feature photo

Feature Article #1

SEA ESCAPE, Lynne Griffin

Carrie’s Conversation with Lynne Griffin, Author of SEA ESCAPE Carrie:  Without giving too much away, give us an idea about what SEA ESCAPE is about. Lynne: SEA ESCAPE is a story inspired by my parents love letters; it’s about the ties that bind mothers and daughters. Laura Martinez is wedged in the middle place, grappling […]

| July 3rd, 2010 | Continued

feature photo

Feature Article #2

EASY ON THE EYES, Jane Porter

To enter to win a FREE copy of EASY ON THE EYES: Subscribe to my Words To Mouth e-newsletter (how winners announced) Leave a Comment Below ~ Tell me why you want to read this book or if you’ve ready any of Jane’s past books and what you think of them. Call 206-309-7318 and leave […]

| July 18th, 2009 | Continued

feature photo

Feature Article #3

THIRD WISH, Robert Fulghum (Author of All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten)

“It’s a love story, but in a much larger sense it’s about loving life and wanting as much of it as you can have,” says Robert about THIRD WISH Written over a period of ten years, Third Wish is an epic novel that is above all – a love story – not in the usual […]

| April 17th, 2009 | Continued

feature photo

Feature Article #4

Matrimony, Joshua Henkin

Upon editing my chat with Josh, I realized this interview is as much for writers as it is readers. Josh, folds his life philosophies and his writing tips adeptly into MATRIMONY and our interview. He is an engaging conversationalist and a natural teacher, not to mention, of course, a gifted writer.  How would you summarize Matrimony? Jonathan Franzen […]

| April 7th, 2009 | Continued

feature photo

Feature Article #5

Still Alice, Lisa Genova (Early Onset Alzheimer’s)

To enter to win a free copy of STILL ALICE: Be sure to subscribe to the Words To Mouth e-newsletter ~ That’s how I announce winners! Leave a Comment Below (if you’ve read the book, tell us who you see playing Alice or any of the other main characters) Call 206-309-7318 and leave a voice […]

| February 6th, 2009 | Continued

About this Site

Words To Mouth is an author interview talk show where readers meet authors beyond the printed page…and win FREE books. Come discover new and seasoned authors and the books they write. Carrie Runnals understands the challenges of being a busy woman juggling work-life balance. She scours the literary market and keeps a pulse on new […]

Other Recent Articles

HERE, HOME, HOPE by Kaira Rouda

A Conversation with Kaira Rouda

Here-Home-Hope

HERE, HOME, HOPE

Though I have not (yet) met Kaira face-to-face, we’ve spent much time online and on the telephone sharing ideas and thoughts on her nonfiction book, REAL YOU INCORPORATED, and encouraging women to find our gifts and talents and share with the world…Now, I feel fortunate to be able to offer a space for Kaira to talk about her first novel, HERE, HOME, HOPE. It has been a dream for Kaira to get her novels published and I’m so excited that the opportunity has come to fruition and this new chapter has begun for her. Kaira is a gifted writer with an unstoppable entrepreneurial spirit, and simply a beautiful individual, inside and out. HERE, HOME, HOPE is an evident expression of her essence and is an inspiring, and entertaining, read. I recommend it, and Kaira, highly and wish her all and ONLY the Best.

Carrie:  What inspired you to write HERE, HOME, HOPE?
Kaira:
The inspiration for HERE, HOME, HOPE wasn’t one particular instance, it’s more of a continuation of the stories found in all of my novels. This is the first to be published, but hopefully, one of many. My novels have the same underlying theme: Women who have seemingly perfect lives, and what happens behind closed doors or when they are pushed to the breaking point. HERE, HOME, HOPE was influenced by the economy, specifically the complete and utter collapse of the housing market and its ramifications even throughout up-scale suburban communities, like the fictitious Grandville of the book.

Carrie:  In general, how does an idea for a book come to you ~ does it perk slowly in your mind or does it come in a flash?
Kaira:
My story ideas run around in my mind for quite some time before I start writing. Often, I have several different stories pulsing through and that gets to be confusing. But it’s fun.

Carrie:  Give us an idea of the plot of HERE, HOME, HOPE without giving too much away.
Kaira:
Kelly Mills Johnson is restless. An appetite for more forces her to take stock of her middling middle-American existence and her neighbors’ seemingly perfect lives. Her marriage to a
successful attorney has settled into a comfortable routine, and being the mother of two adorable sons has been rewarding. But Kelly’s own passions lie wasted. She eyes with envy the lives of her two best friends, Kathryn and Charlotte, both beautiful, successful businesswomen who seem to have it all. Kelly takes charge of her life, devising a midlife make-over plan. From page one, Kelly’s witty reflections, self-deprecating humor, and clever tactics in executing that plan—she places Post-it notes all over her house and car—will have readers laughing out loud. The next instant, however, they might rant right along with Kelly as her commitment to a sullen, anorexic teenager left on her doorstep tries her patience or as she deflects the boozy advances of a divorced neighbor. Readers will need to keep the tissue box handy, too, as Kelly repairs the damage she inflicted on a high school friend; realizes how deeply her husband, Patrick, understands and loves her; and ultimately grows into a woman empowered by her own blend of home and career. Kaira-Rouda-headshot

Carrie:  What is the primary message you’d like your readers to take away from HERE, HOME, HOPE?
Kaira:
If the grass looks greener ~ water your own.

Carrie:  What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
Kaira:
I really like the scenes with Melanie and Kelly – I hope they’re realistic. My house is filled with teenagers right now and it was really important for me to get their interactions right. My
daughter, who is Mel’s age in the book, read the manuscript to make sure I got her right.

Carrie:  What was the most difficult scene to write? Why?
Kaira:
I guess the toughest scenes for me to write are when my characters are suffering. So probably Kathryn leaving, Melanie’s low points, Kelly being attacked, Charlotte in pain.

Carrie:  Which character in HERE, HOME, HOPE, do you identify with the most in your book? How much of yourself did you put into these characters and did you realize you showed up in the book? If so, while you were writing or only afterwards upon review?
Kaira:
I think there is a piece of me in all of my female characters. Sometimes, it’s more obvious to my friends and family than other times. I really like Kelly. She snorts when she laughs – and I
do that!

Carrie:  What are you reading right now?
Kaira:
I am a voracious readers, so if I answer that question today, I’ll be reading something different tomorrow. I’ve been a huge fan of Susan Isaacs for as long as I can remember, and I like to
think of my books, my themes, as heavily influenced by her. If you looked around my office right now, you’d see a world of books.

Carrie: What authors, books, or ideas have influenced your writing?
Kaira:
My favorite author is F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby mesmerized me from the first time I read it.

Carrie:  What is your go-to book–that one you’ve read more than once, possibly over-and-over?
Kaira:
A Gift from the Sea.

Carrie:  Can you offer a glimpse into your “real life” and share with us a bit of your personal life—Outside of writing, what’s important to you?
Kaira:
My husband and four kids are the most important part of my “real life.” Empowering women is another passion, or cause, in addition to writing.

Carrie:  Tell us something surprising about you and/or something very few people know about you.
Kaira:
My desk chair is an exercise ball.

Carrie:  What has been one of your biggest struggles and/or successes (professional/personal) and what have you learned from it?
Kaira:
Well, I don’t even know where to start with this. I’ve had a 25 year career in business, working for myself and others, so the struggles have been plenty. I write about many of those in my
nonfiction book, REAL YOU INCORPORATED: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs. On the personal side, I have been truly blessed.

Carrie:  Have you ever had a nickname? Tell us about it.
Kaira:
Spaz. Yep, it’s true, that was my high school nickname. I would say that it’s true, I’m enthusiastic. I’ve always believed a smile confuses an approaching frown.

Carrie:  Who is your biggest fan?
Kaira:
My husband.

Carrie:  What was the best advice you’ve ever received—do you follow it?
Kaira:
Write down your feelings. And yes, I do.

Carrie:  What is your favorite literary turn-of-phrase / quote / word picture?
Kaira:
It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.

Carrie:  What’s next for you ~ Anything else you’d like to offer?
Kaira:
If you like HERE, HOME, HOPE you’ll love IN THE MIRROR, coming next Spring.

Carrie:  How do readers get in touch with you?
Kaira:
Find me on Facebook at “Kaira Rouda Books;” on twitter: @KairaRouda; and on my website
www.KairaRouda.com where you’ll find additional information about the book, an excerpt and book club reading guide.

To enter to win a free copy of HERE, HOME, HOPE:

Leave a Comment below sharing your own story of HOPE

U.S. & Canada residents only; No P.O. Boxes, please
Deadline: May 30TH, 2010 ~ midnight, EST

THE OTHER LIFE, Ellen Meister

Other Life

A Conversation With
ELLEN MEISTER
Author of
THE OTHER LIFE

Carrie:  After The Smart One and Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA, THE OTHER LIFE is a real departure for you.  What inspired it?

Ellen: I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of escape. I guess that’s part of the job description for a fiction writer. I was thinking about that one day after my husband left for work and the children left for school. There I was, all by myself, waiting impatiently for my computer to boot up so I could lose myself in the world I had created, when I began to wonder what might happen if a wife and mother could use those magical hours alone to escape in a more literal sense. At once, I had the image of a portal right smack in the middle of the most domestic setting…an opening that would let the woman cross over to the life she would have had if she had chosen a very different path. The more I thought about this idea, the more excited I got. As details about my main character and her two lives emerged, a story began to form. But it wasn’t until it occurred to me that my protagonist’s mother was dead in one life and alive in the other that I knew I had a book.

Carrie:  THE OTHER LIFE is about returning to the road not taken and exploring the life unlived.  Have you ever longed to see what happened on the other road?

Ellen: Haven’t we all? I think that’s human nature, especially in times of extreme stress. We play the “if only” game, imagining what might have been. What if I hadn’t gotten married? What if we hadn’t bought this house? What if we never had a child? What if I had been there to prevent that accident/suicide/awful mistake? Of course, it’s easy to condemn this line of thinking as counterproductive, but I believe it’s a coping mechanism. There’s only so much grief and anxiety our minds can hold before we need a mental vacation.

Carrie:  In this story Nan makes the ultimate sacrifice for a child, in this case her daughter, Quinn, and her grandchildren.  Do you think that kind of love is instinctual or learned?

Ellen: I think we’re hardwired to make sacrifices for our children. It’s the basest human instinct, and it gets switched on like a spotlight when we have our first child. I guess scientists can explain the chemistry of it, but from a personal perspective, falling in love with my first child was the most dramatically transformative moment of my life. I was flooded with something that seemed to alter my DNA, restructuring every cell. I was no longer just Ellen, I was Max’s mom, and I knew from that moment on every decision I made in life would be informed by that simple fact.

Carrie:  With Nan and Quinn, you brilliantly capture the mother-daughter relationship and the bond that hovers between boundless love and bruising tension.  Did you draw from personal experience?

Ellen: Thanks for that compliment! I can honestly say that my own even-tempered mother is nothing like Nan, but I’ve always been fascinated by the wrenching emotional turmoil of family relationships. I’m not sure there’s anything more interesting—or more human—than the ways in which we are tested by love.

Carrie:  As her daughter straddles parallel universes, Nan wonders whether having an escape route will help Quinn manage life’s difficulties with more grace, or instead taunt her with a decision no one should ever have to make.  Is it a blessing or a curse…or something else? Ellen Meister

Ellen: I love this question, because I think it gets to the heart of the book, and I hope readers will explore this issue themselves. What if their life included a portal to what might have been? Would they welcome the possibility to cross from one life to another? Or do they think they would be tortured by the endlessness of the choices they could make?Ellen Meister

Carrie:  In musing about her mother, Quinn observes: “Sometimes we don’t just simply grow and change.  Sometimes life is so harsh and so dark, a part of us gets excised completely, leaving us permanently altered.” It happened to Nan, but what is it about Quinn that keeps her from the same fate?

Ellen: Quinn lives very much outside of herself. She’s introspective, sure, but she’s a giver and feels like her place in the world (or, in her case, worlds) is to take care of others. She’s so acutely aware of being needed that it’s very nearly impossible for her to make the kind of choice her mother did in her darkest hour. To Quinn, suicide is the ultimate act of selfishness.

Carrie:  THE OTHER LIFE probes the choices we make in life.  Do you think there’s a way to avoid the second-guessing that often accompanies them?

Ellen: No, and I don’t think we should. That constant reexamination of our motives and choices is how we learn and grow. It’s like what Socrates said about the unexamined life.

Carrie:  Grief comes in many forms in this novel.  Are there lessons here for those stuck in grief?

Ellen: Grief is such a bear and so very personal. So I don’t know if there are any lessons here, but perhaps some comfort in taking the journey with someone finding her way through it.

Carrie:  THE OTHER LIFE has been called “the thinking woman’s beach read” (NY Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson), making it perfect for a book club selection.  What feedback do you get from book clubs?

Ellen: From my experience, book clubs enjoy novels with fresh writing, complex characters and enough emotional resonance to leave readers with questions that feel very personal. Naturally, I hope THE OTHER LIFE is all those things … and I’m thrilled that the early feedback I’m getting from beta readers suggests that it is!

Carrie:  What genres (or authors) do you like to read?  Why?

Ellen: I don’t limit myself to any particular genre, but I’m definitely drawn to character-driven stories that take a hard look at human relationships. So a survey of my book shelf would probably reveal more literary and women’s fiction than anything else.

Carrie:  Modern women yearn for balance between work and family.  As a writer and mother of three, do you have any advice for them?

Ellen: For me, it’s a matter of priorities that boils down to a simple equation:  Family = first; Work = second; Housework = dead last.

Click HERE to listen to Ellen’s NPR interview

  • To enter to win a free copy of THE OTHER LIFE:
    Leave a Comment below about the “other life” you’ve always wondered about
    U.S. & Canada residents only; No P.O. Boxes, please
    Deadline: May 15th, 2011 ~ Midnight, EST

Six Simple Truths to Fat Release, Nealon Hightower

A Candid Conversation with Nealon Hightower

SIX SIMPLE TRUTHS TO FAT RELEASE;
How I Let Go of More than 100 Pounds the Easy Way

Six Simple Truths

Carrie:  What inspired you to write Six Simple Truths to Fat Release?
Nealon:
Well, Inspired is definitely the right word. After years of fighting with my weight, winning sometimes only to end up losing even bigger, I came to a place of quiet desperation and I finally surrendered to the battle and let my heart guide me to find a permanent solution to my lifelong problem. I vowed to teach the gift to others if I could find the path.  I did and I am.

Carrie:  What are you reading right now?
Nealon:
I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of Marianne Williamson’s new book,  A Course in Weight Loss. I feel as though she is going to hit on a lot of very relevant information, though I am still a little disappointed that she is still referring to the term “Weight Loss”.

Carrie:  What’s wrong with weight loss, didn’t you lose over 100lbs?
Nealon:
This is the major differentiation between my book and most others out there. I very strongly feel, no…I know that weight loss is not the most effective approach. You lose your keys, your job, your home, your dog but you

BROKEN BIRDS; The Story of my Momila, Jeannette Katzir

A Conversation with Jeannette Katzir

Broken bird cover

Carrie:  What inspired you to write BROKEN BIRDS?
Jeannette:
I began to jot down notes one year before my mother ended up dying, then when she had her stroke and died the after math was so painful that I had to write.  I wrote day and night to vent, then re-wrote and re-wrote.  Because it was a memoir, I wasn’t able to finish the book until all the mess around me ended.

Carrie:  What is your favorite scene in BROKEN BIRDS?
Jeannette:
It would have to be when my mother, a survivor of the Holocaust meets the supposed upper-crust of New Jersey.  I called my parents the Hillbillies after the show Beverly Hillbillies (because they weren’t poor, but knew no better) and the in-laws they had come to dine with the Drysdales.  Never has there been such a mismatch of personalities.  The scene in the restaurant made me laugh out loud . . . and I wrote it.

SOMETIMES MINE, Martha Moody

Sometimes mineCarrie’s Conversation with Martha Moody

Carrie:  What inspired you to write SOMETIMES MINE?
Martha:
The germ of the story came from a book group discussion about my first novel, BEST FRIENDS.  Some women in the group were very distressed that the narrator, Clare, has an affair with her ex-husband.  There are a lot of bad things done by characters in that novel, and I was impressed at the particular anger Clare’s actions evoked.  I’m a physician, and I knew that two of my female patients were involved for years with married men.  I didn’t see these patients as evil, but as sad and isolated.  I thought, “Hmm, it would be a challenge to write about a mistress from her point of view.”

I also wanted to write about work.  Genie, the narrator of Sometimes Mine, is a cardiologist and her lover, Mick, is a college basketball coach.  Each of them is excellent at what they do, and each is defined and to some extent hidden by their role.  Their mutual appreciation of their distinctive work and talents helps bond them.  I’ve always liked this quote from the Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer:  “With his work, as with a glove, a man feels the universe.”

The third impetus for the novel was a story my social work mother told me when I was a teenager, in the early 70’s.  One of her clients was a “maiden lady” who had lived all her life with another woman.  When the client’s friend got ill and then died, the client was treated by her friend’s family not as a spouse or grieving widow, but as a simple housemate.  This really magnified her loss.  That story haunted me for years as an example of the power of society’s norms.  In the book, when Mick moves into the realm of the sick, Genie has no defined role.

Carrie:  In general, how does an idea for a book come to you–Does it perk slowly in your mind or does it come in a flash?
Martha:
I’m a slow perker.

Carrie:  Give us an idea of the plot of SOMETIMES MINE without giving too much away.
Martha:
SOMETIMES MINE is the story of a long-term affair of a divorced female cardiologist, Genie Toledo, and a married college basketball coach, Mick Crabbe. It tells what happens when Mick gets seriously ill and Genie is forced to confront both Mick’s family and her own illusions.

Carrie:  What is the primary message you’d like your readers to take away from SOMETIMES MINE?
Martha:
SOMETIMES MINE is a love triangle between three very imperfect people.  You’d expect things to turn out badly, but in an odd way each person becomes heroic.  I’d like to think of the novel as a plea for accepting the complexity of people’s feelings and lives, and the surprising connections through which a person can gain strength.

Carrie:  What is your favorite scene in SOMETIMES MINE? Why?

HANNAH’S LIST, Debbie Macomber

Debbie Macomber’s Latest…

HANNAH’S LIST

HannahCoverSmall

Enter to Win:

  • One (1) Grand Prize winner will win $50 VISA gift card to enjoy additional titles by Debbie Macomber and a copy of HANNAH’S LIST
  • Two (2) additional winners will receive a copy of HANNAH’S LIST!
  • Just Leave a Comment Below by midnight May 11th; US & Canada Residents Only (Sorry, no PO Boxes)

A grieving widower receives an unexpected gift of love from his late wife on the anniversary of her death in HANNAH’S LIST, the emotionally powerful new novel by #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.  Connected to her bestselling Blossom Street books (SUMMER ON BLOSSOM STREET, TWENTY WISHES, BACK ON BLOSSOM STREET, SUSANNAH’S GARDEN, A GOOD YARN and THE SHOP ON BLOSSOM STREET) this story continues her moving exploration of the complex relationships among family and friends.

THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING STRIKE SURVIVORS, Michele Young-Stone

HandbookLitngStkSurv

A Chat with Author, Michele Young-Stone

Carrie:  What inspired you to write THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING STRIKE SURVIVORS?
Michele:
I set out to write a novel about a girl’s affection toward an unresponsive dad—and the consequences of that relationship.  But, a fellow writer reminded me that there were a million books just like that.  He asked, “What will set your book apart from the pack?”  It hit me:  When I was eleven, I was struck by lightning.  I’ve always liked magical realism, especially when it’s grounded more so in the realism—when we’re reminded that not everything can be explained by science, so I thought, “This is my hook.”  The lightning makes the main character think that she has magical powers.  What little girl doesn’t naturally think she possesses some degree of magic—with our without lightning?

Carrie:  In general, how does an idea for a book come to you ~ Does it perk slowly in your mind or does it come in a flash?
Michele:
Actually, my novel ideas start with a scene either observed or imagined, like a girl holding onto homemade wings, climbing onto a bus (from my most recent work-in-progress).  From there, the characters take over and I allow the story to unfold. Sometimes it’s a mad rush where I’ve been known to write 1,000 pages to get to 100 pages.

Carrie:  Give us an idea of the plot of THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING STRIKE SURVIVORS without giving too much away.
Michele:
Oh boy!  Two strangers, seemingly with nothing in common, are brought together by the electric force of lightning. Becca, brought up in academic affluence, and Buckley, brought up in poverty, are connected throughout their lives by the folks they meet and by this uncontrollable element—lightning—that causes him to write The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, a handbook Becca purchases.

Carrie:  What is the primary message you’d like your readers to take away from THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING STRIKE SURVIVORS?
Michele:
Have hope.  Have faith.  No matter how bleak our circumstances, there is possibility.  There are things in life we can’t control, but we can control our response to those things.  No one has to go with the flow.  We can turn things around.

Carrie:  What was the most difficult scene to write? Why?
Michele:
There were multiple scenes that were difficult to write, but ultimately, it was the final scene because it was pivotal to the book’s success, and more important than word choice and pacing (elements I struggled with in other difficult chapters), I wanted a “satisfying” ending, the right ending, and for the longest time, I wasn’t sure how the book should end.  I had to wait for the characters to tell me their thoughts.

Carrie:  Which character do you identify with the most in THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING STRIKE SURVIVORS? How much of yourself did you put into these characters and did you realize you showed up in the book?

The Little Death, P.J. Parrish

Little Death

P.J. Parrish, New York Times bestselling author of South of Hell and A Thousand Bones, has returned to heat up February with a sizzling page-turner, THE LITTLE DEATH (Pocket Books; February 16th, 2010; $7.99), starring detective Louise Kincaid.

Most people would kill to live in glamorous Palm Beach, with its beautiful women, five-star resorts, and dazzling coast.  But most people don’t know what really goes on in the bedrooms of the rich and famous…Mark Durand did—and now the handsome high-class “walker,” who escorted the wealthiest women to posh affairs, is dead, his beheaded corpse found in an abandoned cattle pen.

South Florida detective Louis Kincaid feels out of his element in Palm Beach, especially after receiving a ticket for driving an ugly car.  But plunged into the gruesome homicide case, he’s agreed to help prime suspect Reggie Kent, an aging male walker who may or may not have been the victim’s lover.  And as his investigation snakes through the privileged class, Kincaid uncovers shocking truths about a powerful lady senator whose husband collects dangerous weaponry…

Liz Claiborne: The Legend, The Woman ~ by Art Ortenberg

LizRed cover

Beautifully written by her husband Art Ortenberg, Liz Claiborne: The Legend, The Woman is the story of Liz Claiborne–the building of her iconic company, her vast talents in clothing the emerging market of women entering the work force, her years of adventure after leaving the company, the conservation work she did for decades, and the nobility and dignity of her battle with cancer.  It is also a powerful and poignant love story.

In 1976 Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg created Liz Claiborne, Inc., one of the most well-known fashion companies in the world and the first Fortune 500 Company headed by a woman.  Liz had anticipated and responded to a lasting economic and cultural change…

  • Subscribe

    Subscribe in iTunes

    Podacast RSS Feed

  • About WordstoMouth

    Carrie created Words-to-Mouth—a blog & companion Internet talk show introducing new book releases and their authors to a community interested in excellent writing that may not  necessarily top the New York Times Bestseller List—Yet! To learn more about Carrie, click here