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Barbara K. Richardson author of "Guest...

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Finding Joy Amidst Destruction in Barbara K. Richardson's New Book "Guest House"

Mid-life go-getter Melba Burns does what many of us only dream about. After witnessing a terrible accident, she sidelines her car, quits her job and literally abandons the rat race. Her funky old farmhouse starts giving gifts, when a shy, ingenious ten-year-old boy enters her world, and Melba's new-found solo life gets deeper, darker and infinitely richer. Possible movie hook: Let yourself be changed by love.

Salt Lake City, UT, June 20, 2010 --( “The people living in Guest House are as particular and real—and flawed—as our neighbors, our friends, ourselves… Barbara Richardson chronicles not only the betrayals and sorrows of the human heart, but the love and hope and caring that heals it.” Molly Gloss - Author of Wild Life and The Hearts of Horses.

Upon learning that the previous owner of her home was a victim of suicidal depression, author Barbara K. Richardson made a silent promise: to turn that farmhouse into a house of joy. In her new book, Guest House, she fulfills that promise.

Believing that when you empathize with people around you, their issues become yours, Barbara crafted a story that carries the life-blood of many people close to her. Based on composites of strong women she’s admired and kids she’s taught, Guest House explores the deep connection that binds like-hearted people—and the unpredictable power of that bond to heal and transform lives. It chronicles the grace that flows from daring to intervene in a stranger’s suffering.

Through Melba Burns, the main character, and Matt Garry, a ten-year-old boy, Barbara weaves together the burdens and joys of one outwardly accomplished go-getter and one shy, imaginative and neglected kid. After witnessing a terrible accident, Melba Burns has retreated from the world; she’s abandoned her high-achieving life, she’s stopped driving her car, and she avoids human contact. Her sheltered world starts to crumble when Matt, a courageous and ingenious boy with troubled parents, finds his way into her heart. The book is dedicated to Barbara’s nephew; it is partly based on his unusual experiences growing up in a cinder block bar in the middle of deserted Idaho with his roustabout father.

Guest House is set in Portland, Oregon and Atomic City, Idaho, the absolute center of nowhere—population: 24. Readers who may yearn to live simply and anyone in their middle years whose life has been hijacked by love, can resonate with the all all-too-human characters and the relationships they forge and destroy.

“This being human is a guest house,” the poet Rumi says, “Every morning a new arrival…”

Arrivals come and go in Melba Burn’s guest house: JoLee Gary who can’t shake her addictions, her husband Gene Garry who won’t give up on liquor or love, and Matt Garry, their unwanted son who will stop at nothing until he has found his own way home.

Two real life people also found their way home in the making of Guest House: a devoted fan who was so taken with the story—believing the stronger the woman, the better the tale—she found a publisher for it; and Barbara’s college boyfriend, a graphic designer who became the book’s cover artist when he suddenly re-entered her life after 30 years.

Guest House is now being read and reviewed all across the U.S., and internationally as well, in Canada, England, Nicaragua, China, and India thanks to an unusual book campaign. Barbara offered a pre-publication copy to anyone who promised to read and review the book and pass it along to a friend within one week. Thirty-six states now have readers due to this pay-it-forward campaign. Thrilled with the momentum that has been building around Guest House, Barbara's next goal is to get her story made into a movie.

About The Author:
Barbara K. Richardson, a Salt Lake City resident, earned her MFA in Creative Writing in 1992. She received scholarships from Eastern Washington University, San Francisco State University, and University of Utah. She has taught prep school, sailed the Pacific in a 44-foot boat, managed an independent bookstore, and runs her own landscape design business. An avid environmentalist, she is a member of the Healthy Planet Mobilization Committee. Her writing has appeared in The Oregonian, Spokane Woman, Quarterly West, Northwest Review, Cimarron Review, Epiphany, Rough Draft, and Dialogue.

By Barbara K. Richardson
Bay Tree Publishing
Price: $14.00
218 pages; Soft cover
ISBN: 9780981957715

Media Contact:
Isabella Michon
415 898-4838

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Barbara K. Richardson

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