Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels: THE INVISIBLE HUSBAND OF FRICK ISLAND BY COLLEEN OAKLEY
Author Guest / June 11, 2021

Jen: What inspired you to write The Invisible Husband of Frick Island? Colleen: A few years ago I ran across a newspaper article about a woman in Australia whose husband had died, and she was in such denial about it, she left his body in their bed and continued to live her life as though everything were completely fine. It wasn’t until a neighbor noticed an… odor, that people found out. I know that’s so morbid, but as a novelist I found it fascinating—the idea that grief can make us do such strange things, and that no two people grieve the same way. And that woman’s story was the initial spark of the idea for The Invisible Husband of Frick Island, about a woman who is in such denial about her husband’s death, she wakes up every morning and lives her life as if he is right there beside her (fortunately, without the rotting corpse in the bed). Let’s talk about Piper and Tom Parrish. Who are they and what’s their connection to the island? Piper and Tom are high school sweethearts turned young newlyweds who live on Frick Island, a tiny strip of land smack in the middle of…

Nekesa Afia | 20 Questions: DEAD DEAD GIRLS
Author Guest / June 4, 2021

1–What is the title of your latest release? Dead Dead Girls 2–What is it about? Dead Dead Girls is a prohibition-era about a tiny, tired Black lesbian who is forced into solving crime. 3–What do you love about the setting of your book?  I love the vibrancy and how alive the 1920s were. Even when the world was reeling, postwar, there is a generation that still grew and thrived on their own terms. 4–How did your main character(s) surprise you?  My main character, Louise Lloyd, surprised me by being so confident and determined. She is put into many different situations and still manages to come through as herself and stronger. 5–Why will readers relate to your characters?  I think readers will relate to my characters because they’re human. They get to make mistakes and have fun and be wrong and right. 6–What was one of your biggest challenges while writing this book (spoiler-free, of course!)?  One of the biggest challenges while writing this book was getting the vibes exactly right. I was trying to get myself in the headspace of a woman who was born nearly a century before me, and has lived a completely different life. It’s impossible to…

Paul Rudnick | Exclusive Interview: PLAYING THE PALACE
Author Guest / May 24, 2021

Danielle: Welcome to Fresh Fiction, Paul! We are thrilled to have you here. Can you tell us what inspired your new book, PLAYING THE PALACE?   Paul:  Two things inspired PLAYING THE PALACE: first, I wanted to explore a passionate and uproarious romance between two people of very different social backgrounds, namely Carter Ogden, a lonely New York City event planner, and Prince Edgar, the openly gay Crown Prince of England. Beyond that, I wanted to create an all-out romantic comedy, to combat despair and celebrate the glory of falling in love despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles. How do you feel your background in playwrighting and screenwriting influenced writing this novel?   Writing for the theater, the screen and the page can be very different pursuits, but they do inform each other. I want PLAYING THE PALACE to have the pure fun of a great musical comedy, with the heart of a bigscreen romance. There’s a cast of delightful characters throughout PLAYING THE PALACE that add to the hijinks Carter and Prince Edgar find themselves involved in… do you have a favorite side character, who really stood out to you while you were writing this book?  I hate to play favorites, but…

Wendy Wax | Exclusive Interview: THE BREAK-UP BOOK CLUB
Author Guest / May 18, 2021

Danielle: Hi, Wendy! Welcome to Fresh Fiction. Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your new book, THE BREAK-UP BOOK CLUB.  Wendy: Thanks so much for inviting me to share my latest novel. It’s great to be here. THE BREAK-UP BOOK CLUB revolves around a book club that meets in the carriage house of a historic Atlanta home turned bookstore and explores the ways in which books can bring even the unlikeliest people together. At its core, it’s a story about the kind of friendship that gets us through the toughest times. Book clubs are almost like a rite of passage in life at this point! Have you been in book clubs over the years? What do you think makes a great “book club book”?  I’ve spoken to a lot of book clubs over the last twenty plus years, but I hadn’t belonged to one for almost that long. As part of my research, I joined a group led by a former independent bookseller and longtime friend. The book club lives on Meetup and attracts a more diverse group than the neighborhood group I once belonged to and many that I’ve visited. This opened up and impacted…

Emily Henry | 20 Questions: PEOPLE YOU MEET ON VACATION
Author Guest / May 11, 2021

1–What is the title of your latest release? PEOPLE YOU MEET ON VACATION 2–What is it about? I think a good pitch is When Harry Met Sally mixed with One Day. It’s the story of Poppy and Alex, best friends since college, who’ve taken a summer trip together every year for ten years—only for a disastrous final trip to Croatia to ruin their relationship. Now, two years later, Poppy’s determined to mend it with one last trip, so the book follows their post-friend-break-up vacation, as well as all the trips they’ve taken up to that point. 3–What do you love about the setting of your book?  Usually, my books are pretty grounded in one location, but this one takes place in multiple cities and countries, and reliving bits and pieces of all the trips that inspired those particular scenes was a blast. I definitely think of this novel as a vacation in book form, and I hope readers will have that experience too. 4–How did your heroine surprise you?  A lot of times, I’m very conscious of how I think my readership will react to my female characters. It just seems like it’s easier for female characters to grate on…

Renee Rosen | Exclusive Interview: THE SOCIAL GRACES
Author Guest / April 21, 2021

Welcome back to Fresh Fiction, Renee! The last time you were here, we discussed Park Avenue Summer, and this time we’re chatting about THE SOCIAL GRACES. Can you tell us what drew you to write about Gilded Age New York?  Several years ago, I wrote another novel about Marshall Field, the Chicago retail tycoon called WHAT THE LADY WANTS which was set during the Gilded Age. I really enjoyed that time period and wanted to revisit that era. The gowns, the balls, the excess, and etiquette, which runs from practical to absurd, have always fascinated me. When I stumbled upon Caroline Astor and Alva Vanderbilt’s stories, I knew I could use New York’s Gilded Age as backdrop to create a completely different type of novel, filled with fun, juicy scandals, and all the glamour. The Astors and the Vanderbilts are synonymous with high society drama. Was there anything truly outrageous you learned through your research that was hard to believe actually happened?  Oh, my goodness, where to begin!!! I was really surprised by how understated and refined the Knickerbockers, (the old money and original settler of New York) were in the beginning. It wasn’t until the Nouveau Riche (representing the…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: THE LAST NIGHT IN LONDON by Karen White
Author Guest / April 16, 2021

Jen: What inspired you to write THE LAST NIGHT IN LONDON? Karen: Many things, but mostly my experience of living in a beautiful old building in London for 7 years when I was a teenager, and the frequent emails from readers wanting to know what happened to Maddie Warner from my two previous books, Falling Home and After the Rain.  I guess you can say I’ve been waiting for over a decade to find the perfect story to bring these two inspirations together. What brings Eva Harlow and Precious Dubose together in pre-WWII London? They are both beautiful young women with a passion for beautiful things, including clothes.  They are also poor and needing to earn a living, and they become models for a small couture house while sharing a small flat.  Working and living together brings them to become as close as sisters.  At least at first. When Graham St. John comes on the scene, how does their friendship change? Initially, it doesn’t.  Both women are both enjoying their newfound freedom and access to higher social classes, and the exciting social scene of pre-war London.  It’s only when Eva becomes romantically involved with Graham that she begins to see…

Karen White | Exclusive Excerpt: LAST NIGHT IN LONDON
Author Guest / April 7, 2021

PROLOGUE London March 1941 The cool, clear night shuddered, then moaned as the fluctuating drone of hundreds of engines eclipsed the silence. A wave of planes like angry hornets slipped through the darkened sky over a city already wearing black in preparation for the inevitable mourning. She tasted dust and burnt embers in the back of her throat as she hurried through a crowd of stragglers running toward a shelter. A man grabbed her arm, as if to correct her movement, but an explosion nearby made him release his hold and hurry after the crowd. She shifted the valise she cradled in her arms, the pressure on her chest making it difficult to breathe. Fatigue and pain battered her body, both eagerly welcomed, as they disguised the bruise of overwhelming grief. She staggered forward, the blood dripping unchecked from her leg and forehead, the acrid stench of explosives mixed with the sharp smell of death. Gingerly, she moved through the darkened high street so familiar in the daylight but foreign to her now. The night sky blossomed with fire and scarlet light as the loud bark of the antiaircraft guns answered the banshee wails of the warning sirens. Pressing herself…

Victoria Schade | Exclusive Excerpt: LOST, FOUND, AND FOREVER
Author Guest / March 29, 2021

For a moment, she allowed herself to experience what Griffin McCabe might have felt when he discovered that his dog was missing. Did he stay out all night looking for him? did he put up lost dog posters with Spencer’s photo? How long did he keep hoping he’d turn up? Did he cry? Her heart twisted as she realized that Griffin’s “missing” dog was resting safe and sound beside her and he had no clue. Based on the Facebook post, he hadn’t given up hope, even after a year with no leads. She closed her eye in defeat. Damn it, she had to do it, and it had to happen now. If she waited, she’d find a million reasons not to call. but now, on a dead-end day when she could feel his loss in the pit of her belly, she could allow it. It wasn’t fair to let the stranger continue to wonder if his dog was dead or alive. but… but what if he was an a-hole and demanded that she give him back? And who actually owned Spencer Was there a statute of limitations on pet parenthood? Justine felt herself getting preemptively angry at Griffin. “No matter what…

Stephanie Dray | Exclusive Excerpt: THE WOMEN OF CHATEAU LAFAYETTE
Author Guest / March 24, 2021

MARTHE Chavaniac-Lafayette December 1940 “She was only fourteen when she married?” Anna asks, as she helps me cart a box of research books into the tower chamber with its crystal chandelier and abundant natural light. I’ve been telling her about what I’m learning for my new series of sketches, and she asks, “Can you imagine being ready for marriage at such a young age?” I don’t even know that I’m ready now, I almost say. I might not have accepted Henri’s proposal if not for the war. I certainly wouldn’t be taking on a project to make the preventorium over in Adrienne Lafayette’s image. And I wouldn’t have a fancy studio like this. I wouldn’t want to sculpt stone here—the dust would get into every crevice of the canopied bed and antique furniture—but it’s a perfect place to sketch. It looks like the preventorium’s president took most of her belongings with her when she returned to America in the summer of ’39—but she left behind some books on the shelf, old hatboxes under the bed, and framed photographs on the wall. The books are a mix of Shakespeare’s plays, Balzac’s novels, and Anatole France’s poetry. The hatboxes are filled with…