Tuesday, June 12, 2018

EVERY SINGLE SECRET by author, EMILY CARPENTER

Emotionally guarded Daphne Amos always believed she’d found a kindred spirit in her fiancé, Heath. Both very private people, they’ve kept their pasts hidden from the world, and each other, until Heath’s escalating nightmares begin to put an undeniable strain on their relationship. Determined to give their impending marriage the best chance of succeeding, Heath insists that Daphne join him on a seven-day retreat with Dr. Matthew Cerny, a psychologist celebrated for getting to the root of repressed memories. Daphne reluctantly agrees—even though the past is the last place she wants to go.


The retreat’s isolated and forbidding location increases her unease, as do the doctor’s rules: they must relinquish their keys and phones, they’ll be monitored at all hours by hidden cameras, and they’re never to socialize with the other guests.
One sleepless night, Daphne decides to leave her room…and only then does she realize that the institute is not at all what it seems—and that whatever’s crying out from Heath’s past isn’t meant to be heard. It’s meant to be silenced.

Every Single Secret takes you on a journey into a dark, surreal world…A true psychological thriller that will leave you breathless.” —Wendy Walker, bestselling author of All Is Not Forgottenand Emma in the Night


“Creepy, twisty, and masterfully crafted. Emily Carpenter nailed the dark and disturbing characters that make up this rich and provocative gothic thriller. Every Single Secret is one of my favorite reads so far this year. I can’t recommend it enough.” —Kerry Lonsdale, Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Everything Series

“Emily Carpenter begins Every Single Secret on a creepy premise: couples therapy in a remote mountain resort, where every room has eyes—hidden cameras watching every move. Buckle up because this is one hell of a ride, a rocket-paced, edge-of-your-seat story you’ll want to devour in one sitting. A knockout, easily one of my favorite books of the year.” —Kimberly Belle, bestselling author of The Marriage Lie

“A complex, riveting novel of psychological suspense that holds a mirror to the darkest human impulses. A must-read.” —A. J. Banner, USA Today bestselling author of The Twilight Wife

“Emily Carpenter has once again crafted a story full of complicated characters who will keep you guessing until the last page. Every Single Secret deftly explores the risks of hiding from our pasts and the desperation—and danger—of falling blindly into love. A wild, tense ride.” —Victoria Helen Stone, #1 Amazon bestselling author of Evelyn, After

Q & A with Emily ~ 

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I’m an avid TV watcher—I think some of the best writing is being done on TV right now, and I feel like watching TV has become a learning experience in addition to entertainment these days. Recently, I’ve been inhaling SHETLAND, based on Ann Cleeves’ books. Each episode is a complex mystery set in a location that feels really fresh and exotic. Plus, there’s a cute detective. Jimmy Perez, hey!

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

The main challenge for me was being resolute and relentless in revising the book (BURYING THE HONEYSUCKLE GIRLS), while keeping myself from giving up. That book really went through many stages and transformations—from a magical realism-based story to something more realistic and grounded, and my agent was incredibly instrumental in guiding it and encouraging me to explore new options. She also kept the faith in such a way that I never lost mine, for which I will forever be indebted to her.
  
How do you market your work?

Marketing is the hardest part of my job, I’ll be honest. It just feels awkward sometimes. I’ve seen lots of people do it in ways I’m not all that excited about. For me, I like the personal approach, and I really try to connect with readers in authentic ways. I love book clubs because they provide a face-to-face real-time way to interact—and have fun—with readers. Social media can sometimes feel icky when you’re promoting your book 24/7, and I’d rather just interact with people about real things, funny things I observe about life or whatever, instead of shouting about my books. On Facebook, I always end up talking about other authors I love or books I’m interested in reading, and that’s really important to me.

What are you working on now?

My next book, which is a bit of a departure from the previous ones. It’s less of a Southern Gothic slow-burn and more of a balls-to-the-wall adventure thriller. (Can I say that?) It’s about a mother and teenage daughter who realize someone has sabotaged the financial app the mother created, and they have to use their smarts and the technology to find their way back to each other. I’ve actually loved writing it. It’s got more action than anything I’ve written yet, not to mention two female characters who are smart, resourceful and super-badass.

Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?

Not one bit! That’s the best part of writing. You can invent whole new worlds.

Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?

In EVERY SINGLE SECRET, I really loved writing about Daphne’s experiences in the group home, at the girls' ranch. I was so entranced by the girls she got thrown in to live with—the Super Tramps. Every time I would wrap up a section about them, I couldn’t wait to revisit their story. Omega, especially, was a character I ended up really loving—and also wondering about. She was fascinating and also tragic, and her backstory was so interesting to me, although I didn’t explore it in the book.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Get good advice from people who will be real with you. How do you need to improve? What should you be doing differently in your writing? It’s sometimes tough to swallow—but steel yourself and ask really wise, experienced people what your writing lacks. In the end, you’ll be humbled, but glad you listened.

What are the downfalls of your writing career? The best parts?

There are no bad parts, truly. It’s just such fun to write books that people read and enjoy.

Place you’d like to travel?

I’m planning a trip to the UK to visit the homeplaces and haunts of all my literary heroes. It’s literally the nerdiest trip anyone has ever planned. Stay tuned.  

Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you. It’s because of you that I can write books. It really touches me that you are willing to join me in the lives of these characters. I wish I could hug you all!

To connect with Emily:

Facebook: Facebook.com/ecarpenterauthor
Twitter: @EmilyDCarpenter





Tuesday, June 5, 2018

More BOOK PROMOTERS featured for you book lovers!

I've been doing this blog for three years now, featuring authors and their books, hoping to spread some book love to readers who ask me for recommendations of books I think they'd enjoy. And while I will continue to promote other authors and books, there is a group of people who rarely get the recognition they deserve: 

BOOK PROMOTERS!!!



Periodically, I will be featuring groups of people who do everything but shout from the rooftops (and really, who does that?) about books. ~ This is the second one so if you missed the first, scroll back to the May 6th post.

Obviously, you love books or you wouldn't be at this site! Make sure to check out these book promoters social media links and follow them. You'll learn about great books, and sometimes, even get in on book giveaways!
Who doesn't like those? :)
***
Baer Books (Barbara Khan)
"I started my blog January 15, 2014, and started a Facebook group a few months later. We now have more than 1,100 Baer Cubs as our members are known. Baer was my mom’s maiden name and she is the reason I am such an avid reader. On the blog, I focus on the genres I read the most, mystery, psych-thriller, historical fiction, women’s fiction, literary fiction and some non-fiction. About the only thing I don’t read is sci-fi, horror, or anything overtly romance. Even though I work full time as a travel advisor, I still managed to read about 80 books last year. One of the features I like to do on the blog is called “Pack Your Bag”, where I ask authors all about their travel (vacations and for research), what are their “must haves” in their suitcase, and favorite or worst trip ever. 

I am in the top 1% of reviewers on Goodreads which was like winning an Oscar to me, when I found out! I love how social media has brought authors and readers together. Back in the old days it seemed the author was behind this terribly, impenetrable wall, put there by the publishers. If you liked a book or author, you would have to send a letter c/o the publisher. Now I often find myself sending a Facebook message or posting on the author’s page to tell them 
how much I enjoyed their books. It just feels like we are one big book community."
Links to connect with Baer Books~

https://baerbooks.blogspot.com/ 
My Twitter and Instagram handle is @leftyonkey (I'm not as active there.)
***

Good Book Fairy: (Lauren Margolin)
"For years, people would ask me what to read with certain specifications such as, “I want to get my mom a book for Mother’s Day that my dad will enjoy reading as well.” or “I need a book with nothing sad or too suspenseful in it.” I always had an answer at the tip of my tongue so I started a blog in 2012 to share my suggestions, reviews and all things bookish. 

I pride myself on reviewing books with a keen eye for pacing, plot, use of language, execution and story. I praise and critique. Unlike a lot of bloggers, I give 5 stars sparingly and do not summarize the plot. Because of this, I always remind my readers that anything rated a 3.5 or above is absolutely worth reading! 

My byline is Because Life’s Too Short To Read Bad Books. I want my followers to trust me and know why I liked, loved or adored a novel. That gives them the opportunity to make an educated decision as to whether they should read a particular book. 

I love what I do. I love talking with other bloggers, authors, publishers and editors. We all share the same passion!  My monthly newsletter contains my monthly reviews, events and other fun info. You can sign up on my website."
Links to connect with Good Book Fairy:

***

Kate Rock Lit Chick (Kate Rock)
"Always an avid reader who escaped in books since early childhood I retired at age 45 due to Lupus and Chronic illness from a long career in Nursing and Surgery Center Administration. I found the book tribe community to be very supportive and I was able to turn my passion into my current bliss of reading, reviewing, promoting authors and now some writing. 


I love recommending books and seeing readers find new authors they love. I feel blessed to be part of the reader/writer community."

Kate Rock ~ Inspired writer • Author Assistant • PR for Books and authors • Avid Reader and book reviewer.

Links to connect with KateRockLitChick:

 https://linktr.ee/katerocklitchick

Www.facebook.com/katerock.litchick
Www.instagram.com/katerocklitchik
Www.twitter.com/katerocklitchik 

***

TRAVELING WITH T (Tamara Welch)
Tamara's motto is "Reading my way through life- one juicy book at a time."

She loves Instagram, crab cakes, moscato & binge watching old episodes of Designing Women. Perfect day: Reading by the pool with a glass of sweet iced tea.


Links to connect with Traveling With T:

Blog: www.travelingwitht.com,

FB: www.facebook.com/TravelingWithT,
Instagram: www.instagram.com/rockstar1023,
Twitter: www.twitter.com/rockstar1023,
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/rockstar1023
***


Books & Wine are Lovely (Bethany Clark)
Bethany Clark hosts “Books and Wine are Lovely” Blog and “One Book At A Time” Facebook page, which is home to over 1,100 bookish friends (page followers who love all things book related!)

"I have many types of posts on my blogs – author written pieces, giveaways, page or link shares I have seen on other pages I believe my followers with love and reviews I personally write. 

Anyone who knows me, knows I have an undying passion for all things books – from the books themselves, bookish items I buy to decorate with, meeting new book friends and besties, just to name a few!"
Links to connect with Bethany's social media:





Monday, May 14, 2018

THE WAY OF BEAUTY by author, CAMILLE DI MAIO

Hearts and dreams evolve in the shadow of the once-magnificent Penn Station.
Vera Keller, the daughter of German immigrants in turn-of-the-century New York City, finds her life upended when the man she loves becomes engaged to another woman. But Angelo Bellavia has also inadvertently opened up Vera’s life to unexpected possibilities. Angelo’s new wife, Pearl, the wealthy daughter of a clothing manufacturer, has defied her family’s expectations by devoting herself to the suffrage movement. 

In Pearl, Vera finds an unexpected dear friend…and a stirring new cause of her own. But when Pearl’s selfless work pulls her farther from Angelo and their son, the life Vera craved is suddenly within her reach—if her conscience will allow her to take it.

Her choice will define not only her future but also that of her daughter, Alice.
Vera and Alice—a generation and a world apart—are bound by the same passionate drive to fulfill their dreams. As first mother and then daughter come of age in a city that is changing as rapidly as its skyline, they’ll each discover that love is the only constant.

The Way of Beauty is a charming multi-generational love story, but it is more than that: it is a story of family, love lost, and love found…A loving tribute to the workers who risked their lives and health in building iconic structures in New York City…” —Historical Novel Society

“Fans of historical women’s fiction and light romance will enjoy this pleasant work of historical fiction.” Booklist

Some Q & A with Camille ~ 

1.               Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started writing.

I’ve lived all over – Denver, rural Pennsylvania, Washington DC, San Francisco, San Antonio, and now in southern Virginia. I’ve traveled extensively and have been to most of the states as well as four continents. Reading all the time and traveling a lot, I absorbed words and experiences until I had the inspiration to write what became my first book, The Memory of Us. All those years as the misfit girl in grade school with recesses spent in the library paid off! I’ve been married for almost twenty-one years and have four kids, a dog, and a cat.

2.               What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

Travel is my big addiction, and if I’m not on a trip, I’m planning the next one. I love to read, of course, and I’m a big movie buff. We watch several movies a week as a family, taking turns as to who gets to pick. So we get quite an eclectic mix! I’m pushing the classics right now. Our last family movie was Casablanca.

3.               Do you have a “day job” as well?

I recently left my long-term real estate career to write full time. However, I also homeschool my children, so that’s definitely a day job! My first is off to college, and I still have a 17yo, 13yo, and 9yo.

4.               Where do you get your ideas?

It’s so eclectic. The Memory of Us was inspired by listening to the song Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles. Before the Rain Falls was inspired by a documentary I found while channel surfing. The Way of Beauty came from an image in my head of a soldier kissing his girlfriend in a train station. Just life, travel, and observation. I keep a notebook of ideas for future books and I think about each of them for a few years before seeing which ones pop up for further exploration.

5.               Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?

One of my favorite books is Olivia and Jai by Rebecca Ryman and I dreamed of writing something half as good. I love Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and anything by Kate Morton. All of those books really have the ability to suck me into their worlds.

6.               Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

Yes! My lack of knowledge about the process was a big road block. I finished the first draft for what became The Memory of Us in just six weeks, and thought, “I’ve written a book!” I learned about the querying process and, not surprisingly, got a bunch of rejections. Actually, agents loved the premise,  but the writing was nowhere near ready.

I spent about four years writing new drafts, attending conferences, and getting it closer to being ready to go. I learned in the process to give agents exactly what they want as far as a synopsis, number of pages, etc. And to be specific about why you chose THEM to query. Referencing comp books that they have represented and mentioning something from their bio that you connected with is a good way to go. It worked for me! I loved getting “the call” from my agent, Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

7.               If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you’d change?

In general, no, as the process is really part of the education. However, I do wish I’d been less naïve about the manuscripts readiness so that I could have turned in something more polished from the get-go. It is not enough to get to “the end”. Agents really want something that is in ready-to-publish quality.

8.               How do you market your work?

Though I’ve held sales jobs, I am not a salesperson by nature. I love to connect with people and be authentic. So my own marketing contributions are mostly through social media. I’m most active on Instagram and Facebook, and I’ve made a lot of friends through there. When people get to me and my work, they become an awesome megaphone when I have a new release, and I am so grateful for that. I like to give back in the ways that I can, so I also support other authors. I’ve recently added a You Tube channel in which I do book reviews. It’s all about community and sincerity.

9.               What are you working on now?

I just sent my fourth book off to my agent for review before we send it to my editor next week. I’m sure there will be many months of editing ahead. In the meantime, I’m playing with a few ideas that I want to pitch to them later in the summer.

10. Is there anything in your book based on real-life experiences?

In general, no. None of the events are based on anything in my own life. I have been to New York more times than I can count, so the observations I’ve absorbed certainly made their way into The Way of Beauty. The one real-life thing I added was this: my son and I like to pick up rocks at various places we go together and write on them when we get home the date and place we got it. I have a tidbit at the beginning of the book about that.

11.            Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?

I have one scene in the book that is lightly romantic (I’m a PG-rated kind of girl). It takes place in a home darkroom as one character shows the other how to develop photographs. I thought about that scene for about a year before I wrote the book and always knew it would be in there. One scene that I didn’t plan but ended up loving is a scene in the lost luggage room of Penn Station and all the items the characters discover there.

12.            Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

I do not have my degree in English or an MFA or anything like that. But I am a voracious reader. Read lots and lots and lots of books that are similar to what you write and you will naturally develop a sense of pace, tempo, dialog, language, story, setting, etc. I have gotten many compliments from other writers on my pacing, and I honestly didn’t know that was a thing! I just have a sense of what works in a story because I’ve read so very many.

13.            What are the downfalls of your writing career? The best parts?

Even when I’m not actively writing, my head is almost always in the story. I’ve learned that I have difficulty being present with my family because there are characters and plotlines competing for brain space. I’m not sure how to turn that off, but I’m sure my husband and kiddos would tell you that it’s a downfall. The best part is the community of authors I’ve acquired. I absolutely love being friends with people I would have fangirled over. Reading their books, promoting them, suggesting them to friends, and then they do the same. I did not have a lot of friends growing up – the Coke-bottle glasses and stringy hair and lack of athleticism insured that! So I love having an abundant number of friends now.

14.            Favorite bands or music? Favorite book and/or movie?

I grew up loving British 80s music – Depeche Mode, OMD, Erasure. My 17yo daughter is a gifted connoisseur of music, so I’ve learned about so many bands from her and we’ve had a lot of fun at concerts together. Our favorites are Walk the Moon and Andrew McMahon. Just this week, we drove nearly three hours to see Banners in a tiny venue with 150 people. That guy is going to be big – just watch. My favorite book is Olivia and Jai, and my favorite movie is Elf. We repeat soooo many lines from that in our family.

15.            Places you’d like to travel?

Oh, so many! I have a huge bucket list. But if I had to go somewhere tomorrow, I’d love to go to Thailand. The beaches, the animals, the rice fields. I want to see it all.

16.            Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

Just a giant THANK YOU! Your comments, reviews, shares, messages, and enthusiasm are the fuel that I need to push through frequent writer’s block and also the sense of self-doubt that plagues writers. You help me keep going and I appreciate you more than you know.

To connect with Camille ~ 

Visit my Amazon Author Page:  amazon.com/author/camilledimaio
personal youtube channel with book trailers & talk about craft of writing: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu9Gmzq8NP6Jf77TzpWlkvg?view_as=subscriber
Follow me on Instagram:  https://instagram.com/camilledimaio/
Follow me on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CamilleDiMaio
Visit my website:  http://camilledimaio.com/





Sunday, May 6, 2018

Featuring some BOOK PROMOTERS this time ~ we'd be lost without them!


I've been doing this blog for three years now, featuring authors and their books, hoping to spread some book love to readers who ask me for recommendations of books I think they'd enjoy. And while I will continue to promote other authors and books, there is a group of people who rarely get the recognition they deserve: 

BOOK PROMOTERS!!!

So, periodically, I will be featuring groups of people who do everything but shout from the rooftops (and really, who does that?) about books.

If you love books, and obviously if you're here, you do, then you should check these people, and their social media links, out. You'll learn about so many great books, and sometimes, there will be book giveaways - and who doesn't like those? 

***

Kristy Barrett hosts "A Novel Bee" Facebook page,  which is home to over 3,300 book bees (page followers who love to find out the buzz on books!) "It's a book recommendation and author adoration society disguised as a Facebook group," Kristy sums up her Facebook page.

"My momma would say I love any books with words, except you won't find horror, erotica, or sci-fi promoted on this honey hive's page," says Kristy. Her Facebook page features endless book giveaways and author pop-ins. She often shares her "Queen for a Day" bee throne with authors and lets them take over.

Here's the link to her Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1130210920400229/

***
Susan Peterson hosts Sue's Booking Agency on Facebook and also posts on Twitter and Instagram (links below.) Susan explains the genres she features on her page. "I focus on women's fiction, literary fiction, southern fiction, historical fiction, and romance. I don't promote science fiction, horror, or graphic/violent books...because I don't read them!" 

Her goal is to make connections between readers and books and authors. "I don't do a lot of giveaways mostly because I want to have conversations about books, and recommending and reviewing books. I love it when others share what they're reading."

Susan retired four years ago and has read an average of 150 books each year since her retirement! "I love that, through Facebook, I've discovered so many new authors and books. Nothing makes me happier than when I recommend a book and somebody reads it based on my recommendation and loves it too!"

Here are the links to connect with Susan: 
Instagram: fuzzyhead1177, Twitter: @peterson4082. 
Facebook (Sue's Booking Agency): https://www.facebook.com/groups/SuesBookingAgency/

***
Linda Zagon hosts Linda's Book Obsession and you'll find it just about everywhere! 
Linda was raised with a love for books. "My father was an avid reader and had shelves built in our basement for his books." Linda retired from teaching five years ago and was able to get back into reading. "I gravitate to historical fiction, mystery, suspense, and thrillers, but I read most genres. I enjoy a novel that leaves me thinking." She knows everyone has their own preference for many things and that includes novels. "Every novel is not necessarily a good fit for every reader, and that's okay."

Linda started her Wordpress blog in 2016 to have a place for her reviews. "I want my page to be a safe place where respect and kindness are shown to one another," said Linda. She started her Facebook page in May 2017. "I love sharing books and helping other readers. I do read most genres and try to keep an open mind. I love to interview authors and see the readers enjoy when an author responds and gets involved."

Here are Linda's links to check out: www.Instagram.com/bookobsessionlinda/
https://lindasbookobsession.blog/ (her blog feeds into Bloglovin', Tumblr, & Pinterest)
https://www.facebook.com/lindasbookobsession/, Twitter: @peachyteach

***
Suzanne Leopold hosts Suzy Approved Book Reviews  and posts on other social media sites (links are below.) Like other book promoters, Suzy has a passion for books. "I found that my tastes in novels were a bit outside the norm, seeking out stories with more of an edge," Suzanne explains. "I couldn't find a good source for these books and that became my inspiration for the SuzyApproved blog, which is a big deviation from my prior work experience as a CPA for media and consumer companies."

Topics or books by authors in the political arena won't be found on her blog page, otherwise, her genres are varied. "I love to do book giveaways because I can't read everything that comes my way. I wish I had a book to give everybody!" 

All reviews by Suzanne are posted on her blog site (link below.) "When it comes to reviewing books I stick by what I learned at a young age - if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything."

Suzy Approved Books is celebrating two years of blogging with a month of giveaways! Check out her links ~ blog: https://suzyapproved.com/   Twitter: @SuzyApproved
Instagram: suzyapprovedbookreviews, & Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/suzyapproved/




Monday, April 9, 2018

WOMAN LAST SEEN IN HER THIRTIES, by author, CAMILLE PAGAN

From bestselling author, Camille Pagán comes a hilarious and hopeful story about a woman on the verge of a nervous breakthrough.


At fifty-three, Maggie Harris has a good marriage and two mostly happy children. Perpetually anxious, she’s also accumulated a list of semi-reasonable fears: falling air conditioners, the IRS, identity theft, skydiving, and airbag recalls. But never once did Maggie worry that her husband of nearly thirty years would leave her.
On the day Adam walks out the door, everything that makes Maggie secure goes with him. Only then does she realize that while she’s been busy caring for everyone else, she’s become invisible to the world—and to herself.
Maggie cautiously begins to rebuild her life with a trip to Rome, a new career, and even a rebound romance. But when a fresh crisis strikes and an uncertain future looms, she must decide: How much will she risk to remain the woman she’s just become?

Reviews ~

“[Pagán’s] writing is fun and engaging. Maggie is a wonderful character, and readers will identify with her struggles and successes in rebuilding her life.” Booklist

“Pagán (Forever Is the Worst Long Time) has created a winning character in Maggie. Watching her wake up to the world around her and realize that there’s more to life than a dull marriage is exciting and relatable. Women’s fiction readers will find a lot to like in this book.” Library Journal

“Pagán does a wonderful job of bringing us a character that is so believable you feel like you know her…If you enjoy family drama and stories of growth you will find this a terrific addition to your library. Tie in drama and romance and this will also intrigue those more interested in finding a silver lining.” Seattle PI

“The way the whole book unfolded was so true to real life…It’s an extremely well-written and accurate portrayal of what a woman would do after her life is shattered.” Novelgossip
“Both entertaining and filled with life’s wisdom…Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties is an empowering story for women of all ages with a wise reminder not to lose our authentic selves.” —Bookreporter

Some Q & A with Camille ~ 

Tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you started writing.
I’m the author of four novels; my most recent book is Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write fiction, but I didn’t attempt an entire novel until just before I turned 30. I had just had my first child and my dear friend was dying of cancer; for whatever reason, those two things made me feel it was imperative that I write a book right away. I was hooked even before I wrote the last scene of the first draft. I am not the type of writer who hates writing; I really love the drafting process and I’m already dreaming of my next book before I even finish the one I’m in the middle of. 

Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?    
I do; in addition to writing fiction, I’m also a health journalist and editor. I’ve written for Time, WebMD, Health, O: The O Magazine, and many others, and most recently served as the health editor at Real Simple magazine. I usually write fiction in the morning and work on journalism in the late morning and afternoon. When I’m really deep into a project—fiction or nonfiction—I often end up writing at night, but I mostly try to reserve that time for reading and hanging out with my family.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
It’s interesting—I had more of a struggle getting my second novel published than my first. I wrote my first novel, The Art of Forgetting, quickly (in about four months), then took several months to edit it before I began looking for an agent. I signed with Elisabeth Weed, who is still my agent today, and she sold the book at auction to Dutton/Plume (Penguin imprints) and to a half-dozen international publishers.

After Forgetting came out, I wrote two books in a row that I didn’t love and didn’t want to publish. Then I wrote Life and Other Near-Death Experiences, which was such a joy to write—and my then-publisher passed on it, in part because sales for Forever had not been great. I was devastated, of course, because I really loved that book (still do). But this story has a happy ending: Lake Union bought Life and it has since sold more than 150,000 copies. But there was a several-year gap in which I didn’t know if I would ever publish a second book, and that was extremely hard.

What are you working on now?
I just finished the draft about a couple who exchanges lists of things of what they want the other person to change in order to attempt to save their marriage. It was fun to write, if uncomfortable at times—it’s hard to write a novel about marriage without taking a long, hard look at your own relationship.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences?
Though I don’t write about the people in my life, most of my novels have been inspired by real-life experiences, though not in the way one might think—it’s not so much that I find the plot as I get sparks of inspiration from random situations. For example, Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties was inspired by a run-in I had in a grocery store; a college-aged man bumped into me, looked right through me without apologizing, and went on his way. It was a five-second incident that was the catalyst for an entire book.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
It’s always the same because it’s the single guiding principle of my career: write the book you want to read, regardless of what’s popular or what anyone else (whether your mother or your publisher) wants you to write. For me, that’s the only way to find joy in the process and produce a novel I’m proud of.  
Thanks for having me on your site!

You can learn more about my books at camillepagan.com and facebook.com/camillepaganbooks.