Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: THE TRUTH AND OTHER HIDDEN THINGS by LEA GELLER
Author Guest / March 26, 2021

Jen: What inspired you to write The Truth and Other Hidden Things? Lea: Often my writing process happens by a combination of two story ideas or characters – and in this case, I had envisioned a woman in her 40’s with an accidental pregnancy (which I will admit is something of a fever dream for me) and also the idea of someone who is desperate to be noticed but who writes under the cover of anonymity. Once I had established who Bells Walker was, the plot grew from there. As it turns out, in the past year so many people have been moving from New York City to the Hudson Valley, and it’s been great fun to read real-life accounts of some of the thing Bells noticed about her new home – the tattooed, kombucha drinking hipsters and their love for reclaimed wood and mason jars!   Bells’s life takes a sudden turn when her husband moves the family from Manhattan to the Hudson Valley. How does she handle the big change? Not well! Bells, already socially anxious, uses her move and her pregnancy as an excuse to hole up and stay home. She’s convinced that any person she meets…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: ACCIDENTALLY ENGAGED by Farah Heron
Author Guest / March 12, 2021

Jen: What inspired you to write ACCIDENTALLY ENGAGED? Farah: Reena came to me a few years ago. I’ve always loved food and wanted to write a food blogger character. When I wrote my debut, THE CHAI FACTOR, I used my food blogger character as the main character’s best friend, intending to go back to her for my next book. I loved the character so much and knew that the love interest that I paired her with had to be worthy of her, so I created the food-loving, equally adorable, and sexy Nadim for her. Reena’s parents have always been overbearing, so I knew an arranged marriage, or facilitated marriage trope would make sense, but I’ve always loved a fake relationship. The end result is an arranged marriage/fake relationship romance full of family, food, and lots and lots of love.   How does Reena feel about the art of baking? Like so many of us, baking is a stress reliever for Reena. She feels that she doesn’t have a lot of control in her life. She’s unsatisfied at work, her romantic life is a disaster, and her best friend has moved away. And her parents are well-meaning, but far too intrusive…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: FLOWERS OF DARKNESS BY TATIANA DE ROSNAY
Author Guest / February 26, 2021

Jen: What inspired you to write FLOWERS OF DARKNESS? Tatiana: I wanted to explore the near future and how artificial intelligence and “smart homes” can wreak havoc with our intimacy. This book is a journey into a fragile woman’s paranoia. Clarissa has just discovered that her husband is being unfaithful and decides to leave him.  She moves into a highly sophisticated artistic residence, hoping to find a new start here. But little by little, her past and her traumas come back to haunt her.  She is a writer obsessed with places and the memories that are linked to homes and the past. She is convinced that the new “connected home” she now lives in is trying to pillage her creativity for the purpose of AI. Her daughter is worried she might be sinking into a depression, but her teenage granddaughter is convinced that her granny is right… I leave it up to the reader to decide! Why does Clarissa Katsef move to Paris? Clarissa is half French, half English. She was born in the UK but moved to Paris when she was in her twenties. She is perfectly bilingual, and my book discusses those “hybrid brains”, people who live, talk,…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: DO NO HARM BY CHRISTINA MCDONALD
Author Guest / February 12, 2021

What inspired you to write DO NO HARM? I’ve spent much of my adult life watching my brother’s addiction to opioids. Watching someone you love go to war with themselves is a special level of hell. The experience profoundly changed me and my view of addiction and opioids. So I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to write a thriller set against the backdrop of the opioid epidemic. Then one day I saw a news story about a podiatrist who’d been arrested for starting an opioid ring and it got me thinking: why do people start selling drugs? Is it money, power, status? What would drive someone to do that? The only thing I believed I could ever understand, given that I’d watched my brother’s descent into addiction, was love. My children. I would do anything for them. And that was the moment I first thought of the story for Do No Harm. When Emma’s son is diagnosed with a rare cancer, how does her life change? After a troubled and lonely past in which her parents were killed in a car accident and she was raised in foster care, Emma has finally found the happiness and belonging…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels: HADLEY AND GRACE by Suzanne Redfearn
Author Guest / January 22, 2021

Jen: What inspired you to write HADLEY AND GRACE?  Suzanne: The idea for HADLEY AND GRACE came from my enduring love for the movie Thelma and Louise. I wanted to write the same sort of exciting road-trip adventure that also had an underlying theme of self-discovery and empowerment. As it turned out, I couldn’t actually tell the story as it was originally conceived by the talented Callie Khouri. Fortunately for us, times have changed and we’ve come a long way from gawking truck drivers, bar-swine rapists, and patronizing do-gooder cops as typical male stereotypes. So while the plot is similar–two women on the run who become accidental outlaws–the story is very different.  What causes Hadley to flee from her home with her two kids?  Hadley is in an abusive marriage, and her husband is cunning and controlling. The opportunity she’s been waiting for comes along, and she seizes it. What is going on in Grace’s life that makes her yearn for a fresh start?  Grace’s husband has a gambling problem, and when he loses their rent money, Grace realizes the only hope she has for her and her infant son is to try and make a fresh start.  What draws…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: OUR DARKEST NIGHT by Jennifer Robson
Author Guest / January 8, 2021

Jen: What inspired you to write OUR DARKEST NIGHT? Jennifer: After finishing work on THE GOWN, I jumped into work on a book set in…well, I don’t really want to say, since I may return to it some day! I spent months researching and plotting it, but when it was time to buckle down and write the thing, I just couldn’t do it. I was trying to figure out what to do next when my son came to me and asked if it was true that his great-grandparents, my husband’s maternal grandparents, helped to hide Jewish families from the Nazis during the war. And I had to admit that I wasn’t sure – but I told him I would try to find out. It didn’t take a lot of digging for me to discover that San Zenone degli Ezzelini, the small town in northern Italy where my mother-in-law grew up, was a focus of resistance against the Nazi occupation in World War Two, and specifically that the local priest had organized shelter for dozens of Italian Jews. Father Oddo Stocco was named Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 2010, and while I wasn’t able to prove conclusively that…

Fresh Fiction Reviewer Spotlight: Jennifer Vido
Author Guest / December 23, 2020

We’re in for a treat today! One of our regular Fresh Fiction Blog Columnists, author Jennifer Vido, is taking part in our Fresh Fiction reviewer spotlights! We hope you enjoy getting to know her better and about some of her favorite interviews from her Jen’s Jewels column this year.  Your Name Jennifer Vido How long have you been a Fresh Fiction reviewer?  I wrote my first Jen’s Jewels author interview column back in 2006! Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with New York Times bestselling authors, as well as up and coming stars. What are your favorite genres to read and review? My favorite genres to read and review are contemporary romances and cozy mysteries. What are your TOP 3-5 Books of 2020? My top 5 interviews of 2020 were Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing by Allison Winn Scotch Feels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis Hello Summer by Mary Kay Andrews Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel What do you like to do outside of reading? I enjoy teaching an adult water exercise class for seniors and volunteering with the Arthritis Foundation. What are some of your holiday traditions?  My…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: SECOND CHANCE ON CYPRESS LANE by Reese Ryan
Author Guest / December 11, 2020

Jen: What inspired you to write SECOND CHANCE ON CYPRESS LANE? Reese: The idea for a series about a small town in the Outer Banks was prompted by my first visit to the Outer Banks and the town of Duck, North Carolina, which my husband and I fell in love with instantly. And while I can’t recall exactly how I came up with Dex and Dakota’s love story, I had initially intended to pitch it to a company that was going to publish choose your own adventure style romances. So, for instance, one of the first choices the reader would’ve made was whether Dakota returned to her small hometown or tried to stick things out in New York. Why does rising-star reporter Dakota Jones return to her hometown?  Dakota unwittingly gets caught up in a scandal that gets lots of press in New York City and in Italy and tanks her career as a reporter just as she was about to be named the weekend news anchor at her station. No other station in wants to get tangled up in the scandal, which leaves Dakota just one option: she must return home to regroup and figure out her next move…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: GIRLS OF BRACKENHILL by Kate Moretti
Author Guest / November 13, 2020

Jen: What was your inspiration behind Girls of Brackenhill? Kate: When I was a kid, we didn’t take big fancy vacations. Our only trip to Disney World lasted two days: we drove down in a rented car and stayed an hour away with my great grandparents in July. Instead of hotels and airplane trips, we went camping. Up and down the East Coast, to whatever state park was drivable. When I was about fourteen, we camped in the Catskills and drove through a town called Roscoe NY. My dad parked the car and led us up a steep incline to Dundas Castle. At the time, it was marked as private property, but it was abandoned and not monitored in any way. The doors were all unlocked and we spent (to my memory) hours there, exploring every square inch of this abandoned castle. Memory is a fickle thing but I do remember the basement being a series of very small rooms. I remember this day with more clarity and fondness than either of the two days I spent at Disney World. When I had to plan my next book, I really wanted to write a ghost-like story. The memory of the…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: IN THE DEEP by Loreth Anne White
Author Guest / October 23, 2020

Jen: What inspired you to write In The Deep? Loreth: Thanks for hosting me, Jen. In The Deep was inspired by a visit to my brother who lives in a small oceanside town in New South Wales, Australia. He’s a big wave surfer, and a man of the sea in every way, so of course we went out deep sea fishing in his tiny boat. When we were ten miles off the coast, heaving about on the white-veined swells of the deep blue waters of the Tasman Sea, with the Australian coastline just a distant purple haze, I got to thinking: Anything could happen out here, and there would be no one to witness it, and what if someone did go overboard, and maybe not by mistake. Later, while eating dinner outside under a vermillion sky, and listening to the flying foxes squabble overhead and the lorikeets and ‘cockies’ fighting in the gum trees, my brother regaled us with tales of some of his adventures, like the time he got a treble hook stuck in his neck. And he told us how the flying foxes–giant bats–can swarm in groups along the highway as they migrate, and more . . ….