Dear Readers,

I wanted to take a few moments to tell you about Just an Ordinary Family, a novel about one family and a very close friendship.

I wrote this book, because I wanted to explore the themes of trust, betrayal and regret. To shine a light on how often we delude ourselves that our actions will only result in one specific outcome and that when we explain ourselves, others will understand and forgive.

This got me thinking about the types of forgiveness that different situations demand. Sometimes, forgiveness is cheerfully given and other times it’s demanded. When it involves compromise and sacrifice, it can sometimes feel like a hand is reaching down inside us, hauling forgiveness out kicking and screaming. Some people rise to meet the forgiveness challenge, while others never come close to attempting it. What impact does our choice to forgive or not to forgive have on our lives?

I also toyed with the question, is there a difference between a stupid mistake and a calculated betrayal? Does someone have the right to feel betrayed when they’ve lied themselves? And who is judged more harshly when moral and ethical lines are blurred?

Of course, there are no clear answers to any of these questions. My characters learn this as they deal with their lives being turned upside down by breaches of trust. There’s betrayal by their family, their friends, their town and their bodies. I’m familiar with the impact of my body’s betrayal and I definitely mined some of my own experiences.

I also did a bit of ‘method research’ writing the book, which included a sailing holiday and signing up to a variety of online dating sites and apps so I understood how they worked. My husband was far more understanding of this than my young adult sons. I listened to podcasts about relationships, I read self-help books, interviewed people and I sent up a general hope that I would never have to personally deal with what I’ve thrown at Alice, Libby, Jess and Karen.

The women and men in this book are as flawed, complicated and unwise as they are loving, well-intentioned and striving to be their best selves. Readers will have differing opinions about the decisions they make. This excites me, because life is not black and white and all of us are far from perfect, but we’re out there trying our best.

I hope you enjoy Just an Ordinary Family

Best wishes,

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