Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour & Giveaway for Little Tea by Claire Fullerton, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! I’m delighted to have Claire on the blog today, chatting about the significance of lifelong friendships.
Title: Little Tea
Author: Claire Fullerton
Publisher: Firefly Southern Fiction
Release Date: May 1, 2020
Genre: Southern Fiction
Southern Culture … Old Friendships … Family Tragedy
One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship.
For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed. When the past arrives at the lake house door in the form of her old boyfriend, Celia must revisit the life she’d tried to outrun.
As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years. Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if her friendship with Little Tea can triumph over history.
I’m forever pondering the magic of life-long female friendships, the kind formed in childhood or perhaps early high school that, for whatever reason, stay. On one hand, when we are young, we’re in a state of becoming, but on the other our early years are the set -in-stone template of who we actually are. We build our lives. We add and subtract what is and is not working. We shape and adjust and mold our lives as best we see fit but, in my mind, we never fundamentally change our core essence. We can move far from home, forge brilliant careers, marry, have children, divorce, witness sorrow and tragedy and death, and it shapes our experience, perhaps informs our wary attitude, but the vagaries of life don’t re-define us. In a matter of speaking what happens in our lives refines us.
At the beginning of Little Tea, I said it this way: “There’s a side to the unions made in high school that has perpetual resonance, a side that remains in arrested development that will never let you forget who you essentially are.”
Our friends anchor us. They keep us on center page. They’re the ones who know our history, the characters in our dramas of cause and effect, and they never forget. This keeps us honest. Our friends are a touchpoint to see us through the ages.
I went into the writing of Little Tea wanting to make this point through the power of story. I began with three women friends who reunite after many years at Greer’s Ferry Lake in Heber Springs, Arkansas. I set it in Heber Springs because of its close proximity to Memphis, where the girls grew up. They each live in another location and had to travel to the lake, and the thing I liked about setting the story near water is the idea of fluidity and fluctuating tides. Water is alive and emotional. We sit near it and reflect and sometimes we dive right in it. For Renny, Ava, and Celia in Little Tea, Heber Springs Lake is neutral ground.
Little Tea is the story of three friends who reconvene because one of them is in trouble. If you take one problem and put it in the hands of three women, you’ll receive three different solutions, each based according to who the woman is—her background, her history, her perception of the world. Great wisdom and sage advice is borne from the heart and souls of women, and it is this I wanted to capture in the story.
I like the idea of women friends as an insular, secret society. This subject was the entire impetus behind my writing Little Tea, and I hope readers relate to it in the spirit I intended, which is to say there is great value in friendship. Let’s vow to never take it for granted.
Claire Fullerton hails from Memphis, TN. and now lives in Malibu, CA. with her husband and 3 German shepherds. She is the author of Mourning Dove, a coming of age, Southern family saga set in 1970’s Memphis. Mourning Dove is a five-time award winner, including the Literary Classics Words on Wings for Book of the Year, and the Ippy Award silver medal in regional fiction ( Southeast.) Claire is also the author of Dancing to an Irish Reel, a Kindle Book Review and Readers’ Favorite award winner that is set on the west coast of Ireland, where she once lived. Claire’s first novel is a paranormal mystery set in two time periods titled, A Portal in Time, set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. She is a contributor to the book, A Southern Season with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, set at a Memphis funeral ( because something always goes wrong at a Southern funeral.)
Little Tea is Claire’s 4th novel and is set in the Deep South. It is the story of the bonds of female friendship, healing the past, and outdated racial relations. Little Tea is the August selection of the Pulpwood Queens, a Faulkner Society finalist in the William Wisdom international competition, and on the long list of the Chanticleer Review’s Somerset award. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary Agency. https://www.clairefullerton.com
(1) winner will receive an ebook copy of Little Tea and $5 Amazon gift card!
Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight June 8, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on June 15, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.
Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
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What about you? What makes you want to read Little Tea by Claire Fullerton? Who are some of your lifelong friends?