Spotlight & Giveaway: Long Way Home by Kathleen O’Brien

Posted October 16th, 2014 by in Blog, Spotlight / 75 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome romance author Kathleen O’Brien to HJ! 

Hi Kathleen and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Long Way Home!

LWHAt eighteen, Abby Foster had been the cutest little rich gal in Marietta, Montana. She could make boys do whatever she wanted—especially sweet, wild, penniless Joe Carlyle, who adored her. But a lot’s changed in the eight years since Abby broke Joe’s heart by marrying the rich guy her domineering father chose for her. Her father has died, and the “perfect” husband has bolted, taking all the money. More importantly, Abby’s grown up. She’s vowed to stop listening to other people and follow her own heart instead.

Right now, her heart tells her to return to Marietta. The wildfire she felt in Joe’s arms has haunted her, and, though she doesn’t expect forgiveness, she hopes maybe he, too, would enjoy a brief, no-strings affair. If they can share just the seventy-two hours of Homecoming weekend…well, maybe then they’ll both find it easier to forgive, forget, and move on.

But when she sees him, she realizes how naive that idea was. The years have changed Joe, too… and the passionate, powerful man he’s become isn’t someone she’ll ever forget. This time the heart she breaks may be her own.

Fun facts about Long Way Home:

– The title of “The Long Way Home” has been in my head for years, waiting for the perfect story. It was inspired by a bonus track of the same name on a Nora Jones album. Nora’s song isn’t about the same kind of relationship, but the title resonated deeply with me, and I felt sure I’d find the right characters for it someday.

– As wrote “The Long Way Home,” I tried to imagine what could possibly make a young woman give up the boy she loved and marry another man instead. Luckily, I never found myself in that situation, but shortly after I got married we discovered my adored father had a terrible, terminal illness. It was clearly a great comfort to him, knowing I had found my new home, my true love, and that I was in good hands. I realized that, if I’d been in Abby Foster’s shoes, it might have been very, very difficult to deny my father that comfort. In some ways, our fathers are really our first heroes.

– I adored writing about the Marietta High homecoming dance that went a bit crazy, maybe because I had an unconventional senior prom experience, myself. But it also felt right because, as I was trying to get ideas, everyone I talked to gleefully recounted something that went wrong at their big high school dances. Almost no one mentioned the classic “Hallmark” moments, but they lit up remembering the tears, brawls, pranks, wardrobe or hair or decoration malfunctions, dates from Hell, close encounters with cops, etc. Maybe I just know weird people?

GIVEAWAY: A copy  of The Long Way Home paired with $10 Amazon gift card. 

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: What’s your favorite memory of your prom or homecoming dances? Is it a Hallmark moment…or is it a hilarious-in-hindsight disaster?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Meet The Author:

Kathleen O’BrienAfter a short career as a feature writer and TV critic, Kathleen O’Brien turned to writing romance, and the job fit so well she never looked back. Now she’s published more than forty titles, is a five-time finalist for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA award, and holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives near Orlando with her former-journalist husband, just down the road from their two grown children and, of course, the ever-famous Mouse.

Buy Link:





75 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Long Way Home by Kathleen O’Brien”

  1. melanieanu

    I wasn’t living the USA at that time and in the UK they don’t (or at least didn’t at that time) have proms etc – so I never got to go to one 🙁

    Mind you after some of the horror stories friends of mine have told me – maybe I was the lucky one lol!!! 😀

    • Kathleen

      I didn’t realize the UK didn’t have proms! That’s fascinating…I wonder if the customs have changed at any point. I also wonder what the reasoning is for not having them. But you’re so right! 🙂 Some of the horror stories do make a great case for eliminating the whole crazy custom!

    • Kathleen

      Oh, Marcy, I hear you! I was shy, too–and, even worse, I’m an abysmal dancer! So the whole process was very emotional for me. LOL. Glad you had that overnight party to provide some fun memories!

    • Kathleen

      I heard a lot of that, Rita. I guess for many of us the dances were just too problematic…and the whole date thing was very limiting, at least in my day! I’m so glad that kids these days feel free to just show up and have fun!

    • Kathleen

      Morgan, you may not have missed much! 🙂 Some of the stories I heard really made my hair stand on end! I had to tone them down dramatically to make them family friendly for the novella! 🙂

  2. BethRe

    I went to my senior prom with my now husband of 28 years. I have great memories of dancing to songs like What I Like About You….

    • Kathleen

      Leanna, the “too shy” problem is so much more common than I realized, back when I was the “too shy” one! I wish I’d known how NOT alone I was! 🙂

  3. kateivan

    When I was a junior, a guy a year ahead of me asked me to his Senior Ball. My European mother didn’t allow me to go because she said I barely knew the guy and she didn’t understand that high school dances are a rite of passage. I went stag to my own Senior Ball the next year and had a miserable time. Wish I could do those years over. My middle school dances, now THOSE were fun because there were no real couples so you could dance with anybody without the pressure of being on a date.

    • Kathleen

      I feel for your mother, trying to do right and instead depriving you of something you might have loved. Oh, the mistakes we parents make out of the best intentions in the world! And you know…before you mentioned it, I’d forgotten entirely how much I used to love the dances during middle school years! The lack of pressure to be a public couple really did make a huge difference, didn’t it?

    • Kathleen

      Dating an older guy, huh, Tammy? And a focused, college-graduating one, as well. Good for you for being so supportive of him! Clearly a big milestone like a college graduation *should* take center stage!

  4. Lori Meehan

    Only went to homecoming dance senior year with my now husband and we had a great time.

    • Kathleen

      Lori, I’m really surprised and touched by how many people I’ve run into who went to their proms with the people who were to be their lifelong partners. Lovely, lovely!

  5. mrsmac19

    I enjoyed my senior prom. I think the highlight was actually the diner we went to afterward. One of the guys in our group was trying to impress his date and it was less than impressive. Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Kathleen

      Sounds as if you have one of those hilarious-in-hindsight stories! The things we do to impress the opposite sex in high school really can make us cringe when we finally grow up. I hope the guy in your group doesn’t feel *too* silly when he remembers that night! 🙂

  6. Glenda

    Hey, Kathleen! The only school dances I went to were my proms.

    Junior year my sister convinced me to go with a friend of hers who I barely knew…. That in itself was bad enough since we didn’t know each other well. I was also very sick with the tail end of a sinus infection and was taking antibiotics that also made me feel awful. We met some of his friends going to a different prom for dinner. He ordered prime rib for me and at the time I couldn’t even look at steak done medium well without feeling ill — prime rib? No thank you! The night didn’t get worse, but still….

    Senior year. My date claimed to be ‘in love’ with me. Luckily I didn’t feel the same about him since he spent the whole night dancing with other girls. 🙂

    • Kathleen

      What great stories, Glenda! I felt a little queasy just reading about your prime rib fiasco! 🙂 And yuck on that senior year date. Hope he eventually got a clearer view of what “love” looks like!

  7. Geraldine Pierson

    My older sister and I were not allowed to go to school dances. My parents changed there mind for my younger sister who is 5 years younger than me because she was allowed to go to them all. Thank you for your giveaway.

    • Kathleen

      Ah, the luck of being the youngest! I’m the younger of two sisters, so I know how much less pressure we little ones get. On the other hand, going to the dances is its own kind of pressure, so maybe you were spared a little of that!

  8. Rachael

    There wasn’t anything memorable about my proms. There weren’t any disasters, but it wasn’t much fun either.

    • Kathleen

      That really is a bummer, Rachael! Seems to me that, if we can’t get the Hallmark moment, we ought to get at least a horror story to tell in later life! 😉

  9. Mary Preston

    No prom for me, but school dances were a lot of fun. I was happy to ask the boys to dance.

    • Kathleen

      Oh, you go, Mary! Hurray for courageous ladies! I bet the boys would almost always be glad to have some of that pressure taken away. It must be a terrible burden to be the one who always had to make the first move!

  10. Erika

    I just remember always have a great time dancing with my girlfriends! Loved getting all dressed up, dancing, taking pictures! It was a good time!

    • Kathleen

      Erica, the dressing up really is the most fun, isn’t it? I remember my senior prom dress so well I might have owned it yesterday instead of ….many moons ago. 🙂 In pictures, I can see that it wasn’t nearly as magical as I thought it was, but I did think so at the time, and that was worth it!

    • Kathleen

      So sadly true, Kim! Awkward dates with lots of pressure to be “magical.” I feel the same way about New Year’s Eve parties. Far too much pressure to be special…almost always guarantees that it’ll be disappointing. Who can live up to all that hype?

  11. Connie Saunders

    I went to my Senior Prom with the young man who became my husband. Almost 46 years later, I definitely consider it a Hallmark moment!!

    • Kathleen

      I do so love hearing these real-life Happily Ever After stories!!! Congratulations, Connie, on picking well at such a young age, and for making it work long-term. It’s a rare and lovely accomplishment!

  12. DebraG

    I honestly do not have one. Except that I do remember that I never wanted to see my prom date ever again.

  13. belindaegreen

    You asked: What’s your favorite memory of your prom or homecoming dances? Is it a Hallmark moment…or is it a hilarious-in-hindsight disaster?

    Wow, you are asking a lot! That was a long, long, long time ago. 🙂
    I do remember all the couples were dressed to match. It was interesting to watch them at the dance and taking picture in front of that screen. We did rent a limo and drove around for awhile before and after the prom. There was nothing unusual about the whole process. Overall, we had lots of fun staying out late and then going to the senior breakfast the next morning.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share!


  14. Dawn

    we didn’t have dances at our school…banquets and Junior Senior is memorable since bunch of girlfriend all went together no dates but had fun

  15. joeysammyk

    I went to my JR prom with a friend and we stayed for like 20 mins because it was sooo lame that year!!

  16. Terri Shortell

    I didn’t go to any Homecoming dances or proms. The group I hung out with didn’t fit in so avoided most school functions. We were the true outsiders. I sometimes wonder if we thought we were to cool for them or if we knew we were different from most of the others so we just stayed away. We had a blast on those nights and some of the kids.eventually showed our get togethers after they ditched the dances part way through. Tells me I probably didn’t miss much. Lol Thanks for the review and giveaway.

  17. Trudy Dowling

    Missed them all while I worked pushing burgers at McD’s. I did enjoy watching everyone coming in looking for parties.

  18. Marija

    Ugh, prom… well, actually, nothing special, cuz we were not allowed to bring our boyfriends – if they didn’t attend our school. So, I just hang out with my friends. It was fun, but nothing outrageous, we were good kids. 😀

  19. Taswmom

    Being on the shy side, I had more fun going to dinner and touring the area with my date than I ever did at the dance. In fact, one Sweetheart Dance, my friend and I had asked two friends that were a few years older, and they felt so out of place, that we ended up leaving and playing air hockey at a pizza parlor. That part was really fun!

  20. AmandaS

    My favourite memory of my prom/grad is just being able to stay up all night with my friends, all dressed up in our gowns, dancing until our feet hurt =)

  21. Shari

    Sadly I never went to a highschool dance. Back then you had to have a date, sure am happy some things have changed.

  22. Kathleen O

    We never had a Prom because of a strike by Secondary Teachers my senior year. No time to plan the Prom. Can’t say that anything exciting or dramatic or Hallmark memorable every happened to me at a school dance.

  23. mmalavec

    It was my homecoming dance at High School and my crush started dancing right behind me – back then we called it freaking! And all my friends mouths dropped open but it was so loud I couldn’t hear them saying he is freaking you!!! We all laughed about it for so long!

  24. Nurmawati Djuhawan

    no tradition such as homecoming in my country..but we have prom off course…but sadly i didn’t come because i was a shy girl who didn’t like party…
    thx u for the chance..

  25. Janie McGaugh

    While I did go to my senior prom, I don’t have any particular memories of it, other than that I loved my dress!

  26. Kate Sparks

    It was more Hallmark… but I’m amazed at what is spent these days on dresses, limos… etc.

  27. Jen B

    My best memory of my prom is seeing all my friends again after being out of school due to illness for 6 months.

  28. Donna Ariola

    Never made mt homecoming the guy i was supposed to go with ditched school and got grounded

  29. Melissa

    I went to 6 Homecoming dances and 4 Proms. I had to do Senior Walk 4 times because my date was always a Senior.

  30. donnasquaw1952

    I went to one homecoming dance, I was a freshman and sophomore boy asked me. I had to borrow a dress from a neighbor friend and then she did my hair for me. Hahaha, I couldn’t help laughing as I remember this. The dress was too big for me and it had some kind of fur going around the dress, not at the waist but before the hem. The dress kind of shirted out from the waist, disaster. I had waist long hair so she made two breads, then wrapped the into two buns, Hahaha, can’t helped it, if you can just image what it looked like. Big buns one on each side on my head, hahaha, can’t help it, I’m laughing so hard. I was horrible. I went with that boy for awhile but it didn’t last. Never went to another dance, not homecoming or prom. My parents didn’t have the money to buy an expensive dress for me, so I always told the boys who asked me no, that my dad won’t let me date. Which was true, I couldn’t date until I was eighteen, which I moved out on my eighteenth birthday into my apartment. I worked two jobs to have this apartment. I think back I wish I would have stayed home saved my money and went to college.
    Donna Harris

  31. Texas Book Lover

    My husband and I went to each others proms together…different schools and two years apart. His was last and was on one of the stormiest nights of the year. The roads were flooding and our limo had to pull over at one point to let the water calm down. His parents got a hotel room for us on the top floor and fully stocked it for all of our friends. Unfortunately it leaked all night long. We still had tons of fun!

  32. Kai W.

    I had strict parents that would allow me to go to any dances. I missed out on a lot of high school events.

Please leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.