In A Song for Rory, both the hero, Sawyer, and the heroine, Rory, are musicians. Are you musically inclined?
A little bit but not as much as I was when I was younger. I took voice and piano growing up, and I won several awards performing songs with my sister. Both my siblings have musical talent, and all three of us have written and performed original songs though not so much in recent years. However, with this kind of background, I was able to tap into how Sawyer and Rory feel about music and performing.
And an interesting bit of trivia about the book - all of the lyrics in the story are either my own or, more often, my sister's. She even wrote a new set of lyrics, which is Rory's song in the story.
I’m tempted to say all of them! This book was bittersweet to write. The heavy themes – early onset Alzheimer’s and the loss of memory and recognition – is a brutal issue. I read all these personal stories about people who have been diagnosed or had loved ones diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and I cried and cried. Alzheimer’s is difficult enough, but when it happens as young as someone’s thirties…I can’t even imagine how much strain that puts on someone and their personal relationships. It’s like my one character in the book says – it’s not just a physical death, if anything, maybe that part is a relief. It’s the slow death of mind and memories, of losing your loved one day by day. But I think the most painful scene, for me, was in the climax of the story. I won’t tell you what happens, but it’s that point where reality just hits Sawyer because he really sees the future that awaits him if he has Early Onset Alzheimer’s. Seeing what his mother is going through strikes him the hardest – knowing that this is is the burden he might be placing on Rory in the future. When I finished that scene, I had to take a moment and just step back and cry – as much for the characters as for all the stories I had read about people who have been impacted by this disease.
What kind of research did you do for the story?
I did my share of medical research on how Early Onset Alzheimer’s is diagnosed – the most common treatments and medications, the symptoms, the genes, etc. That was the knowledge part of the story. But with a story like A Song for Rory, I feel like an integral part of research is the human interest component. A large part – perhaps the most helpful part – of my research was reading the message boards of various Alzheimer’s support groups. These people pour out their stories to raise awareness and encourage each other, and all of that really helped me develop how Sawyer (and his family) would have reacted to their situation.
A Song for Rory is the second book in the Findlay Roads Story series. Do any of the characters from the first book, Harper's Wish, make an appearance?
Absolutely they do! For one thing, Connor and Harper are planning their wedding in this story. Plus, some of the crew from the restaurant is back. There are plenty of familiar “faces” in this second book. But of course, you don’t have to have read Harper’s Wish first to dive into A Song for Rory. Each story stands alone in the series. It’s nice to read them in order, but you don’t have to.
You talked in last month’s blog about your “casting” choices for the book and how well they fit the cover. Remind us who you’d like to see play Sawyer and Rory in the film version of the book.
I love having visuals of my characters and settings when I write. The two actors that I envisioned as Sawyer and Rory are Chris Hemsworth and Elaine Cassidy. I think the cover comes pretty close to reflecting my actor choices, too!
What do you want readers to take away from A Song for Rory?
That love is worth the risk. It’s great when other people get what you’re trying to say, and I think my editor, Karen Reid, summed it up well a few months ago on Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write blog. She said:
“What I found myself responding to most in this story is the very common emotion of heartbreak that our hero experiences, both when he discovers a family illness and when he realizes his future with our heroine is at true risk. Heartbreaking! Cerella manages to dig deep into her characters—who they are, what makes them tick, what makes them cry—and from there she pulls out the raw emotion and feeling that make up the human condition. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but this is a brilliant read that proves the fight for love—even if you have to get your heart ripped out and trampled on a couple times first—is completely, utterly worth it, 100%. And what more can you ask for?”
Karen gets it, which is why I love working with her!
What else would you like your readers to know?
That there are lots of giveaways going on to celebrate the A Song for Rory release! You have the chance to win the first book in the Findlay Roads series, Harper’s Wish, along with plenty of other goodies. You can check out the giveaways and enter to win at the links below. And make sure you check out the other releases this month from Kate James, LeAnne Bristow, Tara Randel, and our fellow author with Harlequin Love Inspired, Jill Weatherholt. The five of us are offering some great giveaways and features this month!
If you’d like to keep in touch with Cerella to learn more about A Song for Rory and find out when each new book releases, you can like Cerella on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, curate with her on Pinterest, or join her on Instagram. You can also subscribe to her author newsletter or email her directly through her website at cerellasechrist.com
Make sure you check out these giveaways - click each picture to be taken to the entry options!
CERELLA SECHRIST lives in York, Pennsylvania with two precocious pugs, Darcy and Charlotte, named after Jane Austen literary characters. Inspired by her childhood love of stories, she was ten years old when she decided she wanted to become an author. These days, Cerella divides her time between working in the office of her family’s construction business and as a barista to support her reading habit and coffee addiction. She’s been known to post too many pug photos on both Instagram and Pinterest. You can see for yourself by finding her online at www.cerellasechrist.com. A Song for Rory is her fifth release and the second book in the Findlay Roads series.