by David Burnett
Release Date: June 1 (May 1 in paperback)
Jennie Bateman has again fallen in love with Thomas, her former husband. However, Tasha, one of his children, is determined to destroy their relationship. Jennie had done that herself a number of years earlier. In the midst of a manic episode, she had deserted Thomas and their two daughters, choosing, instead, a life of shameless debauchery.
Perhaps she was shocked when Thomas filed for a divorce. Perhaps it was the influence of a preacher who took an interest in her. Perhaps she simply cycled back toward normal. Whatever the cause, years later, when she again made contact with her family, she was a different person. Even so, they wanted nothing to do with her.
But time moves on. Circumstances change.
Thomas’s second wife has died, leaving him a single parent with four adult daughters and a new-born. In Jennie’s eyes, he is the same good-looking, kind, loving person she had fallen for when they were in college.
In Once and Future Wife we follow Jennie as she goes a second round with her demons, hoping to find a way to stop them from destroying the possibility of a second marriage and the love and happiness that finally seem to be within her reach.
ABOUT DAVID BURNETT
I live near Charleston, South Carolina, with my wife and Bonnie, our blue-eyed cat. I enjoy traveling, photography, baking bread, and the Carolina beaches.
We have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During one trip to Scotland, we visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen.
My photographic subjects have been as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, and a Native American powwow. I went to school for longer than he wants to admit and has graduate degrees in psychology and education. I was formerly director of research for our state’s department of education.
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Where are you from? I have lived in South Carolina my entire life, except when I was of in college and graduate school. I now live in Folly Beach, near Charleston. Folly is a typical old-line beach town. By design, we have only a couple of local hotels and no chain stores. (One hotel does have Starbucks at its coffee shop! The convenience store sells BP.) The population is diverse, with significant numbers of retired persons, aging hippies, and surfers. Then, too, a school bus runs its route through the island each morning and afternoon.
Tell us your latest news. My wife and I have four grandchildren, two boys and two girls.
When did you first consider yourself a writer? I wanted to be a writer when I went to college, but I was side-tracked by an interest in psychology. My first book was published three years ago.
What inspired you to write your first book? My first book, The Reunion, was inspired by a sermon about a man who wished he could go back and live his life differently than he had. In the book, the main character wants to “turn back time,” and become more like the person he was when he went to high school some twenty years earlier. Unfortunately, his wife does not share his enthusiasm for the project.
How did you come up with the title? I had to decide whether to emphasize the love story or Jennie’s bipolar disorder that forms the primary source of conflict. I began by making a list of possible titles. Second Round, for example, an option that draws images of a boxing match, would have drawn attention to the conflict. Once and Future Wife obviously indicates a romance. I collected opinions about possible titles, and chose to emphasize the love story.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? All of my novels involve elements of forgiveness and acceptance. In Once and Future Wife, the reader gets to glimpse the impact that mental illness can have on a person’s life.
How much of the book is realistic? In the story, following the death of his second wife, Jennie has again fallen in love with Thomas, her former husband. One of his children is determined to prevent Jennie from marrying her father a second time. The situation is true-to-life and the sole surprise is that only one of Thomas’s children opposes the relationship.
Jennie’s bipolar disorder is quite realistic. In the story she experiences, to some degree, five of the classic symptoms of mania: sleep disorder, out-of-control spending, anger management issues, alcohol abuse, and sexual acting out.
Are experiences based on someone you know or events in your own life? Once and Future Wife is not a true story in the sense of recounting actual events. I watched someone very close to me experience most, but not all, of Jennie’s symptoms. The main male characters in my books behave as I would want to behave if I found myself in those situations.
What books have most influenced your life? Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is the book I most remember from my childhood.
What book are you reading now? I’ve just completed, Marked by Honor, a medieval romance. I enjoy time-slip novels and I’ll be taking one of Susannah Kearsley’s time-slip novels on vacation with me.
Are there any new authors that have grabbed your interest? Michael Baron creates stories by putting his characters in impossible situations and, sometimes, having them find a way out. One indication of a good story is that I continue to think about it long after I’ve finished reading it. It has been several years since I have read Baron’s work, but I continue to eel his characters’ pain whenever I think of their stories.
What are your current projects? I am currently completing work on a romance that follows the life of a young angel who is separated from the love of her life when they find themselves on different sides in the conflict between Lucifer and the archangel Michael. It sounds very dissimilar to my other books, but the only real difference is that most of the characters are not human.
What would you like my readers to know? I love to write and I can think of no better way to spend my time. I write in my office at home, sitting on the porch overlooking the marsh, on the pier at the beach, in coffee shops, waiting rooms, hotels, and anywhere else I might find myself. If I’m not writing, I may be constructing stories or developing plot lines in my mind. I hope your readers will enjoy my stories as much as I enjoy writing them.
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