Meet the Characters – Jill Goodman from ‘The Girl I Used to Be’ by Heidi Hostetter

This week I’m delighted to welcome author Heidi Hostetter to my blog. Heidi is interviewing Jill Goodman, the protagonist from her latest novel, The Girl I Used to Be. Isn’t the cover gorgeous?

Now let’s find out about the book:


A perfect husband. A perfect life. But none of it is real…

“…Somebody better tell Elin Hilderbrand that Heidi Hostetter is out to steal her crown. This is hands down one of the top 10 summer reads of 2021!”

Jillian DiFiore changed her whole life to marry Marc, a man twice her age. She was truly in love, or so she thought, and she did everything to mold herself into his perfect wife. But Prince Charming is not who he seemed to be and her marriage implodes.

She’s awarded a sprawling beach house on the New Jersey shore in the divorce. Overpriced and with a dark history, the house is a symbol of everything Jill’s lost. She hates the sight of it but knows she must sell it if she’d to move on. She travels to the shore intending to sell the house quickly—but the task is not as easy as she expects. Unexpectedly, she’s charmed by the coastal town’s old-fashioned ways and quirky residents. Surprisingly, she’s starting to see a path back to the girl she was before she met her husband…

Then Jill stumbles across a terrible secret that changes everything. The house has a dark past and Marc’s part in it goes deeper than she expects. If the secret comes to light, it will destroy the progress she’s made–but what Marc did is so deceptive that she can’t let it stand. With Marc determined to bury the evidence, can Jill find a way to save herself before he takes her down with him?

A gripping, emotional read that will keep you turning the pages late into the night, perfect for fans of Amanda Prowse, Elin Hilderbrand and Diane Chamberlain.

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Welcome, Jill. This book marks quite a change for you, doesn’t it? Can you tell us a little about your journey?

Without giving anything away? Sure, I’ll do my best. I was born and raised in New Jersey, in a working-class neighborhood where everyone was exactly who they seemed to be. I was the kid with the headphones on, the flannel shirt tied around my waist, and layers of string bracelets on my wrist. I loved photography and I hung out in the art room after school with my friends. I was happy and thought I always would be.

But when I was nineteen, I met a man who changed everything for me.

You’re talking about Marc Goodman, the man you’d eventually marry. He was quite a bit older than you, wasn’t he?

Yeah, he was. That should have been a red flag but I was too naive to see it.

How did you two meet?

I was an office temp, earning money to pay for my college tuition and he was my boss–he owned the company, in fact. We had the proverbial ‘whirlwind courtship’. I was young and stupid and honestly thought he was my Prince Charming.

But he wasn’t?

Nope. The criticisms and corrections started the afternoon of our honeymoon: parts of me he wanted me to change, suggestions to make me ‘better’. Before I knew it, I was dressing in linens and silks, had traded my music for his, and spent most of my time hosting parties for his clients. Oh – I was also known as the ‘trophy wife’, which was fun. I was unrecognizable and absolutely miserable.

And you found your way back to The Girl You Used To Be?

Ha! I see what you did there. Yes, I did find my way back. It was hard and there were times when it would have been so much easier just to give up. I had a cushy life. But I had friends to lean on and there was an injustice that I couldn’t let stand. As my best friend Ellie says ‘never underestimate the strength of a girl from New Jersey’.

Let’s mix it up a bit with a few Get To Know You questions. Ready?

Yep. Let’s do it.

Beer or wine?

Beer, definitely. I’ve had enough white wine spritzers to last a lifetime.

Cats or Dogs?

Dogs. They are who they appear to be — they have nothing to hide.

Favorite meal?

A stack of double-cheese pizzas and a cooler of beer, enjoyed with friends.

Favorite guilty pleasure?

Sleeping late. Definitely, sleeping late.

Reviews from NetGalley:

You quickly fall in love with the Jersey Shore due to the almost artistic writing. This is a book that you fall into so easily and whether or not you’ve ever even been to the East Coast you feel your toes in the sand and hear the water lapping at your feet. Her writing is just that good. There’s a little suspense, romance, friendship, and the feel good community all wrapped up perfectly to make this the perfect read to have in your beach bag while you spend a summer afternoon on the shore. Even if you can’t go to the beach, this book is a mini holiday in itself. Five huge stars and I’ve already added her whole catalog to my TBR list.

On top of a great plot, the author also has a real talent for description and I felt whisked away to the shore, which was an absolute treat: it made me desperate to visit in real life!

There are many charming characters in Dewberry Beach, and each one delivers a special layer to the overall story. The sense of community is remarkable. It certainly provided a perfect escape for this locked down reader.

Author Bio:

Heidi Hostetter is a proud Jersey Girl, born and raised. Growing up, she spent summers at her grandparents’ house on the shore, in a town much like the one she writes about in her novels, and it was idyllic. The New Jersey shore has a culture all its own, where every magical thing can be found: sparklers on the beach, fireflies at night, and whole days swimming in the ocean.

She went to college in South Carolina and found inspiration for her Lowcountry Novels. After graduation, she moved to the Pacific Northwest where she developed an appreciate the rain. Trips to the Oregon coast inspired her award-winning Inlet Beach novels. She and her family have recently moved back across the country, to the DC-area, where history is everywhere. They live in a one-hundred-year-old house that’s definitely haunted and feels like inspiration for a really good story.

When she’s not writing, you can probably find her digging in her garden or poking around old houses for inspiration. She loves the beach, a good podcast, and is always up for a trip to a bookstore, no matter how far away.

Heidi is currently at work on her new novel. She shares office space with a labradoodle named Emmett who keeps a careful watch for errant squirrels foolish enough to wander into his yard. She loves to hear from readers and answers all her own mail. You can find her here:

Author Links:


Facebook Reading Group:


Twitter: @HeidiHostetter


Thanks so much for dropping by to talk to us, Heidi!

‘A Hug in a Book’ – NetGalley reviewer

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