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Today I am privileged to welcome author Eve Marie Mont to Colloquium! Eve’s debut novel, , has gotten excellent reviews and been warmly embraced by readers. You can read my review here.

In addition to contributing a very special , Eve has also graciously provided one autographed copy of Free to a Good Home to be awarded to a lucky reader! (See entry details below.)

Coming of Age at Any Age

by
Eve Marie Mont

When I first began writing Free to a Good Home, I had just turned thirty-five, that magical age when I assumed I’d have my life all figured out. The goals listed on my ten-year-plan would be neatly crossed off, all my ducks in their proverbial rows. And to some extent, they were. Marriage to a great guy? Check. House in the suburbs? Check. Rewarding job? Check.

But when I examined my life more closely, I realized it only vaguely resembled the one I had imagined when I was in my twenties. Where were the two adorable children named Emma and Charlie, spaced three years apart? Where was the perfectly appointed house that didn’t flood every time it rained? Where were the trips to Paris and Greece that I somehow imagined I’d be able to afford on a teacher’s salary? And why, despite loving my job, did I still have this itch to write about fictional people and places?

The older I get, the more I realize that those imaginary checkpoints we set for ourselves don’t matter as much as we think. Sure, it’s important to set goals and to have dreams, but sometimes life sets us on a trajectory of its own, and we find we’ve strayed far from the path we’d once envisioned. The good news is, for everything we thought we wanted that didn’t materialize, something unexpected arrives in its place, changing our lives in ways we never imagined.

Two of these unexpected “arrivals” inspired me to write Free to a Good Home. One was my dog, Maggie. We adopted her thirteen years ago from a shelter, where we learned she was a “problem dog” who’d been adopted and returned three times for various reasons. But as soon as we met her, it was clear that the only problem was she hadn’t found the right owners yet. Since the day we brought her home, she has taught us so many wonderful lessons about living in the moment, taking joy in the small things, and loving unconditionally.

Maggie
The second inspiration for Free to a Good Home was my mother-in-law, Anne Mont, who passed away this May after a courageous battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Movies and books tell us a mother-in-law is the scourge of the married woman, forever raising her eyebrow in disapproval or making snarky comments about our lax domestic skills. I never imagined that my mother-in-law would be one of the most supportive and nurturing people in my life, or that she would end up being one of my biggest fans. Through the way she lived her life, I have learned how to give more selflessly, to persevere with grace, to support those I love, and to appreciate all that life has given me.

In a scene from one of my favorite movies, Miracle on 34th Street, Maureen O’Hara plays an ambitious career woman who subscribes to a no-nonsense philosophy that doesn’t allow for distractions, or as she calls them, “intangibles.” Her love interest, played by the endearing John Payne, warns her not to overlook those lovely intangibles. “You’ll soon discover,” he says, “those are the only things that are worthwhile.”

I’ve come to believe that having at all figured out isn’t about completing a checklist of accomplishments or acquisitions; it’s about discovering that kindness and love and joy—those “lovely intangibles”—are what makes life worth living. And in my opinion, that’s a lesson it’s never too late to learn.

What’s the best lesson you learned from a pet or a loved one?

Meet Eve

Eve lives with her husband, Ken, and her shelter dog, Maggie, in suburban Philadelphia, where she teaches high school English and creative writing. Free to a Good Home is her first novel.

In conjunction with your book club’s reading and discussion of Free to a Good Home, Eve is available for a phone chat or Skype visit. Click here to submit your request.

Eve is currently working on her second novel.

Enter to Win an Autographed Copy of Free to a Good Home

Mandatory Entry:

Leave a comment in which you answer Eve’s question! Be sure to include your email address (for notification purposes).

Bonus Entries:

Leave a separate comment below for each bonus entry

  • Comment on my review of Free to a Good Home.
  • Become a follower of Colloquium on Google Friend Connect or confirm that you are already a follower (leave your Google Friend Connect name)
  • Follow Colloquium on Facebook Networked Blogs. (Note: Asking to be my friend on Facebook does not count as a bonus entry.)
  • Follow me on Twitter — be sure to leave your Twitter name in the comment
  • Subscribe to Colloquium via RSS or Email and confirm your subscription
  • Tweet about this giveaway and leave the link to your tweet in a comment!
  • Post this giveaway on Facebook and leave the link to your post in a comment!

The book can only be shipped to a United States or Canadian address (no P.O. box).

Entry Deadline:

Thursday, October 14, 2010, at 11:59 p.m. (Pacific time)

Thank you, Eve!


Betty at Reflections With Coffee was selected at random as the winner!

Thanks to all who participated in the giveaway!


58 Comments

  1. That was a lovely interview!
    Not entering the contest, but I would just like to say that, indeed, our loved ones , pets or people, are always there for us and they teach us the power of forgiveness and that we can be strong when we seek refuge and support in our family!

  2. That was an interesting interview. Our animals have definitely taught us that the care and love you give will come back to you.

  3. Pam Keener

    I learned unconditional love from my dogs and kitty.
    Love & Hugs,
    Pam
    pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

  4. i learned unconditional love from bella, a sweet puppy.

  5. amandasue

    My dog has taught me to enjoy the simple things in life, like being happy just enjoying going for a walk or spending time with family, she gets so much joy out of practically nothing so why can’t I get that same joy? She also has taught me the true value of love and devotion.

  6. My pets have taught me unconditional love. No matter what it is, opening mail, watching tv-etc-all they want is to be with you. I always stop what I am doing and take time to play with them.

  7. cococroissants follows on twitter. 👿 😈

    I could not resist the faces.

  8. They taught me about innocence and the joy that comes with it.

  9. Carol Wong

    😛 My pets have taught to truly enjoy life, dwell in the now instead of yesterday or tomorrow. 😛

    CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

  10. Carol Wong

    I left a comment on your reveiw of this book.

    CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

  11. Carol Wong

    I confirmed my e-mail subscription to Colloquim.

    CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

  12. Carol Wong

    I follow Colloquim on the Facebook Network Blogs.

    CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

  13. Mona Garg

    Be loving,caring,and respectful to your spouse/loved ones every day and not just on special occasions(b-days,anniversaries,holidays,etc). This is hubby’s philosophy.

  14. I learned to love my pets because they love me too.

  15. I think I learned how fleeting life is from my dad. I’ll never take that for granted again.

  16. The best thing that I’ve learned from a pet…is how intuitive they are, and how on the worst day, the most depressed day, one look or cuddle from them, and it eases the stress.
    pippirose59 at gmail dot com

  17. I follow via GFC
    pippirose59 at gmail dot com

  18. I follow on Twitter
    @pippirose77
    pippirose59 at gmail dot com

  19. I follow on Networked Blogs (under my name, Piroska).
    pippirose59 at gmail dot com

  20. I follow via email.
    pippirose59 at gmail dot com

  21. I have learned the art of compassion and understanding. How after a dog has done something bad that they look up to with you those sad little eyes and let you know how much they love and depend on you that it just warms your little heart.

    tara @ novamommies dot com

  22. Christian Kay

    I have learned that love is truly all a pet wants and desires and that I can definitely give no matter how broke I am!

  23. I learned unconditional love from my sweet spaniel, Molly.

    Thank you so much for the give!!!

    areallibrarian[at]gmail[dot]com

  24. The best lesson learned from my pets is the unconditional love and the way they like to cuddle. My 16-year-old cat is lying on my side while I’m in bed typing on my laptop.

  25. Heather Henderson

    The best lesson I learned is that love defeats all and happiness and whatever that is to you is really what’s most important. My loving family has taught me that.
    hmhenderson AT yahoo DOT com

  26. Heather Henderson

    Follow via GFC as hendy
    hmhenderson AT yahoo DOT com

  27. Heather Henderson

    Follow on Twitter @HendyMartin
    hmhenderson AT yahoo DOT com

  28. If this book has anything to do with dogs I’m in. I have two BIG dogs who are the biggest babies. Oden my first pet away from home a chocolate lab that is always waiting for me, following me and is the easiest going dog one cold ever imagine and Tank who is a tank truly, topping the vet scale at 150 (won’t go any higher) but such a baby who just wants to lie around and have his belly rubbed. I could go without sad parts in the book though as it sounds like it has some. When I read Marley and Me I bawled through the whole book, couldn’t put it down until I was finished, though.

  29. Don’t worry. What really IS the worst thing that will happen if someone takes the purse you accidently left at the restaurant. My husband taught me to think things like that through practically in stead of stressing over them (though I still do sometimes).

    ecarian at yahoo dot com

  30. Oh my I would have to say Patience…my rescue dog drives me crazy daily, but she is so full of love that all the time I put into her is completely worth while.
    Would love to read this sweet book 🙂
    Thanks

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