Monday, April 22, 2024

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: THE SERENDIPITY OF CATASTROPHE by Lisa Fellinger @GoddessFish


Lisa Fellinger

GENRE: Women's Fiction


A mother defeated by anxiety. A daughter determined not to become her mother. Can one month in Europe reunite them?

Anita Lorello is paralyzed by grief. When her husband dies in an accident the night before a long-awaited retirement trip, she’s devastated by the loss of her partner and once again shelves her dream to finally visit Europe. But when her estranged daughter agrees to accompany her nearly a year later, Anita is eager for the opportunity to repair their relationship.

Carrie Lorello’s life is crumbling. After a night of clouded judgment ends in her being fired, her mother’s offer of a one-month paid vacation seems like her best option. But she refuses to get caught up in her mother’s irrational worries and critical comments, and under no circumstances is she to learn what a failure Carrie’s proven to be.

Desperate not to lose her daughter again, Anita fights to conquer her anxiety and become the mother Carrie always wanted. But as Carrie’s life grows more and more complicated, her mother is the last person she wants to confide in.

Without anyone else to hold them together, can Anita and Carrie overcome their differences, or will the secrets between them derail their trip and destroy their relationship for good?

The Serendipity of Catastrophe is an emotionally compelling work of women’s fiction. If you enjoy travel stories, complex mother-daughter relationships, and lovably flawed characters, you’ll love this hopeful story of resilience and second chances.



Anita turned and set her eyes on the ride, its rainbow-colored seats impossible to miss. Victor never would have expected her to go on the Ferris wheel, but somehow it seemed like exactly what she needed to do to move forward, to prove to herself she would no longer allow anxiety to rule her life. To most, it may have been a simple carnival ride, but to her it was so much more.

The line was shorter than Anita expected, and soon she was next up. The young girl ahead of her climbed into a bright green bucket with her father, and her mind drifted to Victor and Carrie all those years ago.

Next,” the operator called out.

Anita walked to the next open bucket, this one sunshine yellow, and climbed in. With a small lurch, the wheel took off, propelling her slowly into the air. Instinctively, she closed her eyes, then forced herself to open them. She didn’t come this far to ride with her eyes closed. Besides, it made her more nauseous not to see where she was going.

At the top of the wheel, she looked out across the amazing city she’d spent the past few days exploring and falling in love with. Although this Ferris wheel was smaller than the one in London, being up on a mountain made it seem as though she was higher off the ground than she was.

I did it, Victor,” she whispered.

She smiled as the wheel lifted her up and around once more. She had done it. She made it to Europe, made her way to Tibidabo on her own, and conquered her fear of Ferris wheels.

But there was still work to be done.

Interview with Lisa Fellinger

    Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

    I read the book Story Trumps Structure by Steven James several years ago, and this was a game changer in the way I think about crafting a story. A lot of craft books emphasize a specific structure and formulas to follow, but James asserts that the most important aspect of a book is the story itself and that the structure should serve the story, not the other way around. Now as I work on my manuscripts, I ask myself if the structure is working for the story, and that’s been immensely helpful in keeping my focus on telling the best story I can rather than worrying about ensuring I have certain scenes in specific places solely to fit a formula.

    How do you select the names of your characters?

    My main characters usually come into my mind with a name. It’s rare that I change a name or have to think up a name for a main character. I think names are so much a part of a character’s personality and being that the name is part of what makes them who they are from the beginning in my mind. Minor characters I sometimes have to spend some time thinking up names for, and if I’m really stuck, I’ll use online name generators and just keep clicking through until something seems to fit.

    Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

    Not necessarily, but with this book in particular I drew upon my own experiences traveling overseas so some of the anecdotes or the descriptions of restaurants will be familiar to the people I traveled with. My sister picked up on a lot of familiar places in Barcelona as she read through since she was with me when I traveled there and loved each time she found something she remembered from our trip.

    What was your hardest scene to write?

    The opening scene was probably the one I agonized over the most, honestly. Any writer knows how challenging opening scenes are to begin with, but the fact that this particular story started with such a quiet opening—Anita in her counselor’s office stuck in a cycle of grief—made it even more challenging for me. I wanted to be sure to capture the magnitude of Anita’s grief and sense of hopelessness in that opening scene while still allowing readers to connect with her and root for her, which is hard to do when a character starts out feeling so defeated. I lost track of the number of revisions I completed on that opening scene, but I’m hopeful I finally got it right.

    Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

    I don’t have plans for writing books in series or with sequels at this point, but I wouldn’t be opposed to doing so or including characters from one book in another in some way if it makes sense to do.

    What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

    My intention with this book was to delve into the complexities of mother-daughter relationships and show the ways in which our own issues and histories affect our relationships. I feel I accomplished this well with Anita and Carrie’s story. Their relationship is nuanced and complex and feels like the kind of flawed, relatable relationship I hoped to portray.

    What inspired you to write The Serendipity of Catastrophe?

    The idea for this story first came to me in a grad school class when I was in school for mental health counseling. We were discussing a case study, and something triggered a what if question: what if a woman was about to embark on a trip of a lifetime with her husband, but the night before they leave, he dies in an accident? From there, the idea of having her travel instead with her estranged daughter hooked me, and Anita and Carrie’s story began to take shape in my mind.

    Can you tell us a little bit about what you have planned for the future?

    I’m currently working on revisions for my next planned book, tentatively titled The Girl from the Song. This story is about 27-year-old Tenley Harwell who left for Paris right after college graduation, and now five years later is forced back home for her best friend’s funeral. In coming back to Buffalo, she fears her biggest struggle will be confronting her rockstar ex-boyfriend who, against her wishes, wrote his band’s first album about her and then shared her name with the press. But she discovers the biggest hurdle is actually making amends with her sister who she left behind.

    Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in The Serendipity of Catastrophe?

    Anita is the character who first came into my mind as I thought about this story. She’d middle-aged and when we first meet her, she’s deep in grief over losing her husband. She’s struggled with anxiety most of her life, which was exacerbated when her daughter was born, and while being a mother is the thing she most wanted in her life, her anxiety often stood in the way of her forming a close relationship with Carrie. Carrie grew up watching her mother worry over everything and refuses to become like her. But as hard as she tries to resist becoming her mother, she ultimately realizes she might not be quite as different from her as she’d thought.

    What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

    I loved watching this story get stronger with each draft and as I learned more and grew as a writer. From the first draft to published story, this story became richer and deeper with each revision, and I’m incredibly proud of that. It was certainly challenging at times, but absolutely rewarding.   

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lisa Fellinger writes contemporary women's fiction with lovably flawed, relatable characters. When she's not writing her own stories, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams as a book coach and developmental editor. She lives in Buffalo, New York with her husband, son, and fur babies.

Connect with Lisa Fellinger

Website ~ Facebook ~ Instagram



$20 Amazon/BN GC

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you so much for hosting today.

Marcy Meyer said...

I enjoyed the excerpt. This story sounds really good. Thanks for sharing.

Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a book I will enjoy.

Lisa Fellinger said...

Thank you for hosting today!

Sherry said...

This sounds like a good book.

Michael Law said...

This looks like an incredible read. Thanks for sharing.

Daniel M said...

looks like a fun one