Interview with Carla Buckley, Author of The Good Goodbye
03 Mar 2016
The Good Goodbye is about the secret lives children lead, even within the most loving of families. In it I wonder, how well do we know our children?
Rory and Arden are best friends and confidantes, more like sisters than cousins. In many ways, they are complete opposites: Rory charismatic, popular, strong-willed, and Arden artistic, perceptive, reserved. The girls have managed to stay close despite the growing tension between their parents, stemming from troubles with their shared business.
While Rory and Arden are away at college, a fire breaks out in their dorm room. One student is killed and both girls are transported unconscious to the hospital. As the police become involved and start their investigation, Rory and Arden’s parents are forced to huddle together in the ICU to face their daughters’ uncertain futures and their own unraveling relationships. But when disturbing revelations are brought to light—about the origin of the fire, the nature of Arden and Rory’s friendship and the secrets they’ve been keeping, secrets that reel all the way back into their childhoods—the families must confront their deepest fears even as the truth threatens to destroy everything they once knew.
What’s your favorite song lyric?
Home is where I want to be, but I guess I’m already there
Where is your happy place? Why does it bring you joy?
After years of carpooling and chauffeuring kids, I’m surprised to find myself saying that sitting behind the steering wheel with my children in the car is my happy place. All the surprising revelations that have bubbled up over the years—an impassioned theological discussion between my then two-year-old and five-year-old, my daughter’s lilting singing voice, my son’s wicked sense of humor, the laughter and confidences shared all while staring through the windshield—these remain as some of my favorite memories.
Which book from your childhood or teenage years has stuck with you as an adult?
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The crushing claustrophobia of a family trapped together in a tiny cabin and the knowledge that the only way to survive is through their own resolve and sheer grit still haunts me today.
You wouldn’t be caught dead, where?
I wouldn’t be caught dead in my teenaged daughter’s room (at least not without wearing a HAZMAT suit.)
If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
What’s your favorite quote or scene from The Good Goodbye?
The scene in the middle, narrated by Arden, in which the story’s biggest twist is revealed.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
Never ever ever give up — Michael Scott
Carla Buckley is the author of the new book The Good GoodbyeBuy The Book
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