Home Is Where the Heart Is Blog Hop – Finding Your Way Home

Heart-shaped house illustrationHome is where the heart is as the old saying goes, and couldn’t be truer than in my young adult time travel novel WISHING YOU WERE HERE. “Home” is a major theme that runs through the entire novel for many characters, not just our ambitious heroine Callie Reinard, who finds herself stuck in 1957. Home is more than a physical place, though. It’s more like asking, “Where do I belong?”

For Callie, she firmly believes she belongs in her own time, pursuing her own dreams. But when she tries to save 1950s singing sensation Joey Tempo from a plane crash, where she belongs gets all mixed up. Callie wants to give him a second chance, but doesn’t really think about what comes after that, or how it could affect the rest of her life.

The story opens in 1956 with a glimpse into the life of a young musician, also far from home, chasing dreams that he fears may never come true.

Joseph Temporelli’s fingers raced over the guitar strings as the sweat rolled down his back. Even the weather was against him. The air in the tiny recording booth felt suffocating. Beyond the studio windows, ribbons of heat rose from the Memphis sidewalk. A hazy sun beat down on the passersby and bounced off the bumper of a blue Chevy convertible pulling up to the drive-in diner across the street. He wanted one of their frosty root beer floats so badly right now, he could almost feel the fizz on his tongue.

The neck of the black Gretsch guitar grew slick beneath Joey’s grip, and he paused to wipe his right hand against his jeans. This was worse than anything he’d had to endure back home in Boston, but so far the results had been the same. No one wanted to give his music a chance.

For an entire week he’d haunted Star Studios, where anyone willing to pay a couple bucks could make a record. But now he was out of money, out of patience, and nearly out of hope. His fingers stung. His forearms ached. His head throbbed. Today would be his last day in this hot, miserable town, and part of him was glad. He’d never imagined all his hard work would bring him nothing more than a handful of useless singles. How could he have come all this way and still have nothing to show for it? He’d been so sure the trip to Memphis was the break he needed—felt like destiny after all the failed attempts to get noticed in Boston—but now…

Everywhere he’d turned in this town, doors had slammed in his face. It would be easy to blame his age—teenagers don’t get respect and all that. But at nineteen, he was only a couple years younger than Elvis, and Elvis was getting plenty of respect. It had to be the music. He had to find the right sound—his sound. Then someone would notice. They had to. What would he do if they didn’t? Where could he go?

By the time Joey and Callie cross paths at an airport in London, home for him is a distant memory and a subject he’s not keen to discuss. Callie on the other hand is preoccupied with little else. Almost as soon as she finds herself back in time, her thoughts jump to, “How do I get back home?” Because the answers aren’t at all obvious, and neither is the reason she ended up back in time in the first place. Except of course to save Joey. But once he’s safe, what’s next?

“Where will you go then?”

Joey’s question, innocent enough, suddenly hung in the air above her head like an ominous cloud. Where would she go? Where could she go? Without understanding how she’d arrived in 1957, she couldn’t think of any way to escape into the future. And she had no family or home or even enough money to live in the past. And she was in a foreign country! What was she going to do? The unanswered questions rose exponentially in her head, nearly setting off a panic attack.

“I-I don’t know. I guess I’m…staying…here,” she said softly. Callie leaned her forehead against the window and watched the Global Airlines plane taxi away from the gate for takeoff. She said a silent prayer for the remaining passengers. Should she have tried to save everyone? She closed her eyes. Great, now she would carry a load of guilt around along with her other pressing issues.

“You sure are a puzzle,” Joey said, shaking his head. “I mean, you were on your way back to America. Now you want to stay? Wouldn’t you rather be home?”

You have no idea.

One of the first things Callie notices, once she’s accepted she’ll have to spend at least a little time in 1957 as she tries to reverse engineer the time travel, is that some invisible force wants to keep her here. Like this might be her home, where she belongs. But that’s crazy talk, right? How could she possibly belong in 1957? All her plans and dreams revolve around things from the future–her college scholarship, her career in radio. All that goes up in smoke if she stays in 1957.

Two women chatted on a front porch. Three little girls roller-skated on the sidewalk. A little boy dressed as a cowboy chased after a large sheep dog. If you had to be stuck in 1957, there were worse places to be, she supposed. Nothing seemed pressing here. No one worried about their SATs or college in the fall or—

Callie rubbed her hands over her face and tried to tear her gaze from the quaint images drifting past. Break the spell. Something was happening to her. Something she couldn’t put her finger on, but she felt strange sitting in this car, watching life in another time go by. She’d just arrived and already she felt Shelby Falls sucking the ambition right out of her. It was like a little voice whispering in her head, encouraging her to just sit back and let her worries go. Her desire to get back to college and have a career in radio was melting away like butter on one of those hot biscuits she’d had at breakfast.

She sat up straighter in the car and forced her gaze away from the scenery, focusing instead on the chrome detail inside the car. She did not dare consider settling for this life. No way! This was not her time. She had to find a way home before it was too late—before she missed college and all her plans were ruined, before she had no future to go back to.

The one bright spot in 1957, of course, is the charming and handsome Joey Tempo. Except he’s engaged to an equally stunning personality, beauty queen Sable Courtney. Oh boy! Callie does not want to get involved in this love triangle. Or does she? To find out what happens to Callie, Joey, Sable and others as they search for where they each belong (and who they belong with!), read WISHING YOU WERE HERE, available now at Amazon.com

Want to hear about more great reads?

Visit the other blogs in our blog hop today for more great stories about “Home” and “Heart” and you could win PRIZES!

Home Is Where the Heart Is Blog Hop Badge

THEN hop on over to Candelight Reads to enter the Grand Prize drawing for more great prizes!

Swag Pack from Candlelight Reads

Swag Pack

Up for grabs:

1st Grand Prize: $40 Gift Certificate from your favorite eBookstore
2nd Grand Prize: $40 Gift Certificate from your favorite eBookstore
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack* that contains paperbacks, ebooks, bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, and more!

Any time from February 15th, 2013 8:00 a.m. CST to February 18th, 2103 midnight CST you can enter both individual blogger prizes and the Grand Prize by commenting on each blog. Be sure to leave an email address with your comment so we can contact you if you win.

*The swag pack includes an adorable pearl bead bracelet just like Callie or Sable would have worn in 1957.

Wait! There’s more!

You could also win a free copy of WISHING YOU WERE HERE, just for commenting on this post. I’ll send one lucky winner in the US the print version, or one lucky winner worldwide the Kindle version. Deadline to enter is midnight CST February 18, 2013. I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday, February 19, 2013.

If you don’t win, don’t despair. You can still get the book at a special price this month. In honor of Valentine’s Day, the Kindle version of Wishing You Were Here is available for only $2.99 through February 28, 2013.