Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Susan Lews | 20 Questions: FORGIVE ME
Author Guest / January 25, 2021

1–What is the title of your latest release? FORGIVE ME 2–What is it about? Restorative justice and the very great challenges of forgiveness. 3–What do you love about the setting of your book?  I have a fictitious coastal town that I use for many books – I love being there as it feels like home. 4–How did your main character(s) surprise you?  Through anger, courage, and an extraordinary level of forgiveness. 5–Why will readers relate to your characters?  Anyone who’s ever felt fear, experienced crime, insecurity, or love will feel a bond with one or two or more of the characters. 6–What was one of your biggest challenges while writing this book (spoiler-free, of course!)?  The medical research. 7–Do you look forward to or do you dread the revision process?  Always dread it – but the book invariably improves for it.  8–What’s your favorite snack to have on hand while writing?  No snacks, just coffee early in the day and tea in the afternoon.  In the evening, a glass of wine and some olives as I review the day’s work. 9–Where would you go for an ideal writer’s retreat?  Anywhere that doesn’t involve research or writing – I view a retreat…

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…

Michelle Adams | 20 Questions: LITTLE WISHES
Author Guest / November 20, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  My latest release is called Little Wishes. 2–What is it about?  Little Wishes is about a young couple in 1960’s England in a small coastal town in Cornwall who fall in love, but for whom life conspires to keep them apart. Fifty years later they reconnect. Little Wishes is about taking all of those lost chances from the years they weren’t together, and making them come true. It’s about a love that lasted fifty years, despite life getting in the way. Ultimately it’s about my characters reconnecting both with people they had lost, but also with parts of themselves that needed reawakening. 3–What word best describes your main character(s)?  Tom is stubborn, loyal, but occasionally cowardly. Elizabeth is both brave, romantic, and sorry. 4–What makes your story relatable?  I think we all have moments in our histories when we can look back and think things could have gone either way. Choices about work, where we live, which relationships we will fight for, and which relationships we let go. Hopefully, for most of us, we take the right decision, follow the path that makes us happiest. But part of us perhaps will always wonder,…

Nicci French | Exclusive Excerpt: HOUSE OF CORRECTION
Author Guest / October 26, 2020

The screaming started at three in the morning. Tabitha had never heard a human being howl in that way before. It was like the screeching of an animal caught in a trap and it was answered by shouts, distant, echoing. Tabitha couldn’t tell whether they were cries of comfort or anger or mockery. The screams subsided into sobs but even these were amplified by the metal, the doors, the stairs and floors. Tabitha felt they were echoing inside her head. She sensed a movement from the bunk above her. The other woman must be awake. “Someone’s in trouble.” There was silence. Tabitha wondered if the woman was ignoring her or really was asleep, but then a voice came out of the darkness. She was speaking slowly, as if she were talking to herself. Her voice was low and gravelly, a smoker’s morning voice. “Everyone’s in trouble,” she said. “That’s why they’re here. That’s why they’re crying, when they think about their children or what they did. Or what they did to their children. When there’s real trouble, you don’t hear any screams. You just hear the screws running along the corridors. When it’s really bad you hear a helicopter landing…

Laura Morelli | 20 Questions: THE NIGHT PORTRAIT
Author Guest / September 9, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  THE NIGHT PORTRAIT: A Novel of WWII & da Vinci’s Italy 2–What is it about?  THE NIGHT PORTRAIT is a dual-timeline historical novel about the creation of one of Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous paintings, Portrait of a Lady with an Ermine, and the woman who fought to save it from Nazi destruction during World War II. It’s a story of two women of art, two men of war, one painting, and one obsession.  3–What word best describes your main character(s)?  Determined. Brave! 4–What makes your story relatable?  I wanted THE NIGHT PORTRAIT pinned squarely on the historical record, but my goal was also to bring these two very different eras to life. I want readers to ask themselves what they might do in similar situations. The four different narrators deal with challenges that sometimes seem insurmountable. I believe historical fiction allows us to relate emotionally to the larger human experience. Following a protagonist’s story makes us ask what we would do, facing such challenges. An immersive historical tale allows us to understand how we are connected to the long threads of history. 5–Who are the people your main characters turn to when…

Elissa R. Sloan | Exclusive Interview: THE UNRAVELING OF CASSIDY HOLMES
Author Guest / August 31, 2020

Hi, Elissa! Thank you for joining us today on Fresh Fiction. Please tell us about yourself and your debut novel, THE UNRAVELING OF CASSIDY HOLMES. Hi! Thanks so much for having me. I’m a Japanese-American Texan who has been writing short stories since I was in elementary school. THE UNRAVELING OF CASSIDY HOLMES is the story of a pop act that is seemingly on top of the world in 2002 — until one of their members inexplicably leaves at the height of their popularity, imploding the group. Fifteen years later, that same member, Cassidy, dies by suicide and the other estranged members come together before her funeral to figure out what went wrong all those years ago. It’s a novel about secrets, friendship, loyalty, betrayal, trust, and love.  This is your debut novel! Congratulations! Can you tell us about your journey into publishing? I started writing this book in 2014 after a long period of not writing creatively at all. I am a slow writer and it took three years to finish the first draft. I realized what was wrong with it, chopped off the second half, and began drafting again, then revised for another year. This entire time I didn’t…

Susan Lewis | Exclusive Excerpt: MY LIES, YOUR LIES
Author Guest / August 10, 2020

Excerpted from the book MY LIES, YOUR LIES by Susan Lewis. Copyright © 2020 by Susan Lewis. From William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission. *** Joely was on a train heading away from London still not sure what to expect when she arrived at her final destination. She was trying not to think about it too much, although creating scenarios for what lay in store was infinitely better–and probably healthier–than tormenting herself with what she’d left behind. Better still, at least for the moment, might be to create a little fantasy around the attractive bloke sitting opposite her. It was a good try, but it took next to no time for her mind to circle back to Callum, her husband, who’d left her two weeks ago. He’d actually left her. She’d never imagined he would, had always believed in their marriage so completely that she still couldn’t make herself accept it had happened. She wasn’t sure he’d accepted it either. “So what’s this assignment you won’t tell anyone about?” he’d asked when he’d called by the house only yesterday, using his key to come in as if he still lived there. His deep brown eyes had…

Elise Hooper | Exclusive Interview: FAST GIRLS
Author Guest / July 8, 2020

Hi, Elise! Welcome to Fresh Fiction. Please tell us about yourself and your new book, FAST GIRLS. Fast Girls is historical fiction about three trailblazing American women track stars of the 1930s who come together to compete in the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Berlin, and it’s inspired by a true story. The summer Olympics, which so many people look forward to, have been postponed this year for the safety of athletes and spectators during the global pandemic. I know I will miss watching them! Do you have a favorite Olympic sport to watch? I love both the winter and summer Games and pretty much watch everything! From swimming to synchronized swimming to track and field, I want it all! FAST GIRLS tells the story of three women athletes at the tumultuous 1936 Olympics in Germany. What drew you to this time in history? What was something you learned that completely surprised you? The 1930s are such an interesting time from a political, social, and economic standpoint, and I hadn’t realized how close the U.S. came to boycotting the 1936 Games. It’s fascinating to contemplate how history could have played out differently if Hitler hadn’t been given the world stage to…

Susan Wiggs | Exclusive Interview: THE LOST AND FOUND BOOKSHOP
Author Guest / July 3, 2020

Hi, Susan! Welcome to Fresh Fiction! Please tell us about yourself and your new book, THE LOST AND FOUND BOOKSHOP. First of all, thank you for making this a fun conversation. You’re the first real person I’ve talked to all day, since I’m deep into my book-in progress. This is my favorite moment in the life cycle of a book–the moment it finds its way into readers’ hands. Suddenly it’s not my baby anymore. It belongs to the readers, the reviewers, the book groups, the librarians, and I can’t wait for them to read it. I wrote this book during a momentous year in my life. It reflects one of my sweetest fantasies–owning an independent bookshop. Even when I was a little girl, I used to imagine what it would be like to live in the garret of a creaky old building, above a bookstore that is a vibrant community center. The fantasy comes to life on Perdita Street in San Francisco’s historic district. Natalie Harper is a wine exec in Archangel, California (shout out to readers of The Apple Orchard and The Beekeeper’s Ball). She never planned on taking over her mother’s beloved but struggling bookshop. She never planned…

Janie Chang | 20 Questions: THE LIBRARY OF LEGENDS
Author Guest / May 13, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  The Library of Legends 2–What is it about?  The story begins in 1937 when China and Japan are at war. The main character, Lian, must follow her university when they evacuate, before they get bombed out. The students, professors and staff begin a thousand-mile walk to safety, carrying their belongings, school supplies, even kitchenware. And they also carry the Library of Legends, a priceless ancient collection of Chinese myths.   It turns out the mythical creatures described in the Library of Legends are also on the move, and that a celestial being travels with the students. As for Lian, she finds friendships and possibly romance. But family secrets make her a victim of political manipulation and she must distance herself from her classmates. Especially when one of them is found murdered. 3–What word best describes your main character(s)?  Cautious. Because of her family’s past, she is careful who she associates with. 4–What makes your story relatable?  Readers are telling me that right now, the story echoes their own feelings about living in uncertain times. 5–Who are the people your main characters turn to when they need help?  Their classmates, who are their community….