Spotlight & Giveaway: Map of the Heart by Susan Wiggs

Posted August 23rd, 2017 by in Blog, Spotlight / 47 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Susan Wiggs to HJ!

Hi Susan and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Map of the Heart!


Please summarize the book for the readers here:

In MAP OF THE HEART, each of the characters is searching for identity. Camille breaks open a long-held family secret. In the twilight of his life, her father finally reconciles his past with his hidden dreams. Camille’s daughter, Julie, learns to deal with bullying. And Finn, the incredibly appealing love interest, has been on a lifelong quest to know the father he lost before he was born. As the title implies, the journey is both literal and metaphorical.
As with all my novels, all is liberally sprinkled with romance, food, and wine!

Please share the opening lines of this book:

Of the five steps in developing film, four must take place in complete darkness. And in the darkroom, timing was everything. The difference between overexposure and under exposure sometimes came down to a matter of milliseconds.


Please share a few Fun facts about this book…

  • When he read the book’s dedication, my husband Jerry got very misty-eyed.
  • My research trip for MAP OF THE HEART is documented here:
  • I “tuckerized” two names in this book. (Tuckerize–the writer’s term for stealing names.) Tavia is in marketing at HarperCollins, and Malcolm Finnemore (Finn) is named after our friend Riaz Finnemore, who is ridiculously handsome and charming in real life.


Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?

Like all the characters I make up, the protagonist works in a field I find fascinating. She’s a forensic photo and film expert, renowned for her ability to rescue and restore film that is decades old and unravel the mysteries within. What surprised me about Camille is that, despite having survived a horrific tragedy as a young woman, she retains her sense of humor and optimism.

If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?

Oh, that’s hard to do without spoilers. The main characters meet in an explosive scene–she screws up his one-of-a-kind film and he rips her a new one over it. When cooler heads prevail, they get to know each other a little bit:

“Call me Finn.”
She took another sip of wine, eyeing him over the rim of her glass. “You look like a Finn.”
“But not a Malcolm?”
“That’s right. Malcolm is totally different.”
He grinned, flashing charm across the space between them. “How’s that?”
“Well, buttoned down. Academic. Bow tie and brown oxfords.”
He laughed aloud then. “You reduced me to a cliché, then.”
“Guilty as charged.”
“Want to know how I pictured you?” Without waiting for an answer, he rested his elbow on the back of the sofa and turned toward her. “Long dark hair. Big dark eyes. Total knockout in a red striped shirt.” He chuckled at her expression. “I checked out your website.”
Oh. Her site featured a picture of her and Billy on the “about us” link. But a knockout? Had he really said knockout? He was probably disappointed now, because on this particular night, she didn’t look anything like the woman in that photo.
“You look just like your photo,” he said.
Wait. Was he coming on to her? No. No way. She should have looked at his website. Did history professors have websites?
She saw something flicker across his face, an expression she couldn’t read.
“Go ahead,” he said. “You can look me up on your phone. You know you want to.”
She flushed, but did exactly that, tapping his name on the screen. The information that populated the web page surprised her. “According to these search results, you’re a graduate of the US Naval Academy and a former intelligence officer. You’re now a professor of history at Annapolis, renowned for tracing the provenance of lost soldiers and restoring the memories to their families. You’re an expert at analysing old photos.”
“Then we have something in common. If you ever come across something mysterious in a picture, I can take a look.”
She couldn’t decide if his self-confidence was sexy, or annoying. In the “personal” section of the page, it was noted that he had been married to “award-winning journalist Emily Cutler” for ten years, and was now divorced. She didn’t read that part aloud.
“You don’t say.” He shifted closer to her and peered at the screen.
“I don’t. Wikipedia says. Is it accurate?”
“More or less.” He grinned. I don’t know about the ‘renowned’ part. I’ve never done anything of renown. Maybe choosing this exceptional wine. Cheers.” He touched the rim of his glass to hers and took a sip.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

What do you want people to take away from reading this book?

I want the whole world to spend the month of October driving in the south of France during the grape harvest. I mean that. Put it on your bucket list.

What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2017?

I’m working on MIDDLE GROVE, which will be published next summer, I believe. My publisher is reissuing the Lakeshore Chronicles books in a gorgeous new format–trade paperback–and I love it!
There are also new editions of my classic historical romances as well. THE LIGHTKEEPER is twenty years old this year, and I still love that book, written during a November storm in a cabin on the Pacific coast.

Thanks for blogging at HJ!


Giveaway: Print copy of MAP OF THE HEART by Susan Wiggs


To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: What’s the most surprising or unexpected thing you learned about your family? Something you didn’t know until you were grown?

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Book Info:

Widowed by an unspeakable tragedy, Camille Palmer has made her peace with the past and settled into the quiet safety of life with her teenage daughter Julie in a sleepy coastal town. Then the arrival of a mysterious package breaks open the door to her family’s secret past. In uncovering a hidden history, Camille has no idea that she’s embarking on an adventure that will utterly transform her.

Camille, Julie, and Camille’s father return to the French town of his youth, sparking unexpected memories — recollections that will lead them back to the dark days of the Second World War. And it is in the stunning Provençal countryside that they will uncover their family’s surprising history.

While Provence offers answers about the past, it also holds the key to Camille’s future. Along the way, she meets a former naval officer who stirs a passion deep within her — a feeling that she thought she’d never experience again.

Buy Links:

Meet the Author:

Susan Wiggs is the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including the beloved Lakeshore Chronicles series and her most recent, the instant New York Times bestseller Family Tree. Her award-winning books have been translated into two dozen languages. A native of a small town in upstate New York, she now lives with her husband at the water’s edge on an island in Puget Sound, and in good weather can commute to her writers’ group in a 21-foot motorboat. A former teacher and graduate of the University of Texas and Harvard, Susan is also an avid hiker, an amateur photographer, a good skier and cautious mountain biker — yet her favorite form of exercise is curling up with a good book.
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47 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Map of the Heart by Susan Wiggs”

  1. Mary Preston

    I learned, not that long ago, that my grandmother was the illegitimate daughter of an English Lord. Her mother was married off quick smart to a local farmer. A property deed did change hands. Sort of a one off payment to make the problem go away.

  2. Andrea McParland

    That I have Russian roots from when Finland was occupied by Russia, never mentioned until I commented that a relative in an old photo looked Russian

  3. carol L

    If there is something we were never told and I’m way past adulthood . :). Book sounds like another winner from Susan Wiggs.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) (dot) com

  4. conniepsaunders

    I can’t think of learning anything about my family but “tuckerize” strikes a chord. My Dad’s name was Sterling but he was called Tucker from the time he was very small and in later years, Tuck. I had never heard that term before!
    Thank you for this giveaway.

  5. Veda Funk

    I was an adult in my twenties, before I knew that my mother had cerebal Palsy. I thought all moms did what mine did growing up. She raised five kids, baked most of our bread, sewed my sister’s and my clothes, hung her wash outside, ironed, cooked, was a wife, canned. Scrubbed her floors on her hands and knees.

  6. Tonya Lucas

    That my grandfather isn’t my grandfather, but who cares, he was the best grandfather ever.

    • sejoc1968

      If he was the grandfather that was there, he was your grandfather! My mother’s father ran off and started a new familt when my mother, aunt and uncle were young. I was pretty old before I knew he wasn’t their birth father. He adopted them so they had his name. I may have been an adult when I learned that too I really can’t remember. I know when I went to change my social security card I had to know my mother’s birth name and I knew it but when my mother and I talked about it my oldest brother didn’t know her birth name. I was 24 when I married so Terry was 34. It was just something that was never talked about.

      • Tonya Lucas

        I wouldn’t of changed a thing. My papa was IT for me and so even if I’d of found out when I was younger I don’t think I would of even thought anything about it. Just like you, the one who is their giving their love, kindness, and support is who The Dear Lord knew needed to be in our lives to shape us. I miss my papa as he’s been gone now 23 years, but he will forever be a beckon in my heart and soul.

  7. Jennifer Shiflett

    I recently learned that my paternal great-grandmother was Native American. She was Creek and I had no idea.

  8. Lori Hauser

    That my dad had a slight drinking problem before he married my mom. Maybe that’s why they never had alcohol in the house or did any drinking!

  9. Jennifer

    Just recently found out that my parents met on a blind date and they will be married 49 years in November.

    • Kate Sparks

      Just want to point out that back in the day…. we had 6 players on the court — 3 on each side of the half-court line. And those 3 couldn’t cross over to the other side……. that form died in the 70’s

  10. Angel C

    My mom didn’t tell me about my father until I graduated high school. So it was interesting to learn about him and his father when we meet when I was in my 20’s

  11. Patricia Barraclough

    I learned my grandfather’s family home was built on the Quebec, Canada -New York State border. During Prohibition, they would bring legal whiskey in the kitchen door which was in Canada. They would bring it out the front door, NY, load it into cars and make the run to New York City. I had heard as a child that he had ditched a carload in the lake when being chased by the police.

  12. lesley McIntosh

    I had a brother who died , didn’t find out he was buried in our home town until my father died and Mum said there was a plot in the cemetary . It was never mentioned before and as far as I know she never visited the grave , but I do now putting flowers on to remember the three of them.

  13. kermitsgirl

    My parents were married in Reno – I had no idea! They did one of those drive-by chapel marriages. It wasn’t until I was older visiting family in CA and we drove into Reno that my dad pointed out the place and said something. So weird!!

  14. Teresa Williams

    I knew my dad was an only child but found out after I got older that grandmother had a miscarriage after him and never got pregnant again.

  15. Daniel M

    my father is anti-gay but a good friend of his was gay, didn’t know till (the friend) died. i’m straight but don’t care about gays, go ahead get married (i believe in equality freedom and justice).

  16. Glenda

    Nothing new. My great grandmother did got vote in the first election after women were given the vote despite giving birth just s few hours before.

  17. Kate Sparks

    I was very young when my dad’s folks passed. But at our step grandmother’s funeral, someone who was a peer of my granddad stepped up and told my dad that the birth year on granddad’s headstone was wrong by 5 years. We figured that he fudged his age because he thought his 2nd wife might think he was too old for her to marry. She’s was the one to arranged for his headstone to be carved. Men are just as vain.

  18. Diane Sallans

    just last year I found out that I have Dutch ancestors & one was a Captain in the War for Independence!

  19. Kay Garrett

    We had always lived in the southwestern part of the state. After my Mom’s passing, we finally moved to the north central part of the state that we have always loved. While going through things, downsizing in preparation to moving to the new home we were building, I found an obituary for my great-grandmother in my Mother’s/Grandmother’s papers that I learned was actually from and buried right close to where we were moving. I never knew that I had kin in this part of the country. The old homestead we bought came with extensive research about the man who homesteaded it. He was the same age as my great-grandmother and within 5 miles from each other. Makes you wonder if they might have known each other way back when. 🙂

  20. Meredith Miller

    My family has a lot of secrets….everyone once in awhile something will come up, be it from the living relatives or the past. Way too much to list!

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