Call Me Elizabeth Lark
by Melissa Colasanti
May 1-31, 2021 Tour
Your daughter went missing twenty years ago. Now, she’s finally back. You thought she had returned a few times in the past, and your husband tells you she’s not the one, but you feel it in your bones.
Now, what will you do to keep her home?
Twenty years ago, Myra Barkley’s daughter disappeared from the rocky beach across from the family inn, off the Oregon coast. Ever since, Myra has waited at the front desk for her child to come home. One rainy afternoon, the miracle happens–her missing daughter, now twenty-eight years old with a child of her own, walks in the door.
Elizabeth Lark is on the run with her son. She’s just killed her abusive husband and needs a place to hide. Against her better judgment, she heads to her hometown and stops at the Barkley Inn. When the innkeeper insists that Elizabeth is her long lost daughter, the opportunity for a new life, and more importantly, the safety of her child, is too much for Elizabeth to pass up. But she knows that she isn’t the Barkleys’s daughter, and the more deeply intertwined she becomes with the family, the harder it becomes to confess the truth.
Except the Barkley girl didn’t just disappear on her own. As the news spreads across the small town that the Barkley girl has returned, Elizabeth suddenly comes into the limelight in a dangerous way, and the culprit behind the disappearance those twenty years ago is back to finish the job.
Genre: Domestic Suspense
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: March 9th 2021
Number of Pages:
ISBN: 1643856820 (ISBN13: 9781643856827)
Series: Call Me Elizabeth Lark is not a part of a series.
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Melissa Colasanti is a mother and an author. She has a BFA in fiction from Boise State University. Her writing has appeared in Lithub, Memoir Magazine, The Coffin Bell Journal and others. She is the Stephen R. Kustra scholar in creative writing for 2019, and was awarded the Glenn Balch Award for fiction in 2020.
Q&A with Melissa Colasanti
What was the inspiration for this book?
I have a BFA in fiction, and this book began as two different short stories for an intermediate fiction writing class in 2018. One of the stories was about Elizabeth escaping her abusive with her son, though the circumstances were totally different. However, Elizabeth, her son and husband are all the same characters; most notably, the cabin and setting are the same as they are in the book. In another story, Myra is at the inn waiting for her long-lost daughter. The first page of the novel is nearly identical to the story, but the rest is different. I wasn’t sure where Elizabeth had come from and it was entirely focused on this one conversation between these two women. Again, the setting was the same. So with the novel, I wanted to incorporate both settings main characters, except use a suspenseful plot. The short story form is, for me, more literary with no room for a complex plot.
What has been the biggest challenge in your writing career?
There are two pretty big challenges. One is honing one’s craft to the level of attracting agents and editors; this doesn’t only mean good writing. Because there’s so much luck involved, a great premise with a high concept tagline is very helpful. But the biggest challenge is persevering through rejection. I had written several novels prior to getting a book deal. The whole process requires thick skin and willingness to grow. And after publishing the first book, there is still so much growing to do. You have to do it for love of writing, not for the prospect of publication, reviews, hitting a bestseller’s list.
What do you absolutely need while writing?
I need quiet, or I thought I did, till this pandemic hit and six kids were running around my house, not in school and going nuts without an outlet for their energy. Now, I’ve finished the next project (fingers crossed it finds a home) and I’m working out the finer details of the next book. I should be starting soon, and I’m going to have to be really creative with my writing time and space.
Do you adhere to a strict routine when writing or write when the ideas are flowing?
I don’t begin a draft until I know my characters solidly. The book begins with the kernel of an idea, but it doesn’t make enough sense for me to draft the actual story until I know who I’m putting in the situation, what their flaws and wounds are, all of that. I start with scenes to flesh out the characters and get to the point where the book begins. At that point, I write a synopsis and pitch for my agent, because the process has changed a little since getting published and writing professionally. Once I’m drafting, I set a reasonable word count goal—one I know I can meet and exceed on most days. Usually, I go with 1000-1500 words a day unless I’m on a serious deadline for revisions or something. Because I have kids, it works best to set aside short chunks of time here and there, and once I hit that half hour or hour, sometimes I’ll be able to keep going. Doing these writing sprints gets a first draft written in 90 days or less. With revision, I’m far more organized, with a definite plan of action for developmental and line edits. Since I want to make those for the reader, it’s more important to be detail oriented and not rush.
Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
My favorite character is Gwen. She’s the wounded, guilt-ridden woman who lost her sister on the beach when she was supposed to be babysitting twenty years prior. I enjoyed exploring her strained relationship with her mother and using this trauma she experienced to add to the pressure women have to be perfect. For Gwen this is more intense—she’s trying to be the perfect mother, keep everything under control, so she doesn’t repeat the past. Some of her voice and actions are a little humorous, as her personality is prickly, and her identity is based on how she looks on Instagram and to her friends.
Tell us why we should read your book.
It’s a psychological look into a family with some twists I hope readers enjoy.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m a mom of six, and an author of suspense and literary fiction. I’m originally from California, and then lived in the Pacific Northwest for about eight years, which is where I draw the inspiration for many of my books. I love small town secrets and mysteries. We now live in Boise and do a lot of biking, hiking, and playing with our two Havanese dogs.
What’s next that we can look forward to?
Hopefully, a dual timeline mystery set on a small island in Washington state.
Catch Up With Melissa Colasanti:
BookBub – @melissamcolasanti
Instagram – @melissacolasanti
Twitter – @mmcolasanti
Facebook – @melissacolasantiauthor
Read an excerpt:
Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Melissa Colasanti. There will be one (1) winner of one (1) signed Copy of Call Me Elizabeth Lark + Swag (US Addresses ONLY). The giveaway begins on May 1, 2021 and runs through June 1, 2021. Void where prohibited.