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'Queen of Broken Hearts' focuses on divorce therapy

Cassandra King, author of "Queen of Broken Hearts (Hyperion, $24.95), drew inspiration for her new novel from Atlanta. King was signing books at Mercer University when she met a woman who conducts seminars on divorce recovery.

At the time, King was interested in hearing more about the seminars because she was helping her little sister cope with a difficult divorce. But as she was driving home to South Carolina, she realized the concept might also work for her new book.

"I was thinking, 'Gosh, just imagine all the stories this woman hears at the retreats,'" King said during a recent phone interview.

She had already decided that divorce would be a key element in "Queen of Broken Hearts," but the author wasn't quite sure how to work it in. She ended up making her central character, Clare, a divorce therapist who offers retreats for divorced women in Fairhope, Ala.

Though the story takes place in Fairhope, King came to metro Atlanta to do research for her novel. She came with her sister to attend a divorce recovery seminar offered by Visions Anew, an Atlanta-based organization.

While writing "Queen of Broken Hearts," King imagined the setting of the two seminars she went to. Her sister also found the Visions Anew workshop very helpful. "My sister got so much out of it, she is still volunteering for them," King said.

The town of Fairhope, where the book takes place, is integral to "Queen of Broken Hearts."

"I just feel like the setting is a character in the story," King said.

In the book, Clare, the divorce therapist, is a widow whose husband died in an accident. "She has never really gotten over it. She's focused all her attention on helping others, instead of helping herself," King said.

A central part of the story deals with how both Clare and the divorced woman she helps learn to recover from past traumas.

"We help each other recover. I think that's part of the healing process," King said.

Clare is helped by a support group that includes her former mother-in-law, her assistant and her best friend. "Those are strong bonds, but none of them are related. The relevant thing is this tie is as strong as if they were," King said.

If you go

Join the Gwinnett Daily Post Book Club as we discuss "Queen of Broken Hearts" by Cassandra King (Hyperion, $24.95).

•What: Gwinnett Daily Post Book Club discusses "Queen of Broken Hearts"

•When: 7 p.m. March 29 Where: The meeting room at the Collins Hill Library, located at 455 Camp Perrin Road in Lawrenceville.

•Cost: The meeting is free. The book is available for $24.95.

•Info: Call Rachael Mason 770-963-9205, ext. 1324.

•Note: The author will not be present at the meeting, but will be in the Atlanta area this month. King will discuss and sign her work at 7:15 p.m. March 14 at the Decatur Library, 215 Sycamore St. in Decatur. The free event is sponsored by the Georgia Center for the Book. Call 404-370-8450, ext. 2225, or visit www.georgiacenterforthebook.org.