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Book Excerpt: My Sister’s Voice by Mary Carter

Title: My Sister’s Voice
Author: Mary Carter
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington (May 25, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0758229208
ISBN-13: 978-0758229205

What do you do when you discover your whole life was a lie? In Mary Carter’s unforgettable new novel, one woman is about to find out. . .

At twenty-eight, Lacey Gears is exactly where she wants to be. An up-and-coming, proudly Deaf artist in Philadelphia, she’s in a relationship with a wonderful man and rarely thinks about her difficult childhood in a home for disabled orphans. That is, until Lacey receives a letter that begins, “You have a sister. A twin to be exact…”

Learning her identical, hearing twin, Monica, experienced the normal childhood she was denied resurrects all of Lacey’s grief, and she angrily sets out to find Monica and her biological parents. But the truth about Monica’s life, their brief shared past, and the reason for the twins’ separation is far from simple. And for every one of Lacey’s questions that’s answered, others are raised, more baffling and profound.

Complex, moving, and beautifully told, My Sister’s Voice is a novel about sisterhood, love of every shape, and the stories we cling to until real life comes crashing in…

Excerpt

Chapter 1
It was here, in the City of Brotherly Love, at twenty-eight years of age, that Lacey Gears first discovered she had a sister. An identical twin. Of course it wasn’t true. A joke, a hoax, a prank. As if. It was completely ridiculous, and although she of all people appreciated a good—Gotcha!— she didn’t have time for games today. She had to buy an anniversary gift for her boyfriend Alan, then race off to paint a chubby Chihuahua and its anorexic owner. An identical twin. Funny, ha-ha.

The hoax came by way of her red mailbox. She wasn’t going to open the mail, she usually waited until the end of the day to sift through it, preferably with a glass of wine, for a single bill could depress her all day long. But as she jogged down her front steps, she caught sight of the mailman wheeling his pregnant bag down the sidewalk. He had just passed her house, when he caught her eye. He made a dramatic stop, and waved his arms at her as if she were an Airbus coming in for a landing instead of a 5’6 slip of a girl. He jabbed his finger at her mailbox, then patted his large stomach, and then once again jabbed his finger at her mailbox with an exaggerated wag of his head and a silly smile. Lacey had to laugh. She gave him a slight shrug held her hands out like, Can-I-help-it-if-I’m-so-popular?

He winked, blew her a kiss, and then pointed at her mailbox again. She caught his kiss, pretended to swoon, and blew him a kiss of his own. By now they had an unappreciative audience. The woman who lived next door was standing in the middle of her walkway, hands on hips, glaring at the mailman. She was a large white woman in a small red bathrobe. He gave Lacey one last wave, one last jab at the mailbox. Oh, why not. If it would make him happy, she could spare a few seconds to open it. Lacey waved goodbye to him and hello to the woman in the red bathrobe. Only one wave was returned. She turned her attention to the mailbox.

He wasn’t kidding. It was stuffed. She had to use both hands to get a grip on it, and exert considerable effort. She managed to yank out the entire pile, but she moved too fast, causing the precarious mound to shift and slide through her hands. As the mail swan dived the steps, she bent at the knees and lowered herself, as if she’d rather let it take her down than give up. She finally, got a rein on the loose bits, and nervous she was wasting time, she began to flip through the day’s offerings.

Bills: AT&T, Time Warner; Catalogues: Macy’s, Deaf Digest, Galluadet University; Advertisements: Chow Chow’s Chinese restaurant, 20 percent off carpet cleaning, Jiffy Lube. Waste of time. Lacey stuffed the mail back in the box, and was about to close the lid when she spotted it a white envelope, sticking out of one of the catalogues. She’d almost missed it. She pulled it out and stared at it.

No address, no stamp, no postmark. Just her name typed across the front, looking as if it had been pecked out on a typewriter from the Jurassic Period. An anonymous letter with its mouth taped shut; a ransom note. For a split-second she was worried someone had kidnapped her dog. She glanced up at the window to her bedroom, and to her relief spotted her puggle, Rookie. His nose was smashed up against the windowpane she’d spent hours cleaning, drool running down and forming Spittle Lake, brown eyes pleading: How can you leave me? She air-kissed her dog an obscene amount of times, then once again turned her attention back to the envelope.

Lacey Gears

Mysterious letter in hand, she jogged down the steps to the curb where her Harley Sportser 883 was parked, slung her leg over her motorcycle, and perched comfortably in the custom-made leather seat. She soothed herself in her fun-house reflection elongated in the bike’s polished chrome, detailed in Red Hot Sunglo and Smokey Gold. A feeling of peace settled over her. When she was on her bike she felt sexy and confident, something every woman deserved to feel. Some days she wished she could figure out how to stay on it 24/7.

She’d bought the bike after selling her first piece of abstract art, a kaleidoscope of hands coming together in slow motion, bought by PSD, the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, where as a little girl Lacey had longed to go. At least a piece of her was there now, hanging on the walls as a reminder to Deaf children that they could be anything, achieve anything, do everything but hear. It sold for a decent amount of money, leaving her feeling giddy and slightly guilty as if she had gotten away with something. She bought the Harley as quick as she could, in case they turned around and asked for the money back. Alan said it was proof she could stop painting pet-and-owner portraits and focus solely on what she wanted to paint. But despite her luck with the one sale, the only paintings she was doing besides the portraits were ones she didn’t want to share with the world. Not just yet. And for the most part she liked her job. She had to admit, she usually liked the pets a little more than the people, but even most of them weren’t so bad. She turned her attention back to the envelope, peeled the edge up, and slid her finger across the inside-top. The envelope sliced into her finger, cutting a thin line across her delicate skin. A drop of blood sprouted and seeped onto the envelope. She jerked her hand back, as a slip of white paper slid out of the envelope like an escaped prisoner, and fluttered to the ground.

Lacey hopped off the bike, and chased the paper down the sidewalk. It stayed just enough ahead of her to make her look like an idiot chasing it. A slight breeze picked it up and lifted it into the air. It hovered mid-stream, like a mini-magic-carpet. Make a wish, Lacey thought. She reached out and caught it before it sunk to the ground. After all this fuss, it had better be good.

You have a twin sister. Her name is Monica. Go to Benjamin Books. Look at the poster in the window.

Lacey looked up the street, convinced the mailman was standing by with another wink and a laugh. He wasn’t. He was way up the street, his cart parked in the middle of the sidewalk, his bag now slung over his shoulder, thwapping into the side of his leg with each long stride up the steps in front of him. Bathrobe-woman was nowhere in sight either. For all Lacey knew she only came out once a day to wither away civil servicemen with a single look.

You have a twin sister. . . .

My Sister’s Voice by Mary Carter is available for pre-order at Amazon. Add My Sister’s Voice to your Amazon Wish List by clicking here. To find out more about Mary Carter, visit her website at www.marycarterbooks.com.

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Interview with Mary Carter, author of My Sister’s Voice

MARY CARTER is a freelance writer and novelist.  My Sister’s Voice is her fourth novel with Kensington. Her other works include:  She’ll Take It, Accidentally Engaged, Sunnyside Blues, and The Honeymoon House in the best selling anthology Almost Home. She is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, which is part of the Rochester Institute of Technology. She has just completed A Very Maui Christmas, a new novella for Kensington that will be included in a Christmas of 2010 anthology. She is currently working on a new novel, The Pub Across the Pond, about an American woman who swears off all Irish men only to learn she’s won a pub in Ireland. Readers are welcome to visit her at marycarterbooks.com.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Mary. Can you tell us what your latest book, My Sister’s Voice, is all about?

It is about identical twin girls, one is Deaf, and the other is hearing, who are raised separately and don’t learn of each other’s existence until they are 28-years-old.  One twin wants to be instant best friends, the other, when she finds out her biological parents gave her up but raised the other twin, wants nothing but answers.

Q: Is this your first novel?  If not, how has writing this novel different from writing your first?

This is my fourth novel.  Each book I write is very different, and like any parent who has more than one child will tell you, each one is very unique.  That said, I have learned a little about the process of writing a novel, and I believe my skills are improving with each book.

Q: How difficult was it writing your book?  Did you ever experience writer’s block and, if so, what did you do?

Writing a novel is very difficult for me when I am on the first draft.  In fact, I’m miserable until I have something to work with.  Unfortunately, it takes a long time to get the first draft done, and so I spend a good deal of writing time feeling sorry for myself.  I am trying to learn how to write a first draft faster, like sketching a drawing, so that I can get to the part I love—rewriting.  When I feel like I can’t do it, or that it isn’t any good, it’s always during that first draft dread.  I don’t have a choice, I have to plow on, and I just try and quiet my inner critic, and write—even if it’s only a few hundred words.  I remind myself that first drafts are allowed to be awful, and that anything and everything can be fixed, as long as you have something to fix in the first place.  This is also where an outline can be a lifesaver.  It gives you a place to go when you feel stuck.

My Sister's Voice by Mary Carter (click on cover to purchase at Amazon for only $10.20)

Q: How have your fans embraced your latest novel?  Do you have any funny or unusual experiences to share?

I wish I had done a virtual tour of my last novel, Sunnyside Blues. I think it had a quiet start, although all the reviews have been very positive, and it was just released last summer, so momentum may build on it yet.  I guess the funniest story is that my friend Desiree pointed out that I used two of her ex boyfriend’s names in the book for the heroine’s love interests.  It hadn’t dawned on me that I’d done that, and I’m not sure that’s why I chose their names, but it’s possible.  The mind is a mysterious place.

Q: What is your daily writing routine?

I still work a day job so I’m not the type of writer who has a set writing schedule.  I work freelance so my day job hours vary and then I try and write around them.  I’m never without paper in my purse and if I can squeeze in some writing while I’m at work, I try and do that too.  With my last novel I tried to set a goal of at least a thousand words a day.  When I found out Stephen King writes two thousand words a day, I tried that too.  Some days it was easy to do, other days I was lucky to get two hundred.  I find there is always a certain turning point where I’m thinking about the book non-stop, and that makes it easier when you actually sit down to do it, because you’ve already played the scene out in your head.  I’m hoping to reach that point soon with my new novel, because as I said in a previous question, I’m always stressed during first drafts.

Q: When you put the pen or mouse down, what do you do to relax?

I have a favorite local Irish bar that has a ton of fun people and has live music on the weekends.  I also like to eat, and go to Broadway plays, and hang out with friends.  I would say I exercise or do yoga, or meditate, but that would be a lie.  Although I do TRY and exercise, but I’m always falling off the wagon.  I walk a lot though, I think most people who live in New York City walk a lot. I love farmer’s markets, and coffee shops. And I love to read, and go to movies, there are a few television shows I’m addicted to, and I play piano, so I guess there’s never a lack of things to keep myself amused or relaxed.

Q: What book changed your life?

Ayn Rand’s, The Fountainhead, and Herman Hesse, My Essays.  There was also one book that I read that was so bad it made me say—I could do better than that—which led me to write my first novel, but unfortunately, I don’t remember what the book was.  Actually, maybe it’s fortunate I don’t remember, for I wouldn’t use this forum to disparage it either.  But it was instrumental in launching my own writing career!

Q: If someone were to write a book on your life, what would the title be?

Mary Carter would like her first grade teacher to know that the nickname Messy Mary was not very nice and it hasn’t stopped her from becoming an international best selling novelist, and to her third grade teacher, she wants you to know that she hasn’t forgotten that you never took her for that hot fudge sundae she won for being the first to memorize her times tables, and even though her mother took her for one, it still doesn’t let you off the hook.

Q: Finish this sentence: “The one thing that I wish people would understand about me is…”

I’m a international woman of mystery.

Thank you for this interview Mary.  I wish you much success on your latest release, My Sister’s Voice!

Mary Carter is on virtual book tour to promote her new book, My Sister’s Voice.  If you’d like to follow her tour, visit her official tour page here.

Question of the Day:

How would you feel if you found out you had a long lost sister or brother you didn’t know about?

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Women’s fiction author Mary Carter on virtual book tour with My Sister’s Voice

Mary CarterWomen’s fiction author Mary Carter will begin promoting her new book, My Sister’s Voice, on April 5 to kick off her April & May 2010 virtual book tour.

Mary will begin her tour with an interview at The Writer’s Life on April 5 and will be stopping off at 40 blogs before she winds it up with a book review at Book Reviews by Buuklvr81 on May 28. Some of her stops include Dear Author, Examiner, Blogcritics, and will include over 20 book review blogs. Readers will have a chance to win a free copy of her book during several of her stops just by stopping by and saying hello.

Mary’s book focuses on Lacey Gears who, at twenty-eight, is exactly where she wants to be. An up-and-coming, proudly Deaf artist in Philadelphia, she’s in a relationship with a wonderful man and rarely thinks about her difficult childhood in a home for disabled orphans. That is, until Lacey receives a letter that begins, “You have a sister. A twin to be exact…”

My Sister's VoiceLearning her identical, hearing twin, Monica, experienced the normal childhood she was denied resurrects all of Lacey’s grief, and she angrily sets out to find Monica and her biological parents. But the truth about Monica’s life, their brief shared past, and the reason for the twins’ separation is far from simple. And for every one of Lacey’s questions that’s answered, others are raised, more baffling and profound.

Complex, moving, and beautifully told, My Sister’s Voice is a novel about sisterhood, love of every shape, and the stories we cling to until real life comes crashing in…

Mary is a freelance writer and novelist. My Sister’s Voice is her fourth novel with Kensington. Her other works include: She’ll Take It, Accidentally Engaged, Sunnyside Blues, and The Honeymoon House in the best selling anthology Almost Home. She is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, which is part of the Rochester Institute of Technology. She has just completed A Very Maui Christmas, a new novella for Kensington that will be included in a Christmas of 2010 anthology. She is currently working on a new novel, The Pub Across the Pond, about an American woman who swears off all Irish men only to learn she’s won a pub in Ireland. Readers are welcome to visit her online at www.marycarterbooks.com.

If you would like to follow Mary’s tour, click here.

Other books include:

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