One of my new favorite things to do this year is to interview characters. They are so much fun, and it just really gets you connected to them even before (or after) you’ve read the book. Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Jillian Parisi-Duffy from Now That I Know You by Olivia Newport. Before we meet officially, let me introduce you to her story:

Now that I Know You by Olivia Newport

A Father-Daughter Genealogy Team Links Present to Past on Family Trees

Cate Butler is the distant cousin genealogist Jillian was so certain she wanted to find-and the only connection she has to her deceased mother’s Parisi family tree. So why does she wish Cate would stop pestering her? And why can’t Jillian find a paper trail proving Cate is who she says she is?

Cate wants something for her own career that Jillian can’t give, but she also holds the key to family history Jillian can’t bring herself to walk away from. Nolan, Jillian’s father, steps in when Cate’s chronic career chaos requires legal rescue. Drew, the man who holds Jillian’s heart, has a surprising past with Cate. The truths Jillian, Cate, and Drew find while untangling these knotted threads tie them back together in remarkable ways none of them ever would have imagined.

Now That I Know You is Book 5 in the Tree of Life series, exploring and celebrating unforgettable family stories in Canyon Mines, the mountain town that invites you back again and again.

CC: Hi Jillian! It is so great to meet you. Would you please introduce yourself to my readers? I’ve heard that you don’t like people so I thought maybe it best if you give your side of things.

JPD: It’s not true that I don’t like people. I just like to buckle down and get to work, and sometimes I forget to brush my hair. I have crazy hair. I’m Jillian Parisi-Duffy, hermit-like, determined, and lucky to have the greatest Irish dad on earth. As a genealogist, I’ve always wondered where my crazy hair came from, and for that I had to look into my Italian mother’s family line. In my line of work, I never know what mystery is going to pop up. 

CC: It sounds like you have a wonderful family and fascinating life. What is your role in the story Now That I Know You?

JDP: I’m a genealogist and I’m not afraid of digging into a complex challenge. I like to think I’m low maintenance on the personal side. I work from home, I’m content living in a small mountain town and sharing a home with my dad, and I’m grateful for my girlfriends who drag me out of the house for contact with the real world from time to time.

CC: Ha! Ha! I can relate to being dragged out of the house for contact with the real world. Who is your least favorite person to deal with?

JDP: Ironically, my least favorite is the person I went looking for. I never knew much about my mom’s side of the family, so I sent off my DNA to see who was out there. Cate Butler turned up, a distant cousin. Pushy. Needy. Annoying. Intrusive. Scared about something she thinks I can fix. But she’s also the gateway to the family I never knew I had. So what am I supposed to do?

CC: It’s a struggle to work with those people who both annoy and need you, but that you also need. Since we’re talking about other people, do you know any secrets about other characters that you can share with us?

JDP: Mm. My father is acting stranger than usual these days, and I’m starting to think he has a secret that I’m going to have to shake loose from him. And my girlfriends are all fixated on the idea that I need to buy a new dress, which I absolutely do not since I hardly wear dresses, and I don’t know what that’s about.

CC: It sounds like there is some plotting against you going on in your life . . . better switch to a happier topic. Speaking of happiness, what is one of your happiest memories? 

JDP: I had a favorite mug for a long time, and when it got leaky I had to admit I had to start using something else for my coffee concoctions. I tried a lot of mugs from the cupboard until I found the one that felt perfect for becoming my new favorite. It had been my mom’s favorite. She died when I was 14, but I remember how she loved this mug and the way the big wide maroon stripe swirls around it. Now I use it often and share her happiness.

CC: Family sounds really important to you. Do you enjoy family gatherings? 

JDP: My dad’s side of the family is a large, noisy, imperfect, flawed, loving, Irish clan, and I love every single one of them. I grew up gathering with the Duffys to celebrate every occasion or no occasion at all. My mom’s side was just us and her parents. They’re all gone now–except I went looking for more Parisi who might be out there. I guess I’d like to gather with as many as I can find. I’m a genealogist, after all!

Wow, where has the time gone. Thank you so much for joining us today, Jillian. If people wanted to check out your book to really get to know you, where should they go?

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Books-a-Million     Book Depository     Bookshop.org

Readers, In the comments below, what questions would YOU ask of Jillian?

Olivia Newport’s novels blend the truth of how our pasts carry us into where we find ourselves now. Curiosity about history seems to creep into everything she does. Her books include Amish, historical, and contemporary stories that span the centuries from before the Revolutionary War right up to the present moment. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of Pikes Peak. Visit www.olivianewport.com.

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