Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Book Nook: The Wool Over Their Eyes

  Natalia Foster is the family secret that her biological father, Joe Russo, was supposed to take to his grave. But when Natalia learns that Joe, an Italian man she’s never met, is dying of a terminal illness, she’s forced to confront the truth of her parentage and make a difficult decision: Should she remain in the shadows or make herself known to Joe and his family?


The Wool Over Their Eyes, from Dione Martin, is an authentic, heartfelt story about complex family dynamics and the emotions that must be unpacked when long-buried secrets push their way to the surface.


Joe’s immediate family, including his devoted wife, Rosa, know nothing of Natalia’s existence. Her gray eyes — exactly like Joe’s — and simple math prove that Natalia is a product of Joe’s infidelity, making a mockery of Rosa’s marriage. If his family discovers the whole truth — that Natalia is not only illegitimate but also Black — family bonds will be shattered.


In the midst of Natalia’s family drama and pain, another life-changing decision emerges. Natalia must choose between two loves — a long-lost one and a new one. Her ex-boyfriend, Tyler Davis, who captured her heart and connected with her soul, resurfaces. But she meets a handsome doctor, David Duplessis, who’d cared for her father. Just as the relationship begins to blossom, David commits an act that severs her trust and sends her spiraling further into her dark abyss.


The Wool Over Their Eyes is loosely based on Martin’s personal experiences. She drew upon her own memories and insights of growing up without her biological father and being betrayed in her own marriage to inform her narrative and give her characters depth and authenticity.


“I wrote The Wool Over Their Eyes for fatherless girls, for women who have been betrayed, for those who have been rejected because of their race (or otherness) and for families that have been torn apart by secrets, lies and deception,” Martin reflects. “Healing is possible – through change, through empathy, through faith and through forgiveness.”

I had a chance to interview her to learn more.

Why did you write this book?

My dream has always been to write a novel. I’d been talking about it for so many years. I got married, had two daughters, got divorced, and realized I couldn’t keep talking about it. I needed to get it together and do it. It was tough to find the time to do it – working full-time, raising my daughters and trying to do other things like workout, attend church, hang out with girlfriends. And, it was even tougher to be disciplined when I finally committed to a writing schedule. As I got older, I didn’t want to have any regrets. If I didn’t accomplish anything else, I at least wanted to accomplish this dream.  


What surprised you most about the writing process?

It was far more difficult than I imagined. I’ve read so many books and thought I could replicate the way books generally flow. But it becomes unwieldy quickly. I started with a content outline but detoured from it quite a bit, so the process wasn’t smooth or straightforward for me. And, there was a lot of rewriting!


I was also surprised by how attached I became to my characters. I found that they were with me all the time, and I was always thinking about how I could and would develop them – how they would grow, how they would ultimately get what they wanted despite the obstacles they faced.


What do you hope readers take away from your book?

I hope readers feel touched and inspired. I hope they see the power of empathy. And, I hope they find that if they’re facing challenges in their life, grieving for someone or feeling lost, they can lean on friends, family and their faith. Victory is possible. Healing is possible. Happiness is possible.


Author Dione Martin was born and raised in New Orleans, where she spent much of her childhood and teen years reading. She earned her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Minnesota-Morris and her Master’s in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She is currently a senior communications director at Brinker International. She lives in Dallas with her two daughters and enjoys running, cooking, performing arts and attempting DIY projects. The Wool Over Their Eyes is her debut novel, and she is working on her next one.

For more information about the author, please visit www.dione-martin.com or follow her on Twitter (@DioneMartin30) or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/dionehmartin).

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