Introduction to Beneath the Marigolds

Thank you for taking the time to check out my debut novel. This has been my darling for the past four years, and I am so thrilled (and nervous!) to finally be able to share it with the world.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with pop culture—including ABC’s The Bachelor(ette)—and a good whodunnit. Both offer compelling storylines and great escapes from reality, and I wondered what would happen if the two collided. Although the novel went through several iterations, I always came back to the original premise of “what would happen if a reality dating show went very, very wrong?” I thought the concept was interesting and unique, and I hope you, my dear readers, feel the same way.

I developed the protagonists, Reese and Ann, during the heyday of the #ownvoices movement, so it was critical to write from perspectives that I knew and understood—namely, women in recovery. But even before the movement gained traction, writing about people in recovery in an accurate, respectful, and refreshingly normal light has been a long-time goal. In fiction, addicts are commonly portrayed as one-dimensional villains. Or, they are defined by their substance use. I wanted to see main characters who were in recovery and succeeding. Of course, both of my protagonists run into trouble, but it’s trouble unrelated to their addiction. There’s still so much shame surrounding addiction, and I wanted to have characters who talked about their recovery in a stigma-free manner. Seeing such characters would have been really helpful to me when I was entering recovery, so I hope it helps someone else in a similar situation.

While I tried my best to maintain the twists and break-neck speed required of contemporary thrillers, I veered away from the bleak tone that is popular today. Life can be difficult enough, so it was important to me to end on a hopeful note. The conclusion may not be the conventional happy ending promulgated on reality dating shows, but I believe it’s a happy ending all the same. By the end of the story, I hope it’s clear there are many paths to a fulfilling and meaningful life.

If you haven’t read the story yet, I hope you enjoy it. And if you have read it—or shared it, or bought it, or shared words of encouragement, I am deeply grateful. Thank you, from the very bottom of my heart.

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