Tuesday, February 25, 2020

WOMAN ON THE EDGE, by author, SAMANTHA BAILEY (debuts in the U.S. on March 3rd!)

A moment on the subway platform changes two women’s lives forever—a debut thriller that will take your breath away.

A total stranger on the subway platform whispers, “Take my baby.”

She places her child in your arms. She says your name. Then she jumps...

In a split second, Morgan Kincaid’s life changes forever. She’s on her way home from work when a mother begs her to take her baby, then places the infant in her arms. Before Morgan can stop her, the distraught mother jumps in front of an oncoming train.

Morgan has never seen this woman before, and she can’t understand what would cause a person to give away her child and take her own life. She also can’t understand how this woman knew her name.

The police take Morgan in for questioning. She soon learns that the woman who jumped was Nicole Markham, prominent CEO of the athletic brand Breathe. She also learns that no witness can corroborate her version of events, which means she’s just become a murder suspect.

To prove her innocence, Morgan frantically retraces the last days of Nicole’s life. Was Nicole a new mother struggling with paranoia or was she in danger? When strange things start happening to Morgan, she suddenly realizes she might be in danger, too.

Woman on the Edge is a pulse-pounding, propulsive thriller about the lengths to which a woman will go to protect her baby—even if that means sacrificing her own life.

Praise for Woman on the Edge “A fast-moving thriller with satisfying twists.”
— Toronto Star
“Bailey has talent and I, dear reader, am looking forward to her next novel.”
— Globe and Mail
“[A] nail-biting debut. . . . The tension becomes unrelenting . . . Fans of psychological suspense are in for a treat.”
— Publisher's Weekly (Starred review)
Woman on the Edge races towards its final destination with breakneck speed.”
— Chatelaine
 “The debut novel from Toronto writer Samantha M. Bailey mines maternal anxiety, marital secrets, female friendship, and C-suite power grabs—not to mention public transit horror—for a satisfyingly twisty psychological thriller.”
— Toronto Life 
Some Q & A with Samantha ~ 
Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.

I wrote and submitted my first book when I was ten years old. It was called Freddy the Flame, and I thought it was awesome. Apparently not, though, because it was rejected with a very sweet note. But a lifelong passion was born, and I haven’t stopped writing since. But it wasn’t until I did my Master in Applied Linguistics that I attempted a full-length novel. After taking a course on imagination, in which one of the assignments was to create a character, I felt the compulsion to sit down and type. At the same time, I had just finished reading Jennifer Weiner’s fantastic debut, Good in Bed, and that book gave me the courage to actually do it. In fact, my best friend and I set out to write a novel together, but she was in law school and didn’t have quite the same obsession for writing as I did. She’s gone on to become a very successful lawyer and now reads all my books.

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I love reading so much and watching TV. Those are my pleasures. I also enjoy dancing, and hanging out and laughing with my loved ones. Oh, and singing karaoke in a room with friends where no one else can hear us.

Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?

I’m a freelance manuscript editor. I absolutely love helping other authors polish their beautiful work, and I learn so much from them and the process. It gives me the opportunity to better hone in on my own writing, and I also really understand how invaluable critical feedback is.

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

Ha ha! This would take a whole book itself. In a nutshell, I’ve had two agents and have written five books in a seventeen-year span. My first two books, which were rom-coms, didn’t sell traditionally so I self-published one of them. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because it introduced me to an incredible community of writers, bloggers, and readers. But I always wanted to be traditionally published so I kept going, book after book after book, until it happened with Woman on the Edge. I am very, very lucky.

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 don’t think so. I learned crucial skills and developed my craft. I spent many years revising with my agent, and she taught me so much. Woman on the Edge took six years from concept to publication, and I’m still learning. Sometimes I wish it had happened for me when I was younger and there were fewer things in my life to juggle, but at almost forty-seven, it feels that much sweeter to see my dreams come true because I worked so long for it.

How do you market your work?

I have an amazing team at both my publishers, Simon & Schuster Canada and Headline in the UK, a wonderful network of support—from writers, bloggers, bookstagrammers to librarians, booksellers, and readers—and I just hope people connect with my work. I definitely spend time on social media, probably too much time, and I prefer Instagram and Twitter. Bookstagrammers and bloggers do so much for the book community, and they are absolutely one of the biggest reasons anyone knows about Woman on the Edge. I’m also so fortunate to know so many talented, prolific authors willing to read and blurb my work.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

I do! First of all, don’t give up. Ever. It might not be easy and it might not be fast, but it will be worth it. My other advice would be to connect with other writers. The author community is incredibly warm and supportive, and no one can truly understand what you’re going through more than other writers. Without my community, who are my beta readers, critique partners, sounding boards, and inspirations, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish my goals.

Favorite band or music?  Favorite book and/or movie?

My favorite band is Nine Inch Nails. Showing the 90s girl I still am. One of my favorite books is The Bridge to Terabithia, and movie, that’s a hard one. I have always loved The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Bridget Jones’s Diary. I have eclectic taste. Oh, and Reality Bites. I can watch that a million times. I probably have.

Place you’d like to travel?

British Columbia and Alberta! I’ve been to Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Eastern Canada. But I’ve never seen the West Coast! And I’m dying to go to LA.

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

Thank you. A huge, heartfelt thank you, and so much gratitude, because without my readers, I couldn’t live my dream and have the career and life I have always longed for.

To connect with Samantha:

Like me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Connect with me on Instagram
Find me on BookBub
Visit my website

Samantha M. Bailey is a Toronto-based novelist, journalist, and freelance editor. She is also the co-founder of BookBuzz, a promotional and interactive author-reader event held in New York City and Toronto. Her #1 bestselling psychological thriller, WOMAN ON THE EDGE, is published by Simon & Schuster Canada and Headline UK, and will be translated into seven languages.







Sunday, February 2, 2020

MINOR DRAMAS & OTHER CATASTROPHES by KATHLEEN WEST

Debuts February 4th! Perfect for fans of Where’d You Go, Bernadette &  Small Admissions, a wry and cleverly observed debut novel about the privileged bubble that is Liston Heights High—the micro-managing parents, the overworked teachers, and the students caught in the middle—and the fallout for each of them when the bubble finally bursts.

When a devoted teacher comes under pressure for her progressive curriculum and a helicopter mom goes viral on social media, two women at odds with each other find themselves in similar predicaments, having to battle back from certain social ruin.
 
Isobel Johnson has spent her career in Liston Heights sidestepping the community’s high-powered families. But when she receives a threatening voicemail accusing her of Anti-Americanism and a liberal agenda, she’s in the spotlight. Meanwhile, Julia Abbott, obsessed with the casting of the school’s winter musical, makes an error in judgment that has far-reaching consequences for her entire family.
 
Brought together by the sting of public humiliation, Isobel and Julia learn firsthand how entitlement and competition can go too far, thanks to a secret Facebook page created as an outlet for parent grievances. The Liston Heights High student body will need more than a strong sense of school spirit to move past these campus dramas in an engrossing debut novel that addresses parents behaving badly and teenagers speaking up, even against their own families.


Reviews ~

“A smart and delightful story of entitlement, friendship, and overparenting, with page-turning twists galore. West writes across lines of class and generation with grace and ease. A big-hearted debut."—Bruce Holsinger, author of The Gifted School

“As intriguing as it is timely. West provides a funny and shocking glimpse into American parenting through the lens of an out-of-control stage mother who has lost all sense of boundaries.”—Amy Poeppel, author of Limelight

"Helicopter parenting and high school politics at their worst—and funniest. A smart, fast-paced, and deliciously entertaining debut!"—Meg Donohue, USA Today bestselling author of You, Me, and The Sea

"West offers a sharp, unflinching look at her characters: teachers and administrators trying to do—and keep—their jobs; busy, high-powered parents who buy the best they can for their families; helicopter mothers who see themselves as the omniscient beings who control their children's lives; and the high school students themselves, who sometimes have to learn about kindness and mentoring, bullying and inappropriate behavior by judging their parents' and teachers' actions rather than those of their peers. An excellent, nuanced exploration of the world of high school and the students and adults who live within it."—Kirkus (starred review)
Q & A with Kathleen:

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started writing.
I’m a 41-year-old white woman living in Minneapolis. I have a husband, two sons, a dog, and I’ve driven a minivan for the last 10 years. The first time I remember thinking about being a writer was in the fourth grade. I wrote a short story about a pirate and some treasure, and when I shared it with the class, the teacher asked me if I was sure my parents hadn’t helped me. I took this as a great compliment.

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?
I love running. I’ve been a runner for thirty years. I also enjoy cooking, podcasts, my dog, and doing the New York Times mini crossword puzzle. Does that sound suburban, or what?

Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?
I was a teacher for 20 years before writing Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes. Now, I’m all-in on the writing game. It’s an easier leap to make when you have a partner with a steady job, as I do. At some point, I may return to teaching. I’ve always loved it.

Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or the decision to write?
I was reading Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng when I decided to finally take the plunge and begin writing a novel. It turns out I’m not ready to write a literary multi-generational family saga, and I bagged my Ng-inspired novel after a year. Then, I leaned into my humor and started something based on my daily experiences working in schools. When people compare me to Liane Moriarty or Amy Poeppel or Maria Semple, I’m thrilled. I love those writers. The novel A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan was also a huge inspiration for me.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
The biggest hurdle for me has been getting used to soliciting, processing, and incorporating feedback. As a recovering perfectionist, it’s hard not to read critique as condemnation. You can’t, however, publish a book without executing major revisions in response to feedback, so I keep pushing forward and reframing my own thinking about the writing process.
  
What are you working on now?
I have turned in my second novel, and while I wait for an edit letter (When the time comes, I’ll try to internalize the feedback without thinking every suggestion is code for, “You suck”), I’m brainstorming new ideas. I’m not the kind of person that has myriad ideas for novels floating about up there in my brain. It takes me a long time to explore and solidify a premise.

Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?
Minor Dramas is definitely rooted in my experiences teaching in “elite” suburban schools. However, none of the characters are based on real people, and thank goodness, none of the events in the book happened to me. The only thing that actually comes from my life are the comments the principal gets when he calls parents as part of his investigation of Isobel Johnson, the main character. The parents’ responses are from an anonymous survey I was required to send to my own students’ families. I had 155 students that year, and I got about 20 responses to the survey – 10 from parents who really loved me, and 10 from those that really, really didn’t.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
It’s cheesy, but I repeated it to myself a lot when I was writing, querying, on submission, and still: As Wayne Gretzky famously said (and then Michael Schoot famously quoted), “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Favorite band or music?  Favorite book and/or movie?
I have compiled an excellent playlist on Spotify called “Mom on the Run.” I make my children listen to this in the car when their music puts me over the edge. It’s got Peter Cetera, Ace of Base, Tiffany, Kelly Clarkson… Basically, if you’re a white woman over 40, I think there’s a 90% chance you’ll think it’s the best exercise playlist of all time. Ferris Bueller is a movie I can rewatch, and I’ve loved too many books to name a favorite. Most recently, I’ve added A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti to my list of all-time faves.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you for reading! I’m so humbled and grateful.

To connect with Kathleen:
Twitter: @kwestbooks 
Instagram: @kathleenwestwrites
Facebook: Kathleen West, Author






Wednesday, January 15, 2020

CRAZY LITTLE TOWN CALLED LOVE, by yours truly, JILL HANNAH ANDERSON

A perfect "Galentine's" Day gift for your friends or girlfriend! 

Thirty-two-year-old Molly’s cushy life in Minneapolis tanks when her long-time boyfriend bails on her and their underwater-mortgaged home.

She needs a place to live and a new job—and the answer to both may be in a quaint town called Love. The town where her deceased mother grew up, a town where an old General Store and home have been willed to Molly’s family…a town with secrets and people with long memories.

Can she trade her acrylic nails for pounding nails to revive a fixer-upper store? Molly is ready for a do-over and a chance to prove to herself that she can make it on her own.

She puts elbow grease, heart, and half her savings, into giving the old place a facelift. As her business grows, so does her relationship with Jackson—the owner of the hardware store—and great-nephew to the woman who willed her business to Molly’s family.

The tourist town of Love brims with quirky townspeople and fun events. And it is at one of these events that Molly is first threatened.

Apparently, not everyone is happy to have her in town. As threats against her escalate, Molly has to decide if she’d be better off leaving Love or staying to fight for the life she’s created in the town that has stolen her heart.


2019 International Book Awards Finalist in WOMEN'S FICTION. 
Reviews
                                                                                                  
 "Fun, witty, and engaging, Anderson crafted a wonderful story of friendship, renewal, and second-chances that fans of women's fiction and her To-Hell-And-Back series will quickly devour. CRAZY LITTLE TOWN CALLED LOVE is a fast read that I truly enjoyed." -- Kerry Lonsdale, Amazon Charts, and Wall Street Journal  bestselling author    
                                     
 "Book 2 of The To-Hell-And-Back Club series follows Molly O'Brien from Minneapolis to the small town of Love, Minnesota. Molly finds friendship, fulfillment, independence, and yes, love, in this heartrending story. A hint of danger keeps the tension up and a bit of heat makes the pages fly! A fun, uplifting read for summer!" - Kate Moretti, New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Year

 "In CRAZY LITTLE TOWN CALLED LOVE, Jill Hannah Anderson delivers characters you'll want to know, a quirky town you'll never forget, and the cold edge of suspense. Family secrets, the slow burn of romance, and a heroine to root for round out a heartfelt adventure you won't want to miss." - Kathleen Long, USA Today bestselling author of Broken Pieces

 "With her latest novel, Jill Hannah Anderson has created a warm and inviting town full of secrets, and layers, and richly drawn characters that all feel so real. I had all the feels reading this one ... right up to the heart-warming, tear-producing last page. I didn't want to leave that CRAZY LITTLE TOWN CALLED LOVE!" - Amy Impellizzeri, Award-winning Author of The Truth About Thea
Q & A with me, myself, and I:

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

I loved reading and writing for as long as I could do either of them. Our parents were big readers and closely monitored the TV so much that I rarely saw any of the popular shows when I was growing up. Shows like The Monkees and the original Star Trek are mysteries to me. Clearly, I survived! (Thanks to books.)

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I need to be active when I’m not writing since it's such sedentary work. I remember taking typing class in high school and thinking, “I’m never going to sit behind a desk and type all day.” Thank goodness the typewriter has been replaced by computers!

In the winter, I LOVE to curl! The sport of curling is much more fun than it looks, and the people who curl are so great. It’s the best part of winters in Minnesota.

I started running fifteen years ago, and while I don’t always “enjoy” it, I enjoy the challenge and appreciate the endorphins. I enjoy biking and being outside (if I could be outside all day, I would. Thank goodness for laptops!) The best time spent is with our large family. We have sixteen grandkids, and they’re growing up way too fast.

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

In Crazy Little Town Called Love, Molly inherits an old General Store in a small town similar to one we owned for twelve years. Some of the story stems from my first-hand experiences like scooping minnows, something I never thought I'd do, and Molly's experience with bats. (Yuck!) The characters and their actions aren’t real, but the vibe of small-town living is.

If you read reviews about this book, many write about how fun the town of Love sounds, and that they’d like to live there. I would too!

Do you have a favorite character or scene?

Yes, Ernie. He's based on a real person who lived in the same town I do. Here’s what I wrote about him in the acknowledgments:

“My dear, sweet, kind-hearted Ernie is loosely based on Bill Flagg, who passed away two years ago at the age of ninety-six. I interviewed Bill because I was curious about this gentleman, not knowing what I’d do with the information, but sure I’d find a place for it someday. When I began writing this book I realized he was Ernie, in a sense, and he became my favorite character. And no, Love isn’t my small town (although we did own an old General Store for several years.) But maybe it will find a place in your heart and become your town.”

What are you working on now?

I’ve been working on my third book for about a year now. Most authors will tell you the same thing...after a few drafts of the book, I think, “There! I’m done.” And then you realize you aren’t. You find that you need to change some things or a lot of things. The plot changes direction, you’ve got too many words, not enough words…I’ve got a mile-long list for you as to why a book takes as long as it does to write.

This story is about Lily, a married mother of three, living her perfect life—a happy marriage, fantastic children, and a fulfilling career. Until the morning she’s viciously attacked while out for a run. After the high-school football hero is convicted for the attack, and behind bars, Lily's certain someone is messing with her life, trying to destroy her. Is she losing her mind? Or, is the wrong person behind bars? 

Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?

I retired last year and enjoy the freedom. Every. Single. Day. I know, you’re thinking, “What’s taking you so long to write your next book, then?” My answer? See above. Family time, and fun time, along with more volunteering, spending more time with my aging parents…you get the point.


Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. Seriously, that’s it. If you want it bad enough, keep at it. Hone your craft, connect with like-minded writers, and abide by the butt-in-chair rule (assuming you write sitting down!) You’re going to fail. You’re going to be rejected, you’re going to wonder why you’re subjecting yourself to this torture. But if you’ve got a story that won’t let you sleep at night…then you need to write it.

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

Downfalls? It’s a lot of work. I mean A LOT. It’s hard, time-consuming, brain-draining, self-doubting, and hard. Did I mention it’s hard? J

The best parts? Everything else. The fulfilling feeling of completing a novel, the connection with other writers, the connection with readers—people who you want to hug but will probably never meet in person—and the people who take the time to review or recommend your book to other readers.

Oh, and writing from home with my iced coffee and pajamas!

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

“Thank you” sounds contrite for how I feel. We write because a story won’t leave us alone, but having readers actually spend their valuable time reading (and hopefully, reviewing) our work is priceless. Knowing that someone I’ll never meet has read the words from my heart, and hopefully related to the story, is a fantastic feeling. So, thank you! J

To connect with me:

https://www.facebook.com/jillhannah.anderson/
https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jill-hannah-anderson