Open Book with Sally Hepworth

Thrilled to have the legendary and most fabulous Sally Hepworth on the blog today!  I adore her and her books (she has been a past Bookish Beauty gal) and am honored to be celebrating the book birthday of her latest novel, The Mother-In-Law.  Read below about this domestic thriller that is perfect for your spring break as well as Sally’s dream book club (its AMAZE), latest reads and favorite Insta account 🙂

MOTHER IN LAW

via Amazon ~

A twisty, compelling new novel about one woman’s complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in death…

From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, she knew she wasn’t the wife Diana had envisioned for her perfect son. Exquisitely polite, friendly, and always generous, Diana nonetheless kept Lucy at arm’s length despite her desperate attempts to win her over. And as a pillar in the community, an advocate for female refugees, and a woman happily married for decades, no one had a bad word to say about Diana…except Lucy.

That was five years ago.

Now, Diana is dead, a suicide note found near her body claiming that she longer wanted to live because of the cancer wreaking havoc inside her body.

But the autopsy finds no cancer.

It does find traces of poison, and evidence of suffocation.

Who could possibly want Diana dead? Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her children, and their spouses? And what does it mean that Lucy isn’t exactly sad she’s gone?

Fractured relationships and deep family secrets grow more compelling with every page in this twisty, captivating new novel from Sally Hepworth.

Praise for Sally Hepworth:

“With jaw-dropping discoveries, and realistic consequences, this novel is not to be missed. Perfect for lovers of Big Little Lies.” ―Library Journal, starred review

“Hepworth deftly keeps the reader turning pages and looking for clues, all the while building multilayered characters and carefully doling out bits of their motivations.” ―Booklist

Sally Hepworth Headshot_highest res_credit Mrs. Smart Photography.jpg

 

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

Oprah, Ellen Degeneres, Reese Witherspoon – can you even imagine this book club?

Current binge series?

I have been bingeing on books! (The Silent Patient, Daisy Jones and the Six, An Anonymous Girl)

Last favorite book?

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. And The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer.

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

I am a homebody. My dream vacation would be a week at home alone, so no packing required!

Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Neither! I read books!

Last person you sent a text message to?

My friend, Ange, who reminded me that it was school photos today (thank goodness as my daughter’s hair looked like a bird’s nest).

Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Where the Crawdads Sing.

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

Yes. My third and seventh grade English teachers were both incredibly encouraging.

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

No. I work at the library so I listen to the quiet chatter of people in the aisles, or people asking librarians for recommendations. Best music in the world.

Describe your writing space?

I write at the library, so I have a little desk that faces a window that looks out onto a parking lot. Not especially inspiring, but it stops me from getting distracted.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee.

Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

I tend to choose specific books that I think certain people would like, so it’s different for everyone. Though I will say, I’ve bought Where the Crawdads Sing for several people lately.

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

Where the Crawdads Sing. And Reese Witherspoon IS making a movie out of it. YAY!

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

I’ve Done All The Dumb Things by Paul Kelly

What/Who inspires you?

Women. Especially young women. My daughters inspire me. It is such a wonderful time to be a woman right now, and I’m excited about what the next generation will achieve for feminism.

Bravo reality TV – yes or no?

I’m not sure what this is?

Favorite Instagram account?

Dr. Pimple Popper.

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

The Other Woman.

Current #TBR pile?

Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

Do yoga, read books, and have as many children as you can afford (from my Mum).

 

Follow Sally:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

 

Advertisements

Open Book with Lea Geller

If you are looking for a laugh-out loud novel with a heroine who you will be cheering for, then Trophy Life is it and I am so thrilled to have Lea Geller on the blog as my latest Open Book!  Her dazzling and hilarious debut novel, out now, is really the most perfect accessory to accompany you on #SpringBreak.  Nora Ephron, Gatsby and Springsteen, yup, enough said.  Read below ❤

Geller_TrophyLife_FT

via Amazon ~

A refreshingly honest, laugh-out-loud novel about losing the life you always wanted…and finding the life you were meant to have.

For the last ten years, Agnes Parsons’s biggest challenge has been juggling yoga classes and lunch dates. Her Santa Monica house staff takes care of everything, leaving Agnes to focus on her trophy-wife responsibilities: look perfect, adore her older husband, and wear terribly expensive (if uncomfortable) underwear.

When her husband disappears, leaving Agnes and their infant daughter with no money, no home, and no staff, she is forced to move across the country, where she lands a job teaching at an all-boys boarding school in the Bronx. So long, organic quinoa bowls and sunshine-filled California life. Hello, processed food, pest-infested house, and twelve-year-old-boy humor—all day, every day.

But it’s in this place of second chances (and giant bugs), where Agnes is unexpectedly forced to take care of herself and her daughter, where she finds out the kind of woman she can be. Ultimately, she has to decide if she prefers the woman and mother she has become…or the trophy life she left behind.

Authentic and sharply witty, Trophy Life is proof that granny panties and mom coats might not be the answer to everything; they’re simply comfortable (if slightly unattractive) reminders of what happens when one life ends…and real life begins.

 

author-img.jpg

 

 

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

Nora Ephron, Tina Fey and Bruce Springsteen, just so I could finally meet him.

 

 

Current binge series?

I am currently binging the Israeli show Shtisl on Netflix.

 

 

Last favorite book?

I was blown away by The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. I loved it so much, I read the final page and started all over again.

 

 

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

Packing: For reasons which will be immediately clear, for any vacation I pack travels packets of Miralax and Metamucil, and I never travel without an eye mask because I am a terrible sleeper anywhere, but especially in a strange bed. I don’t like being landlocked, so any good vacation has to involve a body of water – can be the beach or a big city with a river running through it.

Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

NYT. Each time I read US Weekly, I know fewer and fewer of the celebrities, which just make feels old. Reading the NYT makes me feel like a spring chicken.  

 

 

Last person you sent a text message to?

Probably to my husband, asking him what time he was going to be home. And then one five minutes later asking again.

 

 

Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Pretty much anything by Ian McEwan, but mostly Atonement, which is a book I read yearly. I feel the same way about Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.

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

 

Yes, I had several – most notable was my high school English teacher Judith Beiner who told to write, write, and then write some more.

 

 

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

Yes. It really depends on my mood. Right now I’m listening to a lot of Duke Ellington and the Killers.

Describe your writing space?

 

My home office is completely uninsulated so I can only use it for six months a year, at most. Right now, I’m writing at my dining room table. If I write anywhere near my bed, I end up napping. I have been known to take mid-day catnaps on the couch; but those don’t count.

 

Coffee or tea?

 

Both. Usually black coffee until midday and the black tea with milk.

Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

Depends on the recipient, but The Most of Nora Ephron is a great gift.

 

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

 

Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen. If I could only listen to one song for the rest of time, that would be it.

What/Who inspires you?

The small details and muddiness of everyday life and the things that happen to all of us that nobody likes to talk about. Those inspire me to write.

 

Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

 

No, which may explain why I don’t know anyone in Us Weekly anymore.

 

Favorite Instagram account?

@LondonIsPink which is pictures of London buildings with pink door, parks with pink trees, or city streets with a random pink car parked. It’s a beautiful collection.

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

 

Probably Gatsby and it would be the color of champagne.

Current #TBR pile?

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

In John Irving’s The Hotel Hampshire, a father gives his children the advice, “Keep passing the open windows.” I love that advice, that when times are tough, keep putting one foot in front of the other, and move forward.

 

 

About the author

Lea Geller is a recovering lawyer who lives in New York with her husband and children. She began her writing career by blogging about her adventures in the trenches of parenting, and got the idea for Trophy Life when her two sons were in middle school.

When Lea’s not eavesdropping on her children, she can be found running, drinking diner coffee, and occasionally teaching middle-school English. She enjoys embarrassing her family by posting pictures of her vegetable garden on Instagram (#IgrewDinner). You can follow her at https://www.leageller.com/.

Follow Lea:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

 

 

Open Book with Kristin Fields

Today I am so fortunate to have debut author Kristin Fields on the blog!  Her novel, A Lily in the Light, is about Esme, whose sister goes missing and is never found until she gets a call 8 years later that will change her life all while she is living her ballet dreams in San Fransisco.  I am so thrilled to have Kristin on the blog and to celebrate her debut.  She is my latest Open Book and I will give you a hint: Midge Maisel in a book club- YES please!!!

A Lily in the Light_300dpi

via Amazon:

A harrowing debut novel of a tragic disappearance and one sister’s journey through the trauma that has shaped her life.

For eleven-year-old Esme, ballet is everything—until her four-year-old sister, Lily, vanishes without a trace and nothing is certain anymore. People Esme has known her whole life suddenly become suspects, each new one hitting closer to home than the last.

Unable to cope, Esme escapes the nightmare that is her new reality when she receives an invitation to join an elite ballet academy in San Francisco. Desperate to leave behind her chaotic, broken family and the mystery surrounding Lily’s disappearance, Esme accepts.

Eight years later, Esme is up for her big break: her first principal role in Paris. But a call from her older sister shatters the protective world she has built for herself, forcing her to revisit the tragedy she’s run from for so long. Will her family finally have the answers they’ve been waiting for? And can Esme confront the pain that shaped her childhood, or will the darkness follow her into the spotlight?

Kristin Fields_300dpi

 

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

This is hard. Let’s go with Stephen King to add a little suspense/twisted
intentions, Midge Maisel to tell it how it is, and Rachel Carson because
I appreciate her careful study of nature and how she made a book
about pesticides sound like poetry. In fact, I think I’d like to write a
book with all three of them.

2. Current binge series?

We just finished The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Now we’re studying
before Game of Thrones comes back and rewatching lots of episodes.

3. Last favorite book?

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Amazing.

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

We love to travel. There aren’t too many places I wouldn’t go. At the
moment, my dream vacation would be to live on a ship and sail to
Antarctica. I would bring a really good camera, the warmest boots in
the world, binoculars to see glaciers and polar bears close up.

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

The NYT – especially the foodie sections.

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My sisters. We have a family group text to share pictures of our pets.

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and Me Before You By JoJo
Moyes. I alternated between loving every single word on the page and
also feeling like I should never write again..

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

In elementary school, Sister Gregory never smiled. Her nylon stockings
rubbed together when she walked up and down the aisles, and she had
a habit of yelling at people for no reason, but she also gave creative
writing assignments.
My first story filled eight notebook pages about a halloween witch who
abducts three girls and convinces the whole town that they are actually
the witches, not her. I turned it in and the next day, Sister Gregory
made me read it aloud. All eight pages. Standing. In front of the whole
class.
She’d done this once before with someone else and told them it was
terrible. Everything a short story should not be, so needless to say, I was
terrified. Plus, I was already shy to begin with. But at the end, everyone
clapped, including Sister Gregory.
It was the first time I’d ever seen her smile, but better than that, it was
the first time I really felt like I had a voice.
Later, Martha McPhee and Barbara Bengels at Hofstra University would
teach me more about craft, and I’m forever grateful to both of them for
their early belief in my writing.

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

Not usually, but for A Lily in the Light, I listened to classical music
while writing scenes at the studio or Tchaicovsky during the
performances of Serenade. Writing to the music helped capture the
emotion of the piece and what it might bring out for Esme as she
danced.
10. Describe your writing space?

Our apartment is tiny, so I usually write on the couch and surround
myself with blankets and pillows and make sure my cat is snuggled up
there too. The more comfortable I am, the more likely I’ll write myself
into a meditative state and keep going just because I won’t want to get
up.

11. Coffee or tea?

It used to be black tea with milk or a good, spicy chai, but then I got
hooked on espresso in Paris and now I can’t function without that
fantastic caffeine jolt every morning. It makes the rest of the day feel
much more do-able.

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

I try to match books with people, so I can’t say there’s one go-to book.
Stories always find people at just the right moment.

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

Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller. Any opportunity to
watch people surviving alone in nature is fascinating. Same for Where
the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

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

Maybe the Jeopardy song because I’m always in a state of deep
thought/confusion.

15. What/Who inspires you?

I grew up in New York City and took it for granted for much of my
early life – mostly thinking about where I’d rather be instead. But now
that I’ve lived here my whole life, I have a new appreciation for it and
find that it influences so much of my writing.

The beautiful thing about New York is that there is always something
new to do, see, experience, and watching people do their thing has
given me endless writing material. It’s also shaped my worldview and
me as a person, so I have a new respect and pride for my home city
now that I can’t say I’ve always had.

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

No! YouTube is enough of a rabbit hole for me.
 
17. Favorite Instagram account?

Henry and Baloo. When our upstairs neighbor brought home a puppy, I
had big dreams that our cat would ride around on her like Henry and
Baloo, but our cat was less enthused..

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

Gatsby – It would be green like the light at the end of Daisy’s dock, but I
would not be brave enough to wear green lipstick ever.

19. Current #TBR pile?

So many. Too many, but I’m really looking forward to Where the Forest
Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah, Trophy Life by Lea Geller, The
Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan, True Places by Sonja
Yoerg, My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh, and
Dopesick by Beth Macy.
 
20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

My mentor, Martha McPhee, told me once that I should worry less
about writing and just go gather life experience. I was a little sore
about it at the time, but it was the best advice anyone has ever given
me. My writing is better because of it and my life is more interesting.

 

Follow Kristin :

Twitter

Happy St. Paddy’s Day! Open Book with Eithne Shortall

Happiest of St. Paddy’s Day to you!  Much luck and love, all year long!  What better than an Irish love story to make this day complete ❤  Grace After Henry by Eithne Shortall, is a heartbreaking love story that has echos of JoJo Moyes sprinkled throughout.  Eithne is my latest Open Book and she gives some great advice, also loves Busy Phillips Instagram and has a fabulous TBR pile!  Plus Eithne other novel, Love in Row 27, has been optioned for a TV show, love a good page to screen 😉

 

0-1

 

via Amazon ~

A quirky love story set in Dublin that’s perfect for fans of PS, I Love You and Jojo Moyes, Grace After Henry is a funny, heartfelt debut novel about one woman learning what it means to move on and to let go.

When the love of her life, Henry, is killed in a freak biking accident, Grace feels like she’s lost her own shadow. In his absence, she must put her world back together: she moves into the Dublin dream house they bought together, she returns to work as a chef, she watches TV with her nosy elderly neighbor. But, through it all, she’s ever aware of the growing Henry-shaped hole in her life.

Until his long-lost twin brother knocks on her door.

Newly arrived in Ireland on his own search for answers, Andy is Henry, and yet not quite. Soon Grace isn’t sure if she’s learning to let go or becoming desperate to hold on. Grace After Henry is a funny, tender, and bittersweet story about love, loss, and second chances.

 

0

 

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

Nora Ephron, Margaret Atwood and someone with an excellent wine
cellar.

2. Current binge series?

Do you mean books? If so, I’m currently making a start on PD James’s
back catalogue. I spent last year devouring everything Liane Moriarty
wrote, and I think 2019 will be the year of PD James.
If you mean TV, I don’t watch a lot of TV but I am currently wrapped
up in Sex Education on Netflix. I love anything set in the world of teen
angst, although I do wish the show would make up its mind about
where, if not when, it is set.

3. Last favorite book?

I loved Sally Rooney’s Normal People and Sarah Winman’s Tin Man.

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

1. Books, at least three.
2. SPF, I worshipped the sun in my late teens/early twenties and
am now trying to make amends.
3. A swimsuit that can withstand waves.
If it’s a sun holiday – which my packing list suggests that it is – then it
has to be the Greek Islands.

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Even though I’m based in Ireland, I do have a New York Times
subscription. So it’s a no-brainer.
6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My boyfriend. Asking him to pick up a Cornetto Classico ice-cream on
his way home. He obliged.

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

There are so many. But the last one was Liane Moriarty’s Big Little
Lies.

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

Not specifically, but I had amazing primary school teachers who
encouraged my confidence and generally taught me to believe in
myself and my abilities. To that end, I would namecheck Maire
McHugh.

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

I almost always write in complete silence. I might listen to music
before writing, to put me in the mood. With Grace After Henry, I never
did that. I did, however, lie on the floor of my writing room and try to
imagine how it would feel to have the love of my life die. When I found
myself on the verge of tears, I knew I was ready to write.

10. Describe your writing space?

It has changed. I wrote most of Grace After Henry in a small bungalow
in the middle of nowhere in the west of Ireland. There were always
multiple birds hopping around outside my window, but some days that
was all the living interaction I had. I went there to try to imagine my
way into Grace’s head – to make myself feel what it would be to be all
alone. My next book, however, was written in a writing room at my
home in Dublin. That room is wall-to-wall books, with a view from my
desk into the back garden.
11. Coffee or tea?

Tea, and lots of it.

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

I have bought several copies of several books as gifts. Among them
are Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, Tana French’s The Secret
Place, John Banville’s Book of Evidence and Marian Keyes’ Rachel’s
Holiday.

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

I’m very much looking forward to seeing how Sally Rooney’s Normal
People is adapted for the small screen.

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

This is too hard. I can’t pick one. Although if Joni Mitchell’s Blue album
was just played on a loop, I’d be pretty happy with that.

15. What/Who inspires you?

A little piece of my grandmother has made it into all my book thus far.
She’s a no-nonsense woman who is very funny in her refusal to
indulge anyone about anything. She was the inspiration for Grace’s
neighbor Betty in Grace After Henry.

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

For the little TV I do watch, reality shows don’t make the cut.

17. Favorite Instagram account?

Currently enjoying Busy Philipps and Dawn O’Porter.

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

Well I’m always in search of a good nude, so that’s the shade. And
then I guess I’d call it…. Naked Lunch?

19. Current #TBR pile?

I can’t actually look my TBR pile in the eye or I’ll start to
hyperventilate. But as I recall, Jo Spain’s Dirty Little Secrets and
Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the Six are sitting at the top of it.

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

“You’ll be dead soon.” I find it very uplifting. Don’t waste your time
worrying, you never know when you’re going to run out of it.

 

Follow Eithne:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Open Book with Jillian Cantor

Happy March!  This month so many AH-mazing books will be making their way to your TBR pile including Jillian Cantor’s latest, In Another Time, a sweeping love story set during the second World War.  She is my latest Open Book and we are talking dream bookclub- hers is one of my all time favorites, dream vacation items- same, and the perfect literary lipstick- a red lip is always a yes.  Read below!  Jillian is my kinda gal ❤

0

via Amazon ~

A sweeping historical novel that spans Germany, England, and the United States and follows a young couple torn apart by circumstance leading up to World War II—and the family secret that may prove to be the means for survival.

Love brought them together. But only time can save them…

1931, Germany. Bookshop owner Max Beissinger meets Hanna Ginsberg, a budding concert violinist, and immediately he feels a powerful chemistry between them. It isn’t long before they fall in love and begin making plans for the future. As their love affair unfolds over the next five years, the climate drastically changes in Germany as Hitler comes to power. Their love is tested with the new landscape and the realities of war, not the least of which is that Hanna is Jewish and Max is not. But unbeknownst to Hanna is the fact that Max has a secret, which causes him to leave for months at a time—a secret that Max is convinced will help him save Hanna if Germany becomes too dangerous for her because of her religion.

In 1946, Hanna Ginsberg awakens in a field outside of Berlin. Disoriented and afraid, she has no memory of the past ten years and no idea what has happened to Max. With no information as to Max’s whereabouts—or if he is even still alive—she decides to move to London to live with her sister while she gets her bearings. Even without an orchestra to play in, she throws herself completely into her music to keep alive her lifelong dream of becoming a concert violinist. But the music also serves as a balm to heal her deeply wounded heart and she eventually gets the opening she long hoped for. Even so, as the days, months, and years pass, taking her from London to Paris to Vienna to America, she continues to be haunted by her forgotten past, and the fate of the only man she has ever loved and cannot forget.

Told in alternating viewpoints—Max in the years leading up to WWII, and Hanna in the ten years after—In Another Time is a beautiful novel about love and survival, passion and music, across time and continents.

 

0-1

 

 

  • What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?  Reese Witherspoon – I always love her book club picks, and how fun would it be to sit down and discuss with her? Michelle Obama – I respect and admire her so much, and I know she would have the most interesting take on whatever our book club was reading. And third, Jane Austen. Wouldn’t it be interesting to hear what she thinks about fiction today, and all the many retellings of her work?

 

 

 

  • Current binge series? Life in Pieces –we started over Christmas break and now we’re almost done season 3. It’s hysterical and perfect to watch one or two episodes at the end of a long day.

 

 

 

  • Last favorite book? I just got to read an early copy of The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar. It’s not out until July, but it’s a beautiful novel based on the real women who were WASPs in WWII. It’s a love story, a war story, and what I loved most, a story about powerful women who persevere.

 

 

 

  • What 3 things do you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it? A good book, sunscreen, and a bottle of rosé. Hawaii – I’ve never been, and I really want to.

 

 

 

  • Sunday NYT or US Weekly? Sunday NYT if I’m at home on a lazy Sunday – I’d be doing the crossword. US Weekly if I’m traveling. I love reading it on airplanes.

 

 

 

  • Last person you sent a text message to? My husband. He texted me to ask if I’d fed the dog before I left. The dog always acts like she hasn’t been fed, so she’s not a reliable source. This is a common text between us!

 

 

 

  • Book you read that you wished you wrote? The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. It has been my favorite book since college (long before the TV series!) and the way she invented the world and weaved in the backstory – it’s just brilliantly written. I come back to it again and again.

 

 

 

  • Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer? Yes, several! But the first teacher who ever encouraged me was my 4th grade humanities teacher Mrs. I. In 4th grade she assigned us to write one short story a week, for the entire year. It was my first time writing fiction and I loved it. She was very enthusiastic about my stories, and it was the first time I ever considered the possibility that I could write fiction.

 

 

 

  • Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who? No, I need complete silence to write. But writing In Another Time, where Hanna, one of my main characters, is a violinist, I did actually end up listening to a lot of classical music before I would sit down to write particular scenes. I listened to all the music that I have Hanna playing in the book, just not at the same time while writing!

 

 

 

  • Describe your writing space? I have an office in my house, and I do write there, when everyone else in my family is home. I have a huge (messy) desk, a wall filled with whiteboards for charting stories and characters, and a small couch that my cats and dog like to sleep on. But I also end up writing at the kitchen table a lot, especially first thing in the morning, with a cup of coffee or two (or three)! That is where I tend to be my most productive.

 

 

 

  • Coffee or tea? See above, definitely coffee. I need a few cups every morning to get going with writing. But I like tea too. Later in the day I switch to decaffeinated green tea.  

 

 

 

  • Do you have a favorite book that you gift? I don’t have just one book that I always gift, but I do give books as gifts all the time. I like to buy copies of books I’ve recently read and loved, so it’s always changing. I give my mom a book every year for her birthday and Mother’s Day!

 

 

  • If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why? “Anbody Have a Map?” from Dear Evan Hansen. Being a fiction writer is definitely an unconventional career path, and it’s always filled with a lot of uncertainty. Even after publishing eight books I’m still not always sure what the right next move is, or the perfect thing to write next, or even the perfect way to write it. I have a teenager and a pre-teen too, so this song also applies to being a mom, for sure.  

 

  • What/Who inspires you? I often write about ordinary women who lead extraordinary lives. I’m especially inspired by women who fight for what’s right, no matter what the costs, both throughout history and today.  

 

  • Bravo reality TV- yes or no? A few years ago, yes. I used to be very invested in The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. But I haven’t watched the past few seasons. Now I like my reality from Rachel Maddow – I watch her every night after dinner.

 

  • Favorite Instagram account? @dachshund.planet – there’s nothing I love more than a cute dog picture, and I especially love dachshunds (I have a rescue dog who is part dachshund part terrier.)

 

  • If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld. And it would be bright red, of course!

 

  • Current #TBR pile?

Learning to See by Elise Hooper

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

The Secrets of Clouds by Alyson Richman

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal

 

  • Best advice you’ve ever received? The best writing advice I’ve ever received is “butt in chair.” Quite simply, sit down every day and just do the hard work rather than making excuses not to. But I also think this applies in all areas of life as good advice!

 

Follow Jillian:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jillian Cantor has a BA in English from Penn State University and an MFA from the University of Arizona. She is the author of award-winning novels for teens and adults, including, most recently, the critically acclaimed, The Lost LetterThe Hours Count and Margot. Born and raised in a suburb of Philadelphia, Cantor currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.

 

 

Open Book with Kimmery Martin

To celebrate the paperback release of The Queen of Hearts, Kimmery Martin chatted all things Open Book!  If you love Grey’s Anatomy then you will love this book as it definitely has all the ingredients of Seattle Grace 🙂 She shares her bookish lipstick shade (it’s fabulous), current reads and her AH-mazing writing space!  Read below to learn more about this fantastic book and wonderful author ❤

 

0

via Amazon ~

One of Real Simple‘s “Best Books of 2018”
Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2018 by Southern Living, Elite Daily, and Writer’s Digest

A powerful debut novel, praised by The New York Times, Bustle, and Hypable, that pulses with humor and empathy as it explores the heart’s capacity for forgiveness…

Zadie Anson and Emma Colley have been best friends since their early twenties, when they first began navigating serious romantic relationships amid the intensity of medical school. Now they’re happily married wives and mothers with successful careers–Zadie as a pediatric cardiologist and Emma as a trauma surgeon. Their lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, are chaotic but fulfilling, until the return of a former colleague unearths a secret one of them has been harboring for years.

As chief resident, Nick Xenokostas was the center of Zadie’s life–both professionally and personally–throughout a tragic chain of events during her third year of medical school that she has long since put behind her. Nick’s unexpected reappearance at a time of new professional crisis shocks both women into a deeper look at the difficult choices they made at the beginning of their careers. As it becomes evident that Emma must have known more than she revealed about circumstances that nearly derailed both their lives, Zadie starts to question everything she thought she knew about her closest friend.

 

0-1

 

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

Leonardo Da Vinci, Cleopatra, and Hunter S. Thompson. That should make for a pretty lively discussion.

 

  1. Current binge series?

The Americans. It’s incredible.

 

  1. Last favorite book?

The Glitch, by Elisabeth Cohen. It’s about a type-A female Silicon valley executive whose carefully curated existence is upended when a younger version of herself suddenly appears. It’s snarky and clever—my favorite kind of read.

 

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

My cell phone (for camera purposes, and also because I am always lost), stylish but comfortable shoes for walking—I like Donald Pliner— and my laptop, so I can write and post for my travel series. (Sample here from a recent trip to Costa Rica). I’d like to visit Asia next; probably Hong Kong.

 

  1. Last person you sent a text message to?

I’m going to be honest: my babysitter.

 

  1. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Anything by Bill Bryson, especially A Walk in the Woods. Also wish I’d written Eloise by Kay Thompson.

 

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

No, but after I wrote a high school English paper on creative ways to get out of writing high school English papers, my teacher called me in for a talk and advised me to use my powers for good in the future. Does that count?

 

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

Not while I write. But I’m fond of a genre called Ganstagrass— it’s a mixture of bluegrass and rap. I like mixing things up.

 

  1. Describe your writing space?

I commandeered the playroom, because it’s the best room in our house. I added a desk, a gorgeous light fixture, and gold wallpaper and now I practically live in there.

unnamed

 

  1. Coffee or tea?

COFFEE

 

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

I’m an evangelist for a science writer named Michio Kaku—I’ve given his books to lots of people.

 

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

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman. But it’s a crapshoot when you really love a book specifically because you love the writing; a lot of the language and interior monologue gets lost in translation to film. So maybe it’s better to go with something high-concept and action-y. I thought The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones was excellent; it’s about a dystopian future where the United States has been ravaged by killer ticks (and no, they’re not giant, so it’s not like a bad remake of Starship Troopers or anything.) It was super-suspenseful. I also just read a thriller that’s coming out in early 2019 that I’m certain will be a movie someday: My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing. It’s about a murderous suburban couple and it’s chilling.

 

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

Possibly it would be Take Me Home Country Roads. I grew up in the rural Kentucky mountains and even though I’m all urbanized and decadent now, some part of my soul eternally yearns for the peace and beauty and privacy of my childhood home.

 

  1. What/Who inspires you?

My mother, who spent 40 years working for a non-profit she founded to bring literacy and job skills and community organization to the Appalachian mountains. And my father, a literal genius, who taught me critical thinking skills. Or he attempted to teach me critical thinking skills, anyway. The result is debatable.

 

  1. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Noooooo. I have plenty of drama in my own life. Someone even approached me about being in a reality show about southern women doctors and I didn’t pursue it for obvious reasons. I mean, no one wants to watch a show where everyone is functional, am I right?

 

  1. Favorite Instagram account?

Oh, I love Instagram! Elizabeth Sagan. She makes these absolutely insane book tableaus.

 

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

Obviously it would be The Queen of Hearts and it would be dark red.

 

  1. Current #TBR pile?

Margaret Atwood has a sequel coming out in 2019 to The Handmaid’s Tale and I can’t wait to read it.

 

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received?

Read every day.

 

Follow Kimmery:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

 

Open Book with Lynda Cohen Loigman

Lynda Cohen Loigman is one of my favorite authors and people and we have never met 🙂 She was so kind to send me something when my son was born and we only know each other in the book world- the beauty of the internet!  Her latest, The Wartime Sisters, out now, is a deep and touching story of two sisters who are living very different lives on the same Armory during World War two.  Loigman’s way with words creates a tale that will leave you with a book hangover, guaranteed.  I am thrilled she is my next “Open Book”, read below ❤

wartime sisters_ cover

via Amazon ~

For fans of Lilac Girls, the next powerful novel from the author of Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist The Two-Family House about two sisters working in a WWII armory, each with a deep secret.

Loigman’s strong voice and artful prose earn her a place in the company of Alice Hoffman and Anita Diamant, whose readers should flock to this wondrous new book.” ―Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan’s Tale

“The Wartime Sisters shows the strength of women on the home front: to endure, to fight, and to help each other survive.” ―Jenna Blum, New York Times and international bestselling author of The Lost Family and Those Who Save Us

Two estranged sisters, raised in Brooklyn and each burdened with her own shocking secret, are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of WWII. While one sister lives in relative ease on the bucolic Armory campus as an officer’s wife, the other arrives as a war widow and takes a position in the Armory factories as a “soldier of production.” Resentment festers between the two, and secrets are shattered when a mysterious figure from the past reemerges in their lives.

“One of my favorite books of the year.” ―Fiona Davis, national bestselling author of The Dollhouse and The Masterpiece

“A stirring tale of loyalty, betrayal, and the consequences of long-buried secrets.” ―Kristina McMorris, New York Times bestselling author of The Edge of Lost and Sold on a Monday

lynda loigman_credit randy matusow

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

Edith Wharton – She is my literary idol. I would probably be star struck and mute around her.

Stephen Sondheim – I would love to talk to him about his creative process and the way he uses songs to tell stories.

Mindy Kaling – She seems like she would be the most fun person to be around.

 

Current binge series?

I am feeling a little lost right now because I finished the second season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and I don’t know what to watch. It was perfect, and nothing else compares to it. My husband and I just started the Amazon Prime Jack Ryan series, so I’m consoling myself with that, but it’s not the same.

 

Last favorite book?

I loved Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. I don’t usually read a lot of fantasy, but I do love fairy tales. This one is a reimagining of the Rumpelstiltskin story, but the main character is a young Jewish woman who takes over her father’s money-lending business. She is so good at it that she is able to turn his debts into gold. I won’t say more, but it’s incredibly clever.

 

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

I desperately want to go to southern Italy. I would have to pack a big straw hat, comfortable sandals, and lots of sunscreen!

 

Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

I like to read the books and arts sections of the NYT.

 

Last person you sent a text message to?

We have a family group chat with my husband and my kids. I sent them a photo of our puppy, Winston.

 

Book you read that you wished you wrote?

I just reread Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth. I can’t even imagine being able to write like that.

 

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

I had a wonderful teacher for my writing class at the Sarah Lawrence Writing Institute. His name is Steve Schnur, and he was so encouraging.

 

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

I can’t listen to music while I write, but I listen to music while I’m thinking about writing. It’s a great time for me to puzzle out plot points, come up with backstory, and ruminate about my characters. While I was writing The Wartime Sisters, I listened to the Sirius radio 1940’s station for a full year. I drove around in my car and listened to those songs. A lot of the music made its way into the book as songs Arietta performs.

 

Describe your writing space?

I write at my kitchen table, usually with a big cup of coffee nearby. Sometimes I go to my library or a local coffee shop too. Actually, right now I’m in the process of turning the room over my garage into an office. I just ordered a desk – it’s my first, and I’m super excited about it because it’s blue!

 

Coffee or tea?

Coffee. I drink tea too, but I would be lost without coffee.

 

Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

This is such an interesting question. I don’t. I tend to pick books specifically for each individual. But that’s a good idea!

 

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

I loved the Half-Magic books by Edward Eager when I was young, and I always wished for a movie of them.

 

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

 Putting It Together from the musical Sunday in the Park with George. It’s about the creative process, and whenever I listen to it, I feel inspired.

 

What/Who inspires you?

 My children. They are 19 and 16, and I wish I could have their energy and their confidence.

 

Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Nope. I can’t watch it. It all makes me cringe. The only reality television I watch is The Great British Baking Show.

 

Favorite Instagram account?

I love @pawaddicted. I could watch puppy videos all day long.

 

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

Lauren Willig’s The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. It would be pink, of course!

 

Current #TBR pile?

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

The Summer Country by Lauren Willig

In Another Time by Jillian Cantor

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray

 

Best advice you’ve ever received?

It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

 

Follow Lynda:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram