Monday, February 27, 2023

GOOD FOR YOU, by author Camille Pagán (debuts March 1st!)

A warm and witty love story about making the most of life’s not-so-little curveballs by the #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author of Life and Other Near-Death Experiences.

Aly Jackson has waited her whole life to become editor-in-chief of All Good magazine. But six months into the job, she overhears her coworkers belittling her. Aly’s clapback? A very public, career-jeopardizing meltdown. To undo the mess, she agrees to a monthlong unpaid leave.

Reluctant but determined to turn misfortune into opportunity, Aly retreats to the Lake Michigan beach house her brother, Luke, left to her when he died nearly a year earlier. Except when Aly arrives, she discovers Luke’s slacker best friend, Wyatt, inherited the place, too.

Wyatt is unkempt, unmotivated, and totally uninterested in Aly’s desire to sell. Yet as battle lines are drawn, Aly wonders whether she and this wild card have more than Luke in common. But is she willing to swap her lifelong dreams for a shot at healing her broken heart?

Reviews ~

Good for You is a love story that weathers grief and profound self-discovery, written in the way only Camille Pagán can: with a frank tenderness that leaves us with a happily ever after that is deserving of the novel’s beloved characters. Raising a glass to Aly and Wyatt!” —Tif Marcelo, USA Today bestselling author of In a Book Club Far Away

“I love everything Camille Pagán writes, and Good for You had me spellbound from the beginning. Aly Jackson is living the life of her dreams—except for a bit of PTSD and the grief she’s kept hidden since her brother’s death. When she falls apart in a very public way, she is forced to take a good, hard look at her life. Pagán takes us on a very moving, emotionally resonant journey as we root for Aly all the way.” —Maddie Dawson, Washington Post bestselling author of Matchmaking for Beginners

“With her trademark style of wit, wisdom, and true-to-life characters, Pagán has hope, home, and healing coming alive on every page. Dealing with life, loss, and, most important, love, Good for You is tender, real, and emotionally satisfying, and the story will have your heart soaring.” —Samantha Vérant, author of The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux

Author interview with Camille ~

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

I’m the #1 Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestselling author of ten books, a master certified coach, and a journalist who has contributed to Forbes, The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Time, WebMD, and numerous other outlets. Like many novelists, I always wanted to write fiction, but I was the first person in my family to attend college and I didn’t know anyone who made a living from writing or art. In fact, even my English professors advised me to do something “practical”! So I went into health journalism—my youngest sister had a lot of serious health issues as a child, and I’m passionate about health and psychology—and worked at a handful of health publications before striking out as an independent journalist in 2004.

I loved journalism and made good money from it … but in the back of my mind, I kept thinking, “When are you going to write a novel?” Then, just before I turned 30, I gave birth to my daughter, and one of my dear friends was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. It was one of those “what am I even doing with my life?” moments, and I decided to stop waiting for the ever-elusive “one day” or “right time” and just do it. Every night, after my daughter went to bed, I sat down to write. Four months later, I had a draft on my hands, and that became my debut, The Art of Forgetting. There have been plenty of ups and downs since then, but now I publish at least a novel a year and have the kind of career I once only dreamed of.

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

To be honest, outside of exercising and spending time with my family, I don’t really have any non-writing or reading-related hobbies! But I am a master certified life coach and run a busy practice helping aspiring to established writers create even better careers. 

Do you have a particular writing routine?

I write for three hours in the morning, five days a week. Occasionally, I write longer when I’m on deadline or in the middle of edits, but three solid hours is enough for me to write a draft in about three to four months. I use that same chunk of time for editing, but I do marketing in small chunks in the afternoons.


Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?

I spend most of the second half of my day coaching and working on that side of my business. For me, neither writing or coaching really feels like a “job”—they’re both a joy. I come away from coaching conversations feeling clear and inspired, and when I write, I feel most like myself.


What was the original title of this book? Good for You! I come up with all of my titles and I have yet to have a publisher change them (knock on wood). For me, titles are a crucial part of the creative process and inform the tone of the book. I usually come up with the title right before I begin writing, or at the latest, several chapters in.


Do you have a manuscript(s) in your drawer? If so, will it ever see the light of day? Yes—four of them, actually! I wrote three truly terrible novels between my debut and my second published book, Life and Other Near-Death Experiences. Then, a few years ago, I wrote a book that I swore would be “the one”—the novel that would take my career to the next level. My agent was excited about it, too, but when we brought it to my publisher, they said (to paraphrase), “Yeah, no—this is off-brand for you.” I decided to set it aside and move forward with another book, which, frankly, didn’t perform well (I don’t think that’s a coincidence, and I no longer write books based on an idea approved by a publishing board or committee). The experience inspired me to hire a coach, which then ultimately led me to become a coach, so I’m profoundly grateful for it.


If I wasn’t an author, I might be…? I’d either be a full-time coach or a full-time health journalist. I almost went to graduate school for public health in my twenties, only to realize that after I graduated (with 100k in debt!), I’d go right back to writing about health. But truly, if I ever couldn’t or no longer wanted to write fiction for some reason, I’d find a way to combine coaching and journalism.


Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Absolutely: ignore all the people (even the industry “experts”) who say you’ll sooner be struck by lightning than become a successful author. In fact, I suspect one big reason I was able to write and sell my debut quickly was because I didn’t tell anyone other than my husband and my dear friend who had cancer that I was writing a novel; I just didn’t want to hear well-meaning people tell me not to get my hopes up.

I’ve now worked with hundreds of writers of all backgrounds, writing in numerous genres. From that view, I believe that finding success as an author is maybe ten to twenty percent talent and perhaps a quarter know-how. The rest is mindset. It’s not an easy profession; setbacks are inevitable. The only way to succeed is to keep going, and that requires managing your thoughts and emotions. If you’re willing to do that, and develop the belief that it’s possible for you to have the career you want, then it will, in fact, be possible. (If this resonates with you, I have a weekly newsletter that’s focused on mindset and career strategy:

To connect with Camille ~

Monday, February 13, 2023

ANGELINE, by author ANNA QUINN (debuted February 7th!)

A moving, lyrical, melancholy, and spiritual novel by the acclaimed author of The Night Child, in which Sister Angeline, unwillingly sent to a radical convent and confronting her tragic past, asks the deep question, follow your heart or follow the rules?

After surviving a tragedy that killed her entire family, sixteen-year-old Meg joins a cloistered convent, believing it is her life’s work to pray full-time for the suffering of others. Taking the name Sister Angeline, she spends her days and nights in silence, moving from one prayerful hour to the next. She prays for the hardships of others, the sick and poor, the loved ones she lost, and her own atonement.

When the Archdiocese of Chicago runs out of money to keep the convent open, she is torn from her carefully constructed life and sent to a progressive convent on a rocky island in the Pacific Northwest. There, at the Light of the Sea, five radical feminist nuns have their own vision of faithful service. They do not follow canonical law, they do not live a cloistered life, and they believe in using their voices for change.

As Sister Angeline struggles to adapt to her new home, she must navigate her grief, fears, and confusions, while being drawn into the lives of a child in crisis, an angry teen, an EMT suffering survivor’s guilt, and the parish priest who is losing his congregation to the Sisters’ all-inclusive Sunday masses. Through all of this, something seems to have awakened in her, a healing power she has not experienced in years that could be her saving grace, or her downfall.

In Angeline, novelist Anna Quinn explores the complexity of our past selves and the discovery of our present truth; the enduring imprints left by our losses, forgiveness and acceptance, and why we believe what we believe. Affecting and beautifully told, Angeline is both poignant and startling and will touch the hearts of anyone who has ever asked themselves: When your foundations crumble and you’ve lost yourself, how do you find the strength to go on? Do you follow your heart or the rules?


"Anna Quinn's novels dive deep into the human psyche, exploring our capacity to harm and heal. Angeline is a call to open arms, a clear-eyed view of our often-flawed humanity, and how the power of compassion can change everything. It is a novel of gorgeous sentences and beautiful messages. It left me feeling stronger, wiser, and in complete awe." --Erica Bauermeister, New York Times bestselling author of The Scent Keeper

"Sister Angeline is a character for the ages. Anna Quinn has created a deeply moving portrait of a great soul at the precipice of faith and duty and the shadows of a wrenching past. It's beautiful, and like all true beauty, the book is haunting, if not haunted." --Luis Alberto Urrea, Pulitzer Prize finalist and bestselling author of The Devil’s Highway

"Angeline is a mystical hymn to the power of women in community, with an entry point that only the rare writer has the guts to brave. Quinn does it with empathy and acumen, never vilifying. Instead, as you read her lyrical prose, you feel her pure, seeking spirit. Her never heavy-handed, third-eye-wide-open aperture, as she links arms with you from the first sentence…all the way to the last. I loved this gem of a novel." --Laura Munson, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of This Is Not the Story You Think It Is and Willa’s Grove

Author interview with Anna ~

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

My love for writing began when I was a child. My mother taught me to write when I was four. I watched in awe as she showed me how letters could form words, could form sentences, could form language, could form stories. From then on, I wrote whenever I could. I wrote the stories I wanted to be in, the stories from my imagination, the stories I most wanted to read.

Do you have a particular writing routine?

I try to write every morning, even for half an hour but often for three to four hours, five to six days of the week. I try to take a day or two off to clear my head. Most mornings, before I write, I take a walk outside for an hour or so, ideally in nature, and take photos of anything that creates some kind of sensation in my body—patterns in the sand, a child’s sandal on a tree stump, a ripped flag blowing from the mast of a sailing ship. 

Once I’m home, I look at the photos and choose the one with the most energy and use it as a warm-up. I write long-hand—there’s something about the hand, pen, paper, mind connection that’s freeing for me. On the mornings I don’t take photos I usually free-write through my senses—what I see, hear, touch, taste, and feel in the moment. Sometimes I write about the strongest feeling I had the day before. I’ve learned a lot about how my mind works from freewriting— knowing how it works has helped me to trust the process more. After the warm-up, I read a poem or two or maybe meditate for a while. When I feel ready, I move into my manuscript.

What do you love most about writing?

I love the process of writing. I’m deeply in love with the process—the mystery and surprise of it. I love exploring my imagination and trying to recreate what I experienced in my mind into language on the page. Writing to me is freedom. I’m free to explore the things I’m drawn to, concerned about, fear, the things I love and wonder and dream about.

What was the original title of this book?


It’s always been Angeline. How and why Angeline received her name is a significant reference point and carrier of meaning in this story.


Where do you get your ideas?


Imagination, dreams, nature, conversations, traveling, obsessions, everywhere really, anything I see or hear or experience viscerally, anything that gives me an intense urge to write.


If I wasn’t an author, I might be…? An oceanographer.


Do you have a go-to first reader after you feel your manuscript is ready?


My husband is my first and best reader, then my writing group, then my editor, then my agent.


What are you working on now?


A novel set in the 1500’s. That’s all I can say for now, but it’s completely absorbing me. I feel like the universe has handed me a spectacular gift.


Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?


Pay attention to what you pay attention to. What's calling you? What catches your breath? What are the images that show up in your dreams? Play often in your imagination. Allow it to run wild. Read, read, read. Get out and live life. Be willing to take risks. Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be willing to be vulnerable. Write as if no one is looking over your shoulder. Stay true to yourself rather than writing about what other people think you should write about or what you think other people think you should write about.

Try not to think too much about the end game—querying, agents, publishing—or it will get up in your head, freeze your imagination, keep you from the rich, alive work. Don’t try to cater to an audience—serve your story and your characters instead. Learn the craft but don’t become obsessed with technique. Sometimes we forget why we were drawn to writing to begin with and start following all the shoulds and how-tos and our writing becomes forced and resistant. Write what you want and stand by it. Listen to your deepest self. Cherish yourself.


Favorite book? The Bone People by Keri Hulme.


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


Thank you. Thank you for reading and having all the conversations. Thank you for being here.


To connect with Anna ~

author website:
instagram: annaquinnpt

Monday, February 6, 2023

THE HOUSE GUEST by author HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN (releases February 7th!)

The House Guest is another diabolical cat-and-mouse thriller from USA Today bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan—but which character is the cat, and which character is the mouse?

After every divorce, one spouse gets all the friends. What does the other one get? If they're smart, they get the benefits. Alyssa Macallan is terrified when she's dumped by her wealthy and powerful husband. With a devastating divorce looming, she begins to suspect her toxic and manipulative soon-to-be-ex is scheming to ruin her—leaving her alone and penniless. And when the FBI shows up at her door, Alyssa knows she really needs a friend.

And then she gets one. A seductive new friend, one who's running from a dangerous relationship of her own. Alyssa offers Bree Lorrance the safety of her guest house, and the two become confidantes. Then Bree makes a heart-stoppingly tempting offer. Maybe Alyssa and Bree can solve each others' problems.

But no one is what they seem. And the fates and fortunes of these two women twist and turn until the shocking truth emerges: 
You can't always get what you want. But sometimes you get what you deserve.


Library Journal * Starred review "Bingeworthy!"
Publishers Weekly "Ryan is a master of supense!"
GOODREADS  A Most Anticipated Thriller 0f 2023
BOOKBUB  A Most Anticipated Thriller 0f 2023
CRIME READS  A Most Anticipated Thriller 0f 2023

“Hank Phillippi Ryan is one of my favorite authors, and THE HOUSE GUEST proves why. This riveting novel twists and turns through the pageturning turn shocking, with revelation after revelation in a thriller that never forgets to touch the heart.” ―Lisa Scottoline

"THE HOUSE GUEST is great! Ryan creates memorable characters―then pulls off the nearly-impossible: she orchestrates half a dozen twists, turns, and backflips―and then sticks the landing. What a pleasure to read this!" ―James Patterson

Author interview with Hank ~ 

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

I’ve been a television reporter for 43 years! I’ve wired myself with hidden cameras and confronted corrupt politicians and gone undercover and in disguise. And won 37 Emmys for investigative reporting. 

But one day, gosh, 16 years ago? I had what I knew would be a good idea for a novel. I came home and said to my husband: “I’ve got a great idea for a book! I’m going to write a thriller.” And my husband almost laughed, (he’s very supportive, truly), but he said: “Honey, do you know how to write a book?” And I replied – – I remember it so well – – “How hard can it be?”  As soon learned how hard it could be, but that turned out to be my first novel, PRIME TIME, which won the coveted Agatha Award for best first novel. And that was the beginning of my career 

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

When I am not writing, I am usually thinking about writing, or worrying about writing, or thinking I should be writing. But I do love reading, I know, busman’s holiday.)  And cooking, and walking in our garden, seeing what flowers are arriving and departing. I love good movies, good TV, and sitting by the ocean with my husband, watching the pelicans skim across the water. I also enjoy sleeping, which becomes one of my major goals. 

Do you have a particular writing routine?

I try not to have a routine because I worry if I had one, what would happen if I didn’t do that? Would I not be able to write? I’m very focused, though, and promise myself, I will write 540 words a day, whether it takes half an hour or five hours. Sometimes, I even set a timer for 34 minutes and promise myself I will not do anything else--not do the laundry, not get a cup of coffee, not get the mail, not plan dinner – – until those 34 minutes are up. I think my routine is to be completely focused on writing, and try not to be distracted.  But my “routine” is to force myself to be utterly present and focused.

I love to write on airplanes, I think because it is so enclosed with a set time to begin, and a set time to end. I have finished several novels on JetBlue! I have to say. 

Is there anything major that changed in this novel phone when you plotted it out?

I have not plotted one bit of The House Guest. Every page was a surprise.

What career did you think you’d have as an adult? I always thought I’d be a lawyer, or maybe a geneticist. I know those sound different, but they both seemed like problem-solving to me. It’s funny to think back and ask myself: What did I want to be when I grow up? And I will confess to you that I honestly had no idea. Everything in my life — from working in political campaigns to being a radio reporter, to being legislative aid on Capitol Hill, to working for Rolling Stone magazine, to being a television reporter, and then an author --has been a serendipitous surprise.

What was the original title of this book? Oh, great question! It was originally called Her New Best Friend. But my editor worried that because the previous book was called Her Perfect Life, it might feel like a sequel. I’m really glad we changed it. I absolutely adore The House Guest.  (Because which character is really The House Guest?)

What inspired this book's plot?  

It’s so much fun to try to deconstruct how the character and plot of THE HOUSE GUEST evolved. It’s like a Rubik’s cube, where you take a million little squares of different things, and twist and turn and click-click-click and then, somehow, it’s a finished puzzle. You just don’t know what the puzzle pieces will be the right way. 

SO for THE HOUSE GUEST, a few things became the puzzle pieces. First, since the beginning of the pandemic, my criminal defense attorney husband and I have worked from home—me in my study and him in the breakfast room-turned-law office. For many hours a day, we don’t see each other. But we can kind of, sometimes, hear each other.  

I hear things like “plea bargain” and “mandatory minimum sentence” and “absolutely not guilty” and “how was he supposed to know there was money in the dropped ceiling?”  (Once, even—"I know it seems unlikely that he would commit a crime wearing a GPS bracelet, but there you have it.”)  

But I began to realize that he was lawyering for eight hours a day, and I actually had no idea what he was doing. I mean, we’ve been married for 27 years or something, and I know what a lawyer does. And we talk about his cases in general, and about the law, and it’s very rewarding to have in-house counsel.  

I started thinking—what, specifically, was going on in the breakfast room?  I realized I had no idea.  And then I started thinking about how many couples are shocked when one of them is accused of some crime--and the other one says those very words:  oh, I had no idea! And the rest of us all raise our eyebrows and sneer, and say, come on, that person lives with you! There’s no way you don’t know what they’re doing. And I was among the scornful disbelievers. 

Not anymore. I started to realize how my husband could be doing who knows what in the other room, and if the feds swooped down on him, I would be utterly shocked. Now, you know my darling husband, he’s a paragon and adorable and brilliant and perfect, but I’m just saying. I think of all the people--Bernie Madoff‘s wife, Ted Bundy’s wife, Anna Delvey’s pals-- who insist they had no idea, and we think well, then you’re not paying attention.  

But it’s possible, I began to realize, that it was true. What if they really didn’t know? Or—successfully pretended they didn’t?  So that was one idea.   

Then. I had an acquaintance, long ago, who thought she was happily married, and she’d go to work every day and send her husband off to whatever he did, accounting, or insurance or something financial. And for him, ‘the next big sale’ and ‘the next big deal’ was always around the corner, and she was incredibly supportive. And then one day the police came.  

She found that he had been trading in child pornography at home on the computer all day, and had never never never even been to that supposed job! 

She was a really smart woman. Truly. And she absolutely had no idea.  

So then I put those things together. And I was interested in what it would be like to be the woman whose husband is accused of a terrible thing, and add to that that he’s dumped her. So she’s baffled, and angry, and terrified of being alone for the first time in her life – – what does she do? Does she believe his denials? Or law enforcement’s accusations? And what does she do then?   

So it’s a story about Alyssa Macallen getting her power back. You can see glimmers of Gaslight, and Thelma & Louise, and even Strangers on a Train-- but it’s not any of those. But it certainly was a joy to write. I have no idea how my books will end, so in the end, I will admit there were days that I sat at my computer and read my screen--and applauded. Thinking wow, who would’ve thought that would happen?   

Greed. Betrayal. Gaslighting. Female empowerment. Revenge. THE HOUSE GUEST is a high-stakes psychological cat-and-mouse game.  But which character is the cat, and which character is the mouse?

Do you have a favorite chapter or scene? It’s so funny, but in THE HOSUE GUEST,  I absolutely love Chapter 6. Isn’t that random and strange? But a lot happens in that chapter. And then, I also adore the second to last chapter of the book. I honestly, I will admit, I was by myself in my study as I wrote it. And when I finished, I stood up and uploaded. We take our joys when we can, right?  

Do you have a manuscript in your drawer?

No, I really don’t. Isn’t that odd? But my first book was prime time, and that’s all there ever has been.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Oh, golly. There’s something about trust. It’s all about trusting the process. The process of storytelling.  Being a successful author is much harder than anyone could ever have imagined. It takes a long time, and it takes even longer to be good. It can be depressing and intimidating. An incredible amount depends on luck and timing, and those are things you can’t control.

But you can control is writing the very best book you can every single minute of every day. Do not compare yourself to others, just keep forging forward.  So much in your life is being decided by forces that you can’t change, so one step at a time, just keep going. Be kind, be generous, be happy for others. Be patient with yourself.  Your turn will come.  

About Hank and how to connect with her ~

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN is the USA Today bestselling author of 14 psychological thrillers, winning the genre's most prestigious awards: five Agathas, five Anthonys, and the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. She’s also an investigative reporter for Boston's WHDH-TV, winning 37 EMMYs for groundbreaking journalism. Her newest novel is the page-turning standalone THE HOUSE GUEST – a story of psychological manipulation exploring the dark heart of marriage and friendship. Publishers Weekly says “Ryan is a master of suspense” and the Library Journal starred review calls it "Binge-worthy.”


Sunday, January 29, 2023

THE SWEET SPOT, by author AMY POEPPEL (out January 31st!)

In the heart of Greenwich Village, three women form an accidental sorority when a baby—belonging to exactly none of them—lands on their collective doorstep.

Lauren and her family—lucky bastards—have been granted the use of a spectacular brownstone, teeming with history and dizzyingly unattractive 70s wallpaper. Adding to the home’s bohemian, grungy splendor is the bar occupying the basement, a (mostly) beloved dive called The Sweet Spot. Within days of moving in, Lauren discovers that she has already made an enemy in the neighborhood by inadvertently sparking the divorce of a couple she has never actually met.

Melinda’s husband of thirty years has dumped her for a young celebrity entrepreneur named Felicity, and, to Melinda’s horror, the lovebirds are soon to become parents. In her incandescent rage, Melinda wreaks havoc wherever she can, including in Felicity’s Soho boutique, where she has a fit of epic proportions, which happens to be caught on film.​

Olivia—the industrious twenty-something behind the counter, who has big dreams and bigger debt—gets caught in the crossfire. In an effort to diffuse Melinda’s temper, Olivia has a tantrum of her own and gets unceremoniously canned, thanks to TikTok.

When Melinda’s ex follows his lover across the country, leaving their squalling baby behind, the three women rise to the occasion in order to forgive, to forget, to Ferberize, and to track down the wayward parents. But can their little village find a way toward the happily ever afters they all desire? Welcome to The Sweet Spot.


"Amy Poeppel brings her signature “big-hearted, charming” style to this wise and joyful novel that celebrates love, hate, and all of the glorious absurdity in between." The Washington Post

"With sly humor and sharp understanding, Amy Poeppel hits The Sweet Spot in this funny, twisty, goodhearted novel about families lost, found, and made." — Virginia Kantra, New York Times bestselling author of MEG & JO and BETH & AMY 

"Unabashedly warm-hearted and fun, THE SWEET SPOT serves up a fresh story about the chaos of family, flavored with classic components of the most entertaining dramedies: a charming New York setting, endearing core characters, and a hilarious supporting cast that often steals the show. Irresistible!" -- Mary Laura Philpott, author of BOMB SHELTER: LOVE, TIME, and OTHER EXPLOSIVES

"THE SWEET SPOT is an absolute delight. With its quirky characters, humor, and lovely writing, it is my favorite book of late. Amy Poeppel has the freshest, funniest voice around." -- Jane Green, New York Times bestselling author of SISTER STARDUST

Author interview with Amy ~

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

I guess you could say I’m a bit of a late-bloomer when it comes to writing. After doing a hundred other things with my life (from tutoring the Boston University ice hockey team to acting in plays to moving all over the country and raising three fabulous kids), I got this crazy idea to write a story about an unusual fact about my family: Although my grandparents were married to each other for over sixty years and seemed very much in love, they decided early in their marriage to design a house for themselves with separate his-and-her bedrooms. I was so puzzled by this arrangement as a kid, but never dared ask them about it. It was too personal! So I began to write a novel to invent an explanation for why a loving couple might choose to sleep in separate rooms for most of their marriage. 

While I had a great time writing that book—a quirky southern comedy about a sexless, geriatric couple—it was never published (surprise, surprise) and will never be published. But the good news is that writing that flawed book taught me a lot about how to (and how not to) structure a novel. It also taught me how to create believable characters and develop a workable narrative arc. As soon as I finished writing that book, I began the next one, which was published after I turned fifty. I’ve been writing ever since.

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I love to cook, take walks with my dog, go to movies and plays, spend time with my grown kids, travel with my husband, wander around museums, and read.

Do you have a particular writing routine?

No! And I wish I did. I’m what you might call a “binge writer” – meaning I spend a lot of time thinking and not writing … and then I write for long stretches and fail to do anything else (like walk the dog, shower, or sleep). I would like to have a better and healthier schedule that would allow time for writing, exercising, and doing things to relax. #goals

Is there anything major that changed in this novel from when you first plotted it out?

When I was writing The Sweet Spot, I made a huge mistake and told the entire story from the wrong character’s perspective. After the book was finished, I had to start all over again, changing the narration of the book from 1st person to 3rd person. Instead of telling the entire story from one (minor) character’s perspective, I rewrote it to give several characters a voice in close 3rd person. Starting over from scratch was so disheartening, but I’m very glad I did the rewrite. The story just didn’t work the way I initially wrote it.

I can’t write without …

… keeping my sense of humor. Also, I need my dog by my side, Scrivener (the software application), and a bag of Haribo gummy bears.

If I had to spend a week on a deserted island, I would need…

… a stack of books, bug spray, white wine, and a hammock.

What career did you think you’d have as an adult?

As a kid, I always thought I would become a librarian. I loved going to my local public library as a kid, and I thought that would be the perfect job for me. But instead of becoming a librarian, I was a high school English teacher for many years, which was another great way to honor my love of books and reading.


If you have written more than one book, in which story would you choose to live?


I have two answers to that question! I would truly love to live in the fabulous Greenwich Village brownstone I made up for my characters in The Sweet Spot (although I’d hope to renovate it before I move in, lol). Or I’d be very happy living right by Central Park in the spacious Upper West Side penthouse that my fictional pop-star moves into while he performs on Broadway in my novel Limelight. BONUS: The condo in Limelight comes with a butler. J


How do you market your work?


Marketing is a challenge for many writers, and I’m no exception. I think the best strategy is to find what you’re most comfortable doing, whether it’s Instagram, TikTok, and/or newsletters, and lean into that. I found that one thing I like to do is to make funny, original book trailers. I write a script that is in some way related to my book, and then I go about filming it, thanks to my oldest son who is fabulous at editing videos. Readers can find my book trailers—for The Sweet Spot, Small Admissions and Musical Chairs—on my website and on YouTube. I hope these videos give readers a laugh and make them want to dive into my books.


What are you working on now?


I’m working on my fifth novel, tentatively titled Far Flung. It’s a story about two families—one in Texas and one in Germany—that swap homes for a year. I grew up in Dallas and spent a lot of time in Berlin, so I’m having fun writing scenes in these fabulous settings.


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


So many things! From my work in admissions to my love of Broadway theater to the shenanigans of my family, many of my life experiences become fictionalized and find their way into my books. The book trailer I made for Musical Chairs is about exactly that: how the elements of my life somehow end up on the page.


Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?


In Musical Chairs, I wrote a big family dinner party scene and introduced a new character named Jackie, an outsider who is seeing all of these characters for the first time. Jackie, a young woman in her twenties, is aghast at some of the things the family members do and say, and her inner monologue was so much fun to write. She notes that the family’s big dog helps himself to the cheese board, that the siblings fail to acknowledge their privilege, and that the adults go back and forth between completely ignoring her and putting her under the magnifying glass. I loved the chance to bring Jackie’s special perspective to the story.


Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?


I never feel like I’m in a position to give advice because I’m still figuring things out. But one thing I tell myself is that writing isn’t magic; it’s simply hard work, just like anything else. The most important thing is to have the willingness and the stamina to sit down and write, to edit the same paragraph over and over again, and even to throw out a whole book and start over when necessary. (I hope that won’t be necessary!)


The only other thing I know for sure is that to be a writer you have to be a reader. Read in your genre, read out of your genre; make sure you’re reading a wide array of books!


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


Thank you! That’s my main message to readers – Thank you so much for reading, for reviewing, and above all, for reaching out. It means the world to authors to hear from you. It’s because of all the wonderful readers out there—whether they check out books from the library or buy them from their favorite stores, download them onto their e-readers or listen to them while they commute—that writers get to keep writing. So thank you, thank you, thank you! And happy reading!

To connect with Amy~

Twitter and Instagram: @amypoeppel