When We Were Sisters

Published by: MIRA
ISBN13: 978-0778318910
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As children in foster care, Cecilia and Robin vowed they would be the real sisters each had never had. Now superstar singer-songwriter Cecilia lives life on the edge, but when Robin is nearly killed in an accident, Cecilia drops everything to be with her.

Robin set aside her career as a successful photojournalist to create the loving family she always yearned for. But gazing through a wide-angle lens at both past and future, she sees that her marriage is disintegrating. Her attorney husband is rarely home. She and the children need Kris's love and attention, but does Kris need them?

When Cecilia asks Robin to be the still photographer for a documentary on foster care, Robin agrees, even though Kris will be forced to take charge for the months she's away. She gambles that he'll prove to them both that their children—and their marriage—are a priority in his life.

Cecilia herself needs more than time with her sister. A lifetime of lies has finally caught up with her. She wants a chance to tell the real story of their childhood and free herself from the nightmares that still haunt her.

As the documentary unfolds, memories will be tested and the meaning of family redefined, but the love two young girls forged into bonds of sisterhood will help them move forward as the women they were always meant to be.


"Richards exceptionally delves into a delicate social issue in this poignant, insightful morality tale. With an incredibly intuitive storytelling voice, she delivers an engaging, empathic, chilling page-turner, highlighting the good and evil of foster care -- and especially the fragility of the children placed there. Her two extraordinary protagonists and the explosive revelations are unforgettable."
RT Book Reviews, Top Pick

"Readers will feel redeemed by the surprises revealed."

"Richards has a way of both exposing social problems and entertaining readers with her engrossing storytelling."
Heroes and Heartbreakers, May Women's Fiction Best Bets

"I've read many Emilie Richards books over the years, but this one quickly became a favorite. It's not an overly fast-paced novel, but it's so emotionally gripping and woven intricately. I felt like I was part of When We Were Sisters."
Roundtable Reviews

"If you're looking for a good story about the bonds of sisterhood, I definitely recommend When We Were Sisters. It's a book that is likely to remain with you long after you turn the final page."
Shannon Dyer for All About Romance (A Desert Island Keeper.)

"When We Were Sisters was a poignant, oftentimes heartbreaking story that was so moving it brought me to tears a few times. With honest, raw emotions playing out on each page, this was one book I simply couldn’t put down. Cecilia and Robin’s trip to the past will be difficult to observe at times, but the moments of joy and hope will make it well worth it."
Harlequin Junkie Top Pick


When We Were Sisters came out of a question. How would my life change if I almost lost it? I liked the idea, one I'd explored in another book--want to guess which one? But this time I wanted to take the idea a step further. What if I was safe because of a decision I'd made, but someone I loved paid the price instead?

The idea grew and changed over the years until this book was born. Along the way I had the privilege of listening to Ken Burns and Geoffrey Ward present five lectures at Chautauqua Institution on the making of their stellar documentaries. I knew then I wanted to use a documentary film as the background for my novel.

Many things grew out of this novel, including more than a few blogs. As I wrote I kept my readers informed of my progress or lack of it in posts I called The Writing Process 2015.  Ever wonder what goes into a book? That'll teach you for asking.

Ever wonder how a cover is created? Instead of "stock art" the art department at Mira Books decided to do a real cover shoot for this book. Read my thoughts on covers in general, on this one, and then see some candid behind the scenes candid photos of that day from someone who was there.

Anatomy of a Book Cover

Cover Shoot and Compromises

Backstage Pass: When We Were Sisters Cover Shoot

For even more visual treats, visit the Pinterest board I created as I considered my story and did research.

Just before the book debuted I shared bits of the extensive character studies I'd written before writing the first word of the novel. Robin, Kris, and Cecilia all got their own posts.

And last, but certainly not least for me, I created a playlist of songs that represented the story in many different ways and explained why I chose them. If you want to skip right to the playlist, you'll find that, too, with commentary at the top. Since the playlist is on YouTube you can enjoy the songs without the videos or watch the videos right along with them.

I had so much fun with these special ways of presenting my story to my readers. I hope you'll enjoy them.