I could talk about Ann Garvin all day—in the good way. I’m thrilled to have her here on Women’s Fiction Writers today sharing her inspiration and the motivation for her third novel I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around.
Here’s my take on the book, but you should really read it for yourself.
In I LIKE YOU JUST FINE WHEN YOU’RE NOT AROUND, Ann Garvin skillfully weaves an intricate tale of life and love that allows the reader to easily immerse herself in a complex family dynamic. The cast of characters is realistic as well as delightfully quirky, and Garvin’s sharp wit and keen insight shine through on every page. I LIKE YOU JUST FINE WHEN YOU’RE NOT AROUND is a heartwarming and humorous read.
Please welcome Ann Garvin to WFW!
I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around
(and how writing this helped me figure out life)
Be honest. This reminds you of someone. You read the title of this new book, and laugh a little and then a face materializes in your mind.
You think of the time you went on a road trip with your sister. The one that makes you giggle but also drinks too much at night and starts telling strangers your secrets.
It’s your husband that comes to mind. The one you promised to cherish and honor all those years ago. The father of your children. The one who hovers over your shoulder when you pay the bills and asks,
“What was that one for?”
Maybe he’s retired and can’t quite figure out what to do with himself and you just want to be in the alone in the house.
It could be your friend who can’t stop talking about how brilliant her kids are. How good they are at soccer, math, or college applications. She’s your best friend and you want her to stop talking.
We love our people. We love our family but sometimes, just sometimes we’d like them to go away.
But, then what happens when they do go away, those people that we love? What happens if they decide to leave us, or lose their memory of us, or they escape out of stress or frustration? What happens when we say,
“Just kidding! I love you. Please stay!” But, they can’t hear you.
That’s when we start to learn things. That’s when we laugh at ourselves and begin to figure out how to love. Really love. Love ourselves enough to ask for space. Love our people enough to recognize their flaws. Love our partners even when we wish they’d just shut the hell up and let you watch Netflix in peace.
I didn’t realize that this was what my book was about until I wrote it. I knew I wanted to write about a therapist who was not very good with her personal relationships. I knew that she was going to try and work it out on a radio show but I didn’t know it was about the complexity of the love and hate in relationships until I wrote the whole book. Writing is like that some times; like novel-length personal therapy. Like figuring life out as you go along. Just like actual life, but with made up characters.
And, so, that’s what I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around is about. It’s about how one woman tries to figure out what’s fair in relationships. It’s when she decides that she’s not going to passively accept everything just because. It’s when she starts to be more active in her life and sometimes she get’s it right and sometimes not.
Just like me.
Just like you.
It should make you laugh, see yourself, and maybe just feel a little better about life in general. And it won’t tell even one of your secrets after you whisper them into the pages.
Dr. Ann Garvin, is an author, speaker and professor of exercise physiology, psychology, nutrition, and health. Her novels I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around, The Dog Year, & On Maggie’s Watch are each about women who struggle to find their way in a world that asks too much from them, too often. Garvin balances her literary pursuits with teaching in WI And NH while supporting other women writers and raising a family. She is the founder of the Tall Poppy Writers and The Fifth Semester.