A large Queen Anne-style house with a distinctive witch’s hat tower something like this is the headquarters for Cassia’s extended family in my new novel, What’s Left. If only this one were pink, like hers.

Imagine that your father or mother had started a successful business and you’re in line to inherit it.

What would you want it to be? What would you enjoy doing?

In my new novel, What’s Left, the family business is built around a restaurant and related rental properties nearby.

But there are all kinds of other options. What do you suggest?



Carmichael’s, the restaurant her family owns in my new novel, has me looking more closely at others. This one specializes in wings.

In my new novel, What’s Left, her great-grandparents parlay a hot dog shop into the purchase of a burger-and-fries joint at the edge of campus. Carmichael’s is a local landmark, even before her family takes over. And then they start buying up neighboring properties.

Her parents’ generation boldly sets out to enlarge on that base. They even buy out a dusty textbook store next door without quite knowing how it will fit into their business model.

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Carmichael’s, the restaurant her family owns in my new novel, has me looking more closely at others.

Large or small, family-owned businesses stand apart from other company models. Upward mobility into management may be limited for non-family, for one thing, and succession from one generation to the next can impose special hurdles – few family-owned enterprises survive into the fourth or fifth generations. And then inheritance tax issues can hit heavily, if key players fail to prepare properly. And that’s before we get into sibling rivalries and family spats.

On the other hand, they can be more flexible in aiming at long-range results or adapting to change.

In my new novel, What’s Left, these all play into the story. Her family isn’t like other employers, for sure. And it’s primed for exciting big growth.

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Mrs. Richardson had been yelling at the kid the fifth-grade girl who came around to our door begging money to pay the babysitter Mrs. Richardson yelled at the grandchild for three days, and spanked her then they were crying, in different parts of the building all the while, their phonograph repeated “the angels sing, glory […]