Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Author Interview & Giveaway: The Year of Thorns and Honey by Amy Willoughby-Burle

The Year of Thorns and Honey JustRead Blog + Review Tour 

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for The Year of Thorns and Honey by Amy Willoughby-Burle, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


The Year of Thorns and Honey

Title: The Year of Thorns and Honey
Series: Stand-alone follow-up to The Lemonade Year
Author: Amy Willoughby-Burle
Release Date: September 15, 2020
Genre: Clean Women's Fiction

Nina is a photographer who really appreciates control. She likes to set up just the right shot with the perfect composition, but life is not always as pretty as her pictures. The lighting is off, the timing is wrong, and the subjects just won’t do like she wants them to. 

She’s engaged to her ex-husband, her teenage daughter is testing all the boundaries, and her childhood memories have a For-Sale sign on them. She’s also keeping a secret about the chance of a lifetime, but what she’ll have to give up to get it might not be worth it. Just when she thinks she’s got it all figured out, an important someone resurfaces and forces her to take a hard look at what she really wants and why. 

Life can be as prickly as it is sweet. Will Nina be able to let go of the perfect picture she had in her head and let her heart find the sweetness that life has to offer.

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Amy Willoughby-Burle

Amy Willoughby-Burle grew up in the small coastal town of Kure Beach, North Carolina. She studied writing at East Carolina University and is now a writer and teacher living in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband and four children. She writes about the mystery and wonder of everyday life. Her contemporary fiction focuses on the themes of second chances, redemption, and finding the beauty in the world around us.

Amy is the author of the short story collection, Out Across the Nowhere, and the novels, The Lemonade Year and The Year of Thorns and Honey. Amy says, "God didn’t give me the desire to understand algebra or the knowledge of exactly when and where to use a semicolon, and I’m not that great of a speller, but He did give me a wild imagination, the ability to string words together, and the desire to tell stories. I hope I can do Him proud."

CONNECT WITH AMY: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


What was the inspiration behind The Year of Thorns and Honey?

Amy: The Year of Thorns and Honey is actually a stand alone follow-up to my first novel, The Lemonade Year, so in some respects, of course, that was the inspiration. Readers wanted to know what happened next. But as you know, in any follow-up or sequel anything can happen, so the inspiration for the actual events was a desire to explore several things. Second chances in a relationship that has ended badly. Truth and trust in marriage. Parenting struggles and tough decisions. Faith and family.

How long did it take you to write this novel?

Amy: I wrote The Year of Thorns and Honey in about a year and a half, from drafting to publication. That’s not eight hours a day five days a week, though. There were weeks even months at a time when I wasn’t working on it at all. Times where it sat while other novels were in progress or life was busy. If I took all those times out it might have been 6-9 months of active writing. 

Do you have a favorite quote from this novel?

Amy: My funny quote: “I don’t like snow, so sue me.”
(That might be me talking, but don’t tell anyone.)

My serious quote: “I hold his gaze with a power only a sibling can wield—a power fueled by time and memory, tinged with spite and jagged around the edges, soothed with shared sorrow and gilded by grace, grown thick and electric with love until it’s a force that radiates under the skin--hot and untouchable.”

(That one is a sister talking about a brother. I love to explore sibling relationships. Who else have you spent your life with in such a way that the connection is marrow deep?)

What do you hope readers take away from The Year of Thorns and Honey?

Amy: I hope people leave with a sense of hope and happiness. As in all fiction, things don’t start out going that well, but the characters find their way through with each other’s help and with wisdom from above. I hope readers laugh. I hope they see themselves and their friends and family in the book and feel a sense of connection to people around them knowing that we’re experiencing the same things, fighting the same fights, loving, hoping, failing, finding our way through. 

Would you share something about yourself that most readers would not know?

Amy: I never learned to type the proper way and I’m terrible at spelling. Also, I always, no exceptions, have to put my left shoe on first. Really. 

What are you reading now?

Amy: Currently, I’m reading books for the high school literature class that I teach through a homeschool enrichment program. I’m reading Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata and Dear Martin by Nick Stone. I’m also reading the first books in the Sweet Magnolia series by Sherryl Woods. I watched that on Netflix and so of course, I have to read the books to see how they compare. 

How many bookcases are in your home?

Amy: What a cool question. Several, but spread throughout. I dream of a home with a library/workspace. I’m a sucker for all the Instagram and Pinterest posts about gorgeous bookshelves and home libraries. 

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Amy: Cooking with my kids is a current favorite. I have always enjoyed cooking and food (evidenced by my books) but in the past year I’ve really taken a look at how I spend my time and what’s important. My family and time with my children is something that I’d let my busy work life come between, I have to sadly admit. But 2020 definitely caused me to stop in my tracks and take a good look at my world and how I wanted to spend my time. So now, my two young sons and I are in the kitchen everyday cooking up sometimes reasonable and sometimes not (my youngest likes to get creative) dishes. It’s two fold: I want my kids to learn to love more foods than just the typical “kids menu” items and I love spending time with them making a mess and being silly. It’s the ultimate win/win. 


(1) winner will receive a The Year of Thorns and Honey prize package!

The Year of Thorns and Honey JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight January 26, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on February 2, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

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  1. Thank you so much for having me on your blog today! One of my favorite writerly things is getting to meet new people and discover new places and sites. I look forward to being a part of your community. Thank you!

  2. The book sounds great Thanks for sharing!

  3. I don't love cooking but I do love baking! Cookies are my favorite thing to bake. I made a honey vanilla pound cake last week. It was a new recipe. I over-baked it so it didn't turn out well.

  4. I would love to read a book by a fellow Carolina girl=)

  5. Thank you for sharing! - JustRead Tours

  6. Thank you for being part of the blog tour for "The Year of Thorns and Honey" by Amy Willoughby.

    Enjoyed reading the author interview. Since this is a new to me author, it was a great way to find out more about the person behind the book I'd love to read.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  7. I enjoyed the author interview. It's fun to learn more about newer authors. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Happy release Amy! This looks like a fabulous read!