Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Chanel Cleeton | 20 Questions: THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN CUBA
Author Guest / May 5, 2021

1–What is the title of your latest release? THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN CUBA 2–What is it about? It’s inspired by the true story of Evangelina Cisneros, a Cuban revolutionary who was wrongfully imprisoned by the Spanish in a notorious women’s jail in Havana, and who became an international celebrity when her plight came to the attention of William Randolph Hearst, the owner and publisher of the New York Journal. Hearst used her as a rallying cry to provoke U.S. intervention in the war for independence between Cuba and Spain. Her life intertwines with that of Grace Harrington, an American journalist, and Marina Perez, a Cuban revolutionary working as a courier in Havana. 3–What do you love about the setting of your book?  I really loved learning more about this period in Cuban history. It’s one I was previously somewhat unfamiliar with, and my research made me wonder what my ancestors’ lives would have been like during the fight for Cuban independence. 4–How did your main character(s) surprise you?  My characters are constantly surprising me! When I originally started researching the book, I didn’t know that I was going to tell Marina’s story from her point of view, but once…

Debbie Wiley | A Bookish Trip to the Sunshine State
Author Guest / April 8, 2021

Travel in person is slowly starting to come back now, but some of us have been traveling all along through the wonderful places our books take us. So far this year, I’ve traveled to places such as 1906 San Francisco in THE NATURE OF FRAGILE THINGS, to Helsinki, Finland in THE WITCH HUNTER, to North Carolina in CLOSELY HARBORED SECRETS, and then off to France in THE LOST MANUSCRIPT. However, it always warms my heart to visit books set in Florida, both for the memories they may give me of places I’ve already been as well as learning new and interesting facts about the state I’ve called home for over 20 years. THE LAST TRAIN TO KEY WEST by Chantel Cleeton is our first stop on the journey, where we meet three women whose lives intersect in Key West. It’s 1935 and a hurricane is approaching. I’ve visited several sites in Key West that talked about Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railroad but somehow the impact of the hurricane in 1935 was missed by me. Chantel Cleeton brings the tale to vivid life, offering us a glimpse of the hardships of Key West in its early days. I love books that delve…

Danielle J. Dresser | New Beginnings
Author Guest / January 11, 2021

I have a love-hate relationship with the New Year. On the one hand, it’s a brand-new time—full of possibility, a fresh start, and a time to plan and think about all the things that could happen in the coming months. On the other, we live in a society where the New Year signifies a time of intense diet culture (which is really just body shaming and misogyny), insecurity, and whatever else deemed wrong and in need of change. And let’s not forget we’re still in the middle of a world-wide pandemic and political turmoil. Thanks, 2021! In spite of all of that, however, good things have been happening (more on that later), and by good things, I do very much mean GOOD BOOKS. Here are a few of my favorite opening lines from some of my fave books of 2020, as well as a few from the 2021 books I’m looking forward to coming out! The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa (2020) My phone’s text tone chirps like a robin—which fails to prepare me for the clusterfuck on the screen. ANDREW: Everything you said last night made sense, M. Thanks to you, I can see the truth now. I…

Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: The Aftermath of Upheaval
Author Guest / October 21, 2020

Like many, I’ve posted ironic images on my Facebook pages comparing the 2020 Year of COVID to many things–a hula hoop made of barbed wire, a pinata that’s actually a hornet’s nest, a time clock that sent us in March from Standard Time not to Daylight Savings Time, but into the Twilight Zone. So perhaps more than in “normal” times, we can identify with protagonists who are attempting to reconstruct their lives in the aftermath of unprecedented upheaval. And aside from a world-wide pandemic, nothing uproots people and disturbs lives like war. We begin with a novel by three of the most talented writers penning historical fiction today, Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White.  The trio collaborated to create ALL THE WAYS WE SAID GOODBYE, using an iconic Parisian hotel as a locus for their stories.  Aurelie de Courcelles is devastated when, at the outbreak of World War I, her home is taken over as a German headquarters.  The dilemma is made more difficult when she discovers the commander’s aide de camp is the handsome young man who charmed her during her debut season in Paris.  Despite their opposing loyalties, friendship deepens into love…until betrayal drives Aurelie back to…

Chanel Cleeton | Exclusive Interview: THE LAST TRAIN TO KEY WEST
Author Guest / June 17, 2020

Hi, Chanel! Welcome to Fresh Fiction! Please tell us about yourself and your new book, THE LAST TRAIN TO KEY WEST. Thank you so much for having me! I write historical fiction that focuses on women’s stories throughout history. My first two historical fiction releases, Next Year in Havana and When We Left Cuba, were largely inspired by my Cuban heritage and my family’s love for their homeland. My new book, The Last Train to Key West, is set decades earlier in 1935 when the Labor Day Hurricane struck the Florida Keys. The Last Train to Key West follows three heroines as their paths cross in unexpected and dangerous ways, and readers of my earlier books will recognize a familiar last name as I follow Beatriz and Elisa’s aunt through history. I love the different formats you’ve used for setting the scene of the historical stories you’ve told so far. In Next Year in Havana there were dual timelines, When We Left Cuba was set entirely in the past from one point of view, and in THE LAST TRAIN TO KEY WEST there are three women’s stories set over Labor Day Weekend in Key West.  How do you decide to…

Danielle Dresser | What is it about Post-WWII Fiction?
Author Guest / March 6, 2019

Today, thoughts on historical fiction from Fresh Fiction Editorial Manager Danielle Dresser… Once upon a time, I was a publicist for a wonderful publisher (shout out to Sourcebooks!) and I spent a lot of time paying attention to publishing trends – what was working in the industry? What were editors acquiring? What was selling, aka what were people reading?  On top of my job, I was also a member of a book club and we went through a period of about a year or so where just about all we read was World War II fiction… was it because people really loved reading about this time period, or was it because that’s what the publishing industry decided to publish? To be fair, our book club instituted an unofficial rule to not read WWII fiction (until very recently, LOL!) and now that I’m back in the publishing industry, I’ve noticed something else… Post-World War II fiction. Set well after the war, usually in the 50s and 60s, these novels still have WWII looming over its narrative. Perhaps it’s a family member dealing with PTSD before there was a word for it, as a community dealing with tragedy grapples with in Judy Blume’s…

Fresh Fiction Favorite Historical Fiction of 2018
Author Guest / December 19, 2018

Every day from now through the end of the year, we’ll be sharing our reviewers’ favorite reads of 2018. A different genre will be featured every day! We’ll share why these books were some of our favorites and what made them so special. We hope you’ll share yours in the comments, too! Today, we are discussing our favorite historical fiction novels of the year. What were some of yours? CARNEGIE’S MAID by Marie Benedict Reviewer: Clare O’Beara Carnegie’s Maid contrasts the Irish people who come to America with the Scots who came one generation earlier and are now wealthy industrialists, so lots to see. We find out how Carnegie got his love of libraries. Women’s Fiction Historical [Sourcebooks, On Sale: January 16, 2018, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492646617 / ] A self-made man takes lessons from his Irish maid A TOUCH OF DOWNTOWN ABBEY AND AN AMERICAN DYNASTY Buy CARNEGIE’S MAID: Amazon.com | Kindle | BN.com | Powell’s Books | Books-A-Million | Indiebound | Ripped Bodice | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR *** NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA by Chanel Cleeton Reviewer: Danielle This book captured the spirit and turmoil of Cuba during a major…

Danielle Dresser | My Year in Reading: 2018
Author Guest / November 29, 2018

**Today we are joined by Fresh Fiction Reviewer Danielle Dresser and what she’s noticed about her reading trends over the last year.** Between reviewing for Fresh Fiction, belonging to a book club, and being an all around avid reader, I’ve read a LOT of books this year. It’s the time of year when bloggers, reviewers, and publications are releasing their “Best Books” of the year lists, and while I don’t always think it’s super fair to do that (I’m too indecisive to be so definitive), I did notice some things about my 100+ books read this year… I read almost exclusively female authors. Call me biased or my little way of sticking it to the patriarchy, but aside from a few books in my book club, over 90% of the books I read were by women/female-identifying authors. It wasn’t totally on purpose, but when I noticed this over the summer, I made an extra effort to make sure I was reading books by women. A lot of the books I review for Fresh Fiction are romance novels, which is a genre mostly written by and for women, and I think that’s pretty bad-ass. It also leaves a ton of room for…