This week’s interview is with Barbara Conrey whose debut novel, NOWHERE NEAR GOODBYE is a USA Today bestseller. Below, Barbara talks about the authors that inspire her, the story behind her book’s title, her next big project and more. Enjoy!
Barbara Conrey worked in the health care industry for many years before opting for an early retirement, which lasted all of three months. She then accepted a position in finance, for which she had absolutely no background, and four years later, she decided to write a book. But not about finance. Travel is her passion, along with reading, writing, hiking, and exploring antique shops. Her greatest love is Miss Molly, her rescue beagle. There are stories to be told about beagles, and Barbara hopes to incorporate some of them into her books. Barbara lives in Pennsylvania, close to family and friends.
What first inspired you to start writing?
Books inspire me! The need to put on paper what I feel in my heart. Sometimes the need to put on paper what I don’t even know is in my heart until I start writing. I’m a late bloomer regarding becoming an author since my debut was published when I was seventy, but the dream was always there; I just had to convince myself I could do it.
Tell us about some of the authors who inspire you.
I’m inspired by authors who not only write beautifully but by those who are not afraid to stand up for their beliefs. Jodi Picoult made a statement not too long ago that if you have a platform but don’t use it to encourage others, to encourage justice, you are wasting that platform. I’m sure I didn’t quote that perfectly, but it’s what I took from her words. So, obviously, Jodi Picoult inspires me, both with her writing and her humanity.
So do Margaret Atwood, Jane Austin, Sue Monk Kidd, Leif Unger, Kent Haruf, Joyce Carol Oates. William Kent Krueger. I could go on. I write women’s fiction, but I adore literary fiction, and these authors speak directly to my soul.
What was the first piece of writing you ever published or saw in print?
I wrote this piece for my local newspaper when I was first married about baking cinnamon bread for friends and neighbors during the holidays and how crazy it got; each year, I baked more and more loaves. It was just a fun essay, but people went crazy about it, and some actually tracked me down for the recipe or wanted to purchase already baked loaves.
Tell us about the title of your book. What is the story behind it?
Nowhere Near Goodbye is Emma Blake’s story. She’s a pediatric oncologist who devoted her life to finding a cure for glioblastoma, a rare brain tumor that in real life has no cure. Emma gave up her family and dedicated her life to her research because of a promise she made over twenty-five years ago when she had to say goodbye to her dying childhood friend, Kate when they should have been nowhere near goodbye. It’s one of the last sentences in the book.
Tell us about your next big project.
MORE ABOUT THE BOOK
Oncologist Emma Blake has dedicated her life to finding a cure for a rare brain cancer. Twenty-five years ago, Emma’s childhood friend Kate died of glioblastoma, and Emma vowed to annihilate the deadly disease. Now, Kate’s father, Ned, is pushing her to work harder to fulfill that promise.
When Emma discovers she’s pregnant, she’s torn between the needs of her family and the demands of her work. While Ned pressures her to do the unthinkable, her husband, Tim, decorates the nursery. Unwilling to abandon her research, Emma attempts to keep both sides of her life in balance.
Emma knows she needs to reconcile her past with her present and walk the fine line between mother and physician. But Ned has a secret, and when Emma discovers what he’s been hiding, the foundation of her world cracks.
Nowhere Near Goodbye is a story of family, failure, and second chances.
— The Debutante Ball (@DebutanteBall) February 10, 2021