Open Book with Minnie Darke

Still celebrating all things rom com, I thought only fitting to celebrate one of the best rom com books of the season!  Minnie Darke’s fictional debut, Star Crossed has gotten lovely accolades and high praise from readers and authors alike.  I am thrilled to host Minnie as my latest Open Book, all the way from down under!  Hollywood are you listening, this book is a movie in the making ❤

Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke.jpg

via Amazon ~

A sparkling romantic comedy about one woman’s decision to tinker with the horoscopes of the man of her dreams—with far-reaching consequences

“A bright, brilliant, joyful love story.”—Josie Silver, #1 New York Times bestselling author of One Day in December

When childhood sweethearts Justine (Sagittarius and serious skeptic) and Nick (Aquarius and true believer) bump into each other as adults, a life-changing love affair seems inevitable. To Justine, anyway. Especially when she learns Nick is an astrological devotee, whose decisions are guided by the stars, and more specifically, by the horoscopes in his favorite magazine. The same magazine Justine happens to write for. As Nick continues to not fall headlong in love with her, Justine decides to take Nick’s horoscope, and Fate itself, into her own hands. But, of course, Nick is not the only Aquarius making important life choices according to what is written in the stars.

Charting the ripple effects of Justine’s astrological meddling, Star-Crossed is a delicious, intelligent, and affecting love story about friendship, chance, and how we all navigate the kinds of choices that are hard to face alone.

Advance praise for Star-Crossed

“Swoon-worthy . . . a smart, sweet love story about friendship, destiny, and the power of choice.”Bustle

“[A] juicy romance novel.”Good Housekeeping

“This cleverly structured first outing from the pseudonymous Darke will appeal to fans of romantic comedy, astrology, and chaos. Utterly charming and ripe for development as a film.”Booklist

“Winning . . . Unpretentious, well-drawn characters and the fresh twist on the childhood sweethearts reunited setup make this perfect for fans of romantic comedies.”Publishers Weekly

“Darke creates a world of stargazers whose destinies eventually collide. . . . Funny and enticing.”―Library Journal

Minnie Darke author photo credit Karen Brown

 

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

All dead, I’m afraid: Angela Carter, fairy tale re-teller, Anthony Minghella, one of the creators of Jim Henson’s Storyteller, and Sylvia Plath, poet.

 

  1. Current binge series?

I am one of the world’s most immoderate narrative junkies, which makes binge watching a particular danger for me. I don’t binge when I’m working on a new novel – it’s a recipe for getting derailed, but I’m very much hoping that finishing my book coincides nicely with the release of season three of Stranger Things.I have loved Winona Ryder since I was a teenager.

 

  1. Last favorite book?

The Bitterwood Bible by Australian fairy-tale retailer Angela Slatter.

 

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

A jar of Vegemite (not a tube – it’s different), and a brand new diary and a seriously warm coat. I would go to all the Scandinavian countries, maybe for some of the time on a cruise boat. And, on the way home – because everywhere is on the way home when you’re Australian – I would go everywhere Canada’s Atlantic provinces, including revisiting Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton Island and going to Newfoundland for the first time.

 

  1. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Ah … Australia’s Radio National?

 

  1. Last person you sent a text message to?

My friend and sometime co-writer Heather Rose – she’s an amazing and award-winning Australian writer and we write children’s novels together as Angelica Banks.

 

  1. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Uprooted, by Naomi Novik. It’s about a young woman sent to be a companion to a wizard in a tower, only to find she has powers of her own. I love the world Novik creates, and the way she writes about different types of magic – male and female magic, high and low.

 

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

Oh, yes. Yes and yes. My teacher in Grade Five and Six was Peter Jerrim, himself a writer, but also a generous, creative, beautifu person who read to our class every day, and allowed me to fill exercise after exercise book with writing. I was thrilled that Peter was able to launch Star-crossed.

 

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

Not while I write, but immediately and after. Music is the ultimate in medication and mood creation. My tastes swing from 1980s music like The Stone Roses and the Cocteau Twins, to beautiful Australian singers like Sophie Koh and Lucy Wise, and Canadian folk bands like the East Pointers and the Small Glories. Actually, my next book is about music and the impact it has on us.

 

  1. Describe your writing space?

My writing space is a bespoke timber caravan with sloping walls and a curved roof, headlight windows featuring sunflowers, and a cork board that I can use as an inspiration board. It has a tap on the porch so I can fill the kettle and rinse my tea cup. Inside, it had an antique desk with a green leather top, two heaters (this is Tasmania), a selection of slippers and fingerless gloves, framed photos by the fairy tale photographer Lorena Carrington, and a bookshelf filled with a tiny fraction of my TBR pile. On my desk are my guardians. Two of them are rag dolls – one called Patience, and one called Enthusiasm – and the other is a Yoda figurine.

 

  1. Coffee or tea?

Tea. And I quote Colley Cibber: “Tea! Thou soft, thou sober, sage and venerable liquid … to whose glorious insipidity, I owe the happiest moments of my life, let me fall prostrate.”

 

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

I am always buying books for children, and lately I have given several copies of Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor, which I think is magnificent.

 

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

The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss.

 

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

Defying Gravity, from Wicked

 

  1. What/Who inspires you?

Almost everything inspires me, to be honest. I love wit and whimsy – those are vital cordials for my creativity – but in truth inspiration often comes from the smallest things – something overheard when eavesdropping, something seen in passing, a thought bubble, a line of text.

 

  1. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Pass on the basis of being Australian.

 

  1. Favorite Instagram account?

I confess to being something of an Instagram avoider. My webmistress (a man, incidentally) and my teenage daughter take care of this for me. They let me know when it’s time for me to provide them with copy, or when I need to send personal replies.

 

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

Infinite Jest, and it would be a multicoloured shade – a mosaic of coral red, aqua blue, pale green, lemon yellow and pink – a bit like a packet of Fruit Tingles.

 

  1. Current #TBR pile?

Infinity x 10

 

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received?

There’s no such thing as biting off more than you can chew. You just take a big bite and chew like hell. (As well as being the best, this is also possibly the worst advice I’ve ever received!)

Follow Minnie:

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Open Book with Beth O’Leary

It’s Rom Com week over here and I am kicking it off with my latest read, The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary.  In her debut novel she writes about two roommates who discover they may just be each other’s soulmates only through a series of post-it notes!  Hello movie material.  I am thrilled Beth took the time, and she has some really fabulous answers, to be my latest Open Book, from all the way across the pond!  She has stunning book taste and is the first author to incorporate a Harry Potter character into her dream book club- yes please!

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via Amazon ~

“With likable main characters, spot-on dialogue, a fun premise, and plenty of drama, there’s a lot to like in this sweet story. A warm, enchanting love story perfect for fans of classic rom-coms.” (Kirkus Reviews)

What if your roommate is your soul mate? A joyful, quirky romantic comedy, Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare is a feel-good audiobook about finding love in the most unexpected of ways.

Tiffy and Leon share an apartment. Tiffy and Leon have never met.

After a bad breakup, Tiffy Moore needs a place to live. Fast. And cheap. But the apartments in her budget have her wondering if astonishingly colored mold on the walls counts as art.

Desperation makes her open-minded, so she answers an ad for a flatshare. Leon, a night-shift worker, will take the apartment during the day, and Tiffy can have it nights and weekends. He’ll only ever be there when she’s at the office. In fact, they’ll never even have to meet.

Tiffy and Leon start writing each other notes – first about what day is garbage day, and politely establishing what leftovers are up for grabs, and the evergreen question of whether the toilet seat should stay up or down. Even though they are opposites, they soon become friends. And then maybe more.

But falling in love with your roommate is probably a terrible idea…especially if you’ve never met.

 

Beth O'Leary_credit Ellen O'Leary

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

Jane Austen – I’ve always thought she’d be fun. She’s so witty, and so astute in how she
describes people, which I reckon means she’d be a hilarious gossip in real life.

Marian Keyes – She’s brilliant on Twitter, and I adore her books. She’s a really
passionate reader, too, and great at sharing reads she’s enjoyed, which would make for an excellent book club member.

And finally… Hermione Granger, because ten-year-old me always wanted her to be my
best friend, and I reckon being in a book club together would be a good start 😉

2. Current binge series?

I re-binged on Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness series recently. She’s a kids’ fantasy
writer who I adored as a child and often come back to for a comfort read. These books
are about a girl in a magical land who wants to be a knight but can’t because she’s
female. It’s got magic, kick-ass young women and one hell of a love triangle – what’s not
to love?

3. Last favorite book?

I fell head over heels for Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient. I pretty much inhaled it in a
day. I loved both protagonists so much – I just had to keep reading and find out what
happened to them!

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

My dream vacation would be staying in a lodge somewhere secluded with beautiful,
rugged mountains all around, and a log-burning stove to curl up and read by.
Number one on my packing list would be a kindle (this is just so I can cheat and pack
more than one book). Then some fleecy pyjamas for cosy nights in front of the fire.
Lastly… can I say my puppy? I hate leaving her behind when I go on holiday!

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Ooh, this is a tough question for a Brit! I’m not familiar with either…

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My boyfriend. It was actually a VERY excited message with a lot of exclamation marks,
because I was telling him that I’ve just found out The Flatshare made it in to the Sunday
Time Top Ten in its first week on sale!!

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?
Rosie Walsh’s Ghosted. It is such a beautifully crafted novel, and it blends genres really
cleverly – it’s romantic, but it has a thriller-ish twist, and there’s some stunningly truthful
writing about grief in there too. I was fiercely jealous the whole time I was reading it…

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

Yes – Mr. D, as he was known when I was at school! (You know you’re the cool teacher
when the kids don’t use your full name.) He really encouraged me to keep writing, and
read my stories even when he didn’t have to. He actually read my first finished novel, a
50-thousand-word monstrosity that I cringe to think about now…

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

I often listen to music while writing, but the songs vary depending on the story and even
on the individual scene. The Flatshare was written on my train journey to and from work, and initially I just used music to block out background noise, but I gradually built a
playlist that sounded like the book – songs that evoked the uplifting vibe I wanted The
Flatshare to have, or reflected something I felt about my main characters. There’s lots of
folksy pop on there, and songs about the feeling of home: Like Home by Colin & Caroline, Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.  The playlist has been especially useful for editing, because it allows me to get back into the heads of my characters after some time away.

10. Describe your writing space?

I have a lovely writing desk in front of a window, all perfectly set up for me to work at…
but I’ve ended up writing most of my second book on the sofa or at the kitchen table. It
just felt too intimidating writing at a desk, somehow! I still write really well on train
journeys, too, as The Flatshare was entirely written that way.

11. Coffee or tea?

Tea – and lots of it. Though I do love to treat myself to a latte now and then!

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

I gave lots of people One Day in December by Josie Silver for Christmas. It’s such a
perfect festive read, full of snowy romance, with some strong, meaningful friendship in
there too (which I love).

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

The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman. This stunning time-travel novel is
so visual, I think it would work amazingly on screen. It flits between the 1970s and the
present day, and it’s a real tear-jerker.

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

Dolly Parton’s Better Get To Livin’. I’m such an overthinker, I could do with this playing
nonstop as I go about my life, to remind me to stop worrying, be more positive and focus
on living the best life I can.

15. What/Who inspires you?

I love rom com writers like Sophie Kinsella, Marian Keyes and Mhairi McFarlane – they
definitely inspired me to write in this genre. I would also say I’m really inspired by the
wonderful women around me – my mother, my sister, my friends – and the really good
men, too: my dad, my brothers, my friends, and of course my boyfriend. They make me
want to write uplifting love stories about real people who deserve happy endings.

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

I occasionally get obsessed with a reality TV show – I watched Love Island religiously
last year – but I only tend to like it if there’s an element of romance involved… (Which is
true of books that I read, too!)

17. Favorite Instagram account?

I’ve recently discovered Pieladybooks – she makes the most amazing book themed pies!
Seriously, check out her grid.

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

Sense and Sensibility. It would be a delicate nude colour… with a bit of a seductive shine
to it when it catches the light.

19. Current #TBR pile?

I’m itching to start Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love – that’s been next on
my list for forever, but other books keep sneaking in and jumping up the stack! I’m very
lucky because now publishers send me ARCs of upcoming books, and I do find it hard to
resist digging in to those…

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

My dad often says ‘trust your ski’. My parents decided to try learning to ski in their
fifties, which was a big step for them, and their instructor used to say that to them – but
my dad has repurposed the phrase for use in everyday life. He says it to remind me to
trust my gut instinct and trust myself.

 

Follow Beth:

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Open Book with Kristy Woodson Harvey

The sun is out and beach reads are here!  One of my all time-favorite poolside writing queens, Kristy Harvey Woodson, has a new book out and her back catalog always should be mandatory summer reading.  Her latest is the third installment in her Peachtree Bluff Series and at its core is the continuation of Ansley and her three daughters with that deeply woven thread of southern charm that makes it so magical.  I am thrilled to have Kristy on the blog today talking ALL of my favorite things- Bravo, Reese, Oprah, Mindy, the beach and Daisy Jones!  If she wasn’t my spirit friend then I don’t know who is?! ❤

image001-6.jpg

via Amazon ~

From internationally bestselling author and “rising star of Southern fiction” (Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author) Kristy Woodson Harvey comes the third novel in her Peachtree Bluff series, in which a secret threatens the tight-knit bond between a trio of sisters and their mother.

With the man of her dreams back in her life and all three of her daughters happy, Ansley Murphy should be content. But she can’t help but feel like it’s all a little too good to be true.

Meanwhile, youngest daughter and actress Emerson, who is recently engaged and has just landed the role of a lifetime, seemingly has the world by the tail. Only, something she can’t quite put her finger on is worrying her—and it has nothing to do with her recent health scare.

When two new women arrive in Peachtree Bluff—one who has the potential to wreck Ansley’s happiness and one who could tear Emerson’s world apart—everything is put in perspective. And after secrets that were never meant to be told come to light, the powerful bond between the Murphy sisters and their mother comes crumbling down, testing their devotion to each other and forcing them to evaluate the meaning of family.

With Kristy Woodson Harvey’s signature charm, wit, and heart, The Southern Side of Paradise is another masterful Peachtree Bluff novel that proves she is a “Southern writer with staying power” (Booklist).

 

Kristy Woodson Harvey (c) Jay Ackerman

1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with? Reese Witherspoon, Oprah and Jennifer Weiner

 

2. Current binge series? The Mindy Project

 

3. Last favorite book? I’m Fine and Neither are You, Camille Pagán

 

4. What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it? Bikini, sunscreen, book! The British Virgin Islands. It is my most favorite vacation spot and I am so hoping it has recovered from all the hurricane devastation by next winter. 

 

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly? Both!

 

6. Last person you sent a text message to? Group text about a friend’s birthday party!

 

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote? DAISY JONES AND THE SIX, Taylor Jenkins Reid. 

 

8. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer? Yes! Two. Michelle Reinhardt-Cline and Chris Myers, my high school English and history teachers. They both influenced my writing but, really, they were the kind of teachers that encouraged students to go for their dreams. And that is huge!

 

9. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who? Not usually but if I do I listen to either James Taylor or Jason Mraz because I know all their songs so well they don’t distract me!

 

10. Describe your writing space? I am building a new one right now and am SO EXCITED. As for right now, I write in the corner of my bedroom on this gorgeous mirrored desk I was pining for that my husband surprised me with. It has the most beautiful water view and is all-around relaxing and lovely.

 

11. Coffee or tea? Tea. 

 

12. Do you have a favorite book that you gift? A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN. It is my all-time favorite book.

 

13. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of? Can I say mine? Just kidding! I just finished COURTING MR. LINCOLN and I loved it so much. I’m kind of a history nerd, and I would love to see the tension in Lincoln’s relationships with Mary Todd and Joshua Speed play out on the big screen. 

 

14. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why? Carolina in my Mind by James Taylor. I am, ironically, a huge homebody. I am leaving tomorrow for a five-week book tour as I type this, but I love being at home, on the Carolina coast, more than most anyone I know! Don’t get me wrong, I love being out meeting readers. It fulfills me big time. But I travel a ton now, all year long, which is not something I ever would have imagined. 

 

15. What/Who inspires you? The water. My son. Free time, which is perhaps the largest luxury in my life right now! (As in, it is scarce!)

 

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no? Obviously. Real Housewives of New York is my favorite! And I know it isn’t Bravo, but I have watched The Bachelor since its first season. I am a huge reader, of course, but sometimes I need that totally mindless time.

 

17. Favorite Instagram account? @jeannemckayhartmann  Jeanne is an artist and illustrator who has painted several of my book covers and other pretty illustrations. Her art is gorgeous and she paints something new almost every day. It’s super inspiring.

 

18. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? I’d name it “Slightly South” and it would be a very avant-garde haint blue. People could wear it to UNC games and have Carolina blue lips. (This is why no one has asked me to create a make-up line…)

19. Current #TBR pile? THE TWO LILA BENNETTS, Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke, HOW COULD SHE, Lauren Mechling, UNDER CURRENTS, Nora Roberts, TIDELANDS, Philippa Gregory 

 

20. Best advice you’ve ever received? It has to be someone. It might as well be you. My husband used to say that to me all the time when I was too scared to go for getting an agent, getting published etc. I think about that all the time now, instead of that it couldn’t be me, why not me? I mean, really. Why not you, too?

 

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Open Book with Randy Susan Meyers

Boston writers are some of the best and Randy Susan Meyers is no exception.  Her latest, Waisted, tackles women’s body image issues and female empowerment when a group of women join a weight loss camp to find out it is not all it seems.  Meyers, who always so brilliantly takes on issues that are at our forefront, is my latest Open Book and of course she is AH-mazing!  From Nora Ephron (my favorite!) to Dead to Me (it’s a must-binge) to an empowering bookish lip color, Randy is a wonderful author and woman (follow her on SOCIAL!) and my guess would probably be a fabulous coffee date ❤

WAISTED_Cover Image

via Amazon ~

In this provocative, wildly entertaining, and compelling novel, seven women enrolled in an extreme weight loss documentary discover self-love and sisterhood as they enact a daring revenge against the exploitative filmmakers.

Alice and Daphne, both successful and accomplished working mothers, harbor the same secret: obsession with their weight overshadows concerns about their children, husbands, work—and everything else of importance in their lives. Scales terrify them.

Daphne, plump in a family of model-thin women, learned only slimness earns admiration at her mother’s knee. Alice, break-up skinny when she met her husband, risks losing her marriage if she keeps gaining weight.

The two women meet at Waisted. Located in a remote Vermont mansion, the program promises fast, dramatic weight loss, and Alice, Daphne, and five other women are desperate enough to leave behind their families for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The catch? They must agree to always be on camera; afterward, the world will see Waisted: The Documentary.

The women soon discover that the filmmakers have trapped them in a cruel experiment. With each pound lost, they edge deeper into obsession and instability…until they decide to take matters into their own hands.

author social media 2018 color Randy Susan Meyers social media sq-1973

1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a
bookclub with? Roxane Gay, Nora Ephron, & Whoopi Goldberg.
2. Current binge series? Dead to Me
3. Last favorite book? Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl
4. What 3 things do you pack in your bag for your dream vacation? Kindle (I couldn’t
possibly pack enough paper books for a vacation.) Airy cotton caftan. Bathing suit.
Where is it? Santorini islands in Greece.
5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly? Sunday NYT
6. Last person you sent a text message to? My BFF
7. Book you read that you wished you wrote? Homegoing by Yaa Gyassi
8. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer? Miss Leanza in 2 nd
grade.
9. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who? I need total silence when writing.
10. Describe your writing space? I write in my family room where I rotate between a comfy stuffed club chair and perfectly worn couch. There I’m surrounded by many pots oforchids, two overgrown Boston ferns, an aloe plant ready to take over the house, and jadeplants. The oriental rug had many shades of red and best of all is a view of my garden (otherwise known as my therapist.)
11. Coffee or tea? Coffee!
12. Do you have a favorite book that you gift? The Unstoppable Ruth Ginsburg: American
Icon
13. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?
I Will Survive, because at every worst point in my life I worked to find the strength no
matter how deep I had to dig.
14. What/Who inspires you? Gloria Steinem—because she’s never stopped working for
justice.
15. Bravo reality TV- yes or no? No
16. Favorite Instagram account? @bklynlibrary
17. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what
shade would it be? I’d name the lipstick Determination after The Women of Brewster
Place by Gloria Naylor. The color would be a clear strong shade of cherry.
18. Current #TBR pile? Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11 by Mitchell Zukoff, The Floating
Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland, The Secrets Between Us: A Novel by Thrity Umrigar.
19. Best advice you’ve ever received? My grandmother’s advice to be kind.

 

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Open Book with Wendy Walker

Thrilled, pun actually intended to have Wendy Walker on the blog today!  She is a suspense and thriller extraordinaire who always keeps us guessing and looking behind our shoulder 😉  Her latest, The Night Before, is about two sisters and an online date gone bad- literally the best companion for spring break and beach reading!  Coffee, Fleetwood Mac and Gillian Flynn- Wendy is my spirit animal ❤

NIGHT BEFORE, THE.jpg

via Amazon ~

First dates can be murder.

“Ferociously smart.” ―AJ Finn
“Riveting.” ―Riley Sager
“Addictive.” ―Liv Constantine
“Wonderfully tense.” ―Aimee Molloy
“Irresistible.” ―Mary Kubica
“Impossible to put down.” ―Megan Miranda

Riveting and compulsive, national bestselling author Wendy Walker’s The Night Before “takes you to deep, dark places few thrillers dare to go” as two sisters uncover long-buried secrets when an internet date spirals out of control.

Laura Lochner has never been lucky in love. She falls too hard and too fast, always choosing the wrong men. Devastated by the end of her last relationship, she fled her Wall Street job and New York City apartment for her sister’s home in the Connecticut suburb where they both grew up. Though still haunted by the tragedy that’s defined her entire life, Laura is determined to take one more chance on love with a man she’s met on an Internet dating site.

Rosie Ferro has spent most of her life worrying about her troubled sister. Fearless but fragile, Laura has always walked an emotional tightrope, and Rosie has always been there to catch her. Laura’s return, under mysterious circumstances, has cast a shadow over Rosie’s peaceful life with her husband and young son – a shadow that grows darker as Laura leaves the house for her blind date.

When Laura does not return home the following morning, Rosie fears the worst. She’s not responding to calls or texts, and she’s left no information about the man she planned to meet. As Rosie begins a desperate search to find her sister, she is not just worried about what this man might have done to Laura. She’s worried about what Laura may have done to him…

Wendy-Walker-Headshot_credit Bill Miles

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

Gillian Flynn, because she has a profound understanding of the connection between family history and the dark side of the human psyche. Jane Austen, because she would find us stories with characters like Mr. Darcy (sigh). And Jonathan Franzen, because he would keep us away from the wine and gossip, and into the deeper literary aspects of the books.

Current binge series?

The Handmaid’s Tale, Season 3. Nothing I have watched before or after the very first episode of Season 1 has captivated and moved me like this series. And I could watch Elisabeth Moss sit in a chair making subtle facial expressions for hours.

Last favorite book?

Where the Crawdads Sing. I rarely get to read outside my genre, so this was a real treat. A great story about perseverance and integrity. I also need to give a shout out to my fellow thriller writers with May books: The Last Time I Saw You by Liv Constantine and The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda. I got a sneak peak and they are both fantastic.

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

Pajamas. Bathing suit. Book. I would say great company but that evokes images of people stuffed in suitcases – maybe I should save that for my next novel! Any destination that is quiet and warm, has a cozy bed, a place to run or hike or do yoga, and coffee and wine would do just fine.

Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Oh, please don’t make me choose! Yin and yang – I need both.

Last person you sent a text message to?

My kids – when will you be home, what do you want for dinner, etc. etc.

Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. The profound moral issues and character development are what I strive for in every book. This one is near perfection on all fronts.

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

I didn’t actually consider writing until my early thirties. However, when I was a senior in high school, I had a teacher named Mrs. Sundquist who encouraged us to write stories with emotional depth, drawn from personal experiences. This is always the first place I start when I begin to plot a new novel.

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

Never. I need dead quiet. Even a ticking clock will do me in.

Describe your writing space?

I write on my laptop so I can be anywhere that is quiet, warm and inspiring. Sometimes I write at the kitchen table with the door to the back yard wide open. Sometimes I sit in a chaise lounge in front of the fire. Sometimes I stay in my bed, under the covers. It’s all about quiet and comfort!

Coffee or tea?

Coffee, all day long!

Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

I love attending book events for my author friends and gifting signed copies. I think a signed book makes a great gift.

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

Uh, one of mine? Seriously, though, I would have to say All The Light We Cannot See. It has everything a movie needs – drama, atmosphere, history, and emotion. Hollywood – let’s do this!  

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

I have to go with Landslide by Fleetwood Mac. First of all, I used to worship Stevie Nicks. Friends from college will attest to this. For me, this song is about the constant changing of life. No matter how far you go in adjusting and overcoming obstacles, there are always more ahead. It is a reminder to enjoy the journey, because that’s all there really is.

What/Who inspires you?

My children, always. I am meticulous about preserving the memories of their lives – videos, photos, artwork from 1st Grade. I am constantly curating and editing, and so I have frequent reminders of the various stages of their lives and how miraculous they are. It is so easy to stagnate when we settle into adult life, and to accept this stagnation. My children inspire me to keep dreaming and striving and changing.

Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Not really, BUT I have to admit to being pulled back into The Bachelorette/Bachelor series with some of my friends. It’s a total guilty pleasure and a much-needed respite from the dark dramas I am typically drawn to. And, let’s be honest – they seem somewhat scripted to me, which makes it even more fun as a writer to guess where the producers will take things.

Favorite Instagram account?

Binchcity. It’s the account of a young college woman, and the daughter of a very old friend. She is hilarious and honest and keeps me in touch with my younger reader base.

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

Eat, Pray, Love – vermilion red, and the kind that won’t wear off with continued use 🙂

Current #TBR pile?

A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

Best advice you’ve ever received?

One of the therapists who helped me with a book gave me the best advice I have ever received. She said that almost every reaction we have is influenced by events which occurred in childhood when our brains were still developing. I am not a fan of self-help one-liners, but change your thoughts, change your life is all about understanding this connection between past experiences and current perceptions. Being able to wrangle our emotions is not an easy task, but it has very powerful results!

 

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Open Book with Janna King

The follow-up to Janna King’s The Seasonaires, Malibu Bluff,  takes readers back to the fashionable and scandalous world of Lyndon Wyld’s clothing line with a new group of seasonaires.  If you love Gossip Girl or The OC, then you will fall in love with this world that King has created.  I am thrilled she joins me again to talk all things Open Book.  I have to say her dream book club is one of my all time favorites and her bookish lipstick should be a reality in a perfect world 🙂  Malibu Buff is the perfect segue into sunny weather and beachy reads.

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via Amazon ~

A fresh crew of seasonaires hit the California coast and make Malibu their playground in the sizzling and suspenseful follow-up to last summer’s must-read debut.

Every summer is designed as a dream for six twenty-something seasonaires chosen by Lyndon Wyld, the founder of her namesake clothing line. This summer takes these influential brand ambassadors to the West Coast, led by last season’s Mia, who has been roped back in after her mother’s death by a sweeter deal and the hope to leave her grief behind for the California sun.

Mia is thankful that she won’t have to live with another former seasonaire, Presley, who is now handling Lyndon Wyld’s public relations in Los Angeles. In Malibu, Mia will share a stunning modern manse with Eve, an outspoken activist; Alex, a gorgeous boundary pusher; Chase, a professional surfer; Oliver, a preppy charmer; and Brandon, the son of Lyndon’s business partner, and the young producer of the brand’s new digital channel, which will up the seasonaires’ social media game.

Lyndon still pays well for her flock to loll on Malibu’s beaches, hobnob at Hollywood parties, and live the “planned casual” SoCal lifestyle. Their antics are juicy entertainment for their throngs of fans and followers. But detractors from Mia’s past come back to haunt her. And when the line between what’s real and what’s staged gets blurred, the results could be deadly.

 

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

Jonathan Van Ness, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Frida Kahlo

 

  1. Current binge series?

I recently binged “Russian Doll” on Netflix. It’s an intriguing and compelling series on so many levels, and it really resonated with me. I also got through all four seasons of “Outlander” in record time. I’ve never had to catch up like that on a series, but it was worth it!

 

  1. Last favorite book?

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh – a unique and fearless work that mesmerized me from Page One.

 

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

My iPhone with earbuds so I can listen to music, my Kindle so I can read my growing TBR pile, and my laptop so I can write. Ugh – I’m hopelessly plugged in. I would return to Scotland, because I traveled there with my son last year and it was magical.

 

  1. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Sunday NYT online.

 

  1. Last person you sent a text message to?

My daughter, and it was “I just took a sip of coffee and burped at the same time. Not a good combo.” To which I got a facepalm emoji.

 

  1. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. Really, anything by Joan Didion.

 

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

I had two teachers in high school who motivated me to become a writer. Miss O’Brien was kind of scary and very strict, but instilled a work ethic that I still follow today. She told us to always get dressed and sit at a desk when we write. I can count the times on one hand that I’ve worked in bed in my pajamas. Rose Gilbert, (aka “Mama G” to all who knew and loved her) was the most enthusiastic English teacher ever. She was so passionate about literature and had a very memorable way of discussing themes and characters. Crazy props were often used. Plus, she rewarded us with Mother’s Circus Animal Cookies – still my favorites.

 

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

No. I can’t. I love it too much and I concentrate on the lyrics. If a song is happy or angry, I sing, bounce around and throw my arms in the air (which makes it difficult to type). If it’s sad, I cry.

 

  1. Describe your writing space?

Right now, I write at a hutch desk in my den that I’m supposed to close when I’m not working. However, I’m always writing so it’s never closed. I have been toying with the idea of turning my daughter’s bedroom into an office since she’s now out of the house. That way, I can create a healthy separation between my work space and my “relax” space, but I can’t bring myself to commandeer her room yet (or relax).

 

  1. Coffee or tea?

Coffee. I want to love tea, but I’m stuck on my two latte a day habit. Almond milk, lots of sugar.

 

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

I like to gift blank books and journals so that the recipients can write their own stories.

 

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

Harley and Me: Embracing Risk on the Road to a More Authentic Life by Bernadette Murphy. It’s a spirited memoir about transformation after challenges. Bernadette is badass.

 

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

“Dream On” by Aerosmith. Even though it’s a rock song, it’s about the fragility of life and how we need to make the most out of every day.

 

  1. What/Who inspires you?

My two kids are my inspiration. My 22-year-old daughter is a strong, opinionated, self-assured young woman. My 19-year-old son is a warm-hearted, funny, good guy. Both are thoughtful and creative. I’m in awe of them.

 

  1. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

I’ve been watching “Project Runway” since the first season (including its shift to Lifetime for a bit). I can’t believe the looks that these talented designers create in such little time.

 

  1. Favorite Instagram account?

I love any account with cute dogs – boopmynose is a favorite.

 

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

Malibu Blush. It would be a rosy lip balm with SPF, worn with zero other makeup – just a natural summer glow.

 

  1. Current #TBR pile?

A Matter of Chance by Julie Maloney, The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray, Shrill by Lindy West (I also binged the Hulu series starring Aidy Bryant, who is amazing). I’m looking forward to The Two Lila Bennetts by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke.

 

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received?

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.” I have been absolutely unable to follow that advice, but it’s still the best.

 

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Open Book with Rachel Felder

It can be scary to wear but always chic ~ a red lip.  Rachel Felder has paid homage to the iconic beauty in her latest book, Red Lipstick An Ode to a Beauty Icon.  There are so many famous people who have made the red lip a staple in our beauty bags ~ Marilyn, Audrey, Grace, the list goes on.  I personally love a red lip and think the shades that are red go beyond just a classic red.  You can have pink red, orange red, brownish red, the list goes on but the fact is there is a red for all of us and you just have to find the perfect one to rock!  Rachel is my latest Open Book and I love her advice and her dream book club- Chanel, ok?!

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via Amazon ~

A unique, full-color compendium that celebrates and explores the enduring power and allure of the world’s most iconic lip shade, jam-packed with entertaining stories, anecdotes, little-known facts, quotes, and more than 100 gorgeous images culled from fine art, photography, and beauty and fashion editorial and advertising.

“Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.” — Elizabeth Taylor

Lipstick is the one makeup item most women can’t live without—and the most iconic shade is red. Exuding power, sensuality, allure, and mystery, red lips have been a constant of fashion for more than 5,000 years, beginning with Mesopotamian women around 3500 B.C. Throughout the ages, red lipstick has been a signature look worn by royalty, celebrities, and real women across cultures and geography. In fact, nearly all women own a tube of red lipstick, whether it’s the favorite shade they’ve been wearing devotedly for years, or as beauty boost they use for special occasions.

Filled with a show-stopping selection of images and distinctively packaged—the size of a clutch, with a jacket printed with a matte, velvet, red finish—Red Lipstick is the only cultural history of this makeup essential available. Granted unprecedented access to experts and the archives of revered brands like Chanel and Elizabeth Arden, beauty writer Rachel Felder explores the origins and allure of red lipstick and illuminates its association with aristocracy, sex appeal, illicit sexuality, rebellion, power, glamour, fame, and beauty. She also spotlights the fascinating array of women who have worn it through the ages, including monarchs, suffragettes, flappers, working women in World War II, first ladies, political leaders, geishas, Hollywood sirens, rock and rollers, fashionistas, and more.

Inside this enthralling book, you’ll discover why red lipstick makes women more attractive to others (and the science behind it); tips on choosing the most perfect shade of crimson; and a wealth of anecdotes, quotations, select literary excerpts, and trivia, such as the shade Carolyn Bessette Kennedy wore on her wedding day. Red Lipstick is packed with a museum’s worth of fine art, including both Man Ray’s photograph “Red Badge of Courage” and infamous painting “Les Amoreaux;” lush, rarely seen vintage magazine advertisements from stalwart brands like Guerlain and Dior; illustrations by renowned fashion illustrators such as René Gruau, Daisy Villeneuve, and Bil Donovan; artists Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edgar Degas, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Wayne Thiebaud, and Walt Kuhn; and images of famous red lipstick wearers including Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth II, Coco Chanel, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Madonna, Diana Vreeland, Rihanna, Paloma Picasso, and many others.

With its captivating, chic design, beautiful selection of visuals, and engaging, entertaining text, Red Lipstick is a classic, like the perfect red lip shade itself.

 

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

David Bowie, Coco Chanel and Man Ray.

 

Current binge series?

I’m not a binge watcher, but I do watch the news, especially international news online, several times every day.

 Last favorite book?

 I loved Jonathan Coe’s “Middle English”. Coe captures the nuances of modern British life in a way that’s always compelling. This one is extremely timely, since it focused on Brexit.

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

Does red lipstick count as one of the items? I never, ever travel without a capsule wardrobe of red lipstick, with some options of shade and finish.  (And—here’s my travel tip!—I put the clear plastic bag of lipsticks inside a chic leather clutch that becomes my evening purse on arrival.). The other three items I would bring are a pair of oversized vintage sunglasses; a tablet filled with music, books, and magazines; and a fountain pen with which to write on hotel stationery, napkins, and pretty notebooks purchased on the trip.  I’m a city-lover, so it would a visit to a cultural capital.

 Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Since I’ve written many articles for The Sunday New York Times, I definitely pick that!  

 Last person you sent a text message to?

My dear friend, the astrologer Susan Miller. It was red lip emojis.

Book you read that you wished you wrote?

 There are so many! Everything by James Joyce. Every book of poetry by Philip Larkin. Every compilation of scripts by Harold Pinter.  

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

One of the many excellent teachers I had at Barnard College really set me on my way: Joan Snitzer.  She truly empowered me to have confidence in my world view and feel that writing, my great love and creative outlet, could be a career.

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

Yes! Always.  Music is my air.  In the background is a mix of all sorts of established artists—from Nick Drake to The Clash to The Smiths to X—with plenty of newer ones, like Fontaines DC.

Describe your writing space?

First of all, it smells good! There’s always a scented candle burning on my desk, with the aroma chosen to accommodate the mood and season.  There’s usually a cup of tea too. There’s happy clutter—lots of pens, a stack of notebooks, boxes of stationery—and the weathered thesaurus I’ve had for decades.

Coffee or tea?

Tea, tea, and more tea. I gave up coffee nearly a decade ago—it will be ten years in August.  In its place, I’ve learned to truly savor the nuanced deliciousness of tea. Each morning begins with a pot of tea—properly brewed, of course, with loose leaves—and the newspaper. That, to me, is pure bliss.

Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

I usually give beautiful leather-bound notebooks to friends: I love to encourage them to write—and do so on paper, with a pen. But I do sometimes give beautiful coffee table books, like monographs of the work of fashion designers and artists.

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

 Alain de Botton’s “On Love” I’m a huge fan of de Botton’s books—this one lends itself to film scenes from the first pull-you-in sentence

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

“Lipstick” by Buzzcocks, of course!

What/Who inspires you?

I’m inspired by so much! I’m obsessed with art and music, and love the theater too—those media, along with great literature, are fuel that I can’t live without. My biggest inspiration is my daughter, and the goal to show her the beauty and importance of doing something you love, working hard at it, and giving back to others.

 Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

I watch reality on tv news programs instead of “reality” tv.

Favorite Instagram account?

 There’s not one that’s my absolute favorite, but I do follow the accounts of many top makeup artists and beauty entrepreneurs.

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

I’m hoping it’s ok to name if after one of my books instead of someone else’s!  I would create Manic Pop Thrill, inspired by my first book; it would be an intense, deeply pigmented, shocking-pink-tinged red.

 Current #TBR pile?

I’m about to do some book tour dates and have earmarked a stack of books about some of my favorite artists, like Egon Schiele, for the journeys.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

Never leave the house without red lipstick.

 

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