Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
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,…

Erin Bartels | Exclusive Excerpt: ALL THAT WE CARRIED
Author Guest / December 29, 2020

Melanie’s heart quickened when the first tower of the Mackinac Bridge came into view. This would be her seventh time over the bridge, a significant number. Seven days of the week. Seven notes in the diatonic scale. Seven letters in the Roman numeral system. The seven in the Tarot deck was the card of the chariot—the symbol of overcoming conflict and moving forward in a positive direction. Lucky number seven. She’d need luck on this trip if she hoped to move forward in a positive direction with Olivia. She hit her sister’s upper arm with the back of her hand. “There’s the bridge!” To her surprise, Olivia smiled. A good sign. Maybe it would all work out. It had to. Because they couldn’t go on as they had for the past ten years. Something had to change. Only time together would do it. Time with no distractions. Time in the forest. Time for Melanie to explain herself. She had seven days to make it work. Seven days was enough. Her seven-day spiritual detox program was her most popular offering on Meditations with Melanie. And nothing needed detoxing like her relationship with her sister. “I know a bailiff who refuses to…

Robin Wells | Exclusive Excerpt: SHE GETS THAT FROM ME
Author Guest / September 25, 2020

I open the door. The guy is tall—probably six foot one or two—and fit, like a runner. He’s clean-shaven and good-looking. “Hello,” I say. “Hi. I’m Zack Bradley.” His eyes are like little pieces of sky, and a dimple winks in his jaw as he smiles. The smile transforms him from attractive to devastating. “Are you Brooke Adams?” Chill bumps chase up my arms, and it’s not cold outside. He looks familiar, but his name doesn’t ring any bells. “Uh, no. She’s not here right now.” For some reason, I can’t bring myself to say, She’s dead. His smile fades into disappointment. “Can you tell me when she’ll be back?” “Not, um, really. Is there something I can help you with?” I realize I sound like a clerk at a shoe store. I smile and stretch out my hand. “I’m her best friend, Quinn Langston.” “Nice to meet you.” He takes my hand, and my palm is encased in warmth. More goose bumps instantly prickle up my neck. It’s definitely a sign of something, but I don’t know what. “Her phone doesn’t seem to be working,” he says. Miss Margaret has Brooke’s cell phone. I’m not sure if she’s already…

K.C. Dyer | Exclusive Excerpt: EIGHTY DAYS TO ELSEWHERE
Author Guest / August 14, 2020

By the next morning, the snow has stopped, but many of the back streets are still sporting a sheen of black ice. Tommy’s picked up a cold somewhere, and so I wrap my head in a scarf to protect myself from the wind whipping between the buildings, and head out to Claire’s Patisserie for croissants. After taking a single step into the street, I dash back inside to grab my camera. The grey overcast hemming us in for weeks has blown away overnight, and the sun is rising through low fog like a ripe red dragon’s egg, way down the end of our street. I’ve been taking pictures as long as I can remember. My dad was a photographer before I was born, and there were always cameras around the house when I was small. He shot for AP overseas–Falkland Islands during the conflict, and Ireland too–but after I came along, he mostly freelanced. And when I made it into NYU, I majored in photography. I’ve always planned to take it further, but–well, you know. Life gets in the way. With this news about the bookshop, the chance of returning to film school is looking increasingly unlikely. These days I…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels: CLEO MCDOUGAL REGRETS NOTHING by Allison Winn Scotch
Author Guest / August 14, 2020

Jen: What inspired you to write Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing? Allison: Well, I wanted to write something that reflected how it feels to be a woman in this particular moment in history and time. I tried a different approach with a different manuscript – I rewrote about 100 pages of that book several times, and it just wasn’t working. I knew what I wanted to say, but I wasn’t quite sure how to get there. Then, as good ideas often do, the version of Cleo, the Senator, struck me one night, and from there, I looked for an interesting way to examine her life. Not as a politician, but as a human, and I settled on exploring her regrets, which wasn’t an approach I’d ever read. And thus, Cleo McDougal, unapologetic Senator, was born. What role does the word “power” play in relation to the story? Oh great question! For me, this book is not about politics at all. I worked hard to ensure that. Rather, it is about power in all of its iterations, which is something that I think so many women are considering now too. Who has it, who abuses it, who gives it generously, who takes…

Phoebe Fox | 20 Questions: A LITTLE BIT OF GRACE
Author Guest / August 14, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  A Little Bit of Grace 2–What is it about? After the implosion of her marriage and the loss of her mom leaves Grace Adams entirely alone in the world, a letter from a relative she never knew she had sends her on a trip to a tropical paradise, where she starts to uncover answers about the eccentric woman her family never mentioned: an octogenarian who writes a viral relationship-advice blog, a compulsive (and highly successful) matchmaker. . . and the keeper of an unimaginable family secret held for more than fifty years. It’s a story about the choices families make and how they color what we believe, finding forgiveness for the unforgivable, and starting over when the happy ending ends. 3–What word best describes your main character(s)?  For Grace, it’s underestimated; for her Great-aunt Millie, it would have to be something like expansive, extravagant, magnificent, fantastical. 4–What makes your story relatable?  Grace holds family so dear and is so deeply loyal that in caring for everyone else she has lost touch with what she wants for her own life. I think that’s incredibly common for so many of us these days, particularly women, who often seem to feel…