The Tess Lee and Jack Miller Novels
by Patricia Leavy
GENRE: Romance/Women's fiction
Heart-warming and wonderfully romantic, written with the sharp wit of Candace Bushnell and the sensitivity of Meg Donahue, comes best-selling author Patricia Leavy’s tour de force about learning to balance darkness and light in our lives.
Celestial Bodies is a series of six novels that follow the epic romance of Tess and Jack: Shooting Stars, Twinkle, Constellations, Supernova, North Star, and Stardust. An exploration of the power of love, each novel focuses on love at the intersection of another topic: healing, doubt, intimacy, trust, commitment, and faith. While external threats occur in each book, this is ultimately a story about internal threats—the audio playing in our own heads.
Tess Lee is a world-famous novelist. Her inspirational books explore people’s innermost struggles and the human need to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Despite her extraordinary success, she’s been unable to find happiness in her personal life. Jack Miller is a federal agent who specializes in counterterrorism. After spending decades immersed in a violent world, a residue remains. He’s dedicated everything to his job, leaving nothing for himself. The night Tess and Jack meet, their connection is palpable. She examines the scars on his body and says, “I’ve never seen anyone whose outsides match my insides.” The two embark on a beautiful love story that asks the questions: What happens when people truly see each other? Can unconditional love change the way we see ourselves? Their friends are along for the ride: Omar, Tess’s sarcastic best friend who calls her Butterfly; Joe, Jack’s friend from the Bureau who understands the sacrifices he’s made; and Bobby and Gina, Jack’s younger friends who never fail to lighten the mood. Along the way, others join their journey: the female president of the United States, with whom Tess bakes cookies and talks politics; the Millers, Jack’s childhood family; and many others. Celestial Bodies is about walking through our past traumas, moving from darkness to light, learning to live in color, and the ways in which love—from lovers, friends, or the art we experience—can heal us. Written as unfolding action, this collection moves fluidly between melancholy, humor, and joy. It can be read for pleasure or selected for book clubs.
At the end of the evening, they all bundled up and stumbled out of the bar.
A homeless man standing on the sidewalk asked, “Can you please spare anything?”
The group stood around awkwardly, but Tess walked right up to him. “Hi. I’m Tess, this is Jack, and these are our friends.”
Jack stepped directly behind Tess in a protective stance.
“What’s your name?” Tess gently asked the man.
“Henry,” he replied.
She smiled, pulled a twenty-dollar bill out of her pocket, and handed it to him. When he took the money, she held his hand. Surprised, he looked at her and said, “You’re very kind. Thank you.”
“Getting kind of cold out,” she said, still holding his hand.
She took off her cashmere scarf and held it out. “Here, please take this and try to stay warm.”
“Wow,” Joe muttered.
“Oh, I couldn’t,” Henry said.
“Please, I insist.”
“Thank you,” he said, taking the scarf. “Someone must have taught you to do unto others.”
“No, someone taught me there are no others. Good night, Henry.”
She turned to her friends, their mouths agape.
Henry looked at Jack, who hadn’t moved, and quietly asked, “Is she some kind of angel?”
“Yeah, something like that,” he muttered.
Tess walked over to Omar and hugged him. “Our usual breakfast on Thursday?”
“Good night, guys,” she said to her friends.
They all said goodbye. Jack took Tess’s hand and walked her to his car. He opened her door and she got in. When he closed the door, he looked back at Henry, who was wrapping the scarf around his neck and smiling.
About the Author:
Patricia Leavy, Ph.D., is a bestselling author. She was formerly Associate Professor of Sociology, Chair of Sociology and Criminology, and Founding Director of Gender Studies at Stonehill College in Massachusetts. She has published over thirty-five books, earning commercial and critical success in both fiction and nonfiction, and her work has been translated into many languages. Patricia has received dozens of accolades for her books. Recently, her novel Shooting Stars won the 2021 Independent Press Award Distinguished Favorite Contemporary Novel, her novel Film won the 2020 American Fiction Award for Inspirational Fiction, the 2021 NYC Big Book Award for Chick-Lit, and the 2021 Independent Press Award Distinguished Favorite Chick-Lit, her 3-novel set Candy Floss Collection won the 2020 American Fiction Award for Anthologies and the 2021 NYC Big Book Award for Anthology, and her novel Spark won the 2019 American Fiction Award for Inspirational Fiction, the 2019 Living Now Book Award for Adventure Fiction, and the 2021 National Indie Excellence Award for New Adult Fiction. She has also received career awards from the New England Sociological Association, the American Creativity Association, the American Educational Research Association, the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, and the National Art Education Association. In 2016 Mogul, a global women’s empowerment network, named her an “Influencer.” In 2018, she was honored by the National Women’s Hall of Fame and SUNY-New Paltz established the “Patricia Leavy Award for Art and Social Justice.” She lives in Maine with her husband, daughter (when she’s not away at college), and her dog. Patricia loves writing, reading, watching films, and traveling.
Q&A With the Author
Any weird things you do when you’re alone?
Depends on what you consider weird. I’ve certainly been known to sing and dance around my house.
What is your favorite quote and why?
“Hell is sitting on a hot stone reading your own scientific publications.” – Erik Ursin. I spent much of my career in academia reading and writing some pretty dry stuff. In the end, it’s why I turned to fiction.
Who is your favorite author and why?
I’m friends with many authors, so this is a tricky question. I don’t want to get myself into hot water, and the truth is, I admire many authors. But I figure if I pick someone deceased, no one can argue with that. Simone de Beauvoir is definitely one of my all-time favorites, both her fiction and nonfiction.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
With fiction, I think the characters are key. Characters need to be well-developed. Readers will forgive a lot if there are characters they care about. Good dialogue that rings true is important when developing characters and showing their relationships with one another.
Where did you get the idea for this book?
When I was about ten years old, I first thought in a serious way that I wanted to be a writer. I tried writing a novel at the time, but of course I was ten, so it didn’t pan out. But it was always an epic kind of love story between people who help each other heal. By the time I actually became a professional author I had long ago abandoned the idea. Then one day Shooting Stars, the first novel in Celestial Bodies, came to me in a burst. It all started with the simple idea of two people meeting, one with visible wounds and one with invisible wounds. How might love help them heal? How might it change the way they see themselves? There’s a saying that ‘hurt people hurt people.’ Sometimes that’s not true. Sometimes people in pain can love each other in extraordinary ways. That’s what this love story explores.
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