Sunday, February 12, 2023

The Key to Circus-Mom Highway by Allyson Rice

  The Key to Circus-Mm Highway by Allyson Rice

Book Details:

Book Title:  The Key to Circus-Mom Highway by Allyson Rice
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+) ,  270 pages
GenreContemporary Fiction, Women's Fiction
PublisherThe Total Human Press
Release date:   Jn 3, 2023
Format available for review:  print-softback (USA a), e-book (EPUB, PDF, NetGalley Download)
Will send print books out:  USA
Tour dates: Jan 30 to Feb 17, 2023
Content RatingPG-13 + M because one of the characters swears a lot, and she drops some f-bombs. Also, there are short flashback scenes that reveal the mom's history and it includes rape (not graphically depicted in the novel)
Book Description:

In an attempt to secure an unexpected inheritance—and hopefully find a few answers—two estranged sisters and their newly discovered brother embark on a comically surreal trip through the Deep South to retrace the life of the mother who abandoned them as infants.

On a Tuesday afternoon, sisters Jesse Chasen and Jennifer McMahon receive a phone call notifying them that their birth mother has died, leaving behind a significant inheritance. But in order to obtain it, they must follow a detailed road trip she designed for them to get to know her—and that includes finding a brother they never knew existed.

For the next week, this ill-assorted trio treks across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia to meet their mother’s old friends, from circus performers to a juke joint owner, each of whom delivers a shocking vignette into the life of a young mother traumatized by loss and abuse. Along the way, these three siblings—Jesse, whose fiery exterior disguises a wounded, drifting musician stuck in a rut; Jennifer, whose carefully curated family life is threatened by her husband’s infidelity; and Jack, whose enigmatic Jackie, Oh! persona in the New Orleans drag queen scene helps him escape the nightmares of Afghanistan that haunt him at night—must confront their own demons (and at least one alligator). But in chasing the truth about their real mother, they may all just find their second chance.

​This uproarious debut novel is a reminder that sometimes, the family you’d never have chosen may turn out to be exactly what you need.

Buy the Book:
B&N ~ Kobo ~ Target ~ 
add to goodreads
Meet the Author:

Allyson Rice is a writer, mixed media artist, and a producer with Atomic Focus Entertainment, currently splitting her time between Los Angeles, CA, and Rehoboth Beach, DE. She’s a graduate of Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication. After spending many years as an actress on stage and on television, she left acting and spent the next decade running yoga/meditation retreats, women’s retreats, and creativity retreats around the country. After that, she pivoted to focus on her own creative work. In addition to her writing and art, she’s also a photographer.

Some random bits of Allyson trivia:
  1. She’s been skydiving, paragliding, bungee jumping, ziplining through a rainforest, and scuba diving with stingrays;
  2. she has an extensive PEZ dispenser collection;
  3. she played Connor Walsh on As the World Turns for seven years;
  4. she’s been in the Oval Office at the White House after hours;
  5. she’s related to the Hatfields of the infamous Hatfield/McCoy feud; and
  6. her comedic rap music video “Fine, I’ll Write My Own Damn Song” won numerous awards in the film festival circuit. 

Also available from Allyson is her line of women’s coloring books (The Color of JoyDancing with Life, and Wonderland), and The Creative Prosperity PlayDeck, an inspirational card deck about unlocking and utilizing your creative energy in the world. They’re available on

She’s currently at work on her second novel and her fourth women’s coloring book.

Also, anyone who signs up for Allyson’s periodic author newsletter on her website will be entered in a drawing to have a character in her next novel named after them, and a free book will be given away in each newsletter to a subscriber!

connect with the author: website Allyson Wonderland ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ instagram ~ instagram pinterest ~ goodreads bookbub

Mon Feb 13: iRead Book Tours
Guest Post: The Inspiration for My Novel

When Inspiration Strikes… Follow It

It was during the first couple of months of 2016 (probably a cold, wintery Los Angeles day… you
know, in the frigid 60s) and I was re-watching an older 1980s film called After Hours. I had
always loved its mix of mostly comedy with a little bit of drama woven in. I love its premise of a
guy in NYC just trying to get home one night after unsuccessfully trying to hook up with a
woman he met earlier in the day, but obstacles keep getting in his way, and the supporting
characters are all very strange. And I thought, “I’d like to write something like that.”
That’s all I knew in the beginning–someone would be trying to get somewhere in a landscape
populated by funny characters. The similarities with After Hours end there. I have to add that
the desire to populate the book with quirky/outrageous characters was also partly inspired by
the books of Carl Hiaasen. I’ve been a huge Carl Hiaasen fan since I read Tourist Season in the
late ‘80s. His books are hilarious–my kind of humor. They lean into the humor of the world and
the people around us, taking it all up a notch. I knew that if I ever wrote a book, it would be in
that same vein. And The Key to Circus-Mom Highway definitely is.
But here’s the thing. I was already writing a novel! And it was populated with funny supporting
characters. But there was something about the “traveling from one place to another” aspect
that I couldn’t get out of my head, and that story element wasn’t part of the novel I was
currently working on. Eventually, I put that first novel aside to work on The Key to Circus-Mom
Unlike After Hours, I wanted my protagonist to be female. And I wanted the “going-from-one-
place-to-another” to encompass a larger area than just one city but still remain completely in
the U.S. Then the process of building the storyline happened by answering one question at a
time–who, what, when, where, why, and how. People who have read it have asked me how
much of the story is true or based on actual events, and I have to say the book is mostly fiction,
though there are always details pulled from my real life. Maybe it’s a comment I once heard
someone say, and I wrote it down so I could remember it, or one character might be inspired by
a person I saw at the mall, or on the subway, or on a trip.
Speaking of trips… after I wrote the first draft, I went on the road trip that the three siblings go
on in the book. I wanted to make sure everything I had written based on research actually
worked, and I wanted to collect sensory details to make the locations come to life more fully. I
wanted your mouth to water when they order chicken and waffles with collard greens and
sweet potato hash browns, and when Westley serves them sweet tea and Brown Sugar & Corn
Meal Cookies with Peach Jam and Chopped Pecans. I wanted you to smell the decaying leaves
wet from the afternoon rain, and feel the dampness of the mist in the air when Jesse sits on the

back porch in Thibodeaux late one night listening to the frogs and insects and the hypnotic sing-
song of the whip-poor-will on the bayou.
A great many of the details in the various locations were absolutely inspired by the things I saw
and smelled and tasted on that trip through the Deep South. Also, the juke joint was inspired by
an authentic old juke joint we visited along the way. Sadly, the 99-year-old owner of the juke
joint passed away a couple of years ago. As a blues fan, I had wanted to go there for ages, so I
feel privileged to have visited it while it still existed with him running it, and love that
something in my story is an homage to what he had built and kept alive for so many decades.
Finally, speaking of the blues, the book title was inspired by the old Big Bill Broonzy song “Key
to the Highway.” The lyrics echo the journey of the young runaway mom, so it had been part of
the story from the get-go. “I’ve got the key to the highway. Billed out and bound to go. I’m
gonna leave here runnin’, cuz walkin’s much too slow…”
And whatever happened to that other novel, you ask? Well, I’m back to work on it now. So the
next time we meet on a Virtual Book Tour, it will be for that one.

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