Her Sister’s Shoes
A heartwarming novel that proves the healing power of family.
Set in the South Carolina Lowcountry and packed with Southern charm and memorable characters, Her Sister’s Shoes portrays three sisters—Samantha, Jackie, and Faith—who struggle to balance the demands of career and family while remaining true to themselves. Samantha Sweeney has always been the glue that holds her family together, their go-to girl for love and support. When an ATV accident leaves her teenage son in a wheelchair, she loses her carefully constructed self-control. In the after-gloom of her dreaded fiftieth birthday and the discovery of her husband’s infidelity, Jackie realizes she must reconnect with her former self to find the happiness she needs to move forward. Faith lacks the courage to stand up to her abusive husband. She turns to her sisters for help, placing all their lives at risk. In the midst of their individual challenges, the Sweeney sisters must cope with their mother’s mental decline. Is Lovie in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, or is her odd behavior normal for a woman her age? No one, including Lovie, understands her obsession with a rusty key she wears around her neck.
From the Lowcountry
The Yellow Umbrella
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Yellow Umbrella Seafood Market in Richmond, Virginia. They offer so much more than seafood, including fresh produce, a fully stocked butcher counter, and an array of prepared meals. Everything is served up with a smile and a recipe. The Yellow Umbrella served as my primary inspiration for Captain Sweeney’s Seafood Market in Her Sister’s Shoes. If you’re ever in Richmond, be sure to stop on by.
From the Lowcountry
I spent my summers growing up on the point of Garden City Beach, South Carolina, across from Murrells Inlet, where the mouth of the Inlet meets the ocean. We went string crabbing and mud-hole punching. We sailed our sunfishes and pulled each other behind our johnboats on anything we could find that floats—surfboards and hydroslides and innertubes. And I spent many a day in the Gulf Stream deep-sea fishing with my father. We left the dock before dawn and returned late in the afternoon. We ate well—fresh from the ocean seafood nearly every night. My father taught me how to fry fish and shrimp and scallops, everything but soft-shell crabs, which I’ve only just learned to appreciate.
Every summer I make my annual pilgrimage to South Carolina to see my family. On a recent trip, my brother took my children and me offshore fishing. We caught a boatload of fish. Nothing we wanted to eat, but a type my brother was able to sell to the local seafood market. During that trip I was reminded, as I am every year, of how much I love the coast of South Carolina. The moss-draped trees and ocean breezes. The friendly folks with their laid back attitudes and lazy drawls. The long days on the water and the restful nights listening to the waves crash against the shore. Between novels at the time, the lowcountry seemed like a natural fit for the story I’d been plotting about three sisters and the challenges they face in middle age with family and work.
Oftentimes setting takes on an identity, almost like another character in some cases. I loosely based the setting in Her Sister’s Shoes on Murrells Inlet. Creating a fictional town closer to Charleston afforded me the freedom to manipulate the components of my story to accommodate my plot. It is not uncommon for an author to use a fictional town for more than one novel. While I’m currently working on a novel set in Alabama, I plan to revisit Prospect one day soon. Perhaps I’ll use the same characters. Perhaps I’ll create some new ones. Writing a novel is like painting a picture. You start with a blank canvas, and then add colors and shapes to bring your imagination to life.
My husband and I argued for months over what to call our son before he was born. I eventually relented and let my husband have his way. Since our son would be his namesake, it seemed only fair for him to decide. Turns out, he was right. Our son is such a Ned. Whatever...read more
Happy Valentine's Day! Join me February 12-14 for a SweetHeart Sweepstakes. I'll be celebrating Valentine's Day both here and on my Facebook page. Use the widget below to enter. Giveaways include . . . (1) $25 Amazon Gift Card (3) E-book copies of winner's choice from...read more
Characterization is paramount to writing a bestseller. Strong characters can carry weak plots. But unlikeable characters won’t compensate for weak plots. As with everything else in writing, developing strong characters your readers will relate to is a process. Develop...read more
Panster or Plotter? Writers often speak about their process. Some are pansters, writing by the seat of their pants as the story unfolds in their minds, while others spend untold hours drafting elaborate outlines. My process has evolved over time as my skills have...read more
Admit it. You have your heart set on being a traditionally-published author. Isn’t this the goal for every writer when first starting out? Most writers, at some point during their careers, will seek representation from a literary agent. A select few are even fortunate...read more
Write What You Read So you’re staring at a blank screen, ready to type your first words, but you have no clue where to start? Short stories. Poetry. A full-length novel. Why not write in the genre you read? You’ll be able to nail the tone and pacing, understand your...read more
I hope you're enjoying the Saturdays at Sweeney's Launch Party. Are you ready for another giveaway? Enter your name and email address in the Rafflecopter widget and post the title of the book you're most excited to read in 2018 in the comments below for a...read more
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Consistently at the top of Kindle and Audible bestseller lists for four years, Ashley Farley has built an impressive following in women's fiction for someone who was a “closet writer” until the moment she clicked publish on Amazon. Her self-published books are written about women and for women, with many of her fans being just like her—mothers with grown children who rarely find heroines of the same age depicted in women's fiction. Readers will discover something of themselves through her characters. Her novels promise a dash of romance and a heaping of Southern-style family drama.