Celestial Bodies Is So Much More Than a Love Story—It’s a Story of Light

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Celestial Bodies is one of the most important literary works you’ll ever read and the must-read book of the year. It is gorgeous, nuanced, and full of healing. 

It’s a story of courage, chosen family, and how love—in all aspects—can help us heal and grow. It is a testament to the humanity in our lives, the joys of love, friendship, and laughter, as well as the challenges of trauma and life-changing events. 

Leavy writes light in every corner.

Celestial Bodies Is So Much More Than a Love Story—It’s a Story of Light

I love these characters, the joy that radiates from them, and the incredibly important and timely themes that Leavy weaves in seemingly effortlessly. She is a master at writing the human condition; every reader will find bits of themselves in this collection. 

It had my whole heart. I could not put it down, and it has stayed with me. I come away feeling richer for having read it, more thoughtful about kindness and relationships, and happy to be in this world again. 

Read this—you’ll be SO glad you did. Highly recommended!

We had a chance to chat with Patricia about this stunning collection. Here’s what she said… 

Celestial Bodies Is So Much More Than a Love Story—It’s a Story of Light

Please tell us about your new book, Celestial Bodies: The Tess Lee and Jack Miller Novels.
At the core it’s a love story. It’s a series of six novels that follow the epic romance of Tess Lee and Jack Miller: Shooting Stars, Twinkle, Constellations, Supernova, North Star, and Stardust. An exploration of the power of love, each novel focuses on love at the intersection of another topic: healing, doubt, intimacy, trust, commitment, and faith. 

While external threats occur in each book, this is ultimately a story about internal threats—the audio playing in our own heads. Tess is a world-famous novelist. Her inspirational books explore people’s innermost struggles and the human need to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Despite her extraordinary success, she’s been unable to find happiness in her personal life. Jack is a federal agent who specializes in counterterrorism. After spending decades immersed in a violent world, a residue remains. He’s dedicated everything to his job, leaving nothing for himself. 

The night Tess and Jack meet, their connection is palpable. She examines the scars on his body and says, “I’ve never seen anyone whose outsides match my insides.” The two embark on a beautiful love story that asks the questions: What happens when people truly see each other? Can unconditional love change the way we see ourselves? Their friends are along for the ride: Omar, Tess’s sarcastic best friend who calls her Butterfly; Joe, Jack’s friend from the Bureau who understands the sacrifices he’s made; and Bobby and Gina, Jack’s younger friends who never fail to lighten the mood. Along the way, others join their journey: the female president of the United States, with whom Tess bakes cookies and talks politics; the Millers, Jack’s childhood family; and many others. Ultimately, it’s about learning to balance darkness and light in our lives, so that we may live in full color.

What inspired you to write this book?
It all started with Shooting Stars, the first book in the collection. Honestly, I hadn’t planned to write it but suddenly it came to me in a burst. I wrote the entire first draft in only 10 days, not the many months or years it had taken me in the past. I fell so completely in love with the characters that I wanted to spend more time with them, so more books followed. 

To me, the series is about love. I really wanted to explore love in its many forms and textures—coziness, joy, pain, humor, comfort, intimacy, compassion. Beyond that, I wanted to look at love and healing. Few people escape this life without pain, even if it’s not the intense forms of trauma and grief these characters have experienced, and I doubt any of us don’t know people who have suffered great losses. How can we love and care for one another? What does that look like in day-to-day life? How can we honor each other by truly seeing one another? How does being seen change how we see ourselves? These questions inspired me. 

Relationships are central to the narrative—both romantic and friendship. What does this collection teach us about our intimate relationships?
Tess and Jack’s story is very much about relationships—with lovers, with friends, with chosen family, and most of all with themselves. To me, all the different relationships in this series are aspirational—what we should all want our relationships to be like. The characters model incredible grace with how they treat one another, whether it’s through their shared uproarious laughter, painful tears, or heartfelt compassion. 

I hope the novels show what quality relationships might look like and feel like. Love is a verb. It’s an action. It’s not something we have for one another, it’s something we do. I hope this collection shows what love looks like in action. The closeness the characters share is beautiful and something that ultimately raises them up. This is something we can all strive for. 

The cover art and illustrations inside the book are gorgeous. Please tell us about them.
Thank you! It’s absolutely my favorite cover of any of my books. I always had a vision for the cover, but no way to execute it. I got lucky and Mindi Rhoades, a colleague and wonderful artist, offered to collaborate. She was able to fully realize my vision and make it even better. The cover is loaded with stars, many black and white, to illustrate the theme of balancing darkness and light. As you go higher on the cover, there are some colorful stars and sparkly gold and silver stars too, showing how when we do balance light and darkness in our lives, we can learn to live in full color and accept that to stardust we shall return. I just love it. 

Mindi also created a black and white illustration for each of the 6 novels. Together, they are an installation that mirrors the journey of the books. The process was a wonderful collaboration. We had many Zoom meetings to discuss my ideas and Mindi created countless drawings, merging my ideas with hers. To me, having all 6 books in this collection with original artwork completes the project. I also hope readers see I wanted to give them something special that they can not only read once but save and flip through whenever they need an escape to Tess and Jack’s world. I’m deeply grateful to Mindi for helping me. 

What did you personally get from this series?
I’ve never learned more from my characters, nor loved them more. There’s a reason I wrote six books about them, and honestly, I could easily have written more. Letting them go was enormously difficult. There’s so much love and joy that lives on the pages, and when I was writing it and when I reread it now, those feelings live inside of me. It’s like being wrapped in the warmest embrace. I find these books enormously comforting, despite the ups and downs the characters go through. They’ve taught me many things about the way we should treat one another, what love looks like and feels like, how to use our voice in this world, and much more. 

Above all, Tess taught me to breathe. Just breathe. 

What’s next for you?
Celestial Bodies has been such a labor of love that I want to do all I can to help readers learn about it. So, I have a virtual book tour planned this summer. I also have a new nonfiction book coming out called Re/Invention: Methods of Social Fiction, which is about how scholars can write fiction. My next novel, Hollyweird, a celebrity romance about the search for magic or “gold dust” in our lives, comes out April 4, 2023 with She Writes Press.

Celestial Bodies Is So Much More Than a Love Story—It’s a Story of Light


More information:
Patricia Leavy, Ph.D., is an independent sociologist and best-selling author. She has published more than 40 books, earning critical and commercial success in both nonfiction and fiction and her work has been translated into numerous languages. Patricia has received over 40 book honors. Recently, Celestial Bodies won the Firebird Book Award 2022 for Romance. Patricia has received career awards from New England Sociological Association, the American Creativity Association, the American Educational Research Association, the National Art Education Association, and the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. In 2018, she was honored by the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the State University of New York-New Paltz established the “Patricia Leavy Award for Art and Social Justice.” 

Website: www.patricialeavy.com 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WomenWhoWrite/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/patricialeavy 

Buy Celestial Bodies on Amazon

Preorder Re/Invention: Methods of Social Fiction from Guilford Press