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Emily Chenoweth is my special guest author today! She is the author of Hello Goodbye, her first novel, and just completed a successful book tour with TLC Book Tours.

is a poignant look at a week in the life of eighteen-year-old Abby Hansen, whose mother, Helen is dying of brain cancer. Neither Helen nor Abby have been told the truth about Helen’s condition. Rather, Abby’s father, Elliott, has decided that it is better for Helen to continue to live with hope and for Abby, who is extremely close to her mother, to be shielded from reality.

Since their twentieth wedding anniversary is approaching, Elliott decides that the three of them will take a trip back to their former home, New Hampshire. There they will stay at the historic Presidential Hotel and be joined by Helen and Elliott’s oldest and dearest friends for an anniversary celebration. The events of that week forever change Abby.

A Father’s Prophetic Words

Emily Chenoweth

The summer I was nineteen, my parents and I spent a week at a fancy hotel in New Hampshire, sunbathing, eating huge, decadent meals, and visiting with our old friends from New England. This was 1991, and it was my mother’s last summer, because she was dying of brain cancer. These circumstances were the inspiration, if you can call something so terrible an “inspiration,” for my novel, Hello Goodbye.

I don’t remember much from that week, which is one of the main reasons I didn’t try to make Hello Goodbye a memoir. One thing I do remember, though, is something my father said to me the first morning at breakfast (and which Elliott Hansen says to his daughter, Abby, in the novel). He waved his arm around the pretty, light-filled room and said, “Can’t you see yourself coming here someday to write?”

That question annoys Abby in the book, but it did not annoy me then. Instead it surprised me. I’d never told my dad that I wanted to write. I don’t think I even knew I wanted to write. I wanted to read. (And perhaps I wanted to already have written, and be just a little bit famous for it.)

Thinking about his question takes me back to another summer years before that. I was a kid — nine? twelve? — and I was jumping on my pogo stick in the driveway. (I was pretty good at it: my record was 714 hops.) My dad was standing in the doorway of the garage, and he said to me — these were his exact words — “It is my belief that someday you will write.”

I just kept on jumping; his words didn’t mean much to me then. But I ask myself now: How did he know? And sometimes, when I am feeling uninspired or impoverished or sick of staring at a computer screen, I wonder why he didn’t say, “It is my belief that you will have a glamorous and lucrative career as a rock musician,” or, “It is my belief that you will find tremendous satisfaction in being a prosecutor of white-collar criminals.” Because who knows? Maybe, unconsciously, I’ve just been trying to please him all these years. To prove him right.

But no, that’s not true, of course. I think he just knew me better than I knew myself then, because he was my dad and he’d been paying attention. These days, when I look at my three-year-old daughter, her nose buried in a book she can’t read yet, I can tell that she’s got years of fanatical, impassioned reading ahead of her, just like I did at her age. And I wonder if someday I’ll tell her, as she’s swinging on a swing or sitting in a tree fort, that I believe that she’ll write someday. Or teach. Or prosecute. Or heal. Or counsel. Or legislate.

And I wonder if I’ll be right.

Meet Emily

Emily Chenoweth is a former fiction editor of Publishers Weekly. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Bookforum, and People, among other publications. Hello Goodbye is her first published novel.

She resides in Portland, Oregon.

You can connect with Emily on Facebook.

Enter to Win a Copy of Hello Goodbye

Emily has graciously provided one copy of Hello Goodbye for me to award to one of my readers, selected at random.

To enter, click here to read my review of Hello Goodbye. Then simply post a comment stating what aspect of the review most inspires you to want to read the book.

Be sure to include your email address (for notification and delivery purposes). The book can only be shipped to a United States or Canadian address (no P.O. box).

Entry Deadline:

Entries will be accepted through Wednesday, August 10, 2011, at 11:59 p.m. (Pacific time)!

Thank you, Emily!


  1. Tiffany Drew

    I’ve been really looking forward to this book. I mostly want to read it because it is interesting that Elliott hasn’t told his wife or daughter about the seriousness of the cancer. I want to see how things go when they find out the truth. This seems like it will be a very emotional book.


  2. Mary Ward

    I like that you say we are left to draw our own conclusions about Elliott’s choice for Helen. I myself don’t know if I would like not being told but as you also said, you weren’t sure if she did really know or not. This sounds like such an emotional read. I would have to have the tissues at hand.

  3. Mary Ward

    I like that you say we are left to draw our own conclusions about Elliott’s choice for Helen. I myself don’t know if I would like not being told but as you also said, you weren’t sure if she did really know or not. This sounds like such an emotional read. I would have to have the tissues at hand.

  4. Krystal Larson

    I like the synopsis, the characters sound like they would be very interesting to read about. Thank you edysicecreamlover18 AT gmail DOT com

  5. Either I’m really emotional right now or just can’t stand any loss…but I teared up reading this review. My kind of book! Please include me in this giveaway:)

  6. Carol Wong

    I don’t like it that neither the daughter nor the mother was told of the brain cancer. Now that I am good and angry, I would love to read this book. I see a oncologist every three months for a pre-cancer condition and he does not say much. I always want to know exactly where I am with cancer so I have to really hammer him with questions. It is my life and I want to know about it.


  7. This compelling novel would hold me enthralled due to the topic and the characters whose lives are transformed.

  8. I really want to read this book to find how they feel once they know the truth that Eliott is trying to keep from them.

  9. i love the inspiration behind this story … thanks for the chance to read it 😛

  10. This sounds like a moving story and with a topic that will strike a chord with many readers. Abby is at that point in life where she is still a child but is becoming a young woman, her experience will definitely shape her future.

  11. Samantha

    cute waiter? count me in! xP Really though, I want to know how people deal with emotional pain. Tanks for thsi giveaway!! 🙂

  12. I’m not entering this giveaway – I read and reviewed Hello Goodbye a few weeks ago. I just wanted to say what a wonderful book it is. I love this guest post from Emily Chenoweth, too. It’s simple but so powerful in how it relays the love of a dad for his daughter and in how well he knows her. Her dad didn’t ask her if she would write, he said she would. I love that! And then he suggest a beautiful spot to write one day.

    Thank you!
    Amy recently posted..~ ~ Wondrous Words Wednesday ~ ~My Profile

  13. Jennifer H.

    I would like to rad this book because I too have lost a parent to cancer and was not told till the very end. Plus the idea that there is no resolution is interesteting to me.

  14. I’d love to read this story. It sounds like a highly evocative read. 🙂

    In your review, you state that Abby returns home from her first year of college – and her mother is dying of cancer. This could be my story, my mother had cancer when I returned home from college — although the truth was not hidden from me. She died the day before my nineteenth birthday. I’d love to read this because I can easily relate to what young Abby must have gone through.

    Thank you for the opportunity to win this book.

    nicnac63 AT hotmail DOT com
    C.E. Hart recently posted..I’m Published! (And other updates…)My Profile

  15. Thanks for the giveaway. Interesting review. This book sounds very emotional, with some good characters. It is interesting that you said there is really no resolution, just more like viewing a part of their lives. I am anxious to see how Helen’s illness plays out with her friends and her daughter.

  16. mamabunny13

    I think it’s interesting that he didn’t tell his wife and daughter about such an important thing…and it kind of irked me too. My husband damn well better tell me if something so serious was going on with him!
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  17. Linda Kish

    I would love to read this book.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  18. Sounds like a heart ripper of a book . I would like to see how they deal with this issue at hand.

  19. I have never heard of this book before but I love the sound of this book. I can’t wait to read it.

  20. I find it interesting that he didnt tell them about his illness . Im also interested in finding out the results of his decision

    amhengst at verizon dot net

  21. It sounds like an interesting take on the move into adulthood and learning who you are, except in this situation her life is changing more dramatically as well. I also like that in the review, things remain open-ended and the reader has to draw their own conclusions. I think that works best sometimes. Definitely adding this to my to-read pile.
    Mare recently posted..open the door to another world…My Profile

  22. This sounds like a very interesting story, though the truths about the serious status of the mother is kept secret would be especially maddening for both the mother and the daughter. Would she have lived her life any differently had she known?

    I enjoyed the author’s “father’s prophetic words” too. How amazing is that?

    Please enter me for a chance to win a copy. riverboat38(at)hotmail(dot)com
    Shirley recently posted..Winner!!My Profile

  23. I’d love to read it. I really like how there are still lose ends…that’s so much more real. Sometimes in life there are no resolutions. I really hope to win.

  24. Your review had a ton of good points that get me really excited to read this book! Might even be a good one to share with family members, one that we’d all enjoy.

    missmommy23 AT gmail DOT com

  25. Nancye Davis

    Wow! This sounds like a wonderful and thought-provoking book. I can see the father/husband not wanting to reveal the gravity of the mother’s/wife’s illness, however I think I would be angry if the truth were withheld from me. I am anxiouse to read this book to see how the summer progresses with this family. Thank you for the chance to win this book!

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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