Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: THE MOTHER NEXT DOOR by Tara Laskowski
Author Guest / October 8, 2021

Jennifer Vido: What inspired you to write THE MOTHER NEXT DOOR? Tara Laskowski: I’ve been in several mom groups on Facebook or other places, and I’ve seen so much inner sniping and judging in those groups—along with a fierce protectiveness and defending as well. That, coupled with the strong community that forms with the parents in various schools, really got me thinking about how competitive and cliquish parents can be, especially when it comes to their kids. I think that was maybe the kernel of the story, and the rest of it fell out from there. Let’s talk about Theresa Pressley. How does she feel about moving to the idyllic suburban cul-de-sac Ivy Woods Drive? She thinks it’s a dream come true for her. I used to love driving by people’s houses at night and catching glimpses of families inside and wondering what their lives were like. When I was in grad school, I used to drive past this one house in my apartment’s neighborhood, and I loved that house. I always thought it would be a great house to live in. This is how Theresa feels. She used to look at Ivy Woods as the place that she’d live…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: LADY SUNSHINE BY AMY MASON DOAN
Author Guest / July 9, 2021

Jen: What inspired you to write LADY SUNSHINE? Amy: One of my favorite albums is “Mermaid Avenue,” a project between the folk singer Woody Guthrie’s daughter, Nora, and modern singers Wilco, Billy Bragg, and Natalie Merchant. Nora Guthrie found a trove of her father’s unrecorded lyrics and worked with these artists to set them to music. I’ve been intrigued by that project for decades. In LADY SUNSHINE, my main character, Jackie, inherits a gorgeous piece of land in California called The Sandcastle—as well as the recording studio in the home’s basement. We know that she spent one life-changing summer there with her cousin Willa as a teen in 1979, when it was a mecca for musicians, artists, and free spirits who’d descend on it every summer to bask in the glow of her musician uncle. But we don’t know what happened to make her run away. In 1999, she reluctantly agrees to host musicians for the summer so they can record a tribute album to her late uncle. The place comes to life again and she’s drawn into their world…and forced to confront the truth of her 1979 summer. Another major inspiration was the setting of The Sandcastle. I’ve always…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels: FOLLOWERS by Megan Angelo
Author Guest / January 10, 2020

Jen: What inspired you to write Followers, a futuristic novel about an internet-obsessed world? Megan: The original kernel was me thinking about how my kids and grandkids won’t be able to read cursive, and wanting to explore a futuristic story that would be more about those human differences than straight up tech and sci-fi. But as I got further into the book, it became clear to me that social media was the thread that held everything together–I knew I had to push what we have today to its limits, imagine how that could blow up, and sort of clean up the mess that would follow. I wanted to show not just what could happen if social media really ruined us but also who we’d be, as a people, afterwards, and how we’d approach technology again once we’d been burned by it en masse. The story focuses on the friendship of three women. Let’s start by discussing Orla. What challenges does she encounter in the workplace? Orla wants to be this famous writer, and she’s frustrated by the fact that she’s stuck writing about celebrities, trying to gin up Internet content about them. She thinks her job is real bottom-feeder stuff….

Author Guest / July 29, 2019

As a romcom author, it goes without saying that there’s a fair bit of romance in my stories – like my next book, How to Hack a Heartbreak, which is all about the highs and lows of searching for love on the internet. In the story, the main character, Melanie Strickland, sets her sights on one guy in particular, Alex Hernandez. But her burgeoning love affair with Alex isn’t the only significant relationship in her life. Equally important (if not moreso) are the friendships Mel has with her three best girlfriends: Whitney, Dani, and Lia. As I was writing How to Hack a Heartbreak, I wanted to convey the power of women and the importance of female friendships. Because let’s face it, ladies: lovers often come and go, but your girlfriends will always be your true ride or dies. The girl gang in this book was partially inspired by my own best friends, who’ve been there for me through practically every momentous life event – from my high school graduation to my wedding day, from my son’s birth to my mother’s death. Sometimes I think they know me better than I know myself, and frankly, I’m not sure I’d be…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: AMY MASON DOAN
Author Guest , Interviews , Jen's Jewels / June 14, 2019

Summer reads are my favorite kind of books. Being able to relax on the beach or sip sweet tea poolside with a new release in hand is what I look forward to all year. This month’s jewel, Amy Mason Doan, could not agree more. Her latest work, Summer Hours, is a novel about friendship, love, and ambition set in the mid ‘90s and 2008. Sometimes the path to achieving life’s dreams can be a little rocky as depicted in this thought-provoking book filled with hope and forgiveness. Go ahead, and grab a cold lemonade and get to know the superbly talented author behind the story, Amy Mason Doan.   What inspires you to write novels set in summertime? Summer seems like this lazy, golden season, but I think that’s deceptive. The summer months can be surprisingly intense. Summer is when we reinvent ourselves; I don’t think I’ve ever shaken off my shock over classmates who came back to school in September completely transformed. My mom has this long frame in her bedroom with a bunch of my pre-teen and teen yearbook photos in it. It’s held together with gold hinges, and I stare at it every time I visit her. I…

Nicola Cornick | The Two Diana Spencers
Author Guest / April 25, 2019

Many of us are familiar with the story of Lady Diana Spencer, the beautiful daughter of an Earl who married a prince at the age of nineteen only for the marriage to founder and end in a well-publicised divorce. What is less known is that Diana Spencer was not the first aristocrat of that name and that an ancestor of hers, Lady Diana Spencer, daughter of the Duke of Marlborough, had a life that has some uncanny echoes of her own. It was this earlier Diana Spencer who was the inspiration for the central character of my latest book, The Woman in the Lake. She was born in 1735, the daughter of Charles Spencer, 3rd Duke of Marlborough.  At the age of 23 she married Frederick St John, 2nd Viscount Bolingbroke. They had two sons. Friends and family were taken aback by the match as Fred was a known to be an extravagant womaniser with a bad reputation – not for nothing was his nickname at Eton “Bully.” After the marriage he maintained exactly the same lifestyle that he had had before, keeping a string of mistresses, drinking heavily and spending even more extravagantly. There were rumours that he was…

Hester Fox | Exclusive Excerpt: The Witch of Willow Hall
Author Guest / October 18, 2018

The town center proves to be that in name only. A run-down dry goods store with peeling letters advertises coffee, and a little white church sits at one end of the town green. That’s it. No theaters, no gardens and, worse yet, no bookshops. Yet there’s something charming about the simplicity of the square and the dirt roads that wind up and around it; there’s no stink of fish wafting off nearby docks, nor cobblestones caked with horse droppings. I take a deep breath and smile encouragingly to Emeline. Here’s our fresh start, not in the suffocating walls of Willow Hall with all its pretensions, but in the blue sky above it, the little town surrounding it. It doesn’t take long for our fresh start to lose its rosy glow. Two middle-aged women walk arm in arm, stopping to watch us unload from the carriage, Snip nipping at our dresses. They share a whispered word or two, and then creep a little closer to get a better look. The first woman lowers her voice and leans in toward her companion. “Those are the Montrose girls, you know. The family just came from Boston.” “Oh?” The other throws a glance back…