Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for inviting me back to talk about THE LILAC BOUQUET. This is my 84th published book but it was the first book that I ever wrote. When my third child was born in 1973 and refused to sleep at night, I picked up a pencil and a spiral back notebook and began to write a novel that my husband and I’d talked about for years and years. I’d written Seth Thomas as a young man and if there was something that could be wrong with a book, I managed to find it. Of course, it didn’t sell but the core story stayed on my mind and through the years I’d drag it out and revise it but it wasn’t until this year that it all came together.
I really think it was Emmy Jo who finally brought that story to life and I’d
like to introduce you to her today. She’s a young lady from Hickory, Texas who has agreed to answer a few questions for us today. From day one she stole my heart but I shouldn’t tell you everything I know. We’ve got a few questions worked up and she’s willing to answer them all—as long as there are no spoilers.
Carolyn: Emmy Jo what was it that made you so determined to
have a big wedding.
Emmy Jo: There’s a curse on the Massey women and I was
determined to break it. My great grandmother, Tandy, had a baby out of wedlock in a society that shunned her for it. My grandmother, Rose, followed in her footsteps and so did my mother, Crystal. I wanted a big wedding so everyone in the town of Hickory would know that I was really married.
Carolyn: What did your fiancé, Logan, think of that?
Emmy Jo: Logan loves me enough to let me do things my way and he understands my reasons but he’d just as soon go to the courthouse
Carolyn: And your best friend, Diana? Did she agree?
Emmy Jo: Diana and I are both engaged. Every conversation we had was about our weddings, what kind of cake we wanted, where it would be held.
Carolyn: Did anything change between you and your family and
Diana when you went to work for Seth.
Emmy Jo: Wow! Did it ever. Tandy, that would be my great
grandmother, was so mad she told me that I couldn’t ever come back home. Diana thought I was doing the wrong thing and wouldn’t even let me spend one night in her house. I had to virtually walk away from everyone but Logan to take the job at the big house on the hill overlooking Hickory.
Carolyn: Where on earth did you live?
Emmy Jo: The job came with room and board and a salary that
would let me have my dream wedding. I had faith that my granny and my best friend would eventually come around.
Carolyn: Once you were there, did you instantly become friends
with Seth? I hear he was an old recluse who didn’t even want you to be there
Emmy Jo (with a giggle): You got that right. His sister, Ruth,
hired me, actually. He didn’t and he sure didn’t want me there so he tried to
make me miserable through sheer boredom. But if I left I couldn’t have my
wedding so I stuck with it and made it my mission to make him like me.
Carolyn: And how’d that work out for you?
Emmy Jo (with a big smile): You have to realize something. Tandy and Seth and Logan’s grandpa were all tangled up in a secret that no one had ever been able to crack. And believe me Hickory, Texas has its fair share of
gossips who’d tried to figure out why three people who’d grown up in the same town hated each other so much. After a few days of living there, I was
determined that I’d find out just exactly what was at the bottom of that secret. To get him to talk, I had to make him like me. So how did it work out for me? I refused to give up and pretty soon he started to talk. A little bit at a time.
Carolyn: What about Logan’s family? How did they feel about him
Emmy Jo: Oh, Miz Carolyn, they were very much against it. But then remember, small towns never let gossip die and Logan is the son of the
local preacher and the grandson of a retired preacher, Jesse, who came from one of the most prominent families in town. They had predestined Logan to be a preacher also and of course, it was my fault that he didn’t want to go into that profession. If you don’t believe me, just ask them.
Carolyn: After you started to find out the secret, did it
affect your life?
Emmy Jo (nodding emphatically): Yes, ma’am. In ways that I’d never have expected possible. I would tell you exactly how much but it would sure spoil the whole story.
Carolyn: Why did Seth live in such a big mansion of a house
Emmy Jo (pointing at Seth who’s been sitting beside her during this
interview): I’m going to let him answer that.
Seth: Well, I fell in love with a woman who wanted a big house.
The only trouble was she wanted the house but not necessarily me so we broke up right before the wedding. It was mutual. She liked the city life and I’m a bit of a hermit. But to punish myself for being so stupid, I decided that I’d live in the house until I died. Emmy Jo here helped me see that I was wrong to let one event ruin my whole life. And now I’m going to steal her away from you. We have to go to the cemetery and put the lilac bouquet on my mother’s grave. It’s a weekly thing that we do together.
Carolyn: Thank you Emmy Jo and Seth for being here. If you had one bit of advice for my readers, what would it be?
Emmy Jo and Seth (in unison): Listen to your hearts and make a bucket list!
About Carolyn Brown
Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today best selling author and a RITA Finalist who has sold more than 2.75 million books. She presently writes both women’s fiction and cowboy romance. She has also written historical single title, historical series, contemporary single title, and contemporary series.
She credits her eclectic family for her humor
and writing ideas. She was born in Texas but grew up in southern Oklahoma where she and her husband, Charles, a retired English teacher, now make their home in the town of Davis, Oklahoma. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them young.