Looking for a hot new release? Check out the latest book by Erin Duffy, Regrets Only: A Novel, available now wherever books are sold. Learn more from our recent one-on-one with the fabulous author.
1. What inspired you to write Regrets Only: A Novel?
I was getting ready to leave New York City for the suburbs and was completely terrified. I loved my city life and was nervous to start a whole new life as a mom in suburbia. It’s a right of passage for a lot of women, but it often comes with a good amount of anxiety as well, and I was totally terrified! During one particularly large freak-out, my husband tried to calm me down by reminding me that if I really hated it, we could leave. That got me thinking about how awful it would be to live somewhere you didn’t like and be stuck there. Regrets Only is that story!
2. When Claire learns of her husband’s infidelity, how does her life turn around?
Claire is someone who very eagerly sacrificed her life in order to support her husband’s career. She has a young baby and is trying to figure out her entire new life when she discovers her husband’s affair, and her world crumbles in an instant. One of the things she struggles with is how to define herself now as a single mother. She doesn’t know how to be Claire without Owen, and she certainly doesn’t know how to be Claire in Connecticut, and she’s very angry that she gave up her career and her whole life for a man without a second thought.
3. How does her interaction with the neighbors change?
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Claire’s biggest problem, at least in her mind, is that everyone is loyal to her husband’s mistress because she’s lived in that town her whole life and everyone knows her. Claire is the outsider, and she’s so ashamed and embarrassed that her husband cheated on her so soon after they were married, and she’s heartbroken on top of that, and that’s one toxic emotional cocktail. Any mom knows that you tend to see the same women at the library on rainy days and at the park on sunny ones, and so Claire feels like she can’t escape from scrutiny, which is pretty terrible for her.
4. How do friends Lissy and Antonia help Claire to adjust to her new normal?
Lissy and Antonia are really the main reasons that Claire is able to adjust at all. They serve as her sounding board, her outlet, her caregivers, and the voice of reason when Claire starts to spiral out of control. What I love about them is that they’re both strong women in their right. Claire admires Lissy’s resilience and her confidence to be who she is without fear of judgment, and she has a ton of respect for Antonia’s professional success and independence. I wanted to show a solid friendship between three strong women who only want to support and help each other. Without Lissy and Antonia, who knows where Claire would’ve ended up? Probably in jail!
5. As moms, what life lessons are we able to learn from Claire’s experiences?
I wrote this book with one-year-old twins and an infant at home, and I actually learned a lot about myself while writing Claire. Being a mom with an infant is very isolating, and it’s so easy to just hunker down and stop paying attention to the outside world. That’s ultimately what happened with Claire and why she didn’t notice that her husband was cheating on her. It’s so hard to try and balance everything, and I hope people learn that it’s okay to put yourself first sometimes––that it’s not part of the job description of being a mom to sacrifice yourself 100% of the time.
One of the things that Claire learns as she moves forward on her journey is that it’s okay to ask for help. For a long time, I pretended like I had everything under control when I didn’t, and it took a while for me to learn that lesson myself, but it’s so important and makes such a big difference. I also want all the ladies out there to see that there’s no one way of being a mom, or a woman these days, and that’s pretty great!
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