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The Writer's Voice | Carolyn Flynn

Pitch & Synopsis: Searching for Persephone

Set in the Greek islands and post-Katrina New Orleans, Searching for Persephone is a contemporary twist to the Greek myth about mothers and daughters, grief and passion. Some readers have characterized the novel as The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood meets Sue Monk Kidd’s The Mermaid Chair.

Scarred by their parents’ loveless marriage, rising rock diva Tara Lasceaux and her sister, Paulette, make a pact: Muse first, marriage never.

They want art. They want love. But they don’t want suppression. Their secret: Both sisters are in deep with married men. Like Persephone’s migrations to the underworld, and much like Katharine Hepburn, they choose to “live nearby and visit often.”

It all worked. Until now. Paulette suspects she’s pregnant, just as she’s poised to become a Food Network star, and Tara makes a new vow with her married lover one night on a Greek island. Tara returns to her hurricane-ravaged city, only to be irresistibly drawn into a web of family secrets she did not know existed. These revelations put their sisterhood to the test.

Featuring salon night gatherings of a circle of women characters, the novel is both sexy and delicious, exploring the intersection of desire and devotion. It is perfect for women’s book club fiction.

First 250 Words

Chapter 1


Tara heard music. It swirled through the harbor like confetti, depositing celebration in every tiny space. Skyladika, Greek nightclub music. It wasn’t a nightclub, though. She could see a wedding band cranking up below the villa she shared with Isaac. Keening vocalizations, syllabic chanting, too wild for words, wreathed through a beat that throbbed in her and through her, linking with something new and familiar at once.

It was dusk now. Standing at the courtyard wall, Tara took in the setting sun as it wrapped the harbor in an intoxicating, smoky veil of orange. Below her, a singer’s voice whorled high above a beat, an incantation. The voice kindled a rush of movement, so much so that Tara could barely contain the urge to call Isaac out to her. Tara craned forward to see guests sweep onto the dance floor and interlock their arms to form a human spiral. Again, the sensation surged in her, the desire to call to him. The chain spun inward to a core point, then kicked outward, collapsing, unfurling, collapsing again to a center.

Isaac could wait. She liked this in-between place. Tara leaned back, tilting her face to the blue sky, feeling the sun bathe her throat. She drank in the spicy scent that had marked Ios in these short hours since she and Isaac had arrived by ferry. The scent was a mingling of oranges, sage and eucalyptus. But also in the air was the scent of lamb sautéed in garlic and olive oil, wafting up from a café. And, the constant burnt black, coughing taste from the smoke of motorbikes that zipped through the switchbacks up and down the hills day into night. Tara turned back into the courtyard, at the center of which stood a statue of a white goddess. A wind seemed to tug away her robe, which fell away from her thighs in lissome folds of marble. Her bare hips and breasts were smooth, wanting to be touched. Braided through her long hair ran clusters of berries and tendrils of vines, the ornaments of carefully preparing herself for someone. The goddess stood directly at the center of the space, so that as Tara and Isaac had jostled their luggage through the courtyard, they needed to reposition the bistro table and chairs around her dewy and supple figure.

About the author

Carolyn Flynn is a media-savvy author with several platforms: + Editor of an award-winning women’s magazine featuring many interviews with prominent women such as Gloria Steinem, Eve Ensler and Elizabeth Gilbert. + Author of seven nonfiction titles with Penguin Putnam on topics such as mindfulness meditation and creative visualization. + Multiple awards and publications in literary journals such as The Tampa Review and Ellipsis, as well as publication in an anthology of women’s fiction (Wilde Frauen/Wild Women). + Winner of the 2014 Rick Bass/Montana Prize for Fiction + Author of “Resurrection,” published by Fourth Genre in January 2015 + Author of the acclaimed “Pound of Flesh,” published by The Tampa Review + Author of the novel “Searching for Persephone,” a semifinalist for the 2015 Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize + Co-founder of The Writing Space at thewritingspace.net, which features weekly podcasts on writing craft. I have an MFA in Writing from Spalding University’s award-winning brief-residency program.