Thursday, April 18, 2024

THE SERENDIPITY OF CATASTROPHE by Lisa Fellinger ~ Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway

The Serendipity of Catastrophe
by: Lisa Fellinger
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: March 19, 2024
Publisher: Bailey Marie Press

A mother defeated by anxiety. A daughter determined not to become her mother. Can one month in Europe reunite them?

Anita Lorello is paralyzed by grief. When her husband dies in an accident the night before a long-awaited retirement trip, she’s devastated by the loss of her partner and once again shelves her dream to finally visit Europe. But when her estranged daughter agrees to accompany her nearly a year later, Anita is eager for the opportunity to repair their relationship.

Carrie Lorello’s life is crumbling. After a night of clouded judgment ends in her being fired, her mother’s offer of a one-month paid vacation seems like her best option. But she refuses to get caught up in her mother’s irrational worries and critical comments, and under no circumstances is she to learn what a failure Carrie’s proven to be.

Desperate not to lose her daughter again, Anita fights to conquer her anxiety and become the mother Carrie always wanted. But as Carrie’s life grows more and more complicated, her mother is the last person she wants to confide in.

Without anyone else to hold them together, can Anita and Carrie overcome their differences, or will the secrets between them derail their trip and destroy their relationship for good?

The Serendipity of Catastrophe is an emotionally compelling work of women’s fiction. If you enjoy travel stories, complex mother-daughter relationships, and lovably flawed characters, you’ll love this hopeful story of resilience and second chances.

What did Anita and Carrie teach you while writing this story?

I love this question because these characters truly taught me so much. The complexities of mother-daughter relationships have always intrigued me, and when I considered who would be a good travel mate for Anita in place of her husband, the idea of sending her with a daughter who she had a strained relationship with hooked me. Initially, I had the idea that Carrie would be the complete opposite of Anita. Anita is a bit rigid due to her anxiety, and I initially imagined Carrie as somewhat of a hippie type of character, someone who really took things as they come and embraced every curve life threw at her.

But then I started writing and Carrie kind of wrote herself. Instead of someone who was fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants, she was much more goal-oriented and structured in her own way, and even as she told herself she was nothing like her mother, the similarities became more and more apparent as I worked through that first draft. So, the first thing they taught me was that there’s absolutely truth in the saying “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” We’re all products of our environment, and whether we like certain traits about our parents or not, those are our role models since birth and those traits embed themselves in us in ways we may not always be aware of or want to see in ourselves. Can we do things differently than our parents did? Absolutely. But it truly takes a conscious effort to recognize the ways those traits may be present in us and then to do things differently. (Also, Carrie taught me—or rather reinforced my belief—that characters truly take on a life of their own even outside of the ideas us authors have for them.)

The second thing Anita and Carrie taught me is the importance of honest communication with our loved ones. So many of the issues between them stem from misunderstandings, information that was deliberately withheld, or assumptions about how the other would respond. It can be hard to share certain things with our family members, for sure, but it’s even harder to live with the fallout of not honestly communicating. If these two characters had been honest with one another sooner, their story may have looked a lot different.

Finally, Anita and Carrie’s story taught me that no one is perfect. Of course, neither of these characters are perfect (which I love because I enjoy writing about flawed characters—perfect is boring). But Victor isn’t either. While he very much loved and supported Anita, he also took actions that were in his best interests over Anita and Carrie’s, and he also enabled them by allowing them to use him as a go-between rather than making them speak to one another directly. His actions taught me that while we might think we’re helping someone when we do things for them and allow them avoid discomfort, in the long run, we may just be setting them up for failure.

Overall, these characters and their story taught me so much, and it’s my hope that my readers learn from their experiences as well.
“Welcome to London,” the officer said.

Anita smiled, then pushed her way through the turnstile where she was reunited with Carrie.

“Ready?” Carrie asked, tucking her passport back into her purse.

She straightened as she fell into step beside her, full of resolve. She was through the flight, and immigration was less intimidating than she’d expected. Maybe this wouldn’t be so challenging after all.

Carrie led the way outside to the taxi stand, the crisp air and sunshine welcome after the stuffiness of the plane and airports. They slid into a waiting cab, Carrie gave the driver the hotel address, and they settled in for the half-hour cab ride.

Out her window, Anita took in her first glimpses of Europe as the sun began to fade into evening. She was in a country hundreds of years older than the United States, yet it didn’t feel old. There were old buildings, but more modern ones filled the spaces between them. Pedestrians passed by one another on the sidewalks, dressed much like people back home, checking their phones as they walked. Public buses exhaled to a stop in front of designated signs. New moms walked along with their strollers, couples passed by with dogs, and life continued on much the same as in Buffalo.

Anita smiled to herself, unable to believe she’d expected this to be terrifying. It was different, of course, but she was overcome with excitement, not fear. But wasn’t this precisely what she always did—built things up in her mind to the point she had no choice but to be terrified?

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Lisa Fellinger writes contemporary women's fiction with lovably flawed, relatable characters. When she's not writing her own stories, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams as a book coach and developmental editor. She lives in Buffalo, New York with her husband, son, and fur babies.

Places to find Lisa Fellinger:

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  1. This sounds like a good story. Thanks for sharing.

  2. The Serendipity of Catastrophe by author Lisa Fellinger sounds like a book that I would enjoy reading.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

    1. Nancy, that makes me so happy to hear, thank you! If you check it out, I hope you enjoy it!

  3. Thank you for hosting today!

    1. You're welcome. Thank you for stopping by.

  4. This looks absolutely fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

  5. This book sounds like great down to earth reading!
    Thank you for sharing it.

  6. I love the excerpt. Thank you for the giveaway!

  7. This sounds like a great book. I like the cover.

  8. looks like a fun one

  9. This sounds like a book I’d love to read!

  10. looks like a wonderful book


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