The Pit and the Passion

She held her gaze steady, mainly so she could delve deep, deep into those chocolate eyes. Together with his sharp, angular nose and intense, almost predatory, expression, he reminded her of a peregrine falcon on the hunt.

The Pit & the Passion

Monday, April 14, 2014

Please Welcome Courtney Giardina and her Heroine Haylie

Courtney Giardina published her debut novel, Tear Stained Beaches in February 2013. Tear Stained Beaches is a novel about the strength and struggles of a woman dealing with her crumbling marriage. Rave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads include these gems:
"This book was so good, it made me angry and it made me cry. I would recommend it to everyone!!!” and "Can't wait for her next book as her writing is superb.”

The story:
Haylie Julian wants nothing more than to put her crumbling marriage back together. Chase used to be a fun-loving, light-hearted husband but had lately become an obsessed with climbing the corporate ladder.  His secretive phone calls and late nights at the office leave Haylie feeling alone and afraid of what he might be hiding.  Ignoring his pleas to leave well enough alone, she continues to dig for answers and discovers a heartbreaking truth.

Struggling with what she has just learned, Haylie sets off to a quaint little North Carolina beach town to decide if her marriage can survive. It isn’t long after she arrives that her world is once again turned upside down as Chase’s secret stares her right in the face.

Tear Stained Beaches explores what happens when a marriage isn’t the happily-ever-after you thought it was. Can trust be rebuilt? Can a wife forgive the ultimate betrayal?

Courtney, I see you brought Haylie along with you today. Perhaps we could get her to give us some advice on some of life’s common struggles. 

Thank you so much for having Haylie and me on your blog today, M. S.! Tear Stained Beaches is meant to be an empowering novel, showing women that they should never settle for less than what they deserve—that they always should stand up for what they think is best for them and nobody else.
Let's get right to the interview then.
CAG: So a big thank you to Haylie for taking the time to chat with us today.

HJ: Absolutely! Of course I have all the time in the world for the girl who brought me to life. Well, almost all the time. I do have to get a run in today. You know me and my running.

That is very true. Let’s get this show on the road then. We are going to get inside your head today. So let’s get started with the first question. What are your thoughts on the title of the book?

Oh I think the title, Tear Stained Beaches, is just awesome! It really captures the true emotion that is conveyed throughout the novel. At some point or another we all struggle with big decisions that can be painful and that truly is what this story is all about. But it’s also a story about finding your inner strength that helps you past those hard times. This is the point where the tide sweeps in and washes those tears away. It’s a great title because if we look at it that way, we understand the book is also about how sad times don’t last forever and something more exquisite will surely come along!

I think that is well put! Can you tell us a bit about your move to Charlotte from Copper Grove? I know you struggled a lot with starting over and finding your place in a new city. What sort of advice would you give women in your shoes?

Yes I certainly did. We moved to Charlotte for a new job opportunity for my husband Chase. I was ecstatic for him, but for me it was hard. I didn’t know anyone there and I left a great job back in Copper Grove. I was miserable at first because while Chase was working crazy hours, I had no one.
I would definitely recommend putting effort in finding social activities around your area. What interests you? I love running and fitness, so perhaps finding a running club, joining a fitness center or boot camp would be a great way to meet new people. I started hanging out with the other ladies on my block after awhile. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself; it’s a great first step. And even though it wasn’t a necessity, finding the part time event planner job was a nice way to get me out of the house. I could interact with people all day and not feel so closed off.  If it’s something you can fit into your schedule that would be a great idea as well.

There is one point in the book where you reveal something pretty serious to your neighborhood lady friends as you were in need of some support. However, the reaction you got from them was quite shocking. Can you offer any insight into friendships and what to do when your friends don’t see it from your point of view?

The one great thing about friendships is that everyone brings something different to the table. I love that all of my friends have something unique about them. As for offering advice, real friends will tell you like it is. They will share their opinions on the topic with you because they only want the best for you. So it is quite common that you may not see eye to eye on a lot of things. Especially when each of you has not walked in the other’s shoes. However, when all is said and done, the choice is yours and a real friend should support the decision you make even if it’s not what they might have done. A friend is supposed to be someone you can lean on, who holds you up at your weakest moments and if they are loyal, they will do that. Those are the people worth holding on to.

Great advice Haylie. I love your way of thinking. A lot of your story takes place on Kettlewood Island and that’s where you headed once you discovered the truth about Chase’s sudden change in behavior. Some people may have seen this as running away from your problems. Do you agree?

Yes, I have certainly heard that as well, but in my opinion I didn’t see it as running away. The whole situation was a lot for me to handle and I needed to face it with a clear head. I didn’t want to make a rash decision or say something I was going to regret in the long run. What I think Kettlewood Island did for me was help me listen to my own thoughts. I needed that time by myself to really understand what it was that happened. Throughout my time there I began to really see what it was that I wanted out of life, what I needed from a partner and what I deserved to have for the future.

There is one particular scene I love in the book. It’s on Kettlewood Island when you’re standing in the bathroom looking in the mirror. You’re struggling with the flaws that you see in yourself.  I know that is something many people, women especially, have a hard time with. Can you let us in a little bit on why you focused so much on it at this point and how you look at yourself now?

I think that when you hit a point in your relationship where you aren’t communicating anymore or you feel like you’re competing with something, not necessarily another person, but anything. It could be your significant other's job, friends, hobby—it's just in our nature to wonder what it is we are missing. I did a lot of soul searching on the Island about how maybe I could’ve been more supportive, skinnier or prettier. It was an emotional roller coaster that drove me crazy and that point in the bathroom was really the climax of it all. Once all of those thoughts stopped creeping into my head I started to fill it with all of the amazing things I had to offer. It’s one of those mind games that you really have to focus on. Stop looking at the negatives you think that someone sees and start looking at all the positives that you see. Everyone has so much to offer and the right people will always appreciate it.

Oh goodness, look at the time. I better let you get ready for your run before the sun goes down. Thanks so much for talking with me today and the wonderful advice you had to share.

It was my pleasure! I hope all you lovely readers out there take the time to read about my journey in Tear Stained Beaches and it gives you inspiration you can use in your own lives. Thanks everyone!

Thanks so much for being here today, Courtney and Haylie! Courtney, could you tell us a little about yourself?

     I'm a Rochester, NY native who currently resides in Charlotte, NC. After 9 months of wearing out the delete button on the keyboard, Tear Stained Beaches was completed. I'm currently working on my second novel to be published in 2014. When I'm not writing, I'm an avid health and fitness lover. I've currently taken up a love of boxing as a member of Title Boxing Club and I love trying out new healthy recipes from Pinterest.

Where can readers get in touch and find the book?

Please visit or follow her on twitter (

Tear Stained Beaches (158 pp. Take Two Publishing, 2013) is available in both paperback and ebook at


Betty Ann Harris said...

Tear Stained Beaches sounds like a great summer read. I liked the interview with the heroine. Makes me feel like I know her personally before reading the book. Great interview!

Melissa Keir said...

Wonderful interview. I am wondering about her husband's secret now!

Nice to learn about a new to me author!

M. S. Spencer said...

Me too--something tells me it's not the obvious! M. S.

Courtney Giardina said...

Thank you all for your kind words! I'm glad you enjoyed the interview, it was a fun one to write!

M. S. Spencer said...

Thanks for being here Courtney and Haylie! We had hundreds of hits so I predict good sales. M. S.