, as well as several other sites such as Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you are an author who would like for me to review your book or you would like to guest blog here, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org These reviews are done for the love of a good book, not for monetary rewards. I'm also a freelance editor. For more on my services, drop by Freelance Editing By Mason