Hi Bridget and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, A THOUSAND MILES!
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
A Thousand Miles follows Dee and Ben, childhood best friends who had a major falling out their senior year of high school and haven’t spoken in a decade, until Ben shows up at Dee’s doorstep and asks her to take a road trip with him, fulfilling a promise they made each other ten years ago. As they drive, they realize not only has their friendship somehow gotten better, their attraction to each other has also grown stronger with time. The problem is, the last time they took this trip together it ended horribly. This time, they’re hoping to find that a future together exists for them somewhere beyond the road.
Please share your favorite line(s) or quote from this book:
“Ben was never the impulsive one between us. Which is why I haven’t rejected him. Because beneath the hurt and betrayal and unspoken words, I have always wanted Ben Porter to take a leap of faith. (That doesn’t mean I won’t have strong opinions about the way he’s leapt. I have strong opinions about everything.)”
“All of my stories, the funny Name Redacted anecdotes I sprinkle throughout podcast episodes like bread crumbs? They are Ben’s stories too. In fact, they are ours. Together. Every single thing I’ve branded as my own little secret belongs to Ben as well. And none of it is very funny or very little anymore.”
“Why would they make a person that looks like this? It should be illegal. As if this is a face I’m just meant to witness! The sharp cut of his jaw? The fine shadow beneath his cheekbone, with the lightest layer of facial hair? The constellation on his cheek and his honey rich eyes, deep set and thoughtful? No one can withstand this!”
“I want to keep myself from getting in too deep. It’s hard when we’re two feet apart and our conversation has picked up like the pause was merely hours instead of years. Ben is a wobbly chair, and for once, I’m the one who can provide the stability.”
“My breath hitches at the unexpected pressure of her touch. It should stress me out, but it works more like an anxiety blanket, calming me down. She rises and falls with my slow, deliberate breaths. I could live forever inside this moment, lying on the bathroom floor of a run-down hotel somewhere in Iowa, Dee Matthews resting atop me.”
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- There are a LOT of Easter eggs in A Thousand Miles. For one, the road trip this story is framed around—Illinois to Colorado—is one I have taken many, many times in my life. (Though never with an ex best friend with whom I share a weighty history. Maybe next year!) Many of the locations they visit in the book are real stops I’ve taken myself. Of particular significance is North Platte, Nebraska. That town holds a bizarre amount of family history for me. My mom went into anaphylactic shock there on our way back from Colorado when I was twelve. This was a time before everyone had cell phones. The only reason she survived was because my dad had seen a highway sign for the North Platte hospital, and he followed it into the town and got her checked in. Completely heroic moment by all parties! After that, we made it a point to stop in that town on all our Illinois-Colorado road trips, including going to the very museum that Dee and Ben visit. It was really meaningful to get to use it as a setting in this book.
- As for some writing fun facts, I wrote the first draft of this at the end of 2020 and into the beginning of 2021, when nobody left their house for anything other than essential activities. I’m usually a person who drafts at a coffee shop. I like to be around people as I work. But I couldn’t be around anyone at the time! So I wrote a lot of this book from my bathtub, my laptop hovering precariously above the water. It was the only place in my apartment that felt different enough that it quasi-replicated the feeling of being somewhere other than home!
What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
This book is lots of fun because Dee and Ben met when they were five. Ben shares that he went home after his first day of kindergarten and told his mom he had a girlfriend named Dee, but he’d never even spoken to her. So it was definitely love at first sight for him. Ben is a people pleaser. He’s not shy or anything. He’s quite charming in fact. He’s just always going to go with the flow. And Dee is a total firecracker. Loud, brassy, never going to do what you expect of her. They’re both attracted to one another because they each have what the other does not. Ben thinks Dee is bold and hilarious, and Dee thinks Ben is a gentle sweetheart. They’re not without flaws, but they have a way of getting the best out of one another.
Did any scene have you blushing, crying or laughing while writing it? And Why?
One of my favorites is Dee and Ben at a baseball game. Not to give too much away, but they end up chasing a stray cat out onto the field. It’s a very high energy, silly scene that has also some real emotional stakes to it. I had a blast with it.
Readers should read this book….
It’s a second chance, forced proximity romance that really gives readers lots of time to get to know the two main characters. You can really feel their connection and history. This is also my funniest work to date, so if you need some smiles with your swoons, I think A Thousand Miles delivers.
Any time you’re dealing with second chance romance, you’re examining what it takes to grow with someone after being previously hurt by them. So I hope readers walk away with a sense of promise for a new day. That broken things can be mended if the circumstances are right.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have in the works?
I am working on another adult romance set to release next year. It’s a queer love story called That Summer Feeling, about a recently divorced woman who spends a week at an adults-only summer camp where she thinks she’s reunited with the man of her dreams, only to realize she has feelings for his sister instead.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: 1 Print copy of A THOUSAND MILES by Bridget Morrissey
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Excerpt from A Thousand Miles:
It’s very hard to break up with someone you were never really dating.
Which is why a man named Garrett I met three weeks ago on an app is currently crying in my bathroom. He doesn’t know I saw the tears. It would probably embarrass him if I mention it, so I am sitting on my couch reading listener emails while I wait for him to finish up, wondering if I should put on a movie or put him out of his misery and suggest he leave.
My extremely nonchalant request that I “take a little more time for myself” was met with the classic “that makes sense” from him—a veteran move that made me entirely too comfortable with the whole process. I skipped right past the usual assurances: what a fun three weeks we’ve had, how great it’s been to get to know someone new after a recent rough patch. We’ve been having sex in my apartment and sometimes ordering delivery. I’ve never even tagged him in an Instagram story. I truly thought he understood what was going on with us.
We have a similar dry humor. It’s how we connected in the first place. But tonight, for the first time ever, we went out to dinner together. He was so rude to the server in the name of being snarky that I thought I might walk myself straight to Lake Michigan and take up boat living. In the middle of a rainstorm, no less.
My choice to continue our breakup conversation by saying, “We clearly aren’t the kind of people who should ever go out in public,” did not land as I’d hoped. He let out a hollow, wounded kind of laugh that made me immediately backpedal, even though what I said was true. In front of an audience of restaurant patrons, our connection had dissolved like cotton candy in water. All that sweetness between us vanished into nothingness. But I dared to call attention to it, and next thing I know he’s telling me he has to go to the bathroom, and tears are rimming his eyes.
He doesn’t even have my number saved! Just three days ago, I texted him a meme while he was taking a shower, and from my nightstand I saw my full ten-digit phone number flash up on his screen. How could he not feel the straining awkwardness throughout our meal tonight? Is it really possible that my empty yeahs and colorless wows came off as anything other than detached? It’s all so absurd it makes me cackle. By the time he’s back in my living room—tears dry and brow furrowed—I am laughing louder than the thunder that booms outside.
“What did I miss?” he asks.
Everything, Garrett. You missed everything.
“What’s my last name?” I prompt. “Um . . .”
“Do you know my job?”
“You record a podcast or something.” “How many siblings do I have?”
“I don’t know.”
“Your name is Garrett Matthew Robertson. You work in finance, in an office near the Hancock building. Your little sister Hannah just graduated from college. Communications degree from DePaul. Send my congrats, by the way.”
“Okay, so you’re a stalker. Good for you.”
There it is. The darkness that always comes out at the first sign of real trouble. A bruise that blooms from whisper-soft pressure. It’s amazing how quickly it happens. How little effort it requires on my part.
“I’m a stalker?” I ask. Predictably, he has no follow-up.
“We’ve been hooking up for weeks and I follow you online,” I continue. “Your full name is in your bio. You post a skyline shot almost every day. I watched part of your sister’s commencement ceremony when I accidentally clicked into your graduation livestream.”
Garrett glances forlornly at my door. He pushes back the top part of his hair—a truly aspirational sandy blond, if I’m honest— then lets it fall again down his forehead. “Look, this clearly isn’t working.” He says it with such finality, you’d think it was his idea. If it gets him out of my apartment, he can keep thinking that for the rest of his life.
Still, it’s hard to resist a comeback. “Good observation.” I give him a thumbs-up.
“Dude, why are you so fucking mean? Like what the fuck?” At once, he gets teary again.
Now I recognize it for what it is: a manipulation tactic. No one gets the upper hand over a handsome man who is crying.
“I’m mean?” I ask, incredulous. “For asking if you know my name?”
“I don’t have time for this shit.”
He picks up his overnight bag and huffs to my door. He’s still wearing his shoes, because no matter how often I ask, he never takes them off right when he enters. It’s such an irritating little detail that I almost throw a pillow at him, but he exits too quickly for me to react, slamming my front door shut with an aggressive theatricality my nosy neighbors will certainly register. Add it to their long list of grievances against me.
It devastates me to realize my heart is racing—that Garrett Matthew Robertson the finance bro has gotten any kind of reaction out of me at all. In an effort to release every last ounce of residual adrenaline, I slip off my bra and lean back into my couch, letting the green velvet cushions hug the sides of my face. Not the most orthodox of calming methods, but it gets the job done.
I can’t believe I put on nice clothes for this. What a waste of a powder-blue halter jumpsuit and teardrop earrings. I could feel myself overdoing it when I was getting ready. It’s been months since I bothered to curl my hair into long copper waves. In spite of every piece of evidence to the contrary, there was a part of me that wanted to believe that Garrett and I had the potential to be something more than hookup buddies.
No choice but to incinerate that part of me to dust!
Three minutes later, he’s knocking. He may not know my last name, but it’s nice to see he remembers that my apartment door automatically locks and he can’t just barge back in and yell, or whatever it is he thinks he needs to do to prove this was all a part of his plan, not mine.
“What do you want?” I call out. He doesn’t answer.
It infuriates me to imagine him waiting for me, ready to unleash a list of grievances he made up on his walk toward the
train station. I gave him a chance to go quietly, and he’s not taking it. Neighbors be damned. I want a fight.
With as much gusto as possible, I swing my front door open and bark out one loud, aggressive “What?”
It is not Garrett Matthew Robertson the finance bro waiting on the other side.
Instead it is the last person in the world I ever thought I’d see again.
Ben Porter stands in front of me.
It takes me a second to orient myself. Surely this is an al- ternate reality intersecting with my current one, and Garrett accidentally got swapped for Ben, and soon the ceiling will become the floor and I will learn that we all speak colors and smell numbers.
He has one battered duffel bag slung across his taut midsection and three dark beauty marks dotting his left cheek. Those moles are my very own Orion’s Belt, because that’s the only constellation I ever bothered to learn, on the only face I’ve ever cared to memorize.
His eyes are still brown and bashful. His hair is long enough to curl at the ends, soft brown waves ringleted by the rain, contrasting with the new sharpness in his cheeks. A stipple of scruff further accentuates the angles. No more worn-out Chucks and rumpled band shirt. No more baby face. He looks steady. And well aware of how good a drenched navy blue tee looks clinging to his skin.
“A promise is a promise,” he whispers, soaking wet and breathless, dripping puddles onto the carpeted hallway of my apartment complex.
My hands lose feeling. My mind insists on running a high- light reel of memories for me, making sure I haven’t forgotten
that this is a person I’ve slept with, and dreamt of, and written intensely embarrassing Notes app poetry about that I’ve already asked my cohost, Javi, to read on our podcast in the event of my untimely demise. Just so Ben would really feel my absence.
Now I feel his presence, and my first instinct is to close the door, lock myself in my bathroom, and stare at myself in the mirror until the pores on my nose upset me for a week straight. But as impulsive as I can be, I am occasionally great at silencing my first instinct and waiting for a better one to emerge.
It turns out in the event of my high school best friend arriving unannounced in the middle of a thunderstorm—after an entire decade of complete silence between us—my second instinct is to intimidate. I fold my arms across my chest, mostly because I am furious at myself for daring to answer while not wearing a bra. Lucky for me, the gesture lends to the steely mood I’m hoping to strike.
“What does that mean? What are you doing here?” My foot taps against the floor as if my time could be better spent looking anywhere but at Ben Porter’s face.
If he’s expected a kinder greeting from me, he doesn’t show it. Instead he smiles. A heartbreaking, earth-shifting, choir-of- angels-singing kind of smile.
“Hi, Dee.” He pauses. “It’s good to see you too.”
At once I’m flooded with the same bone-deep nostalgic longing that makes me open YouTube at three in the morning and watch all the videos we posted together back in the day. I’ve made all of them private so my listeners don’t stumble across them and uncover the one thing I refuse to directly discuss on my show. The first time Ben was ever mentioned while recording, I made Javi bleep out his name in post. Now Ben is known on the
podcast as Name Redacted, an infamous, mysterious side character in my otherwise very open-book life.
One of our YouTube videos is ten minutes of us walking around our hometown. We spend the first half coming up with an elaborate undercover identity for our science teacher, Mr. Davis, all while navigating the aftermath of the previous night’s snowfall. The video takes a turn when Ben steps into a snow pile that’s not sturdily packed, and he ends up chest deep. Instantly, the two of us are nearly heaving we’re laughing so hard. I can’t grab onto him tight enough to pull him out because my arms are getting a tickle sensation. It’s so cold his cheeks are flushed berry red. I set the camera down on another snow pile, and for the rest of the video, all you can see is his face and my back. And the way he’s looking at me. It’s like I created the universe with my own bare hands.
Here’s that very same Ben Porter. And the way he’s looking at me right now—it’s really not that different from the old clip of us. Even though everything is different. Down to the shade of red in my hair and the city we’re in and surely every single thing about our lives.
“Can I come in?” he asks, because I have been standing here waiting for the sky to fall through the roof. “I can explain every- thing once I’m inside.”
“I don’t know if I want you to,” I accidentally admit.
Ben backs up until he’s against the wall across from my door, a trail of rainwater marking his path. He slides down until he’s sitting, all the while never breaking eye contact. “I understand. This is a lot.”
“Yeah,” I say weakly. Leave it to Ben to understate a thing. “I’ll wait here. And if you still feel the same way after an
hour, I’ll leave.”
All those well-practiced talking points I’ve assured myself I’d launch into immediately if I ever saw him again? I can’t re-member a single one. In this moment, I truly cannot recall why we haven’t spoken or why it is that I’m not supposed to be nice to him. It’s a marvel I even know my own name.
Second instincts be damned. I slam my door shut.
Excerpted from A THOUSAND MILES by Bridget Morrissey, published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2022
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
After a decade of silence, Dee and Ben reunite for a road trip they once promised to take. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Dee Matthews is the cohost of the smash-hit podcast Did I Forget To Tell You?, where she interviews family, friends, and past lovers. Nothing is off limits, except for one man (known on the show only as Name Redacted) who happens to be her high school best friend Ben. During their senior year spring break, Dee and Ben took a road trip to visit Ben’s grandma. They buried a time capsule in her backyard, pledging to return in ten years to open it. Then their friendship fell apart in spectacular fashion. They haven’t spoken to each other since.
Ben Porter’s life since that moment has been unexciting but comfortable, until his grandma reveals a family secret that flips his whole world upside down. Her dying wish is for him to stop doing what is safest and go after what he really wants. He starts by showing up on Dee’s doorstep with every intention of fulfilling their long-ago promise. Despite her reservations, Dee can’t say no. This trip could be her chance to give her listeners the Name Redacted interview they’ve been begging for—and finally put her unresolved feelings for Ben to rest.
As the miles fly by, Dee and Ben’s friendship reignites. But the closer they get to reaching their destination, the more apparent it becomes that their attraction to each other cannot be ignored. Their last adventure ended in disaster, and they’re about to find out if any hope of a future together is in the rear view mirror.
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Meet the Author:
Bridget Morrissey lives in Los Angeles, California, but hails from Oak Forest, Illinois. When she’s not writing, she can be found coaching gymnastics or headlining concerts in her living room. Her upcoming adult novel, A THOUSAND MILES, releases on June 21, 2022
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