Happy Thursday and welcome to my (very late) stop on the Between Before and After blog tour!!Between Before and After by Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Published by Blink on February 5, 2019
Genres: YA, Historical Fiction, Thriller
“The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn … Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories.”
Fourteen-year-old Molly worries about school, friends, and her parents’ failed marriage, but mostly about her mother’s growing depression. Molly knows her mother is nursing a carefully-kept secret. A writer with an obsession for other people’s life stories, Elaine Donnelly is the poster child of repressed emotions.
Molly spends her California summer alternately watching out for her little brother Angus and tip-toeing around her mother’s raw feelings. Molly needs her mother more than ever, but Elaine shuts herself off from real human connections and buries herself in the lives and deaths of the strangers she writes about. When Uncle Stephen is pressed into the limelight because of his miracle cure of a young man, Elaine can no longer hide behind other people’s stories. And as Molly digs into her mother’s past, she finds a secret hidden in her mother’s dresser that may be the key to unlocking a family mystery dating to 1918 New York—a secret that could destroy or save their future.
Question: What inspired you to write this book?
At its heart, every compelling story is a survival story. The stakes are always death. That doesn’t always mean a physical death. It may be an emotional death, a death of self-confidence or self-esteem, a death of a dream or the death of a relationship. It must require everything the protagonist has to survive.
Between Before and After started with an event, the flu pandemic of 1918 and the stories my father told about surviving as a ten year old on the streets for Brooklyn after his mother died. So I have a very personal connection to this story. I wanted to explore how one event could change the trajectories of families and what it means to be resilient in difficult circumstances.
So, BBA features two teenage girls in different time periods trying to survive and triumph over difficult family situations. It includes a retelling of Hansel & Gretel between the chapters. They were resilient. They left a trail of breadcrumbs and when the birds ate them, they dropped small white stones that shone like pieces of the moon. They stood by each other, faced down the witch, and eventually found home.
While writing this novel some of my own family secrets were revealed. I believed I was an only child, but have since discovered two brothers. Like Molly’s world, my world changed. The book is dedicated to my new found brothers. They remind me that wonder is possible and that we can never know the end of our story just by knowing the beginning.