Wednesday, June 7, 2017

THE WEIGHT OF LIES, by author, EMILY CARPENTER ~ debuted yesterday!


In this gripping, atmospheric family drama, a young woman investigates the forty­-year­-old murder that inspired her mother’s bestselling novel, and uncovers devastating truths—and dangerous lies.


Reformed party girl Meg Ashley leads a life of privilege, thanks to a bestselling horror novel her mother wrote decades ago. But Meg knows that the glow of their very public life hides a darker reality of lies, manipulation, and the heartbreak of her own solitary childhood. Desperate to break free of her mother, Meg accepts a proposal to write a scandalous, tell-all memoir.

Digging into the past—and her mother’s cult classic—draws Meg to Bonny Island, Georgia, and an unusual woman said to be the inspiration for the book. At first island life seems idyllic, but as Meg starts to ask tough questions, disturbing revelations come to light…including some about her mother.

Soon Meg’s search leads her to question the facts of a decades-old murder. She’s warned to leave it alone, but as the lies pile up, Meg knows she’s getting close to finding a murderer. When her own life is threatened, Meg realizes the darkness found in her mother’s book is nothing compared to the chilling truth that lurks off the page.

Some Q & A with Emily:

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

Growing up, I read voraciously, but then I dropped off a little when I got to college and had to read so much for school. In my early 20’s I worked for two soap operas, Guiding Light and As the World Turns, and wrote a spec script for an episode for GL. What I learned from that experience was a) writing for a daytime drama was much harder than it looks and b) I wasn’t that good at it. After that, I attempted a short film screenplay which I thought was fantastic. My boss read it and was really generous and nice enough not to tell me to give up forever. I wrote several screenplays after that and entered a bunch of contests, but I basically ended up banging my head against the wall that is Hollywood. Not an easy place to break in to. A feature script I wrote was shortlisted for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, and I was crushed when I didn’t get in. But that failure eventually led me to writing novels, which I’m actually better suited at, I think. Which is to say – isn’t it interesting how failure can lead you to the thing you are meant to do?

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I’m a huge TV/movie fan, love finding a fantastic new series to binge. I love to exercise (I do a boot camp) and hang out with my family. I love traveling but am really bad at making plans. I hate the planning phase, only the fun part. If I had a million bucks I would have a personal assistant who was strictly in charge of all that – plane tickets, AirBNB, rental cars. I would prefer that all those things just magically appear when the mood to go on a trip hits me.

Where do you get your ideas?

I took an aptitude test once and one of the things it measured for was this thing called “Ideaphoria,” essentially the rate of your flow of ideas. Apparently, my ideaphoria is through the roof. I don’t know where the ideas come from, but I will say, at times, it can be an onslaught.

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

I think in a general sense, I could say that every single book I’ve ever read has contributed to my love of stories and my desire to write. And, now that I think about it, I really like that thought: that every book had a part in developing my style and desire. But I think on a literal level, there was a book I read – a YA paranormal by a childhood friend of mine, that just swept me away (The Die for Me Trilogy by Amy Plum) – and I thought, “Oh. This is a real person, a person I know, who wrote this book. Maybe I could do this, too.” Up until that point, I didn’t know any authors personally, and I think it was just a moment of connection in my brain that hadn’t happened before. She absolutely inspired me.

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

Well, I had to find an agent, and I wasn’t successful doing that with my first manuscript, so I ended up writing another book (which I scrapped) then another. On my third book, I got a wonderful agent. But then there was a ton of editing – I mean intense editing – and submission, which took, roughly, a year. I think the whole process taught me a lot about the marketing side of publishing. That publishing is actually a business, and any book I wrote was not just my personal “work of art” but was eventually going to viewed as a product that needed to be positioned in the marketplace and sold. It was kind of hard to wrap my head around that. Since then, I think I’ve gotten better at incorporating that understanding into the process of my writing, anticipating how the market will view the book.

How do you market your work?

I love to connect with real readers – on social media and at book clubs, to let readers know what’s going on with my books. I’ll do the occasional festival or convention, but mostly my publisher does the heavy lifting in terms of marketing.

What are you working on now?

A book about a woman who’s been hiding a secret from her past who accompanies her husband to a couples retreat up in the mountains and discovers the place and the doctor running it are not exactly what she expected.

Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?

I love all the Kitten chapters in the book. It’s supposed to be this iconic, not-so-well-written, horror novel from the 1970s that everybody went nuts for. I had the most fun writing the excerpts because I got to adopt a different writing style, one that was a little more formal and stilted. And I could just go all out with the horror and the kitschy 70s tropes. In preparation, I read and re-read several classic horror novels from that time: Carrie, Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist. It was an interesting couple of weeks, to say the least.
  
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Every writer is unique and has such different ways of approaching the work and marketing and the way they conduct themselves on social media that I don’t really like to get specific about the “how” of writing. I just know what works for me – when I need to write, when I need to rest and think, when I need to think in terms of the business of publishing, when I need to keep my head in that strictly creative, free space of making “art.” I will say, I think that no matter what you end up deciding to write, you have to understand that publishing is a business and publishing companies make decisions based on the bottom line, money. So, I think it’s smart to do your homework - understand why they buy certain books and promote certain authors. After you’ve educated yourself, you’re in a better position to make an educated decision about what you want to write.

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

The way I see it, there are no downfalls. I love getting paid to write books and to know that I’m entertaining readers, providing them an escape from everyday life. It’s so fun. An absolute dream come true. Making up whole worlds and then playing in them like a sand box—what could be better?

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


I’d like to tell each and every person who read my book, THANK YOU! It really does mean so much to know people are reading and enjoying what you wrote. To everyone who reviewed my books, even if it was a negative review, thanks for taking the time. Seriously, it means a lot to us authors to have reviews. Now, if someone’s an actual FAN? I don’t know, that’s so hard to wrap my head around that. I think that instead of saying anything, I would just dance around them and toss flower petals.

About Emily:

Emily Carpenter is the bestselling author of two thrillers, Burying the Honeysuckle Girls and The Weight of Lies (June 6). After graduating from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication, she moved to New York City. She’s worked as an actor, producer, screenwriter, and behind-the-scenes soap opera assistant for the CBS shows, As the World Turns and Guiding Light. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, she now lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her family.

Visit Emily at emilycarpenterauthor.com and on Facebook and Twitter.





Tuesday, May 16, 2017

THE TO-HELL-AND-BACK CLUB, by author, JILL HANNAH ANDERSON (my book debuts today!)

Who can you turn to when your life falls apart?

In this moving debut ~ Peyton Brooks, a newly-empty nester with a comatose marriage, loses her three friends in a car crash, and reaches out to women in the To-Hell-And-Back Club, hoping they’ll help resuscitate her life.

Through the “Hell Club”, Peyton learns it’s never too late to begin again. These been-there-felt-that women use their sense of humor, strength, and support to help pull her off the couch and back to living her life.

She rebuilds the life she’d put aside two decades ago. But when Peyton digs up time capsules she and her friends buried years ago, and uncovers secrets about those she loved, she struggles to keep her own life-changing secret buried.

The “Hell Club” women help remind Peyton of the strength within her. She finds a renewed hope in life and love when she faces the mistakes and guilt that have troubled her for years. When Peyton’s secret is discovered, she needs the “Hell Club” women more than ever. The To-Hell-And-Back Club is an inspiring book that reminds us that it’s never too late to start over, and that living a life of regrets is no life at all.

Some Q & A with myself (yes, that sounds weird, even to me!) ~


Where do you get your ideas?

There are endless ideas jumping around in my head every day. Seriously. I hear a conversation, and my brain conjures up a scene about it. Or I see something unusual, and think about a “what if something happened” scene. The problem is getting all of these ideas to make up a story!

What are you working on now?

Honestly? Everything to do with writing except actually writing! I put book #2 aside so I could focus on enjoying my book debut, and help promote it to readers. It is a lot of work, but anything you love and feel strongly about, is worth the time and effort. Hopefully.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences?

A few experiences are slivers of my life, along with slivers of experiences from people I know. To be clear, yes, I’m divorced, but no, Jerry (the soon-to-be-out-the-door husband in the story) is not based on my ex-husband. Same goes for the friends in my book!

Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?

A scene toward the end with Peyton and her sister, Grace, who comes to visit her all the way from Texas (the story takes place in Minnesota.) It is a heart-wrenching scene, and I choked up writing it. Not having a sister of my own, I imagined how important it would be to have a sister like Grace, to be there for you as she was for Peyton. I hope I did their relationship justice.

Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?

I sure do. I’ve been at a communications company for close to twenty years. The upside? It is a whopping 1.3 miles from my home. The commute is brutal. ;) The downside? All day at a computer, which makes coming home to sit and write on a computer not-so appealing.

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I started writing and running, two “bucket list” goals of mine, after I turned forty-five and heard the saying “what would you do if you knew you could not fail?” Those two things came to mind. I’m still running, and absolutely love the sport of curling, and the women I get to curl with. I love being outside (thank goodness for laptops or I’d never write in the summer!) and I especially love time spent with our kids and grandkids.

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

There is no such thing as “I” in writing. Yes, yes, I know, it is in the word twice. But writing a book is just that, writing. Without the editors, publishers, book reviewers, book bloggers, fellow supportive authors, and book lovers, a book will hibernate in the soul of the writer. I appreciate every single person who has helped, cheered, and pushed me along to get to this point.

If you ever think your opinion doesn’t matter, it does as a reader! If you’ve read a book you enjoyed, the best gift you can give an author is to read ~ review ~ recommend.

You can connect with me here:

Instagram: @jillh.anderson






Tuesday, May 9, 2017

ALL THE GOOD PARTS, by author, LORETTA NYHAN

At thirty-nine, Leona Accorsi is broke, single, back in school, and living in her sister Carly’s basement. She’s perfectly content being quirky Auntie Lee to Carly’s four children. That is, until Leona’s doctor tells her that if she wants to have a child, she’d better do it now.
Leona does want a baby. She always has, but the circumstances have never been right. Now she has a huge decision to make: face motherhood on her own or risk missing out on its rewards.

Unfortunately, she’s let her romantic life go stagnant. She barely even knows any single men. She has just a few prospects: a Vietnam vet and partial amputee, his intimidating son, the sweet but troubled man who tutors her niece, and a fellow nursing student she’s never actually met.

As Leona discovers more about each one, she realizes any of them could be the right man for the job. The more important question is, has she become the right woman?


All the Good Parts is wildly original and features a mixture of heartfelt and laugh-out-loud moments. The main character’s quest for motherhood is poignant and relatable...[but] it’s the ensuing complexities that arise as the main character tries to find a suitable daddy donor from a varied potential list that make this story hard to put down.” RT Book Reviews

“[Nyhan] creates an original and endearing contemporary heroine in Leona Accorsi...[Her] novel tells a surprising, sweet, and unconventional story about family and friendship.” Booklist

Some Q & A with Loretta: 

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

I wrote for trade magazines after college, but the thought of trying to write fiction was terrifying to me in my twenties. Instead, I went back to school for an advanced degree and then taught college writing. The desire to write fiction never left me, though, and after my youngest son started school, I told myself either I was going to really give writing a try or I wasn’t, and if it was the latter, it was time to retire that particular dream. I couldn’t give up. I started writing and I haven’t stopped.

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

Um…I’m usually writing! When I’m not, I ride my bike, bake, watch Catastrophe and Homeland, and hang out with my kids.

Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?

I teach part-time, online only.

Where do you get your ideas?

I’ve never heard a writer give a good answer for this, because there really isn’t one. Basically, a bunch of different things you’ve noticed, people you’ve met, ideologies you’ve considered, come together to form a cohesive story. Sometimes, just a character shows up and you figure out what her story is while you write it. It’s magical and then…it isn’t. It’s just how your brain works if you are a creative type of person.

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

Carolyn Keene (Nancy Drew), Judy Blume, and S. E. Hinton made me an obsessive reader, which is how all writers start out. Later, Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby, Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, and Kerouac’s On the Road showed me what really well written books could do—they could powerfully shape a reader’s worldview. Those three are still my all-time favorites.

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

My first book was published because publishing is such a challenging business. I’LL BE SEEING YOU, was written because Suzanne Palmieri Hayes and I had other books on submission with publishers. Suzy said, “Why don’t we write something to keep our minds off things while we wait?” That project ended up being the first I sold, to Harlequin-MIRA.

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?

I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve met some of the loveliest, smartest, kindest people on this publishing journey.

How do you market your work?

Marketing is not my strong suit. I have a strong Facebook presence, and I visit book clubs. I’ve visited over fifty book clubs!

What are you working on now?

Finishing up another women’s contemporary novel, DIGGING IN. It’s the story of a woman who, at the lowest point in her life, digs up her backyard to start a one-woman urban farm. She’s a disaster at it, but learns some important life lessons along the way.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences?

Elements of my life will always filter into my writing. I think this is true for all writers, because the initial spark will usually come from life experience. I don’t recreate people I know on the page in a recognizable way—that wouldn’t be fair. However, I have created characters by borrowing traits from multiple people I’ve known at different times in my life.

Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?

Any scenes with humor. Comedic writing is definitely the most difficult, but it’s the most rewarding. I think my favorite scene in ALL THE GOOD PARTS is the baby shower from hell. It was so fun—and challenging—to write!

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Keep at it. I’ve known plenty of very talented people who never finish a novel. Success really is most determined by persistence.

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

The only negative is instability. Nothing is predictable in publishing. Everything else falls into the positive column. The absolute best? When my book connects with a reader, and she tells me it gave her joy/made her think/entertained her for a few evenings.

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

Thank you. It sounds cheesy, but I am so grateful to every person who has ever read my work. 

Connect with Loretta on Facebook and @LorettaNyhan on Twitter.




Tuesday, May 2, 2017

THE DISTANCE HOME, by author, ORLY KONIG

Sixteen years ago, a tragic accident cost Emma Metz her two best friends – one human and one equine. Now her father’s dead too, and she’s forced to return to the hometown she’d fled. 

She uncovers a history of lies tying her broken family to the one place she thought she could never face again – the stable that held her secrets and her grief. But to exorcise the ghosts of her past, she’ll have to release the guilt, embrace the uncertainty of a future she’d buried, and trust again in the healing power of horses. 

“Author Konig’s debut novel explores the turbulent years of teenage friendship, the emotional scars of parental neglect, and the unbreakable bond between man and beast. This will appeal to readers looking for a powerfully heartwarming and introspective story.” -- Booklist

“Moving effortlessly between the present and the past, Orly Konig delivers her readers a beautiful and soulful tale of one woman’s journey home … insightful and powerful, this is a debut not to be missed.” – Erika Marks, author of the Last Treasure

“Lovely and evocative … Konig’s writing is captivating from beginning to end.” – Shelley Noble, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

“A heartwarming, fabulous debut novel for Orly Konig! The Distance Home is a powerful, emotional story about hope, horses, and healing.” – Lisa Verge Higgins, author of Senseless Acts of Beauty

Some Q&A with Orly…

Where do you get your ideas?
My ideas come from pretty much anywhere and everywhere. It can start with a character or a title, an item or general idea. Once the idea pops into my head, I let it marinate for a few weeks as bits and pieces of the story come together.

Hopefully I won’t jinx myself, but I’ve yet to have a story drought (you can’t see me frantically knocking on wood). I keep a notebook of ideas but until they come when they’re ready.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences?
A couple of things, actually. The obvious is the main character’s love for horses. The stable was the one place I felt most confident and that’s the case for Emma. In grad school I volunteered with a therapeutic riding program and that experience inspired the therapy element of the book.

Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?
Without giving away any spoilers, the last scene in the book is my favorite and it’s based on a young boy I worked with at the therapeutic riding program. He so touched my heart that to this day I tear up thinking about him.

What are you working on now?
I’m finishing up revisions on a book about an art restorer, the antique carousel she’s restoring, and lots of family secrets. I love everything about that book and can’t wait to see it come together finally.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Believe. Believe in yourself, believe in your dreams, believe that it can happen.

What are the downfalls of your writing career? The best parts?
No real downfalls yet. I can’t even claim the coffee addiction as a downfall of the writing career – I was full out addicted before I ever started my first manuscript.

Best part? All the amazing people I’ve met. The writing community is incredibly generous with advice and support, more than any other industry I’ve been a part of.

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?
I crochet as an outlet for my thoughts. But recently, I’ve started indoor climbing and really enjoy it. I climb a couple times a week with a handful of parents while our kids have team practice. It’s humbling and rewarding.

Bio:
Orly Konig is an escapee from the corporate world where she spent roughly sixteen (cough) years working in the space industry. Now she spends her days chatting up imaginary friends, drinking entirely too much coffee, and negotiating writing space around two over-fed cats.
                                                   
She is the founding president of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association and an active member of Writers In The Storm blog and Tall Poppy Writers.

The Distance Home, debuts TODAY!, May 2, 2017.

Where to connect with Orly:
Website:  www.orlykonig.com





Wednesday, April 12, 2017

THE PROMISE OF PIERSON ORCHARD, by author, KATE BRANDES

This story is Erin Brockovich meets Promised Land, about a Pennsylvania family threatened by betrayal, financial desperation, old flames, fracking, and ultimately finding forgiveness.
In the novel, Green Energy arrives, offering the impoverished rural community of Minden, Pennsylvania, the dream of making more money from their land by leasing natural gas rights for drilling. But orchardist, Jack Pierson, fears his brother, Wade, who now works for Green Energy, has returned to town after a shame-filled twenty-year absence so desperate to be the hero that he’ll blind their hometown to the potential dangers. Jack also worries his brother will try to rekindle his relationship with LeeAnn, Jack’s wife, who’s recently left him. To protect his hometown and to fulfill a promise to himself, Jack seeks out his mother and environmental lawyer Stella Brantley, who abandoned Minden—and Jack and Wade–years ago.
When LeeAnn’s parents have good reason to lease their land, but their decision leads to tragedy, Jack must fight to find a common ground that will save his fractured family, their land, and the way of life they love.
“An expertly paced, moving exploration of grief and responsibility and an eloquent portrait of a small town struggling with compromise.” — Kirkus Review

Some Q & A with Kate:

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

I’ve spent most of my career, not as a writer, but as an environmental scientist. Ten years ago I decided I wanted to write fiction, in part, because of the people I’ve met during my career as a scientist.

Early on, I worked as a geologist for six years on water supply and contamination problems deep underground. Then I took a series of jobs over more than a decade that allowed me to use my environmental science knowledge to work on land and water conservation. Along the way, I chose work with a community link so that I could use my science background to serve as a bridge between the technical side of things and my community’s understanding of the problem at hand. My career gave me access to people’s response to problems with the land and water, which was always related to their backstory: their personal history, who they grew up with, emotions, influences, as well as where they came from.

I turned to creative writing as a way to examine people’s feelings about things I care about, drawing on my experiences as a scientist working with communities.  Writing is my way to make sense of the world. If there's a crisis in my life or a difficult decision ahead, I’ve always reached for the pen to figure out what to do. So in order to contemplate some of the bigger societal questions I face daily about changes to the land and natural world around me, I turned to writing fiction to open the conversation within myself, from several viewpoints.

When I started my novel, almost no one had heard of fracking. I was fascinated by it early on because of my experience with looking at water problems deep underground. But also because I’m from a rural area of Pennsylvania, not unlike the rural places where fracking has taken place in this state. I could see the struggle from the rural perspective that I didn’t think anyone was really talking about it. It’s complicated and I wanted to explore it through fiction.

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I love the outdoors and spend a lot of time gardening and hiking. I also enjoy running, which is a lot like writing – an endurance sport. Baking is also a hobby of mine, as is reading.

Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?

I still work part-time as an environmental scientist for a local conservation organization.

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

I love the writing of Kent Haruf. I admire his spare style. I’ve been told my writing has a similar quality.

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

Here’s my publishing story, in case it might help anyone else along the way:
It took seven years from the time I began writing my novel until it was accepted for publication. I waited until I thought it was really ready (after about five years of writing) before I started querying agents.

I’d been querying agents for about two years without much luck. A response I often got was that they liked the book, but didn’t think they could sell it. So I decided the novel might be better suited for a small press and I started to query them directly. I had a lot of rejections and just when I was about to give up and start working on my second novel in earnest, my publisher Nancy at Wyatt-MacKenzie contacted me and said she was interested.

I immediately sent emails to about thirty agents saying I had an interested publisher and I was now seeking agent representation. I had quick response from several agents. I ended up signing with my dream agent, Katie Shea Boutillier at The Donald Maass Agency. She then negotiated the deal with Wyatt-MacKenzie.

How do you market your work?

My publisher had a hand in helping me develop my marketing plan, but mostly it’s been me. I’ve spent a lot of time talking to everyone I know who’s published before about what I should do. I’ve done this over several months and planned ahead. I’ve been laying the groundwork since last fall for a marketing blitz that began mid-February and runs until mid-May. It includes a book blog tour, speaking at events, blog posts, an Instagram campaign, contests, appearances, etc.

What are you working on now?

I’m at work on my second novel. It will be another book club fiction novel with an eco-bent. But it’s a completely different story from my first novel.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Just go for it. You’re a writer if you’re writing. If you truly want writing as part of your life, you’ll find a way.

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

I hope you love my story! But either way, I want to hear your thoughts and would welcome feedback!

Bio:

An environmental scientist with over 20 years of experience, Kate Brandes is also a watercolor painter and a writer of women’s fiction with an environmental bent. Her short stories have been published in The Binnacle, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Grey Sparrow Journal. Kate is a member of the Arts Community of Easton (ACE), the Lehigh Art Alliance, Artsbridge, the Pennwriters, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Kate lives in a small town along the Delaware River with her husband, David, and their two sons. When she’s not working, she’s outside on the river or chasing wildflowers. The Promise of Pierson Orchard is her first novel.

Links:


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

THE ORPHAN'S TALE, by author, PAM JENOFF


Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night. 
Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.


“…Jenoff has written a tribute to the human spirit that soars.”  NPR

"Readers who enjoyed Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale and Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants will embrace this novel. " —Library Journal
"Secrets, lies, treachery, and passion…. I read this novel in a headlong rush." —Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train

Some Q & A with Pam ~ 

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

I always wanted to be a writer, but for many years I never got started.  For me the turning point was the events of 9/11.  This marked an epiphany where I realized that I didn’t have forever, and that if I wanted to be a writer I needed to get started right away.  So I took a night course called “Write Your Novel This Year.”  At that point I was an attorney working full-time, so I used to write from five to seven in the morning before heading to the firm.

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

Between raising three small children, writing and teaching law school, there isn’t a lot of free time!  I enjoy spending time outdoors with my family, outlet shopping with my mom, going to Philadelphia Eagles games with my brother, and running.  I would also like some sleep.

Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?

I do.  I am a law school professor at Rutgers. My students are the best in the world. I love it!

Where do you get your ideas?

Generally speaking, my books are inspired by my years working on Holocaust issues for the State Department in Europe.  I became very close to the survivors and was moved and changed by learning their stories. I call my books love stories to the people who lived during that most tragic era.

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

I give a lot of credit to Natalie Goldberg and her book Writing Down the Bones.  Her writing approach, inspired by Zen Buddhism, where you just keep writing without allowing your inner editor to stop you, really broke me open as a writer and I continue to use it to this day.

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

It was not a hop, skip and a jump to publication for me.  Rather it was 5 years and 39 publisher rejections until one publisher (the same one I am with today) made a small offer 11 months after submission.  Now that things have gone well lots of people in publishing like to act like they knew it all along.  But I have rejection letters from all of them!

How do you market your work?

I don’t.  I’m not the slightest bit entrepreneurial.  But I have found that by building relationships with readers and other writers, supporting each other, you can organically develop a network of support.

What are you working on now?

A story about 12 female special agents from Britain who went missing in Europe during World War II and what might have happened to them.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences?

The Orphan’s Tale was inspired by two true stories I found in the Yad Vashem archives.  The first was a horrific account of a train of unknown children, babies taken from their parents too young to know their own names and headed for a concentration camp.  The second was the remarkable tale of a circus which rescued Jews.  I combined these to create Noa, a young Dutch girl who finds the train and takes one of the babies.  She finds refuge with a German circus that is sheltering Jews.

Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?

I can’t call it a favorite but a pivotal scene for me is the one where Noa finds the babies on the train.  I knew it would be an opening scene but I wanted forever to write it because I knew that in order to do it justice, I was going to have to figuratively put my own children on that train.  It was the scene that it broke me to write.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Don’t quit your day job! Joking, sort of. This is a tough business and it is important to have every possible support structure in place, financial, emotional, etc.  It is important to be disciplined and carve out your writing time because no one is going to do it for you.  Also be tenacious – the only difference between me and some much better writers I know is that on the path to publication, I didn’t give up.

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

Writing can be hard and lonely, but it is my rock star dream come true!

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

First of all, thank you.  Second, I really value the change to connect with readers on an individual basis, so please feel free to find me on e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or wherever you hang out online so we can continue the conversation.


To connect with Pam:

website: http://www.pamjenoff.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PamJenoffauthor/
twitter: https://twitter.com/PamJenoff