Luanne Rice is a rarity among novelists today; shes a true storyteller. Her unique ability to weave together the bonds of love and family with the challenges and rewards of everyday life has garnered her eight consecutive top-ten New York Times bestselling paperbacks. With Beach Girls, Luanne Rice returns to the place that she was born to write about—the Connecticut shore—to tell a story about a family of women whose lives encompass three generations, their histories intertwined with that of mily. She has been hailed by critics for her unique gifts, which have been described as a beautiful blend of love and humor, with a little magic thrown in. Rice began her writing career in 1985 with her debut novel Angels All Over Town. Since then, she has gone on to pen a string of heartwarming bestsellers. Several of her books have been adapted for television, including Crazy in Love, Blue Moon, Follow the Stars Home, and Beach Girls. Rice was born in New Britain, Connecticut, where her father sold typewriters and her mother, a writer and artist, taught English. Throughout her childhood, Rice spent winters in New Britain and summers by Long Island Sound in Old Lyme, where her mother would hold writing workshops for local children. Rices talent emerged at a very young age, and her first short story was published in American Girl Magazinewhen she was 15. Rice later attended Connecticut College, but dropped out when her father became very ill. At this point, she knew she wanted to be a writer. Instead of returning to college, Rice took on many odd jobs, including working as a cook and maid for an exalted Rhode Island family, as well as fishing on a scallop boat during winter storms. These life experiences not only cultivated the authors love and talent for writing, but shaped the common backdrops in her novels of family and relationships on the Eastern seaboard. A true storyteller with a unique ability to combine realism and romance, Rice continues to enthrall readers with her luminous stories of lifes triumphs and challenges. Good To Know
Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Luanne: I take guitar lessons. I was queen of the junior prom. Voted in, according to one high school friend I saw recently, as a joke because my date and I were so shy, everyone thought it would be hilarious to see us onstage with crowns on our heads. It was 1972, and the theme of the prom was Color My World. For some reason I told my guitar teacher that story, and he said Yeah, color my world with goats blood. I shared a room with both sisters when we were little, and I felt sorry for kids who had their own rooms. To support myself while writing in the early days, I worked as a maid and cook in one of the mansions in Newport, Rhode Island. Id learned to love to cook in high school, by taking French cooking from Sister Denise at the convent next door to the school. The family I worked for didnt like French cooking and preferred broiled meat, well done, and frozen vegetables. They were particular about the brand—they liked the kind with the enclosed sauce packet. My grandmother Mim, whod always lived with us, had taken the ferry from Providence to Newport every weekend during her years working at the hosiery factory, so being in that city made me feel connected to her. I lived in Paris. The apartment was in the Eighth Arrondissement. Every morning Id take my dog for a walk to buy the International Herald Tribune and have coffee at a café around the corner. Then Id go upstairs to the top floor, where Id converted one of the old servants rooms into a writing room, and write. For breaks Id walk along the Seine and study my French lesson. Days of museums, salons du thé, and wandering the city. Living in another country gave me a different perspective on the world. Im glad I realized theres not just one way to see things. While living there, I found out my mother had a brain tumor. She came to Paris to stay with me and have chemotherapy at the American Hospital. Shed never been on a plane before that trip. In spite of her illness, she loved seeing Paris. I took her to London for a week, and as a teacher of English and a lover of Dickens, that was her high point. After she died, I returned to France and made a pilgrimage to the Camargue, in the South. It is a mystical landscape of marsh grass, wild bulls, and white horses. It is home to one of the largest nature sanctuaries in the world, and I saw countless species of birds. The town of Stes. Maries de la Mer is inspiring beyond words. Different cultures visit the mysterious Saint Sarah, and the presence of the faithful at the edge of the sea made me feel part of something huge and eternal. And all of it inspired my novel Light of the Moon. I dedicated a book to Bruce Springsteen. Its The Secret Hour, which at first glance isnt a novel youd connect with him—the novel is about a woman whose sister might or might not have been taken by a serial killer. I wrote it during a time when I felt under siege, and I used those deeply personal feelings for my fiction. Bruce was touring and I was attending his shows with a good friend. The music and band and Bruce and my friend made me feel somehow accompanied and lightened as I went through that time and reached into those dark places. During that period I also wrote two linked books— Summers Childand Summer of Roses. They deal with the harsh reality of domestic violence and follow The Secret Hour and The Perfect Summer When I look back at those books, that time of my life, I see myself as a brave person. Instead of hiding from painful truths, I tried to explore and bring them to the light through my fiction. During that period, I met amazing women and became involved with trying to help families affected by abuse—in particular, a group near my small town in Connecticut, and Deborah Epsteins domestic violence clinic at Georgetown University Law Center. I learned that emotional abuse leaves no overt outward scars, but wounds deeply, in ways that take a long time to heal. A counselor recommended The Verbally Abusive Relationshipby Patricia Evans. It is life-changing, and I have given it to many women over the years. I became a vegetarian. I decided that, having been affected by brutality, I wanted only gentleness and peace in my life. Having experienced fear, I knew I could never willingly inflict harm or fear on another creature. All is related. A friend reminds me of a great quote in the Zen tradition: How you do anything is how you do everything.