It's Thursday, we are headed into a lovely fall weekend. If you are needing something interesting and entertaining for a weekend read, I urge you to check out While You Were Gone by Kate Moretti. This is a companion novella to Ms. Moretti's novel, Thought I Knew You, which was one of my favorite reads of 2013 (see my review here). In this novella, we are given the other side of the story. I enjoyed both stories, and I am eager for more.
Today, I am pleased to have Kate Moretti here to answer a few questions, so first thing first, let's meet her.
Kate Moretti lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids, and a dog. She’s worked in the pharmaceutical industry for ten years as a scientist, and has been an avid fiction reader her entire life. She enjoys traveling and cooking, although with two kids, a day job, and writing, she doesn’t get to do those things as much as she’d like. Her lifelong dream is to buy an old house with a secret passageway. You can find Kate on her blog, Facebook,Twitter and Goodreads.
Here is my interview with Kate:
Hi Kate, welcome back to Rainy Day Ramblings. I am pleased to have you stopping by once again.
First, can you tell readers a bit about Thought I Knew You and While You Were Gone?
Thought I Knew You is about a woman whose husband goes on a business trip and doesn’t come back. She has to deal with her real life, with a missing husband, two kids and figure out how to put those pieces back together. This is not really a big spoiler because it’s in the first few chapters, but she finds evidence of an affair. While You Were Gone is the story of that affair told from the mistresses POV. Readers should read TIKY first, but Gone can be a standalone, although I think it’s a better story if you know the outcome of THOUGHT I KNEW YOU.
Why did you decide to write the other side of the story?
I wanted to write a novella between novels and I’ve always been interested in why Greg did what he did and what Karen’s narrative would be like. What is SHE like? In TIKY, I laid groundwork of her being drastically different than Claire, so I played that up.
I am still curious about Greg, is he a villain?
No. Of course not. He’s lost, maybe confused. Definitely does a bad thing, but pays for it in a myriad of ways. But a villain? No, he’s not evil. I really loved reading how readers perceive him. Some hate him. Just spew vitriol. Others feel sorry for him. Still others like him more than anyone else! He’s a polarizing figure, which was a surprise to me. He’s just a regular guy, who hits middle age and gets a little lost. That’s practically a cliché! But then he stumbles and loses everything. To me, that’s hardly a villain. That’s totally human.
Would you consider writing a third book from Greg's point of view?
I can never say never, but I don’t think so. I like that he’s sort of the unknown here. I like the different ways people see him and the air of mystery about him.
For readers who are put off by books that are about cheating, what can you tell them about this novella that might change their minds as far as the adultery?
Probably nothing. Adultery is wrong and hurtful to all parties involved. That’s never debated. But it’s also incredibly common. One of the central themes of Thought I Knew You was questioning what faithfulness means (emotionally and physically). That continues in While You Were Gone. I think readers who are interested in the vast gray areas of marriage, or dissecting the complicated facets of relationships, accepting that good people can do things that are morally wrong and are more interested in exploring the psychology of that. The whys. These readers will like these books. I never intended to write a book that would change people’s minds about adultery. Everyone has their own moral comfort zone.
Who are you more sympathetic toward, Claire, Greg's wife, or Karen the other woman?
Probably Karen. She is young, at a bit of a crossroads, and finding her footing. She falls (much too quickly) for someone she barely knows because she’s desperate for human connection. She’s had very little control over her life thus far. Claire, on the other hand, has made choices that brought her to this point. I have sympathy for both, but Karen is the more lost soul, in my mind.
What are you working on currently?
My next novel, due September 1, 2016 is called The Vanishing Year. It’s about a woman who escapes her past to seek out her birth mother, only to discover that someone will stop at nothing to keep them apart. It takes place in New York City, largely in the Tribeca neighborhood. I’ve started drafting book #4, called Blackbird season about a teacher accused of an affair with a student, who has gone missing. Early stages for that one, though.
What books are you most looking forward to reading for Fall 2015?
Sonja Yoerg’s MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE,
Sandra Block’s THE GIRL WITHOUT A NAME,
Amy Sue Nathan’s THE GOOD NEIGHBOR,
Holly Robinson’s CHANCE HARBOR,
and THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER WEB (the fourth millennium series novel).
Thanks, Kate, for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by and answer my questions. I am looking forward to what you have in store for next time.
Here is my review:
While You Were Gone (A Thought I Knew You Novella) by Kate Moretti
A Companion Novella to the NYT Bestseller Thought I Knew You
Despite Karen Caughee’s intense focus on her music, her life is drifting out of its lane. Her alcoholic mother keeps calling from bars for early-morning rides, her boyfriend doesn’t think she gets him, and that Toronto Symphony Orchestra position she applied for ends up going to her friend, Amy. By chance, she meets American Greg Randolf just before she’s in a car accident. He pulls her from the wreckage, but after major surgery, her recovery is slow. Without her music, her life’s pursuit, Karen is pushed further adrift.
Greg stays by her side while she heals, and he sees her every time he’s in Toronto for work. Without any other support or friendship in her life, Karen craves his enthusiastic attention, and their friendship deepens to love. Though she’s fallen hard for him, he doesn’t share everything with her. In one heartrending moment, Karen’s life comes to a crossroads, and she must face the full truth about who Greg is, and about who she has become.
Paperback, 115 pages
Published: September 1, 2015 by Red Adept Publishing, LLC
Three and a half stars: A fascinating look at the other side of the story.
Karen feels like her life is suddenly falling apart. Last night, she retrieved her drunk, alcoholic mother from the bar at three in the morning, the night before her big audition. Thus, her audition for the principal violinist chair was a disaster, then later that night, her boyfriend breaks up with her. Just when she thinks she has hit rock bottom, Karen meets a wonderful man at the bar, but as she leaves in the cab, she is in a horrible car accident. Thankfully, Greg, the man she met that night, is there by her side to help her heal. Karen unexpectedly finds herself falling head over heels in love, but the problem is Greg lives in the U.S. As the relationship progresses, Karen begins to wonder more about Greg and his life. Who is Greg Randolph?
What I Liked:
- I am a big fan of I Thought I Knew You so I was eager to read this companion novella to uncover the other side of the story. I was surprised at the range of emotions I felt. I went into this expecting to not like Greg and Karen, but I was immediately drawn to Karen and her plight, and in the end, I couldn't help but like her. Once again, Ms. Moretti proves that you can't ever completely know someone, nor can you judge someone without knowing the whole story. If you have yet to read I Thought I Knew You, I urge you to pick up both books.
- Karen is one of those characters you can't help but like. Her life seems to be falling apart around her, and if it can go wrong, it does, but what I appreciated about her was that she didn't sit around and feel sorry for herself. She was determined and driven. I liked how she reevaluated her life once she got on her feet, and I especially liked how she mended the fences with her mother. Again, I expected to not like Karen because she is the other woman, but I was proven wrong.
- Even though I knew going in that this was a novel about cheating, I wasn't disgusted or upset about the adulterous relationship. I think because the author handles it so well, and because Karen isn't aware that Greg is cheating. Yes, there were signs she should have picked up on, but she was head over heels in love. I thought the romance and the relationship was well done, and it made you think.
- I was pleased that the book ended a year down the road. It was nice to see how Karen got back on her feet, and that she was in a good place.
And The Not So Much:
- I am still wanting to understand Greg better. I have now had a glimpse of him through the eyes of two different woman who loved him, but I still don't have a strong knowledge as to who he is. I guess I need a third book from Greg's point of view because as it stands in both book he is the villain, or is he?
- I am bothered that there isn't a good explanation as to why Greg decided to cheat on Claire. Was he bored? Was it because he felt a connection with Karen and he didn't really intend to fall in love? I really want to understand his motives.
- It has been awhile since I read the first book, so the details surrounding Greg's accident were sketchy, and they were glossed over in this novella. I wish the author had explained the situation better when Claire and Karen meet.
- Even though I was satisfied with the novella, and I felt like I got a full story, I wish that the book hadn't flash forwarded into the future. I would have loved to watch Karen get back on her feet instead of getting a recap a year down the road. I was invested in her character and I wanted more story. Isn't that how it always goes with a novella?
While You Were Gone is an intriguing and entertaining read that shows the other side of an affair. Not everything is black and white, and Ms. Moretti will show you that sometimes love blossoms from unexpected situations. I urge you to check out both While You Were Gone and Thought I Knew You. Both books are fascinating reads that will have you questioning relationships and how well you know someone.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.