What made you write Sofia's story?

Sofia is someone everyone can relate to, me included. She struggles with loss, and with finding a way to heal and move forward. She has her heart broken and she fears allowing anyone to be close to her again. I wanted to show how resilient we humans are, and how we can find a way out of the darkness with the help of others and with music. With friends and a lovable dog she is able to get her life in perspective and find a place to store her hurt. I wanted to give people hope and inspire them to believe in the future. You don't need to love Springsteen or know his music to enjoy the story. 

Why Bradley Beach?

I love Bradley Beach. It's a tiny town with the biggest heart. I've always been a beach person, and I've been a Springsteen fan since he first came on the music scene in the early 70's.

 

When I moved to Bradley Beach in 2005, I landed in the heart of Springsteen country. I walked the walks he walked, and on a daily basis, I experienced the places he referred to in his songs. The Boss even lived in Bradley Beach for a time where he wrote "Sandy, Fourth of July," an iconic Jersey shore boardwalk tune that calls up the carnival atmosphere of the shore and warm summer days and of course falling in love. He also penned "Rosalita," inspired by the girl he lived with in Bradley Beach.

 

The more I soaked in the town, the more I realized how a sense of place wove into the fabric of Springsteen's songs, and that gave me the desire to capture a story that linked to his songs.

What was your favorite part of writing this book?

I loved researching the book and finding the right song for each chapter. Each chapter is titled with a song, and that song weaves into the fabric of the chapter. That was quite hard to do, but it was so rewarding to have that Eureka moment and pinpoint the right tune for what Sofia was experiencing. Springsteen's catalog runs deep and I explored it in depth. I came to understand a lot of what drives him and to appreciate the depth of his storytelling.

What would be the ultimate compliment you could receive as an author?

Hearing that Springsteen and his wife Patti Scialfa liked the book would make me grin ear to ear.  On a daily basis, I have to say that, when I hear from any reader that I've touched them in some way and given them hope, I'm so pleased that I've made a connection. Getting fan mail is really cool and makes my day. 

Springsteen? Yappy Hour?

One of the best parts of having written this book is the connections I've made with dedicated Springsteen fans in several Facebook groups. I don't have anywhere near the knowledge that so many of his fans do, nor have I attended dozens of concerts. But these fans are an accepting bunch who have found their way through the music of the Boss. I'm amazed at their dedication and their openness and willingness to help other fans with everything from getting tickets to finding places to stay. These fans are a selfless group who help with every cause imaginable and who are there for each other even though they often haven't met in person. I've learned so much from them.

 

And then there's Yappy Hour, a cocktail hour with dogs, which I featured in the book. I like the one at the Wonder Bar, in Asbury Park, though they have cropped up in many more places now. I recommend it to everyone! Spending time in the company of a group of happy dogs and their loving owners outside while having a cool drink or a beer with the ocean across the street does the soul good. It doesn't get better than that! 

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