When her mother sets her the silly task of actually finding François in Paris to return to him a Bible he left behind as a youth, Aglaia resists—until she notices handwritten comments in the margins, sensual jottings by François referring to their long-ago summer fling. She immerses herself in the memories as she seeks François through the streets of Paris, the fields of the farm, the pages of the book—and finds herself in the process.
How did you come up with the title and how much say did you have on the cover design?
The Third Grace refers to a Greek goddess, one of the three Charites said to preside over the banquet, the dance, and all the fine arts. I first saw James Pradier’s 1831 sculpture of these characters in the Louvre in Paris and identified one as the central figure in my novel. My publisher came up with the book cover and it enchanted me the moment I set eyes on it! We tinkered—the two of us—with a few renditions but stayed with the main idea. His artist absolutely captured the feeling I was going for, with the background of the sand hills and windmill overlaid with a head shot of the marble statue. The title and the cover art suggest the metaphor of stone I used throughout the story, the imagery of the Rock that brings forth fresh springs in the desert contrasted with the swampy sea of emotional memories threatening to submerge my main character.
Do you have a favorite line or excerpt that you would like to share from your book?
"Aglaia angled her glass and looked into its blood-red interior. Wine was a symbol of communion, she thought, and she was using it with carnal deliberation to seal this relationship that had so much to offer her." (page 13)
“'Stay the night with me, Aglaia. Share some of your treasure.' His words thrilled her, and then to sweeten the invitation he covered her mouth with his, parted her lips with his tongue, and she could have thrown herself into him then, could have drowned in him. But the picture of Joel with lacerated fists popped uninvited into her mind—her brother who was willing to shed his own blood for her teenaged virtue." (page 207)
What are some of your favorite ways to promote your work?
I just love talking to women—in groups or one-on-one, face-to-face or by email (after all, I’m a writer of relationship fiction). I carry around a stash of info postcards in my purse so I don’t need to be exhaustive when verbally describing the story, and I hand these out with pride because the novel’s cover photo is so attractive! Promoting through the Internet is less personal for me but allows me to be more detailed and precise in my synopsis—and blogs are so much fun to write, easily tied to my novel and interesting to read in and of themselves. And, because I’m not the introvert most writers seem to be, I actually enjoy radio and TV interviews!