Anna DeStefano Q&A
In small towns like Chandlerville, gossip travels quickly. What is the hot news going around about your couple?
“Oliver Bowman’s back! Can you believe it?!” That’s the news that flies as soon as he pulls into town in his pickup truck. Followed not long after by, “And did you see him and Selena together outside their parents’ houses? Jonathan Ritter did, and he lives across the street. They met up at the hospital, too, and in front of that AA meeting that Walter Davis runs. There’s something going on. Selena’s acting like she’s hardly noticed Oliver’s back. But Ginger Reid Jenkins over at Neat Feet said she heard Selena and her mama talking about it—and Belinda Rosenthal doesn’t want Selena to have anything to do with Oliver now, just like seven years ago. What a mess!”
I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea.
Everyone’s watching, everyone’s gossiping, most everyone means well. But things get out of control fast, what people know and what they think they know. Not to mention what’s REALLY happening. The dynamic of a small town always adds to the drama and fun of every day life ;o)
Oliver and Selena were high school sweethearts. What is the heroine’s best memory of her time with Oliver when they were teens? What’s the worse?
Selena’s best memory—
He’d made her feel safe once upon a time. She’d been special because he’d wanted her. From the moment they’d met she’d been at the center of someone’s world again. He’d tried to protect her. He’d tried to help her, when he hadn’t yet known how to help himself…
Selena’s worst memory—
For Selena, I think the hardest part of seeing Oliver and his family again is the weight of all that she’s still hiding about what really happened when she and Oliver broke up.
Selena had never felt the crush of her reckless secrets more. But how did she face the truth and the people who needed to hear it? How did she create more chaos and confusion for them and her child, when Selena had no intention of becoming a permanent part of anyone’s life in Chandlerville again? She’d come home to regroup for a few days, a week tops. She’d never meant to stay this long, get this attached or, God forbid, to be here when Oliver returned. And now…
Now for Oliver, what’s his best memory of Selena from when they were growing up? His worst?
This “memory” scene of Oliver’s says it all—
Only a few feet away, she was a paragon of motherhood, while a flood of messed-up and surprisingly sweet memories taunted him. Them as best friends from the moment they’d met. As a teenage couple who’d never let each other go. As a cautionary tale of how much true love could destroy, when you let it slip away…
It’s date night for Oliver and Selena – where do they go?
Oliver and Selena are both athletes, joggers, as well as busy adults with a daughter to raise together (by the end of the novel that is ;o). Here’s a tidbit after they’ve FINALLY reconnected near the end of Let Me Love You Again, of Selena thinking what a perfect stolen moment with Oliver might be like if they can find a way to make their second chance work.
Oliver stood and slowly returned to the couch, sitting beside her. He stared at where she was clutching her mother’s quilt to her chest. He looked down to the tennis shoes they’d both kicked under the coffee table—lying in a jumbled heap like they might every day if he and Selena lived together, ran together, came home together on a free afternoon to sneak a chance to make love while no one would miss them…
SO sweet, right?
If Selena could go back and give her younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
I love how Selena’s relationship with her mother, and how hard these two work to mend fences, highlights so much of what Selena wishes she could go back and re-do in her childhood. It also parallels her understanding over the course of the book about how misplaced she’d let her thinking and her emotional reactions to things get as a teenager, and how determined she is to not make the same mistakes again—with Oliver and everyone else she still cares about in Chandlerville.
Here’s a touch of Selena’s reconciliation journey with Belinda, early in the story—
“You save your money for you and Camille,” Belinda said. “We’ll make it work.”
Liquid sprang to Selena’s eyes, emotion she wouldn’t let fall.
We’ll make it work…
How many times had her mother said that when Selena had been a little girl and wanted something they couldn’t afford? Something that her friends like Ginger had gotten so effortlessly from their parents. Belinda would inevitably have to say no, but that they’d make it work somehow. Selena would see, her mother had promised. And now Selena did.
She’d blamed both her parents for how hard life had been after their divorce. But Belinda had borne the brunt of everything Selena had thought she’d gone without. Material things Selena had been obsessed with, like pretty new shoes, shiny churchgoing shoes, while her mom insisted on buying sturdier ones that would do just as well for nice as for everyday. Now Selena was relying on Belinda to help her navigate the same limited-income choices for Camille.
“Thank you, Mom.” She hadn’t said it enough as a child. She’d never again forget to say it as an adult. “I am going to make this work.”
What about Oliver?
I think for Oliver, his greatest regret is not recognizing what Selena was going through when they were kids. At least, he didn’t catch on soon enough to help her. He was so caught up in his own drama, the way most kids are, that he totally missed how badly she needed his help until it was too late for him to save their relationship—and their love was the glue that had been holding Selena together. Without it, she finished falling apart.
Here’s a tidbit of Oliver’s revelation about their breakup…
“Then let me try talking with Selena first,” Oliver said. “Yesterday at the hospital I wasn’t…”
To what—forgive her?
He’d hurt her so much more than he’d known, if she could have kept Camille from him. Or from Brad. Oliver should be pissed, but all he could think about was going back to that horrible night everything had begun to unravel and holding Selena until she’d let herself truly trust him.
He’d finally worked it through in rehab. How he’d pushed Selena too hard to clean herself up, to be like him, to move on from how lost they’d both felt. She hadn’t been ready. She’d needed someone she trusted to stay lost like her. He hadn’t been able to anymore, not and stay with his family. So at least to her mind, he’d abandoned her. While she’d still been hurting and self-medicating, and convincing herself that he no longer cared…
Now for some word association with the characters.
First up, Selena. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word:
Heh. This is fun!
Oliver, what first comes to your mind when you hear the word:
Title: Let Me Love You Again
Author: Anna DeStefano
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Selena Rosenthal left behind her high school sweetheart, who was the love of her life, seven years ago.
Now, she and the once-rebellious Oliver Bowman are back in Chandlerville—after his foster father’s heart attack and Selena’s contentious divorce—to deal with her secrets, the recklessness that caused their breakup, and the almost-strangers they’ve become to each other and their families.
As soon as his father is stronger, Oliver must return to the successful career that helps support a new generation of foster kids. But he’s falling for Selena again, her daughter has a hold on his heart, and he can’t imagine leaving behind his brothers and sisters once again.
More attached by the day to their charming hometown and families, Selena and Oliver fall in love for the second time.
Has fate brought Chandlerville’s prodigal children together again…this time forever?
Buy Link: http://bit.ly/LetMeLoveYouAgain
Anna DeStefano is the award-winning, nationally bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including the Mimosa Lane novels and the Atlanta Heroes series. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, she’s lived in the South her entire life. Her background as a care provider and adult educator in the world of crisis and grief recovery lends itself to the deeper psychological themes of every story she writes. A wife and mother, she currently writes in a charming northeast suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, not all that different from her characters’ beloved Chandlerville. She is also a workshop and keynote speaker, a writing coach, and a freelance editor.
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