Open Book with Fiona Davis

First of all, THIS. COVER.  Second, Fiona Davis is a queen of chic historical fiction and Chelsea Girls is no exception.  The stunning Chelsea Hotel and two fierce females looking for stardom during a scary time is all you need to know that Davis can craft a novel like the best of them.  This has hit multiple “Best of Summer” lists and I am thrilled Fiona joined us for Open Book.  When an author lists Nora Ephron for any answers in the Q&A, I know we will hit it off!

Chelsea Girls

via Amazon ~

The bright lights of the theater district, the glamour and danger of 1950s New York, and the wild scene at the iconic Chelsea Hotel come together in a dazzling new novel about a twenty-year friendship that will irrevocably change two women’s lives—from the national bestselling author of The Dollhouse and The Address.

From the dramatic redbrick facade to the sweeping staircase dripping with art, the Chelsea Hotel has long been New York City’s creative oasis for the many artists, writers, musicians, actors, filmmakers, and poets who have called it home—a scene playwright Hazel Riley and actress Maxine Mead are determined to use to their advantage. Yet they soon discover that the greatest obstacle to putting up a show on Broadway has nothing to do with their art, and everything to do with politics. A Red scare is sweeping across America, and Senator Joseph McCarthy has started a witch hunt for Communists, with those in the entertainment industry in the crosshairs. As the pressure builds to name names, it is more than Hazel and Maxine’s Broadway dreams that may suffer as they grapple with the terrible consequences, but also their livelihood, their friendship, and even their freedom.

Spanning from the 1940s to the 1960s, The Chelsea Girls deftly pulls back the curtain on the desperate political pressures of McCarthyism, the complicated bonds of female friendship, and the siren call of the uninhibited Chelsea Hotel

FionaDavis_Credit Deborah Feingold

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

Nora Ephron, Alva Vanderbilt, and Jon Stewart.

 

  1. Current binge series?

 Euphoria. I can’t look away, it’s so haunting.

 

  1. Last favorite book?

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. Fun, frothy, but with an emotional punch.

 

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

Off to a mountain resort to read and hike. I’d include a novel, a swishy dress for a fancy dinner, and a moleskin notebook.

 

  1. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Sunday NYT, with the crossword puzzle.

 

  1. Last person you sent a text message to?

Cynthia – one of my best friends – as we’re coordinating a girls’ weekend in the country.

 

  1. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Longbourn by Jo Baker

 

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

My AP English teacher in high school taught me to love literature and read books with a critical eye.

 

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

No – pure silence, other than the street noises of New York City.

 

  1. Describe your writing space?

It’s a room in my apartment with a sideways view of the Hudson River. When I’m stuck, I stare out at the water until inspiration strikes.

 

  1. Coffee or tea?

Coffee in the morning (two cups) and tea at four (my parents are English, and that stuck).

 

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

A favorite book that I was given as a gift and like to buy for others is How Green Was My Valley, about Wales. It’s gorgeous.

 

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

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.

 

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

Dancing Barefoot by Patti Smith. There’s such a sense of freedom in the music and the lyrics.

 

  1. What/Who inspires you?

Lillian Hellman, who fought against the blacklist and the House U-American Activities committee during the McCarthy era, and won.

 

  1. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Yes – for one show, RHONY. Can’t look away.

 

  1. Favorite Instagram account?

Accidental Icon – she’s a woman with flair who’s unafraid.

 

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

I’d create Daisy Nude from Daisy Jones & the Six.

 

  1. Current #TBR pile?

 The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali

Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland

 

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t worry too much about striving for perfection – good enough is good enough.

 

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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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