The Caretakers by Shauna Nosler

Welcome to Author Shauna Nosler

Shauna Nosler was born in Seattle and grew up in and around Oregon’s Willamette Valley and it was her high school A.P. English teacher that spurred her initial interest in the wide, wide world of the written word.

“When I took my A.P. exam, rather than stick with the provided suggestions I challenged the academic standard and submitted an essay on Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. It was a gamble but it paid off with a passing score that granted me a years worth of college English credit … I still write like that … I like to take chances to diversify myself … although my style is still definitely emerging.”

Shauna stayed in Eugene for the next four years where she studied economics at the University of Oregon and toiled with short story writing on the woes and wonders of sorority life. Eventually, she moved cross country with her husband where she began freelancing for regionally based magazines and newspapers. They now live outside Indianapolis with their three children and chocolate lab, Norm (yes, from Cheers – Cliff lives down the street). One day, Shauna hopes to be a syndicated columnist. The Caretakers is her first published novel.


What is one book everyone should read?
One – that’s tough. I’d like to list 5-7 but ultimately, the one book would have to be “Night” by Elie Wiesel. It is short and poignant, and the scenes are unimaginable (thank God) for so many of us. I find its message unparalleled. Perhaps, if more people would take an afternoon to read “Night”, there would be genuine tolerance in this world.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
It will challenge your beliefs.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
Absolutely. Caroline is/was me … everything about her. And The Country House is a replica of my aunt and uncles – a place where I spent endless summers with my cousins. Only difference is I like fried green tomatoes.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
“If Elephants are Smart”, the sequel to “The Caretakers”, is set to drop this November. Next year I will finish the trilogy then move on to other projects – I do have two other books written, but I want this series completed before they are released.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
Sadly, I aspired to be a ditch digger for a number of years – all thanks to Sesame Street. There is an episode where a hardhat donning Grover teaches youngsters to count by digging into the Earth with a shovel … eventually, when he reaches 20 I think, he finds hidden treasure. I’ve always wanted to find a hidden treasure … although I have to dig any hole in the ground.

If you could jump into a book, and live in that world … which would it be?
Alice in Wonderland … with Johnny Depp, of course.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Ask questions. I have emailed a number of NYT Bestsellers with specific questions and they have all been kind enough to make suggestions and offer advice – all of them! Make your questions short and to the point and you’re likely to get a response.

What do you do in your free time?
Ha, Ha. Free time? Well … laundry, cook, run … write (du) and daydream – I cannot say enough about the importance of dreaming : ) And watch college football – GO DUCKS!!!

If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why?
England – 1700’s … so long as I was part of the aristocracy and had a good husband and tons of lovely dresses and jewels. It’s funny to think about living in another time period because, of course, all we think about are the good parts … yet far too many of the accompanying elements are horrid.

What is your favorite Quote?
“Decision is the risk rooted in the courage to be free.” Paul Tillich – look him up!

What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?
Well, I don’t think it’s crazy – it’s just not something I feel comfortable putting to pen (yet). I live on a street that my husband and I often refer to a Wisteria Lane in Mayberry. (seriously – Opie lives a few houses to the left and Auntie B to the right). And then there are the Wisteria ladies … someday I might shed a few of the stories that I’ve outlined, but for now they will stay password protected on my computer. Really – if you are one of my neighbors and you’re reading this don’t worry … I’ll wait until all of our children are of reading age before I print anything : ) HA!

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I have a fake toenail. For real … my right big toenail is fake … and that my friends is a long story meant for another time!

The Caretakers
Picture a typical suburban city, 1972 … the Roe v. Wade decision is seven months away and an upper middle-class family is about to be slammed into varying degrees of lunacy. Mabel Jamieson, the youngest of four siblings, had an illegal abortion that left her maimed and unconscious. Though unknown to her at the time, Mabel’s older brother Jasper followed her and was able to deliver her cataleptic body safely home. Filled with rage and misinterpreted information, Jasper swears to avenge his sister’s wrong doing and spends years sifting his way through seemingly impossible implications until he finds the man responsible.

Flash forward to summer, 1987 … Jasper’s eleven year old daughter Caroline and her cousin Mitch find a small cross near the home where their fathers grew up; a cross that bears the date March 24, 1972, and carries with it a powerful silence. The children trade theories about its origin and let their discovery saturate their imaginations until a tragic accident devastates Caroline and rips all the joy from her heart.

The Caretakers a is not another story of good vs. evil, but one of devotion vs. obligation and protection vs. abandonment. Crafted from years of collecting family members’ real life accounts as well as my own cherished childhood memories, the storyline will tug at your very soul and petition your own beliefs. The narration takes the reader down a nonlinear path with character revelations at every turn: Mabel becomes a young woman and learns to cherish her own worth, Caroline realizes that life does go on and Jasper comes face-to-face with a truth that has haunted him for nearly fifteen years.

If Elephants are Smart
Reviving the main characters from The Caretakers, ‘Elephants’ takes place over a few weeks in the spring of 1992. Fifteen year old Caroline Jamieson is the first-person narrator and it’s through her many intuitive observations that the reader learns about her family’s triumphs and tragedies.

Caroline’s father, an attorney in the Pacific Northwest, has fashioned an extremely successful career based on the fundamental premise that the United States justice system is unprejudiced. That is until he visits an old friend and is struck by the realization that even a judge can be swayed by emotion and personal experiences. At the same time, he finds himself coming to terms with the fact that his long-time standards were fostered from a tragic misunderstanding about his sister’s illegal abortion. Then, when called to court as an expert witness on the Fourteenth Amendment, he finds himself caught between honoring his own values and the constitutionality of particular abortion laws.

Caroline’s aunt on the other hand, has quietly cultivated a life of semi-seclusion filled with past disappointments and thoughts of what-could-have-been. That is until she falls in love and must choose between the potential of a happy future or the acceptance of a stagnant present.

Giveaway Details
The Caretakers & If Elephants are Smart
Paperback open to US or Canada, Ebook open Internationally
End 11/15/12

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