Saturday, March 14, 2015

Deborah Moggach Visits Writer's Corner to Discuss Heartbreak Hotel and other things...

Deborah Moggach is visiting Writer’s Corner today to discuss her new novel.  She is a new author for me.  I look forward sharing our visit with you.  She is the bestselling author of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  We are celebrating her new novel Heartbreak Hotel.  It is receiving great praise from the likes of Good House Keeping, Marie Claire, and others.

 Susan welcome  and thank you for coming to Writer’s Corner.  What can you tell us about your new novel Heartbreak Hotel?

It’s set in a ramshackle hotel in Wales, run by an old actor (Buffy), who has the bright idea of creating Courses for Divorces. When people split up they enroll on a course to learn the skill the other person had in the relationship – car maintenance, cooking, gardening and so on. (see a description on my website )

What part in the story does divorce play?

Divorce runs through the book. Most of us face it at some point in our lives – I certainly have – and the book’s hero, Buffy, is a veteran of the marriage-go-round, having had at least three wives.

How do you write good humor?

Humour should arise from the characters, rather than be added to them. I think practically every situation, however tragic, has humour somewhere within it, and I like to recognize that.

What excites you the most about writing?

The moment when the characters become so real they start telling ME what they should be doing. That’s when a novel really takes off.

How do you find the inspiration to write great novels?

Inspiration can arrive at the most unlikely moments. One can’t force it. I just know when it’s happening. This isn’t often – I probably have one good idea a year!

What are you most excited with your books going to films?

Yes, thrilled. It gives them another life, an utterly different one, and the plot usually changes too. I’ve adapted many of my books for the screen and the whole process is fascinating. And I love film sets and actors – they’re always so charming and they make me see my characters anew.

Since writing runs in the family do your daughters share the love of writing?

Yes, my daughter Lottie has written a wonderful novel called “Kiss me First” which has been published in America. I couldn’t be more proud.

What are you currently working on?

I’ve just finished a novel called “Something to Hide” (see above), which is set in China, Texas and West Africa. It’s very different but hopefully you can hear my voice in it.
I’m adapting “Heartbreak Hotel” into a TV drama, in six episodes.

What advice would you give new writers?

Write every day. Be confident! Don’t try to be “literary”, it won’t sound truthful. Get into your characters’ skins and they will help write the novel for you.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Save Me Promotional now through March 16

Kristin Kusek Lewis is stopping by today to share her current novel Save Me.  There is a special promotion for this  e-book price promo of just $4.99 for Save Me from February 16 - March 16.

  How did the idea for this book come to you? What made you want to write about infidelity?

I wish I could say that I’m someone who outlines and has the whole story worked out before I start writing—it seems like it would be easier that way—but for me it always starts with the characters. I lived in New York City throughout my twenties, and my roommate and I would often walk along the Hudson River after work and invent identities for the people we passed. I do the same thing in airports and restaurants, and when I write, I feel like I start in much the same way.
 Daphne came to me as a very particular woman. She is laser-focused, unwavering, and she has tightly controlled everything in her life. When I started writing about her, I wasn’t so much interested in infidelity, though that’s part of her story. I was interested in seeing how she’d fare if her carefully designed life unraveled, and in the course of writing about that, it really became a story about forgiveness. What does it take to forgive someone who’s hurt you and what does it take to reconcile your pain with your love for that person? I believe that in any relationship, whether it’s a marriage, a friendship, a family relationship, etc., you have to forgive each other over and over again, in ways big and small, to make it work. And you have to learn how to forgive yourself, too. That, to me, is what the story is really about.

 Your protagonist and her husband are both doctors. Why did you choose this profession for them, and how does it reflect on their respective characters?

There are several reasons. Daphne is someone who thrives on specifics and formulas. She’s a fixer, but she also has a huge heart, and to me, that made her work as an internist a natural choice. Because she’s so ambitious, I thought it would be interesting to see how her relationship would fare if there was just a little bit of career competition between her and her husband, which is why I made Owen a doctor, too. And then when I decided to set the story in Durham, NC, it became a no-brainer. Durham is known as “the city of medicine” because of Duke Hospital. UNC is just a few miles away and also has a renowned medical center. I lived there for over a decade, and half the people I knew worked in medicine. At one point, I lived in a cul-de-sac with seven doctors for neighbors. Finally, I spent the first several years of my career working as a health reporter and was raised by a woman who read medical books for fun, so it’s a field that always appealed to me. I couldn’t have written about it otherwise and I called on several medical friends for advice about everything from how they take notes after seeing a patient to plausible ailments for my characters.  

 In your first book, HOW LUCKY YOU ARE, you wrote about the friendship between three women and how complicated it can be. In this novel, Daphne¹s sister Lucy is a pillar of support in some ways, though Daphne doesn¹t always agree with her. How is it different to write about sisters versus adult female friends?

I think that there are a lot of similarities. Female relationships are endlessly fascinating to me, in large part because my friendships with other women are such a big part of my life. In both books, the women make a lot of assumptions about each other based on the fact that they’ve made very different life choices—about their careers, their thoughts on marriage, etc. I think that the three women in HOW LUCKY were more apt to let each other’s poor behavior slide out of politeness, whereas Lucy and Daphne will call each other out because they have their family history. Also, in both cases, there’s a bit of posturing and putting a happy face on things, though I think that both books show in the end how essential it is to be wholly yourself with the people in your life. Authenticity is a word that’s thrown around a lot these days but to me, it’s the foundation of any good relationship. And for the women in these books, realizing that the unconditional love that they have for each other won’t fade when they reveal themselves is a big part of their stories.

 So many people have wanted to know what happens to Daphne after Italy and the book¹s end. Do you have an idea of this you can share with readers, or are you saving her next steps for a sequel?

It has been so much fun to hear from readers about what they think happens to Daphne after the book. I’m going to hold my cards close to my chest on this in the event that I do write a sequel, but I will say that I think she settles back in Durham. I won’t reveal with whom.

 You have two young children. When do you find the time to write, and what is your process like?

I’ve been self-employed for over fifteen years, long before I had kids, so that certainly gave me an edge once I became a mother in terms of having a flexible schedule and being used to holding myself accountable for getting my work done. There are lots and lots of things that I don’t do well, but I’m a really diligent person and I stick to a firm work schedule just like if I worked in a traditional office. If you’re going to write for a living, you need to approach it as seriously as you would any other job. There’s no waiting for inspiration to strike—you get yourself to your desk every day and do the work. It’s as simple as that. And when stuff comes up, as it inevitably does, I make up for it with early mornings, late nights, and weekends.
  Becoming a novelist is a leap of faith because you typically spend years writing before you ever know whether you’ll even get a book contract. I remember sitting at my desk, writing my first book with my first daughter in a Baby Bjorn, and having lots of insecure moments when I’d wonder whether I’d ever be successful. But everyone starts the same way. I know novelists who write before they go to their traditional jobs at software companies and doctors’ offices. I know novelists who were stay-at-home parents and wrote when their kids were at school and swim team practice. I wish I could reveal that there’s more romance involved, or that I once had an epiphany that has since made the work a breeze, but at the end of the day, it really just comes down to putting the time in.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What Was Your First Job Like After College?

How many of you remember your first job once you graduated college? Was it everything you expected it to be?  In the most recent novel by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus The First Affair, a career takes a wrong turn.  How could that affect you and the ones you love?


Jamie McAlister has just graduated from Vassar with her good friend Lena.  Lena has a great job in Los Angeles and Jamie would like to join her.  So far she hasn’t been able to find a job out there.  What to do?  One day Jamie gets a message that she has been chosen for an internship at the White House in the Rutland Administration.  A family friend has loaned her an apartment to live in Washington D.C.  What could possibly go wrong?  One night Jamie has a chance encounter with the president which leaves Jamie wondering about their relationship.  Then the phone calls begin.  What does this truly mean for Jamie and her job?  Does she have any reason to be concerned?

My Thoughts: 

I had the honor of meeting both authors at the launch party in Decatur during the annual book festival.  They were there to discuss The First Affair.  This novel focuses the experiences that Monica Lewinsky had during the Clinton administration.  I vaguely remember these events from high school.  The authors’ focus on what would the experience be like for the protagonist. Why would she fall prey to someone in the position of authority?  My heart went out to Jamie as she experienced this relationship, and the circumstances. 

I did enjoy the book and felt that it is a page turner.  The middle of the book was slow for me.  I gained more interest once the events reached the climax. I also thought they did a great job getting the culture of Washington D.C. which I lived in for fourteen years.

Emma and Nicola have another novel coming out later this year.  It will be their last corroboration together for a while. 



Please visit Emma and Nicola on their Facebook page, Twitter, or their Website.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Does Love Really Last? By Tina Guyden

As a mom of four, I read for escape. Not that I don’t adore the never-ending cycle of homework, laundry, arguments, practices… A little escape is needed for sanity’s sake. This is how I approached Don’t Mention the Rock Star by Bree Darcy’s debut.  Thank you to Bree Darcy for a copy of this novel for review.


Kellie and AJ met when he skateboarded his way into her tennis lesson.  At first, the surface differences--sixteen year-old Australian girl bound for university, and seventeen year-old American boy who just wants to be a musician.  Can there be any hope of a true relationship which seems unlikely? When has love's course ever been easy or predictable? They find common ground as they get to know each other. They both have very firm ideas and plans for how their future will look.  Is there a future?

My Thoughts: 

The premise caught my attention: Australian married working mom Kellie reconnects with her first love AJ Dangerfield who happens to be a world famous k American star. The story is told through flashbacks which allow us to track how they will inevitably reunite.  Every good romance must have a happily ever after.  The story was captivating. The characters, especially Kellie’s best friend Nikki and her son Ryan, appealed to me.  Learning about day to day living in Australia was an added bonus. The flashbacks did not seem to fit as comfortably on the pages as the author intended.

 I would be interested in another book in this series that followed Kellie’s children into adulthood.



Visit Bree Darcy on her Website.