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"The Silver Boat": A rare combination of romance and realism by Luanne Rice

Luanne Rice, The Silver Boat
Adrian Kinloch,Pamela Dorman Books

"CBS Early Show" News Anchor Jeff Glor talks to Luanne Rice. Her latest novel, "The Silver Boat," is a bittersweet story about three sisters, set on Martha's Vineyard, immediately after their mother dies. It is Rice's 29th novel.

Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write the book?

Luanne Rice: I wanted to write about sisters who love each other and are close, but who come into conflict after their mother dies. The three McCarthy sisters convene on Martha's Vineyard to decide what to do with their family home. Each sister has her own needs and ideas, ways of letting go and saying goodbye, yet wanting to hold on forever. I loved exploring the idea of home -- the way we define it and our relationships to it. To what degree is the house more than just wood frame and shingles--another member of the family, the place where everyone gathers, the keeper of memories?

JG: What surprised you the most during the writing process?

LR: How tenderly I felt toward my mother and sisters, remembering how the process of dealing with her house had been for us. Well, maybe that didn't surprise me so much. But writing about characters going through that intense time made me realize how much is held within the walls of a small house. When I wrote about Dar, the oldest sister, finding her parents' love letters, I had no idea it would send them (and me) off to Ireland to uncover the truth about a family lie.

JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?

LR: I would like to be a naturalist living in the boreal forest or on a very northern seacoast.

JG: What else are you reading right now?

LR: "The Wild Places" by Robert Macfarlane; "Swan: Poems and Prose Poems" by Mary Oliver; "Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It" by Maile Meloy.

JG: What's next for you?

LR: My next novel starts with a crime, continues with an unexpected visitor, and contains threads of estrangement, lost love, and the kind of deep love a person can have for someone she's never even met.

For more on "The Silver Boat," visit the Penguin Group website.

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