#BookReview: The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

793D7907-DB63-450A-8360-57FA9F2310F6Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: July 21st, 2020

Summary:

Inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II, a young woman with a talent for forgery helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis in this unforgettable historical novel from the international bestselling author of the “epic and heart-wrenching World War II tale” (Alyson Noel, #1 New York Times bestselling author) The Winemaker’s Wife.

Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books one morning when her eyes lock on a photograph in a magazine lying open nearby. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names.

The accompanying article discusses the looting of libraries by the Nazis across Europe during World War II—an experience Eva remembers well—and the search to reunite people with the texts taken from them so long ago. The book in the photograph, an eighteenth-century religious text thought to have been taken from France in the waning days of the war, is one of the most fascinating cases. Now housed in Berlin’s Zentral- und Landesbibliothek library, it appears to contain some sort of code, but researchers don’t know where it came from—or what the code means. Only Eva holds the answer—but will she have the strength to revisit old memories and help reunite those lost during the war?

As a graduate student in 1942, Eva was forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small mountain town in the Free Zone, she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Rémy, Eva decides she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children who are too young to remember who they really are. The records they keep in The Book of Lost Names will become even more vital when the resistance cell they work for is betrayed and Rémy disappears.

An engaging and evocative novel reminiscent of The Lost Girls of Paris and The Alice Network, The Book of Lost Names is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of bravery and love in the face of evil.

 

 

Review:

I was left weeping and celebrating all at the same time! “The Book of Lost Names” pulled out emotions in me that were so intense I felt a true desire to do better, be better….Like Eva!!

When such raw beauty & awe resonates from the pages of a novel, it is because authors like Kristin Harmel can take a character like Eva and make her feel so real to us that we want to reach out and hug her in gratitude!

With the most tender kind of writing for a time in our history where the suffering was intensely exquisite, Kristin Hormel writes with delicacy and in such a warm way that this entire story leaves you breathless, closing the book grateful for knowing this part of history.

I am very grateful for all that I learned! Not only about history, but humanity and it’s desire to rise above darkness and truly be a bright light!

Eva and “The Book of Lost Names” is forever imprinted upon my heart. Like a tattoo!  As I am sure the true forgers had imprinted themselves on the hearts of so many children.

Bravo, Kristin Harmel! You took a cold, dark time and made it feel warm because of the hope of the people!

Any Child with a Lost Name would be proud to read this novel and keep it close!

I received a copy of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

I’ve added Kristin Harmel to my favorite author’s list!

53F471E8-323D-4B82-9718-D658D629F22C

Author Bio:

Kristin Harmel is the #1 international bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES, THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE, and a dozen other novels that have been translated into numerous languages and sold all over the world.

A former reporter for PEOPLE magazine, Kristin has been writing professionally since the age of 16, when she began her career as a sportswriter, covering Major League Baseball and NHL hockey for a local magazine in Tampa Bay, Florida in the late 1990s. After stints covering health and lifestyle for American Baby, Men’s Health, and Woman’s Day, she became a reporter for PEOPLE and spent more than a decade working for the publication, covering everything from the Super Bowl to high-profile murders to celebrity interviews with the likes of Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, OutKast, Justin Timberlake, and Patrick Dempsey. Her favorite stories at PEOPLE, however, were the “Heroes Among Us” features—tales of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. One of those features—the story of Holocaust-survivor-turned-philanthropist Henri Landwirth (whom both Walter Cronkite and John Glenn told Kristin was the most amazing person they’d ever known)—partially inspired Kristin’s 2012 novel, The Sweetness of Forgetting, which was a bestseller all over the world.

In addition to a long magazine writing career (which also included articles published in Travel + Leisure, Glamour, Ladies’ Home Journal, Every Day with Rachael Ray, and more), Kristin was also a frequent contributor to the national television morning show The Daily Buzz—where her assignments included flying to London three times to interview the cast of the Harry Potter films. She has appeared on Good Morning America and numerous local television morning shows–and even stumbled into a role as an extra in the 2003 American Idol movie while awaiting an interview with Kelly Clarkson.

Kristin was born just outside Boston, Massachusetts and spent her childhood there, as well as in Columbus, Ohio, and St. Petersburg, Florida. After graduating with a degree in journalism (with a minor in Spanish) from the University of Florida, she spent time living in Paris and Los Angeles and now lives in Orlando, with her husband and young son. She travels frequently to France for book research (and—let’s be honest—for the pastries and wine) and writes a book a year for Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster.

Live Interview:

Order Today from Kristin’s Favorite Independent Book Store…There are a limited number of autographed copies!

Writers Block Book Store

Orlando, Fl.

https://www.writersblockbookstore.com/book/9781982131890

#BlogTour – The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz

82098BEB-CD11-493F-A87F-5A31F92B9155The Grace Kelly Dress : A Novel

Brenda Janowitz

On Sale Date: March 3, 2020

9781525804595, 1525804596

Trade Paperback

$16.99 USD, $22.99 CAD

Fiction / Contemporary Women

336 pages

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Two years after Grace Kelly’s royal wedding, her iconic dress is still all the rage in Paris—and one replica, and the secrets it carries, will inspire three generations of women to forge their own paths in life and in love.

Paris, 1958: Rose, a seamstress at a fashionable atelier, has been entrusted with sewing a Grace Kelly—look-alike gown for a wealthy bride-to-be. But when, against better judgment, she finds herself falling in love with the bride’s handsome brother, Rose must make an impossible choice, one that could put all she’s worked for at risk: love, security and of course, the dress.

Sixty years later, tech CEO Rachel, who goes by the childhood nickname “Rocky,” has inherited the dress for her upcoming wedding in New York City. But there’s just one problem: Rocky doesn’t want to wear it. A family heirloom dating back to the 1950s, the dress just isn’t her. Rocky knows this admission will break her mother Joan’s heart. But what she doesn’t know is why Joan insists on the dress—or the heartbreaking secret that changed her mother’s life decades before, as she herself prepared to wear it.

As the lives of these three women come together in surprising ways, the revelation of the dress’s history collides with long-buried family heartaches. And in the lead-up to Rocky’s wedding, they’ll have to confront the past before they can embrace the beautiful possibilities of the future.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Brenda Janowitz is the author of five novels, including The Dinner Party and Recipe for a Happy Life. She is the Books Correspondent for PopSugar. Brenda’s work has also appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, Salon, Redbook, and the New York Post. She lives in New York.

SOCIAL LINKS:

Author website: http://www.brendajanowitz.com/

Facebook: @BrendaJanowitz

Twitter: @BrendaJanowitz

Instagram: @brendajanowitzwriter

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/241404.Brenda_Janowitz

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Apple Books

Indie Bound

Harlequin Trade Publishing

Books-A-Million

Kobo

Review:

Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Brenda Janowitz took us on a deeply sincere and contemplative journey in her generational sweeping novel “The Grace Kelly Dress”.

It was truly sentimental, touching, and inspirational! I love books that wrap stories of friendship, love and family around a cherished item. This was magnificent! We forget how important our wedding dresses are to us, and what they symbolize. Thank you for this sincere and beautiful reminder.

As I was reading I was so full of nostalgia for my wedding dress…sitting in a box, carefully preserved, as Joan’s was so that it stays in pristine condition; to pass it down to a loved one.

Now I must decide my wedding dresses adventure!! It’s time.

5 Stars.


Excerpt:

The mother of the bride, as a bride herself
Long Island, 1982

She loved the dress. She loved the veil that went with it, too, though she wasn’t sure if it could be salvaged. It was showing signs of age, its edges curling and tinged with brown. But that wouldn’t dull her excitement.

Today was the day she would be trying on her mother’s wedding dress. Even though Joanie had tried it on countless times as a child—it was a favorite rainy-day activity with her mother—today felt different. She was engaged, just like she’d dreamed about ever since she could remember. When she tried the dress on this time, it was for keeps. She was completely in love with the dress.

“Let me help you get it on,” Joanie’s mother said, her French accent coming through. It was always more pronounced when she was feeling emotional. With her American friends, Joanie noticed, her mother always tried to sound “American,” softening her accent and using American expressions. But when they were alone, she could be herself. Let her guard down. Joanie knew exactly who her mother was, and she loved her for it.

Her mother handed Joanie a pair of white cotton gloves and then put on her own set. The first step in trying the dress on, always, so that the oils in their hands wouldn’t defile the fabric. She laid the large box on her bed and nodded her head at her husband, her signal to give them privacy. The door closed to Joanie’s childhood bedroom, and she and her mother were alone.

The white cotton gloves were cool and smooth on her skin. Joanie opened the box slowly. So slowly. It was sealed with a special plastic that was supposed to keep it airtight so that the dress would not oxidize and turn yellow. She and her mother laughed as they struggled to set the dress free. The last time she tried the dress on was the summer before her sister died. It was after Michele’s death that her mother brought the dress into the city so that it might be cleaned properly and preserved for just this day. At the time, Joanie hadn’t understood the connection between her sister’s sudden death and her mother’s tight grip on family heirlooms, but now, a year into her psychology degree at NYC University, she understood. It was so hard to hold on to things that were important to you, things that mattered, and preserving her wedding dress, this memory, was her mother’s way of taking control of something. It was something she could save.

The dress was just as beautiful as she’d remembered. Crafted from rose point lace, the same lace used on Grace Kelly’s iconic wedding dress, it was delicate and classic and chic and a million other things Joanie couldn’t even articulate.

“Go on,” her mother said, holding the first part of the dress—the bodice with the attached underbodice, skirt support, and slip—out for her to take. As a child, it had thrilled Joanie to no end that the wedding dress her mother wore was actually made up of four separate pieces. It was like a secret that a bride could have on her special day, something that no one else knew.

“I couldn’t,” Joanie said, hands at her side. Knowing how carefully preserved the dress had been, what the dress had meant to her mother, it was hard for Joanie to touch it. She didn’t want to get it dirty, sully its memory. “It’s just so beautiful.”

“It’s yours now,” her mother said, smiling warmly. “The dress belongs to you. Put it on.”

Joanie kicked off her ballerina flats, and her mother helped her ease the bodice on. Joanie stood at attention as her mother snapped the skirt into place, and wrapped the cummerbund around her waist. Joanie held her hands high above her head, not wanting to get in the way of her mother’s expert hands, hands that knew exactly where to go, fingers that knew exactly what to do.

“You ready in there, Birdie?” her father yelled from the hallway, impatient, his French accent just as strong as the day he left France. Joanie always loved how her father had a special nickname for her mother. When they first married, he would call her mother GracieBird, a nickname of Grace Kelly’s, because of the Grace Kelly–inspired wedding gown she wore on their wedding day. Eventually, it was shortened to Bird, and then over time, it became Birdie. What would Joanie’s fiancé call her?

Joanie inspected her reflection in the mirror. Her shoulder-length blond hair, recently permed, looked messy. Her pink eye shadow, which had always seemed so grown-up on her sister, made her appear tired and puffy-eyed. But the dress? The dress was perfect.

Her mother opened the door slowly, and her father’s face came into view. His expression softened as he saw his daughter in the wedding dress. She walked out into the hallway, towards him, and she could see a tear forming in the corner of his eye.

She turned to her mother, about to tell her that Daddy was crying, when she saw that her mother, too, had teared up. Joanie couldn’t help it—seeing her mother and father cry, she began to cry as well. She could never keep a dry eye when someone else was crying, least of all her parents, ex-pats from Europe who hardly ever cried.

Michele’s presence floated in the air like a haze, but no one would say it. No one dared mention that she would have worn the dress first. Should have worn the dress first.

“And look at us,” her mother said, her hands reaching out and grabbing for her husband and daughter. “All of us crying like little babies.”

All three embraced—carefully, of course, so as not to ruin the dress.

Her father kissed the top of her head. “Give us a twirl.”

Joanie obliged. The dress moved gracefully as she spun. Joanie curtsied, and her father gently took her hand and kissed it.

“I know what you’re thinking,” her mother said, her voice a song.

“What?” Joanie asked absentmindedly, while staring at her reflection in the mirror. She knew the first thing she’d change—the sleeves. The dress needed big, voluminous sleeves, just like Princess Diana had worn on her wedding day.

“Or I should say who you’re thinking about,” her mother said, a gentle tease.

“Who?” Joanie asked, under her breath, twirling from side to side in front of the mirror, watching the dress move.

“Your fiancé,” her mother said, furrowing her brow. “Remember him?”

“For sure,” Joanie said, spinning around to face her mother. “My fiancé. Yes. I knew that. And, yes. I was.” But the truth was, she had completely forgotten.

 

Excerpted from The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz. Copyright © 2020 by Brenda Janowitz. Published by Graydon House Books.

 

A82A9CA6-5165-4421-9CB0-022F9EAF3156Q&A with Brenda Janowitz:


Q: You write that you’ve always loved wedding dresses. What fascinated you about Grace Kelly’s dress in particular, and how did you come up with the idea for this novel?

A: Ever since I first laid eyes on this iconic garment, I’ve been in love. To me, Grace Kelly’s wedding gown is the ultimate dress. Beautiful, elegant, and refined– what more could any bride want?

 My agent sent me an article from The Today Show about a wedding dress that had been passed down through eleven generations. The moment I heard the story, I knew that I had the idea for my next novel.

 Once I decided to write about a wedding gown, there was only one thing I envisioned: Grace Kelly on her wedding day. So, when it came time to describe what this heirloom dress looked like, I found myself describing Grace Kelly’s gown– the lace sleeves, the cummerbund, the full skirt. I quickly realized that the characters in the book should be as enamored of this design as me, and The Grace Kelly Dress was born!

Q: You alternate between three characters’ stories. Did you focus more on one before turning to the others, or did you write the novel in the order in which it appears?

A: I like to write in a very straightforward manner, and that usually means writing each chapter in order, from beginning to end. So, I approached this book in this same way, at first.

But then, I realized that in order to make each story have the meaningful arc I was looking for, I’d need to focus on one story at a time. So, I broke the book apart into three different documents, and worked on one timeline at a time. This enabled me to fully immerse myself in each protagonist’s life, as well as the time period I was exploring.

Once I’d completed all three timelines, the real work began. I wove the book back together, and that was when the book took its true form, as I made sure that the different timelines all spoke to each other in a meaningful way. It certainly made the book take longer to write, but I think that by working on each timeline separately, I was able to do the individual stories justice.

Q: Tell us a little about your story and the story world you’ve created.

A: The Grace Kelly Dress is the story of three generations of women, and the wedding dress that binds them together. It’s a story about love, friendship, and family, and it’s entirely different from anything I’ve ever written before. I hope that readers will join me on this journey, and come to love these women as I do.

Q: Tell us a little about how this story first came to be. Did it start with an image, a voice, a concept, a dilemma or something else?

A: When my agent sent me a clip from The Today Show about a wedding dress that had been passed down through eleven generations of a family, I knew that I had the idea for my next book. It had everything I love to write about in one place– multiple generations, a wedding dress, and lots of room for friction. The image of a wedding gown is one that is so incredibly powerful to me. The way one chooses to dress for her wedding day says so much about that person, and how she wants to present herself to the world.

Q: The book is set in the New York area and in Paris. How important is setting to you in your writing?

 A: Setting is so incredibly important! Where a character lives and how she interacts with her environment says so much about who she is. Rocky, our protagonist in 2020, lives and works in Brooklyn, and it says as much about who she is as the tattoos she proudly wears all over her body. Joanie, in 1982, lives a sheltered life on Long Island, but when she goes into New York City, she finds a world much larger than the one she was living. And Rose, in 1958, is in Paris, but as a poor orphan, lives a different type of sheltered life, working in a highly regarded atelier during the day, and doing not much else.

Q: What kind of research did you do for this book, and did you learn anything especially surprising?

 A: I’ve never written in a timeline other than the present, so there was a ton of research to be done! I had to research the two different time periods, 1982 and 1958. Even an innocuous detail like the brand of watch that a character is wearing can throw a reader out of the narrative if the author hasn’t gotten it just right.

 The most enjoyable research I did was about Grace Kelly herself, and, of course, her iconic gown. I read Kristina Haugland’s incredible book, Grace Kelly: Icon of Style to Royal Bride, and then had the opportunity to speak with her as well. I loved learning every detail I could about this beloved dress, but by far the most interesting thing I learned was this: Grace Kelly’s gown consisted of four separate parts, each of which needed to be put on separately. What a wonderful secret for a bride to have on her wedding day!

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I’ve loved writing about an heirloom item and the family that owns it, so I’m doing it again! I’ll be focusing on another family and another heirloom that has been passed down. Heirlooms are so incredibly important to me– I wear one of my Grandma Dorothy’s rings every day, and I love having a piece of her with me as I go through my day to day.

Q: How did you get the idea for this novel?

A: The idea came to me when my agent sent me a clip from The Today Show about a wedding dress that had been passed down through eleven generations. I couldn’t get over how incredibly special that was, and I immediately started to think about what it would mean for a family to have an item like that. How would each woman change the dress to fit her personality? How would the time she was living in have an effect on those choices? And what if one woman didn’t want the dress?

 Q: Is Grace Kelly one of your favorite actresses? What is your favorite Grace Kelly role?

 A: YES! Grace Kelly, to me, is the ultimate Hollywood story: beautiful, talented, and then she married a prince. I love all of Grace Kelly’s films, but I particularly adore To Catch a Thief. It’s so romantic and flirty, and it’s got Cary Grant.

Q: What is one of the biggest challenges you have in a story like this that spans different times in history?

A: One of the biggest challenges for me, was the massive amount of research. When writing in another time period, I underestimated how carefully every sentence would have to be researched. The characters needed to sound like they lived in the time period I was presenting, and every reference needed to be spot on– from what the characters were wearing, to the types of music they listened to, to the way they styled their hair. Is it any wonder that my current work in progress will take place in the present?

Q: What is the significance of the title: The Grace Kelly Dress?

A:  The Grace Kelly Dress refers to the wedding dress that is handed down through three generations of women. The gown in my book was initially created in 1958, and at that time, the bride wanted the dress that everyone wanted at that time: something that looked just like what Grace Kelly wore when she married Prince Rainier in 1956.

Q: Are any of your characters based on real people you know?

A: They say that your first novel is all about you, that each and every character is you, and I think that was true of my first novel. (First two novels, perhaps!) But this is my sixth novel, so at this point, all of the characters are products of my imagination. That said, everything inspires me, so parts of real life always have their way of making their way into my work. So, I suppose a better way to answer this question would be to say: no, not on purpose.

Q: Which character was most challenging to create? Why?

A: I found Joanie, in 1982, to be the most challenging to write. I first created her character while working on the 2020 timeline, at which point we only know her as Rocky’s mother. It took a lot of thought to figure out who she would be at age 20, and how she would grow into the woman we see in 2020. Additionally, since we meet her mother in the 1958 timeline, it was important that the reader see a connection there, too.

On the first round of edits, I completely trashed the original 1982 storyline and re-wrote it from the ground up. I think that I needed the first draft to truly learn who she was, and how to create her story.

Q: What did you learn when writing the book?

A: I’ve learned so much this time around, but the lesson that most resonated for me was that writing is re-writing. From the first draft of this novel to the second, the book changed dramatically, and I think that the story is ultimately better for it. But when you’re a newer writer, it’s so hard to cut things, and it’s even harder to completely trash a part of the book and start from scratch. But really, editing the book is the thing that makes it better, and ultimately, makes you a better writer.

Q: Were you a young writer, a late bloomer, or something in between?

A: I’ve always loved to write. In fact, it’s the reason I became a lawyer. But I was one of those unhappy lawyers, so for my 30th birthday, my best friend, Shawn, organized a group gift– she got all of our friends together and sent me to my first writing class. It’s the thing that helped me to take my writing more seriously, and the place where I began writing what would become my first novel.

 Q: Do you have a dedicated writing space?

 A: I do have an office in my house, but I’m one of those writers who just gets the work done whenever and wherever she can. In fact, I’m on my laptop right now while my kids are at the kitchen table doing homework!

 Q: Any type of writing ritual you have?

 A: I wish I could say that I have certain rituals and that I have a process for letting the muse in, but the truth is, I’m just a busy working mom, so I write when I can. Sometimes, I’m dictating full chapters on the voice memo app on my phone. Sometimes, I’m jotting notes on the backs of receipts. I say: do whatever works!

Q: What is your favorite genre to read, and why?

A: I love to read, and I love reading all different types of genres. I think it makes you a better writer to be more widely read. That said, I have a soft spot for upmarket commercial fiction. If Reese Witherspoon can make a limited series HBO drama out of it, I’m in!

 Q: What message do you hope readers take away from your story?

 A: The main thing is that I want readers to really enjoy the story and have a great reading experience. As for a takeaway, it’s been really moving to have readers reach out to me to discuss the role that heirloom items have had in their own life. I always tell my kids: it’s people who are important, not things. But I do believe that certain things, like these heirlooms that are passed down, have meaning. They show us where our family has been, and each one has a story connected to it. Stories are powerful, and the stories about where we come from are so incredibly meaningful.

 

 

 

 

#AuthorInterview #HolidayReads & #GiveAway: Meet Janice Lynn, author of Hallmark’s “Wrapped Up in Christmas”

F5C3A079-D3D0-4C59-B0AF-01020ABA75B6
What first sparked your interest in writing Wrapped Up in Christmas?

For some time I have been wanting to spread my wings as a writer and push myself outside my comfort zone, to write a story that moved people, and brought my writing to another level. My agent suggested I write a proposal for Hallmark. When I sat down to write the proposal, I asked myself what Hallmark meant to me, and I started writing the proposal for Wrapped Up in Love–which was the original title, as the original version centered around July 4th rather than Christmas. I was asked to revise to a Christmas story and make a few tweaks to the proposal, and Hallmark Publishing bought it. Now, I can’t imagine the book as anything other than a Christmas story.

How long did it take you to write the story?  

I’m honestly not sure of the exact timeframe for the first draft. I’d guess around 3 months. I was on deadline with another publisher, so I had to write.

Who is your favorite character & why?  

There are a lot of characters in the book I love for various reasons. The answer that popped into my head is Harry, who is my hero’s dog. But I adore Bodie and Sarah, and I’d feel remiss if I didn’t mention the Butterflies. Writing Harry and letting his personality come through without dialogue stretched me as a writer. Stretching outside one’s comfort zone makes one grow and that’s a good thing. I adore Bodie because he is a wounded warrior with a big heart, a real life hero who loves his country and fellowman. He’s the kind of hero you know would come to your rescue no matter what. Sarah is sweet and loves her hometown and community. I love that about her, probably because I feel the same way about the small town in Tennessee where I live. And, those pesky Butterflies….those ladies were so much fun to write because I had to ask myself, now what would they do next that borders on outrageous without going too far over the top. I’d catch myself giggling at times writing the scenes with them on the page because I could so vividly see them in my mind. Hmmm, that was more than a single character, but I honestly love them all equally.

Annie: I am totally excited that you said the hero’s dog first. Each character sounds amazingly special, but I have a special place in my heart for dogs.

0B618662-BB41-4637-B465-CE0105BFD580When did you realize you were a novelist?

When I was in the first grade. No kidding. On my tablet paper, I wrote a story about a witch and was hooked. I’d write every chance I got up until I went away to college. Somehow, I quit writing for pleasure during that time, got my degree, a husband, some beautiful children, and it wasn’t until 9/11 happened that, same as many others, I found myself looking at life differently. For me that meant asking myself why I wasn’t pursuing my dream of writing. It was my dream and yet I was putting zero effort into making it a reality. I started writing again. Writing is such a wonderful outlet for me that, looking back, I can’t believe I allowed myself to stop for so long. Whether or not I ever sold another book, I’d still write. Writing soothes a need in me that nothing else touches. My hope is that my writing soothes a need in my readers that only a good book can accomplish.

F75BB206-AAE1-4175-AE27-F6FD90304221
What’s been the most exciting part of Wrapped Up in Christmas’s release?

Everything about writing for Hallmark has been exciting. How my hometown has shared in my joy of this book warms my heart in so many ways. Friends and family have just embraced me with their joy. It’s been amazing, but my answer as to what’s been the most exciting has to be having been a guest on the Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family talk show on November 8th and making a snowflake ornament with Cameron Mathison. He was so unbelievably kind. I’d love to write a book that he someday starred in the movie. Did I mention that I’m a dreamer? LOL. Still, this entire experience has been dreamy, so I know dreams come true. I’m just going to keep dreaming.

Annie: WOW! I love that show, and Cameron Mathison! That is so amazing!

What’s your favorite part of being an author?

Getting to write stories that raise awareness of causes I believe in such as the Quilts of Valor Foundation. In Wrapped Up in Christmas, Sarah has donated a quilt to the Quilts of Valor Foundation. That quilt made its way to a wounded warrior named Bodie Lewis.  Quilts of Valor is a real organization that really does wrap up veterans and active servicemen and women in quilts. That my book has brought attention to their mission makes my heart happy because I 100% believe in what they are doing.

Annie: This is an amazing organization! Here is the link for everyone to check out! https://www.qovf.org

6C64D46C-0D2E-4DA2-9D69-861ECC8BEEF4What are your hobbies?

I love to sew and quilt. I won’t say that I have a whole lot of perfectly straight quarter inch seams, but I try. 🙂  I am in the process of making a quilt for each of my children, make quilts for baby shower gifts, and have recently finished my second Quilts of Valor quilt to be donated. I hope to make many more to be donated in the future as well as continuing to write stories that draw attention to the wonderful work this organization does.  


Annie: Thank you so much for this outstanding interview behind the scenes of both you and your book! It’s so wonderful to get to know you better!

 

GIVEAWAY:  eBook COPY OF BOOK.

TO ENTER PLEASE LEAVE COMMENT BY 9PM WEDNESDAY.  THANK YOU.

#NewRelease, #AuthorInterview & #Giveaway: Meet Eileen Sanchez and learn more about “Freedom Lessons: A Novel”

1CFD5BB2-3D9E-4704-BC53-B87AABEAD12EQ: What first sparked your interest in writing “Freedom Lessons”? 


Ten years ago, I was at a professional educational conference in New Orleans, LA. After a long day of presentations, we went out to Pat O’Brien’s, a great bar in the French Quarter. If you ever visit NOLA be sure to go there to have a
Hurricane and request your favorite song to be played by the dueling pianos. In between the drinks and entertainment, I surprised the people I was with when I told them I had taught in a small rural town in Louisiana. It was during the mandated integration that followed the October 29, 1969 Alexander v Holmes Supreme Court decision which ordered schools across the county to desegregate. I had rarely shared that experience. I explained how a 22-year-old young woman from NJ wound up in the middle of the poorly planned mandated integration of the public schools. My husband was in the Army and we lived there for the last year of his service.

I always knew the impact it had on my personal history, but that revelation made me realize how significant the event was in the history of our country. I was a witness and felt a responsibility to share it. At the time, my first grandchild was two years old and a friend challenged me to write about my life during that year so that my granddaughter would learn about it.

When I started to write, I realized that I only knew my story. I had returned to NJ at the end of that school year when my husband was discharged. What happened to my second grade students after that traumatic year? I uncovered numerous personal stories through reading and research.


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Q: Is there any truth to your story that is personal to you?


The story is told from three points of view. Colleen represents my own experience and I created two characters, Evelyn and Frank, to tell the point of view of a black teacher and a black high school student. My November 12, 2019 publishing date commemorates the 50th anniversary of southern states meeting the mandate of the Brown v BOE decision, followed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and finally on October 29, 1969 the US Supreme Court ordered schools across the country to desegregate in the little-known but milestone case,
Alexander v. Holmes. It was 15 years after Brown v Board and most black students in the South still attended segregated black schools.  If they had not integrated public schools, they would have forfeited federal funds on Dec. 31, 1969. Stubborn resistance to move beyond “Freedom of Choice” plans created numerous last minute decisions to meet the mandate.

My book is based on my personal experience that I more fully understood by studying the impact on the black families and teachers forty years later through research and interviews about that school year of 1969-1970.

I fictionalized my experience to create the characters of Frank and Evelyn after reading first hand accounts of the impact of the mandated integration on families of the children I taught and the black teachers and administrators who were moved from respected positions to secondary support staff. Having two POV characters who are black and one white misplaced “Yankee” I have tried to give a more accurate expression of the small stories and the wide impact of this event.


Q: Do you have a favorite character? Why?

That’s easy, it’s Frank. Five years ago, I was able to visit the town and the school I taught in. The visit filled some of the history of the people and the community. One of the opportunities allowed me to meet the current principal of the school. The school had been reopened and now serves as a middle school. She had been away in college the year of the mandated integration, but she told me some of her own family’s experiences. The stories about her brother who was a high school senior in 1969 helped me to personalize and build a deeper background for Frank. He became the character to tell the story from a student’s point of view.  I created a family for Rachel, one of Colleen’s second graders. Frank became Rachel’s brother, the eldest son who was deeply impacted by his father’s death in a suspicious fire. Frank and his parents had been counting on a football scholarship for him to be able to attend college. But when the schools were integrated the football team spots were already filled by the white students.  He wasn’t able to play and lost his chance for the scholarship. He struggled with the unfairness but maintained the core values from his parents.


Q: How long did it take you to write “Freedom Lessons”?

Five years. Slow and steady. I tend to write in chunks of time. The discipline of writing every day for an hour doesn’t work for me. I get immersed in the research and the “telling”. Some writers can turn out books very quickly but that’s not how mine happened. Once a week for four years I met with my writing group as we wrote our novels under the tutelage of my mentor, Michelle Cameron (The Fruit of Her Hands: the Story of Shira of Ashkenaz, & Beyond the Ghetto Gates). There are other methods to writing a novel, but I wrote 10-20 pages a week for three years. We each read our pages aloud to the group and then received feedback. I had to learn to show not tell. After decades of writing educational reports of all kinds which required concise specific explanations, I had to learn how to let the story roll out through the characters. Creating characters and learning who they were was a huge challenge because two of my main point of view characters are African American. It took a great deal of research to understand Frank and Evelyn. I began a personal black history study and wove what I learned into their background and their lives.

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist?

“Who me?” It’s still sinking in.

Annie: Today is the day! Congratulations!

Q:  As you geared up for your Book being released, what was the most exciting part(s) for you?

The initial critical reviews from people who I’m not related to! I’m most pleased with my Library Journal (LJ) review and being included in a LJ article titled Fall/Winter Best Debut Novels.


Q:  With this being your first novel, do you think you will always explore historical fiction? Maybe still more to tell about this particular era?

There’s always more to tell about an era. I enjoy writing and the history research that supports the story.


Q: I love the Music that comes with the book. Where can people order this?

I created the playlist mainly for book club swag. It’s from my personal music burned to a CD. So, I can’t sell it, but some lucky readers can win it!

Name

Artist

My Girl

The Temptations

All I Have to Offer You (Is Me)

Charley Pride

A Beautiful Morning

The Rascals

Okie from Muskogee (Rerecorded)

Merle Haggard

Yellow Submarine

The Beatles

Honky Tonk Women

The Rolling Stones

Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The…

The 5th Dimension

Ball of Confusion (That’s What the…

The Temptations

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Simon & Garfunkel

ABC

Jackson 5

Both Sides Now

Judy Collins

Get Together

The Youngbloods

Annie: Thank you for including this CD in your Giveaway!

Q:  Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style?

There are two authors that have influenced my interest in storytelling.

Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings follows thirty-five years of a complex relationship between Sarah and her ownership of Handful, as both women strive for lives of their own. I would never compare myself to Sue Monk Kidd, but I love her books and wish that her readers might like mine. She is a prolific writer and develops the rich interior lives of her characters with prose that keeps you turning the page. Her books build from real historic figures to tell the small stories of everyday people that make up our history. My book tells the small stories directly from the everyday people. I can hope for some of her readers, can’t I?

 Amy Hill Hearth’s endorsement, featured on the cover of Freedom Lessons, validated my writing and the telling of the story. She has been generous with her support of a second career debut author. Amy, a New York Times best selling author, has written several books, two fiction and several non-fiction, the most recent is Streetcar to Justice. Her most successful book became the Broadway play “The Delany Sisters – Having Our Say”. I loved these two: Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society: A Novel and Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County: A Novel. The Stories take place in a rural area of Florida that became Disney World and the setting rises to a level of the characters. A transplanted “Yankee” from Boston shakes up the community by starting a literary salon, aka a book club. Both books “will touch the heart of anyone who ever felt like an outsider longing to fit in.”


Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write?  Set this up for us…

When I started Freedom Lessons I wrote in an upstairs bedroom dedicated to be “A Room of my Own”. It was sacred and when I returned to write more the next day the thoughts and ideas returned as I started to write. Mornings are the most creative times for me to write but I can return to ideas any time of day. I need to be alone to write; I can get distracted easily. I’ve witnessed an author friend writing pages by hand in a notebook in the middle of activity around us as we waited for a conference to begin. I write on my laptop. I type fast and the ease of quick edits releases my worry about getting it right the first time. I’ve learned that I just need to write it and then fix it later. A handwritten manuscript would slow me down. I can type almost as fast as I’m thinking the ideas.

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?

I’ve already mentioned Amy Hill Hearth and Sue Monk Kidd. I would add Camille Di Maio, and Tara Conklin. Kwame Alexander inspires me with his poetry and books for “children of all ages”.  Books? Any book by Sue Kidd Monk but The Secret Life of Bees came to mind first.  I love poetry and have just discovered Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover because of my grandson. Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic is an old favorite to pull out. Judith Viorst keeps me laughing as I age with her poems from How Did I Get to Be Forty, Forever Fifty, Suddenly Sixty and I’m Too Young to Be Seventy. (Yup, 72! How else could I have been there in 1969?)

Annie: I love Sue Monk Kidd!  Must read Kwame Alexander, as I love poetry.


Q:  What books are in your nightstand right now?

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is my most recent finished book. Starting in 18th century Ghana to Jazz Age Harlem, the novel illuminates’ slavery’s troubled legacy. I am often reading several books at a time. I’m reading a lovely lyrical memoir by new author Marlena Maduro Baraf’s, At the Narrow Waist of the World, which tells the coming of age story of a young Jewish woman in Panama who is torn by love and worry for her mentally ill mother.  And I’m listening to Camille Di Maio’s The Beautiful Strangers, it’s historical fiction and a cozy mystery. To further support my book talks and events that are coming up I’m reading non-fiction The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson.


Q:  What is your favorite part of being a published author?

Holding the book, meeting people who are interested in the story and hearing the connections they have to the themes in Freedom Lessons.


Q:  Any hobbies you’d like to share with us?

Is traveling a hobby? I love to travel and if I had unlimited funds I would do more, I like to explore the history of the places we travel to.

Annie: Traveling, learning the history! Amazing hobby..especially for authors! Often makes for great novels. (Hint, Hint)


Lastly, Do you prefer Print Book or eBook?? Audible?

Each of these have their place for me. I prefer holding a print book and I have stacks of books on shelves and tables to prove it. But eBooks are great, especially for traveling. I used to listen to books only when I would be driving but now I find myself listening when I’m cooking dinner. How else could I be reading three books at the same time?!

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Intro: Colleen and Miguel were married for five days when they moved into the home Miguel had found for them.
Trailer pic: “Oh my God.” Colleen clapped her hand to her mouth. “You’ve got to be kidding. It’s turquoise! It has porthole windows! Does it float too?”

 

 

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Intro: Colleen taught in a segregated black school. Each Saturday she took four of her students to the library to get library cards. She had just dropped the children off at their homes and was stopped by a police officer.
Road pic: “Officer, did I do something wrong?”
“Well now, that depends. Why would a white woman be out driving in these parts?”

 

Annie: Congratulations Eileen on your New Release today! I know “Freedom Lessons” is going to be an amazing story for so many to read. Thank you for telling it! I appreciate you taking the time for this interview today. Learning more about you and  your story has been amazing!

GIVEAWAY:  PRINT COPY OF BOOK AND BOOK CLUB SWAG PACK WHICH INCLUDES CD OF MUSIC, BOOKMARKS, AND RECIPES THAT CONNECT TO THE BOOK.

TO ENTER PLEASE LEAVE COMMENT BY 9PM FRIDAY.  THANK YOU.

#AuthorInterview & #Giveaway: Meet Barbara Artson and learn more about “Odessa, Odessa”

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Q: What first sparked your interest in writing “Odessa, Odessa”?

Oh my! That goes back some 40 years when I was a graduate student in English Literature at San Francisco State University pursuing an academic degree.  My concentration was the 19th century novel, particularly, Charles Dickens.  I was drawn to his compassion for the underdog, the overlooked, the underprivileged. For my final project, I elected to complete Dickens’s last and unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. While writing that paper, I had an experience that felt somewhat akin to magic where I felt I was not the one in charge of the writing — that the characters were dictating their dialogue and advancing the narrative. Now, I’m not a “woo-woo” kind of person and I understand that I had so deeply steeped myself into Dickens’s characters and his style of writing, that my psyche took over the process of writing.

I attained my Master’s degree and was on my way to a doctoral program at U.C. – Berkeley when, because of a divorce, my personal life fell apart.  With two young children to raise, I knew that I couldn’t spend the next seven years (the average time to complete a doctorate in English Lit) without income. Because psychoanalytic theory was the framework in viewing literature, it seemed a natural alternative to apply that theory to real people rather than to characters on the written page; and so, I applied to graduate school in clinical psychology.  It was then that I vowed to write a novel at some future time.  And that opportunity announced itself when I began to plan for my retirement from my clinical practice.  I had no idea of what I would write until I sat down at my computer, placed my fingers on the keyboard, and wrote: “Henya Chanah is a woman who no longer bleeds, so she puzzles over how this could have happened.  Try as she might, she can’t remember the last time she and Mendel were together. We must have been, she thinks, otherwise how could this be?” I knew then that my novel would be a fictional account, very loosely based on my mother’s experience, of immigrating from a shtetl on the outskirts of Odessa to America.

Q: Is there any truth to your story that is personal to you?

As with most immigrants, my mother was loath to recount, or to remember, any aspect of, what I now realize, was the trauma of her life in Russia.  Some of the characters in my novel are based on my mother’s character traits and those of and her brothers and sister, and on what I, as an eight-year old child, recall of my maternal grandparents.  Although the incidents and dialogue of my characters are made-up, it rings true to my memory of their personalities. There are two characters, however, who are completely my invention, as is the final section of the book: Bessie, the young woman who befriends Henya while sailing to America, and Mendel’s rejected brother, Shimshon.  But as with all the characters in Odessa, Odessa, they contain features — both good and bad — of its author: me.

Q: Do you have a favorite character? Why?

This is a challenging question to answer, Annie.  As each character evolved, for example, Henya in the first chapter, I fell madly in love with her.  I treasured her because of her valiant struggle to do what was required, despite realistic fears. She represents the struggle and resilience that many women have had, and still encounter, to take on tasks thrust upon them that had been previously denied. And similarly, when I wrote the chapter about Marya, the product of Henya’s bewilderment in that very first sentence of the novel, I was totally love-struck.  But from my present vantage point, having given birth to Odessa, Odessa well over a year ago, I confess to favoring Shimshon, the character invented wholly from my fancy. You ask why?  Shimshon audaciously stood up for what he believed in spite of its very serious consequences: loss of tradition, of family, of the life and loss of his mother tongue. He wasn’t perfect — far from it — and was plagued with guilt for the remainder of his life. But, significantly, he took responsibility for his wrongdoings.  At this junction in our history, we need a man, such as Shimshon, to stand up to the immoral and corrupt forces we presently encounter.

Q: How long did it take you to write “Odessa, Odessa”?

I began to write Odessa, Odessa about seven years ago. At that time, I was also totally involved in conducting my psychoanalytic clinical practice, which left time for me to write in the evenings and on weekends. At times, it was difficult to pick up where I left off but I made a habit of ending my writing session with the beginning of next sentence so that when I returned I could pick up where I left off.  Sometimes that worked and sometimes not.  When I retired four years ago, I had a complete draft of the novel which then required editing.  I was fortunate to find an awesome editor to help with that process.

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Q:  As you geared up for your Book being released, what was the most exciting part(s) for you?

Nothing can compare to my delight when I first opened the cardboard box containing my Advanced Readers Copies (ARCs) of Odessa, Odessa. To hold a real, live book in my hands for the very first time, was a surreal moment.  The flowers from my publisher, She Writes Press, arrived at the same time to make it a celebratory occasion.

Annie: I can only imagine the joy of opening that box and holding your very first book!

Q:  With this being your first novel, do you think you will always explore historical fiction?

I love, love, love reading historical fiction.  Not only do I get to experience good writing, but I also get to learn much of which I wasn’t previously aware. I learn about other civilizations, customs, societies, and events and that is exactly what occurred when writing Odessa, Odessa. In addition to reading authors that wrote about the same period in which I was writing, like Mary Antin (The Promised Land), Michael Gold (Jews Without Money), and Henry Roth (Call It Sleep), to name but a few, I learned of historical events and significant people through my extensive research. For example, “the Khmelnytsky Uprising in 1648, when Jews were murdered and kicked out of the Ukraine…” (p. 25), or the “Edict of Expulsion and the banishment in 1886 of Kiev’s Jews…” or the “1881 pogroms in Elizavetgrad, Kiev and Odessa.” All was new to me.  And disturbing. So, yes, I can’t imagine writing anything other than historical fiction, but then I’ve also learned never to say never.  That is what’s so exciting about being an author.

Annie: Great book recommendations! I’ve added them to my Goodreads TBR List. Thank you.

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?

That’s an almost impossible question to answer, but I’ll give it a shot.  Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities); George Eliot (Middlemarch); Virginia Woolf (To the Lighthouse).  Umberto Eco (The Name of the Rose); Robert Graves (I, Claudius); Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See); Helene Wecker (The Golem and the Ginni); George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo); Toni Morrison (Beloved); Markus Zusak (The Book Thief); Sharon Kay Penman (For all of her historical fiction novels about kings & queens).   Well, I could go on, but I’ll leave it at that.

Oh wait! E. L. Doctorow (The March) and (Ragtime).

Oh wait!  Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov.

Well, you get my point.

Annie: haha! Amazing books! I could see how the list could go on and on!

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Q:  What is your favorite part of being a published author?

Talking to groups.

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….The scariest?
My launch at Books, Inc. in San Francisco.

Q:  Do you have another book on the horizon?

Not exactly, but several of my readers and friends have suggested writing a sequel to Odessa, Odessa beginning with the next generation and tying together, and filling in the strands of the generation that comes after Roberta and Hannah, Dora’s daughters.  At the moment, I’m giving myself some space to recuperate from a year of living on the edge.  But I also look forward to the time when next I put my fingers on the keyboard with the humbling possibility of discovering my next creation.

Q: Lastly, Do you prefer Print Book or eBook?

Both.  In the evening when I read in bed, it’s eBook time for me.  At all other times, the feel of the paper, the image of the written word, the heft of the book, that’s me all over!

Annie: Thank you Barbara for the fun and informative interview! It was great getting to know more about you and your debut novel, “Odessa, Odessa”.

Barbara Artson is offering a Wonderful Giveaway of Two Print Books!!

To be entered leave a comment by Sunday at 9pm. Thank you.

#AuthorInterview: Bette Lee Crosby author of “Memory House”

C7E05B8B-03C7-451E-8341-301FDB3A7EBDI always enjoy speaking with Bette Lee Crosby. It is a very comfortable conversation, as if I have been friends with her all of my life.  Bette is one of the kindest, most easy going people I know.

Tonight we spoke about her novel, “Memory House”, which is my favorite of her stories. It will always hold a special place in my heart because I read it first, and I love Ophelia so very much.

But, of course, you cannot speak a whisper of this book without talking about most of her other novels. This conversation is Chick full of information, great laughter and lots of Bette’s book covers! Haha! I had to show them all.

Be sure to grab your tea and watch our chat! It’s not to be missed!

Ps. Tonight was the 6-month Anniversary Of our Book Club Live Chats..Bette did the first one, too.

Bette’s Website:

https://betteleecrosby.com

Facebook:

https://m.facebook.com/authorbetteleecrosby/

Twitter:

https://mobile.twitter.com/BetteLeeCrosby

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/betteleecrosby/

Pinterest:

https://www.pinterest.com/bettelcrosby/

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3222582.Bette_Lee_Crosby?from_search=true

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Bette-Lee-Crosby/e/B005TLT1PK?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2&qid=1570096751&sr=1-

BookBub:

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/bette-lee-crosby

Barnes & Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Bette%20Lee%20Crosby%22?Ntk=P_key_Contributor_List&Ns=P_Sales_Rank&Ntx=mode+matchall

#AuthorInterview: Sherrie Orvik, author of “Killer Secrets”

Thank you for joining us last night for Sherrie Orviks Interview. I had so much fun discussing her novel “Killer Secrets”. If you missed it, be sure to watch it!

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/sherrieorvik

Twitter:

https://mobile.twitter.com/sherrieorvik

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/mustangsherrie/

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19003304.Sherrie_Orvik

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Sherrie-Orvik/e/B07Q1LBFLT?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1569670222&sr=8-1

You can follow her on Spotify to hear the soundtrack for Killer Secrets, as well as Killer Revenge and some other projects she’s working on:

https://open.spotify.com/user/1298587345?si=QSYbx862T-qHbIjaCKAQKA&nd=1

Pinterest:

https://www.pinterest.com/

#AuthorInterview: Hank Phillippi Ryan author of The Murder List

E3F8B580-B07E-42BE-82C1-BFDD3F268B8EHank Phillippi Ryan is a force of nature! I was truly honored to interview her, because she is a woman doing it all so superbly and it is just breathtaking! You have to watch our interview to get to know Hank better! I just read both “The Murder List” & “Trust Me” and I was blown away! My reviews are coming. You know I let my reviews brew before I write them. They are both Huge 5 Star Reviews! #AnniesFavorites!

Hank is the on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s WHDH-TV. She’s won 36 EMMYs, 14 Edward R. Murrow awards and dozens of other honors for her groundbreaking journalism.
She is a nationally bestselling author of 11 mystery novels, and has also won multiple prestigious awards for her crime fiction: five Agathas, three Anthonys, the Daphne, two Macavitys, and the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award.
National reviews have called Hank a “master at crafting suspenseful mysteries” and “a superb and gifted storyteller.”
Her novels have been named Best Thrillers of the Year by Library Journal, New York Post, BOOK BUB, PopSugar, Real Simple Magazine and others.
Her newest book is the acclaimed standalone psychological thriller “The Murder List”
CNN named it an Ultimate Beach Read and the Library Journal rave starred review calls it “a riveting must read!

Visit Hank online at HankPhillippiRyan.com,
Twitter https://mobile.twitter.com/HankPRyan
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/hankpryan/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/HankPhillippiRyanAuthor/
Pinterest, https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?rs=ac&q=hank%20p%20ryan
Goodreads, https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/526376.Hank_Phillippi_Ryan
& Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Hank-Phillippi-Ryan/e/B001T2BNEA/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1 — with Hank Phillippi Ryan.

Here is our interview. To avoid our technical difficulties..you can forward to minute 7 (even though they are quite humorous..ha!)

#AuthorInterview: Carla Vergot author Of Lily Barlow: The Mystery of Jane Dough

Carla Vergot is a one cool chick!! She was easy to talk with and she opened up about some very personal things in her life during her interview. Her character Lily is very quirky and I had a lot of fun chatting about that with Carla! I loved everything that made Lily quirky, but I will save that for my review. 😀📚

What I will tell you is that you will learn a few “Truths” about Carla (we played a game)…And more about how personal the writing of this book truly was to her, I didn’t even know that!! Life really does work in mysterious ways. For Carla, life truly was a beautiful gift and so was this book.

We had quite a few laughs. It was just like her book. She makes you laugh!! And, you know how much I love to laugh..haha!

To know more about her and her books, you won’t want to miss her interview.

Keep in touch with Carla Vergot:

Be Sure to Like/Follow Pages and add her Books tp your TBR Lists.

Website:

https://carlavergot.com

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/carla_vergot/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/carla.vergot.1

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18108684.Carla_Vergot

BookBub:

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/carla-vergot

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Carla-Vergot/e/B07DFBZ99Q?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2&qid=1566641217&sr=8-2

Please check out some of Carla’s writing here…truly emotional:

https://piedmontvirginian.com/the-victory-garden/

Where I purchased her Book:

Second Chapter Books

Middleburg, VA

540-687-7016

Tell Carla you are making the purchase and she will try to go down to the bookstore and sign the book for you 😉

#AuthorInterview: Amulya Malladi author of “The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You”

Amulya Malladi and I had an excellent discussion about her book, “The Nearest Exit May be Behind You”, the Coaching Book that goes along with it and the seven other novels that she has written since 2003.

Learn more about the “Lean In” culture and tricks that Amulya has learned to be a stronger You! I said her book is a celebration of women, but it’s more than that, it’s Amulya’s personal celebration of women and it is not to be missed! Each of her books are written to lift women up and remind us that we are stronger than we think! She is one of our biggest champions!

I could talk with her forever! I am sure Amulya will be back. She has definitely become one of my favorite authors to speak with. So, get to know her!

To Keep in Touch with Amulya Malladi be sure to Like and Follow her on the following platforms….and Add her books to your TBR List!

🔥She is one of my Top Favorite Authors!🔥

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/58564.Amulya_Malladi

BookBub:

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/amulya-malladi

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Amulya-Malladi/e/B001HD2YH6?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1566549329&sr=8-1

Website:

https://www.amulyamalladi.com

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/authoramulya/

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/amulyamalladi/

Twitter:

https://mobile.twitter.com/amulyamalladi

You don’t want to miss this interview, so check it out here: