Interview with Abby Fabiaschi, Author of I Liked My Life

 

Abby Fabiaschi discusses her new women’s fiction novel, I Liked My Life, which just came out on January 31!

Please describe what the book is about.

Maddy, a seemingly happy stay-at-home mother, commits suicide, leaving her husband and teenage daughter heartbroken and reeling, wondering what happened. As they sift through details of her last days, trying to understand the woman they thought they knew, they’re forced to come to terms with unsettling truths. Maddy, however, isn’t done with them. Watching from beyond, she tries to find her perfect replacement. Along comes Rory: pretty, caring, and spontaneous, with just the right bit of edge…but who also harbors a tragedy of her own. Will the mystery of Maddy ever come to rest? And can her family make peace with their history and begin to heal?

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

Depression never had a grip on me, and alcohol was like a fun cousin I visited once in awhile but never planned a trip around. That its tentacles are often invisible until it’s too late never crossed my mind.

She finds his audacity comical in that delirious way only very sad things can be to very tired people.

What do you want people to know about your book?

It’s funny! And hopeful! I know, I know, that’s hard to conclude from the description, but I swear it’s true. The trade reviews back me up on that…

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

That, though years and years have passed, I still haven’t fully grieved the loss of my father and close friend. I no longer think that’s an attainable goal, but the writing itself was cathartic—a way to pass my burden onto unsuspecting characters.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication?

It took a decade, but I wasn’t writing during seven of those years.

What is your favorite part of writing (drafting characters, making up scenes, plotting, developing emotional turning points, etc). Why?

The first draft! I don’t plot. I can’t—I get bored if I know what’s going to happen. So, my first draft, no matter how horrifying the writing is, I’m fully engaged, dying to find out what befalls the characters I’ve sent to sea.

Briefly, where did the idea for your book come from?

When I was fifteen, I lost one of my closest friends in a tragic car accident. Introducing guilt and grief to my already raging teenage hormones and fierce desire for independence was a hugely defining moment in my life. I LIKED MY LIFE started with a desire to explore mourning at that tender age.

When do you do your best thinking about your work in progress?

While I cook. I’ve always loved to cook—it’s the one domestic inclination I had even before my children showed up in such a hurry, eleven months apart. After I started writing my aunt said, “I always knew you were a creative because you cook without a recipe.” I think combining ingredients in unexpected but worthwhile ways gets the right side of my brain working.

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?

Growing up, I was certain I’d never have children. I spent my twenties climbing the corporate ladder in high tech—stack ranking and politicking and working my ass off. It was my husband who softened me to the idea of “having it all.” It turned out, once motherhood cracked my heart open wider than I ever thought possible, my definition of “having it all” changed.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

Omit needless words. It’s a pull from William Strunk’s The Elements of Style, but I originally happened across it in the book that convinced me to give this whole author thing a formal go: Stephen King’s On Writing.

What’s next?

My second novel, tentatively titled WHATEVER HAPPENED TO LUCY BISCARO?, should be out with St. Martin’s Press in the winter of 2018. It explores the polarizing hold that memories can have on us, and how every decision we make is layered with our past experiences.

“Simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming, this hard-to-put-down, engrossing debut will have readers wondering until the very end. It examines life and death, despair and faith, parenthood and marriage, the choices we make, and, most of all, love—making it a perfect choice for book clubs.”

—Library Journal, STARRED review

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Interview with Adriana Anders, Author of Under Her Skin

Andriana Anders chats with us about her new novel, Under Her Skin, which comes out on February 7!

Please describe what your book is about.

Under Her Skin is a steamy, heart-wrenching story of love, hope and—ultimately—survival. When Uma Crane comes to town to erase the scars of her past, she doesn’t expect to fall for the big, damaged blacksmith next door—or for the town itself. But when she’s forced to face off against her abusive ex, Uma discovers that, with the help of her new friends, she just might have the strength to confront her worst nightmares.

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

“Old hag in need of live-in helper to abuse. Nothing kinky.
Uma read the ad again.
Jesus. Was she really going to do this?
Yes. Yes, she was. She’d come all the way back to Virginia for the hope its free clinic offered, and if this was the only job she could get while she was in town, she should consider herself lucky to have found it.”

What do you want people to know about your book?

Under Her Skin is a story of survival and hope. It’s an emotional rollercoaster with all the romantic feels. And Ivan—the rough ex-con, blacksmith, is my favorite hero, ever.

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

Pretty much everything. Too vague?  I learned that I have to put my characters through hell before I believe in their Happily Ever After.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication?

I wrote this novel in 2013-2014 and signed with Sourcebooks in 2015. Under Her Skin, Book 1 in the Blank Canvas series, is the first of three books out this year!

What is your favorite part of writing (drafting characters, making up scenes, plotting, developing emotional turning points, etc). Why?

I adore writing dialogue. It’s what flows the best for me—conversations appear out of thin air, surprising me every time. And I greatly enjoy the challenge of differentiating between characters’ voices.

Briefly, where did the idea for your book come from?

I heard a story on the radio about a woman who removed tattoos pro-bono for survivors of abuse, ex-cons, and ex-gang members. The idea that a woman could be tattooed against her will had never occurred to me, but as soon as I heard it, my mind went wild. I dropped everything else I was working on. This was it. This was my story.

When do you do your best thinking about your work in progress?

I used to drive an hour and a half to get to work and, though I don’t rue the wasted hours, I miss the alone time. With two young children at home, it’s tough to get the brainstorming, daydreaming time in.

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?

I used to do voices for video games!

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

As the fabulous mystery novelist and writing teacher Meredith Cole advises: ignore your inner editor and write, write, write. Or, as Cara McKenna say, write the shitty little book of your heart.

What’s next?

By Her Touch, Book 2 in the Blank Canvas series, is out April 4th! It’s the story of ATF Agent Clay Navarro, who’s hiding out after an undercover stint with the Sultans motorcycle Club, and the dermatologist who removes his Club tats. It’s another dark, sexy, emotional read. In His Hands, the third book in the Blank Canvas series, comes out August 1st, bringing us Luc, a sexy, reclusive French winemaker and Abby, who’s struggling to escape the cult next door.

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Interview with Erica Ferencik, Author of The River at Night

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Erica Ferencik’s disucsses her debut THE RIVER AT NIGHT, which comes out today, January 10!

Please describe what the story is about.

The River at Night is a high stakes drama set against the harsh beauty of the Maine wilderness, charting the journey of four friends as they fight to survive the aftermath of a white water rafting accident.

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

“I know we all felt it – even then, while the titan was sleeping – that there was a force larger and more terrible in charge that we’d better heed above all out petty infighting. The impression of riding something sensate was unmistakable; even when we steered the raft with our oars, the river had its own idea of where we would go and what would happen to us.”

What do you want people to know about your book?

I had a total blast writing this book. Hopefully the reading experience will be comparable!

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

How persistent I am. How I really have to listen to feedback that I know in my heart is spot on. How I can’t please every reader.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication?

Four years.

What is your favorite part of writing (drafting characters, making up scenes, plotting, developing emotional turning points, etc). Why?

I hate all of it. Kidding. Sort of:)

Many ideas occur to me that could potentially be book-worthy, but I’ve learned over time I often go to bed a genius and wake up an idiot; in other words: that great idea I had the night before? When the light of day shines down on it – it just ain’t gonna work.

So – to finally answer the question – I love it when I really do come up with an idea big enough for a book, and one I feel capable of writing. Doesn’t happen every day.

Briefly, where did the idea for your book come from?

Two sources:

One novel: Deliverance, the 1970 novel by James Dickey, which blew my mind with its real-time, visceral, propulsive writing, and one experience: an ill-fated hiking trip of my own in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with several friends in the summer of 2012.

When do you do your best thinking about your work in progress?

The shower. Taking walks. When I am not thinking about my work at all. I also tend to do well when I quit screwing around and actually make myself put words on paper.

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?

I was a fine artist – a painter: watercolors and mixed media – until I was 26 years old. Then one day I woke up and literally lost interest in painting ever again. Just tossed all my painting stuff in storage. From then on, all I wanted to do was write. That was over 30 years ago.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

Don’t ever give up. Learn everything you can about writing, then learn some more. Thinking about you who want to be as a writer is never a waste of time. Plan your time. Stay organized. But don’t forget to live your one beautiful life!

What’s next?

My next novel is a survival thriller set in the Peruvian Amazon about an American girl who falls for a local man and goes to live in his jungle village, experiencing the joys of family for the first time only to have her new found happiness threatened by a mysterious illness and the warring tribe that holds the cure.

This means I am planning a trip to the Peruvian Amazon this May to do research. I’m terrified and excited, usually at the same time!

What intrigued you about writing about female friendship?

The stakes in female friendship are just as high or higher than in romantic ones. We trust our women friends with so much intimate knowledge – why is that? Our hairdressers know for sure….isn’t that the truth.

It’s such a delicate balance to keep these relationships alive, as well as intensely difficult to determine when or whether it may be time to end them, or to come to grips with the fact that – since everything changes – these cherished friendships must change as well.

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“A gal-pal vacation goes over the falls and into hell. You won’t put it down.”
Kirkus Reviews

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Interview with Mary Ann Marlowe, Author of Some Kind of Magic

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Mary Ann Marlowe discusses her debut Some Kind of Magic (Women’s Fiction), releasing January 31, 2017.

Describe what your book is about.

“Some Kind of Magic is the story of a music-loving biochemist who’s swept off her feet by a rock star. Due to a pheromone-enhancing perfume she’s sporting at the time, she doesn’t know for sure if it’s love or just a chemical reaction.”

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

“I was lost in a fog of confusion, thinking back to Friday night when Adam had breathed in the perfume on my wrist. Was it possible this drug could magnify an attraction so much that the moon could attract the sun?”

What do you want people to know about your book?

“Although this falls into the category of “rock star romance,” I think of this more as a “rock fan romance” because Eden isn’t attracted to Adam’s fame, but she has to navigate the culture surrounding her new boyfriend as a result of his fame.”

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

“Much like my main character, Eden, I learned that you sometimes have to chase after a dream, no matter how far-fetched and risky it might at first seem.

Didn’t mean for that to rhyme…”

What was your timeline from drafting to publication?

“I started this book in August 2014. I signed with an agent the following March and then had the offer from Kensington in September 2015 with a release date of January 2017.”

What is your favorite part of writing (drafting characters, making up scenes, plotting, developing emotional turning points, etc). Why?

“I love all aspects of writing, though I also get frustrated at all stages. My favorite part is having words on the page to play with and then layering in more emotion, more details, more character.”

Briefly, where did the idea for your book come from?

“This book is the result of years of following musicians around and being a truly dorky fan, but I didn’t set out to write a rock star romance. My inciting question was wondering what it would be like to accidentally hook up with someone famous, especially if you had reason to doubt the sincerity of the connection, and dealing with the aftermath.”

When do you do your best thinking about your work in progress?

“I daydream all the time. If I’m trying to sleep or driving or washing dishes, my characters will talk. The hardest part is holding onto those thoughts and getting them on the page before they dissipate. I sometimes email myself late at night if a scene starts to unspool so I can fall asleep without juggling unwritten words.”

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?

“I worked in Manhattan for five years, writing mortgage-trading software for Lehman Brothers. But I left long before the crash, so please don’t blame me.”

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

“Anne Lamott: ‘Write sh!tty drafts.’”

What’s next?

“The sequel to Some Kind of Magic, A Crazy Kind of Love, is slated for December 2017, and I’ve been working on a third book in the series.”

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Welcome to ’17 Scribes!

’17 Scribes is a group of Adult and New Adult authors debuting with their first novel in 2017.  We’ll be sharing more about our authors and our books in the coming days and weeks.  If you’d like to join our growing ranks of ’17 debut authors, please ask to join our Facebook group.

To find out more about our authors, click Who We Are. To see a list of our upcoming books, click on Books!

Thanks to Kristen Lepionka for the beautiful header graphic.