Inspiration for My Brennan Family

I love joining book clubs when they’re reading and discussing my books.  I learn so much about women and their thoughts, opinions, and feelings through book club visits and call-ins.  I don’t think I ever truly understand the novel I’ve written until I hear it discussed from the reader’s perspective, and it’s the reader that does matter…because what I create has to resonate with readers, or they won’t come back for the next book.

I’ve been fortunate to join three different book clubs in person now for The Good Woman–in Visalia, Carlsbad, and Bellevue–and I got a crazy idea for a future Brennan story while sitting in on the discussion in Visalia, and understood why readers connected with certain characters (or didn’t connect with others) in Carlsbad, and Bellevue’s discussion just brought home why I write.  I love this connecting with other women, I love creating community, I love being able to meet women and become part of their world, even if only for a night.

One of the things I’m asked most often is how did I come up with this Brennan family, and truthfully, my fiction Brennans were inspired by my younger brother’s wife and her family.  My brother Rob married a stunning San Francisco girl named Andrea Callen.  Andrea’s father was a fourth generation San Franciscan, as well as a firefighter in San Francisco, just as his grandfather, uncles, and brothers were all firefighters in the city.  Over the years I’ve gotten to know Andrea’s family and I adore her father, her mom, all of her family.  They are warm, loving, solid, people.  Strong people.  People with passion, compassion, and integrity.

In the photo below, my brother Rob is on the far left, holding his daughter, Callen Porter.  Callen is now a 7th generation San Franciscan as Rob and Andrea are raising their family in the city.   Andrea’s uncle is to the left of me, and Andrea’s father, Tom, to the right.

My brother Rob couldn’t have picked a better woman to marry, nor more loving, supportive in-laws.  I decided years ago that I’m claiming them as my own, and Tom Callen himself helped inspire Tom Brennan, the patriarch of the Brennan family with his love for the city, his family, and his other family–the San Francisco fire department.

Do you have any fire fighters in your family?  Is there someone that inspires you?  Tell me!! Everyone that comments  in the comment section below, will have a chance to win a fun Fall Harvest gift box.  It’s a just three day contest, and I’ll announce the winner Thursday morning.

But wait!!  There’s more.  As my Facebook and Twitter followers know…I’ve got another contest happening here right now, and it’s a one day contest only!!  It’s for those of you who belong to book clubs, or would like the chance to win a big box of books to share with your friends.  (Who says you can’t do your own impromptu book club with The Good Woman??) Make sure to say in your comment, that you’re here to enter the book club giveaway of 15 copies of The Good Woman, along with pens, bookmarks, nail files and recipe cards for everyone in your group. to be entered in the book club drawing.  I will also be calling in the night your group meets to discuss The Good Woman with you all!

So…two contests to kick off the week.  One winner–the book club winner–is announced tomorrow morning.  The Fall Harvest prize winner is announced Thursday.  Both winners will be announced here, in the comments below, so check back!

Good luck and have a great week!



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