Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bouncing Around the Blogosphere

Hello, my darlings!

I've been very busy lately, coordinating a blog tour to coincide with the release of Unmasking Maya, out on December 15th. While the tour hasn't officially kicked off yet, I have been flitting about on the net a bit this week.

First, I found a fabulously fascinating review of Fashioning (I do love alliteration) on my most favorite thought-provoking blog, The Misfortune of Knowing. I did not know there would be a review on here, and it was such a wonderful surprise. You can read the review here: A Light Read for a Gloomy Day.

Also, the lovely lady behind Every Free Chance Book Reviews invited me on her blog today for a Spotlight event. My guest post is about the role of fashion in my fiction. In addition to the post, we're holding a giveaway (winner gets a copy of Fashioning a Romance) and I'm also sharing the blurb for Unmasking Maya with the world for the very first time! You'll find all of this fabulousness here: Giveaway!! Spotlight: Fashioning a Romance.

Hope you are all well. And safe - thinking about those of you on the East Coast.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Author Interview: Francine LaSala

Hello, hello! I have the lovely Francine LaSala on the blog today, chatting about her newly released second novel, The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything. Her debut, Rita Hayworth's Shoes was a work of such supreme fabulousness, I know everyone's going to be dying to get the scoop on Francine's latest offering. Check out this summary:

Mina Clark does not have her feet on the ground. At 42, she’s feeling pretty out of place in her life and somewhat frustrated in her upscale community, but there’s more going on than typical suburban angst. Mina’s struggling with amnesia, a condition sparked by an event most everyone believes is best she forget. Because of her condition, Mina tends to get steamrolled by life--mountains of debt, nasty creditors, her daughter in the throes of the “terrible threes,” her busy-body homeowner’s association, the “judgey” other mothers in her development and the pre-school. On top of that, her husband travels for work constantly and she’s worried he’s having an affair. But when a trip to an unusual dental practice leaves her (unwittingly) with a gold dental crown, everything changes. She makes an empowering new friend and re-connects with a significant figure from her past. As she takes back the reins of her life and things start to look up, her memories also start  to return. But because of her condition, remembering things too quickly could mean she’ll lose her mind completely.

LM: Welcome, Francine! Thanks so much for being here today. Now, it sounds to me like The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything is a bit of a psychological drama. Am I right about this?

FL: Thank you! That’s exactly what I might say it is! When I started writing this book, I didn’t think that’s what it was going to be. I figured it would be another screwball comedy like Rita Hayworth’s Shoes, except this time instead of a pair of shoes changing my protagonist’s life, it would be a gold dental crown! But these books of ours, sometimes they just become what they want to be. (Like children.) It’s funny because one of the problems my more traditional publishing friends have with me is that I can’t always classify my books into a category and stay there. I don’t pick a genre and write exclusively in it. I just can’t! I think we all have lots of facets to our personalities, light and dark. So Rita Hayworth’s Shoes was a light and breezy quirky romance and The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything is more dramatic and dark, although it’s still somewhat kooky. But now I have something specific to tell those trad publishing friends who want to know a category for Girl. Thank you, Libby!

LM: You are so welcome. So awesome - I love it when I get things right! Researching memory disorders must have been as seriously gruelling task, huh? How did you go about it?

FL: Somewhat but I have to say even more gruelling than actually researching memory disorders was trying to make the puzzle come together and really work in the story. It’s like in that movie Memento. When your protagonist has no idea about where she came from and who she is, and why she can’t remember anything, you have to be really freaking careful about everything she says and does--and everything people say to her and do around her. And when you add to that that her condition has her on the brink of totally losing it for good (something I never read about amnesia, by the way, something I really just made up)... Well, I do not recommend writing a character like this!

LM: Duly noted. Sounds like a major undertaking. Could you tell me what the significance of the dragonfly on the cover is?

FL: I’d rather not give it away right now if that’s okay? It’s one of the mysteries that unfolds as the story moves forward.

LM: Aw, man! No, that's okay. I'll find out soon enough. Now, I love the magical realism aspect in Rita Hayworth's Shoes. Does The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything have a similar magical realism sort of feel? If so, is this your signature?

FL: In a way, yes. In writing, I really do enjoy skating on the edge of what’s “realistic.” I’m a big fan of Alice in Wonderland and my most favorite books and films are ones that are based in reality, but then kind of step “through the looking glass.” For example, two of my favorite Woody Allen films--one old, one new. The Purple Rose of Cairo is about a woman struggling through life and a bad marriage during the Great Depression, who escapes to the movies, and the leading man from the movie she’s seen thirty times escapes from the film to be with her. Just so imaginative and magical and romantic. And in Midnight in Paris, a hack writer in a toxic relationship somehow travels back in time, rubbing elbows with the creative minds whose works have made up his writer’s soul. He literally re-discovers his soul walking through Paris at midnight, and in a more whimsical sense, through traveling back in time. That’s the kind of thing that drives me, and I suppose, yes, that’s where I want to be in my writing, regardless of the category.

LM: That's so cool. How long ago did you start writing?

FL: I have been writing most of my life. When I was kid, it was never on paper, but always with big, grand imaginative stories I’d tell others. (Lies, but whatever.) In high school, I wrote a short story about a loser comb-over donning middle-aged guy who I named after a boy who had just broken my heart. I kept his first name but changed his last name to Antrat--“ant” and “rat.” I think I probably killed him off in some terrible way but somehow the way I handled the telling of the story made my English teacher ask me if I had ever considered a career in writing (and not send me straight to the school psychologist). In any case, Mr. Albert, if you’re still with us and you’re reading this: THANKS!

LM: Hehehe. What made you decide to cross over into the fiction world? I mean with the writing. I know you've been editing fab fiction for years. 

FL: I’ve always wanted to write fiction, but as I was an English major in college and an avid reader, always immersed in works that both inspired and intimidated me, it was difficult for me to make that leap. How could I ever compete!? It wasn’t until I helped a former writing partner develop a novelization for a film about ten or more years ago that I started to think that maybe I could do this fiction thing. It took years of starts and stops. I started writing Rita Hayworth’s Shoes eight years before I finished and published it. For eight years, it was two chapters and an idea of what kind of story it might be. What I do know is that when I’m writing fiction, that’s the time that I feel most ME, and really in tune with the universe. I also now realize that what I produce has nothing to do with what others produce--there is no competition because I’m tapping into the essence of me, and no one will ever be able to do that better than me.  

LM: Nice. I love that. Do you have any wild or wacky writing quirks?

FL: I used to have more, but I have so little time for writing my own stuff with all the other writing I do for a living, I have to just do it when I can. I guess kind of a strange quirk I have is that I don’t like to stop writing if I can’t conjure the exact words to use to express my thoughts as I’m writing them, or if I’m not exactly sure why my characters are doing things. I just barrel through with placeholder language. So sentences in early drafts of my books look something like this:

“John went to the WHAT and got SOMETHING HERE because he was hungry and that’s what people do when they’re hungry. SOMETHING MORE ABOUT WHATEVER FOOD? MAYBE A CHILDHOOD MEMORY?? PROUST? NAH, SCREW PROUST! He paid with a crinkled five dollar bill and left, ready to WHAT THE HELL IS THIS GUY DOING NOW?, just as he had every day for the past six OR FOUR? years.”

Crazy, right? Yeah, I know. But somehow it works for me. (You should have seen the first draft of this interview!)

LM: Good for you! I tend to labor over things until I'm relatively satisfied - except when it comes to material I'm unfamiliar with. Like in my upcoming release, which takes place in the world of Silicon Valley. The almost-finished draft had stuff like "says something computery" "does something computery" and "insert tech language here". But I digress. Tell me, who are some of your favorite authors?

FL: Most of all, I love authors who make me laugh with quirky spins on real situations.  Christopher Moore is at the top of my list right now. I’m also a big Carl Hiaasen fan. Aside from that, Mary Doria Russell has caught my attention lately. For one, she’s a gorgeous writer! But I also enjoy how she skips from genre to genre without batting an eye or losing anything in her stories for doing so. I just finished Dreamers of the Day and I’m going to start re-reading The Sparrow shortly. Such a talented person!

LM: Excellent. What's your all-time favorite opening line?

FL: It’s never changed in the twenty years since I first read Gone With The Wind: “Scarlet O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.” If ever an opening line could set up a character and a series of events better... I mean, Margaret Mitchell totally nailed it!

LM: Margaret Mitchell. What a talent... What's your ultimate professional dream? Bestselling author status? Hollywood film adaptation? Total world domination? All of the above?

FL: I have always wanted to win an Oscar for screenwriting (because I’m a sucker for Oscar gowns). I’ve even written four screenplays--but it’s so hard to get anyone to read them! So my hope is that my books take off and get optioned for film, and that I at least get to help in writing the scripts! (Though, if I’m to be honest, I am just happy if people read my books and enjoy them. When someone reads my books and emails me  or posts a review or calls me out in a tweet, I’m on top of the world.)

LM: Fingers crossed for you. What's your next project? Can you give us a little teaser of what's to come?

FL: I’m kind of a mad multi-tasker who always has too many irons in the fire, so there are at least four things I’m working on now: A multi-generational story about romantic dysfunction with sometimes tragic ramifications; a series about bacchanalian party girls living in modern times; a fairy-tale satire I’m developing with my husband; and also an erotic novel, just to see if I can do it. :-) I have no idea which one will cross the finish line first. Stay tuned!

LM: Love that "which one will cross the finish line first". Okay, now it's time for a little something I call "pick one." Plotter or Pantser?

FL: I do have the most fun writing off the top of my head and letting the chips drop where they fall, but without a solid framework, no story holds together. So I’m going to have to say somewhere in the middle.

LM: Character first or Plot first?

FL: Character, 100 percent. My characters start to develop before anything else. I pretty much build the story around them and what they tell me they’re going to do.

LM: Mac or PC?

FL: Was always a PC till about a year ago. Not sure I’m fully Mac yet, but I definitely see its advantages.

LM: Edit as you go or Power through and edit later?

FL: Power through, baby!

LM: Morning person or Night owl?

FL: Morning person but also chronic insomniac. It’s amazing how much writing I do between the hours of two and five in the morning. Though I can’t consider myself a night owl because I’m usually passed out cold by about ten o’clock at night.

LM: Coffee or Tea?

FL: If I was on a desert island and could only have one for the rest of my life, coffee for sure, strong and black, though I do sometimes enjoy a good cup of herbal tea.

LM: Coke or Pepsi?

FL: Really not a fan of soda unless I have a hangover. In which case, I guess Coke.

LM: Sandals or Stilettos?

FL: Both, though since I haven’t fully lost all my baby weight (yeah so what that it’s been four years) I haven’t quite found my center of gravity and I’m still not quite able to balance on stilettos yet.

LM: Diamonds or Pearls?

FL: Diamonds, without hesitation. I’m a big fan of “sparkle.”

LM: Snow-capped mountain or Sandy beach?

FL: BEACH! (Oh man, do I ever hate snow.)

LM: Cowboys or CEOs?

FL: Neither. I don’t particularly like dusty men and at the risk of sounding political, I’m not a big fan of “winner takes all."

LM: Ginger or Mary Ann?

FL: I think I go back and forth on this every year. Is it an even year? Then Ginger now.

LM: Superman or Batman?

FL: Batman. I do kind of have a thing for dark, brooding men.

LM: Alpha heroes or Beta heroes?

FL: Beta for sure! I’m a passionate champion of underdogs!

LM: Austen or the Brontes?

FL: I think Austen, but I don’t think about it too much. It’s been a hundred years since I’ve read either.

LM: Mr. Darcy or Captain Butler?

FL: Captain Butler, all the way.

LM: Hurrah! Another potential recruit for Team Rhett (twirls moustache with evil laugh). 

FL: Libby, thank you so much for having me! What a great bunch of questions you have here. Very thought-provoking and interesting. I’m happy that readers will learn more about me, and also that I got to learn more about me. :-) I can’t wait to have you at my blog some day soon. Thanks again!

LM: Aw, I would love to come on your blog. Francine, it's been a pleasure chatting with you. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Here's how to find Francine out in the world:

on her blog
on her website
on Goodreads
on Twitter
on Facebook

And you can find her book on Amazon

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ooh La La!

A while back, I decided to create a Listmania list on Amazon that I could put my own book in, and since a hefty chunk of Fashioning a Romance takes place in Paris, I thought I'd make it a Paris-themed list. You can check it out on Amazon here, or just scroll down to read.

Ooh La La: Great Girly Books Set in Paris

1. Kissed in Paris by Juliette Sobanet

Romance and adventure with a gorgeous Frenchman, sparkling dialogue and plenty of plot twists. What's not to love?

2. Blame it on Paris by Laura Florand

This charming semi-autobiographical tale is a fish out of water story - the heroine is from rural Georgia, USA. Tres bon!

3. A Wedding in Paris: 
We'll Always Have Paris/Something Borrowed, Something Blue/Picture Perfect 
by Barbara Bretton, Marie Ferrarella and Cindi Myers

Mon Dieu! This is a collection of three short romantic stories, centering around a wedding in Paris. Absolutely enchanting.

4. We'll Always Have Paris by Jessica Hart

Love, love, LOVE this book. Sweet, quirky and charming with some LOL moments as well as scenes to make you sigh wistfully, it's tres magnifique!

5. One Dance in Paris by Julia Holden

Incredible premise, this one. A vintage dress launches the narrator's search for clues into her late mother's life and though it deals with some serious stuff, it's written in a fun, light voice.

6. Hidden in Paris by Corine Gantz

A beautifully written story about three women struggling with their own issues who bond in friendship. As delicious as a tarte tatin.

7. Fashioning a Romance by Libby Mercer

Bien sur! Of course I had to give my own book a shout-out. Here's what I said about it: This light hearted love story is one part romance and one part chick lit with a dash of humor and a pinch of glitz. J'adore!

8. Left Bank by Kate Muir

This slightly satirical story exposes the lives of the ultra rich on the... you guessed it - the Left Bank. It's full of quirky characters and hilarious irony.

9. Sleeping with Paris by Juliette Sobanet

Yep, that's right. Juliette Sobanet is just such a fab author (and fellow Francophile) that I had to include her other book on this list. This delightful book details the dating world in Paris.

10. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

I know, I know. It's not the same kind of story as the others, but I just had to include this one. One of the first girly books I fell in love with, Madeline is timeless.

I'll bet you can recite it along with me: "In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelves little girls in two straight lines..."

And there you have it, folks. My Top Ten Fun and Fabulous Girly Books Set in Paris. Wow. Try saying that five times fast! Let me know if there are any amazing reads I've overlooked!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Author Interview: Martha Reynolds

Greetings, my lovely readers! Today I've got Martha Reynolds in the hot seat, and she's here to dish about chocolate - or about her tasty debut novel, Chocolate for Breakfast, that is. Before we get started, here's a little sample to whet your appetite:
*and I promise, I'll stop with the food-related lingo 

Young Bernie (Bernadette) Maguire is in for the journey of a lifetime when her junior year abroad takes her to Fribourg Switzerland. Ripe for love and adventure she is seduced by a handsome Swiss banker. She is horrified when she discovers she's pregnant. Protected and befriended by those who help to keep her secret for as long as possible, this moving rite-of-passage tale will warm the heart as a young woman struggles with an all-too-familiar dilemma. Yet after the unexpected death of her father and the discovery of her pregnancy by her classmate Timmy, who believes the child to be his, Bernie’s life takes some unexpected turns that it will take decades to resolve.

LM: Welcome, Martha, and thanks for being here today! Now, I know Chocolate for Breakfast is loosely based on your junior year abroad. In what way is Bernie’s story similar to yours? In what way is it different?

MR: The truth in this story is that I spent my junior year of college abroad, at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. I lived in a tiny closet of a room. And while I was there, my father died unexpectedly. The passage where I learn of my father’s death is pretty much word for word the way it happened. Other than that, my life was boring!! So I made up everything else. 

LM: Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry about your dad. Okay, slightly altered question – how are you similar to Bernie and how are you different?

MR: I don’t have any children. I don’t have red hair. And I don’t have an Aunt Joan! I think I had some of the naiveté Bernie had at 20. And I was single until I met my husband at age 35, so I’d lived a heady life as a single girl in the 80’s. No regrets!

LM: That's fantastic. Have you done a casting in your mind? To put it another way, do you have specific actors in mind for a film adaptation?

MR: I always pictured Emma Stone as Bernie, even as I was writing. Another person suggested Amy Adams, and I could see that, too. Some of my friends had their own ideas on casting: Julianne Moore as the older Bernie, Michelle Pfeiffer or Jane Krakowski as Erika. I’d love to see Shia LaBeouf as Karl and Greg Kinnear as Fred Gordon.

LM: Cool. Since your characters are so young, are you aiming for the YA crowd or do you consider Chocolate for Breakfast to be more of a memoir for older readers?

MR: The book is classified as “contemporary women’s fiction.” I think it’s for both young and older women (ones who remember the late 70’s!). But I have to tell you, I know of at least a dozen men who have read it, too.

LM: Nice. How long ago did you start writing?

MR: I have been writing since I was a child. I fell in love with writing as a teenager, pouring out my angst and desires to myself. And I majored in English at college. My mom signed me up for a Creative Writing class at Brown University one summer. She always told me I could be a writer.

LM: Did you always want to be an author or did you get there by a roundabout way?

MR: It’s what I’d hoped for, but circumstances can send you in a different direction.  The death of my father altered some of my dreams, and I worked at jobs I didn’t always enjoy. I’m very fortunate to be able to write full-time now.

LM: Do you have any wild or wacky writing quirks?

MR: Ha! I don’t know how weird this is, but I usually write while wearing ear plugs (no music). Some of my best ideas have come when I couldn’t sleep, which means getting up and typing for another half hour or so. My husband is used to it now.

LM: Oh, I do the earplugs thing too. Live on a busy street. Now... who are some of your favorite authors?

MR: There are many! Flannery O’Connor, Claire Cook, Tonya Kappes, Amy Tan, Anna Quindlen, the late Maeve Binchy. Oh, let me name some men, too. Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner.

LM: What’s your all-time favorite opening line?

MR: “You better not never tell nobody but God.”

LM: Good one! I had to Google it, I'm afraid, but once I did I remembered the context. Such a good book. Okay, What’s your ultimate professional dream? Bestselling author status? Hollywood film adaptation? Total world domination? All of the above?

MR: Definitely not world domination! I’ve had some great feedback on my debut novel, and I’m just so grateful for that. I don’t need the NYT Bestseller list to be satisfied, but I do want to reach as many people as I can. And if the reader is moved, I’ll feel that I’ve accomplished something.

LM: What’s your next project? Can you give us a little teaser of what’s to come?

MR: Yes! I’m working on a novel about a high school class of 1987, and their 25-year reunion. I’ve been listening to songs from that year to get motivated, but the story will take place over just five months in 2012.

LM: Sounds like fun! Okay, now it's time for a little something I call "pick one". Plotter or Pantser?

MR: Pantser, at least for Chocolate for Breakfast. I’m trying to plot some for this next novel.

LM: Character First or Plot First?

MR: Characters. They drive the plot for me.

LM: Mac or PC?

MR: I work on a PC, at a desk. But I keep a small notebook with me all the time.

LM: Edit As You Go or Power Through and Edit Later?

MR: I try to power through as much as I can, but sometimes I just can’t help correcting myself.

LM: Morning Person or Night Owl?

MR: Morning, after coffee.

LM: Coffee or Tea?

MR: Oops, answered that one above, I guess! Two cups in the morning. Decaf tea occasionally on a winter afternoon.

LM: Coke or Pepsi?

MR: Neither, although I lived on Diet Coke when I was younger.

LM: Sandals or Stilettos?

MR: Sandals. Wearing stilettos constantly led to foot surgery years ago. The best I can do now is cowboy boots!

LM: Diamonds or Pearls?

MR: Diamonds.

LM: Snow-Capped Mountain or Sandy Beach?

MR: Oh, man! Both! But I’m more of a cold-weather girl, so give me a mountain in Switzerland in winter, please.

LM: Cowboys or CEOs?

MR: Cowboys!

LM: Ginger or Mary Ann?

MR: Mary Ann. Although as a kid, I was in awe of Ginger.

LM: Superman or Batman?

MR: Superman, easily.  Who didn’t want to be Lois Lane?

LM: Alpha Heroes or Beta Heroes?

MR: Beta, most likely. Alphas are great for fantasies, though!

LM: Austen or the Brontes?

MR: Austen. But only because I’ve read more of her books than either of the Brontes.

LM: Mr. Darcy or Captain Butler?

MR: Mr. Darcy, please and thank you.

LM: Thank you for being here today! And now here's a little something to get your tummy rumbling: the delicious cover for Chocolate for Breakfast!
*Sorry, peeps. But I did really well with
restraining the cheesy food references, non?

You can find Martha...

on her blog

And you can find her book on Amazon

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Author Interview: Savannah Page

Hi everyone! Today please help me welcome Savannah Page, author of When Girlfriends Step Up, the second novel in her fabulous When Girlfriends... series. Released just last week, it'll be sure to hook readers who will no doubt be dying to know what the girlfriends will get up to next!

SP: Hey there! Thank you for hosting me, Libby! I had a lot of fun during your Girly Book Blog Hop and was super excited when you asked me to do a Q&A here. Yay!!

LM: Aw, my pleasure!

SP: Without further ado, I present the fun and creative Q&A that Libby personalized for me (so cool!), and I introduce you to the two novels in my When Girlfriends… chick lit series, including my newest release that just came out last week: When Girlfriends Step Up.

LM: Here's the synopsis:

Robin Sinclair is young, determined, and has a promising career. Even though she considers herself unlucky in love, Robin still dreams of a happily-ever-after kind of life. At twenty-five, the world of opportunity is wide. But it’s been a difficult year filled with trials…and it’s only just begun. While long-time friendships are finally on the mend, and things are starting to look up again, Robin is faced with her biggest challenge yet. She’s single and pregnant.

Uncertain of her future and scared of being alone, Robin must re-examine her life and choices, and summon the courage to step up. With the love and support of her best girlfriends, Robin will learn that when the going gets tough, the best of friends become family. And, perhaps, with their encouragement, Robin can mature and gain the confidence she needs. And about being unlucky in love - things are suddenly getting interesting with Robin’s attractive co-worker, Bobby.

The endearing sequel to When Girlfriends Break Hearts is about maturity and perseverance. It’s about friends coming together as family, about finding the strength within and around, and about writing your own happily-ever-after. About what happens when girlfriends step up.

LM: I can't wait to read it. Savannah, could you tell us about the connection between Sophie Wharton and Robin Sinclair, the protagonists from When Girlfriends Break Hearts and When Girlfriends Step Up?

SP: Sophie and Robin have been good friends for several years…since frosh year in college. But what goes down in When Girlfriends Break Hearts essentially creates a huge wedge between them. Their friendship is faced with the biggest hurdle that they must both either overcome, or let tear them completely apart. Forgive? Forget? Forsake?

In When Girlfriends Step Up Robin faces a major personal obstacle. She has to make a difficult, life-altering decision when the going really gets tough. Her novel is about learning what true friendship is all about.

LM: Cool. Did you plan to write a series from the beginning or were you inspired to do so after finishing the first book?

SP: I absolutely knew I wanted to create a series of six books from the onset. I knew I wanted to write about a group of six girlfriends—their ups, downs, everyday lives, friendships, romances, etc.—and I wanted each book told from each perspective. I didn’t, however, expect that I would plan a seventh in the series. Once I finished writing Sophie’s story in When Girlfriends Break Hearts I knew she needed her own sequel! I am extremely excited about her story.

LM: Six books! Whoa. That's impressive. What was it about Robin that made you decide to tell her story in the second When Girlfriends book?

SP: Even though Robin technically plays a major role in When Girlfriends Break Hearts, the reader doesn’t really see her that much (which totally makes sense because Sophie wouldn’t exactly want to be around her). Robin’s role in that story/entire scenario needed to be told, but it definitely deserved its own book. When Girlfriends Break Hearts was not the platform for Robin, but When Girlfriends Step Up is her story and, if I may say so myself, is a rocking story! Robin’s an amazing woman and I so love her story and character.

And when I wrote the ending of …Break Hearts I remember squirming in my seat, as I neared “The End,” thinking, “Ohmygosh! Okay…time to get to Robin’s part of the story! What happens next…this is going to be a crazy ride!”

LM: Why did you decide to set your novels in Seattle? Have you ever lived there?

SP: I had actually never been to Seattle before I wrote the first Seattle-based book in my series. I’m obsessed with the TV program, Frasier, and one of my favorite films is Assassins (don’t ask), and both are set in Seattle. So I decided the best way for me to finally visit the city that I’d peculiarly fallen in love with was to set my books there. (Then maybe one day I would be “forced” to go there for further book research.)

For the first book in the series I studied Lonely Planet’s guidebook like crazy, and some readers actually thought I’d visited Seattle based off of my descriptions. Then shortly after the first book’s release my husband surprised me with the plans for a trip to Seattle. I visited this May and it is truly the best place for my books, as I figured. It is one of the most beautiful and friendly cities I’ve ever visited. Absolutely perfect setting!

LM: That's so great. Tell me - how long ago did you start writing?

SP: I wrote scads of poems and songs starting around the age of five or six. My first novel was written when I was twelve, which I had fun passing around during my Computer and History classes.
LM: Did you always want to be an author?

SP: Absolutely. I was about six when I got a Lisa Frank notebook and decided the cartoon cover of the three ballerina bunnies needed a story, hence The Three Ballerina Bunnies, my first attempt at story-telling via the written word. That was the first notebook of many. I love to entertain; and story-telling and creatively writing are like a day at a theme park for me!

LM: Do you have any wild or wacky writing quirks?

SP: It’s not too quirky… I need absolute silence or very soft classical or jazz music playing in the background. But only during the first half hour or so when I sit down to write. Once I get into the groove I can turn up the tunes; even tunes with lyrics because distracting me from my writing flow can be tough.

Also, colorful highlighters are must-haves for character development, plot sequencing, special words I want to use to evoke emotions in particular scenes, etc. I’ve got crazy scratch papers and notebooks always splayed all over the desk. For an organized person, my writing space will look like utter chaos during a session.

LM: Hehe. Guess you're a plotter, not a pantser like me. Who are some of your favorite authors? 

SP: Chick Lit super hero? Emily Giffin hands down! I’ve got a major author crush on her. J I respect and am inspired by the work of Mr. Stephen King. Wow! There’s a mastermind with a pen. I also love Roald Dahl, Bill Bryson, Firoozeh Dumas, Virginia Woolf, Tim O’Brien, and J.K. Rowling.

LM: What's your all-time favorite opening line?

SP: I suppose as an English Lit. student and chick lit lover and writer I should say Austen’s “It is a truth universally acknowledged[…]”. It is a fabulous one, but I’m quite fond of Virginia Woolf’s classic opener: “Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.” Just so powerful yet subdued at the same time. Love it! For a modern fave: “They say a lot can happen in a summer.” (Candace Bushnell)

LM: Nice. What's your ultimate professional dream? Bestselling author status? Hollywood film adaptation? Total world domination? All of the above?

SP: Emily Giffin status applicable? I want readers to see my covers and go, “That’s Savannah Page!” Just like I did when I first came to know Emily. And, naturally, I want my stories to reach oodles of readers.

Then, Nancy Myers can give me a jingle and say, “We need to make movies out of these stories, girl.” To which I would respond, after picking my jaw up off of the floor, “OMG! When?” Nancy the Brilliant would say, “Yesterday.”

Those are my ultimate dreams! For now, and it’s still a very big goal, I want to be able to actually make a living off of my writing. Just enough to survive off of…and to buy a nice flat…and to maybe, just maybe, buy one designer handbag and/or pair of heels a year. Is that too much to ask for?

LM: Definitely not. I can totally relate. Now, can you give us a little teaser of what's next in the When Girlfriends series? I was going to ask if you had plans for a fourth one, but I know the answer to that one!

SP: There’s definitely a fourth one! And #5, 6, and 7! This month I’ll be finishing the rough draft of book four (psst, it’s Lara’s story and boy is she causing some trouble in her life). Then in November, in honor of NaNoWriMo, I’m going to try writing book 5. Lots of intense writing weeks ahead of me, but, like I said, writing is usually like going to Disneyland and getting to ride Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean thirty times in a row (and that’s a good thing!).

LM: I hear ya. Okay, now onto "pick one". First question: plotter or pantser. (Side note: I'm pretty sure I know the answer to this one. Hehe.)

SP: I’m the girl with about 7 day planners or calendars. I love organization and planning.
LM: I was right! Character first or Plot first?

SP: Character came first for me with my When Girlfriends… series. I knew who Sophie (and almost all of the girls) was before she even had a story. And that actually helped me create her story.

LM: Mac or PC?

SP: PC? What’s that? Politically correct? Our flat is pretty darn Apple-y.

LM: Edit as you go or Power through and edit later?

SP: Each writing session is the same. I read and edit everything I wrote during the previous session, then I start writing new material. I’ll then edit that material the following day, write new stuff...etc. etc. Then add a glass of merlot. Add 1-2 episodes of Frasier or The Office or 30 Rock. Go to bed. Repeat.

LM: Morning person or Night owl?

SP: Around 9.30 I’m a grumpy girl telling my husband it’s bed time. I have sensitive eyes that don’t produce enough tears (long story) so if I stay up past sleepy time I get itchy and really dry eyes. Then I get grumpier and…let’s just say it’s best that I follow the adage of, “Early to bed, early to rise.”

LM: Coffee or Tea?

SP: Both! I have an espresso machine that provides me that necessary morning Jo: Latte Macchiato. Nice and strong. Then a couple hours later it’s a mug of tea after mug of tea... (Green is best!)

LM: Coke or Pepsi?

SP: Neither. I shop and eat 99% (because 100% is probably impossible) chemical-, artificial preservative- and HFCS-free. One day, after reading a book about the French and their “typical” diet, I jumped up (seriously), and made my husband help me remove everything artificial from our cupboards and fridge. It was a hilarious afternoon. And our kitchen was bare! We went from sometimes 6 cans of Diet Dr. Pepper a day p.p. to not a single drop now. Since 2008 and going strong! I’m almost evangelical about the all-natural food style.

LM: Sandals or Stilettos?

SP: Both. And twenty pairs of each! I live in Berlin, so warmth and sunny days are as rare as a good Pink song (oops, did I just say that?). A woman can look and feel fabulous in heels so if I had to choose I’d definitely say Stilettos!

LM: Diamonds or Pearls?

SP: I have a diamond wedding ring that I don’t really wear; I wear just the band. I do have a pair of pearl earrings that my husband gave me as my wedding present and those I actually wear more than my wedding ring. Love-love me pearls!!

LM: Snow-capped mountain or Sandy beach?

SP: Beach! Mountain means climbing and I don’t do that. And I’m a So-Cal chick by nature. Bring me the beach any day…but with lots of SPF as I’m a ghosty girl.

LM: Cowboys or CEOs? 

SP: CEO all the way. I don’t do dust, dirt, wide open spaces, or nature that clogs my pores… And I don’t do cowboys. (No pun intended…or…maybe, yes, pun actually intended. Wink-wink.) Concrete jungles are nice, and the sexy, suited men on the top floor are pretty and shiny!

LM: Ginger or Mary Ann?

SP: Uhhhh the Professor. I had a crush on him as a little girl. (Ah ha. Now I see where my affinity for the man who can take a Q-Tip, sand paper, and some dental floss and fashion me a mini mall came from! After the Professor came MacGyver…)

LM: Superman or Batman?

SP: Batman. Because I had a crush on Robin from that 1960s show. (Oh, wow. I’m seeing a pattern of childhood crushes here…)

LM: Alpha heroes or Beta heroes?

SP: Both! But, if I had to choose just one, then I’d say Beta. They’re more fun to read and discover and write because they’re so unexpected.

LM: Austen or the Brontes? 

SP: I might have to go for the Brontë sisters. I really enjoyed when they were on the syllabi in college. But maybe because the courses were usually inundated with Austen material (and for good reason).

LM: Mr. Darcy or Captain Butler?

SP: Again, both. But Rhett is a pretty intriguing character. (And his name is super cool!)

LM: Hehe. The reason I ask this question is because I'm working on amassing recruits for Team Rhett. But that's a whole other story. Thanks so much for stopping in, Savannah! And to those of you reading, here's the adorable cover for When Girlfriends Step Up:

And here are Savannah's links: