Turning the Pages Exclusive: ‘Pearl’ by Deirdre Riordan Hall

Pearl by Deirdre Riordan Hall examines the rock-n-roll lifestyle and its affect on family dynamics once the glittering nights; heavily influenced by drugs, egos, and the heartbreak of years of neglect and loneliness, gets under your skin. Codependency can be awful too. Especially when a mother should be the one providing a safe place for the child. How does one find normality coming out of that life?

[lead]ABOUT THE BOOK:[/lead]

PEARL is a novel that tackles thorny questions of identity, friendship, love, and the ties that bind — both the good and bad — one to family.

Pearl Jaeger is caught in a trap of codependency with her mother JJ, a washed-up rock star who is hopelessly addicted to drugs and desperate to hold onto her last scraps of fame. Getting her latest fix is more important than providing a stable, healthy home for her smart and artistic teenage daughter, who has aspirations of a better life for herself — and for her mother. But when an abusive boyfriend sends JJ to a women’s shelter with Pearl in tow, it’s only a matter of time before she lands back in rehab or worse—and Pearl ends up alone on the streets.

A way out for Pearl presents itself when her rich uncle offers to pay her tuition and expenses at an exclusive boarding school. But she soon discovers that her privileged classmates, who have no idea of her background, care more about breaking the rules than making the most of their opportunities, and she’s pulled into their maelstrom of underage drinking and drug use. Soon, she finds herself on the same tempting and dangerous path towards addiction that destroyed her mother’s life. Pearl looks to a budding romance with shy and sweet fellow student, Grant, for salvation, but even he can’t protect Pearl from her inner demons and a future she fears is inevitable.

Pearl realizes that to avoid her mother’s fate, she has to end the cycle of recklessness and broken promises on her own terms—and find the strength to make peace with her troubled past and her mother’s legacy. Readers will discover that PEARL works as a modern-day fairy tale, in that it features a young woman who rescues herself not with the help of a prince, but with her own determination and strength of character.

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[lead]ABOUT THE AUTHOR:[/lead]

deirdreDeirdre Riordan Hall grew up in New England. During her teens, she traveled throughout the United States and Europe, developing a love for stories and a desire to connect with worlds—imagined or real—on the page. She has written Sugar and the Follow Your Bliss series. She now lives in Southern California. When not spending time with her family, writing, or traveling, Hall is at the beach, pretending to be a mermaid.

Visit deirdrehallriordan.com and follow her on Twitter: @DeirdreSpark.

[lead]EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW:[/lead]

You traveled quite a bit and say writing helps you with your wanderlust. Could you expand on that feeling?

After high school and during my college years, I wasn’t sure what direction to go in terms of the “big picture” so by traveling, you could say, I went in any and every direction that called to me. I backpacked, traveled first class, met loads of characters, hitchhiked with best friends (though I don’t recommend this!) and had more than a few unique and memorable experiences.

But for now, with a family, a new puppy, and a very full schedule, I tend to stay closer to home. There are still loads of places I want to visit, explore, and experience including Scandinavia, Thailand, and New Zealand just to name a few.

However, while researching and writing, I’m able to venture to new places even if they’re purely fictional. I’m a fairly flighty person so having stories to ground me helps satisfy my wandering spirit and creates a place to call home, even if in the pages of books. Oh, and reading also quenches the need! I’m currently dreaming of Ketterdam, though I’d want the Dregs on my side.

Why do you think your author self is most attracted to the hard-edged aspects of life? What is your hope about writing female characters who struggle to find their balance in such a life?

My authoring and the subjects I explore certainly reflect aspects of some of the hard-edged living I’ve experienced firsthand. Not only do I find that it’s useful for me personally to explore these topics in fiction, but it’s a way to shine light and bring a voice to the conversation that otherwise might be dark or muted.

I still carry the memory of the long ago stark, empty feeling of being lonely, of losing my way, and how the choices that other people in my life made affected me. My hope is that by writing about female characters who struggle to find balance even in the difficulties they face, I might help form a bridge between loneliness and belonging, family life and independence, and abuse and freedom for others to cross as well.

What research did you do while writing ‘Pearl’? Did any particular musical celebrity inspire you?

When I was younger, I spent a lot of time in New York City, and although much is the same, there’s much more that’s different. If nothing else, change is a constant there. Revisiting Manhattan in PEARL and tapping into the pulse and vibe was the best kind of research.

As for Pearl’s experience with drugs and alcohol, her mother’s lifestyle, and later boarding school, some of that I drew and reenvisioned from my own experiences along with bits and pieces of anecdotes I took apart and put back together – Frankenstein style. And of course, some of it I straight up made up.

JJ, of the Shrapnels, is a composite of multiple musicians and celebrities, the reckless, rock star archetype, with a nod to the grunge era, rather than a particular figure.

Do you think you will expand your bibliography one of these days by writing something not so gritty realistic? Do you have dreams of fantasy/sci-fi or horror or anything else?

I’m so glad you asked this question. I’ve written several young adult novels that are much less gritty and realistic though still deal with issues I think are relevant in our current culture. I have a few contemporaries that delve more into friendships and adventure, even with a bit of mystery. I also have a fantasy series completed, one in the works, and another that’s a standalone. I’m hoping you’ll be able to read them someday. Fingers crossed!

My favorite books to read are YA both contemporary and fantasy (and sometimes new adult) and so it follows that that’s what I enjoy writing most. Like with my travels, I let my heart lead the way.

[lead]GIVEAWAY: [/lead]

    • Tell us your favorite musical celebrity and why and you’ll be entered to win an autographed copy of Pearl.
    • Contest ends March 23rd. US entrants only.




Fluent in Friends quotes. Complete TV geek and I get way too obsessed and invested in TV shows.