Beach House Summer by Sarah Morgan @SarahMorgan_ @HQNBooks

BEACH HOUSE SUMMER
Author: Sarah Morgan
ISBN: 9781335462824
Publication Date: May 17, 2022
Publisher: HQN Books

About the Book:

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan returns with the ultimate beach read, as one woman forges the most unlikely friendship of all, and embarks on a summer of confrotning her past in order to build the future she wants…

When Joanna Whitman’s ex-husband, one of California’s most beloved celebrity chefs, dies in a car accident, she doesn’t know what to feel. Their dysfunctional marriage held more secrets than she cares to remember, but when she discovers a young woman was with him in the crash–who’s now in hospital, on her own, and pregnant –Joanna sees red. How dare he ruin yet another woman’s life? More than anyone, Joanna knows the brutal spotlight this girl is going to find herself in…unless she can find a way for them both to disappear?

Ashley can’t believe it when Joanna shows up in her hospital room and offers to spirit them both away for the summer to her secluded beach house on the Californian coast. Joanna should be hating her, not helping her. But orphaned and pregnant, Ashley can’t turn Joanna down. Even though she knows that if Joanna ever discovers the real truth of why Ashley was in her ex’s car, their tentative bond would never hold.

Together, they escape to the beach house, nestled high above the sleepy Californian town where Joanna grew up, and left without a backward glance. Joanna’s only goal for the summer is privacy, but her return creates waves in the community, not least for the best friend she left behind. Both Joanna and Ashley are hiding secrets, but as they fall under the spell of their summer home – and draw on each other’s courage – these unlikely friends realise that to seize the futures they want, they must step out of the shadows and into the sunshine.

About the Author:

Sarah Morgan is a USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She has sold more than 21 million copies of her books and her trademark humour and warmth have gained her fans across the globe. Sarah lives with her family near London, England, where the rain frequently keeps her trapped in her office. Visit her at http://www.sarahmorgan.com

My Q&A with Sarah Morgan


1) I love the title and synopsis. Where did the inspiration for the book come from?


I’m fascinated by the idea of celebrity, and how it must feel to live in the spotlight. I was pondering on how much I’d hate that when I came up with the character of Joanna, who is an ‘accidental’ celebrity by virtue of her marriage to a high profile celebrity chef who both relishes and relies on media attention. Joanna didn’t just marry him, she married the lifestyle he’d chosen and she was never comfortable with it. As I was writing, I reflected a lot on how someone lives a private life, and how they keep secrets, if their every move is conducted under a spotlight. Those were some of the issues I wanted to explore. It was a fun book to write!


2) What was the best part about writing this book and why?


So many things. I enjoyed exploring the dynamics between the characters who are all quite different, and also being able to give Joanna a second chance at love (I’m a big believer in second chances!). But I confess that one of the best parts of writing this book was the setting. It takes me around six months to write a book, and during that time I’m immersed in the place as well as the people. Beach House Summer is set on the coast of California, which gave me the excuse to research beautiful beach houses. I was transported, and I hope the reader will feel that way too. 


3) What was the most difficult part about writing this book and why?


Giving my characters a hard time – in particular subjecting poor Joanna to all the media attention, which she hated and found distressing. I felt so cruel! But writers sometimes have to be cruel to their characters, it’s part of the job, and a story where the characters are all happy in their lives and have no challenges to face would end on page one. But even knowing that, it’s always difficult when you’ve grown to love the people you’ve created. I remind myself that no matter how many obstacles I throw their way, I always, always give them a happy ending. That makes the whole thing easier.


4) Who is your favourite character and why?


That’s a tough question. I love all the characters, but in particular I enjoyed exploring the way that Joanna and Ashley interact, and how they gradually support each other and change over time. I find multigenerational friendships to be intriguing and interesting to write. With Joanna and Ashley, their age difference doesn’t stop them learning from each other and that part was such fun to write.


5) I have your books Sleigh Bells in the Snow, A Wedding in December and a Christmas Escape. Do you prefer writing books set in summer or winter and why?

Which is easier or more challenging and why?


I love writing books set in winter and have done so almost every year since I’ve been published, but I wouldn’t want to only write Christmas books. It takes me around six months to write a novel, and by the time I’ve finished I’m ready to move on to a new set of characters, a new set of problems, and a new season! Each comes with its own set of challenges, but I enjoy writing both. In the end, whatever the season and whatever the setting, I aim to deliver and emotional story that will keep readers turning the pages.  


6) The characters, plots and settings in your books are so memorable. What are your top tips for creating great characters, plots and settings, especially seasonal (summer, winter) settings?


The most important element is always the story itself. When you’re writing commercial fiction, you want to make your reader feel something. It’s important to create unique characters, with their own strengths and flaws, and to give them a problem or a dilemma that will keep the reader turning the pages. Sometimes you can turn the seasonal element to your advantage, and whenever possible I make sure that the season and the setting is integral to the plot. With a Christmas book, I try and give the reader all the magic of a cosy, snowy winter without any of the reality (freezing fingers and toes, scraping ice from the car etc). With my next book, Snowed in For Christmas, the season plays a big part in bringing the characters together, not just the weather but also the seasonal tradition of family gatherings. With summer books I want readers to feel as if they’ve had their own summer escape. If it’s a beach book (like Beach House Summer!) then I want them to feel the sand under their toes and the sun on their face.

7) Can you give some advice for those writing in the same genre as you?


Write the story that you’re passionate about. If you’re excited to write it, then there’s a good chance someone will be excited to read it. Create characters you really care about and give them a conflict that will keep a reader turning the pages. If you are rooting for that character, then the chances are the reader will be too.


8) Do you have plans for any other novels? When will they be released?


My next Christmas novel is called Snowed in For Christmas, and it will be out in September in the US and Canada. I had so much fun with this book and it includes all the elements I love including in my writing – family dynamics, friendship and romance. I laughed aloud when I wrote it, and I hope it will make readers smile when they read it.

Thanks Sarah!

Contact Sarah:


Author Website
Twitter: @SarahMorgan_
Facebook: Sarah Morgan
Instagram: @sarahmorganwrites
Goodreads

Where to Buy:


BookShop.org
Harlequin
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Books-A-Million
Powell’s

Excerpt

one
ASHLEY


She slid into his car, hoping this wasn’t a mistake. It hadn’t been her first choice of plan, but the others had failed and she was desperate.
He smiled at her, and there was so much charm in that smile that she forgot everything around her. The way he looked at her made her feel as if she was the only woman in the world.
To add to the charm he had the car, a high-performance convertible, low, sleek and expensive. It shrieked, Look at me, in case the other trappings of wealth and power hadn’t already drawn your attention.
Her mother would have warned her not to get in the car with him, but her mother was gone now and Ashley was making the best decisions she could with no one close to offer her advice or caution. She remembered the first time she’d ridden a bike on her own, unsteady, unbalanced, hands sweating on the handlebars, her mother shouting, Keep pedaling! She remembered her first swimming lesson where she’d slid under the surface and gulped down so much water she’d thought she was going to empty the pool. She’d been sure she was going to drown but then she felt hands lifting her to the surface and a voice cutting through water clogged ears: Keep kicking!
She was on her own now. There was no one to tug her to the surface if she was drowning. No one to steady the wheels of her bike when she wobbled. Her mother had been the safety net in her life and they’d grown even closer after her father died. But now if she fell she’d hit the ground with nothing and no one to cushion her fall.
He turned onto Mulholland Drive and picked up speed. The engine gave a throaty roar and the wind played with her hair as they sped upward through the Hollywood Hills. She’d never been in a car like this before. Never met a man like him.
They climbed higher and higher, passing luxury mansions, catching glimpses of a lifestyle beyond the reach of even her imagination. Envy slid through her. Did problems go away when you had so much? Did the people living here experience the same anxieties as normal people or did those high walls and security cameras insulate them from life? Could you buy happiness?
No, but money could make life easier, which was why she was here.
Spread beneath them were views of downtown, Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley.
Stay focused.
“I know the best place to see the sunset.” His warm, deep voice had helped propel him from yet another TV personality to a megastar. “You’re never going to forget it.”
She was sure of it. This moment was significant for so many reasons.
What would happen to that confidence when she told him her news?
Nausea rolled in her stomach and she was relieved she’d been unable to eat breakfast or lunch.
“You’re quiet.” He drove with one hand on the wheel, supremely confident. One hand, his eyes mostly on her. She wanted to tell him to keep his attention on the road.
“I’m a little nervous.”
“Are you intimidated? Don’t be. I’m just a normal, regular guy.”
Yeah, right.
He was driving fast now, enjoying the car, the moment, his life. She knew that was about to change. She’d rehearsed a speech. Practiced a hundred times in front of the mirror.
I’ve got something to tell you.
“Could you slow down?”
“You prefer slow?” His hand caressed the wheel. “I can go slow when I need to. What did you say your name was?”
He didn’t recognize her. He didn’t have a clue who she was. How could he not know?
She sat rigid in her seat. Was she really that forgettable and unimportant?
In this part of town, where everyone was someone, she was no one.
She fought the disillusion and the humiliation.
“I’m Mandy. I’m from Connecticut.”
Her name wasn’t Mandy. She’d never been to Connecticut. Couldn’t even put it on a map.
He should know that. She wanted him to know that. She wanted him to say, I know you’re not Mandy, but he didn’t, of course, because women came and went from his life and he was already moving on to the next one.
“And you’re sure we’ve met before? I wouldn’t have forgotten someone as pretty as you.”
She’d had dreams about him. Fantasies. She’d thought about him day and night for the past couple of months, ever since she’d first laid eyes on him.
But he didn’t know her. There was no recognition.
Her eyes stung. She told herself it was the wind in her face because her mother had drummed into her that life was too short to cry over a man. She wouldn’t be here at all except that she’d felt alone and scared and needed to do something to help herself. She was afraid she couldn’t do this on her own, and he had to take some responsibility, surely? He shouldn’t be allowed to just walk away. That wasn’t right. Like it or not, they were bonded.
“We’ve met.” She rested her hand on her abdomen. Blinked away the tears. The time to wish she’d been more careful was long gone. She had to look forward. Had to do the right thing, but it wasn’t easy.
Her body told her she was an adult, but inside she still felt like the child who had wobbled on that bike with her ponytail flying.
He glanced at her again, curious. “Now I think about it, you do look familiar. Can’t place you, though. Don’t be offended.” He gave her another flash of those perfect white teeth. “I meet a lot of women.”
She knew that. She knew his reputation, and yet still she was here. What did that say about her? She should have more pride, but pride and desperation didn’t fit comfortably together.
“I’m not offended.” Under the fear she was furious. And fiercely determined.
She wasn’t going to let this guy ruin her life. That wasn’t going to happen.
They were climbing now. Climbing, climbing, the road winding upward into the hills while the city lay beneath them like a glittering carpet. She felt like Peter Pan, flying over rooftops.
Should she tell him now? Was this a good moment?
Her heart started to pound, heavy beats thudding a warning against her ribs. She hadn’t thought he’d bring her somewhere this remote. She shouldn’t have climbed into his car. Another bad decision to add to the ones she’d already made. The longer she waited to tell him, the farther they were from civilization and people. People who could help her. But who would help? Who was there?
She had no one. Just herself, which was why she was here now, doing what needed to be done regardless of the consequences.
Thinking of consequences made her palms grow damp. She should do it right now, while half his attention was on the road.
She waited as he waltzed the car around another bend and hit another straight stretch of road. She could already see the next bend up ahead.
“Mr. Whitman? Cliff? There’s something I need to tell you.”

Excerpted from Beach House Summer by Sarah Morgan. Copyright © 2022 by Sarah Morgan. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

The Daschund Wears Prada by Stefanie London

THE DACHSHUND WEARS PRADA
Author: Stefanie London
ISBN: 9781335639837
Publication Date: May 3, 2022
Publisher: HQN Books

About the Book:

How do you start over when the biggest mistake of your life has more than one million views?

Forget diamonds; the internet is forever. Social media consultant Isla Thompson learned that lesson the hard way when she went viral for all the wrong reasons. A month later, Isla is still having nightmares about the moment she ruined a young starlet’s career and made herself the most unemployable influencer in Manhattan. But she doesn’t have the luxury of hiding away until she’s no longer “Instagram Poison.” Not when her fourteen-year-old sister, Dani, needs Isla to keep a roof over their heads. So she takes the first job she can get: caring for Camilla, a glossy-maned, foul-tempered hellhound.

After a week of ferrying Camilla from playdates to pet psychics, Isla starts to suspect that the dachshund’s bark is worse than her bite—just like her owner, Theo Garrison. Isla has spent her career working to make people likeable and here’s Theo—happy to hide behind his reputation as a brutish recluse. But Theo isn’t a brute—he’s sweet and funny, and Isla should not see him as anything but the man who signs her pay cheques. Because loving Theo would mean retreating to his world of secluded luxury, and Isla needs to show Dani that no matter the risk, dreams are always worth chasing.

About the Author:

Stefanie London is a USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. Her books have been called “genuinely entertaining and memorable” by Booklist, and her writing praised as “elegant, descriptive and delectable” by RT Magazine. Originally from Australia, she now lives in Toronto with her very own hero and is doing her best to travel the world. She frequently indulges her passions for lipstick, good coffee, books and anything zombie related.

Q&A with Stefanie London

1) I picked this book because of it’s title. It is a clever play on words similar to The Devil Wears Prada, which is one of my favorite novels. Have you read The Devil Wears Prada, and what made you use this play on words in the title and create a plot like this?
I haven’t read the book, but I do love the movie and have seen it many times. When I was pitching the Paws in the City series to my publisher, I told her I’d envisaged the first book being “a modern version of The Devil Wears Prada… except that Miranda Priestly was a sassy little dog” and that there would be a social media element and a hot hermit hero.
The book actually had a different title at this stage, and it was my editor’s suggestion to make it a twist on The Devil Wears Prada title because she thought it was such a fun idea, and why not really hammer the inspiration home? So we changed the title and the rest is history!

2) What was the most difficult part of writing the book and why?
Writing Theo’s darker emotional arc and his grief while trying to balance the expectations of a romantic comedy story (i.e. that it’s funny, lighthearted and uplifting) was something that required a lot of thought and refining. It’s a balance I always work really hard on, because as much as I love the laugh-out-loud elements of writing romcoms, I always strive to write a deeply emotional story and sometimes those two things can feel at odds. But I work closely with my editor to get the balance right and she always helps to reign me in if I go too far in either direction.

3) What’s your favorite scene in the book and why?

Oh that’s such a tough question! I love so many scenes in this book, that I could give you a different answer on any given day. The scene where Theo tries (and fails) to cook dinner for Isla is one I really enjoy, because I think we really see the hero in a vulnerable spot here and the way Isla reacts so kindly is a moment of bonding between them which really helped to move the romance to another level.
But also, I adore the scene with Theo and Camilla where she finds his grandmother’s old scarves. It made me cry every time I had to read it in edits. But really, any scene with Camilla is gold because she’s just so vibrant and adorable.

4) Who is your favorite character and why?

I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite. Sorry! I just love them all so much.

5) Is there a character who was difficult to create and why?
Writing Camilla was quite a challenge, as is any animal character that plays a major role in a story (and I have written several!) Partially this is because she doesn’t have her own POV or the ability to speak, so her “dialogue” and intent has to be interpreted by the human characters. In essence, the humans give Camilla her voice. I also wanted Camilla to have her own character arc and a relationship development with both the hero and the heroine, just like the human characters have with each other, which was something I haven’t done before.
In the end, I loved writing Camilla so much that we decided to have animal characters with their own strong voices front and center for each book in the series. It was a challenge, but one that was a load of fun.

6) What do you like to do when not writing?
So many things! My husband likes to joke that I’m the Queen of Hobbies. I knit, sew, bake, read, cook, make cocktails, practice Pilates, ride on my Peloton, collect perfume, play boardgames, video games and card games, travel, explore new restaurants… can you tell I can’t stand being bored?

The things that are really capturing my attention at the moment are playing Dying Light 2 with my husband, knitting sweaters and reading dark, twisty thrillers.

Thanks, Stefanie!

Contact Stefanie:


Author Website
Instagram: @stefanielondon
Facebook: @London’s Lovelies
Goodreads

Where to Buy:


BookShop.org
Harlequin
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Books-A-Million
Powell’s

Excerpt

three

Isla trudged along the hallway toward her apartment, high heels swinging from her finger. Usually she wouldn’t dare go barefoot on public carpet—especially not in a building of questionable standards, like this one. But after walking six blocks to get home in the pretty, stiletto-heeled death traps, her feet had officially given up the ghost.
Besides, foot hygiene was the least of her problems. With another rejected job application—this one coming through before she’d even made it home from the interview—she had bigger things to worry about.
Isla unlocked her front door and stepped inside, her lips quirking at the familiar sight. Her little sister, Dani, was standing next to the wall, one hand resting on a makeshift barre crafted from a shower curtain rod and some wall brackets they’d found at the dollar store. She was dressed in a plain black leotard and a pair of pink ballet tights with a hole in the knee. Her battered pointe shoes were frayed around the toes, though the ribbons were glossy and new, stitched on with the utmost care.
Classical music blared from the stereo and Isla hit the pause button. “What have I said about disturbing the neighbors?”
Dani paused mid-plié. “If you’re going to do it, do it properly.”
“That’s not what I said.” She shot her sister a look, trying to ignore how her leotard was digging into her shoulders. It was clearly a size too small because the damn girl was growing like a weed. At fourteen, she’d already surpassed Isla in height.
“Oh, that’s right.” Dani grinned. “You said that about schoolwork. But, to be fair, ballet is even more important than schoolwork, so…”
“We’ll agree on that when you can pay the bills with pliés.” Isla hung her keys on the hook by the door and dumped her purse onto the kitchen counter.
“Working on it.” Dani continued warming up, her pointe shoes knocking against the floorboards. “How was your day?”
Ugh. You mean, how were the three dozen rejection letters and this last interview, which was clearly only for curiosity’s sake because the recruiter straight up laughed the second I left the interview room?
“It was…fine,” she said, without much commitment.
In reality, it was anything but fine. What had her old boss called her? Oh, that’s right: Instagram poison.
“You told me once that saying something is ‘fine’ is no better than saying it’s ‘purple pineapples.’” Dani dropped down from her relevé and frowned. “What happened?”
What hadn’t happened?
Isla pulled a bottle of wine out of the fridge and poured her-self a glass. She’d been rationing it, since the only stuff that was left after this was a box wine of unknown origin. “Amanda lost her contract with that makeup company and her movie is flopping. She sent me an angry email today.”
“Whatever happened to all publicity is good publicity?”
“It’s a myth. Turns out some things are career killers.” Isla took a gulp of the wine. “And now I’m that woman who filmed a Disney princess vomiting all over herself.”
After the live video had been splashed across the internet and featured on network television, Isla had swiftly been fired from her job as a senior social media consultant with the Gate-way Agency. All her freelance clients had dropped her like a hot potato, too. Now, anyone who searched Isla’s name got page after page of the same thing: vomit girl and the person who was too dumb to stop recording.
Hence the growing pile of rejected job applications.
“I take it the interview didn’t go well?”
Isla cringed at the concern in her sister’s voice. Most fourteen-year-olds were worrying about frivolous things, like which shade of lip gloss was the most on trend or how to craft the perfect TikTok dance routine. Hell, she would argue that’s the stuff they should be worrying about. Not whether they were going to have a roof over their heads.
“No, it didn’t,” Isla admitted. “But honestly, I’m not sure I would have wanted to work there anyway.”
It was a total lie.
Isla was ready to take anything at this point. It was humiliating to be begging for jobs she could have done ten years ago with her eyes closed, only to be rejected because the recruiters had found someone “with more experience.” Umm, what? In other words, she’d been officially blacklisted from the social media industry.
“How come?” Dani walked over to the kitchen, her arms swinging gracefully by her sides. Her dark hair was in a neat bun on top of her head, tied with a piece of leftover ribbon from her pointe shoes. “Were they not very nice?”
“Not really.”
Dani came up to Isla and put an arm around her, stooping so she could lean her head against her big sister’s shoulder. Some days it felt like it was them against the world. Given they didn’t actually know where their mother was these days—and they hadn’t seen either one of their dads in God only knew how long—they really did have to stick together.
Isla remembered the day it all happened—the eve of her twentieth birthday. Their mother had announced she was eloping overseas with a boyfriend she’d known less than a month, and they hadn’t seen her since. Apparently motherhood was a temporary commitment, in her eyes. That left Isla responsible for the well-being of another human, and more terrified of the future than she’d ever been.
Six years later, Isla had built a life for them both. She’d fostered and financed her half sister’s dreams, built up her own dream career and done it all while hiding how often the numbers weren’t in their favor. But the older Dani got, the more keenly she observed what was going on.
“Maybe you can ask the ballet school for our money back,” Dani suggested quietly.
Her spot had been secured for the summer intensive ballet camp months ago, before Isla’s job situation had fallen apart.
“I know it was really expensive,” she added.
Isla felt tears prick the backs of her eyes, but she refused to let her sister see even a sliver of her emotion. It was her job to be a pillar. To be the strong one. To be the positive mother figure neither of them ever had.
“Dani, I would sell my right kidney if it meant you could go to ballet camp.”
“I’m pretty sure that’s illegal.”
Isla snorted and wrapped her sister into a big hug. Like al-ways, she smelled of oversweet vanilla perfume and mango-scented shampoo. She would do anything for this kid. Anything to make sure Dani grew up knowing that dreams were worth chasing, and that family came first no matter what.
“And how do you know so much about black market organ sales?” Isla raised a brow and Dani laughed.
“CSI.”
“Ah, of course.” She laughed. But when Dani pulled back, Isla noticed her sister’s characteristically carefree attitude was hidden under the worry swimming in her blue eyes. Isla hated seeing that. “Why don’t we go to Central Park, huh? We’ll take your phone and I can get a few shots of you for your Instagram account.”
“Really?” Dani’s eyes lit up.
“Sure. Just let me get changed.”
“I promise not to make you take a hundred photos this time.” Dani grinned and did a little pirouette in the kitchen. “Not even half that!”
“Don’t make promises you can’t keep,” Isla shot over her shoulder as she headed into her bedroom. “Trust me, I know where you get those perfectionistic tendencies.”
The second Isla closed her bedroom door behind her, she slumped against it and deflated like a balloon the day after a birthday party. Outside, the city roared with life. Sirens and horns, music blaring from the open window of another apartment, the shrieking laughter of people enjoying the early evening. She gazed out of the window, her eyes catching on the usual things that faced their cozy (read: cramped) place. There was a glimmer of light as the sun reflected off glass panes, and the zigzag of a fire escape from the building opposite them. The same three apartments always had their blinds wide open—either inviting voyeurism or not caring enough to prevent it.
Sometimes she wondered about their lives. Had they been stuck and struggling at some point like her? Had they lost faith in themselves and the world?
After she got fired, Isla had assumed it would all blow over if she kept a low profile and didn’t make matters worse. But then Amanda’s movie tanked and all her sponsorships fell through, and people stopped taking Isla’s calls. Even when she’d tried to laugh the whole thing off as a “Miley Cyrus exercise” her contacts had frozen harder than an Upper East Sider’s Botoxed face.
New York could be like that—when you were successful it felt as though the sun was made of gold. And when you fell from grace, you hit the concrete so hard you shattered every bone in your body.
How much longer was she going to be able to keep faking that everything would be fine? Rent was due next week and the final payment for Dani’s elite ballet camp had come out of her account a few days ago. Isla’s eyes had watered at the amount. But Dani had worked so hard, practicing every day and pushing herself to the limit to beat out the rich kids with their prestigious coaches and private lessons and their lifetimes of opportunity.
How could Isla pull the rug out from under Dani like that? What kind of lesson would that be teaching her?
“You’ll figure this out,” she said to herself. “Someone will hire you.”
After all, she had to make it work. Because letting her sister down was not an option.

Excerpted from The Dachshund Wears Prada by Stefanie London, Copyright © 2022 by Stefanie Little. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

Author Q&A: The Lily Garden by Barbara Joselsohn @BarbaraJoss @chicklitcentral @bookouture #booksontour

About the Book:


Caroline remembered how her mother would head to the garden as the first signs of spring approached, rolling up her sleeves and planting wildflowers as the sun set. But there was a lot she didn’t know about her mother, and the family secrets hidden in her hometown that would change everything…

When Caroline left Lake Summers thirty years ago, she thought she’d never go back to the place where she lost her parents. But when she finds out that the town’s lily garden lovingly built by her mother is going to be destroyed, she knows she must return from Chicago to save it.
Welcomed by the warm smile of her mother’s best friend Maxine, and piles of pancakes at her cozy little restaurant in town, Caroline and her daughter Lee immediately begin their campaign to save the garden. And Caroline soon learns that she isn’t the only person invested in their plan: handsome historian Aaron is new to town but he sees how special the garden is too. As Caroline gets to know him, strolling along the sparkling lakeshore, she can’t imagine anywhere else she’d rather be.

But then Caroline learns a terrible secret about the day her mother died. If she continues fighting to save the garden, she may uncover more painful truths that will affect her whole family. But if she leaves now, she will have to give up a future with Aaron, and the beautiful town that has always been in her heart…

An utterly uplifting and heart-warming story about forgiveness and family. Perfect for fans of Carolyn Brown, Debbie Macomber and Mary Alice Monroe.

Where to Buy:

Amazon: https://bit.ly/39PgndH

About the Author:


Barbara Josselsohn is an award-winning writer who loves crafting stories about strong protagonists facing a fork in the road. Her novels include The Bluebell Girls, The Lilac House, The Last Dreamer, and her newest release, The Lily Garden. She has published hundreds of articles about family, home and relationships in national and regional publications, and also teaches novel writing at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. She lives just north of New York City and enjoys escaping to the beach or the mountains whenever she can. Other than writing, her biggest passion is her family: her husband, her three kids, and her indefatigable shih-poo! Visit her online at http://www.BarbaraSolomonJosselsohn.com, @Barbara_Josselsohn_Author (Instagram), @BarbaraJoss (twitter) or Facebook.com/BarbaraSolomonJosselsohnAuthor

Q&A:

  1. Where did the inspiration for the book come from?

The central relationship in THE LILY GARDEN is between a mother and her seventeen-year-old daughter as they embark on a college road trip, which quickly becomes an even more consequential journey for both of them. So the main inspiration came from my own relationships with my two daughters. I’ve found it really hard sometimes to see my daughters growing up. I love that they’re becoming independent adults, but I also miss having them as babies! Those months before a daughter moves out on her own are so intense and emotional. I wanted to explore how a mom and daughter can struggle to rework their relationship — and come out smiling on the other side! So that was the original seed for the book. As I began to let the story unfold, however, the book became about so much more. It became about family — the one your born into and the one or ones you choose to create at various times of your life.

  1. Do you have any tips for how I can hook people from the beginning in my own books?

For me, books start with a character and a deep “want” — something a character yearns for with her whole heart. Wanting to be heard, wanting to be acknowledged, wanting to be accepted, wanting to be loved — these are universal, and very relatable. These “wants” motivate us to take action — sometimes productive and sometimes not so helpful. Give me a unique character, a strong want, and a plan that may or may not work, and you’ll have me hooked from page one!

  1. How can I create a beautiful and visual setting (like a garden) for a book?

I take lots of pictures when I’m researching a book. For example, I live twenty minutes away from the extraordinary New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, and I go there all the time and take pictures of plants and flower that move me, that sing out to me, that connect with me. I print these out and put them on a bulletin board in my office, and then I begin to find the words to describe them, and to convey how they make me feel. I also use scented candles, music playlists, and scented lotions to help me get deep inside my imagination. Smells and sounds can be so evocative when you’re trying to create a setting and a mood!

  1. Which was the hardest part of writing this? And the easiest? Why?

In the book, my main character – Caroline – is trying to save her hometown from destroying the lily garden that her mother created and cared for many years earlier. She faces a lot of roadblocks and resistance, and for me, those were the hardest scenes to write. I was so invested in Caroline’s quest, so it was hard for me to see her struggling. These easiest scenes to write were the romantic scenes between Caroline and Aaron, the handsome college professor she befriends. It makes me smile, to put myself into the shoes of a character who’s falling in love. I sometimes write with my writing group on Zoom, with the camera on while I’m working on a scene. My critique partners tell me that they always know when I’m writing a love scene, because I look so happy!

  1. How can I make my writing emotional and people love the characters?

People love characters who are real to them. So don’t be afraid to make your characters flawed, to have them misbehave sometimes or act out of jealousy or fear. The more human they are, and the more they struggle to do the right thing or to prevail against enormous odds, the more we will become emotionally invested in their story.

  1. What do you love to do when not writing?

I love to spend time with my family doing fun things — going to the beach, hiking, eating out at fun restaurants. I also love New York City, which is about a half-hour drive from where I live. I’m so happy to see the city opening up again. I cannot wait for Broadway shows to come back — and it looks like they will in just a few weeks!

  1. What is the best thing about being an author?

The best thing is that I get to make up stories! I truly think that’s the most fun thing in the world to do. I love inventing characters and putting them in different locations, with different challenges and experiences and memories. I also have to say that I love speaking to readers. There’s no better feeling than hearing that a story you wrote touched someone’s life or expressed something they always felt but didn’t know how to articulate.

  1. What is your favourite scene in the book? Why?

My favorite scene is the evening Caroline takes Aaron to the lily garden for the first time. She brings him up to the little footbridge in the middle of the garden, and it’s there, with the moon above reflecting in the inlet below, that she begins to tell him about her memories of the garden and her mother, who died so young. I just love that moment when a character realizes she’s found someone she can trust, someone she can open up to, someone who wants to hear everything she wants to say. I love the tingle Caroline feels when she thinks about kissing him!

Author Q&A: While Nobody is Watching by Michelle Dunne @MichelleDunneAuthor @rararesources

About the Book:


A semi-inflated football and a curious little girl.
They called it peacekeeping. For Corporal Lindsey Ryan it was anything but.
It’s been three years since that bright day in the Golan Heights and the explosion which killed two and changed the survivors forever.
Now Lindsey deals with the many problems of the city’s troubled youth, to distract her from her own. But as damp days turn to night the kids return home, or somewhere like it, and she returns to her own private war. One that exists solely for her.
Certain that she’s being watched and certain that she’s losing her mind, Lindsey battles with the demons of post traumatic stress, while a very real threat edges ever closer until she finds herself face to face with someone who wants nothing more than to finally help her to die.
And it’s the last person she ever could have seen coming.
Blue helmets and blurred lines – While Nobody is Watching delves into the dark world of PTSD and a battle scarred soldier struggling to find a place in her new world.

Buy here:

http://getbook.at/WhileNobodyIsWatching

About the Author:


Michelle Dunne wore a Blue Helmet in South Lebanon with B Company the Irish army and the UN, probably in that order.
She now lives in Cobh with her husband, daughter and a cast of characters waiting to be written about.
Michelle was one of those sporty types growing up, all bony elbows and knees, and as she lived on an island, it stood to reason she’d spend her first couple of decades taking in the salty, seaweedy air at the local rowing club (not the serene looking, posh rowing, but the other kind, undertaken by hardy fishermen).
This was where she learned just about everything she ever needed to know about anything. They brought home the County’s, All-Ireland’s were won, but the banter on the bus was always the real prize. From there it made sense that she’d leave town and join another club/asylum and found herself wearing a blue helmet somewhere in South Lebanon.
She’d become attached to the UN, but more importantly, to B-Company, the boldest, brightest, bravest the Irish army had to offer. She called them lots of other names too, but only to their faces. As tracer rounds lit up the sky above her and artillery rained down, she learned the words of every patriotic Irish song ever written and how to smile, laugh, and joke about things that would otherwise have you curled in a ball, rocking back and forth in the corner of the room.
Once her eyes had been opened and she returned to Irish soil, Michelle was promoted and following a spell back at college, is now a part of a company providing physiotherapy and staff training in nursing homes and hospitals all over Munster. A slower pace, but still an unruly bunch when they want to be. She’s back living on the island of Cobh with her husband Dominic and their daughter Emily and the hundreds of colourful characters waiting to make their way onto a piece of paper.
While Nobody is Watching is Michelle’s third book, which draws from her military experiences and the types of relationships that form within its ranks.


Contact Michelle:


https://www.facebook.com/MichelleDunneAuthor
https://twitter.com/NotDunneYet
http://www.michelledunnebooks.com

Notes for Bloggers: (Don’t include on the post).
Thank you so much for taking part in this blog tour.
Please put your post live as early as you can and either tag @rararesources on twitter or send me the link via email so that I can start sharing it. Please also tag Michelle Dunne if possible.
Please use all the blurb and author details on your posts, and format them to your own blogs needs. I’m just providing the text and links, as I’m aware all blogs are individual.
If you are going to have any problems posting on your scheduled date please let me know as soon as possible.
Please if at all possible can your review (if you are reviewing) go onto Amazon and Goodreads, as the more Amazon reviews on a book, the more visible it becomes to others on Amazon, and increases eligibility for promotions.

Here’s my Q&A for While Nobody is Watching by Michelle Dunne.

Where did the inspiration for the book come from?

Once I got going with While Nobody Is Watching, it was partly inspired by my time in the defence forces and with the UN Peacekeeping forces, but it got started thanks to a YouTube clip about service dogs! Following a short interview with a US army veteran about his gorgeous dog, I had 2 fully formed characters in my mind; Lindsey Ryan (an Irish army and UN Peacekeeping veteran) and her service dog Frank. The rest of the story was built around them.

I have never written a psychological thriller before.

Do you have any tips for how I can get started?

For me, it’s always been important to start with at least one really strong character and go from there. As for writing thrillers, inspiration can come from anywhere – the news, world events or even something that you see or hear by chance can inspire a great story. Think of a general theme – for me in this case it was PTSD which in itself can be terrifying, and build on that.

How can I build (and keep) suspense in a thriller?

Think of some really good thrillers that you’ve read and think about what kept you glued to the pages. I like when you get an early glimpse of something dramatic/terrifying and then have to wait to see how the characters actually get to that point.

Which was the hardest part of writing this? And the easiest? Why?

I actually found this story quite easy to write. I have some shared history with my main character and I just felt very connected to her. This is always the case with me. I always put something very relatable into my main characters so that the chapters land on paper very quickly once I get going. The hardest part for me is always the editing phase. I’m very critical of myself and so this can be a long and tedious process for me.

How can I create great characters in a thriller?

The characters are the most important part for me – you need to love them and be able to really relate to them and so do your readers. Every single character in your book needs to be well rounded, so that your readers can see them as actual people and not just random names dropped into the story. Give equal consideration to those even with the smallest part to play in your story. With your main characters, let the reader see their strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, flaws – let them get to know your characters like a friend would.

Tips for an amazing twist?

Hmmm, that’s a tricky one. When writing While Nobody Is Watching, I knew I wanted an ending that the reader wouldn’t see coming, but I wasn’t actually sure “whodunit” myself until about half way through. But the twist has to make sense. You want your reader to be shocked, but actually when they think back on the rest of the story, they can see how/why it could have gone that way.

What is the best thing about being an author?

I don’t put too much planning into my first draft, so as I’m writing, I’m not quite sure what’s going to happen next until it actually happens! So for me, it’s like reading a book that I love for the first time or watching a movie unfold in my mind. I find this really exciting and I get a thrill from knowing that I’m creating something that will hopefully bring a hint of that excitement to other people. That and of course getting to hold a physical copy of that thing that you’ve created. Seeing it for the first time is amazing.

What is your favourite scene in the book? Why?

I think maybe the scene where Lindsey is considering ending her life. She’s sitting on the docks contemplating the high tide and the heroin in her hand. Then along comes Kathleen – the fifty-something prostitute with her too-small clothes and broken shoes and she talks Lindsey back from the edge. I love Kathleen as a character and her ability to get Lindsey to open up in a way that’s completely alien to both of them. It’s an intense scene but there’s so much humanity there.

Thanks Michelle

An Invite to Quercus Book Club #QuercusBookClub #InFiveYears @RebeccaASerle

Today I got an email from Quercus Books announcing their new Book Club. 

Their pick this month is In Five Years by Rebecca Serle.
See HERE for a book trailer video by Rebecca herself. 

Nina Pottell from Prima magazine will be hosting a Q&A with Rebecca Serle on Wednesday 29th April  at 8PM GMT. The event is on Quercus’ Instagram Live, with readings and exclusive materials, 

Please help spread  the word! 

Buy the Kindle ebook for just 99p Amazon (UK)

Blog Tour: The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller

**Named a MOST ANTICIPATED ROMANCE of 2019 by BookPage**

 Advanced Praise for THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE


“Biller’s complex and intriguing debut, set in 1875 New York City…is part romance, part ghost story,
and part period piece with just enough modern sentiment on the topics of
feminism, mental illness, and abuse.”
Publishers Weekly
“A chemistry-fueled debut with a bit of a ghost story, great for readers of gothic romance”
Booklist
“Utterly irresistible. With engaging, original characters and dialogue as crisp as a new apple, Diana Biller’s debut will have you rooting for Alva and Sam through every spooky twist.”
—Deanna Raybourn, New York Times bestselling author of the Veronica Speedwell series
“Take a Joanna Shupe Gilded Age romance, stir in a Simone St. James ghost story, add a pinch of Julia Quinn banter, and, voila! Sheer fun with a satisfying emotional conclusion.” —Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author of The English Wife
— 

THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE
By Diana Biller
Diana Biller’s debut novel, THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE (St. Martin’s Griffin; October 8, 2019; $16.99), is a gorgeous piece of prose, with a decidedly dark Victorian Gothic flair and an intrepid and resilient American heroine guaranteed to delight readers everywhere.
Prior to penning this novel, Biller had one idea in mind: “Edith Wharton, ghost hunter.” After touring Wharton’s estate, The Mount, and the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, New York, she came away with a wealth of inspiration, and THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE was born.
It’s 1875, and New York’s Gilded Age is in full swing. After fleeing her abusive husband, Alva Webster spent three years being pilloried in the newspapers of two continents. Now he’s dead, and she’s returned to New York to start over, restoring Liefdehuis, a dilapidated Hyde Park mansion for her new home decoration book and hopefully her reputation in the process. So when the eccentric and brilliant
“Get ready to devour Diana Biller’s magnificent debut novel in one sitting. The Widow of Rose
House boasts memorable and vibrant characters, a delicious romance, great period detail, and a hint
of the supernatural. Alva and Sam spring off the page and to life, so that I now feel as though they are
friends of mine. This novel is a treat not to be missed!”
Alyssa Palombo, author of The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel      Professor Samuel Moore appears, threatening her fresh start with stories of a haunting at her house, she refuses to give him access. Alva doesn’t believe in ghosts.
A pioneer in electric lighting and a member of the nationally-adored Moore family of scientists, Sam’s latest obsession is ghosts. When he learns about a house with a surprising number of ghost stories, he’s desperate to convince its beautiful owner to let him study it. Can he find his way into her house…and her heart?

About the Author


DIANA BILLER lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their very good dog. THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE is her debut novel.

My Review: 

This book took me a few chapters to get into but once I was into it I was hooked. Diana Biller weaves an original tale of suspense and love with strong characters. The pace is quick and the attention to detail is second to none.
This was an excellent debut novel. The only reason I’m giving it four stars and not five is because some dialogue did not seem right for the time period, it seemed modern. But overall the atmosphere in the book is very well created. 

 

I loved finding out where things were going to go romance-wise between Sam and Alva as well as witnessing their banter and relationship development. 
The acknowledgements were touching in this book and I liked how there was the allusion to paranormal/ supernatural aspects there too as I felt this added to the uniqueness of the book and tied in well with its main themes. 
What was interesting to me was that The Women at Rose House started out as a NaNoWriMo project. As a regular participant in this event I know what it is to produce a novel in a month. Even after all the edits and aftermath of this writing event it takes work to get a manuscript in shape and Diana Biller’s work gives me hope for my own manuscripts. 
It was refreshing to see a novel that had started out life in this way become available for early review and I feel honoured to be on the blog tour. 
Thanks to Diana Biller and St Martin’s Press for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. 
4 stars
Don’t believe in ghosts? This novel will make you think again. The romance in the book is gripping. 
The plot is like a mix of Casper and Ghost in its romance/ humour straight-talking style and is a very different historial fiction novel and held my interest more than many novels in the genre which tend to focus on the struggles and hardships of a particular period in history. The novel is rich and layered because of the paranormal and romance aspects so I did not feel weighed down with the struggles of the characters but instead fascinated with the ease with which Biller writes and weaves the plots.
The Widow of Rose House is surprising, gripping and romantic. 
A great novel for the month of Halloween!

New York City, February 1, 1875

 

Alva stood on the city sidewalk and sucked in a deep, triumphant gulp of air. The clock had just struck ten—the middle of the eve­ ning by New York City standards—and she was surrounded by elegantly dressed men escorting women dripping diamonds and rolled up tightly in furs. A few feet from her, the street was busy with carriages. She could smell the city: The damp fog, the sharp tang of refuse, the high floral notes of perfumed women. Horse dung.

Had she missed it? She wasn’t sure, although she knew she missed the steep, tangled streets of Montmartre already. But it was America that held her future now, even as it held her past. For a second her triumph was tempered by the remembrance of the thin envelope in her pocket, a few brief lines from her mother’s secretary, thanking her for her interest in visiting and regretting that Mrs. Rensselaer would be unable to see her. Alva knew her mother, likely even now sitting down to a stiff dinner with her husband and twelve of their closest friends fifty blocks away, did indeed feel regret. She just suspected it was about giv­ing birth to her at all. 

The restaurant door opened behind her, and, recalled to the moment, she signaled to the boy hailing cabs to find her one.

“Excuse me,” a deep voice said. “Mrs. Webster?”

Oh, for heaven’s sake. Couldn’t she stand outside for one min- ute without some intrepid lothario assuming she must be wait­ ing for him? In the less than seventy­two hours she’d been back in the States, she’d been propositioned eleven times. Twice by friends of her father’s.

She glanced over her shoulder Excuse me,” a deep voice said. “Mrs. Webster?”

Oh, for heaven’s sake. Couldn’t she stand outside for one min- ute without some intrepid lothario assuming she must be wait­ ing for him? In the less than seventy­two hours she’d been back in the States, she’d been propositioned eleven times. Twice by friends of her father’s.

She glanced over her shoulder at the man, receiving an in­ stant impression of big, though he stood mostly in the shadows. “I don’t know you,” she said, her voice flat. “Go home to your wife.”

“But I don’t have a wife,” the man said. He took a hesitant step towards her, leaving the shadows, and her eyebrows lifted. He looked more like a laborer than a man finishing a dinner at Delmonico’s, for all he was dressed in a suit and tie. Sort of dressed, she amended; the suit looked like it had been made for someone two inches shorter and two inches narrower across the shoulders. “Do I need a wife to talk to you? Is it a chaperone sort of thing? I have a moAlva blinked. “You’re not very good at this,” she observed. “I’m not a man, but I don’t think it’s standard behavior to invoke one’s mother at a time like this.”

They stared at each other in puzzlement. He was attrac­ tive in the sort of way she’d always imagined the heroes of west­ ern folktales to be: tall, broad shouldered, with a strong nose and a square jaw. He could stand to add barber to the list of people he needed to see, though, the one that started with tailor. Actually, looking at the way his dark blond hair fell into his eyes, she thought he’d better have it start with barber and go from there.

“There’s been a misunderstanding,” he said finally. “Perhaps if I introduce myself—my name is Professor Samuel Moore.”

He held out his hand. She looked at it, looked up at him, and did not extend her own. Bafflingly, he smiled at her, as though she’d done something rather clever.

Was he really a professor? He certainly didn’t look like one, not that it mattered, because she made it a policy, these days, never to talk to strange men—

“A professor of what?” she heard herself saying, although she was pleased it at least came out with a nice air of sarcasm and disbelief.

“This and that,” he said, still smiling. “Engineering, mostly.” She looked at his rumpled clothes. Yes, she could see that, one of those men who always had a tool in one hand and a grease can in the other. She didn’t know they were giving professorships out to men like that, but why not, after all? She was as apprecia­ tive of things like trains and working carriage wheels as the next person.

And now she’d gone and encouraged him. Stupid. “I see,” she said as coldly as she could manage. “Well, I’m not interested, so I’ll wish you good evening.”

“But how can you know if you’re not interested?” He shook his head in confusion, still smiling at her. The smile was . . . im­ pressive. “I haven’t even explained my proposition, yet.”

“I find that if you’ve heard one proposition, you’ve heard them all,” she replied. Stop talking to him, you idiot. “They’re not as unique as men would like to believe.”

“But—who else has approached you? Was it Langley, from Yale?” His tone turned plaintive. “How did he hear about this before me?”

“Langley—who?”

“Piers Langley,” he said. “No? I can’t think of anyone else reputable—look here, if you’ve been approached by anyone from that quack Santa Fe institute you should know they’re absolute frauds.”

“Institute?” Alva said faintly. “What on earth are you talking about?”

“Your house, of course. I hadn’t realized I was so behind on the news.” His face fell—What must it be like to let all yoyour emo- tions float freely on your face?—but he nodded gravely. “If it’s Langley, though, he’s an excellent researcher, and a decent human, too.”

“It’s not Lang—what do you want with my house?” It was her turn to sound plaintive.

“But that’s what—” He stared at her, his brows crunched to­ gether. “Oh god. I wasn’t—I wouldn’t—”

To her astonishment, a distinct touch of pink appeared in his cheeks. He cleared his throat.

“I beg your pardon, ma’am. Henry warned me—that is, I shouldn’t have; my proposition is not of an intimate nature.”

“I’m coming to understand that,” she said.

You thought . . . do men . . . they must—good lord.”

She began to feel in charity with this befuddled giant. “In­ deed,” she said. “I quite agree. But I must ask again—what is it you want with Liefdehuis?”

“To study it,” he said. “One of my personal interests is in metaphysical energies, you see, and from what I’ve heard, your house may prove a most interesting case. Your ghost story is so recent, you know. I hardly ever hear one claiming to be that new—”

He broke off as she shook her head. “You almost had me con­ vinced that you were unlike the majority of your sex,” she said. “And now I see you are. I’m just not sure insanity is much of an improvement.”

To her surprise, he smiled again. “You’re not the only one who thinks so,” he said. The embarrassment had left his face; he was quite relaxed once more. A man who apologizes for a propo- sition and grins at an insult, Alva thought. Where did you come from, Professor Moore?

“And I’ll admit thno conclusive evidence yet,” he con­ tinued, “but what I have collected looks extremely promising. Certainly promising enough to warrant extensive study.”

A hint of cold pierced her thoughts. Firmly, she banished it. “You’re talking about ghosts,” she said.

“Maybe,” he replied. “Or I could be studying some kind of alien intelligence that just happens to concentrate in areas cor­ responding to local folklore.”

“Alien intelligence.”

“Invisible alien intelligence,” he clarified. “At least invisible to the naked human eye. But ‘ghost’ is probably the easiest term.”

“Really.”

“People tend to go a bit strange when you talk to them about invisible alien intelligences,” he confided. “Which is odd, when you think about it, because why are the shades of one’s dead an­ cestors any less unsettling?”

She found herself nodding before the rest of her wits caught up with her. “No,” she said, not because the word corresponded with any particular question, but because she had the feeling the only way to survive here was to stick to very black­and­white words. His nuances were both compelling and sticky. “I’m afraid I won’t give you access. I don’t believe in ghosts, and I’m about to start several months’ worth of building work.”

“Don’t decide yet,” he begged. “I’m willing to pay you for the privilege, and I promise I won’t be in the way . . . although there is rather a lot of equipment, so I suppose—”

The boy hailing cabs caught her eye and gestured as a han­ som pulled up beside him.

That’s mine,” she said. “I’m sorry I can’t help you. Good evening.”

“Wait!” he said. “I’ll—I’ll send you a letter. Henry said that was the way to do it—I’ll write you and explain more.”

“It won’t help,” she said as the cab boy helped her into the carriage. “I’m sorry. Good­bye, Professor Moore.”

Finally, he sighed acceptance and raised his hand. “Good evening, Mrs. Webster.”

As the cab pulled away from the sidewalk, though, she looked back at him, to find him staring after her with his hands shoved in his pockets and that apparently irrepressible grin back in place. An uncomfortable lightness expanded in her chest as she watched him standing head­and­shoulders taller than the passersby around him, looking back at her as though he would be perfectly happy never to look at anything else ever again.

What couldn’t I get, if I could look at people like that? she thought, and settled grumpily back against her seat. 

Click HERE to buy The Widow of Rose House

Blog Tour: Q&A- Eye for Eye by J.K Franko 

I’m proud to share a Q&A with J.K. Franko, the author of  the crime thriller Eye for Eye

 

Question: How did the idea for Eye for Eye take shape?

J.K. Franko: It started out as a joke over beers. I was riding a Ducati at the time, a Sports Classic GT. It was great bike for around town, as parking in downtown Austin was free for motorcycles. But, at 1000 cc’s, I hardly ever got the thing out of third gear. I had decided to sell it, but as I’d bought it new, I was going to take a serious hit. And I hate losing money. A friend said, “Dude, dump it in the lake, report it stolen, and collect the insurance.” There was a thought! So, we walked through the idea, how someone could get away with a crime like that, eventually concluding that you couldn’t get away with it even if you wanted to – which I didn’t. But the idea of planning the perfect crime continued to intrigue me and has really played out in this book.

 

Question: Is this your first time writing fiction?

JKF: It is. I was on the Law Journal and recognized by the National Law Journal’s Worth Reading List, and continued writing legal and academic articles. My wife has been pushing me to write fiction for over twenty years. During that time, I have begun and/or written at least eight books. I learned a lot in the process, and Eye for Eye is the first quality product that I knew was market-ready.

 

Question: What makes your book different than all the thrillers on the market?

JKF: The writing is intentionally cinematic, and visual. I vividly imagine stories, characters, and scenes when I’m reading, and I did the same in writing Eye for Eye. I made a very concentrated effort to build multiple reveals into the story in a way that the plot is taking new twists to the very end of the book.

 

Question: What themes in your book do you think are particularly relevant in today’s culture?

JKF: Individual agency versus reliance on institutions. Motivation and choice, defining what it means to be human. Tribal connections and what it means to belong to and be part of a community versus participating in society as a whole.

 

 

ABOUT J.K. FRANKO:


 

J.K. Franko was born and raised in Texas in an atmosphere where what he really wanted to do in life – writing and film – were not considered legitimate jobs. His Cuban-American parents believed there were only three acceptable career paths for a male child: doctor, lawyer, and architect. After a disastrous first year of college pre-Med, he ended up getting a BA in philosophy (not acceptable), then he went to law school (salvaging the family name). Franko did pursue writing along with his legal career, and was recognized on the National Law Journal’s Worth Reading list. He later went back to school where he got an MBA, and later pursued a PhD, crossing the line from well-educated to over-educated around the turn of the century. After some prodding from his wife, Franko turned to writing fiction. He now lives with his wife and children in South Florida with their four dogs and one cat.

 

Connect with Franko at JKFranko.com, Facebook.com/jkfrankoauthor, Twitter.com/jk_franko and Instagram.com/jkfranko.author.

 

Eye for Eye will be released June 22, 2019, and available wherever books are sold.