Book: A Toast to Starry Nights by Mandi Rei Serracategories: Book, Humor, Past Lives, Psychology, Domestic Violence, Ireland, Sarcasm, Book Writing, Weddings, Hippies, Star Trek, Contemporary Romance
Mandi Rei Serraabout this book: One Christmas season at the mall, I was exiled to a calendar kiosk instead of my beloved book store. During the slow times, I began writing scenes on the back of coupons. For several years, that stack of coupons sat in a box in the back of a storage unit. A divorce and move later, I became reacquainted with my long-lost story.
There was something missing from it, though. Inspiration came with the spring, when an ex-boyfriend from high school made contact to apologize to me, ten years after the fact, and offer an explanation of why he broke up with me.
Using my history with him as a basis to weave A Toast to Starry Nights together, the once-simple story that was whiled away on slips of paper grew to become something even better than I first imagined it could be. The title was inspired by a line in the song, Don't Forget to Breathe by Bitter:Sweet. I adore the tune, plus it's relevant to the story of love through lifetimes and addressing the things that scare us.
Kaylis Woods is the product of a broken marriage with a Gene Roddenberry-worshiping mother and deadbeat drug dealer father, and still reeling from an emotionally and sexually abusive relationship with her ex which resulted in her being unable to bear children. To top it off, her hunny, Dmitri, proposes marriage to her in the middle of a ritzy restaurant, resulting in a moment where the role of Mount Vesuvius is played by Kaylis and Dmitri stars as Pompeii.
Eager to get her ducks in a row and face the lingering demons haunting her nights before saying, "I do," Kaylis makes a deal with her mother. In exchange for seeing a therapist, Kay's mom will stay out of wedding planning, unless asked. Egged on by her best friend, Jet, Kaylis sets out on a journey of self-exploration before the secret revealed in therapy destroys the magic between she and Dmitri for good.
The hardest part of putting the story together is the pivotal therapy scene. It was literally the last part of the story I wrote, although it's only half way through the novel. But I had to make it intense, otherwise the first chapter would have no justification.
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Video: A Toast to Starry Nights by Mandi Rei Serra
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