Monday, June 29, 2020

THE EXIT STRATEGY, by author Lainey Cameron

Silicon Valley, sexism and the power of female friendship

Silicon Valley investor Ryn Brennan is on the verge of achieving everything she’d dreamed. She’s proven herself in the male-dominated venture capital world, benefits from the support of her successful husband, and is about to close the deal of her career.
Everything is going exactly as planned, until she meets Carly, her husband’s mistress, across the negotiating table.

Carly clawed her way back from being a teenage runaway to become an accomplished scientist, loving single mom, and co-founder of her startup. Once she marries her perfect fiancé, she’ll secure that ‘normal’ life she craves. But she’s blindsided to discover her not so perfect fiancé is already married—to Ryn, her company’s biggest investor.

In an industry full of not-so-subtle sexism, can the two women rise above, and work together to overcome heartbreak and ensure their success?

This book debuts July 8, 2020!

"Timely and provocative with ripped from the headline themes, you'll want to rise up and cheer on Cameron's witty and ingeniously crafted characters." - Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal bestselling author

"A rollicking read complete with lightning-fast pacing, witty prose, lovable characters. Unputdownable!" - Samantha Vérant, author of Seven Letters from Paris 

"In the spirit of Katherine Center with Liane Moriarty- style twists. A rallying call for women to believe in themselves and join together." - Leah De Cesare, author of Forks, Knives, and Spoons

"An uplifting tale for turbulent times. Cameron...forges an unshakable female alliance that aims to do what women do best: change the world, one heart at a time." - Kathryn Craft, author of The Far End of Happy 

"A #MeToo story powered by real life, real hope, and an unlikely friendship. Cameron brings warmth and emotion to this Silicon Valley story of power, ambition, and friendship." - Jennifer Klepper, USA Today bestselling author 

"You will want to finish the book over a weekend." - Sweta Srivastava Vikram, author of award-winning novel, Louisiana Catch

"...Silicon Valley tale of bad choices, deceit, sexism, but ultimately, POWER. Specifically, the power of women, who raise their voices, instead of remaining silent." - Amy Impellizzeri, Award-winning author of The Truth About Thea and Why We Lie

"'ll cheer for Ryn and Carly as they navigate self-doubts, forge a solid friendship, and fight the status quo in this page-turner." - Rebecca Hodge, author of the award winning novel, Wildland

Some Q & A with Lainey ~

Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.
Until four years ago I was a full-time executive in the tech industry, working 80-hour weeks and racking up two million airline miles flying around the world (No joke on the miles–over the course of my tech career I flew the equivalent of four round-trips to the moon).

After I left my last job as head of marketing for a Silicon Valley startup, I had this idea for a novel, and I realized that if I didn’t stop and take the time to write it, I’d be eighty years old telling friends that I, too, once had an idea for a book…

So I decided to rely on my savings and take six months, then a year, to see if I had an entire novel in me. After a ton of classes and coaching, a good dose of writerly angst, winning two awards, and ten plus versions later, that same book is releasing on July 8th.

Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?
Absolutely! Like I said, I’m a recovering tech industry executive. I explain in the author’s note in the book that although the core story of my two main characters is fiction, the background of the continued sexist climate in the tech industry is not.

A good part of my inspiration was a desire to share my personal experience of not-so-subtle sexism and how it feels to be the only woman in the board room. What I say in that note is that, for credibility, I actually toned down quite a lot of the sexist incidents in the book.

Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?
There’s a scene in The Exit Strategy where the husband in the book fills the house with flowers, to beg his wife for forgiveness. At several points that scene almost got cut, but it’s one of my favorites, perhaps because it’s cinematic and plays out so clearly in my mind.

I’m so glad it made the final version. At one point, an alternate title of “Blue Roses and Other Lies”, was in consideration for the book, based on that one scene.

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?
The biggest is travel and experiencing new cultures. Since I became a writer, my hubby and I have turned into digital nomads, meaning we pick locations to live for up to six months at a time. Few things give me more joy than making a connection across cultures and learning something that opens my eyes to different ways of living.

Also, it’s probably the Scot in me (I’m originally from there), but I’m a big fan of good malt whisky and rooftop bars. I have a popular blog on the rooftop bars of San Miguel de Allende, in Mexico, where hubby and I now live part time.

Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?
For the last decade I’ve been a big fan of women’s fiction, in fact, before I even knew what that term meant. Liane Moriarty and specifically her book “The Husband’s Secret” is an author who first inspired me to think “Maybe I, too, could write that type of story?”

Since then, I’ve met so many amazing and supportive writers in the genre. Among the best-sellers in contemporary women’s fiction, Kerry Londsale, Camille Pagán, and Rochelle Weinstein are some of my favorites. Each time I read something by one of them I see a way to improve, or it sparks ideas for my own writing.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Oh boy, can I speak to this! When I started looking for a path to publication for The Exit Strategy, several agents and one publisher told me they didn’t see a readership for women’s fiction set in the workplace. But as women, most of us spend more than half our lives at work. So was I seriously being told that books about women’s lives can only be about motherhood or romance?
To me that just didn’t seem right, so after 135+ rejections from agents, I was thrilled when several smaller publishers made offers for this book. I talked to a lot of authors with those smaller publishers and based on their insight I chose The Wild Rose Press to bring this debut novel to the world. I’ve been super pleased with their collaboration in the entire process, including marketing.

For me to see that early readers are enjoying it (so far I’ve heard the book called "timely and provocative",  a "page-turner", and "unputdownable"), has warmed my soul. Luckily, my experience in the corporate world must have taught me not to take no for an answer!

What would your job of choice be if you didn’t write books?
This is a funny question, because authors are supposed to hate marketing, but I’d probably help other writers with marketing and technology. I’ve been an active volunteer with Women’s Fiction Writers Association for the last years applying my tech and leadership skills, and few things give me more pleasure than helping promote other authors’ books. I even produce a TV show for Instagram called The Best of Women’s Fiction, where I interview some of the best and most interesting authors in the genre.

Place you’d like to travel?
Pre-pandemic, my hubby and I had booked tickets to the eclipse festival in Argentina, close to the border with Chile for late this year. Both countries were high on my list of places I’d like to visit, as is the city of Ushuaia, right at the tip of South America.
I’m not sure those plans will come to fruition now, but the idea would have been to spend up to 6 months working remotely in that part of South America. Maybe next year?

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
First, I’m not a fan of using the term “aspiring” to describe ourselves as writers. I actually wrote a whole blog post about how, from my perspective, the term saps creative confidence and plays to our writerly insecurities.
What I explain in that post is that one of the biggest challenges as a new writer is finding confidence in the value of our own work. Sure, we will always have craft learning to do, but in what other career do we call those new to the field, but already doing the work, call themselves “aspiring”?
Aspiring implies a lack of capability and skill, that you’re not a “real” writer yet. Unless you are sitting at your desk day after day, failing to put fingers to keyboard and write a single word, let me assure you that if you write, you are a writer., I’d be happy to see the term aspiring obliterated from our joint vocabulary. J

What are you working on now?
I’ll admit that a good chunk of my time is going into book marketing and launch activities, but I’m looking forward to getting back to my work in progress, which draws inspiration from my life as a digital nomad. It’s about an adventure travel instagrammer living under a new name to hide her dark past. Given her new-found fame, she fears her identity will be exposed and she’ll be forced to face a history she’s fought valiantly to escape.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?
Being a debut author has been inspiring, thrilling, and has sure taught the class of 2020 (who are doing online pandemic book launches) to roll with the punches!

But what makes a writer’s life worthwhile is when we get to see reviews and hear how readers enjoyed our books. I’m even starting to receive the odd email about how women relate to the elements of sexism in this novel, and those give me such joy, knowing that something I wrote made a connection.

So I’d like to say the hugest thank you to everyone who is reading or about to read my book, and especially to those readers who make time to leave a review for any author. Even a one liner makes a world of difference and helps keep us motivated to stick with the lengthy task of writing the next one!


Lainey Cameron is a digital nomad and author of women’s fiction. A recovering tech industry executive, her award-winning novel, The Exit Strategy, was inspired by a decade of being the only woman in the corporate boardroom.

A digital nomad—meaning she picks locations around the world to live (and write) for months at a time—Lainey is an avid instagrammer, and loves to share her travel tips and insights with readers.

Originally from Scotland, Lainey has a soft spot for men in kilts and good malt whisky.

To connect with Lainey: