What's Not Lost by Valerie Taylor
About the Book:
Kassie O'Callaghan is searching ... for herself and for answers. With her husband six feet under and an engagement ring on her finger, Kassie is convinced managing a company merger in Paris will complete her quest for recognition on her own terms. When she learns her fiancé's ex-girlfriend is pregnant, Kassie's dreams come tumbling down. At least for the moment.
Despite pleas from her younger fiancé to stay in Boston and a warning from her best friend forever of what's at stake should she leave, Kassie heads to Paris with courage and perseverance. There, she stumbles into a world of wine and roses as she tries to put the wisdom of her experience to the ultimate test.
When a Greek businessman tries to rescue her, Kassie discovers-in life-it's not whether you win or lose, it's the way you love that counts.
Any book that starts with a prologue written by a cat is an automatic great read for me. I loved reading from Topher’s perspective as he described his humans and his home. Getting into the story I’ll admit up front that this is the first book in the trilogy that I’ve read. The author gave enough background that I was not lost in the book but I definitely want to read the other books in the series. They sound like great books and I would love to read more from these characters. In the early pages I connected with the characters and wanted to know their stories.
One thing I loved about this book was how the author switched from one character to another. A lot of multiple POV books tell an entire chapter in one POV. This book switches POV’s within the chapter. I loved that because you could immediately see into someone else’s mind as the scene was unfolding. I also loved how the author gave each chapter a title. I don’t see that often anymore. Chapters are numbered or titled with the person telling that chapter but these chapters have names. I highly recommend this book if you are a fan of Kristy Woodson Harvey as the book has family elements and finding who you are.
Who did you write the What’s Not trilogy for?
I wrote What’s Not Said to prove to myself that I could write a novel. The next two books in the series, What’s Not True and What’s Not Lost, were written for those readers who asked what was next for Kassie O’Callaghan and her young lover, Christopher. Overall, though, this family saga with all its drama and comedy is meant to entertain women and men who loved Bridget Jones’s Diary. Those readers are looking for older, mature characters they can relate to.
What do you hear most often from your readers?
There are several consistent themes in the messages I receive from readers. First, they thank me for creating mature couples. They appreciate how I was able to make serious issues in relationships humorous. My dialogue is regularly described as perfect, brilliant, and once even characterized as a “chef’s kiss.” I was surprised, though I shouldn’t have been, that readers of the first two books wanted more scenes between Kassie and her BFF, Annie, so they could know that relationship even better. And hands down, they wanted more of Topher the cat. I hope I fulfilled their desires in What’s Not Lost where both have more than cameo appearances.
How did Venice, Paris, and Greece join Boston as integral settings in the trilogy?
Boston is obvious. Though I lived there only a short time after my divorce, I feel like it’s home every time I visit there. For years I dreamed of traveling to Venice, which I finally did twice. The last time I was there in 2019, I carried my manuscript with me and was able to validate a critical scene in What’s Not Said. So relieved I got it right! I’ve been to Paris with my daughter once, and it seemed like a romantic place to move Kassie and her lover to. July in Paris doesn’t get much better. I also visited several towns in Greece on the trip in 2019, so when I was thinking about a European extension for What’s Not Lost, it was an easy choice. Plus, I was so inspired by the Mercouri Estate winery in Katakolon, Greece, that a winery became a crucial and perfect location in which to conclude the trilogy.
There’s a playlist at the end of each of the books. How come?
Mostly, I write in silence. No music, no television. No distractions of any kind. Yet, I love music as a way to tell a story. Actually, more to accompany the story. So, after I wrote What’s Not Said, I went through the manuscript and jotted down songs I’d want to have part of a soundtrack if it were made into a movie. After an author friend of mine posted her playlist on her website, it occurred to me that I could include mine in the back of my book since it was just about ready to go into production. Then, as I wrote What’s Not True and What’s Not Lost, it was natural for me to intersperse songs into the stories. Those two playlists consist of some of the songs in the books, but also some that I think work to tell the story but didn’t easily fit into mentioning in a scene. My most favorite example of this is “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” which is part of the What’s Not Lost playlist. No spoilers here. You’ll need to read the book to find out why!
Is it really just a trilogy, or will there be a fourth book in the series?
Oh, dear! Early readers of What’s Not Lost are asking the same question. In fact, I received an email the other day telling me I left too much open, up in the air, and that I needed to keep going with the story. I’m not sure I’m ready to do a fourth full 80,000 word novel with these families, but I may spin off and do a novella of sorts. What I am writing is a six-episode cozy mystery series. That’s going to take a lot of time and brain power. But I am influenced and easily swayed by readers. So we’ll see!
About the Author:
Six years retired, three years a published novelist, always a reader of good stories. Valerie Taylor was born and raised in Stamford, CT. She had a thirty-year career in the financial services industry as a marketer and writer. After her divorce, she spread her wings and relocated her career to Boston and then to Seattle. When she retired, she resettled in her home state to be near her two grown children and granddaughter. Taylor’s a member of the Westport Writer’s Workshop, the Independent Book Publisher’s Association, the CT Authors and Publishers Association, and the Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association. She’s a published book reviewer with BookTrib.com. She enjoys practicing tai chi and being an expert sports spectator. With the expected release in February 2023, What’s Not Lost is the final season in the What’s Not trilogy. Her debut, What’s Not Said, was published in 2020, with the sequel, What’s Not True, following closely in 2021. Taylor’s next journey will be into the world of cozy mysteries.