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Featuring You: Meet Author Lucille Guarino

Lucille Guarino's first novel, Like Wine, was a tribute to her mother and getting it into print before she passed was her goal. She considers Elizabeth's Mountain to be her true debut novel. When she was young, walking into a bookstore, with its new book smells and feels, was more exciting to her than a candy shop. Lucille has lived most of her life in northern New Jersey and now lives in South Carolina with her husband, close to her two daughters and grandchildren. She loves stories that lift her up and gratify her and where she can take a little of the characters inside of her and sometimes see herself in them.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

In the sense of storytelling, yes, I've always wanted to write a good story, one that will move the reader and entertain them for a while. As a child, book fairs were my favorite days in school, surpassing classroom holiday parties and gym activities. The school hallways would be lined with tables of all kinds of books, enticing me with their new book smells and appealing covers. It was better than a candy shop! The hard part was having to stick to my book-purchasing budget. I've amassed drawers full of stories and ideas for stories over the years, so writing has been a favorite pastime of mine. Going from concept to publication is a dream come true.

What time of the day do you usually write?

I write any time of the day that I can, but I feel that my mornings are the most productive. When I first wake up and after getting myself a cup of coffee, I start right in. Ideas come to me faster in the early part of the day than in the latter, although it can also happen when I least expect it. I am more refreshed after a good night's sleep, and since I'm a seat-of-the-pants writer predominantly, I need to be at my best to let the creative juices flow. 

Do you hear from readers much? What do they say?

I love this question as much as I love to hear from my readers. Feedback is so crucial to a writer, to know what works, or maybe doesn't, to know what they're looking for and what they want to get out of reading a novel. I belong to book clubs, both locally and virtually, and am also a member of an authors' book club which gives me a different perspective on my novels than that of readers alone. It helps me as an author to hear and read reviews from my readers, and book clubs offer a perfect forum for me to ask them questions to see what they got out of the book, what they liked most, or didn't like. It's all constructive.

On a typical day, how much time do you spend writing?

During stretches where I'm writing a particular novel to see it to completion, it can be anywhere from three to six hours a day, sometimes more. In between working on a novel or novella, it is less, but it could change daily, depending on what inspires me. Between corresponding with readers, and other authors, answering interview questions, and drafting questions for book club members, writing happens every day in one form or another. Also, as a way to keep practicing, I like to write character sketches of people I know.

How do you deal with the emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?

As I usually write emotion-heavy stories, it affects me, especially because I'm with the characters I've created day in and day out. I get very attached to them. When I know that I have to get to a sad part of the story, I do get emotional when writing it. If someone dies in the story, I'm a blubbering fool. I can't help it. My stories are not light-hearted comedies. They assimilate real-life issues that are sometimes hard. I do bring levity and balance into it, but when the book ends, when I've written the last page and have to let it go, I usually have a good cry. It's like saying goodbye to someone who's been in your life for a long time. It's emotional.

Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

The best way would be through my website at It gets updated regularly. I also have a newsletter that they can sign up for: Presently, a contemporary romance novel is due to launch in February 2025. That novel is titled Lunch Tales: Suellen. I am hoping it will be the first in a sequel. Suellen is twenty-eight, the youngest attorney at a prominent New Jersey law firm, juggling a career, a divided family, and a miscreant boyfriend whom she breaks up with early on. When love finds Suellen, it is cruelly timed with a medical diagnosis that rocks her world, setting her on a healing journey that goes beyond the physical. A promise I make to my readers is that all my stories will embrace love and hope, so no need to worry.

Have any of your books been made into audiobooks? If so, what are the challenges in producing an audiobook?

Elizabeth's Mountain was made into an audiobook. I was fortunate to be able to audition four possible readers for my novel through my publisher, Black Rose Writing, two of whom I liked for it. Deborah Kosnett narrates it and I love her smoky, alto voice for Elizabeth when she is old, her youthful tone when she is young, as well as for Amanda, and even the men's voices. She uses a southern lilt too, where needed. The biggest challenge for me was finding a voice that represented my characters well in all stages of their lives, so good acting was essential. I am very pleased with Deborah Kosnett's narration.

Your story is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. Why did you choose that as the setting for your book?

I live two-and-a-half hours from Asheville and have visited there often. I love the Blue Ridge Mountains, the beautiful watercolor section of the Appalachians with its scattering of blue light from the sun, from the multitude of trees like oak and's breathtaking. Depending on the weather, the shades of blue can range from pastel to sapphire. The area appeals to me in so many ways, not just for its beautiful mountain ridges, but for its art and cultural vibe. In the early throes of drafting my novel and after attending a wedding in Miami, I was stuck at the airport due to a delayed flight to Charlotte, North Carolina. Two women who were sitting next to me and didn't know each other began chatting and when they discovered that they both lived in Asheville, their conversation took them there in ways that intrigued me. By the time I boarded my flight, I knew that I had the setting for my novel. You never know how you will benefit by watching and listening to people. 

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?

Some of the key challenges I faced in writing this book were in writing for the men's characters. Joe's was in having to research the Korean War, and Jesse's was in his gregarious personality while also remaining mysterious. The saying, "'men are from Mars, women are from Venus," is a true one. I had to think about what a guy might say or do in a situation, how they would react, and what drives them. The other biggest challenge was in writing a dual timeline story, two women, two different perspectives, keeping their voices distinct and realistic to the times. I found what worked for me was to write Elizabeth's story first, then Amanda's, separate and apart from each other, so that they could have each been a novella, then merge the two at the end. That it worked as I wanted it to is nothing short of astonishing.

What was the highlight of writing this book?

The highlight came when I knew that I had achieved what I set out to accomplish with this story and that all my efforts and trial and error paid off. Then came my most rewarding highlight - my readers and reviewers. The positive responses were heartwarming and encouraging. It's the reason why I write. To entertain for a short while. And perhaps learn or gain some new insight. Reviews are a way of saying thank you to an author and are so appreciated.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?

I am working on the sequel to my next Lunch Tales novel. The first, Suellen, will launch in February of 2025. The second, which I am still working on, is Teagan. Lunch Tales: Suellen has already won the 2023 Grand Prize in a contest by A Woman's Write. It is about a twenty-eight-year-old attorney working at a large, prominent New Jersey law firm, where she bonds in a melange of lunch tales with a cadre of co-worker friends who become more like family. Cruelly timed with meeting the man she's fallen in love with, a medical diagnosis thwarts her world, so it is not surprising why the middle portion of her weekdays is a refuge and a highlight. As she sets off on a harrowing journey of healing, her lunch friends at the firm become her lifeline in the storm, her closest friend being Teagan.

More About Elizabeth's Mountain

A beloved home. Matters of the heart. Can an elderly woman find the key to saving her precious heritage?

Asheville, North Carolina. Elizabeth has a dilemma. After celebrating a milestone birthday, the feisty ninety-year-old anxiously contemplates a developer’s lucrative offer for her Blue Ridge Mountain farmhouse. Worried her adult children will pressure her to sell, the lively senior recalls how her journey to this forever home began back in the 50s when she met the man who would become her husband…

Present day. Amanda yearns to stop wasting time. After ending a dead-end, three-year relationship and moving in with her spirited grandmother, the thirty-four-year-old nurse sees her dream of marriage and kids vanishing. But when she meets a handsome widower at a hospital summit, she cautiously lets down her walls.

As Elizabeth’s memories take her back to when she was a hopeful young woman, she reveals how a horrific accident led to the ER and a charming doctor. While Amanda fears the worst when she overhears the enigmatic man she’s fallen for talking on the phone with another woman.

Do both women’s stories lead to a grand legacy and a lifetime of love?

In an emotional rollercoaster that interweaves the two women’s chance at a future, their parallel romances illustrate the power of resilience and hope despite heartbreak. And as one story comes to its twilight years while the other is just beginning, readers will fall hard for this poignant inheritance of happiness.

Elizabeth's Mountain is an enchanting women’s fiction novel. If you like relatable characters, dual timelines, and multi-generational romance, then you’ll adore Lucille Guarino’s touching tale.


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