Friday, June 29, 2012

Interview with Mary Carter author of our July featured read The Pub Across the Pond + review

 Interview with Mary Carter
author of The Pub Across the Pond

Mary welcome to the B& General Fiction Book Club forum, we are so happy to have you as our featured author in July when we read your spirited novel The Pub Across The Pond.

Debbie - Mary you will have your 6th novel published on July 31st,
Do you still get butterflies on release day.
Mary - First, thank you for having me. Yes, The Things I Do For You, will be out on July 31st. I don’t necessarily get butterflies because I’m not physically present when the “release” happens, but I do look forward to it. I now have an image of thousands of butterflies being released—I like that, I think I will hold on to it. There is always a lot of anticipation when a book comes out. You’ve spent so much time on it, it’s like your child and you want people to like it, and be nice to it, and invite it to their birthday parties. But you also have to learn to relax because you really can’t control how your book will be received. I try to spend most of my energy on writing the best story I can, and am learning to be a bit Zen about the rest.

Tell us a little about what inspired you to write The Pub Across the Pond
I’ve always loved Ireland and the Irish in general. My great grandmother emigrated from Ireland on my mother’s side and the culture is so strong that generations later I still felt “Irish”. In my lifetime I’ve also fallen for more than one Irishman. None of the relationships worked out the way I wanted so I think it was cathartic to write a novel where I could control the outcome. It was also a great excuse to drink in pubs and visit Ireland. Whenever I’d raise a pint, someone along the bar would invariably say—“She’s working.” Complete with air quotes. Guinness used to actually run a contest where you could win a pub in Ireland, and every time I entered I had this elaborate fantasy of what that would be like. I never did win the real thing, but once again writers have the luxury of changing their luck.

Tell us about your new project The Writers Den, how did it come about and why did you start it.
I love talking about writing and I always have aspiring writers ask me for advice. Years ago I took an online writing course that helped me tremendously while writing my first novel. The course later became a published book—Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver. He’s been teaching his course in Chicago for 26 years and running. We’ve stayed in touch with each book I’ve published, so one day I emailed and asked what he thought about me teaching his unique 6-week writing workshop in NYC. He loved the idea, and it all snowballed from there. So I’ve franchised the workshop, but as a working novelist I have practical experience of my own to offer my students as well.

Tell us where you were and how you felt when you first learned you were going to be a published author.
I was living on a houseboat in Seattle at the time. It was a very small houseboat but it was just “down the block” from the Sleepless in Seattle houseboat. Speaking of which—I have to tell this cute little story—I was told that there was a little boy who lived on the houseboat they used to film Sleepless in Seattle, and one bright summer day they were filming and this little boy fell asleep on the dock. While he was napping they set up for a Christmas scene. So he wakes up to find Christmas lights and fake snow. The poor kid thought he slept through summer and fall. Don’t know if it’s true, but that’s what you hear when you hang around houseboats. Back to me. Believe it or not I don’t remember exactly where I was when the call from my agent came in, I think I was on the houseboat—but I do know that shortly afterwards I walked up and down the pier with this incredible feeling of joy. It had just rained (Really? Rain in Seattle?) and I looked up and there in the skies over Lake Union was a double rainbow. I took it as a promising sign. It was a very special moment.

Tell us about the history of your writing, did you always want to write, are you an overnight success.
My first short story was written when I was four-years-old. It was called “The Boy and the Mouse.” Then in third grade I won a state-wide writing contest with a story about a boy and a muskrat. I don’t know why I was so fascinated with boys and rodents, but hey, whatever gets you going, right? I continued to write poems, essays, short stories, plays, and even a screenplay up until I attempted my first novel. So technically I was very lucky in that the first novel I’d ever written was published, but I had many years of practice behind me.

Tell us about your life as an author, do you write full time, do you belong to a writer’s group.
I am getting close to the dream of writing full time. I still do some freelance work in another field but it’s trickled way down lately. I also conduct the writing classes now. I’ve always thought about writer’s groups but I’ve never actually joined one. Maybe there’s one in my future because I do love meeting and being with other writers. The act of writing is so lonely that we need the support and like-mindedness at times.

Do you do your research behind a desk or do you get to go to the places you write about.
A bit of both. For The Pub Across the Pond I went to Ireland for a month. I’m currently writing a novel set in Italy, but I was only able to go for 8-days so a lot of my research will be online, books, travel videos, etc. Whenever I can, I prefer to be free of the “behind the desk” syndrome and actually get out and see, and do, and touch, and smell, and eavesdrop.

Take us on an average day in the life of Mary Carter
I truly don’t have an “average” day. Sometimes I write on my couch in PJs. Sometimes I go to a coffee shop. Sometimes I go to my writing space. Some days I do other freelance work. Some days I have class in the evening so I am preparing for that. I guess I shake things up quite a bit. I also try to balance it with a social life—friends and activities. I live in NYC after all, so there’s never the excuse that there’s “nothing to do”.
Now let’s step away from the world of books, tell us what’s at the top of your bucket list, if you have one.
I guess I keep mine in my head, I’ve never actually written it down. I want to travel more—if I were rich—I’d probably always be going to a new place. I’d love to spend more time in Italy and learn to speak Italian. I also want to visit Madrid and Portugal. Hong Kong. An African Safari. Machu Piccho. Some day I’d also like to have a house on a beach with a labradoodle.

Mary, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule for answering these questions and for being an integral part of our discussion. 
Thank you so much, it’s so much fun answering these questions, and I can’t wait for the discussion on July 9th!

My review of The Pub Across the Pond
originally published October 2011
The Pub Across The Pond
Mary Carter
336  pages
ISBN 13:9780758253361

Carlene Rivers is unlucky, at love and at life it seems but something told her to buy a raffle ticket at an Irish fair in Ohio, only $20.00 to win a pub in Ireland.
Ronan McBride is a rogue and a gambler, he’s never found the right woman to settle him down but when he looses the family pub in a poker game the women in his family take matters into their own hands, they offer the pub in a raffle, in America open only to Yanks.
Carlene and her winning raffle ticket show up in Ballybeog Ireland to take ownership of her new pub, she leaves the baggage of her old life behind determined to become a new woman. Will she run screaming back to the US or will the locals welcome her with open arms, will it be more than she hoped for or worse than a nightmare at A Pub Across The Pond.

Get ready to kiss the Blarney Stone with this fun, quirky, entertaining Irish Adventure, full of spirit and energy. Mary Carter takes us across the pond to the most unremarkable yet quaint little village in the middle of nowhere Ireland and tells us a tale for a Celtic story lover. Her plot is an amazing mix of intrigue, romance, family drama and Irish hospitality. The narrative goes between the yank speak of Carlene and the Irish brogue of Declan and the rest of the locals, it will keep you in stitches and give you a rare authentic taste of real Ireland, it can get a bit raw but that’s what authentic is all about. Her characters all deserve Oscars for their performances as they are all amazingly believable and utterly charming. Her heroine Carlene is a wonderful portrait of a woman aspiring to be her best by reinventing herself. Her hero Ronan is an irresistible cad that woman  can’t help fall in love with and men want for their best friend, he’s also a genuine caring person who just can’t seem to make the right choices.
It’s a romance, a drama, a contemporary piece of literature and it’s a whole lot of fun. So if you’re in the mood to take a closer walk with the wee folk, or to walk in the Steps of Brigid or Patrick pick up your own copy of this memorable novel.
Thank you Ms. Carter for my must read of October
Buy the book here visit the author’s website here.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review of Coming Up For Air by Patti Callahan Henry

I was asked to participate in the announcement that with the release of the paperback version of the novel the author was also giving readers the very first app developed from a scene in a novel and so I said yes of course I'll blog about it. A few weeks later I received in the mail a box containing a hat planter, seeds and a copy of the novel. So I read the novel and planted the seeds. Here is the result of the seeds, now they must be magic seeds because I only planted them 4 days ago.
Go to Patti's website here for the app.

And this review is the result of the novel

Coming Up For Air
Patti Callahan Henry
St. Martin’s Press
272 pages

Patti Callahan Henry is a new author to me but that won’t last for long because she’s already become a trusted friend. Her novel is a poignant and fragile story of love loss, love gained and what the brokenness of a heart does to a person’s perspective on life, whether they learn from that loss, wallow in it or close their heart to it. It’s one woman’s search for something she didn’t know she was looking for. It was a glimpse of the present and the future by looking to the past. Her narrative is a smooth placid lake with intermittent eddies and crashing waves that brought the sights, smells and scenes straight from her pages onto a view screen in my mind. Her dialogue is the poetry of the south and it resonated in me with every ya’ll and hey she said. Her characters though, those are the stars of her tale, her Ellie and Hutch demanded attention and I breathlessly waited to see what would happen, plus the mystery that was Ellie’s mother hooked me. It is a love story and yet it’s more, it’s a story of life and how the choices made effect it.
If you love the work of Karen White or Dorothea Benton Frank give this author a try and I believe like me you’ll come back for more.

 Little did Ellie Calvin know that her mother’s death would be a catalyst to her finding secrets hid deep. That when her old love Hutch O’Brien contacts her for help with her mother’s part in his exhibit on Atlanta’s Women of the Year in the 60’s she’d learn that the woman she knew her mother to be was once someone very different. That when she opened the Pandora’s box that is her mother’s journal she would find between the pages a spirited and righteous woman who put herself smack dab in the middle of the civil rights movement in Alabama, she’d find a woman who had a secret love, one who wasn’t her father. And this was a mystery because Ellie has followed in her mother’s footsteps with her own methodical life, she used the doubt her mother planted about Hutch’s inappropriateness as a husband to turn in another direction. She didn’t know that working with Hutch would open up ancient wounds that never really closed. She didn’t know that digging around in her mother’s past would somehow dictate her future. But she’s about to discover not only who her mother was, but who she, Ellie, is as well. Ellie will have to make some decisions about what she wants from now on and some of those decisions will have irrevocable effects on those closest to her. She’ll wonder if trying her wings is worth the fall it may bring.
Buy the book here visit the author's website here

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Review of Wicked Nights by Gena Showalter

Wicked Nights
Gena Showalter
411 pages
Four years ago Annabelle Miller was sent to an institution for the criminally insane for the murder of her parents, she was an unwilling witness to the crime, but did not commit it. They were killed by a demon who’s existence until then was never known by Annabelle and since then they won’t leave her alone, they attack and brutalize her even inside the walls of her prison. The only good thing about this is it’s brought about the notice of a group of warrior angels wondering about the constant flow of these demonic beings to the institution.
Zacharel is a warrior angel, he’s not good at following orders, sparing humans while killing demons and is in so much trouble with his deity that his orders to fall are imminent. His last chance is to lead this band of equally troubled and in trouble angels in the fight for good, which has brought him to this asylum and to Annabelle Miller. There is a certain pull that makes Zacharel rescue her, but even after the rescue she’s still a demon magnet and they must solve this puzzle of which demon wants her and why. But as they search for the truth they also discover the feelings they have for each other are anything but benevolent in fact they’re carnal, and there is no room for love when there are demons to fight in fact survival is not guaranteed and carnal thoughts will only lead them to Wicked Nights.

Gena Showalter begins her new affront in the battle of good versus evil by bringing in the big guns, the guys in white wings, the angels. In this her debut to her brand new series, a spin off of her Lords of The Underworld series, who make cameo appearances in this novel where we meet Zacharel again and his less than angelic angel warriors. She took me in a different direction in the ultimate war of the heavens and earth by getting me battle ready with another improbable love story. This time it’s between an angel and a human where the human is definitely more angelic than the angel. She took me straight down to hell to show me where the evil reigns and she gives me more details about her upcoming stars by hinting at the next story too. She uses her customary no holds barred narrative where the angels may need a little mouth washed out with soap action but it totally fits with her storyline. Her hero and heroine are an unlikely pair and I liked watching how she brought them together and kept them there. So if you’re up for a great summer read , vacation distraction and you don’t mind a little soot on angel wings pick up a copy of “Wicked Nights” and let those enormously beautiful wings cool you off.
Ms. Showalter you have taken me down some wicked paths but this one takes the cake and makes me yearn for more.
 Buy the book here visit the author's website here

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New Release feature One Breath Away and Q&A w/Heather Gudenkauf

 New Release Feature One Breath Away
and Q&A with Heather Gudenkauf

Heather welcome to the B& General Fiction forum
Debbie - Please tell us a little about your new novel One Breath Away
Heather - One Breath Away is the story of the small, fictional town of Broken Branch, Iowa whose school is taken hostage by a lone gunman. As the townspeople scramble to save their children, the story unfolds through the points of view of five very different characters: a third grade teacher, a teenage girl, a grandfather, a mother, and a female police officer. 

Your books aren’t always easy to read but are always worth whatever anguish you put me through
Can you tell us where you get your ideas from 
I get the ideas for my novels from the world around me. The idea for my first novel, The Weight of Silence, came to me while hiking alone through a wooded area and These Things Hidden came about after I heard a radio news program that discussed the history of safe haven laws. The idea for One Breath Away came from the many school intruder events in the news, but also from an incident when I was a senior in college. While I was a student at the University of Iowa an angry graduate student went on a rampage killing five and severely injuring a sixth. I was on campus at the time, but well away from the shooting. The incident left a long lasting impression on me and twenty years later I decided to tackle the topic in my writing.

Your bio states that as a youngster as a result of a hearing impairment you often retreated into books
Are you still a reader, what authors and genres do you like to read
I do still love to read – more than ever if that’s possible. I have so many favorite authors but a few that come immediately to mind are Sandra Dallas, Ann Patchett, Louise Erdrich, and TC Boyle. I read before I go to bed each night and can’t wait to be thrust into the worlds and lives of the characters that inhabit the books on my bedside table. I enjoy all genres ~ especially fiction, historical fiction and biographies. One of my all-time favorite biographies is River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey the account of President Roosevelt’s journey down the Amazon River.

Your bio also states that you are an educator, are you still teaching, or do you write full time
Education is in my blood – I come from a long line of educators including my great aunt, my father and siblings. As a child I played school, loved going to school and was one of those kids who eagerly anticipated the end of summer so I could return to school. I have been involved in education for the last twenty years and have taught nearly every grade level. Currently, I serve as my school district’s Title I Reading Coordinator.
I try to write every single day. Some days it’s early in the morning, other days I write in the evenings – it all depends on what is happening in my family life. I am so fortunate to be able to follow both of my passions ~ education and writing.

Do you belong to a writers group.
I do not belong to writers group but I do share my projects with a select group of individuals, who critique, proofread and make suggestions about my writing: my family! I can count on my mom, sisters and nieces to give me honest, constructive feedback about my writing. I send them copies of the manuscript that I am working on and then they dig in. I always appreciate the notations scribbled in the margins and the phone conversations discussing the characters and the direction of the plot. This collaboration definitely makes my writing better.

One Breath Away is your third novel, what are you working on now
I’m always challenged by exploring the complicated lives of women and the ways children cope with calamitous situations.  I think the characters that have become my favorites are Calli from The Weight of Silence and Mrs. Oliver from One Breath Away. Seven year old Calli had an inner strength and bravery in spite of her difficult home life and Mrs. Oliver was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect her students.
I’m just now developing the newest characters that will inhabit my next novel and I love the process of creating their unique histories, the intricacies of their relationships, and their hopes for the future.

I’m sure your fans at B&N would love to meet you in person, do you have any Barnes & Nobel events or signings.
I’m looking forward to visiting the Barnes in Noble in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on July 31, 2012.

Thank you Heather for being our guest and good luck with the novel.
Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me. I would love to hear your readers’ thoughts about the novels. They can visit me at

 My review of One Breath Away

One Breath Away
Heather Gudenkauf
384 pages

Heather Gudenkauf has amazed me before with her poignant and oftentimes difficult to read novels, but this time she goes above and beyond with this tale of the worst nightmare that, a school, parents, teachers and a town should ever endure. She had me gritting my teeth and holding my breath from the first page had me so entranced that I read it in one sitting. She brought me characters that had my sympathy, my empathy and my respect from the beginning and by the end I knew each one intimately. Her storyline is one that you could easily find on any media source local or national and as she tells her main tale she intersperses mini stories of the lives and challenges of her amazing characters and in doing so makes stars of them all. Her narrative is succinct and pull no punches and her dialogue gives perfect voices to her players.

If you’re looking for a novel with substance and depth, a read that will make you think and relish the quote “there for the grace of God go I” this is your one Must Read of the summer.
In a small farming community in Iowa disaster is about to strike on the last day of school before spring break. With a snow storm brewing and temperatures falling to frigid a desperate man walks into the Broken Branch K-12 school building and begins his reign of terror. More than a thousand miles away a woman is painfully recovering from burns suffered from a fire who thought sending her children to her childhood home in Broken Branch Iowa would be safe and has no idea what awaits them. A local policewoman dreads time off without her daughter not knowing what her last day on the job before vacation will be bringing her. A grandfather struggling caring for his grandchildren who were virtual strangers has no idea what he or they will face this day. A third grade teacher is about to learn what sacrifice really is. An angry misplaced teen right in the middle of it all will learn about bravery. All these people will be connected in a way that no person should ever have to experience and “One Breath Away” is all it takes to change these lives forever.
Buy the book here visit the author's website here

Monday, June 25, 2012

New Re-Releases features + Q&A with Barbara Delinsky

Barbara Delinsky has been entertaining me and educating me, making me laugh and cry for years now and St. Martin's Press is re-releasing some of her earlier novels in digital format for the first time.
If you've read her and couldn't find her early works this is your chance, if you've never read her this is a perfect time to start.

New Re-Release Feature 6-25
Barbara Delinsky

Please welcome #1 NY Times Bestselling author Barbara Delinsky to the General Fiction forum.  Barbara is one of my favorite, most prolific authors, and, since late May, a number of her early romance novels have been re-released digitally.   Here is a list of these books on her website, and these are all available in Nook format too.

Debbie - Barbara, it is good to have you visit us here at the General Fiction forum.  Tell us a little about the re-releases, how many are being re-released, whether they only being released in e-form, and why now.
Barbara - Thanks, Debbie.  It’s great to be here.  I am really, really excited about the rerelease of these early romances.  All told, there are sixteen of them, and they’re being released in clusters, starting with the four on sale now, and continuing on into the summer.  These twelve will appear only as e-books for now, but knowing that many of my readers still love holding a physical book in their hands, there will be two 2-in-1 print editions of others of my oldies in fall and winter.
Why now in e-book? Several reasons.  First, there were no e-books when these romances initially came out, and given the ease of bringing e-books to readers, the opportunity was too good to pass up.  Second, with so many of my current readers not having ever seen these early books but being hooked on e-readers, e-books seemed the way to go.  And third, my work in progress, Sweet Salt Air, captures so many of the same emotions as these early books that giving readers an advance taste of love this summer seemed a no-brainer.

I was reading your bio and something intrigued me – it says that your writing career started as a fluke when you saw an article profiling three female writers.  Who were they, and did they have more of an impact on you than just their being female writers?
Honestly? I don’t remember their names.  The sole significance of their being female was that they were raising families and writing at the same time.  They made it sound do-able, which was important to me, since I had a young family, too.  Beyond that, the impact these writers had on me was what they wrote – romance.  I had never read the Harlequin-type romance, but I did then.  I read dozens, literally, in the weeks after reading that piece.  I outlined the ones I liked best, sat down and wrote my own, and it sold!

Tell us a little behind your only non-fiction title Uplift, what’s it about, and what led to your writing it.
The full title of this book gives you a clue to its contents – UPLIFT: Secrets from the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors.  It is comprised of short little hints from more than four hundred survivors, all upbeat and practical, on ways to deal with a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.  The inspiration for this book?  Katherine Evans.  She is a secondary character who appeared in my novel, Coast Road, in 1998, and she’d had breast cancer, just as I have.  She was attractive and artistic and sexy.  Readers loved her and wrote so many notes that I realized they were hungry for a positive, upbeat, can-do role model like Katherine, perhaps even like myself.  I conceived of UPLIFT as a support group in book form, and that’s just what it is.
I love all my books.  They’re my children.  But UPLIFT has a special place in my heart.  My mother died of breast cancer when I was eight, and now, to date, thanks to the proceeds from this book, I’ve been able to fund eight years of a breast fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.  With the help of those fellows, treatment of breast cancer gets better and better.

Many writers are also readers.  Are you?  Who do you like to read?
Sadly, I read minimally when I’m writing.  The danger is being drawn into someone else’s book so deeply that I confuse voices when I return to my own!  That said, I am in a book group, and our list runs the gamut from fiction to non-fiction, literature to popular fiction.  I gotta say – I love the latter.  I’ve been having a ball with Fifty Shades …

What’s the longest research trip you ever took, and for what novel was it?
I went to San Francisco for Coast Road, which, since I live in Boston, is a haul.  Funny, though, San Francisco didn’t work for me – maybe because it’s a romantic city and my husband wasn’t there, so I felt totally alone.  He did join me afterward for several days in Big Sur, one of our favorite vacation spots.  So that’s where I ended up setting my book, with only the occasional, foggy San Francisco scene.

You describe yourself as a character-driven author.  Can you explain that to us?
Interesting choice of words.  I’ve always thought of my plots as being character-driven, since the action involves people and their emotional growth.  But I guess I’m a character-driven person, too – i.e., I love observing people, love interacting with them, love seeing their growth.

What are you working on next?
I am in the final few chapters of Sweet Salt Air, the story of two friends who reunite after ten years apart.  One is a food blogger, the other a journalist, and their plan is to compile a cookbook of recipes and local lore from the island where they spent childhood summers.  Once there, the details of their lives during those ten years apart clash in unexpected and heart-wrenching ways.  Talk about character-driven?   Sweet Salt Air explores the limits of marriage, friendship, and love.

I know a lot of fans here would love to meet you in person.  Do you have in-between release events at B&N stores?
Since I’ve been burning the midnight oil working on Sweet Salt Air, my personal travel schedule has been limited.  That said, I am always available online, whether at my website,, on Facebook at, or on Twitter. 
Good luck with all the re-releases.  I can’t wait to see what you have for us next!
Thanks, Debbie.  And again, thanks for giving me this opportunity to visit the General Fiction forum.

Here are the digital re-releases available for the Nook


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review of A Place In The Country and Q&A with Author Elizabeth Adler

Q&A with Elizabeth Adler
A Place in the Country

Elizabeth is another very favorite author of mine, she has written some of the most beautifully visual novels that have taken me to Capri, San Tropez, Monte Carlo and Amalfi among other places.

Debbie - Welcome Elizabeth to the General Fiction Forum at B&
Elizabeth - And I must thank you, Debbie, for inviting me to the Fiction Book Club at Barnes & Noble.

Tell us a bit about your newest novel A Place in the Country
A PLACE IN THE COUNTRY is a change-of-pace for me.  At heart, it’s the story of a single mother and her teenage daughter, coming to terms with a new life, in a new place, carving out new lives, the mother learning how to live on her own, the daughter desperately trying to grow up, butting heads, and both wishing they knew the all the answers.  It’s a theme that reaches the hearts of many women, single moms and others, who have had to ‘find themselves’ while at the same time coping with a teenager.  It’s also about taking on a small old broken-down barn and with the help of new neighbors rebuilding it and turning it into her own new concept of a country restaurant.  A Place In The Country, in fact.
It’s the first time I’ve set a novel in England, actually in the Cotswolds, the beautiful countryside near Oxford, where I lived, in a crumbling and rather chilly small stone ‘manor house’ dating from the 11th century.  The story is that originally it was a hide-away for monks running from persecution, a lovely ‘place in the country’ overlooking fields with cows and sheep, and a little stream you had to ford to get into the village. 
Here’s a true ‘country’ story as it happened to me.  One day the local hunt came raging through my front courtyard, men in hunting-pink coats, horns blasting, hounds yapping, horses rampaging – and my terrified cats in a line along the roof-top.  The helpless fox ran into the courtyard with seconds to spare and straight into my garage.  I slammed the door shut after it.  The hunt will never forgive me but I hated what they were doing.  When they were finally gone I opened the garage door and saw the fox slink away, to risk his life another time.

You have lived in many wonderful places (click here to read her story on her website)
Do you have a favorite place
My favorite place will always be Paris.  I’ve been there in spring when the light is golden and clear and in summer when you can almost die from the heat-wave but what you do instead is sip a glass of champagne in Deux Magots and watch the rest of the world go by.  I’ve been there just before autumn, when the sales are on, with that magical sign SOLDES in the shop windows, and a bargain is an even better bargain somehow in Paris. I’ve been snowed-in in Paris, waiting for a plane with iced wings that never took off, crawling back from the airport in what might have been the city’s last taxi with snow piling around us; the next day lunching in a steaming Café Flore on an omelette fine herbs, with the windows steamed and the snowflakes falling and the city all white outside.  I’ve been in Paris in rainstorms where we trudged through pools and a deluge to a favorite restaurant we were determined not to miss.   And somehow I’ve always been in love in Paris.  It’s that kind of place.

I’m always as impressed by the scenes in your novels as by the food, are you a foodie, do you cook.
We are a family of foodies and cooks.  You never came to our house without something smelling good in the kitchen.  My husband Richard, is a meticulous cook, while I tend to be the ‘throw-everything-in-the-pot’ experimental type though I’m pretty good on the classic roast beef and Yorkshire Puddings, as well as that cheese soufflé mentioned in A PLACE IN THE COUNTRY.  My daughter took Cordon Blue courses, and also Indian cooking lessons.  So you see, we not only like to cook, we also like to eat!
Did you always want to write and how did becoming an author come about for you.
I think these next two questions are co-joined.  Yes, I always read.  In fact one of the great moments of my life was when I was old enough to join a library and actually have my own card.  I still read all the time, and I mean all the time.  It used to be that whenever we travelled I would have to ship a case of books, but now I thank heaven for Kindle, even though I prefer the printed page, and the feel of a book in my hand.  Besides, though I know it’s very naughty, I always like to read the ending first!
I don’t think you become a writer, or an artist, or a composer.  I believe you are born that way.  I started my first novel the day my daughter left for boarding school.  I wrote fifteen-hundred long-hand pages in a yellow legal pad, that became ‘Leonie.’  It was way too long and when it was published it was cut almost in half, breaking my heart, I loved every single word.  The story is set in turn-of-the-century Paris and the South of France – I’ve never strayed far from those locations– as well as in Rio de Janeiro, where I’d lived for three years, and in Manaus, on the Amazon River.  I love this story to this day and I’m proud that it is still very much in print in many countries under the title ‘Leonie,’ with its sequel, ‘Peach.’
Having started to write, I simply could not stop.  It just went on from there, until 26 books later I’m having trouble finding room for them, plus all the international foreign editions on my shelves.  I might have to move!

Are you a reader, do you have a favorite author or two.
I’m a biography reader, autobiographies especially.  I love ‘dropping in’ on other people’s lives.  My favorite novelist is Pat Conroy, who can never write a bad paragraph.  His Beach Music is a favorite. Pat Conroy’s words are like music, and you must read them over and over again, falling more and more in love each time.
The best book about how to ‘approach’ writing, is Steven King’s On Writing.  It’s wonderful, and absolutely on the mark.

What’s a typical day like for you?
A typical day for me falls into two categories:  a) when I’m writing and b) when I’m not writing.  Each is probably a six-month more-or-less phase, though even when I’m not writing, I’m thinking abut writing, dredging up from some still-unknown-to-me source, the next characters, the next story, the next location.  
I must tell you here, that I am an unashamed eavesdropper: you never know what that couple sitting at the next table will say, what surprising things people talk about, what they plan on doing… it’s all, as they say, grist to the mill.
And then, when I am writing!  First, I must have coffee, and with it a blueberry muffin – make that half a muffin. I always share with Richard.  I approach my desk and my Apple laptop cautiously.  Then I sit recalling what my characters did yesterday, and what I need them to do today.  It starts with one sentence... and then somehow, like now, I’m off and running.  I’ll write for a couple of hours straight, take a break, not for long, then back again.  Actually until I realize I’m running out of steam and shouldn’t write any more that day. 
All in all, I probably write for four or five hours total per day.  And I readily admit there are days I might rather clean the refrigerator or go out for lunch than discipline myself to sit at that computer.  I’m probably lazy at heart, and since writing is all about self-discipline, sometimes it’s hard getting yourself onto that chair, opening up the laptop, disciplining your mind to go back to that other life you are leading, because all writers lead two lives:  their own and their character’s. 
I’m sure there is something of me in many of my characters, their silly humor, their fears, their worries, their day-to-day lives, their loves, as well as their taste in clothes and shoes, perfume and food – not to mention the odd vodka martini or glass of champagne! 
I am a serious writer, in that nothing I write can be ever deemed ‘trivial.’  There is honesty in what write, and real emotions.  It’s the way we are.
What do I do when I’m not writing?  Since I’m in the throes of writing now, I’m trying to remember.  Oh, yes!  I go to France to visit old friends.  I travel and I dream.  I’ve always been a dreamer, and a romantic.

Being so well traveled and having lived in such exciting and exotic places, what would be a ultimate vacation for you
Now you are asking a troubling question.  There are still so many places to be explored.  I think, though, despite its problems, India would be the most exciting, with all its teeming life and color, its spices and smells, its bazaars and palaces and stories of the legendary Raj.  I have friends who go there often and who would be excellent guides, since he is Indian, but I’m still having a battle with the poverty – who could forget Slumdog Millionaire, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; but it’s something all travellers, to many varied places, have to take in their stride, and always will.

Will there be any signings or events for the new book
Thank you for asking about events and signings.  I’m leaving all that up to my lovely publishers. 

Thank you Elizabeth for taking time out of you schedule to talk to us.
Good luck with the new novel.
I want to thank you for asking me all these questions.  I feel quite proud of myself for coming up with the answers, I’m so usually writing about someone other than myself!

My Review of A Place In The Country

A Place in the Country
Elizabeth Adler
St. Martin’s Press
384 pages
Caroline Evans life has been in stasis ever since she and her daughter left their home and lives in Singapore and went back to England. She knew she couldn’t stay any longer knowing her marriage was a lie, knowing about her husband’s betrayal. The move however has many difficulties, money that she doesn’t have anymore, child-support that never seems to arrive but the most troubling is her fifteen year old daughter, Izzy’s unhappiness at leaving behind her friends, her home but most of all the father she adored. And on a rainy weekend get-a-way to the Cotswolds Izzy’s unhappiness is about to increase when Caroline spots a for sale sign on a run down barn that calls to her and she suddenly has a place in the country she didn’t even know she wanted. With the support of newfound yet staunch friends and the help of their new community Caroline and Izzy are starting to settle in when Caroline gets some disturbing news about her ex’s business dealings then fixing up a run down property becomes all of a sudden the least of her worries and her world keeps spiraling when the bad news doesn’t stop and Caroline and Izzy are thrown into a seemingly unsolvable mystery. In the midst of all this it seems the fates are having a grand time with Caroline when they decided to throw romance into the mix as well.

Elizabeth Adler has taken me to the most beautiful places on earth, San Tropez, Malibu, Amalfi, and Barcelona so I was surprised to be in rainy England, in a small village in the Cotswolds. I should have known the surprise would be on me because inside the rundown spider infested barn she brought me another unforgettable tale and like many times she added a spectacular mystery twist or two, plus it didn’t stop at the shores of the Thames but she took me to Hong Kong and Singapore as well. She brings it with her remarkable eloquent narrative that’s not only easy to read but also vivid in detail so much so that I could feel the rain on the windows and the scents of the flowers and the food, oh yes it’s always about the food with her too and it’s spectacular in it’s simplicity and comfort. It’s also about her characters who I knew each intimately by the end, some of which I wish I hadn’t and some of which I want more of. And as usual it’s about love, this time the love spreads from romance to friendship and family but it’s no less intense in the telling. All in all it’s a beautiful story about faith in oneself and in those closest to us, it’s about starting over, it’s about looking forward without forgetting to look back as well and most important is that it will resonate with fans from multiple genres and leave all of them satisfied.
Ms. Adler thank you for this journey and I just have to wonder what stamp my passport will show with our next one, which I can’t wait to take.
Buy the book here visit the author's website here

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New Release feature review plus Q&A w/Lisa Jackson

 New Release Feature Afraid To Die
plus Q&A w/Lisa Jackson

Please welcome another one of my favorite all time authors who I have to read everything by Lisa Jackson

Lisa tell us a little about your new novel Afraid To Die.

I’ve been leading up to AFRAID TO DIE with all of the previous three books in the Alvarez and Pescoli series (LEFT TO DIE, CHOSEN TO DIE and BORN TO DIE).  This is Detective Selena Alvarez’s story and the readers finally get a glimpse into her history.  Readers have been asking about Alvarez, her “secret”, the reason she’s such an ice princess. Now everyone will get some answers. I was thrilled to finally write Selena’s story, though, of course, her story isn’t finished!  I surprised myself as I wrote it as I hadn’t any idea about the killer, but he evolved pretty well, I think.  

This is the 4th Alvarez & Pescoli novel, will there be more, do you have a set number?

There will be more. The next book has been approved and is called READY TO DIE.  It will be available in summer 2013 and there are still a few more “To Die” stories in me, though I’m not certain of just how many.  Fans seem to like this female cop duo!

You also co-write with your sister Nancy Bush, how is it first writing with a partner and second that partner being your sister?

Ha!  How do you think it is???  Frankly, Nancy and I are best friends and are not competitive (at least not since high school when my friends liked HER better!)  It’s an interesting process. Though we’ve written different stories, we’ve been each other’s editors for thirty years and know each other’s styles.  We’ve helped with plot/character ideas and Nancy has even written some of my scenes for several books.  Sure we have different opinions, but nothing that a good talk with coffee . . . or a drink can’t help iron out.

What’s a nice lady like you doing writing some of the most evil of villains? Why thrillers?  I LOVE thrillers myself and I feel very fortunate to write romantic suspense, my favorite kind of book.  We all have deep, dark fears and I love to tap into them while I’m exploring a love story.  Really, it’s the best of both worlds . . . and come on, we ALL have dark sides, yes?  Mine, fortunately, is confined to fiction.

I heard that there’s an interesting opportunity right now for fans to decide where you’ll have the launch party for your next hardcover novel, YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW, on August 7, 2012. Can you tell us a little about that? And how we can participate?  Oh, sure.  My publisher is sending me to the town that garners the most votes by July 1st, 2012.  It’s a contest on facebook and I’m encouraging all of my fans to vote and have their friends vote for their home town.  I’ll go anywhere in the US and we’ll have a fabu party with lots of fun prizes.   Here’s the link:

Finally Lisa I’m sure that fans here would love to meet you. Do you have any B&N events or signings coming up?    Well, that all depends on which town wins the contest!
Thank you Lisa and I’ll only say adieu because you’ll be back in August when I also feature your upcoming hardback novel You Don’t Want To Know.

Thank YOU.  Always a pleasure!!!

My Review of Afraid to Die

Afraid To Die
Lisa Jackson
pages 484

It’s Christmas time in Grizzly Falls Montana and after the past few terrifying winters the residents are ready for a break, but unfortunately they’re not going to get one. It seems that all the crazies come out in winter and this December is no different, there’s a madman killing women and posing them in ice sculptures and it’s once again up to Detectives Alvarez and Pescoli to solve the crimes. But this time there’s more going on and it seems that Selena Alvarez is about to get a visit from her past, a past that she’s tried to keep buried, but when Dylan O’Keefe shows up in town all bets are off.
Dylan O’Keefe is on the trail of his runaway cousin, Gabe, and the trail leads him right to Selena Alvarez a woman from his past, a woman he once thought he loved, a woman that cost him his job and almost his life. He and Selena join forces to find the boy and when he learns of the reason Gabe’s trying to find her, her past and his will once again be brought to the present. Selena and Dylan are pulled not only into finding the missing boy but also into the current killings that are terrorizing the town when it seems that Selena is somehow a focus of this brazen monster. But there is also their very complicated and it seems unfinished feelings for each other, will they survive to see where they lead or will this nightmare before Christmas be the end of the line.

Once again Lisa Jackson proves to me why she’s a #1 NY Times bestselling author as she leads me through her complex and terrifying plot, a storyline that is a macabre as any I’ve ever had the nail biting pleasure to read. She reunites me with her characters from her previous three novels starring detectives Regan Pescoli and Selena Alvarez and introduces me to new ones, some which I will learn to love and one in particular that will keep me up at night and all the others that round out this terror filled and edge of my seat novel. In this particular installment in her series she brings Selena Alvarez to the forefront a woman who was always a mystery to me because she was always veiled to us by this amazing author who now fills in all the empty blanks of her life. Her usual no nonsense dialogue and her nightmare filled narrative led me on a merry chase and did not let me in on the identity of the killer until the very end while she also kept my rapt attention to the goings on of life in Grizzly Falls and it’s residents. The romance in this novel is ripe with complications and obstacles and yet she filled my heart with their story as she filled her pages.
If you’re looking for a comforting Christmas story you’ll not find it here, but if you want a Christmas in June that will keep you up at night, one that you’ll not be able to read while alone and shivering in your warm June homes, then this is your next Must Read.
To Ms. Jackson I say Brava, as you once again thrilled and terrified me and I can’t wait to see what horrible crime filled road you take me down next.
Buy the book here visit the author's website here and don't forget to click and vote for your hometown, you never know Lisa may just be celebrating the release of her upcoming August release with you and all of your friends, click here