Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Camille Aubray | 20 Questions: THE GODMOTHERS
Author Guest / June 18, 2021

1–What is the title of your latest release?  THE GODMOTHERS 2–What is it about? Pitched as “Elena Ferrante meets Big Little Lies”,  THE GODMOTHERS is about four remarkable women from very different backgrounds who are united by marriage in an elegant, prosperous Italian family, and then must take charge of the family’s business when their husbands are forced to leave them during World War II. 3–What do you love about the setting of your book?  THE GODMOTHERS takes place mainly in New York City and its Westchester suburbs from the 1930s through the 1950s. I worked in the city and I loved discovering its old buildings and the great stories that went with it. That glamorous, dangerous, bygone aura still clings to places like Bergdorf Goodman’s, the Copacabana, the Majestic apartment building, Coney Island, Balducci’s Market, the Plaza Hotel—it’s all still there. 4–How did your main character(s) surprise you? They are so brave! The four Godmothers never fail to rise to the occasion as a team: Filomena overcomes childhood trauma to be a leader and protector of the family; Lucy uses her skills as a nurse to make the right decisions even when she feels betrayed; Amie recovers from an…

Brina Starler | 20 Questions: ANNE OF MANHATTAN
Author Guest / June 1, 2021

1–What is the title of your latest release? My upcoming release on June 1st, ANNE OF MANHATTAN, is a modern adaptation of Anne of Green Gables set on Long Island and in New York City. It’s actually my debut novel! 2–What is it about? Loosely based on some of the original book’s events, and inspired by L.M. Montgomery’s cast of beloved characters, Anne of Manhattan reimagines what it would be like if college-aged Anne Shirley, Gilbert Blythe, and their friends were going to school and living in modern NYC. It’s a romantic comedy that also deals with themes like #MeToo (sexual harassment) and learning how to trust in love. And hopefully, I’ve done a good job of paying tribute to a book I love so much! 3–What do you love about the setting of your book?  There are two main settings in the book. One is NYC, where Anne, Gil, and their friends go to school and live. That bounces between Brooklyn, the Village area, and Hell’s Kitchen. The second main setting is Avonlea, which I set on Long Island for the purposes of it making sense so many characters would wind up living in the city. Since I wanted…

Dianna Rostad | 20 Questions: YOU BELONG HERE NOW
Author Guest / April 20, 2021

1–What is the title of your latest release? YOU BELONG HERE NOW 2–What is it about?  In 1925 Montana, a brusque, spinster rancher begrudgingly takes in three mysterious orphans, and when the oldest is jailed for freeing wild horses rounded up for slaughter, she discovers he is a dangerous fugitive from Hell’s Kitchen. 3–What do you love about the setting of your book?  The Wind. That cold Northern wind comes down and desiccates you in the winter. I joke about chapped butts in my book, but they are a serious thing, I can tell you. It’s also quiet and peaceful, something my fugitive from Hell’s Kitchen, Charles, loves because he’s slept on the streets and there was always racket. 4–How did your main character(s) surprise you?  Nara broke the law in a huge way, after espousing rules and law to Charles for most of the book. 5–Why will readers relate to your characters?  I write a big cast of lovable characters. There is someone for everyone to root for. Their all broken, like real people, but they put one foot in front of the other.   6–What was one of your biggest challenges while writing this book (spoiler-free, of course!)? …

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…

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…

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…