Interview with Laura Heffernan, Author of America’s Next Reality Star

Today, Laura Heffernan, talks about her wonderful novel, America’s Next Reality Star, which debuted on March 7.

What’s your book about?

After Jen loses her job, her boyfriend, and her home, she is cast on a reality show where she hopes to win the cash prize but finds she also wants to win the heart of fellow contestant Justin.

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

“Looking good boosted my confidence. Confidence would make people want to vote for me. I needed votes to win. And I was going to win.”

What do you want people to know about your book?

AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR is a light, fun book about trying new things and living life to the fullest. Sometimes what you want isn’t what you really need.

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

I learned that I could write a book, that I could edit it, and that I’d find people who wanted to read it. To someone struggling with self-doubt, that’s huge.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication?

I started drafting AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR in October 2013, and it’s being published March 2017. The sequels, thankfully, will be out in less than 3.5 years!

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

I love just sitting down to draft without a plan and seeing where the plot goes. My characters never fail to surprise me.

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

In 2012, two of my friends appeared on reality shows. I learned a lot about the process of casting and what goes on behind the scenes, and it seemed like so much fun, I wanted to create my own show.

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

At the gym, usually, or taking walks. I think best when my body is moving but my mind isn’t engaged.

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?

I’ve been doing pole fitness for three and a half years. I can do sit-ups while hanging up-side down by my ankles.

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

No matter what obstacles you’re facing, you’re not alone. Everyone has ups and downs, and seeming “overnight” successes struggle for years before it happens.

What’s next?

SWEET REALITY is coming out in a few months, followed by the currently-untitled third book in the series. I can’t wait to share these stories with the world.

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Laura Heffernan – AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR

Twenty-four-year-old Jen Reid had her life in good shape: an okay job, a tiny-cute Seattle apartment, and a great boyfriend almost ready to get serious. In a flash it all came apart. Single, unemployed, and holding an eviction notice, who has time to remember trying out for a reality show? Then the call comes, and Jen sees her chance to start over—by spending her summer on national TV.

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Interview with Kari Lemor, Author of Wild Card Undercover

Today, we’re talking with Kari Lemor, author of Wild Card Undercover, which debuted on March 7. This novel is the first in her ‘Love on the Line’ romantic suspense series.

Please describe what the story is about.

An undercover FBI agent enlists the help of a cocktail waitress to get evidence on her boss. They pretend to be lovers to keep her safe but the hot kisses and caresses may be more dangerous than the case.

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

He threw her a crooked smile. “All part of the undercover assignment, sweetie.”

She groaned. “Do I have to call you some stupid, sappy nickname, too?”

What do you want people to know about your book?  

In a workshop by Deb Dixon we had to break down our plot. Mine was: “A girl leaves home to find something better and gets stuck in a much worse place. She gets help from a powerful man but he wants something from her first. She realizes home wasn’t so bad after all.”  I realized I had rewritten The Wizard of OZ!!

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel? 

That I really need to do more plotting before I start writing.  This book was majorly revised quite a few times before it was accepted for publication.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication? 

I started writing the story in Dec. 2012. I finished what I thought was my final draft in the spring of 2013. It got sent to a few places and rejected several times, luckily with feedback.  I revised and submitted a few more times and finally heard in Jan. of 2015 that Kensington had moved my story up the ladder. In April 2015, I heard it had gone to acquisitions and in May I got the “call”.  BUT, they wanted a series. So I wrote up a proposal for two more books in the series and waited some more.  It wasn’t until Jan 2016 that I got my contract for three books from Kensington Lyrical and was told my book would be in the Underground line (for Mystery/Thriller/Suspense)

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

I love brainstorming characters and ideas with my amazing Critique Partner. She has great thoughts and always makes me think about why my characters are doing something. And I absolutely love sitting at the computer and letting my characters just take control. So often they show me sides of themselves that I never knew about.

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

I had a dream of the first scene. When I woke up I was curious as to why this situation was happening so I started creating a reason for the characters to have done what they did. The story just flowed from there.

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

I think about my current book all the time. Of course, most of the really great ideas come to me when I’m either driving or just about to fall asleep. I actually keep a small notepad next to my bed with a pencil. And I’ve learned how to write in the dark so I don’t wake up hubby.

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?  

I used to hate writing. I didn’t even start writing until maybe ten years ago and then only for fun. But I’d always had stories floating around in my head while trying to go to sleep. Recently some friends encouraged me to put them down on paper.

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

Best piece of writing advice: Make sure to vary your scenes. Even if you are writing suspense, you can’t have every scene be intense and dramatic. The reader needs time to calm down and reboot.  Plus, if every scene is all about danger, it gets stale and the next dramatic scene won’t have as great an impact. Same with too many sex scenes. After a while they all blend together.  Make each one important and meaningful.

What’s next? 

WILD CARD UNDERCOVER is the first in a series.  The second book, RUNNING TARGET is being released on July 4, 2017 and is already available for pre-order on all major sites. Book three, FATAL EVIDENCE, will be out in December of 2017.
wild-card-undercover_final

 Kari Lemor – WILD CARD UNDERCOVER

All that glitters in Miami is not gold . . .

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Interview with Renee Rutledge, Author of The Hour of Daydreams

 

 

Renee Rutledge chats with us today about her literary novel, The Hour of Daydreams, debuting on March 14 , 2017!

What’s your book about?

The novel is an imagined history of two characters in a Filipino folktale. It follows the secrets they keep from one another, and the impact this has on their marriage and how their story is passed on to their only daughter.

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

“They recalled simultaneously how that part of the river was believed to be haunted–the superstition had been deeply ingrained in the region for decades–so powerful that no one ever dared wander there. Except for them. Perhaps they were just apparitions, clinging to one another, playing at life.”

What do you want people to know about your book?

There is no one way to read this book. Everyone has their own interpretation, and that’s something I wholeheartedly invite. The reader’s interpretation of the story may be vastly different from my own, and that’s okay, even wonderful.

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

I learned that the small things my dad talked about when I was little, even if we only spent one minute of one day of my entire childhood talking about them, made a big impact on me. Some of these things include the duwende, Philippine mythology, the act of saying “Excuse me, sir, just passing through,” to an anthill where a supernatural being may be living. I soaked all of this in because I was fascinated and thirsty for knowledge about my roots and culture.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication?

7 years. It took a year to finish the first draft, and each subsequent draft (4 total) took another year. In between, I took a year-long break to market the book to potential agents.

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

I loved the process of getting to know my characters. This did not happen right away, but gradually, until I reached a point when I knew what they were doing or thinking, and I came to love them, flaws and all.

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

This inspiration for this book came from a Filipino folktale about a star maiden and a man who steals her wings, whom she later ends up marrying. That story was a beginning, an opening, one that left me with many questions—did she want to marry him? Was she happy? It was up to me to come up with the answers.

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

There is no one time. As a working mom, I write when I can, often in the middle of the night or in the earliest hours of the morning. When I am lucky enough to come across an uninterrupted hour that I can spend writing, that is the hour I do my best thinking, oftentimes, because it has to be.

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, but as a “small-town” girl. They say Alameda is a place that people leave but always come back to. I decided to settle here with my husband from the get-go. My daughters attend/attended the same elementary school I did. It is grounding and sets a strong foundation, but leaves me with a need to seek adventure often. We are always traveling, taking day trips, spending time in new and different places. I think keeping that lens of a child within—the one that is always curious and seeing things new—is important, especially as a writer.

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

I’ve gotten so much good advice, but the best piece of writing advice I’ve gotten while working on this book was from my thesis advisor at the time—Yiyun Li. I had challenged myself with the task of creating two opposing storylines and making them both work. Which storyline do you believe? Yiyun asked me. Once I knew that, the entire process changed.

What’s next?

I’m currently working on a collection of stories about Filipino immigrants, inspired by family interviews.

The Hour of Daydreams isn’t just a wonderful book—it’s a lyrical and poetic journey, one that’s simultaneously magical, surprising, and mesmerizing. It’s a love story, fable, fairy tale, and contemporary novel woven together with seamless thread, reminiscent of Isabel Allende. A brilliant start to a beautiful literary career.” — Erin Entrada Kelly, author of Blackbird Fly and The Land of Forgotten Girls

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Interview with Layla Reyne, Author of Single Malt

Layla Reyne talks with us about her Romanic Suspense Series that begins with the recent launch of Single Malt.

Please describe what your book is about.

Aidan Talley, a recently widowed FBI field agent, is newly partnered with handsome, younger Cyber agent, Jameson Walker, to investigate a series of hacks at a biocontainment facility. They must race against the clock to stop the hacks and a deadly terrorist attack. Along the way, they learn all isn’t what it seems—with the case, their partnership, and the deaths of Aidan’s late husband and his former partner.

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

Jamie glanced down at the sparkling clovers in his hand, then back up at his partner, whose autumn eyes hid nothing now. Fear, resolve, desire, and something more Jamie didn’t want to put a word to for all the complications those four letters could bring.

What do you want people to know about your book?

I love suspense with a heavy dose of unresolved sexual tension that leads to romance. Translation: Prepare for plot-heavy romance, with action and things that go boom, kissing and sexy times, and some cliffhangers too. That’s the structure I learned, the one I love, so fair warning!

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

Iced coffee and cronuts are the keys to late night writing and editing success.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication?

Single Malt drafting kicked into high gear in November 2015, while I queried a different manuscript. I got my wonderful agent with that manuscript, sent her Single Malt in April 2016, and we quickly moved it to the front-burner, pitching and selling it in short order. And now Single Malt is published in February 2017, Cask Strength (AIW2) is done and will be published in May 2017, and we’re editing Barrel Proof (AIW3) for release later this summer.

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

Plotting and dialogue. I’m a total plotter; I have to get the story structure down first. And I do that with dialogue, writing it first for the opening scene, closing scene, sex scene(s), dark moment and climax. Then I go back and fill in the rest.

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

Decades of romance-laced cop shows (The X-Files, Castle, etc.) + a decade living in the hyper-tech rat-race that is Silicon Valley.

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

In the car. It’s my one regret about working from home now. I love not commuting, but I miss my best story planning time.

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?

I love fast cars, as is evidenced in my stories, and vintage muscle cars are my weakness. Too bad I didn’t appreciate them in my youth, passing up a 1964½ cherry red Mustang convertible when I was a preteen and didn’t know any better. Top five life regret.

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

Do at least one round of edits backward—from the last chapter to the first. That way your eyes and brain aren’t tired when you’re polishing those crucial last chapters.

What’s next?

All three books in the Agents Irish and Whiskey series – Single Malt, Cask Strength, and Barrel Proof – will be released this year. I’m also developing ideas for AIW spin-offs and writing a male/male contemporary sports romance.

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Interview with Jenni Walsh, Author of Becoming Bonnie

Today, we’re talking to Jenni Walsh. Her first novel, Becoming Bonnie, debuts on May 9!

Please describe what your book about.

Becoming Bonnie tells the untold story of how church-going Bonnelyn Parker becomes half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo during the Roaring Twenties.

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

I rattle the phone into its holder. This thought and that thought bump into each other, colliding, fighting, ‘til a single thought remains: Forgive me Father, for I’m ‘bout to sin.

What do you want people to know about your book?

Let me switch it up a little and answer that I want people to feel like they’ve stepped into a sweetly scandalous Carrie Underwood song.

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

I can muster productivity on severe lack of sleep. My second child arrived smack dab in the middle of my 3-month revision period.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication?

How about this… I’ll throw some real numbers at ya. I broke ground on Becoming Bonnie, writing the first chapter, in March of 2014. I began querying Jan 1, 2015. I got my first agent offer on January 9 (my birthday!), but accepted a different offer on January 16, 2015. I went on sub in February and my publication offer came in August of 2015 (after an R&R). My book will be releasing in May of 2017. So… when it’s all said and done, my journey to publication (not counting previous books I’ve written and shelved) will have taken 39 months (if I did the math correctly. I’m not a numbers gal).

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

Dialogue. Hands down. I love when I’m washing my hair, folding laundry… trying to sleep… and my characters start having this pithy back and forth convo in my head. I feverishly stop what I’m doing and try to get it down on paper.

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

I (somehow) saw the Bonnie and Clyde film when I was a little girl. The violence didn’t stick with me, but their loyalty toward one another did. It made me wonder who they were besides outlaws.

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

Naturally it comes when I’m not at a computer and I have to find a quick way to capture my idea. But in general, I work at night when the rest of my house is asleep and I don’t have kids tugging on me.

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?

I had very little interest in history until after I got married. My husband is a huge history buff.

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

Work a little each day. Even if it’s only getting a paragraph down on paper, it’s progress.

What’s next?

Becoming Bonnie is a book for the mamas, but I’m also working on books for kiddos. In 2018 I’ll be beginning a middle grade series, Brave Like Me, with Scholastic that features real women, who at a young age, accomplished daring feats of perseverance and bravery.

Is Becoming Bonnie a standalone novel?

It can be. But, their story also continues into Being Bonnie, which will be hitting shelves the summer of 2018. I’m really excited to be working on this sequel to bring some of the darker elements of Bonnie and Clyde’s infamy to life.

“A compelling account of a nation and a life in disarray—readers will feel for Bonnelyn as she finds herself scrabbling for survival in a world turned upside down.” – Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author

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Interview with Julie Pennell, Author of The Young Wives Club

Julie Pennell chats with us about her new women’s fiction novel, The Young Wives Club, which just came out on February 14!

Please describe what the story is about.

The Young Wives Club is a book about four young brides who lean on each other through the trials and tribulations of their relationships. It’s a book about friendship, love, family, and self-discovery.

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel:

From the prologue: “In my little corner of Louisiana, finding your one true love happens sometime around high school. If you’re lucky, he might just be the man you thought he was. But not every girl has luck on her side. . . .”

What do you want people to know about your book?

Even though it revolves around these young women’s relationships, it’s first and foremost a book about female friendship. 

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

That I can go days without going outside when I’m on a deadline…Haha 

What was your timeline from drafting to publication?

I started developing it in spring 2014, writing it in summer 2014, and it’s being published in February 2017. A long three years, but I loved every second of the process!

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

I loved developing my characters on paper – they turned into these real people with real emotions and histories, and I wish I could be friends with them in real life.

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

I grew up in Louisiana and knew I wanted that as the setting – there’s no other place to live or love quite like it. I also wanted the story to be about strong female characters and feel like some of the strongest I know were ones who got married young. There’s this idea that you’re not a grownup until you get married but on the other hand if you get married at 19 or even 22, people might say you’re too young. I wanted to explore that idea.

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

All the best ideas seem to happen as I’m falling asleep and then I have to get out of bed and write it down.

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?

I’m a born-and-raised Louisiana girl and the book is all about Louisiana, but I wrote it while living in Oxford, England, for a year while my husband was doing research. It was funny writing scenes about crawfish and pickup trucks while sipping tea and eating scones in a little British café. 

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

Just do it! Just jump in and write. The first draft might be horrible but at least you’ve got something down.

What’s next?

Working on a draft for a new book – it’s totally different from The Young Wives Club except for the fact that it’s about a strong southern woman.

 

“In Toulouse, Louisiana, finding your one true love happens sometime around high school. If you’re lucky, he might be the man you thought he was. But as four friends are about to find out, not every girl has luck on her side in this charming debut novel perfect for fans of The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Desperate Housewives.”

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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

erica-ferencik

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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