The Secret of You and Me: Guest Post and Giveaway

THE SECRET OF YOU AND ME
by
MELISSA LENHARDT
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Romance  Publisher:  Graydon House (Harlequin)
Date of Publication: August 4, 2020
Number of Pages: 352 Scroll down for the giveaway!
True love never fades—and old secrets never die . . . 
Nora hasn’t looked back. Not since she fled Texas to start a new life. Away from her father’s volatile temper and the ever-watchful gaze of her claustrophobically conservative small town, Nora has freed herself. She can live—and love—however she wants. The only problem is that she also left behind the one woman she can’t forget. Now tragedy calls her back home to confront her past—and reconcile her future. Sophie seems to have everything—a wonderful daughter, a successful husband, and a rewarding career. Yet underneath that perfection lies an explosive secret. She still yearns for Nora—her best friend and first love—despite all the years between them. Keeping her true self hidden hasn’t been easy, but it’s been necessary. So when Sophie finds out that Nora has returned, she hopes Nora’s stay is short. The life she has built depends on it. But they both find that first love doesn’t fade easily. Memories come to light, passion ignites, and old feelings resurface. As the forces of family and intolerance that once tore them apart begin to reemerge, they realize some things may never change—unless they demand it.
                          
PRAISE FOR THE SECRET OF YOU AND ME: “A compelling story of second chances and being true to yourself.” —Harper Bliss, bestselling author of Seasons of Love
“Lenhardt convinces in her portrayal of the conflict between desire and control.” —Publishers Weekly
CLICK TO PURCHASE
(Personalized/signed copies available through Interabang)
A portion of royalties are going to the It Gets Better Project (Click for more details.)

It Gets Better

by Melissa Lenhardt,

author of The Secret of You and Me

I have been trying to write a modern-day version of Persuasion for over a decade. When I had a break between contracted books at the beginning of 2016, I decided to tackle the project again. I would set it in Texas, naturally, and went about staring at walls and the tree outside my office window for character inspiration. When Nora and Charlie walked into my head, I tried to imagine who would have the outsized influence on Nora that Lady Russell had on Anne Elliott. If I stuck with the Persuasion outline, it would be a mother figure. Nothing about writing that scenario appealed to me. (I decided early on not to do a faithful scene for scene, character for character retelling, but more of an homage to Persuasion, like Bridget Jones’s Diary is to Pride and Prejudice.) Then Sophie Russell knocked on the door of my imagination and said, “Hi, I’m about to take over your book. Hope you don’t mind.”

 

As Nora, Sophie, and Charlie coalesced, I realized something; Sophie was in love with Nora, and the feeling was mutual.

 

As someone who didn’t identify with the LGBTQ community, I needed to ask for help, do my research, listen to feedback from lesbians and bisexual women, and admit, I’m ignorant; please help. I have a lovely friend, Kat, who encouraged me to write the story and offered to read it and help me with representation.

 

I expected this book to be challenging to write since it wasn’t my lived experience. But, falling in love is falling in love, and it was easy to imagine Nora and Sophie feeling the same as I did when I fell in love with my husband. I didn’t realize until I read the first draft that Sophie’s experiences and challenges mirrored the challenges I observed firsthand of a loved one of mine who’d been closeted in a small town. I thought about what they’d gone through and how it affected their happiness and success for years and determined to do what I could to help. Shutting up and listening and believing the experiences of marginalized communities is the first step to understanding. I wasn’t about to barrel my woke-white-lady way into a movement and try to take over or even ask the community to do the work for me by saying, I’m here to help. Tell me what to do.

 

I decided the best way to support the community, at present, is to donate a portion of my royalties to an LGBTQ youth charity, and the It Gets Better Project fits perfectly.

From the It Gets Better Project website:

 

The It Gets Better Project is a nonprofit organization with a mission to uplift, empower, and connect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth around the globe. Growing up isn’t easy, especially when you are trying to affirm and assert your sexual orientation and/or gender identity. It can be a challenging and isolating process—but, the good news is, no one has to do it alone.

 

I don’t want LGBTQ youth to have to go through the same struggles my loved one did, which is why I’m donating 10 percent of my royalties from The Secret of You and Me to the It Gets Better Project. Visit their website for more information or to donate directly.



Melissa Lenhardt is a women’s fiction, mystery, and historical fiction author. Her debut mystery, Stillwater, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest, and Sawbones, her historical-fiction debut, was hailed as a “thoroughly original, smart and satisfying hybrid, perhaps a new sub-genre: the feminist Western” by Lone Star Literary Life. The New York Times called her sixth novel, Heresy, “An all-out women-driven, queer, transgender, multiracial takeover of the Old West.” The Secret of You and Me, her seventh novel and her first contemporary women’s fiction novel, was published on August 4, 2020. When Melissa isn’t writing, she’s thinking, “I really should be writing,” and eating Nutella or peanut butter straight out of the jar. A lifelong Texan, she lives in the Dallas area with her husband, two sons, and two Golden Retrievers.
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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

TWO WINNERS each get a signed hardcover copy of the book and their choice of either a FaceTime call or virtual book-club visit with the author.
 August 11-21, 2020
(U.S. Only)

FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY. 
Or, visit the blogs directly:

8/11/20
Author Interview
8/11/20
Review
8/12/20
Review
8/12/20
BONUS Post
8/13/20
Review
8/14/20
Top Six List
8/14/20
Review
8/15/20
Excerpt
8/16/20
Guest Post
8/17/20
Review
8/17/20
Review
8/18/20
Audio Spotlight
8/19/20
Review
8/19/20
Review
8/20/20
Review
8/20/20
Review

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