Blog Tour for A PLACE WE KNEW WELL by Susan McCarthy

Susan McCarthy, author of the award-winning Lay that Trumpet in Our Hands, is back with a new historical fiction novel, A PLACE WE KNEW WELL, set against the backdrop of Cold War panic, and she will be touring the blogsphere between September 29 and October 8.

For the Avery family, the dark days of the Cuban Missile Crisis mark a turning point in their lives which will shape and forever change them. McCarthy captures pitch-perfectly the panic, tension, insanity and innocence of the time. The Avery family forms the emotional center of the novel, as their world starts to unravel during the heart-stopping buildup to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Susan McCarthy let her creative juices flow while listening to the music of that era. Here is what McCarthy tells about the writing process:

The Story of A PLACE WE KNEW WELL—set in central Florida during the very scary week of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962—is told from multiple perspectives. Wes and Sarah Avery are in their early 40s and grappling with a strained marriage. When writing these chapters, I found each of them visiting the memories of their wartime romance, and I was drawn to the great love songs of the WWII era:

I’ll Be Seeing You – Rosemary Clooney
Sing Sing Sing – Benny Goodman
In the Mood & Moonlight Serenade – Glen Miller
Sentimental Journey – Doris Day

Later, as the crisis in the Avery’s lives, as well as the larger political/military crisis surrounding them, deepens, I listened to Kennedy-era music so ironically full of hope, optimism, and wistfulness:

Blue Skies & High Hopes – Frank Sinatra
Camelot – Richard Burton
The Good Life – Tony Bennet
September Song – Walter Huston

At the same time, the Avery’s seventeen year-old daughter Charlotte finds herself in Edgewater High’s Homecoming Court—with dresses to be fitted, boutonnieres to order, the bonfire, the parade, the big dance, and her first date with dreamy Emilio. Charlotte is falling in love, and bouncing like a pinball between sheer terror at the escalating crisis and pure bliss. The 1962 songs that helped me capture Charlotte were:

Johnny Angel – Shelly Fabres
I Wanna Be Bobby’s Girl – Marcie Blaine
Do You Love Me – The Contours
He’s A Rebel – The Crystals

Finally, when I just wanted to wallow in some early ‘60s atmospheric instrumentals, I put on:

Telstar – The Tornadoes
Alley Cat – Bent Fabric
Stranger on the Shore – Acker Bilk
Anything – Henry Mancini


  1. Interesting. Sounds like they should put out an album with the novel pre-packaged together! Or maybe they're already doing that. Would be a neat idea, of all these classics. I like the sound of this novel -- of the Cold War panic days. I plan to add it to my TBR list

    1. I think it would be a cool idea to put and album and this book together, as you said. Since I'm not reading it, I don't know how strong the novel is, but I have heard mixed reviews so far. I'll be sure to check your post when/if you decide to review it.

  2. Interesting premise and fab cover too. Cheers from Carole's Chatter

    1. Yes, the premise is good and the cover matches the style of the 1960s. Unfortunately I can't give testimony of how good the novel is because I'm not reading it.


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