of What You Hear by Kristyn Kusek Lewis highlights living
in a small town. Moving to her husband's place of birth Beth
Warner must navigate the many scandals and secrets that make
Washington DC look like an honorable place.
Lewis noted, "My last two books were more internal stories
where readers are able to get inside the characters' heads.
This is more dynamic, about a small town. I have some knowledge
of the South since my mom is from North Carolina, my husband
and I lived there for a while, and I have a lot of family
distributed throughout the region."
Bess was the social secretary for the First Lady who was unceremoniously
fired. Wanting to get away from the grind and gossip she and
her husband take over the running of his parent's inn and
move to Greyhill Virginia. She feels apart from her family
and the community. Shunned as an outsider and having her daughters
becoming more independent, Bess is feeling the effects of
an empty nest and isolation.
"I put in this quote at the beginning of the book, from
A Bargain For Frances, ‘Being careful is not as much
fun as being friends. Do you want to be careful, or do you
want to be friends?' I wanted to show that when someone has
a relationship, their choices are the need to be careful and
watch their words or to be truly authentic. Many times people
are defined from one incident. It is about perception and
how we judge people based on that one event."
Offered to write a puff piece on one of Greyhill's most famous
and secretive residents, Susannah Lane, Bess quickly accepts.
Besides a Red Chevy truck, Susannah loved and crashed she
opens up about her high school sweetheart, Bess' father-in-law,
and her best friend who mysteriously died after falling off
Lewis describes her main characters, "Bess is driven
and is now searching for a sense of identity after her career
imploded. She is placed in a community that really does not
want to embrace her and feels like a fish out of water. In
small towns, relationships are developed over years with a
strong sense of community. She sees the town as having stagnant
ideas, which comes out clearly during the interview with Susannah
who is haunted by her past. She never felt love and is a broken
person. From the outside, Susannah appears to have a charmed
life, including driving her red Chevy truck, but reality is
On a fun note, Lewis explained about her passion for red trucks.
"I always wanted on old red pick up truck, especially
since red is my favorite color. I have been taking pictures
of them for years; although I drive the opposite, a grey Subaru
Readers will feel they are imported into this small town with
its old money, mansions, and old-fashioned ideas where dirty
laundry is not washed in public.