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Interested in humorous, heartwarming novels featuring quirky characters? Then check out "Graceland" by Nancy Crochiere.

What was your inspiration behind your most recent book?

I wanted to write a novel about identity, and specifically, the struggle many of us face to accept who we truly are versus who we feel others want us to be. Several of the characters in Graceland grapple with this issue on their road trip to Memphis. My protagonist, Hope, is a people-pleaser who feels she can never make her flamboyant, soap-star mother happy. Her best friend, George, who cross-dresses as Jordan, has struggled with a parent who rejected him for his cross-dressing, but eventually learned to embrace his own truth. During their journey to Graceland, Jordan is in a unique position to challenge Hope on the lies she’s spun to hide her truth and her past.

What does "Reading with Pride" mean to you?

Everyone, regardless of how they identify, should be able to find characters in literature they can identify and associate with. In the past few years, I’ve noticed more transgender characters in popular novels, but no one who identifies as a cross-dresser. I’ve had friends and acquaintances who cross-dress, and it felt important to me that they be seen, as well.

Why do you feel representation of a variety of people is so important when it comes to writing books?

I was a fan of the Star Trek original series and always loved the Vulcan philosophy that “the glory of creation is in its infinite diversity.” The more we embrace and find beauty in each other’s differences, the more vibrant our lives become. And since literature is one place we get exposed to different ideas and different people, it’s vital we include characters who reflect the diversity of our world. I wouldn’t write from the point-of-view of someone with a different identity, but I feel comfortable including them in my fictional worlds as the friends, relatives, and neighbors they are in my own life.

Tell us a little more about the book and why you decided to write it.

My background was writing humorous columns about family life, and I wanted to write from that place of strength, but expand into fiction, incorporating a more diverse set of characters.

"Graceland" is the story of a single mom forced to chase her Elvis-obsessed mother and pink-haired teenaged daughter to Memphis to stop them from revealing her long-held secret. As it turns out, though, all the main characters harbor secrets that are uncovered during their road-trip chase from Boston to Memphis. I enjoyed exploring how, over the course of their journey, these battling family members gradually stumble toward self-acceptance, forgiveness, and grace.

What can fans expect from your book?

Graceland is a fast-paced, humorous, and heartwarming novel. It’s filled with quirky characters and weaves in important themes and issues for that make for a great book club discussion or a fun vacation read.

What's up next for you in the bookish world?

I’ve drafted a screenplay and begun work on a new novel. It’s all very exciting! I’m constantly pinching myself.

Nancy Crochiere wrote a humor column about family life for Massachusetts newspapers for thirteen years. Her essays have appeared in The Boston Globe, Writer’s Digest, and WBUR’s Cognoscenti blog. Graceland is her first novel. Follow Nancy’s writing adventures at