What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Ashley and Leslie Saunders

I was thrilled to chat with Ashley and Leslie Saunders, the fantastic sister writing duo whose debut book, The Rule of One is out now!  They opened their bag for us and shared their beauty favorites and current reads.  If you love a futuristic setting and the unbreakable  bond of sisterhood then their book is a must!

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via Amazon ~

n their world, telling the truth has become the most dangerous crime of all.

In the near-future United States, a one-child policy is ruthlessly enforced. Everyone follows the Rule of One. But Ava Goodwin, daughter of the head of the Texas Family Planning Division, has a secret—one her mother died to keep and her father has helped to hide for her entire life.

She has an identical twin sister, Mira.

For eighteen years Ava and Mira have lived as one, trading places day after day, maintaining an interchangeable existence down to the most telling detail. But when their charade is exposed, their worst nightmare begins. Now they must leave behind the father they love and fight for their lives.

Branded as traitors, hunted as fugitives, and pushed to discover just how far they’ll go in order to stay alive, Ava and Mira rush headlong into a terrifying unknown.

 

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1. What is your bag of choice?- purse/tote/backpack and brand that you have?

Backpack. We’ve used the same Herschel backpack for years. It’s great for hiking, which we do a lot of, as well as traveling. Perfect for carrying our laptops (a writer’s best friend) and jackets for ice-cold plane cabins (why is it always so cold in planes?!)

2. What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

We love a good moisturizer, Ole Henriksen is our go to. Glam Glow’s mud masks are a favorite of ours. And definitely probiotics for that natural glow and overall skin health.

3. What do you always carry in your bag/purse/carry-on for beauty products?  

In our carry-on we always have with us chapstick, eyeliner and a light perfecting skin tint from Glossier that we love!

4. What are you currently reading?

Ashley: I’m currently reading a super interesting post-apocalyptic novel called Happy Doomsday by David Sosnowski and Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. I used to be a strictly one-book-at-a-time girl but this year there are just so many books I want to read that I now read multiple at once!

Leslie: I’m currently reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King. I love walking around Los Angeles with a mix of literary Pulitzers and fantasy adventure sagas swirling around in my head, waiting for me on my nightstand until I wind down for the night.

5. And any other fun item/must-have that you always have with you 🙂

We always, and we mean always, have Burt’s Bees in our back pocket. Peppermint, of course.

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Open Book with Sarah McCoy

I can remember watching the Anne of Green Gables movies on PBS when I was a kid and falling in love with Anne, Matthew and Marilla- a story that is still one of my favorites.  When I heard best-selling author Sarah McCoy was writing Marilla’s story I was beyond excited!  It’s the perfect fall, coastal read that you will want to cozy up by the fire with a hot cider. I am thrilled Sarah is my latest “Open Book” as she is a gal after my own heart- US Weekly, Andy Cohen and Audrey- Hepburn that is- and after reading her “Open Book” you will see McCoy is just as charming.

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via Amazon ~

A bold, heartfelt tale of life at Green Gables . . . before Anne: A marvelously entertaining and moving historical novel, set in rural Prince Edward Island in the nineteenth century, that imagines the young life of spinster Marilla Cuthbert, and the choices that will open her life to the possibility of heartbreak—and unimaginable greatness.

Plucky and ambitious, Marilla Cuthbert is thirteen years old when her world is turned upside down. Her beloved mother has dies in childbirth, and Marilla suddenly must bear the responsibilities of a farm wife: cooking, sewing, keeping house, and overseeing the day-to-day life of Green Gables with her brother, Matthew and father, Hugh.

In Avonlea—a small, tight-knit farming town on a remote island—life holds few options for farm girls. Her one connection to the wider world is Aunt Elizabeth “Izzy” Johnson, her mother’s sister, who managed to escape from Avonlea to the bustling city of St. Catharines. An opinionated spinster, Aunt Izzy’s talent as a seamstress has allowed her to build a thriving business and make her own way in the world.

Emboldened by her aunt, Marilla dares to venture beyond the safety of Green Gables and discovers new friends and new opportunities. Joining the Ladies Aid Society, she raises funds for an orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity in nearby Nova Scotia that secretly serves as a way station for runaway slaves from America. Her budding romance with John Blythe, the charming son of a neighbor, offers her a possibility of future happiness—Marilla is in no rush to trade one farm life for another. She soon finds herself caught up in the dangerous work of politics, and abolition—jeopardizing all she cherishes, including her bond with her dearest John Blythe. Now Marilla must face a reckoning between her dreams of making a difference in the wider world and the small-town reality of life at Green Gables.

Sarah McCoy Author Photo_credit Emily Martin.jpg

 

1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?

 Lucy Maud Montgomery, Ann Patchett, Audrey Hepburn. 

2. Current binge series?

“The Great British Baking Show.” They’re all just so nice to each other! 

 3. Last favorite book?

Meg Wolitzer’s The Female Persuasion. 

 4. What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it?

Hair spray, stevia (for tea), and Burt’s Bees Lip Balm in pomegranate. I’d be on my way to the United Kingdom if I had a jet and bags of money.

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

 Oo, I’m a sucker for US Weekly. It’s my guilty pleasure. Sunday NYT makes me feel smugly good about myself—it’s smart reading! But if I just want entertainment, I gobble the gossip rags. 

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My husband, Doc B. 

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Circe by Madeline Miller. It’s so, so good. Madeline is a dear friend of mine so when I read Circe, I felt her beautiful spirit in every word. It’s luscious and unforgettable and totally her. 

8. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?

My mother, Dr. Eleane McCoy. Before she retired, she was a career elementary school teacher then a principal. To this day, she is always learning something new and sharing that knowledge with others. She encouraged me to read and write from my earliest recollections.  

9 Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?

I write in complete silence. No music, TV, phones, or sounds of any kind. Even the doorbell sets me off, so that has to taped over. My postman knows the deal.  

10. Describe your writing space?

Truthfully, I’ve moved so many times that I’ve come to realize my writing space is really a writing bubble. Inside that bubble is the beat-up desk I’ve been writing on since my first book, my wooden office chair, my MacBook, my magic mouse, and my dog Gilly at my feet. Everything around that has changed but those are the constant elements. Oh—and a window! My desk is always at a window so I can look out to nature. It inspires and soothes me.  

 11. Coffee or tea?

Tea! Heaps of it. 

12. Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

Anne of Green Gables, naturally. 

 13. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

Anything by Kate Morton. Her novels are all so lush… and British! 

 14. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?

U2’s “Walk On.” I’ve been a gypsy my whole life. My father was a career army office and then I married an army surgeon. The song resonates and reminds me that I can take love everywhere I go. It never gets left behind. That’s a beautiful, powerful thing. 

 15. What/Who inspires you?

People who aren’t afraid to be raw and let you see that rawness—for good or for bad, no pretenses. Nature, for similar reasons.  

 16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Are we talking Andy Cohen world? Um, yes. I am obsessed. 

17. Favorite Instagram account?

There’s this British Instagrammer named Jade. Her feed is called @thedarlings_. It’s gorgeous like a modern storybook, only it’s her real life. I’m spellbound by it. 

 18. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

1) “Cavendish Caliente” would be mellow red with hints of gold like the dunes of Cavendish Beach at sunset. 

2) “Southern Pepper Gloss” would be a bright red and shiny slick.  

19. Current #TBR pile?

  My editor suggested I read a novel that released awhile back called Through The Glass Darkly by Karleen Koen. So that’s at the top of my pile. Followed by new releases: Kate Morton’s The Clockmaker’s Daughter, Jodi Picoult’s A Spark of Life, and Becoming by First Lady Michelle Obama. 

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

One of my dearest mentors told me, “You’ve got to sing your own song, Sarah.” Meaning: I have to live my life without worrying that it isn’t acceptable or traditional or perfect. It’s the singing that matters. 

 

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Open Book with Tammy Lynne Stoner

Looking for a good fall read with heart, soul and perseverance?  Then look no further.  Tammy Lynne Stoner’s debut, Sugar Land has all those ingredients and more- the type of novel that is the best companion on a cozy fall day.  I am thrilled she sat down to chat with me and celebrate her debut novel.

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via Amazon ~

Sugar Land is a southern fried novel about love, Lead Belly, and liberation. According to a starred Kirkus Review, Sugar Land “is a postcard of small-town Texas life from Prohibition through civil rights, tracing the treatment and awareness of gay people through these decades. The love child of Fannie Flagg and Rita Mae Brown… [a] ravishing debut.”

It’s 1923 in Midland, Texas, and Miss Dara falls in love with her best friend―who also happens to be a girl. Terrified, Miss Dara takes a job at the Imperial State Prison Farm for men. Once there, she befriends inmate and soon-to-be legendary blues singer Lead Belly, who sings his way out (true story)―but only after he makes her promise to free herself from her own prison. Sugar Land is a triumphant, beautiful novel about the heart’s refusal to be denied what the heart wants.

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1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?

Frida Kahlo, Oscar Wilde, and Nelly Bly.

2. Current binge series?

 Mind Hunter (for the second time) and The Great British Bake-Off (because my lady won’t watch serial killer shows).

3. Last favorite book?

The Angel of History by Rabih Alameddine.

4. What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it?

Earplugs, scented candles, and flannel pajamas.

Now that I have three kids, my dream vacation would be on a chartered, luxury boat (amazing chefs, craft cocktails, stand-up comedy, casino, massage) for a month with my friends and family—each with their own space to retreat to—skirting around the Greek isles, spending a week here and a week there, living off the boat and exploring on our own.

 5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Oh, Sunday NYT hands down—unless I’m on a plane, then US Weekly.

 6. Last person you sent a text message to?

A funny bitmoji of me juggling bacon and eggs to my five-year-old twins. This is my first time away from them for more than a few days…

 7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

One!? Geek Love.

 8. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?

When I was young, I was awkward with terrible social cueing. My fifth grade my teacher, Mrs. Brinjac, allowed me to do a radio interview of myself instead of a biography speech. She didn’t really encourage my writing—no one did since I didn’t show anyone until I was in college— but she encouraged me to express myself in a way that was comfortable yet unusual. And that probably did more for my writing than anything else. 

 9. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?

Only when I edit. I need quiet when I write.

10. Describe your writing space?

Anywhere I can open my computer. I don’t have a dedicated space.

11. Coffee or tea?

100% tea. Coffee makes me insane.

 12. Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

Cloud Atlas and Her Body and Other Parties.

 13. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

Mine.

 14. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?

“Sweet Surrender” by Bread because my goal is to surrender to everything.

 15. What/Who inspires you? 

The bizarre brilliance of nature—frogs with transparent eyelids, color-blind creatures whose bodies change color to camouflage themselves, how parasites manipulate their hosts—and the bigger ideas of how we are expanding, how we are unified, how we may just be a dream.

 16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Only the gay and fashion shows.

 17. Favorite Instagram account?

Oh gads, I’m not on Instagram much… I suppose Buzzfeed.

 18. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

It would be called “Smogless” after the opening line from the novel Middlesex (“I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974”). It would be sky blue.

19. Current #TBR pile?

Demonology by Rick Moody, Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link, The Wonder by Emma Donoghue, Ration by Cody Luff (which won’t be out for two years), Edgewater by Ruth L. Schwartz, The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami, A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James… it goes on.

 20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

While not directed to me personally, it rang out for me when I read this quote from William Carlos Williams: “Submit to your own myths.” 

THANKS! THIS WAS FUN.

 

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Debut of The BLISS List

 

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I love a change of season as it is a fresh start to so many things anew.  I especially love fall and am excited for many new books, television shows and of course beauty products!  Every few months I am going to be curating a list of a few my favorite things and wanted to share them with YOU alas The Bliss List.  Kind of like Oprah Favorite things, if you will 🙂  We all know I am a book, beauty and pop culture enthusiast and I love being able to share my faves with you!   I would love to hear from you too!  Let me know what you are crushing on or binging watching or reading, I want to know so comment below ❤

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

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Honey Company Magic Organic Face Oil

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This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Phillips

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ban.do Starbucks FALL collaboration

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I’ll Be There For You by Kelsey Miller

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This is Us

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Modern Monarchy by Chris Jackson

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Beautycounter Girls’ Night Lipstick

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Busy Tonight 

 

 

Funko POP! The Duke and Duchess of Sussex

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Honest Company Creme’ Cheek Blush

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Coming soon a special Holiday Bliss List!  Thanks for reading and make sure to FOLLOW ME over at Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, xx!

Open Book with Nicola Moriarty

Happy October!  I am so excited for Fall!  New books, TV shows and crisp air plus HALLOWEEN!  Big Halloween lovers in this house 🙂  Nothing says October like a good thriller, suspense novel.  Nicola Moriarty’s latest, Those Other Women is the perfect accomplice to your hot apple cider.  It’s  little bit of drama, mixed with a whole lot of vengeance as determined mothers go against each other testing their loyalty and relationships with one another. I was thrilled that Nicola joined us all the way from Australia where she picked a few of my favorite things.  Think- Anna Kendrick, Harry Potter beauty and Liana Moriarty (they are sisters ❤ )!!!

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via Amazon ~

“A firecracker of a novel…” -Liane Moriarty, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Little Lies

The author of The Fifth Letter takes a laser look at the uneasy relationships between women and the real-world ramifications of online conflicts and social media hostilities in this stunning domestic drama. A story of privilege, unspoken rivalries, and small acts of vengeance with huge repercussions sure to please fans of Sarah Jio and Ruth Ware.

Overwhelmed at the office and reeling from betrayals involving the people she loves, Poppy feels as if her world has tipped sideways. Maybe her colleague, Annalise, is right—Poppy needs to let loose and blow off some steam. What better way to vent than social media?

With Annalise, she creates an invitation-only Facebook group that quickly takes off. Suddenly, Poppy feels like she’s back in control—until someone begins leaking the group’s private posts and stirring up a nasty backlash, shattering her confidence.

Feeling judged by disapproving female colleagues and her own disappointed children, Frankie, too, is careening towards the breaking point. She also knows something shocking about her boss—sensitive knowledge that is tearing her apart.

As things begin to slide disastrously, dangerously out of control, carefully concealed secrets and lies are exposed with devastating consequences—forcing these women to face painful truths about their lives and the things they do to survive.

 

Nicola Moriarty author photo_credit Deasy Photographic.jpg

What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?

It is SO hard to choose just three, but I’ll have to go with: Charlotte Bronte, Anna Kendrick and Zooey Deschanel.

Current binge series? 

The Originals. (I discovered Vampire Diaries quite late and now that I’ve finished it, I was so excited to discover there was a spin-off series).

Last favorite book? 

I recently read an advance copy of my sister Jaclyn’s new book ‘Gravity is the thing.’ It’s MAGNIFICENT!! Make sure you read it when it comes out, trust me, you’ll love it.

What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it? 

Swimmers, sunhat and a good book. Probably the Maldives or really anywhere with crystal clear water, sunshine and sand. 

Sunday NYT or US Weekly? 

Hmm, as I live in Australia this is a hard one to know which one I would read… which one is more fun? Let’s say NYT.

Last person you sent a text message to? 

I was so sure it was going to be my husband but I just checked my phone and it was a group message to all of my sisters organising a get-together for Father’s Day.

Book you read that you wished you wrote? 

The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton. It’s just such a wonderfully magical book that I adored as a child and I’d love to have that entire world inside my head!

Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer? 

My Year Five teacher Mrs Walsh read out a children’s story I wrote to my class. It was about a little girl going on an outing with her grandfather and I was so proud and excited. 

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who? 

Absolutely. It helps to put me in the right mood. I listen to The Head and The Heart, The Hilltop Hoods, Weezer, Charles Bradley, Alabama Shakes, The Submarines, Amy Shark, Seeker Lover Keeper, Tash Sultana, Thundamentals, Deathcab for Cutie, The Lumineers, Bliss N Eso, Badly Drawn Boy, 360, Vampie Weekend, The Wombats, Grouplove, Mark Ronson. I should probably stop there, shouldn’t I?

Describe your writing space?

It varies. Sometimes it’s my desk at the office I share with my husband (where he runs his graphic design business), sometimes it’s at home on the couch with a glass of wine, sometimes I sit up at the bar of a café called Youeni and chat to the super friendly hipster staff, sometimes it’s a table at the Mini Espresso Bar, which is next door to my kid’s school where I chat with the super friendly owner named Pete.

Coffee or tea? 

Half strength Cappuccino in the morning, Green or Peppermint tea before bed night.

Do you have a favorite book that you gift? 

I always gift different books – and I do judge a book by its cover, so I pick a beautiful or interesting looking cover when I’m gifting books.

Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

The Colours of Madeleine Trilogy by Jaclyn Moriarty. The imagery in these books is spectacular, so it would be amazing to see how they would translate to the screen.

If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?

Where is my mind? By Pixies. Because I love that song and also because I’m often wondering where I’ve put my mind.

What/Who inspires you? 

Music, my sisters, my husband, my kids, delicious chocolate, good wine, great books.

Bravo reality TV- yes or no? 

Hmm, I don’t have that channel, but I do like some reality shows here in Australia, my favourites are Masterchef, The Block and The Voice.

Favorite Instagram account?

https://www.instagram.com/zongbim/ – absolutely gorgeous photos!

If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

How about ‘Butterbeer’ after the Harry Potter books. It could be a nice creamy, neutral shade!

Current #TBR pile? 

I’m about to read my sister Liane’s book Nine Perfect Strangers, due out later this year. I already know I’m going to adore it because I love everything she writes! 

Best advice you’ve ever received?

That it’s okay to want more. 

Basically, I used to think it was a bad thing that I was always looking ahead to what was coming next instead of being satisfied with what I have now. For instance: landing an agent, landing a publisher, your first great review, your first sale, your next book deal, your first overseas book deal… You always think the next step is going to be the one that makes you feel like you’ve made it… but a little while back, my dad pointed out to me that maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe if I felt completely satisfied, I’d stop trying. So, I’ve embraced this advice and I’m going to keep striving for more!

 

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Open Book with Amina Akhtar

Can I just say this book had me at THIS cover.  When I read that this book is a cross between, The Devil Wears Prada and Dexter, I was sold.  Amina Akhtar’s debut has received rave reviews and even though this is her first novel, Akhtar is no novice to writing.  She previously has written for Vogue, Elle, Style.com, the list continues.  I was honored she took the time to chat with me to share her love for coffee, all things horror and Bravo TV- #besties 😉

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via Amazon ~

“Darkly satisfying.”—Martha Stewart Living
“A diabolical page-turner . . . impossible to put down.”—Forbes
“Darkly funny.”—Fashionista
“As awesome as it sounds.”—Book Riot

A thrilling take on the fashion world, #FashionVictim is Dexter meets The Devil Wears Prada.

Fashion editor Anya St. Clair is on the verge of greatness. Her wardrobe is to die for. Her social media is killer. And her career path is littered with the bodies of anyone who got in her way. She’s worked hard to get where she is, but she doesn’t have everything.

Not like Sarah Taft. Anya’s obsession sits one desk away. Beautiful, stylish, and rich, she was born to be a fashion world icon. From her beach-wave blonde hair to her on-trend nail art, she’s a walking editorial spread. And Anya wants to be her friend. Her best friend. Her only friend.

But when Sarah becomes her top competition for a promotion, Anya’s plan to win her friendship goes into overdrive. In order to beat Sarah…she’ll have to become her. Friendly competition may turn fatal, but as they say in fashion: One day you’re in, and the next day you’re dead

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1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?

Just three? Some mix of Jordan Peele, Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, Caroline Kepnes, and Edward Gorey. I love all things horror, creepy and macabre.

2. Current binge series?

I don’t think I’ve binged on a series properly in a while. I could use some suggestions!

 

3. Last favorite book?

Providence! It’s so good I couldn’t put it down. Caroline’s characters are incredible and real and I love them.

4. What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it?

My iPad so I can read books without lugging them around, cute shoes I can walk in, and Nars lip pencils. I’d go to London. I love London and it’s been ages since I was able to go back.

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Sunday Styles for sure.

 

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My friend Daniel who helped get the FV pilot made. (It’s TBD currently.)

 

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Christodora by Tim Murphy. I don’t wish I wrote it but when I read it, I was almost angry at how good it is. Tim is masterful. After every page I had to stop and marvel at the way he wove his stories and characters.

8. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?

None that stick out but my parents have always been really encouraging. But they also wanted me to be able to support myself, so I went into journalism for most of my career.

9. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?

Not really. If I need to drown out noise I’ll put on some classical music. But anything with words is distracting.

10. Describe your writing space?

I’ll write anywhere I can. I think having worked in digital, you learn to not be so precious about it. You have deadlines, and your cubicle is probably the least inspiring place in the world. But you have to get it done! So for now I write on my bed with my dog next to me. She snores.

11. Coffee or tea?

So much coffee.

12. Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

Yes! Big Magic by Liz Gilbert. If you’re feeling stuck—whether in writing or life—read it. It helps me get out of my head.

13. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

It’s not out yet but PJ Vernon’s When You Find Me is utterly riveting and incredible. It’s a southern gothic thriller that you’re going to love.

14. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?

She’s Lost Control by Joy Division. It’s been my favorite song since my teen years. Because really, aren’t we all losing control a bit?

15. What/Who inspires you?

My friends. I’ve luckily managed to surround myself with really talented, supportive, and bad ass women and men who go after what they want. They have ideas and the next day they make them reality. It’s incredible to witness.

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Of course! We all need guilty pleasures!

17. Favorite Instagram account?

Juniper Foxx! Who doesn’t need photos and videos of animals to brighten their day? Also, the Bloggess’ account is a close second. Fashion wise, Nicolette Mason is someone I am lowkey obsessed with.

18. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

A Nars pencil in Anya Red. It’d be the perfect shade of blood red.

 

19. Current #TBR pile?

Sister of Mine and The Widow of Malabar Hill are at the top of the pile.

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t give up. Writing is full of rejection. If you want to write, write. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get that one yes you need to get published. But even if you don’t, keep writing!

 

 

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Open Book with Caz Frear

Fall is here!  Cue cozy sweaters, fall scents, pumpkins and THRILLERS!  I love to read thrillers in the fall because they are the perfect companion during this ghoulish month.  I mean I love a good thriller all the time but the change of leaves and Halloween vibes that surround us, make a good suspenseful read perfection.  Cue Caz Frear’s debut novel, Sweet Little Lies.  A murder, secrets and a missing girl are what makes this book a must-read but it might make you keep the light on at night 😉  I was thrilled to chat with Caz in my latest “Open Book” where she talks Stevie Nicks, Gwen Stefani and the necessity for a statement red lip- all things that are a must! ❤SweetLittleLies hc c

via Amazon ~

n this gripping debut procedural, a young London policewoman must probe dark secrets buried deep in her own family’s past to solve a murder and a long-ago disappearance.

Your father is a liar. But is he a killer?
Even liars tell the truth . . . sometimes.

Twenty-six-year-old Cat Kinsella overcame a troubled childhood to become a Detective Constable with the Metropolitan Police Force, but she’s never been able to banish these ghosts. When she’s called to the scene of a murder in Islington, not far from the pub her estranged father still runs, she discovers that Alice Lapaine, a young housewife who didn’t get out much, has been found strangled.

Cat and her team immediately suspect Alice’s husband, until she receives a mysterious phone call that links the victim to Maryanne Doyle, a teenage girl who went missing in Ireland eighteen years earlier. The call raises uneasy memories for Cat—her family met Maryanne while on holiday, right before she vanished. Though she was only a child, Cat knew that her charming but dissolute father wasn’t telling the truth when he denied knowing anything about Maryanne or her disappearance. Did her father do something to the teenage girl all those years ago? Could he have harmed Alice now? And how can you trust a liar even if he might be telling the truth?

Determined to close the two cases, Cat rushes headlong into the investigation, crossing ethical lines and trampling professional codes. But in looking into the past, she might not like what she finds. . . .

Caz Frear cr Rebecca Knowles Photography

1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?

Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac:  Just because I think she’s the coolest woman alive.  I even named my novel after a Fleetwood Mac song (actually that’s a lie, my editor came up with the title but I like to think it was serendipity)

Daniel Day Lewis:  My favourite actor.  He’s incredibly elusive so it would be amazing to be sat right next to him at a bookclub.  And he’s also extremely well-read.

Marian Keyes:  I’m a huge MK fan.  Rachel’s Holiday is definitely up there in my top 10 favourite books ever.  While she’s also extremely well-read, she’s less ‘intense’ than the other two so she’d help keep the mood light!

2. Current binge series?

Peaky Blinders on Netflix.  I’m on the third of four series and I’ll be bereft when it ends!  Can’t believe how late I am to the party though – it started in 2013. 

3. Last favorite book?

Skin Deep by Liz Nugent.  The characterization is superb.  The central character, Cordelia Russell, is a shameless manipulator and borderline narcissist but you can’t help but be enthralled by her.

4. What 3 things do you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it?

I spent a long weekend in San Francisco a couple of years ago and I’ve been dreaming of going back there ever since.  I’d pack…

  1. Comfortable walking shoes.  I’m a bit of a shoe freak and usually go for style over comfort but SF has so many steep hills and uneven roads that heels are tricky.  And there’s so much to see on foot that it’s a shame to use public transport unless you really have to.
  2. As the song instructs, I’d be sure to bring flowers for my hair ☺ I’m a hippy at heart and I absolutely loved the Haight-Ashbury area.
  3. A pashmina.  You can be warm one minute, cold the next in SF, so it pays to be prepared (I got caught out last time thinking it would be wall-to-wall heat!)

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Mmmm, being a Brit, I’m not overly familiar with either, but as I think US Weekly is more focused towards celebrity gossip, I’d probably go for Sunday NYT.  I’m not a huge celeb gossip fan (although, you know, I’m not immune to it!)

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My husband – to ask him to pick up milk and a birthday card for a 6-year-old.  My life is so rock and roll ☺

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

In The Woods by Tana French.  It’s a masterclass in everything – plot, prose, suspense and characterization.

8. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?

I was lucky enough to have two – Mrs Spencer (when I was eight) who told me I had ‘something’ and to never give up writing stories, even when I ‘got big’ and Mr Kelly (when I was fourteen).  Mr Kelly used to encourage me to write reviews of everything – books, films, concerts, etc – on top of my standard homework.  He taught me that writing is a muscle and you have to use it every day.
9. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?

No, but I really wish I could!  I need complete silence, sadly.  If I’m editing, I might occasionally put classical music on in the background but very, very low (pointlessly low, really). 
10. Describe your writing space?

A grey chesterfield couch with many cushions and a Jo Malone candle burning close by.  I do have an office which I venture into occasionally but I do my best work on the couch.  I used to write in bed until I realized it was terrible for both posture and sleep!

11. Coffee or tea?

Tea.  I don’t mind coffee but I treat it more like medicine – I’ll force a cup down if I need to sharpen up or stay awake.  I drink tea purely for pleasure.

12. Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer.  It’s a novel about mental health and it tells the story of 17-year-old schizophrenic Matt, and the guilt he feels over his younger brother’s death several years ago.  Sounds depressing, right?  It isn’t.  It’s incredibly moving but it’s also funny, sharp and made me laugh out loud (and cry like a baby).  Such clean, unaffected writing too.  I buy it for everyone. 
13. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

Mine ☺  Failing that, I’d say Little Deaths by Emma Flint.  It’s the story of a woman accused of murdering her three children in the summer of 1965 and I believe it’s based on a true story.  Not only is it a gripping thriller but it’s also an interesting commentary on how the media portray ‘difficult’ women.  It was only published a couple of years ago so it’s early days, maybe it will be made into a film?

14. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why? 

‘What You Waiting For?’ – essentially it’s about Gwen Stefani’s fear of making a solo album and the writer’s block she was experiencing at that time.  It is EVERYTHING.  It’s an ode to pushing through self-doubt and fear of other people’s opinions.  It’s a call to arms to every woman who has a fear of standing out, of being who she really is.  I love it and it fires me up every time.  It had a massive impact on me.


15. What/Who inspires you?

Everyone and everything!  Just overhearing a conversation on a bus can inspire a whole new piece of dialogue or sub-plot.  I think ‘inspiration’ is a slightly mystical term as usually there isn’t one single image or one anecdote that quite literally inspires the writing of a 100,000 word novel.  You just start with a character and a dilemma and get writing (or plotting).  I think it’s actually writing, even bad writing, that fuels inspiration, not the other way around.  If you wait for the killer idea or the killer hook to strike, you could be waiting a very long time!
16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

No. No. No. No. No.  On the rare occasion I stumble across reality TV, I want to throw something at the screen.  Although, it depends what you mean by reality TV?  I am partial to a bit of Judge Judy ☺

17. Favorite Instagram account?

I’m relatively new to Instagram so I’m not sure that I’ve got any clear favorites yet, but @crimebythebook is a great account for honest, constructive reviews (and sneak peeks at upcoming releases).  There’s also a UK comedian @russell_kane who really makes me laugh.  His memes and rants are always spot on.
18. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be?  

Kiss Me First and it would be a statement red, maybe fire-engine or blood red.  I have far too many red lipsticks!
19. Current #TBR pile?

Oh wow, it’s toppling over as we speak.  I’m so lucky to be sent lots of proofs to read so I could fill a whole page with the books I’d love to get stuck into asap, but here’s what’s up next…

The Secrets You Hide – Kate Helm (a British debut)

Red Snow – Will Dean

Pieces of Her – Karin Slaughter

Cross Her Heart – Sarah Pinborough


20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

I’m going to refer back to Gwen Stefani and ‘What You Waiting For?’

“Life is short.  You’re capable.”

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