Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: THE HOUSE ON FRIPP ISLAND by Rebecca Kauffman
Author Guest / June 26, 2020

Jen: What inspired you to write The House on Fripp Island? Rebecca: The House on Fripp Island began as a challenge I set for myself to see if I could write something with a straightforward question (as introduced in the prologue), sustain interest in this question for an entire book, and accomplish interesting work with character development inside of this construct. I began with an ensemble cast in which I didn’t know whose personal arc would end up taking precedence, or providing the key to the mystery. Attempting something new with plot was really illuminating to me, craft-wise; I learned what aspects of storytelling tend to trip me up or send me spiraling in a wrong direction, and how to rein them in. Fripp Island is a beautiful place. (My family spent a week there last summer!) Why did you choose to set the story on the island? It is beautiful – lucky you! My mother-in-law has roots in South Carolina, and an aunt who owned a home on the island. That home is no longer in the family, but Fripp has remained a favorite family destination for her, and into my husband’s growing up years as well. We spent…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: PERFECTLY FAMOUS by Emily Liebert
Author Guest , Jen's Jewels / June 12, 2020

Jen: What inspired you to write Perfectly Famous? Emily: I love writing about strong women who are at crossroads in their lives and need to figure out how to find happiness again. In this case, I set out to tell the stories of two women—a famous author and a former journalist—whose issues are very different, yet, in the end, they manage to save themselves and each other. I also wanted to give my readers a fun, deliciously dark thrill ride with some major twists and turns. What happens to author Ward DeFleur that tears her life apart? Her 16-year-old daughter, Stevie, is abducted and killed, while Ward is busy launching her new book. How does Ward’s life change after the tragedy? Ward flees the sheltered town in Connecticut, where she lived with Stevie, and disappears. She reneges on all future book tour events and the other novels she’s contracted to write. She feels responsible for what happened to Stevie and like she can’t go on with things as they were. Nothing makes sense to her anymore. She lives in constant fear and in a state of depression. What happens in Bree Bennett’s life that leads to her taking a job…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: THE WIFE STALKER by Liv Constantine
Author Guest / May 22, 2020

Jennifer: What inspired you to write The Wife Stalker? Liv (Lynne & Valerie): The ideas always start with a common trope that we try to turn on its head. When the idea for The Wife Stalker came to us, it presented a challenge in terms of how exactly we could transfer that idea to the page, and that became the propelling motivation as we wrote. What draws Piper Reynard to Westport, Connecticut? Piper wants to leave California and put as much distance as possible between her past and her new life. Moving almost 3,000 miles away, to the other side of the country, is the best way to do that. The draw of Westport is its cosmopolitan yet small-town atmosphere and the fact that it’s on the water. Piper is passionate about sailing, and so she wants to find a place on the coast. Because many of the residents aren’t natives of Westport, no one is particularly interested in anyone’s family history. It’s a place she can re-invent herself and become “Piper”. How does her life change when she meets the handsome Leo Drakos? Piper feels both excitement and a tiny (very tiny) bit of trepidation when she meets Leo….

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels: HELLO, SUMMER by Mary Kay Andrews
Author Guest / May 8, 2020

Jennifer: What inspired you to write your new release, HELLO, SUMMER?   Mary Kay: A couple years ago I read an article in my hometown newspaper, The Tampa Bay Times, about the area’s long-time conservative Republican Congressman, who’d just passed away from cancer. At the Congressman’s funeral, his son gave a eulogy that mentioned his father’s “secret first family”–the Congressman’s first wife and his children with him, with whom he’d had no contact for decades. It was a stunning moment that sparked a family feud played out in headlines around the country. When I went looking for a juicy story for my newspaper reporter protagonist Conley to dig into, that story immediately came to mind. Of course, my fictional Congressman dies in a mysterious late-night accident on a remote country road, and there are lots of other differences, but that story kept me up at night, wondering “what if?”  Why does Sarah “Conley” Hawkins choose to return to her hometown? She doesn’t have any alternatives. She’s quit her job as a reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, broken up with her boyfriend and given up her apartment–all in anticipation of a new job she’s accepted with a new digital-only investigative publication in…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels: FEELS LIKE FALLING by Kristy Woodson Harvey
Author Guest / April 24, 2020

Jen: What was your inspiration for your latest release, Feels Like Falling? Kristy: It started as most good stories do… In the drugstore! (Just kidding.) It was two days before Christmas, our car was packed to the gills, and we were heading home for the holidays–right after we picked up the photo books I had had made for our families. The woman at the photo desk said she couldn’t give me the books without a signed photo release because some of them were from a professional photographer, but I begged and pleaded and she gave them to me, after getting permission for me to bring the form back later. A few days later, I took her the photo release and she put it on file, no harm, no foul. But then I thought, “What if something similar happened but the woman working had gotten fired because of it? What if there was some reason she had felt like she wanted to do a good deed and, because of that, she lost her job? And then what if these two women formed a bond because of it and it ended up changing both their lives?” Most of my stories start this…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: The Closer You Get by Mary Torjussen
Author Guest / April 10, 2020

Jen: What inspired you to write The Closer You Get? Mary: A friend told me about a single woman we knew who was having an affair with a married man. He left his wife and went to live with her, but the relationship didn’t last long and he went straight back to his wife. It made me wonder what would happen if both affair partners were married to other people and decided to be together; who would dare to take that first step towards their new life? How could you trust anyone enough to do that? If you were in that position and left your marriage and the other person didn’t leave, you would have burned all your bridges. So that became the start of the idea, that a married woman leaves home to be with a married man, but he doesn’t show up. What draws coworkers Ruby and Harry into having an extramarital affair? I think Ruby is a classic case of a woman who’s very unhappy at home and falls for the first person to show her some kindness and interest. On the other hand, Harry’s actually always been happy at home. His reasons for having an affair…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: AND THEY CALLED IT CAMELOT by Stephanie Thornton
Author Guest / March 13, 2020

Jen: What inspired you to explore Jackie O’s life through a work of fiction? Stephanie: After writing American Princess, I wanted my next story to be about another iconic American woman and Jackie Kennedy was the first to come to mind. I found that while people think they know her story, many of the details of her life–the deaths of her children, the monuments she saved, her many tumultuous family relationships–have already started to gather dust. Also, while there are enough nonfiction books about her and the rest of the Kennedys to fill an entire library, I quickly realized that there was an opportunity to transform her momentous life into historical fiction, to really let the reader feel what it was like to be Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. While I love a good nonfiction read, there’s something special about experiencing life through the eyes of the person who lived it. (I often joke that historical fiction is the closest thing to a time machine, but it’s true!) I loved being able to transport readers to see what it would have been like to be the one and only Jackie-O.   In order for the novel to be historically based, how…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: CAMILLE PAGAN
Author Guest / February 15, 2020

Jen: What inspired your latest release, This Won’t End Well? Camille: For my fortieth birthday, my husband, two children, and I went to Paris. It was an amazing trip. We stayed in a magical apartment in Montmartre that had sweeping views of Paris and the Eiffel Tower. We couldn’t have found a bad meal if we tried, and we managed to do just enough sightseeing to make the most of the vacation without burning ourselves out. But eight days is a lot of family time–especially for a writer used to spending long stints alone in front of her computer. By the day after my birthday, I’d had so much togetherness that I felt like I couldn’t hear myself think. My husband, bless him, quickly realized this and volunteered to take our kids to a park on the Seine so I could go for a walk by myself. I was strolling along the river, thinking about what a feat it is to successfully manage relationships–even, or maybe especially, when they’re with the people you love most–when a single sentence popped into my head: Hello seems like such an innocuous word, but it’s really a portal to loss.  Which is, of course,…

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….

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: THE CHRISTMAS SPIRITS ON TRADD STREET by Karen White
Author Guest / October 11, 2019

Jen: What inspired you to write The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street, the 6th book in The Tradd Street series? Karen: My contract!  When I wrote book #4 in the series, RETURN TO TRADD STREET, I knew there were so many stories left to tell, and so much more growth that Melanie had to attain that it seemed there should be more books in the series.  My publisher asked for three more, and I said yes. In order for the story to ring true with readers, how much research was needed? That’s hard to quantify as I’ve been “researching” Charleston for nearly twenty years.  From my first visit, I’ve been intrigued and fascinated by the city–the architecture, history and its natural beauty–and have been eagerly exploring the Holy City ever since as often as I can.  Melanie Trenholm’s relationship with her parents, sister, and husband is in a constant state of motion. In what ways is she evolving in this latest installment?   It’s been a long road for self-sufficient Melanie (and it’s not over) to become more trusting.  Because she was abandoned by her mother at age six, and raised by an alcoholic father, she had to become self-sufficient very…