Welcome to our second stop on The Eighth Wonder blog tour hosted by Virtual Author Book Tours. Today we have a guest post by author Kimberly S. Young.
The Eighth Wonder by Kimberly S. Young
Contemporary romance/Literary fiction
Publisher: Author House, January 31, 2012
Available in: Print, Kindle, & Nook, 208 pages
Barnes & Noble: Hardcover or Nook
A modern Bridges of Madison County, Nicole Benson, 35, is an ambitious college professor with dreams of teaching at an Ivy-League school until she meets Tom Ryan, 44, married 23 years and shattered after his daughter's death from leukemia. A first-generation in her family to go to college, Nicole is a self-made woman. She put herself through school, sacrificing marriage and children for her career. In the summer of 1997, she finally graduates with a Ph.D. from NYU, but her life is thrust into chaos when her father is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Abandoned by her mother as a girl, her father is all she has.
After fifteen years in New York City, Nicole leaves everything and everyone she knows to teach for a year in rural Bradford, Pennsylvania to be close to him in nearby Buffalo. Now, trapped in tiny Bradford, she has never felt more alone in her life...until she meets Tom Ryan.
At 44, Tom represents what Nicole longs to be: settled, secure, and clear about his purpose and direction in life. Emotionally scarred, he and his wife are empty nesters with an older son away at college and struggle to grieve together after the death of their daughter. Tom and Nicole's story begins as a journey of self-discovery for both of them but turns to bittersweet romance when their friendship becomes love. Nicole risks offering what she has never given before, her heart; and Tom has never felt happier or more conflicted when he falls in love for the second time in his life.
What elements makes a romance story memorable for you? What was your inspiration for The Eighth Wonder?
A modern Bridges of Madison County, Nicole Benson, 35, is an ambitious college professor with dreams of teaching at an Ivy-league university until she falls in love with Tom Ryan, 44, married 23 years and shattered by his daughter’s death from leukemia.
You ask what elements make a romance memorable. I think romance must show the hardship of falling in love to make the story very human and very real. Nicole and Tom are no kids, she has been career-driven and not wanted to get married or have children. Tom has been married in a happy relationship for 23 years. He has been a devoted family man but is crushed by the death of his daughter. These are two people who aren’t really looking to fall in love but they do.
What makes The Eighth Wonder memorable is that it captures the feeling of falling in love when you are older and have other commitments. That difference of falling in love at an age when love is much deeper and harder to do. It is fairly easy to fall in love in our 20s with our lives ahead of us. It is a different experience in our 40s or 50s (or beyond). After our expectations for relationships have evolved, falling in love takes on an entirely different meaning.
My inspiration for writing this story is that as a psychologist, I have counseled men and women struggling with extramarital attractions and understand the emotional conflicts those endure who deeply value fidelity but still feel the pull of falling in love with another, even when one party or the other appears to be happily married. These experiences led me to write The Eighth Wonder.
I was homebound for almost five months recovering from retina re-attachment surgery. This was very serious. I had surgery in both eyes. All the surgeon could say was that it was “in God’s hands now” because my left retina almost completely fell off before it was detected. I was scared. During this time, I thought of my father who had just died. This began the journey into Nicole’s character. The story was semi-autobiographical on how I got to Bradford to take care of my father who had cancer, he lived in Buffalo, and a teaching job in Bradford was the closest job to him.
Like Nicole, I was the first generation in my family to go to college and I was very career-driven. Using my own experience on how I came to Bradford seemed like a good place to start my novel and the more I wrote the more a story popped out.
As I wrote more about Tom, he reminded me of many men that I met in life, middle-aged, content in their lives and marriages yet longing for something more. Tom was not looking to have an affair. He loved his wife, Rose, and the life that they made together. When Tom meets Nicole, something very deep stirs within him. Nicole was the only person who could heal him from his grief and loss and he could help her deal with the loss of her father. In this process, they fall in love and the story becomes bittersweet.
Like the Bridges of Madison County, they have a difficult choice to make. The Eighth Wonder shows both the romance and the reality of falling at love with all the emotions that tug on the heart. Nicole finally trusts someone after years of pushing everyone in her life away. Tom, despite his best intentions, falls in love for the second time in his life. The reviews indicate the story has a surprise ending, I agree that it is not predictable.
Writing became my therapy during a difficult time in my life. It was one of the greatest feelings in the world to write The Eighth Wonder. I didn’t know how much it would impact me unlike anything I have done before. I only hope that others enjoy reading it!
About Kimberly Young:
Kimberly Young is a licensed psychologist, an author, and an internationally-known speaker on Internet addiction. In 1995, she founded the Center for Internet Addiction and since then she has written numerous articles on the topic including four books, Caught in the Net, Tangled in the Web, Breaking Free of the Web, and Internet Addiction: A Handbook for Evaluation and Treatment.
She is a professor at St. Bonaventure University and her work has appeared in hundreds of media outlets including The New York Times, USA Today, Time, and Newsweek, and she has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and ABC World News Tonight. She has written creatively on and off since she was eight-years-old, mainly working on poems and short stories. While recovering from retina re-attachment eye surgery, she was homebound for several months and decided to pursue her creative writing more seriously. The Eighth Wonder is her first novel.