Posts Tagged ‘Interview’

Go Over There –>!

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

I’m giving away some books over at the Girlfriend’s Book Club. Find out what I have against Brussel’s sprouts, my favorite color and more in an insightful self-interview. Also, three silly questions for you. Go.

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Interview with Author April Henry

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Today Author Lis Wiehl/April Henry visits to talk about her new release. Exciting stuff!

About the book

Cover of Hand of Fate by Lis WiehlWhen the host of a popular radio talk show is murdered, the suspects almost outnumber his millions of listeners.
Outspoken radio talk show host Jim Fate dies he opens a package and releases poisonous gas while his polarizing show, The Hand of Fate, is on air.
In the ensuing panic, police evacuate downtown Portland. Soon the triple threat of FBI Special Agent Nicole Hedges, crime reporter Cassidy Shaw and Federal Prosecutor Allison Pierce begin piecing together the madness, motive, and the mystery that lie behind Fate’s murder.

While Lis has worked with Bill O’Reilly for years (often serving as the voice of reason or his liberal foil, depending on your point of view), the character is NO WAY based on O’Reilly.

This is the second in the Triple Threat mystery series, which has been optioned for TV. The first, Hand of Fate, one was on the New York Times bestseller list for four weeks! And in April 2011, readers can look for Heart of Ice, which traces the path of a destruction left by a sociopath– and based on a real-life case Lis prosecuted.

About the authors

April Henry grew up in a little town in Southern Oregon where the main industries were timber and pears. When she was was 12, she sent Roald Dahl a short story she had written about a six-foot-tall frog named Herman who loved peanut butter. He not only wrote her back– he showed it to the editor of an international children’s author, who asked to publish it.

Since then, April has written nearly a dozen mysteries and thrillers for adults and teens, with seven more on the way. Look for her young adult thriller– Girl, Stolen— in October 2010.

Lis Wiehl is a former federal prosecutor who is now a legal analyst for FOX-TV.

What they’re saying

Exciting… readers will identify with these very real women as they try to uncover Fate’s killer, and each battles a personal demon—Allison her fear of miscarriage, Nic her fear of her daughter’s criminal father, and Cassidy her prescription drug addiction.
–Publishers Weekly

The second book by Wiehl and Henry featuring the Triple Threat Club ratchets up the excitement and suspense to another level. Realistic characters with authentic dilemmas will appeal to a wide array of mystery lovers.”
–Romantic Times, four stars

More Information

Buy the Book from Amazon

Visit April’s website

Check out April’s blog.

The Interview

Tell me a little bit about the book
Outspoken radio talk show host Jim Fate is murdered when poisonous gas fills his studio. In the ensuing panic, police evacuate downtown Portland. The triple threat of FBI Special Agent Nicole Hedges, crime reporter Cassidy Shaw and Federal Prosecutor Allison Pierce is on the case– but far too many people would have liked to have seen Jim dead.

If your protagonist were to wake up one day with a super power, what would that super power be? Alternatively (or both!) if your protagonist were to wake up one day with an intense craving for something, what would the craving be?
Allison would want to be able to always know the truth. Nicole would want to see into people’s hearts. And Cassidy would like to be able to get the scoop on every story.

Would your villain (or antagonist) prefer to be Emperor Ming The Merciless or Darth Vader? Why?
I’m leaning toward Darth Vader– faceless and menacing.

What do you consider the heart of your story? That is, what is the issue or emotion that propels things forward? Spill your guts on this one.
Betrayal. I don’t want to say too much, not when it’s a mystery.

If you were in charge of casting the movie adaptation of your book, who gets the call?

We could cast against type and have George Clooney play the talk show host. In which case, I would get to play Cassidy, the TV reporter, who has a bit of a liaison with him. Evangeline Lilly could play Allison– she’s got the righteousness and the right hair. Taraji Henson could play Nicole.

Do you have a sample chapter posted?
Read a PDF sample chapter

Tell us why your editor is the best editor ever in the universe.

Ami makes us work hard– but every suggestion she makes or problem she points out is absolutely right. Sometimes she challenges us, but the end result is always so much better.

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Interview with Hank Phillippi Ryan And Contest

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Author Hank Phillippi Ryan visits here today. Yay! I LOVE her series. Read it. It’s GOOD. Read on to find out how you could win one of two copies of her book!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN


Photo of Author and Journalist Hank Phillippi Ryan
Award-winning investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan is on the air at Boston’s NBC affiliate. Her work has resulted in new laws, people sent to prison, homes removed from foreclosure, and millions of dollars in restitution. Along with her 26 EMMYs, Hank’s won dozens of other journalism honors. She’s been a radio reporter, a legislative aide in the United States Senate and an editorial assistant at Rolling Stone Magazine working with Hunter S. Thompson.

Her first mystery, the best-selling PRIME TIME, won the Agatha for Best First Novel. It was also was a double RITA nominee for Best First Book and Best Romantic Suspense Novel, and a Reviewers’ Choice Award Winner. FACE TIME and the new AIR TIME are IMBA bestsellers. DRIVE TIME, February 2010 from MIRA Books, just earned a starred review from Library Journal. Hank is on the national board of Mystery Writers of America.

Her website is http://www.HankPhillippiRyan.com

Sassy, fast-paced and appealing. First-class entertainment.
**Sue Grafton

I love this series!
**Suzanne Brockmann

Hank Phillippi Ryan knows the television business entirely, she understands plotting and she writes beautifully. No wonder I loved Drive Time. Anyone would.
**Robert B. Parker author of Spenser for Hire

Hank’s new book is DRIVE TIME


Cover of Drive Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan


Investigative reporter Charlotte McNally is an expert at keeping things confidential, but suddenly everyone has a secret, and it turns out it may be possible to know too much. Charlie’s latest TV scoop–an expose of a dangerous recalled car scam complete with stakeouts, high-speed chases and hidden-camera footage–is ratings gold. But soon that leads her to a brand new and diabolical scheme (incredibly timely!) that could put every driver in danger.

Charlie’s personal and professional lives are on a collision course, too. Her fiancé is privy to information about threats at an elite private school that have suddenly turned deadly.

Charlie has never counted on happy endings. But now, just as she’s finally starting to believe in second chances, she realizes revenge, extortion and murder might leave her alone again. Or even dead. Emmy and Agatha award winning reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan proves that when everyone has a secret, the real mystery is knowing when to tell.

Tell us about Drive Time.
DRIVE TIME is about secrets. TV reporter Charlie McNally’s working on a story about a dangerous scheme that could absolutely happen…and let me just say, if you own a car, or rent a car, you’ll never look at your vehicle the same way after reading DRIVE TIME. In fact, after writing the book, I now get a bit creeped out when I go into a parking garage. That’s all I‘ll say.

Charlie’s also drawn into another frightening situation—this one at the prep school where her fiancé is an English professor. When Charlie learns a secret that might put her step-daughter-to-be in danger, and might also be an blockbuster investigative story—how does she balance her loyalty to her husband-to-be—with her need to protect the public?

So this is a tough one for Charlie. And she must make many life-changing decisions. Just when she begins to think she might be able to have it all—a terrific career and a new husband and a new life–revenge, extortion and murder may bring it all to a crashing halt.

DRIVE TIME just got a fabulous starred review from Library Journal. Just a snippet of the rave: “Placing Ryan in the same league as Lisa Scottoline…her latest book catapults the reader into the fast lane and doesn’t relent until the story careens to a stop. New readers will speed to get her earlier books, and diehard fans will hope for another installment.”

And dear Robert B. Parker’s quote is on the cover—he says “I loved DRIVE TIME!”

Growing up, did you ever think you’d be an investigative reporter?

Definitely– not. You know, I have a funny juxtaposition of desire to be in the spotlight—and sheer terror of being in the spotlight. I love my job in TV—and have to go live and unrehearsed al the time. Confession: I’m still terrified every time. I want to be perfect, and when you’re on live, you can’t possibly be. That’s one reason why I love investigative reporting—there’s more time to work, and dig, and polish, and produce, It’s like making a little movie, and I can make it as perfect as possible.

Anyway, my sisters and I used to create musical shows when we were all young, and perform for our parents in our back yard. I did acting in high school and college. I wanted to be a DJ on the radio for a long time! But I thought I would be an English teacher, or a lawyer for the Mine Workers union, or for awhile, a political activist.

(My mother, though, says she always knew I would be a television reporter—but I think that was just her way of rationalizing that all I did as a pre-teen and teenager was read books and watch TV.)

I knew from my first Nancy Drew that I loved mysteries. Nancy was my first best friend—I was a geeky unpopular kid, and it was such a relief to go home and hang out with Nancy. She was smart, and made it be okay to be smart. She was confident and inquisitive and resourceful. I loved that. But being a TV reporter was not in my sights. Little did I know!

How did you get started in that type of journalism?

I got into TV by chance. I had worked as a radio reporter (hired because, as I informed the radio station, they didn’t have any women working at the station! Hey. It was the seventies.) But after a few years working in Washington DC (on Capitol Hill as a legislative aide and then for Rolling Stone Magazine,) Rolling Stone closed its Washington office and I needed a new job.

I went back home to Indianapolis, and applied for a job as a TV reporter. It was 1975. I had covered politics in Washington, and the news director of the station figured he could teach me to be a TV reporter. (This was incredibly risky—I had never taken journalism and didn’t know one thing about TV. But I wasn’t afraid and I knew I could do it.)

Problem was, I should have been afraid! I quickly learned I had no idea what I was doing. I went home every night for the first two weeks, sobbing. Because I thought I would never understand it. Soon after—it hit me–oh, I get it! And I have adored it ever since. I took a chance, and found my calling.

I started as the political reporter (and was also the movie reviewer, of all things! At age 26.) At various times I’ve been the medical reporter, a weekend anchor, and an on the road feature reporter. When I came to Boston, I was the funny feature reporter–cat shows, sports features, poems, and anything quirky or funny. They used to call me “something out of nothing productions,” because I could find a story in anything.

But starting in 1988, I covered the presidential election, doing long elaborate think pieces. It was terrific. And then I told my news director I didn’t want to be the funny one anymore. I wanted to be the serious one. And from that day on, I’ve been the investigative reporter.

And I love it every day.

When I was reading about all the things you’ve done as a reporter… like being chased by criminals, confronting corrupt politicians, etc, it’s almost like immersing myself in a nail biting novel. Have any of these experiences found their way into your books?

There’s a huge been-there-done-that element to the books—I’ve wired myself with hidden cameras, confronted corrupt politicians, chased down criminals…been in disguise, been stalked, and threatened and had many a door slammed in my face. I’ve had people confess to murder, and others, from prison, insist they were innocent. So when that happens to Charlie, it’s fair to imagine me. Although the plots are completely from my imagination, those are real-life experiences!

How did the character of Charlotte ‘Charlie’ McNally come about?

What a great question. I have NO idea. She was born when I got a weird spam in my email. It was what looked like lines from a play by Shakespeare. I thought–why would someone send a spam like that? And it crossed my mind–maybe it’s a secret message.

I still get goose bumps telling you about it. And I knew, after all those years of wanting to write a mystery, that was my plot. And that turned out to be the Agatha-winning PRIME TIME. But Charlie? Well, I knew I had a good story, but who would tell it? A television reporter, of course. And she just instantly popped into my head. Named, fully formed. I knew her perfectly.

The other characters were more difficult to get to know. But now, Charlie surprises me a lot! And I love when that happens.

Is she anything like you? Has she ever done anything you wouldn’t do to get your story?

When my husband talks about Charlie, he calls her “you.” As in—when “you” are held at gunpoint, when you track down the bad guys, when you solve the mystery… and I have to remind him, “Sweetheart, it’s fiction. It didn’t really happen.”

But a couple of things: I’ve been a TV reporter for more than 30 years. (Yes, really.) And so it would be silly, in writing a mystery about TV, not to use my own experiences. Think about it—as a TV reporter, you can never be wrong! Never be one minute late. Never choose the wrong word or miscalculate. You can never have a bad hair day, because it’ll be seen by millions of people! It’s high-stakes and high-stress—literally, people’s lives at stake–and I really wanted to convey that in the books.

And everything that TV people do and say in the books is authentic and genuine. (Of course, Charlie can say things I can’t say, and reveal things I can’t reveal.) We’re both devoted journalists, and over-focused on our jobs.

But Charlotte McNally is different, too. She’s single—I’m happily married. She’s ten years younger than I am, and so is facing different choices and dilemmas. She’s braver than I am, certainly. Funnier. And a much better driver.

You’ve got four books under your belt, you’ve won an Agatha, and been compared to Lisa Scottoline. Will there come a time when you say goodbye to journalism to focus full time on your fiction?

Ain’t that the question! I still smile in delight every time I see my Agatha teapot. And when the starred review in Library Journal for DRIVE TIME compared me to Lisa Scottoline, well, I burst into tears. But I still love my job in TV. So–you could ask me that question every day, and every day I’d have a different answer. And I guess the bottom line is: who knows?

Any plans to write a non Charlotte McNally novel?

Yup. Absolutely. It’s in the works. You heard it here first.

Any other genre you want to tackle?
Yup. 🙂 It’s in the works. You heard it here first.

Your husband’s a criminal defense attorney. Does he read your work or give you any tips or even ideas for plots?

He’s the most patient man on the planet. Yes, he’s really the only person who reads my pages while they’re in process. When I first started writing PRIME TIME, I’d give him my five pages or so a day, and I’d hear him laughing and I was so delighted! And he would tell me every day how terrific it was. Then, about fifty pages in, I went in for my daily pat on the back. And he had a funny look on his face. “Honey?” he asked. “Is something going to happen soon?” So I knew I had some work to do.

Ideas for plots? Ah, no, not really. I’m always running ideas by him, to see if he thinks they’re plausible and believable. And sometimes he’ll come up with just the perfect little thing I need to pull something together. But we think very differently. He’s much more–wedded to reality.

You’ve won accolades from some of the top writers in the business including some of my favorite authors like Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton. Any tips you can offer for writing top notch mysteries and creating a great character like Charlie?

Well, thank you! Yes, it’s great, and Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton are my idols. (They’re also wonderfully generous, and truly authentic. I have three little talismans on my desk that Sue Grafton gave me, and I look at them every day.)

Tips? Well, I read an interview with the poet Anne Sexton some time ago–and she was asked, “What, truly, can a creative writing teacher give her students?” And her answer was:” Courage.” I think that’s so wonderful. And I think my advice would be similar–just don’t be afraid. Fear is a waste of time. Write your book. One page at a time. You can do it.

Any mistakes you’ve made along the way, have you learned anything from them?

Hah. That’s another long blog for another day. Mistakes? Ah, on a huge level, people always yell at me for working all the time. ALL the time. Is that a mistake? None of this would have happened without that. Would I change it? I have to say no. So is that a mistake? I’m not sure. On a tiny level, I should have put together a mailing list of bookstores. Still haven’t done that. Wish I had.

What’s next for you?

Exactly what I’m trying to figure out. DRIVE TIME came out February 1, with fantastic blurbs from the much-missed and iconic Robert B. Parker and Suzanne Brockmann and Margaret Maron and Carla Neggers and a rave starred review from Library Journal. So I’m hoping people love it. (And I’ll be visiting lots of places across the US–hope some of our readers come visit!) And then…we’ll see. I can’t tell you how excited I am.

Hank, you’ve had an incredible career in broadcasting. What have you enjoyed most about your professional life?
Well, thanks! Over the past 30 years, I’ve wired myself with hidden cameras, chased down criminals and confronted corrupt politicians—and had many a door slammed in my face! But the idea that I can change lives and even change laws is so gratifying. It’s a big responsibility, which I take very seriously. But when a tough story comes through and changes are made as a result—the rewards are immense.

How did your TV show “Hank Investigates” come about?

It’s a segment on the news here in Boston, and airs on the NBC affiliate. I’ve been a reporter for a long time—starting out as the political reporter in Indianapolis in 1975—then assigned to other beats from the medical reporter (!) to movie critic (!!) to on-the-road feature reporter in Atlanta, Georgia, where every Monday morning I’d close my eyes and point to a map—and then go to wherever that finger point took me to see what I could come up with.

I came to Boston as a reporter in 1982, where for awhile I was the “funny one.” Whenever the newscast needed a clever feature—what we call a “kicker”—I was the one assigned to do it. They called me “Something out of nothing productions” since I could always find a story anywhere!

But in 1988, I was assigned to do the long-form “think pieces” for the presidential conventions. After that, my news director told me he’d realized I was wasting time being the funny one. He said—you’re the serious one. And he made me the investigative reporter. And that’s what I’ve done—with much delight—ever since.

Which of all your many awards do you cherish most, and why?
Oh, impossible. My Agatha for PRIME TIME as Best First Novel? Brings tears to my eyes every time I see it. What a joy! But I love each of the 26 Emmys and12 Murrows as if it were the only one. Each one of them represents a secret that we discovered and brought to light. I’m very proud of those, and what they represent.

What’s your writing schedule like and how long does a novel take to write, from idea to finished manuscript? Do you outline?

Prime Time took maybe..two years. The others have taken maybe 6 months each.

Outline? Yes. No. When I started with PRIME TIME, I had no outline. Just one of the many things I didn’t understand about mystery writing. My first manuscript was 723 pages long! AH. I had to cut 400 pages!

When we sold PRIME TIME, the publisher initially wanted two books. And they wanted an outline for the second. So I did outline FACE TIME, and although I complained the entire time writing it—it was no fun at all—it turned out to be a terrific tool. Even though the final story was nothing like the outline!

So now, I outline. And then I write the real story–however it comes out.

Which do you prefer, investigative reporting or novel writing, and why?

No way I could decide that! I love them both.

Which novelist most influenced your own work? And which writer, past or present, would you like to spend some time with?

I love Edith Wharton’s cynical take on the world, and the way she illustrates the social structure even while being dramatic and entertaining. Her stories have such with such depth and texture, and her characters are wonderful. Julia Spencer Fleming. Margaret Maron’s wonderfully authentic dialogue and settings. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for clever plots. Lisa Scottoline for her contemporary and hip take on the world. John Lescroart for story story story. PD James. Who I’d love to spend time with? Shakespeare. I have many, many questions for him. Whoever he was. Oh! And Stephen King. What a genius, on so many levels.

Advice to fledgling writers and journalists?

For journalists: Don’t be afraid. Be very afraid. Be scrupulously careful. Think. And think again. Never give up.

For writers? On my bulletin board there are two quotes. One is a Zen saying: “Leap and the net will appear.” To me, that means: Just do it. The other says “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” And I think that’s so wonderful—just have the confidence to carry on. Writing is tough, arduous, not always rewarding in the moment—but no successful author has ever had an easy path. When you hit an obstacle, pat yourself on the back. You’re a writer!

If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?

Secrets! When do you tell? And why. DRIVE TIME is all about secrets. As a reporter, Charlie McNally is used to keeping things confidential of course, that’s how successful reporters get the groundbreaking stories. But suddenly it feels like everyone as a secret. And maybe–that’s not a good thing.

Oprah and I could chat about–when happens when someone says: I’ll tell you something but you have to promise never to tell anyone else. Would you ever tell? And does your significant other count as someone else?

Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?

Winning the Agatha for best first mystery, certainly. I still get goosebumps looking at the ceramic teapot the winner receives. And my two RITA nominations!

But also? The other day ii was in the post office, and a women looked at me and said–aren’t you Hank Phillippi Ryan? As a TV reporter, I’m used to being recognized, so I said, sure. And she opened her purse and pulled out my book FACE TIME. She said–I’m reading your book right now, and I love it! Will you sign it for me?

So she hadn’t known me from TV–it was from my books. and that was spectacular.

Your website and blog site URLS.

Contest!

Leave a comment before midnight Pacific on March 24 answering the following question:

If you were a crime solver what kind would you be? (examples: an investigative reporter, librarian, superhero/ine, bug collector, etc.) Why?

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Interview with Author Jenny Gardiner

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

Jenny Gardiner visits today to talk about a really great book. I just have to mention that my sister once worked at a nursery (plants) where the owner had a Military Macaw named Freddie. Freddie fell in love with my sister. She worked there for ten years and began taking Freddie home quite often. When she left that job, Freddie came with her. I can attest that these birds are amazing. I want to read this book!

Check out Jenny’s blog at http://jennygardiner.net/blog/ and her page at Simon & Schuster

WINGING IT

A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who’s Determined to Kill Me

Cover of Winging It by Jenny Gardiner
Like many new bird owners, Jenny and Scott Gardiner hoped for a smart, talkative, friendly companion. Instead, as they took on the unexpected task of raising a curmudgeonly wild African grey parrot and a newborn, they learned an important lesson: parrothood is way harder than parenthood. WINGING IT: A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who’s Determined to Kill Me (Gallery Books; on sale March 16, 2010; Hardcover; $23.00), is a hilarious and poignant cautionary tale about two very different types of creatures, thrown together by fate, who learn to make the best of a challenging situation.

A gift from Scott’s brother who was living in Zaire, Graycie arrived scrawny, pissed – off, and missing a lot of her feathers. Every day became a constant game of chicken with a bird that would do anything to ruffle their feathers.

The old adage about not biting the hand that feeds you—literally—never applied to Graycie.

But Jenny and Scott learned to adapt as the family grew to three children, a menagerie of dogs and cats, and, of course, Graycie. WINGING IT is a laugh-out- loud funny and touching memoir, Jenny vividly shares many hazards of parrot ownership, from the endless avian latrine duty and the joyful day the bird learned to mimic the sound of the smoke detector, to multiple ways a beak can pierce human flesh.

Graycie is a court jester, a karaoke partner, an unusual audio record of their family history, and at times, a nemesis. But most of all, she has taught the family volumes about tolerance, going with the flow, and realizing that you can no sooner make your child fit into a mold than you can turn a wild parrot into a docile house pet.

WINGING IT reminds us of the importance of patience, loyalty, and humor when it comes to dealing with even the most unpleasant members of the family.

“ …Graycie is as much a part of us as we are of her. Sure, she might be feisty at times. But who isn’t? Whether she’s yelling at the dog or answering the phone or bobbing to the beat of the kids clapping for her amusement, she’s one of us. Our parrot, petulant or not, is a member of our family for the long haul.” -Jenny Gardiner

What They’re Saying

As sweet as a song and sharp as a beak, Winging It really soars as a memoir about family–children and husbands, feathers and fur–and our capacity to keep loving though life may occasionally bite.
–Wade Rouse, bestselling author of At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream, and Confessions of a Prep School Mommy Handler

Jenny Gardiner’s hilarious memoir will have you alternately laughing and crying, and watching the skies for winged pets out for your blood.
–Kristy Kiernan, Award-winning author of Catching Genius

With her right-on humor, Jenny Gardiner manages to make owning a vengeful parrot sound like fun! You don’t even have to like pets to like this book.
–Eve Brown-Waite
Author of FIRST COMES LOVE, THEN COMES MALARIA

This funny, smart book is much more than a story about life with a challenging parrot. Jenny Gardiner writes with humor and grace about the challenges and joys and stresses of parenthood, too. I loved it.
–Sarah Pekkanen author of The Opposite of Me

Buy from : Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Indiebound

Videos!

Gracie Goes Hollywood

Listen to Gracie Talk!

About The Author

Jenny Gardiner is also the author of the award – winning novel Sleeping with Ward Cleaver. Her work has appeared in Ladies Home Journal, and the Washington Post. She writes a column of humorous essays for Charlottesville, Virginia’s newspaper, the Daily Progress. She lives in central Virginia with her family.

About the Imprint

Gallery Books is an imprint dedicated to publishing a wide variety of must-read books on a wide array of topics. Launching in February 2010, Gallery Books is designed to showcase established voices and to introduce emerging new ones—in both fiction and nonfiction, and across a variety of genres. Some of Gallery Books’ upcoming titles include My Footprint by Jeff Garlin, In the Shadow of the Cypress by Thomas Steinbeck, I Know I Am, But What Are You? by Samantha Bee, and unchartered terriTORI by Tori Spelling.

Simon & Schuster, a part of CBS corporation, is a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, dedicated to providing the best in fiction and nonfiction for customers of all ages, across all printed, electronic, and audio formats. Its divisions include Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Simon & Schuster Audio, Simon & Schuster Digital, and international companies in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit our website at www.simonandschuster.com

WINGING IT
By Jenny Gardiner
Simon Spotlight Entertainment
March 16, 2010; Hardcover; $23.00
ISBN: 9781439157619

The Interview

1. Tell me a little bit about the book.
A hilarious and poignant cautionary tale about two very different types of creatures, thrown together by fate, who learn to make the best of a challenging situation — feather by feather.

Like many new bird owners, Jenny and Scott Gardiner hoped for a smart, talkative, friendly companion. Instead, as they took on the unexpected task of raising a curmudgeonly wild African gray parrot and a newborn, they learned an important lesson: parrothood is way harder than parenthood.

A gift from Scott’s brother who was living in Zaire, Graycie arrived scrawny, pissed-off, and missing a lot of her feathers — definitely not the Polly-wants-a-cracker type the Gardiners anticipated. Every day became a constant game of chicken with a bird that would do anything to ruffle their feathers. The old adage about not biting the hand that feeds you — literally — never applied to Graycie.

But Jenny and Scott learned to adapt as the family grew to three children, a menagerie of dogs and cats, and, of course, Graycie. In this laugh-out-loud funny and touching memoir, Jenny vividly shares the many hazards of parrot ownership, from the endless avian latrine duty and the joyful day the bird learned to mimic the sound of the smoke detector, to the multiple ways a beak can pierce human flesh. Graycie is a court jester, a karaoke partner, an unusual audio record of their family history, and, at times, a nemesis. But most of all, she has taught the family volumes about tolerance, going with the flow, and realizing that you can no sooner make your child fit into a mold than you can turn a wild parrot into a docile house pet.Winging It is an utterly engrossing reminder of the importance of patience, loyalty, and humor when it comes to dealing with even the most unpleasant members of the family.

2. Is there a scene you cut from the book that you kind of wish you could put back in?

I had a bit more of my snarky humor in the book when I submitted it to my editor (and this probably goes to answering why my editor is a fabulous editor as well). But she tended to tamp down some of my more outlandish bits, and I think it was smart of her to do because I can get a little overboard.

Also one scene got cut, again, with good reason. It was painting a scene of a volcano we’d hiked while in Africa (in the birthplace of our parrot). I really liked the way it was written, but it was veering too far away from the crux of the book and was bogging it down, so she took that out.

2. Do you have a sample chapter posted?
I don’t have one on my website but one just got posted here: http://www.romancing-the-book.com/2010/03/excerpt-from-winging-it-memoir-of.html

3. Tell us why your editor is the best editor ever in the universe.

She was such a huge supporter of mine from the beginning. So very sweet, accessible, willing to discuss any and all changes. She was masterful at structurally rearranging things in the manuscript I handed her that worked out so much better where she re-inserted excerpts. She’s a very smart cookie, and so I was especially sorry to have been orphaned several weeks ago (but glad it wasn’t much earlier on in the process, because she championed my book through to the publication stage).

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Author Megan Crane Visits The Blog Plus A Contest!

Friday, March 19th, 2010

I’m very pleased to have author Megan Crane visit my blog. Read about her new book and then leave a comment (per instructions at bottom of this post) in order to throw your hat in the ring for a copy of the book. W00t!

Everyone Else’s Girl

Cover of Everyone Else's Girl by Megan Crane

Awesome Cover!


Everyone Else’s Girl is the critically-acclaimed second novel by author Megan Crane, out now in the UK.

Meredith does things for other people. She irons clothes for her boyfriend, she attends her ex-best friend’s horrendous hen party for her brother (who’s about to marry the girl) and she moves back to her parents’ house to look after her dad when his leg is broken. She’s a good girl and that matters. But when she gets back home, all is not as Meredith remembered. Especially Scott, that geeky teenager from her old class at school. He’s definitely different now. And so, it seems, is she. One by one, her family and old friends start to tell her some home truths and Meredith begins to realise she’s not so perfect after all. Maybe it is time she stopped being everyone else’s girl and started living for herself…

Praise for Everyone Else’s Girl

Megan Crane rules! Cancel your evening plans: You won’t want to stop reading until you’ve devoured every delicious word. –Meg Cabot

Amusing, heartfelt and emotionally sophisticated chick-lit. –Kirkus

Crane prevails with refreshingly real human emotions and reactions. In this book, actions have consequences, and no one gets off easy, despite appearances. –RT BookClub

I suspect a lot of readers were like me – desperately seeking fiction with a romantic edge, realistic stories, and smart writing (oh, for more smart writing).
I suspect a lot of readers were like me and dropped out of chicklit game because finding the good was damn hard work. I dedicate this review to those readers. There is hope…Everyone Else’s Girl is a good book. –Kassia Krozser at paperbackreader.com

About Megan Crane:

Photo Of Author Megan Crane
USA Today bestselling author Megan Crane has written five women’s fiction novels, many work-for-hire young adult novels, and five category romances (under the name Caitlin Crews) since publishing her first book in 2004. Her novel, Frenemies, was a BookSense Notable in July 2007. She teaches various creative writing classes both online at mediabistro.com and offline at UCLA Extension’s prestigious Writers’ Program, where she finally utilizes her MA and PhD in English Literature. Megan lives in Los Angeles with her comic book artist/animator husband and too many pets. For more info visit her at www.megancrane.com or www.caitlincrews.com.

You can find Megan on Twitter at http://twitter.com/megancrane

At her journal: http://megancrane.livejournal.com/

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/megan.crane

An excerpt from Everyone Else’s Girl is here: http://www.megancrane.com/eeg.html

You can buy the book Amazon.uk

How to Possibly Win a Copy of This Book

Leave a comment that answers one (or both) of the following questions:

  1. Your BFF is your Best Friend Forever because. . .
  2. Given a choice between a mani/pedi and a massage, you pick . . .

Contest void where prohibited. Leave your comment by midnight Pacific March 22.
I’m pretty sure the WordPress comments will ask you to leave an email so I should be able to contact the winner. If I’m wrong on that, then leave an email or commit to check back to see if you won on or shortly after March 23.

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Interview with Author Caitlin Crews Plus Contest

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Today I’m hosting author Caitlin Crews. W00t!! I have been dipping my toes into the world of category romance, so I’ll really excited to have her here today. There’s a contest folks! One lucky commenter will win a copy of the book. Read on to find out how to enter.

Pure Princess, Bartered Bride

Pure Princess, Bartered Bride is the first Harlequin Presents by Caitlin Crews–which debuted on the USA Today Bestseller List!

About the book

Bartered, betrothed and bedded!
As quiet and dangerous as a jungle cat, achieving the impossible is one of Luc Garnier’s defining characteristics.
Cover of Pure Princess, Bartered Bride

Princess Gabrielle is invaluable – a pearl beyond price. Yet Luc has defied the odds, and a contract for marriage is drawn up. This will be a union on paper first, and of flesh later. . .
Except Gabrielle is just the same in private as in public – well-bred, well-behaved, and a credit to her country. Luc is determined to find the wanton within and leave his pure princess in total disarray!

Praise for Pure Princess, Bartered Bride

“Debut novelist Caitlin Crews has penned a winner with her first novel for Harlequin Presents: Pure Princess, Bartered Bride! Sexy, intensely emotional and wholly absorbing, this beguiling marriage of convenience story features a deliciously Alpha hero and an smart and independent heroine readers cannot help but admire.” –CataRomance

“I will definitely buy any book that she writes.”–Adventures of a Gotham Gal

5 of 5 Stars: “This book has the right ingredients for a very good, entertaining Harlequin Presents.” –Danielle’s Book Thoughts

“Caitlin Crews has written a brilliant royal romance, a roller coaster romance with extremely intense emotions oozing from both Luc and Gabrielle.”–Marilyn’s Romance Reviews

About Caitlin:

Photo of author Caitlin CrewsUSA Today bestselling author Caitlin Crews discovered her first romance novel at the age of twelve, in a bargain bin at the local five and dime. It involved swashbuckling pirates, grand adventures, a heroine with rustling skirts and a mind of her own, and a seriously mouthwatering and masterful hero. The book (the title of which remains lost in the mists of time) made a serious impression. Caitlin was immediately smitten with romances and romance heroes, to the detriment of her middle school social life. And so began her life-long affair with romance novels, many of which she insists on keeping near her at all times, thus creating a fire hazard of love wherever she lives.

She currently lives in California with her animator/comic book artist husband and their menagerie of ridiculous animals.

Caitlin Crews is the alter-ego of critically acclaimed author Megan Crane. You can find Caitlin at her website: http://www.caitlincrews.com

On Facebook, on Twitter and at her journal

You can buy the book at Amazon and read an excerpt

The Interview

1. Tell me a little bit about the book Bartered, Betrothed and Bedded!

As quiet and dangerous as a jungle cat, achieving the impossible is one of Luc Garnier’s defining characteristics.

Princess Gabrielle is invaluable — a pearl beyond price. Yet Luc has defied the odds, and a contract for marriage is drawn up. This will be a union on paper first, and of flesh later. . .

Except Gabrielle is just the same in private as in public — well-bred, well-behaved, and a credit to her country. Luc is determined to find the wanton within and leave his pure princess in total disarray!


2. If your protagonist were to wake up one day with a super power, what would that super power be? Alternatively (or both!) if your protagonist were to wake up one day with an intense craving for something, what would the craving be?

I think my heroine’s craving is for freedom. She thinks her marriage to Luc means the end of that dream, but really, it’s the first step towards a different, stronger kind of freedom.


3. Would your villain (or antagonist) prefer to be Emperor Ming The Merciless or Darth Vader? Why?

The villain is a paparazzo. I honestly can’t imagine anything nastier or more vile than that.


4. What do you consider the heart of your story? That is, what is the issue or emotion that propels things forward? Spill your guts on this one.

The heart of the book is the question of whether or not love–which feels so irrational and impossible–can be trusted, especially when it leads us to unexpected places. And it’s also about how terribly afraid we all are of being wrong about that.

5. If you were in charge of casting the movie adaptation of your book, who gets the call?

Oh… I don’t think there’s anyone hot enough to play Luc. He’s too elemental. However, I once described a Presents novel as what happens when an ordinary girl starts dating King Leonidas from the movie 300. I certainly found Gerard Butler in that role inspirational while I was writing this book. As for Princess Gabrielle, maybe a latter day Grace Kelly. She is pretty much perfect.

6. Is there a scene you cut from the book that you kind of wish you could put back in?

I edit as I go, so there are very rarely whole cut scenes. Just iterations of the same scene.


7. Do you have a sample chapter posted?

I believe you can read through the book on eHarlequin

8. Tell us why your editor is the best editor ever in the universe.

Because she is magical AND a superhero! Seriously. Her edits make everything I write so, so much better. And she once received a manuscript I’d submitted in the morning and returned it, with edits, in under 24 hours. How is that even possible? And her edits were fantastic and right on, as always.

The Contest

To win a copy of this awesome story, leave a comment in which you talk about what you would do if you found yourself dating King Leonidas.

If you don’t leave me a way to contact you, then commit to checking back here on the ides of March (that would be March 15) or so, to see if you’re the winner. Void where prohibited etc.

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Interview with Judi Fennel — Plus a Contest!

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Today I’m author Judi Fennel visits my blog to talk about her new release. It’s got mermaids. Is that awesome or what? Please note, Judi has a great contest going so check it out at the end of this post!

About The Author

Judi Fennell has had her nose in a book and her head in some celestial realm all her life, including those early years when her mom would exhort her to "get outside!" instead of watching Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie on television. So she did–right into Dad’s hammock with her Nancy Drew books.

These days she’s more likely to have her nose in her laptop and her head (and the rest of her body) at her favorite bookstore, but she’s still reading, whether it be her latest manuscript or friends’ books.

A three-time finalist in online contests, Judi has enjoyed the reader feedback she’s received and would love to hear what you think about her Mer series. Check out her website at www.JudiFennell.com for excerpts, reviews and fun pictures from reader and writer conferences, and the chance to "dive in" to her stories.

About the Book

She’s on a mission to save the planet. . .

Mermaid Angel Tritone has been researching humans from afar, hoping to find a way to convince them to stop polluting. When she jumps into a boat to escape a shark attack, it’s her chance to pursue her mission, but she has to keep her identity a total secret. . .

When he finds out what she really is, they’re both in mortal danger. . .

For Logan Hardington, finding a beautiful woman on his boat is surely not a problem– until he discovers she’s a mermaid, and suddenly his life is on the line. . .

What people are saying

Fennell’s got detailed worldbuilding, creative secondary characters and an impressive use of mythology in this great read. While this title is part of a series, it works well as a stand-alone. Angel and Logan are both incredibly textured characters.
RT BookReview Magazine 4 Stars

Judi Fennell has extraordinary imagination and has certainly used it in creating this exciting and colorful story. Her characters are wonderful.
Fresh Fiction

The best blend of both worlds. I… love each and every character in Catch of A Lifetime (and) found (it) well worth diving into.
Long And Short Reviews 4.5 Books

4 Stars!
Affair de Coeur Magazine

Catch of a Lifetime is a heart warming tale. Ms. Fennell Ms. Fennell has created a delightful world that, I have enjoyed escaping to. It is both dangerous and fun.
Anna’s Book Blog

The Interview

1. If your protagonist were to wake up one day with a super power, what would that super power be?
Angel actually wouldn’t care whether she had one or not. She can change her tail to legs and back again, so she’s pretty happy. Maybe if she could extend that change from two days to six months, that might do it. But she’s a scientist; she prefers facts and evidence to magic.

2. If your protagonist were to wake up one day with an intense craving for something, what would the craving be?
Ice cream. Peppermint. Frozen iceberg chips just don’t have the same flavor.

3. Would your villain (or antagonist) prefer to be Emperor Ming The Merciless or Darth Vader? Why?
Darth – Ming ruled a planet. Darth has a bigger focus; he wants every universe out there. Ceto has a bone to pick with The Gods and she wouldn’t mind having more power than them. As for the sharks, they’d just be happy to have a say in what happens on The Council. Actually, that’s not true. I could see A.C. using that as a stepping stone to the throne. Maybe even Poseidon’s trident.

4. What do you consider the heart of your story? That is, what is the issue or emotion that propels things forward? Spill your guts on this one.
Angel wanting to be someone. I hadn’t seen that coming when I wrote her story. All of a sudden, she’s thinking about how much she wants to be so much more than "Just Angel." I hadn’t realized. I love when things like that happen when I’m writing a story. All along, she’s known why she’s pushing so hard for the job she’s after, but I hadn’t realized why until that moment. It makes writing magical.


5. If you were in charge of casting the movie adaptation of your book, who gets the call?

I always love this question because while I can pick actors/actresses for my characters, I have a hard time seeing them as the characters because the characters are such vivid personalities in their own right. But, by all means, let Hollywood come calling! For Angel, I see Jessica Alba, and for Logan, Hugh Jackman. I have yet to see a Michael anywhere, though. And I’d pull Susan Sarandon in for Ceto, and either Pacino or DeNiro for A.C. Hell, this is a "what if" so let’s get both. There are enough thug hammerheads to go around Hollywood mafiosos. Ray Liotta, too.

6. Is there a scene you cut from the book that you kind of wish you could put back in?
The first five chapters. 🙂 Yep, I wrote five chapters before the opening of the book. They showed Angel escaping Hammerhead Harry, and what happens when she shows up on the boat and Michael sees her. But I think the book is stronger written the way it was published. Those five chapters, however, make good "freebies" on my website and will go up over the next few weeks.

7. Do you have a sample chapter posted?
I have an excerpt on my website.

8. Tell us why your editor is the best editor ever in the universe.
Because she loves my stories enough to buy them! And my next series, too. And hopefully more after that. Seriously, though, Deb Werksman is amazing. She knows just how to get to the heart of the story and build it outward from there. She can see things that need clarification and convey them wonderfully. Not that I like having to do those kinds of revisions, but all of my books are stronger because of the role she plays.

Contest

To celebrate the release of each of her books, Judi Fennell and the Atlantis Inn and the Hibiscus House bed and breakfasts are raffling off three romantic beach getaway weekends. All information is on Judi’s website, www.JudiFennell.com.

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Interview with Melissa Senate

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Today, author Melissa Senate stops by to tell us about her new book and answer a few questions. Check it out!

About Melissa Senate

Photo of Author Melissa SenateMelissa Senate lives on the coast of Maine with her son and their menagerie of pets. She’s the author of eight novels (seven women’s fiction and one young adult) with two on the way. Visit her website melissasenate.com for more information and she’d love if you became her friend Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/MelissaSenate) and followed her on Twitter (http://twitter.com/melissasenate).

About the Book

The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate
(Pub Date: 11/17, Simon & Schuster’s Downtown Press imprint, $15.00 trade paperback)

Cover of The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate
Introducing THE SECRET OF JOY (Simon & Schuster trade paperback, $15.00) by Melissa Senate, the "warm, winning" new novel from the bestselling author of See Jane Date and Love You To Death.

Buy the Book from Amazon

The Secret of Joy is a Simon & Schuster Book Club Pick! For more information, check out the
Reading Group Guide:

Praise:

The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate opened my heart, made me laugh, cry, and smile all at the same time. A don’t-miss read! — New York Times bestselling author Carly Phillips

The Secret of Joy is a warm hug of a book. Insightful, wise, and romantic, it’s as inviting as the small-town life it depicts. — Claire LaZebnik

A wonderfully heartfelt story about hope, possibilities and the yearning for real connections. Senate’s latest will take you on a much needed vacation, while sneaking vital life lessons in when you’re not looking. –Caprice Crane

The Interview

1. Tell us about your latest release and the inspiration behind it.

A: 28-year-old New Yorker Rebecca Strand is shocked when her dying father confesses a devastating secret: he had affair when Rebecca was a toddler- and a baby he turned his back on at birth. Now, his wish is that the daughter he abandoned, Joy Joyhawk, read the unsent letters he wrote to her every year on her birthday. Determined to fulfill her father’s wish, Rebecca drives to a small town in Maine– against the advice of her lawyer boyfriend who’s sure Joy will be a "disappointing, trashy opportunist" and demand half her father’s fortune. But when hopeful Rebecca knocks on her half-sister’s door, Joy– a separated mother who conducts weekend singles tours out of her orange mini-bus– wants nothing to do with Rebecca or the letters her father wrote to her. Determined to forge some kind of relationship with Joy, Rebecca sticks around, finding unexpected support from Joy’s best clients– the Divorced Ladies Club of Wiscasset– and a sexy carpenter named Theo . . . .

The inspiration: Several years ago, I received an email out of the blue that said: I think you might be my half-sister. I was. Am. It took me a long time to decide to take that little (huge) nugget and write a novel to help me figure out the answer to some burning questions, such as: if you haven’t seen or heard from your biological father, or any member of his family, since you were little (or, in Joy’s case, never at all), is his child from another relationship really your sibling? Or just a stranger? Does the word father or sister or brother mean anything without back up? I had a ton of questions and set out to uncover how I felt through a fictional character, but it’s interesting to me that I flipped everything on its head in the writing of the story. Nothing but the basic questions that are proposed in the novel are autobiographical. Just the questions! And I surprised myself quite a few times during the writing of this story with how I felt about certain things. Amazing how writing fiction can teach you so much about yourself.

2. Who do you picture in your mind when you write?:

A: Sometimes I picture a lone woman reading my book on a bus or on her sofa or in a coffee shop, and I imagine what she’s responding to, relating to, thinking about as she reads. Would this scene make her smile? Would she relate? But most of the time, I picture my characters’ faces with their personalities etched into their features. I rarely base my characters physically on celebs (except for my first book—Jane from See Jane Date looked just like Ann Marie from "That Girl" (a young Marlo Thomas). She did not look like Charisma Carpenter, who perfectly played her in the TV movie, but now when I think of Jane, I think of Charisma only. Which makes me think of hot David Boreanaz, which is a good thing.

3. What was the inspiration for your hero? An actor, a picture you saw, some random guy in the coffee shop?:

A: I have long been drawn to guys with dark eyes and dark hair, starting with my very first serious crush in 7th grade. But Theo, Rebecca’s love interest, has sandy-blond hair and pale brown eyes because that’s just the way he came out of the keyboard– he sort of created himself. I never base the guys on anyone. They’re always inspired by the guy I wish I were dating. (Yes, I’m single!) Right now, as a single mother, I’d love a guy who, like hot, wise Theo, works with his hands and made things, like porch swings and tree houses for my son. A guy who’s smart and honest and romantic and always seems to say the right thing at the right time. Oh and hot, too.

4. Writing a letter can be daunting. How do you even begin the process of writing a novel? Does it start with a title? A character? A plot? All or none of the above?

A: An idea flits into my heart, mind and soul (if I may be so dramatic!) and I just know. The idea, just a wispy thing, grips me and I think about it until the two major characters– my protagonist and the person or thing who "forces" her change—become clear. Then I write out a one page treatment, a bare bones synopsis, then think about that, then revise the storyline into a "pitch" I can share with my agent. If she green-lights it, I’ll then let myself dream it into a full blown synopsis, which is what I usually sell a novel on. The synopsis, in its major plot points, rarely changes, but how the characters get from page one to page 325 is another story.

5. What’s one piece of writing advice you’ve found valuable on your journey to publication?

A: Trust yourself. Your gut knows. You know.

6. Tell us why your editor is the best editor ever in the universe.

A: I’m crazy about my editor, Jennifer Heddle at Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books. I love working with her. She’s just so razor-sharp smart and aware and interested in the world and pop culture (which I’ve learned via being her friend on Facebook!). Her suggestions, starting with our first conversation before she even bought my book, were so intelligent and thoughtful. And she’s New York honest in a very kind way with her editorial letters and edits. I absolutely trust what she says. As I’ve gotten to know her, I’m even more touched that she bought my book. She’s a tough customer, I think. And that’s a good thing.

7. Any tried and true tricks for beating procrastination?

A Tried but not true: taking laptop to a library or coffee lounge without wi-fi. I can’t handle more than an hour or two without checking email or reading through Twitter or Facebook. Tried and true: a deadline, whether self-given or publisher-given.

8. Which ‘craft’ book has inspired or helped you the most throughout your writing career?

A: The most inspiring, to me, is Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. But I also love Stephen King’s On Writing; Carolyn See’s How To Make A Literary Life, and Elizabeth Berg’s Escaping Into The Open.

9. If your book were to be made into a movie, who could you see playing the lead role?:

A: For the main character, Rebecca, I see Rachel McAdams. She has such sweetness and hope in her eyes, and such a lovely face. For half-sister Joy, Kristin Bell, with all that "Veronica Mars" intensity. For delicious Theo, Rebecca’s love interest, the very attractive Aaron Eckhart. Love his face.

10. If you could only own and read 5 books for the rest of your life, (excluding your own) what five books would you choose?:

A: The Portable Dorothy Parker; the collected works of William Shakespeare; To Kill A Mockingbird; Anne of Green Gables; The Color Purple; and I can’t leave off this gem: Why I Like My Mommy by Max (my son’s latest work in first grade!)

11. Writers are usually big readers too. How do you make time for reading and what are you reading at the moment?

A: The moment my seven-year-old son closes those eyes for the night, I stretch out on my little sofa with a good book, hot chocolate (it’s getting cooold here in Maine) and my two black cats at my feet. I’m reading Elizabeth Berg’s Home Safe right now. I love how she manages to write so honestly and elegantly at the same time. She’s able to call someone a shit in the loveliest way. Next up: the seven or so books that came from Amazon, staring with Kristina Riggle’s Real Life & Liars. I love women’s fiction—all these interesting storylines and gorgeous covers.

12. What’s next for you?

A: Next up is my second novel for teens, The Mosts, which will be published by Random House in June 2010. Then, my next women’s fiction novel from Simon & Schuster, The Love Goddess’s Cooking School, about five people in an Italian cooking class, will be published November 2010. I’m staring down a 1/1 deadline (the worst deadline to have!) And I’m being poked at by a new idea . . . .

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Interview with Author Jessica Brody – Contest, too!

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

About the Author

Jessica Brody graduated from Smith College in Massachusetts with degrees in economics and French. In 2005, she left her job at MGM Studios in Los Angeles to become a full-time freelance writer and producer. Jessica currently lives in Los Angeles, where she is working on her next novel. Visit Jessica’s website at: www.JessicaBrody.com

About LOVE UNDER COVER

Cover of Love Under Cover by Jessica Brody

In her job, she’s an expert on men. . .

In her own relationship, she doesn’t have a clue.

Boyfriend behaving badly? Suspect your husband of straying? Jennifer Hunter can supply the ultimate test. She runs a company which specializes in conducting fidelity inspections for those who suspect their loved ones are capable of infidelity.

An expert on men, Jennifer can usually tell if they’re single, married or lying. . . Unfortunately, her new boyfriend, Jamie, is one of the few men that she’s never been able to ‘read.’ Has she finally found the perfect man or is he too good to be true?

A captivating new novel from the bestselling author of The Fidelity Files.

Available November 10, wherever books are sold.

Praise

Currently in development as a TV series by the executive producer of Crash!

"With a complicated, sympathetic protagonist, worthy stakes and a clever twist on the standard chick lit narrative, Brody will pull readers in from the first page." — Publisher’s Weekly

"Those who enjoyed Brody’s debut will be eager to catch up with Jennifer, but newcomers will be intrigued, too…an honest, witty portrayal of modern love." — Booklist

"With her usual smart, deft, and witty prose, Brody delves deep into the psychology of a woman who tests the fidelity of strangers for a living but struggles with commitment in her own life." — Joanne Rendell, author of Crossing Washington Square and The Professors’ Wives’ Club

Trailer:

The Interview

What was your inspiration behind Love Under Cover?

As soon as I finished writing my first novel, The Fidelity Files¸ I knew that Jennifer’s journey wasn’t over yet. Although she had seemed to find her happy ending there was so much more fun stuff I had in mind for another book. Setting Jennifer up with an entire agency of fidelity inspectors was definitely the first and foremost on my mind for the next instalment.

Plus, I really wanted to explore what a fidelity inspector would be like in a committed relationship. After everything she’s seen—all the cheating, dishonesty, and betrayal—would she really be capable of settling down herself? So that’s what I set out to focus on in this book.

What is the most memorable first line you’ve ever read in a novel?

There’s a very powerful young adult novel called The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams that I read last year. It’s about a fifteen year old girl who grew up on a polygamist compound and it opens with this: "If I was going to kill the Prophet," I say, not even keeping my voice low, "I’d do it in Africa." I read that line and didn’t put the book down until the end. I knew from that line that it was going to be a heart pounding read. And it was.

Which scene (or scenes) in your novel did you love writing? Why?

I love writing any of the scenes with Jennifer’s friends. They’re all fun in their own way. Zoë has a terrible road rage problem and she has a habit of talking on the phone while driving so those conversations with Jen and Zoë on the phone are always really entertaining for me. I get to channel my inner turrets patient. Sophie is totally neurotic. I love going over the top with her.
And John is the flamboyant gay boy from West Hollywood who is always quick with his sarcasm and wit. Sometimes I don’t know where his remarks come from. I must be channelling my inner gay man because I’ll write something that he says and think, "That’s really funny. Where the hell did that come from?"

Which ‘craft’ book has inspired or helped you the most throughout your writing career?

SAVE THE CAT, by Blake Snyder. It changed my life. People tell me my books read like movies. Well, that’s probably because SAVE THE CAT is actually a book for screenwriting. But I’ve found it translates exceptionally well to novels. A well-told story is a well-told story, regardless of the medium and a fast-moving story keeps the pages turning. Blake Snyder lays out a simple (yet effective) step-by-step beat sheet of how to tell any story and I’ll never write another book without it! He’s very well-respected in the industry and I know many writers (screenwriters and novelists alike) that utilize his books. Plus, the book is extremely funny and entertaining to read!

Since becoming a writer, what’s the most glamorous thing you’ve ever done?

When my first book, The Fidelity Files, came out in France last year, my French publisher actually flew me out to Paris to promote it! It was a dream come true! I speak French almost fluently so I was able to conduct all my interviews in French, which was both nerve wrecking and exciting at the same time. Paris has always held a special place in my heart. I was a French major in college and I lived in Paris my junior abroad. Plus, I spent a month in Paris in 2005 finishing the novel so it was all very magical and kismet to be back there to see it in French book stores!

If you could be a superhero, what would you superpower be?

Calorie Immunity. That would definitely be my super power. The ability to eat anything I want and be completely unaffected by the calories contained within. That would be really awesome. And I guess that would automatically make my nemesis cupcakes. Although, if this were a comic book, he would be called "Dr. Cupcake" and his side kick would be called "Sprinkles."

Do you have a sample chapter posted?

Absolutely! www.jessicabrody.com/loveundercover_excerpt.html

What’s the main thing you hope people take away from your book?

Entertainment. That’s all I seek to do. Entertain people. The reason I started writing was because of Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding. I read that book in college whenever I would go to the gym and I remember looking down at the elliptical and thinking, "Seriously? I’ve already been exercising for thirty minutes!?" The time would FLY by. I was so inspired and awed by the fact that a book could take me away from my life like that. I knew from that day on that I wanted to be a writer so I could attempt to do the same. So if my book can help pass the time of a long flight or a boring workout then I’ve accomplished my goal. And if some of the issues about relationships and love and trust that I’ve delved into get people thinking, than that’s just icing on the cupcake.

If you could only own and read 5 books for the rest of your life, (excluding your own) what five books would you choose?

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella to make me laugh.
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult to make me cry.
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger to make me believe in fantastical love.
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer to give me a hot vampire to fantasize about daily.
Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding to remind me of why I write.

What’s next for you?

Although I strive to live in the moment, I can’t help but be excited about the future! I’ve got three young adult books scheduled to come out in the next three years from Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. The first, THE KARMA CLUB, releases on April 27 and I simply can’t wait! It’s about three teen girls who are tired of waiting for Karma to get off its butt and do its job, so they decide to give Karma a helping hand by getting revenge on their evil ex-boyfriends. But they soon discover that when you mess with Karma, Karma messes back. It’s a story I wanted to tell for years and I’m so glad it’s finally going to be put out to the world. The teen voice feels very natural to me (not sure what that says about my inherent maturity level, but whatever!) and the YA novels are such a blast to write. I think the teenage years resonate with everyone in some way. For me, my teen years were very painful so it’s somewhat therapeutic to be able to "go back" and relive them with all the knowledge and wisdom that I have now!

I’ve never been able to choose just one favorite food, but do you have a clear preference?

People tell me I have an obsessive personality. Meaning, I get hooked on one thing and stick with it for weeks, months, sometimes years and do nothing else. It’s very much apparent when it comes to my food. When I find something I like, I’ll eat it every day for months until I get sick of it and eventually replace it with something else. Right now, it’s Sushi Sunday and Nacho Monday. My boyfriend and I order sushi delivery every Sunday night and we go out to our favorite Mexican restaurant for Nachos every Monday. And now I actually look forward to Mondays!

What’s one piece of writing advice you’ve found valuable on your journey to publication?

Jump and the net will appear. Although I think this applies to any career you’re trying to get into. You have to jump in with both feet. Right into the deep end. You can’t wait for the perfect opportunity to come along, you just have to go for it. When I decided I would be a published author, I made the decision and I leapt off the cliff…without a parachute. I quit my high-paying, corporate job at a move studio, started taking odd jobs off of Craigslist to make ends meet, downgraded my car, my apartment and my lifestyle to save money and just went for it. I never looked back. I turned down three job offers from other studios, all which paid even more than I was making when I left my previous one. I sold my first novel a year and a half after I quit. Now I write full time and this year, for the first time since I quit my corporate job in 2005, I’m making more as a writer than I was making as a "suit." Do what you love and the money will eventually come. I’m a big believer in this. And I am living proof that it works!

What do you think readers might be surprised to know about you?

I’m a total techno junkie. I love technology and gadgets. iPods, digital cameras, computers, Tivos, Sling Boxes. . . those are my weaknesses. My toys. I would die without my blackberry and my Kindle. Unlike most women, I hate shopping for clothes and shoes. To me it feels like a huge waste of time. In a perfect world, I would just wear my sweat pants and Ugg knock-offs all day, every day (okay, maybe I already do that), but set me loose in a Fry’s Electronics or a Best Buy and you probably won’t see me for a week.

Which fictional character would you most like to have dinner with?

Um, Edward Cullen, of course! Although after dinner, I’d probably ask him to stick around for a drink, a movie, coffee, and then who knows where it might lead. I’m not to be held responsible (or accountable) for fictional dinner dates with hot vampires.

What is your favorite word?

Hmm. . . that’s a tough one. I don’t know if I have just one favorite word, I like so very many of them, but I definitely have a least favorite word and that’s "panties." God, I hate that word! I cringe just writing it here!

Why do you write?

I once heard someone say, "Dancers dance because they have to." I really loved that and I think it’s the same for writers. I definitely have to write. Like I have to breathe. If I don’t, I get very stir crazy. All of that energy has to come out somehow and for me, it comes out in words. Lots and lots of words. Some of them are actually worth publishing.

The Contest

You could win a copy of Jessica’s Love Under Cover. Here’s how. Leave a comment by Friday November 13 in which you mention the superstition you just can’t get over. Or say something about Friday the 13th. Do you love it or not? If you don’t leave me a way to email you if you win, then commit to checking back here over the weekend to see if you’re the winner.

Go forth and comment.

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Interview with Nalini Singh Plus a Contest!!

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Photo of Author Nalini Singh
I’m totally Psyched to have New York Times Bestselling author Nalini Singh visiting my blog today. Yay!!!! She has a brand new book out and I’m pimping her right here. That’s right. Nalini Singh. Right here at my blog! squeeeeeee! Plus, there’s a contest. You could win a free book. Read through to the end of the post to see what you need to do.

And, if you happen to subscribe to my newsletter, one of you will win a book, too! Because I’m awesome that way, and so is Nalini. Need proof? Read on.

Carolyn Poses Important Questions to Nalini

Carolyn: Eric Northman or Vampire Bill?

Nalini: I think Eric. Or maybe Bill. Eric. Bill. Do I have to choose???

Yes. You have to chose. I’ll put you down in the Eric column.

Carolyn: You’re walking along the forest path when an amazingly hot elf blocks your way. (Assume he closely resembles Orlando Bloom after a 16 week workout regimen rigorously observed.) After you admire his impressive sword with jeweled hilt, he offers you one of two gifts, your choice. Which do you choose, the Elixir of Immortality or fluency in any language?

Nalini: On the face of it, this one is a no brainer – the Elixir, of course, because if you have a millennium or two, learning languages isn’t going to be a problem.

However, I’m not sure I’d like to live forever – especially if it was only me who was changed. Can you imagine what it would be like to watch everyone around you grow old while you remained forever young? It would be different if those I loved were also given the chance to be immortal. (The gift and price of immortality is actually something I’ve considered a lot, as it’s one of the threads in my Guild Hunter series.)

You raise some good points. Plus, what if the Elixir didn’t confer eternal youth? Elves can be tricky that way.

Carolyn: Which creeps you out more? Spiders hanging from the ceiling (right over your bed) or eyes that glow in the dark (in your closet)?

Nalini: The spiders, hands down! (Have you seen The Grudge? That scene where all that hair is hanging down from the ceiling? Creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeepy!)

I spend many nights staring at my closet.

Carolyn: Dark chocolate or milk?

Nalini: Chocolate in any form is a winner for me.

Glad to hear it, Nalini. It’s important to be open minded and flexible about these things.

Carolyn: For the purposes of this question, assume these two items are equal in value. I know you wouldn’t want to be cheap. You’re shopping someplace exclusive with someone else’s bucket o’ cash. What do you get me? Diamond earrings (highest quality and exquisitely cut and set) or a brand new top of the line Jag (insurance pre-paid for life of car)

Nalini:
Well, if it’s someone else’s (endless) bucket o’ cash, why not both? *g* But if I had to choose, I think I’d go for the diamonds – you could wear and enjoy them 24/7 if you so wished. (Though I suppose you could live in your Jag if you wanted to.)

You are my BFF.

About the Book

BLAZE OF MEMORY
BERKLEY BOOKS
Out 3 November 2009
Cover of Nalini Singh's Blaze of Memory
Nalini Singh returns to the Psy/Changeling world and its “breathtaking blend of passion, adventure, and the paranormal” as a woman without a past becomes the pawn of a man who controls her future. . .

Dev Santos discovers her unconscious and battered, with no memory of who she is. All she knows is that she’s dangerous. Charged with protecting his people’s most vulnerable secrets, Dev is duty-bound to eliminate all threats. It’s a task he’s never hesitated to complete . . . until he finds himself drawn to a woman who might yet prove the enemy’s most insidious weapon.

Stripped of her memories by a shadowy oppressor, and programmed to carry out cold-blooded murder, Katya Haas is fighting desperately for her sanity itself. Her only hope is Dev. But how can she expect to gain the trust of a man who could very well be her next target? For in this game, one must die. . .

Excerpt

More about Nalini’s Books

Reviews

…When it comes to delivering stories that grab you by the throat and don’t let go, Singh is in a class by herself! — Romantic Times

…BLAZE OF MEMORY had me in tears with the tenderness that Dev and Katya exposed in each other. This story adds immensely to the series . . . You will want to revisit this love story again and again. — Romance Junkies

Contest

Leave a comment with your answer to the question below by midnight (Pacific Time) on Friday November 6 to go into the draw to win a signed copy of Branded By Fire, the previous book in the series.

Read an excerpt of Branded by Fire (warning, excerpt may singe your eyebrows off).

Contest Question: If someone wiped your memory and left you on a hero’s doorstep, which hero would you want it to be?

(Carolyn’s answer: Eric Northman. Doh. Others of you may disagree which just means more Eric for Carolyn!)

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