Paige Horne may have been September's author of the month, but she's back on the blog this October with an exclusive interview about a book I personally found to be an incredible read.
I knew 'Chasing Fireflies' was getting bumped to the top of my to-read list as soon as I glanced at the blurb. Sara and Cash's story is not one to miss, and I'd recommend it not only to romance fans, but to anyone looking for a book that will leave them with something to think about long after the last page has been turned. I think the best words to summarize it come from Paige herself:
"Sometimes we are only meant to have a certain amount of time with the person we love. Sometimes a lifetime isn’t enough. But you take what you’re given and you make the best of every moment. This is a story about love, life and never giving up. This is a story about a woman who tried to be better for a man and a man who loved a woman more than his next breath."
I was lucky enough to get to talk to Paige about the book and I'm passing that luck onto my own readers with a copy of the interview.
Did you always know what the book was going to be called, or did the title come to you while writing?
I did not. The title came to me shortly after I started writing. The name just fit.
One thing I was especially impressed with when reading was how well you managed to convey the setting. You really captured the rural small town vibe and lifestyle. Did those descriptions draw on any real life experience?
I was born in Bleckley County, Ga. If you blink you’ll miss it. We lived in a farm house on an old cotton farm until I was five. I was so young but oddly I remember a lot about it. We had a huge front porch with a swing, an old red tin roof and nothing but fields around us. The house in Chasing Fireflies is basically the same home we had when I was a kid. We live in a small town now, so I guess you could say I know a lot about small town living.
The book deals with some very difficult and emotional topics that I'm sure hit home for a lot of people. Have you had any memorable experiences with readers who were particularly touched by the story?
I’ve had several people reach out to me and say they are glad someone finally got it right. Both who suffer from the illness and who have a loved one that suffers. That was a huge compliment to me! I did my work on this book. I researched real life stories so I could get an idea and understand how Bipolar Disorder works. I tried to write Sara’s parts as though she was writing in a diary so the reader could get a real view inside her mind. One minute she was on top of the world and just like that her world was swept out from under her and she was sucked into a black hole of depression and self-loathing. I wanted the reader to feel everything she felt and be on that roller coaster of emotions with her. I think we all have our moments where we don’t feel 100%. On a certain level, I could relate with Sara.
Did you always plan to write the spin-off novel 'Chasing Ellie'?
Chasing Ellie came to me when I was almost finished with Chasing Fireflies. I’ve seen first-hand what suicide does to the ones left behind. I’ve felt it myself, so I thought it would be interesting for people to read about the ones who are left behind. Not only is it heartbreaking when someone you love decides they don’t want to live anymore but it’s confusing. There’s always that question in the back of your mind. “What could I have done to stop this? What did I miss?”
What is your process for naming characters? Did any character names change during the writing of the novel?
Names sometimes just pop into my head, or I research them. Cash’s name changed. I was calling him John but Cash just fit better with his personality.
If you had to pick a favorite character from the book (so hard, I know!) who would it be?
That is hard, but Cash would be it. He was the perfect husband. Understanding, loving and a good friend. Through all the crazy, he never once thought about leaving her side. He had to step away once or twice, which I think made him more realistic and relatable, but leaving her never crossed his mind. He was in it for the long haul and there’s something respectable about that.
What message do you hope readers take away from the story?
For the ones who know little about Bipolar Disorder/Manic Depression, I hope they get a better understanding. It’s no different than any other illness. It’s just as serious and it’s important people listen. For the ones who suffer, don’t give up. Remember there will be sunshine after the storm passes and someone loves you. I also hope the reader feels every emotion I put into this book––The love, the sadness and the happy. It’s a beautiful love story that deals with real life problems.
You can get your copy of 'chasing Fireflies' here.
A huge thank you to Paige for being the first featured author on the blog.
Look out for our next Author of the Month soon!