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…

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…

Nancy Naigle | Exclusive Excerpt: THE SHELL COLLECTOR
Author Guest / May 7, 2021

Maybe it was the low cloud cover this morning, but the ocean sounded so much louder today. She had a feeling it would be a brief stay the way the wind was whipping. The kids ran in circles at the shoreline, letting Denali chase them until he needed a break and ran to lie by her feet. She got up and met them at the water with their pails. “Y’all ready to find some shells?” They began scouring the sand. She knelt down and picked up a handful of tiny vibrant-colored shells. Most of them were broken, but a purple one caught her eye. She tucked it inside her pocket while the children quickly filled their pails with shells at every step until their buckets got heavy. When she looked up, she noticed they’d walked farther down the beach than they’d ever gone before. “Let’s head back,” Amanda said. Denali lay down in the sand. “We can’t leave him,” Hailey whined. “He’ll catch up.” At least she hoped so. There was no way she’d be able to carry him. “Do you want to stop and go through your shells? Lighten the load by getting rid of a few?” Jesse lugged…

T.I. Lowe | 5 Things I Learned from Writing Messy Characters
Author Guest / May 4, 2021

So here’s a truth for you . . . I absolutely love writing messy characters. You know, the ones who show up on the scene with so many flaws it seems right hopeless. With no happily-ever-after in sight, you just gotta dive in and see if the mess will sort itself out by the last chapter, often doubting the possibility along the way. As a writer, messy characters challenge me to push boundaries and that is just so dang appealing to me! There is always something new to learn, so only sharing five things I learned from writing messy characters was also a challenge for me, but let’s see where this goes . . . 1. Messy characters keep me guessing. There were days when I would step away from the computer while writing UNDER THE MAGNOLIAS and have absolutely no idea where the characters would lead me next. I couldn’t wait to get back to work to see what they would reveal. Trust me, this cast of folks from Magnolia never did what I predicted. They didn’t care to follow the typical plotlines. And. I. Loved. It! This book gave me a pass to challenge my writing craft, which…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: UNDER THE SOUTHERN SKY by Kristy Woodson Harvey
Author Guest / April 30, 2021

Jen: What inspired you to write Under the Southern Sky? Kristy: I was at a party and one of my friends pulled me aside. She was visibly upset because she had been to the doctor that day and he had told her that she and her husband needed to make decisions about their leftover frozen embryos. She said, “When we were freezing these embryos, all we could see is the babies we wanted. We never thought about what would happen next. We never thought about what we would do with the ones we didn’t have.” And then she said the magic words. “A lot of people are going to be going through this. You should write a book about it.” I remember where I was standing and how I got chill bumps all over, as a sure sign that she was, indeed, correct. I knew there was a story there. Only, I didn’t exactly know what that story was What happens in Amelia Buxton’s professional career that brings an old friend back into her life? Amelia is researching for a story about what people do with their unused, frozen embryos when she is sneaking around and accidentally finds out that…

Leslie Cohen | 20 Questions: MY RIDE OR DIE
Author Guest / April 20, 2021

1–What is the title of your latest release? MY RIDE OR DIE 2–What is it about? It’s about two friends who decide to give up their search for the perfect man and make an arrangement with each other. They go on a “honeymoon” to Cabo, Mexico, fix up a dilapidated brownstone in Harlem, and soon, they have the emotional support that they need as well as a wide variety of male “crushes” on the side. They have men around, but they aren’t dependent on them. But when one of their crushes becomes something more, their whole arrangement comes into question.  3–What do you love about the setting of your book?  It’s set in Hamilton Heights, which is a really pretty part of Harlem that not everyone knows about. It’s quiet and has rows of ivy-covered brownstones and cobblestone streets.  4–How did your main character(s) surprise you?  My intention was to have Sophie be the tough one, and to make Amanda more vulnerable. But they each have moments of strength and vulnerability, depending on the situation. What makes their friendship great is that those moments don’t typically overlap.  5–Why will readers relate to your characters?  These characters are steadfastly searching for…

Nan Rossiter | Exclusive Excerpt: PROMISES TO KEEP
Author Guest / April 19, 2021

Maeve felt her heart pound. In the time Ivy had been there, she’d already wandered off twice. The staff all knew she should have been placed in a home more suited to someone with Alzheimer’s, but Ivy’s son had begged the powers that be to let her stay at Willow Pond until a bed became available at the new memory care facility opening in Savannah, and everyone suspected that a little extra money had changed hands to make it happen. Now, Maeve turned to see if the old woman had moved to a different seat, but all she saw were seventeen crooked backs straightening up as seventeen pairs of eyes peered over the railing, and then all she heard were seventeen voices starting to whisper. Maeve hurried down the steps. “Ivy?” she called, scanning the wide front lawn and gardens. “Ivy!” she shouted, feeling the icy fingers of worry grip her heart. “She’s right there,” a deep voice behind her called. Maeve turned and saw Aristides Lincoln standing at his full height–six feet two instead of his hunched-over five feet ten–pointing. Maeve turned, and through the sun-dappled curtain of willow branches and wispy Spanish moss, she spied a tiny figure…

Alison Hammer | Exclusive Excerpt: LITTLE PIECES OF ME
Author Guest / April 9, 2021

Now Hi, Mom! I delete the exclamation point. Hi, Mom. That doesn’t feel right, either. Hey, Mom. Did you cheat on Dad in college? Delete. Hey, Mom. So I just got an email from FamilyTree.com that says Dad isn’t my father. DID YOU CHEAT ON HIM??? Delete. I close my eyes and focus on breathing, trying to center myself, but there’s no use. I should feel validated for all the times I felt like an outsider in my family. My stomach churns at the thought of another family out there, another life where I might have grown up knowing how it feels to belong. My mother took that from me. One more deep breath, and then I crack my knuckles and start typing. Hi, Mom. I got an email from FamilyTree.com. They said a man named Andrew Abrams is my father. Paige. Not bad, I think, rereading the words. Direct, straightforward, and not accusatory. Before I lose my nerve, I hit send. It’s just after three, so she’s probably out having coffee with one of her girlfriends. I can picture her, glancing at her phone as the email comes in, her face growing pale, her jaw literally dropping. “Elizabeth, what’s…

Melanie Blake | Exclusive Excerpt: RUTHLESS WOMEN
Author Guest / April 1, 2021

So here she was, sitting at her desk among the many other desks, with Dan Cochran’s tantalizing crotch at eye level while he went through last month’s expenses. She’d only known Dan for a couple of months – he’d been brought in by the new owners while she was on leave – but she already liked him a lot, and not just because he was so scorchingly sexy. He was also a really nice person, a listener, almost boy-next-door nice. Before Olivia, that lack of edge, his mildness, would have been a turn-off. Jake didn’t do nice. He was exciting, unpredictable, mercurial and she’d always been drawn to that in a man. It made her feel alive – or at least it used to. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Jake now, lying on a portable massage table in the office she’d lovingly decorated. Everybody knew it was the best office in the building: big enough for ten desks, and still with room to spare. The view over the bay was exquisite: you could see for miles along the shoreline and all the way to the woods that topped the nearby cliffs. There was a balcony…

Marie Bostwick | Exclusive Interview: THE RESTORATION OF CELIA FAIRCHILD
Author Guest / March 2, 2021

Danielle: Hi, Marie! Welcome to Fresh Fiction. Please tell us about yourself and your new book, THE RESTORATION OF CELIA FAIRCHILD. Marie: Hi! I’m happy for the opportunity to talk with you today! I’m a lot of things – wife, mom, quilter, dog lover – but mostly I’m a writer. So far, I’ve written nineteen novels that run the gamut from historical to contemporary, set in just about every region of the country. But there’s a common thread in all my books; though my characters face the kinds of problems and challenges that resonate with women, my stories always end on an uplifting and hopeful note. That’s why I’m especially excited about introducing readers to Celia Fairchild and her story. Celia is the kind of friend we all wish we had, and her story of restoration and hope is something that I think we all need right now. Celia writes a popular advice column, called Dear Calpurnia. I loved this aspect of the novel! What sort of research did you do into advice columns and giving good advice? Do you have any favorite advice columnists?   I’ve been an advice column junkie for a long time so, in a way,…