Spotlight & Giveaway: Traveling Light by Lynne Branard

Posted January 11th, 2017 by in Blog, Spotlight / 47 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Lynne Branard to HJ!


From the New York Times bestselling author of behind The Art of Arranging Flowers comes a new novel about the search for what really matters in life…


Please summarize the book for the readers here:

It all starts when Alissa Wells impulsively puts a bid on an abandoned storage unit, only to become the proud new owner of Roger Hart’s remains. Two weeks later, she jumps in her car and heads west, thinking that returning the ashes of a dead man might be the first step on her way to a new life.
Traveling Light is the story of one woman’s willingness to leave behind the handed down script she was given in life and venture down a new path. It is a story of unexpected friendship and the surprise of love, a story of family, and the courage it takes to create one’s own life.

Please share the opening lines of this book:

The only thing I remember about Mama was how she was always moving. Years before the small tumor grew, the mania finally linked to the cancer in her brain, Mama never stopped moving. I think it wore Daddy out but I loved it. I loved her.


Please share a few Fun facts about this book…

  • This is based on a true story of someone finding a box of ashes in a storage building and trying to find the family to return them.
  • There is really a wolf sanctuary near Grants, NM.
  • There is an entire vocabulary for journalists that I knew nothing about until writing this book.


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

Alissa Wells is the main character, the one who has always done the right thing. She is a journalist, a smart editor, a loner. It surprises me at how sheltered she really is.

Blossom is her traveling companion, a seventeen year old who has a great zest for life.

Roger is the dead man, the one whose ashes Alissa is choosing to return to NM. He was also a loner, maybe reminds Alissa a bit of herself.

Dillon is Blossom’s ex-boyfriend who joins them on their journey.


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

I want them to consider their own life “scripts” and think about what it might be like to let go of it and do what they really always wanted to do.


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

I am working on two new novels, both of them about women making important changes in their lives.

Thanks for blogging at HJ!


Giveaway: Print copy of TRAVELING LIGHT by Lynne Branard


To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: What is your most memorable road trip?

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Excerpt from Traveling Light:

The only thing I remember about Mama was how she was always moving. Years before the small tumor grew, the mania finally linked to the cancer in her brain, Mama never stopped moving. I think it wore Daddy out but I loved it. I loved her. The way she danced while she cooked our breakfast, pancakes delivered to the table like a rock star at the final note of the Rolling Stones’ Beast of Burden, the way she lifted my sister from the crib, twirling her the whole time with me straddling her foot, clinging to her leg. She would sweep and sing, stopping just long enough to clutch the broom like a diva with her microphone. She’d change the furniture in the living room giving us new hiding places for another round of hide and seek, and she would strap both her daughters in the back seat of that old station wagon and drive to the ocean or south to White Lake or even all the way to Asheville and the cold, foggy Blue Ridge Mountains and its twisting curvy roads. She could not stay still.
Of course, I never knew she was sick or exhausted. I never knew the dancing and the spinning and the driving and the darting from one place to another was a symptom of illness. I thought she was immortal. I thought I was the luckiest child alive to have a mother always buying new paint sets and giving us long rolls of white paper to decorate, a mother who seemed to know the most beautiful spots for girls-only picnics, a mother who was able to balance on her toes while she hung the sheets on the line in the back yard, calling us to come and smell the sunshine caught in the wide stretch of fabric. I thought the movement and the action were simply a part of the great adventure of life, of childhood; and I woke up every morning wondering what she had planned for that day and how she would dance my sister and me through every minute of it.
And then, one day in the spring of my fifth year she simply stopped moving. She stopped dancing and spinning and changing the pictures on the wall and cleaning the house from ceiling to floor, finding coins and sliding them in our palms telling us they were gifts from angels; and suddenly everything I knew about being a child, every step, every movement, every lift and twirl came to an abrupt and unexpected halt. Everything just stopped. The music, the dancing, the laughter, the games, the unlimited extravaganza of our imaginations, all of it seemed to freeze in time, all of us standing in the wake of her death, paralyzed by our loss.
And now, upon reflection thirty years after she died, I realize I haven’t moved an inch. At the age of five I sat down in my life; I took my place in raising my sister and caring for my father and keeping the house neat and clean with only scant movements and no flair and I never stepped away. Until now. Until I pulled open the big overhead door on that storage unit in Wilmington and pilfered through the cartons of driftwood and bins of tools and the baskets of rope and the stacks of boating magazines, blankets, and camping equipment, all the way to the back, and found the box. The box I see now placed in the passenger’s seat of Faramond, my old Volkswagen bug that Daddy bought for me at my high school graduation, giving me the permission to leave which I did not take. The box of ashes with a business card and a receipt from the Serenity Mortuary in Grants, New Mexico taped on top. This box of ashes that is now sending me away from my home. This box of ashes that is finally making me move.

From TRAVELING LIGHT by Lynne Branard. Reprinted by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2017 by Lynne Branard.


Book Info:

Driving from North Carolina to New Mexico with her three-legged dog, a strange man’s ashes, and a waitress named Blossom riding shotgun isn’t exactly what Alissa Wells ever wanted to be doing. But it’s exactly what she needs…

It all starts when Alissa impulsively puts a bid on an abandoned storage unit, only to become the proud new owner of Roger Hart’s remains. Two weeks later, she jumps in her car and heads west, thinking that returning the ashes of a dead man might be the first step on her way to a new life.

She isn’t wrong.

Especially when Blossom, who just graduated from high school, hitches a ride with her to Texas, and Alissa has to get used to letting someone else take the wheel. Posting about their road trip on Facebook, complete with photos of Roger at every stop, Blossom opens Alissa’s eyes to the road in front of her—and to how sometimes the best things in life are the ones you never see coming…

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound


Meet the Author:

Lynne Branard is a pseudonym for New York Times bestselling author Lynne Hinton. She has written more than a dozen books, including Friendship Cake, Pie Town, and Welcome Back to Pie Town.

Cassandra Campbell has recorded over one hundred audiobooks and directed many more. She has received eight AudioFile Earphones Awards, as well as being nominated for an Audie Award. As an actress and director, she has worked off Broadway and in regional theaters across the country, as well as doing voice work on numerous commercials and films.

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47 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Traveling Light by Lynne Branard”

  1. wendy rinebold

    We drove to Texas to buy a car and spent the night in Louisiana. It was a blast and my son lost his first tooth.

  2. isisthe12th

    road trip! That would have to be my trip to Tennessee for a backgammon tournament! Wow! that was fun. Thank you

  3. Morelia Garcia

    My family and I’s first road trip ever is my most memorable. Took us an entire day to get to our little town in Mexico. It was the first time learned and figured out how to properly use the RR when there wasn’t one anywhere close to being in sight! Haha

  4. Connie Lee

    We drove several hours on the Blue ridge Parkway in North Carolina just enjoying the wonderful views.

  5. janinecatmom

    My most memorable road trips wasn’t pleasant at all. When I was a kid, my parents used to load the family into the station wagon and take a trip to New York (from Texas where we live) and I would always get car sick.

  6. hartfiction

    Traveling from Colorado to Tennessee when I was a child. Our entire family went and camped along the way, taking a leisure trip to see my grandparents. Such memories…

  7. Julie Lundstrom

    I remember going to Florida with my parents, brother and sisters. It is something I will never forget. We first went to an alligator farm and they told me not to touch the belly of the baby alligator. Well, guess who did and it peed all over. Then we went to Disneyworld where I had so much fun. Disney world rides and attractions was so much fun then at night I went to some clubs by Disney and had a few too many. I was around 21 so old enough to drink. Then couldn’t figure out how to get the door open at the townhouse so ended up sleeping all night in a golf cart that we used to drive around. So much fun I would do it again.

  8. Mary Preston

    I went on a road trip with two sisters one time. That was more of an adventure than I would have liked.

  9. Debra Shutters

    when I was about 12 my family went on it’s first road trip vacation we live in Gulfport, Mississippi and went up to Vicksburg and other cities near there and visited the places of historical sites and I learn some stuff about the past

  10. smcmahon19

    My friends and I drove to Myrtle Beach for vacation…got pulled over by the cops for speeding our first day there. We met up later with them to go to some of the local bars… had an awesome time!☘

  11. Terrill Rosado

    My most memorable road trip is one I took with a good friend during my first spring break in college. We drove from WA to California with visits to Santa Cruz, San Fran, as well as other places.

  12. dholcomb1

    this summer, our family took a road trip in the Southeast to visit colleges for our middle son. We saw some interesting things along the way.


  13. Katrina Dehart

    My fiance went with my mom, me and my brother cross country from north Carolina to new Mexico. Well, on the way back my brother and him got in a fight. Then my mom and my finance got into it. Well, let’s just say my fiance got left in Oklahoma! He took a plane back home. And no, we didn’t get married.

  14. Patricia B.

    Our best one so far was our trip up the Maine Coast, throughout Prince Edward Island, Canada, and around Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada. It was wonderful. We took our time, explored places along the way, and stopped when we wished. Even having 9-11 happening in the middle of the trip didn’t spoil it. It just added another dimension, impacting our trip in unexpected ways.

  15. Angel

    Road trip from Washington to Houston, Texas with my kiddo and my fur baby. It is a favorite trip of my kiddo to this day *And he has been to disneyland

  16. lraines78

    We drove to Maryland for Thanksgiving and they had a freak snowstorm. There were no plows or salt trucks out. What should have taken 6 hours took us 10 hours to get there. There were 6 of us packed in the car.

  17. debby236

    We drove from California through Arizona and then New Mexico. All three kids were with us and we read Harry Potter aloud in the car and we got hooked.

  18. kermitsgirl

    My husband and I take a road trip every year for our anniversary, and they are always so much fun. One time, we wrote an entire concept for a rock opera based on Michael Jackson’s works. Our most memorable was probably our least pleasant one – when we had another couple with us and they were miserable and fighting and made the 13 hour trip home last 18 hours….when all we wanted to do was be home and away from them!

  19. Debbi Wellenstein

    My most memorable road trip was when we moved to Florida, and then, a few years later, when we moved to Kansas.

  20. Kate Sparks

    Utah to Indiana in a Beetle and a rental truck which had a broken gas gage. Did I mention it was December????

  21. noraadrienne

    I guess most of my vacations were road trips. My wife is a white knuckle flier so we drive everywhere. I even owned that rear engine VW bug on the cover of the book. We put thousands of miles on it till it died. We’ve been up and down the east coast visiting National sites for over 40 years.

  22. jodi marinich

    it was the road trips we took as a family when i was young..we all drove to disney and met cousins there every year. i was a great family vacation

  23. Amy Rickman

    Family vacation when the kids were young, drove to Florida for a week then stayed in Tennessee for a few days. We made a lot of stops and did sight seeing, covered 6 states they had not been to before.

  24. kim hansen

    Arizona in the 90’s driving through the state saw so much that will never forget. Parks, Old Mines, Volcano that erupted in the 13th century and how long it takes things to begin to grow back again.

  25. lesley McIntosh

    Drove from Perth Scotland up to Cullodon and found the family stone with our name , marked where ancestors had been in the conflict many years ago

  26. Melanie B

    One time we were on vacation, and we were behind this truck that had been transporting this small house, we actually saw the house being lifted out, and ended up taking a picture of it.

  27. Joye

    We took the family and visited all of the Westernmost states. Beautiful Northwestern scenery, vast grasslands in Montana, and the Grand Canyon were on our to-see list. Awesome vacation

  28. diannekc

    My most memorable road trips were the trips we took when I was a kid. My grandparents lived in California and every few years we would drive to California from Michigan. My Dad always planned out the trips so we would stop at different attractions and historical sites. They were great trips.

  29. KateS

    When I was a kid, our father took me and my brother for a trip around our country, just a few days, it was amazing!

  30. Banana cake

    When I moved to Austin Texas from Minneapolis Minnesota. It was my sister, her spouse and their dog in car 1, car 2 me, my mom and my dog and car 3 was just my dad but his car was pulling the haul with all my stuff (13 boxes of books, which he threatened to throw off the trailer).

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