BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS
By CAMILLE DI MAIO
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Historical / Family
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Date of Publication: May 16, 2017
Number of Pages: 334
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After serving seventy years in prison for the murder of her sister, Eula, Della Lee has finally returned home to the Texas town of Puerto Pesar. She’s free from confinement—and ready to tell her secrets before it’s too late.
She finds a willing audience in journalist Mick Anders, who is reeling after his suspension from a Boston newspaper and in town, reluctantly, to investigate a mysterious portrait of Eula that reportedly sheds tears. He crosses paths with Dr. Paloma Vega, who’s visiting Puerto Pesar with her own mission: to take care of her ailing grandmother and to rescue her rebellious younger sister before something terrible happens. Paloma and Mick have their reasons to be in the hot, parched border town whose name translates as “Port of Regret.” But they don’t anticipate how their lives will be changed forever.
Moving and engrossing, this dual story alternates between Della’s dark ordeals of the 1940s and Paloma and Mick’s present-day search for answers―about roots, family, love, and what is truly important in life.
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Praise for Before the Rain Falls:
Still wiping away tears! Before the Rain Falls is simultaneously heartbreaking, hopeful, and joyous: a story of complex characters with varied pasts and bright futures. Loved it! – Jennifer B. on Goodreads
This novel takes readers on an emotional, fast-paced, ride through one sister’s journey to self, redemption, and the true meaning of “freedom.” – Nicole W. on Goodreads
There is romance, mystery, and secrets that are kept till the very end that will have you not wanting this beautifully written story to end. – Carol B. on Goodreads
Inspiration for Before the Rain Falls
Guest Post by Camille DiMaio
A common question for an author is, “Where did you get your inspiration for your book?”
This was an easy one for my debut novel, The Memory of Us. It was inspired by the classic Beatles song, Eleanor Rigby. Immediately, people’s eyes would light up in recognition and it was a great starting point for conversation.
The answer for my second novel, Before the Rain Falls, is much more convoluted. Like the kind of dream where a red elephant tiptoes through a bed of nails blowing bubble gum.
Nothing there seems to be connected, but in your head, in your sleep, it all makes perfect sense.
So, how’s this:
A mysterious, possibly crying portrait.
A grandmother who won’t let anyone buy her an air conditioner even though she swelters day by day in the Texas heat. (That was my grandmother. Wouldn’t let any of her ten children try to relieve this particular suffering.)
A journalist who is trying to resurrect his career after a scandal.
A doctor who is trying to find her purpose.
It did start with the portrait, however, and like the air conditioner, my grandmother was the inspiration. She was the sort who believe in every kind of Jesus-on-a-pancake apparition.
So, along with a documentary I caught on tv about whether or not various “miracles” were real or staged, the image of a portrait, reputed to be shedding tears, came to mind.
That begged the question:
Is it crying? Or is it a fake?
Which begs more questions, like one of those darned factor trees in middle school Math.
If it’s crying, why? How?
If it’s a fake, why did someone do that? What did they gain from it?
I mulled this over. And discovered that this seed of a story I had was not really about the portrait. The portrait was a launching point of something that I knew was bigger.
I do tell you, later in the book, about the tears. But, no spoilers will be had here.
Back to more questions, which I self-answer. This is how an author’s mind, or at least mine, works. We talk to ourselves.
Who is in the portrait?
Immediately, I thought of a beautiful young girl.
Why might she be crying?
She was murdered.
Why was she murdered?
Her sister did it.
Why did her sister do it?
Well, maybe she didn’t. She just went to jail for it.
Oh, new set of tangents.
If she did it, why?
If she didn’t do it, why didn’t she fight her sentence?
Ah! Now we have something.
(See? Conversations for one. An author would have no problem taking herself to dinner. The chatter is riveting.)
That last thread became the bones of my story, and I began to flesh it out.
If she did it, why?
If she didn’t, why didn’t she protest her imprisonment?
I thought on these questions. And thought. The ending came to me pretty quickly. Again, no spoilers. And early reviewers have told me that they didn’t see it coming.
It’s the how to get there that is fun.
And so my dual-timeline, triple-narrator story came into existence as I wove those unusual threads together into something that I hope will be a compelling read to you.
One more thing. I began writing it during a particularly hot and humid spell in a Texas July. So there’s a lot of heat, and I don’t meant the sexy kind. Because I was just too sweat-soaked and droopy to imagine any other kind of setting. All the reviewers who told me that they felt the heat, it’s because I was living it for you.
I took that bullet. If you need to warm up a bit in January, pick it up as a winter read and let it warm you up. Then, let me know what you think!
Camille recently left an award-winning real estate career in San Antonio to become a full-time writer. Along with her husband of 19 years, she enjoys raising their four children. She has a bucket list that is never-ending and uses her adventures to inspire her writing. She’s lived in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California, and spends enough time in Hawai’i to feel like a local. She’s traveled to four continents (so far), and met Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. She just about fainted when she had a chance to meet her musical idol,
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