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.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

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.

About the Author:

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.

Q&A With the Author

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

The idea for this story was initially sparked by a case study when I was in graduate school for mental health counseling. I don’t recall the exact details of the case we were discussing now, but a “what if” popped into my mind: what if a husband and wife had been planning a big trip for decades only for the husband to die in an accident the night before they were supposed to leave? From there, the idea of having her go instead with her daughter who she is somewhat estranged from took hold, and the characters of Anita and Carrie planted themselves in my brain. The opportunity to explore the mother-daughter dynamic and really dig into exploring what caused these characters to have such a strained relationship despite Anita wanting a daughter so badly and loving Carrie with her whole heart was exciting to me, and with each draft and round of revision, I was able to dig deeper and really tease out who these two people were and what caused them to butt heads and misunderstand one another .

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

My favorite part about writing this book was seeing it get better and better with each revision. This started as a NaNoWriMo project and while it was a complete draft, it was very bare bones at that point. Each time I went back through, more layers and depth got added in, and each time I became a stronger writer. With each draft, I knew my characters better and was able to articulate their emotions and show them in a way I hadn’t been able to in the previous draft. While the overall story I was trying to tell stayed the same, it became so much richer with each round of revision.

Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about?

Yes, I’m currently revising my next book to be published, 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 about what you have planned for the future?

It’s been my dream to be a published author for as long as I can remember. If ten-year-old me had had her way, I’d have published my first book ten years ago. But learning the craft of writing a strong, compelling story takes a lot of time, and while there were several points where I wanted to throw in the towel, I’m so grateful I stuck with it because The Serendipity of Catastrophe is a book I’m immensely proud to have my name on the cover of. My hope is that this book is just the beginning of my career as an author, and my plan moving forward is to keep writing and keep publishing. 


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Lisa Fellinger will award a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner.

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