Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Deborah Robinson | Exclusive Excerpt: LILY ROSE
Author Guest / August 24, 2020

Chapter 2 Two weekends before Christmas, McAlpin’s department store was bustling. In the fine china department where Jeff worked, sparkling crystal vases and gilt ornaments were flying off the shelves. Of course, it was just the time for her to get the stomach flu. She had thrown up that morning at home, and thought it was the chili dog and fries she’d eaten at the Paris Grille the night before, but whatever the cause, she knew it wasn’t going to be a good day. At lunch, since she didn’t feel hungry, she decided to call Eric. In the two months since he’d left, they’d talked at least once a week. Jeff would tell him about cheerleading practice and school parties, while Eric spoke about some fancy place called Brunswick Prep. Imagining him meeting up after school with pretty girls in expensive clothes, Jeff couldn’t help feeling jealous. Toward the end she would try to steer the conversation toward how they might see each other again, but Eric would become vague and say he had to get off the phone. It took all of Jeff ’s self control to resist telling Eric that she loved him. He must feel the same,…

K.C. Dyer | Exclusive Excerpt: EIGHTY DAYS TO ELSEWHERE
Author Guest / August 14, 2020

By the next morning, the snow has stopped, but many of the back streets are still sporting a sheen of black ice. Tommy’s picked up a cold somewhere, and so I wrap my head in a scarf to protect myself from the wind whipping between the buildings, and head out to Claire’s Patisserie for croissants. After taking a single step into the street, I dash back inside to grab my camera. The grey overcast hemming us in for weeks has blown away overnight, and the sun is rising through low fog like a ripe red dragon’s egg, way down the end of our street. I’ve been taking pictures as long as I can remember. My dad was a photographer before I was born, and there were always cameras around the house when I was small. He shot for AP overseas–Falkland Islands during the conflict, and Ireland too–but after I came along, he mostly freelanced. And when I made it into NYU, I majored in photography. I’ve always planned to take it further, but–well, you know. Life gets in the way. With this news about the bookshop, the chance of returning to film school is looking increasingly unlikely. These days I…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels: CLEO MCDOUGAL REGRETS NOTHING by Allison Winn Scotch
Author Guest / August 14, 2020

Jen: What inspired you to write Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing? Allison: Well, I wanted to write something that reflected how it feels to be a woman in this particular moment in history and time. I tried a different approach with a different manuscript – I rewrote about 100 pages of that book several times, and it just wasn’t working. I knew what I wanted to say, but I wasn’t quite sure how to get there. Then, as good ideas often do, the version of Cleo, the Senator, struck me one night, and from there, I looked for an interesting way to examine her life. Not as a politician, but as a human, and I settled on exploring her regrets, which wasn’t an approach I’d ever read. And thus, Cleo McDougal, unapologetic Senator, was born. What role does the word “power” play in relation to the story? Oh great question! For me, this book is not about politics at all. I worked hard to ensure that. Rather, it is about power in all of its iterations, which is something that I think so many women are considering now too. Who has it, who abuses it, who gives it generously, who takes…

Phoebe Fox | 20 Questions: A LITTLE BIT OF GRACE
Author Guest / August 14, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  A Little Bit of Grace 2–What is it about? After the implosion of her marriage and the loss of her mom leaves Grace Adams entirely alone in the world, a letter from a relative she never knew she had sends her on a trip to a tropical paradise, where she starts to uncover answers about the eccentric woman her family never mentioned: an octogenarian who writes a viral relationship-advice blog, a compulsive (and highly successful) matchmaker. . . and the keeper of an unimaginable family secret held for more than fifty years. It’s a story about the choices families make and how they color what we believe, finding forgiveness for the unforgivable, and starting over when the happy ending ends. 3–What word best describes your main character(s)?  For Grace, it’s underestimated; for her Great-aunt Millie, it would have to be something like expansive, extravagant, magnificent, fantastical. 4–What makes your story relatable?  Grace holds family so dear and is so deeply loyal that in caring for everyone else she has lost touch with what she wants for her own life. I think that’s incredibly common for so many of us these days, particularly women, who often seem to feel…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: MUSICAL CHAIRS by Amy Poeppel
Author Guest / July 24, 2020

Jen: What inspired you to write your new release, ​Musical Chairs​? Amy: The countryside, family, wine, and a little Mozart! I was excited to write a book about a family spending the summer together in a house that has seen better days. And I wanted to include adult children who move back home with their messy problems, dogs, and habits. Also, since my children are all musicians, I decided to place several of the characters in the world of professional music. I wrote a book trailer that makes it pretty clear that there are certain elements of my real life that worked their way into the novel. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IffxAo-QMh4 How would you describe Bridget and Will’s unique friendship? I remember watching Nora Ephron’s iconic movie When Harry Met Sally in 1989 and admiring the longtime friendship between the characters. In discussing male-female friendships, Harry says that “the sex part always gets in the way,” and I wondered. . .  Does it have to? I began writing MUSICAL CHAIRS in an effort to celebrate a male-female friendship, a solid, marriage-like bond between two characters, a bond that–one hopes–can withstand the test of time, conflict, old secrets, and…

Katherine Center | 20 Questions: WHAT YOU WISH FOR
Author Guest / July 17, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  WHAT YOU WISH FOR 2–What is it about?  It’s about love, loss, and finding joy on purpose. School librarian Samantha Casey gets the worst new boss in the world–and he just happens to be the not-quite-forgotten biggest unrequited crush of her life. 3–What word best describes your main character(s)?  Resilient. Hopeful. Real. (That’s 3 words!) 4–What makes your story relatable?  It’s a story about people who are trying like heck to find joy in the midst of all their struggles and hardships.   5–Who are the people your main characters turn to when they need help?  Sam turns to her friend Alice, and Duncan turns to his sister Helen–but more and more, as the story goes on, they turn to each other. 6–What do you love about the setting of your book?  It’s set on Galveston Island, on the coast of Texas, which is the historic beach town where I write all my books. 7–Are you a plotter (follow an outline) or a pantser (write by the seat of your pants)? I’m a hybrid! I always start with a plot (more like a list of things I think will happen), and then, as the characters…

Janet Rebhan | Exclusive Excerpt: RACHEL’S RETURN
Author Guest / July 16, 2020

Content Warning: detailed depiction of physical abuse/assault.  *** Prologue Caroline Martin stared up at the ceiling tiles, small and square with tiny black holes that evoked an image of pepper jack cheese. Some were stained from leaky pipes that created ghostly formations of gray outlined in black above her head. The room was cold, and she began to shiver. One of the OR nurses noticed and covered her with another preheated hospital blanket, tucking it in under her chin and over her shoulders. “Thank you,” Caroline said through clenched teeth. She couldn’t move because they had already strapped her down to the operating table at her arms and just below her breasts. They left her legs free, covered with socks and leg warmers, as they would soon be placing her calves in stirrups. At least they had the decency to wait until she was completely under first. But after that, she was certain there would be no concern for her modesty. The pill they had given her fifteen minutes earlier began to take effect. Background noises blended together in a smothered cacophony, and only when someone got up close in her face was she able to focus. Even so, it…

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…

Vicky Zimmerman | MISS CECILY’S RECIPES FOR EXCEPTIONAL LADIES
Author Guest / June 12, 2020

My new novel, Miss Cecily’s Recipes for Exceptional Ladies, has two heroines–Kate Parker, 40 and on the verge of a break-up, and Cecily Finn, a 97-year-old grumpy but very funny old lady–bond over an unusual cookbook.  The cookbook, Thought for Food, contains more than just recipes.  It has menus for some of life’s most challenging occasions: “Dinner for the Man You Hope to Marry,” “Dinner for The Man You’re Trying to Bid Farewell To.”  Along with delicious recipes, the book has tips on how to survive the occasion, varying from the practical to the richly comic. Thought for Food was a real book published in 1957.  It was co-written by the real-life Cecily Finn, who was my grandma. Real-life Cecily was born in London’s East End in 1903.  Her family ran a candy and ice-cream store–which created her lifelong passion for food. My grandma had a beautiful older sister, May, and my great-grandpa Josef constantly told Cecily that because she lacked May’s beauty, she’d never find a husband, and so at 18, he forced her to become a teacher.  (The job would guarantee a secure pension.)  Cecily may not have shared May’s beauty, but she was warm, smart, funny, creative,…

Jenny Colgan | 20 Questions: 500 MILES FROM YOU
Author Guest / June 12, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  It’s called 500 Miles from You 2–What is it about?  It’s about two health care workers, Lissa and Cormac, who have to swap jobs – Lissa moves to rural Scotland, and country medic Cormac moves to the London inner city – and they have to trade notes on patients, but they never meet. Until… 3–What word best describes your main character(s)?  Well, they both work in health care so they’re pretty brave. Lissa though is shy about meeting men after some bad ghosting experiences, and Cormac was an army medic still troubled by his past so they need healing too.  4–What makes your story relatable?  I think we’ve all had days wherever we live where we think, ‘if I was only in the city/ in the country/ somewhere COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. 🙂 I think it’s nice to get the chance to walk in someone else’s shoes.  5–Who are the people your main characters turn to when they need help?  Well, Lissa has Cormac’s old boss Joan, the town doctor, who is quite fearsome and gives good advice, and Cormac has Lissa’s best friend Kim-Ange, an unusual character who has a lot to teach him…