All Posts Tagged With: "Women’s Fiction"
A Conversation with Jeannette Katzir
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.
Carrie’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?
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…
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…
Just as fresh, biting, and funny as The Nanny Diaries, but with the extra heart and wisdom of a few years’ experience, NANNY RETURNS brings both heroine and readers back to the exotic world of the Upper East Side—a community where appearances are everything, friendships can dissolve with the disappearance of a bank account, and children are often the casualties in the war between wealth and family.
Carrie: What inspired you to write this book?
Emma & Nicola: For years readers would ask us what happened to the characters from our first novel, but we had kind of drawn a hazy veil over them in our minds. We pictured a vague happy sunset for Nan, but didn’t let ourselves think about the little boy, Grayer, too much because we weren’t optimistic about his chances. Then last Spring we had a series of A-ha moments back-to-back and before we knew it a story had unspooled before us. We were inspired by articles we read about New York City private schools being taken over by parents who wanted to buy their children a world without consequences. Then we read about the Astor trial and something about a son turning his father in for embezzling from his mother really struck us. Of course the Madoff story was rife with gripping family dynamics, from the sons turning in their father to the father/son accounting firm that had enabled the fraud in the first place. It all got our minds churning about pulling back to look at the larger societal impact of the Upper East Side community we satirized in the first 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?
Emma & Nicola: We have lunch together every day before we start working and we chew over the topics of the day, paying special attention to angles of stories that aren’t being addressed. For example in 2000 we were obsessed that endless stories were running in New York City media about how hard it was for the newly rich to find decent household help, but the help was never interviewed. So if there’s a side of the story that is being underserved we’ll puzzle over that. Then we have a-ha moments when one of us will crystallize one of these topics we’ve been mulling over into a fictional story. Then Nicki gets teary and the hair on Emma’s neck stands on end and we know we’ve found our next book.
Carrie: Give us an idea of the plot/subject without giving too much away.
Emma & Nicola: In Nanny Returns we are revisiting ALL the characters from the Diaries twelve years later and re-embroiling Nan back in the lives of the Xes.
Carrie: What is the primary message you’d like your readers to take away from this book?
Emma & Nicola: Money can’t buy it.
Carrie: What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
So sorry that our conversation couldn’t transpire, but as a conciliation prize Sue’s publicist is providing FIVE copies of the wonderful mother-daughter memoir, Traveling with Pomegranates for five lucky winners.
Here’s a great written interview for you.
To Enter to Win:
- Subscribe to the Words To Mouth e-newsletter
- Leave a comment below sharing something about motherhood, being a daughter, the complicated relationship dynamics, etc.
- U.S. & Canada residents only; No P.O. Boxes, please
- Deadline: October 15th, 2009 ~ midnight, EDT
If you’re searching for the next best book, why not enter to win FOUR?!
Our friends at Hachette Book Group are offering the following four books. Enter to win, simply by leaving a comment below sharing your favorite book of all time, why it’s your favorite, and how it touched your life. We want to hear from you!
- How to Be a Hepburn in a Hilton World: The Art of Living with Style, Class, and Grace By Jordan Christy
- The Love Revolution By Joyce Meyer
- Role of a Lifetime: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Significant Living By James Brown , Nathan Whitaker , Tony Dungy
- Loved: Stories of Forgiveness By Rebecca St. James
- Deadline-October15th, 2009, midnight, EDT
- Canada & US Residents Only: No P.O. Boxes please
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Looking back, the knock on the door should have scared me. It should at least have come as a surprise. My house — the same one I grew up in — is set at the farthest curve of a culde- sac in Pleasant Ridge, Illinois, a Chicago suburb of fourteen thousand souls with quiet streets, neatly kept lawns, and well-regarded public schools. There are rarely pedestrians or passersby on Crescent Drive. Most weeks, the only signs of life after ten p.m. are the flash of headlights on my bedroom wall on the nights that my next-door neighbor Mrs. Bass has her Shakespeare Society meeting. I live alone, and I’m generally asleep by ten-thirty. But even so. When I heard the knock, my heartbeat didn’t quicken; my palms did not sweat. At some level underneath conscious thought, a place down in my cells where, the scientists tell us, memories reside, I’d been waiting years for that knock, waiting for the feel of my feet moving across the floor and my hand on the cool brass knob.
I pulled open the door and felt my eyes get big and my breath catch in my chest. There was my old best friend, Valerie Adler, whom I hadn’t spoken to since I was seventeen and hadn’t seen in person since high school ended, standing underneath the porch light; Valerie with her heart-shaped face and Cupid’s-bow lips and lashes heavy and dark as moth’s wings. She stood with her hands clasped at her waist, as if in prayer. There was something dark staining the sleeve of her belted trench coat.
For a minute, we stood in the cold, in the cone of light, staring at each other, and the thought that rose to my mind had the warmth of sunshine and the sweet density of honey. My friend, I thought as I looked at Val. My friend has come back to me.
Summer on Blossom Street, Under Her Skin, Flowers on Main (Debbie Macomber, Susan Mallery, Sherryl Woods)
THREE GREAT SPRING PICKS!!
SUMMER ON BLOSSOM STREET (Debbie Macomber) When she opened her knitting store, A Good Yarn on Seattle’s Blossom Street, cancer survivor Lydia Goetz couldn’t have imagined the ways in which it would alter her life. A Good Yarn offered the recovered cancer patient her first real chance at life, and ultimately led to love and marriage. Moreover, the knitting classes held at her shop have always seemed to work restorative magic on others, too. So, after she notices that her friend Alix Turner is still smoking cigarettes, Lydia decides she’ll organize the “knit to quit” class. The skilled baker at Blossom Street’s popular French Café, Alix has been trying to give up smoking and is angry at herself for starting again. She’s cut down to five cigarettes a day, but can’t seem to kick the habit altogether. And she’ll have to if she wants to get pregnant, as she and her husband plan. Deep inside, she knows her inability to stop smoking is an avoidance mechanism so she won’t have to confront her fears about motherhood. And who can blame her? After all, her own mother was a terrible parent with absolutely no maternal instincts. What if Alix is a chip off the old block? Says Debbie, “Knitting can be a great way to keep yourself honest when giving up a habit you want to kick, cigarettes in particular. It’s not easy to manipulate two needles and a bunch of yarn while smoking a cigarette. It’s a real win-win to me.” For More Click HERE
UNDER HER SKIN (Susan Mallery) The first novel in the author’s new Lone Star Sisters series, a brand-new family saga featuring three sisters from the wealthy, dysfunctional Titan family who face the challenges of finding their way in their chosen careers, dealing with their distant and powerful father and handling the romantic relationships that may mean future happiness – or disaster. UNDER HER SKIN is Lexi’s story. Her day-spa business is doing well – until her secret investor decides to call his $2 million loan on three weeks’ notice. Lexi’s only hope is the bad boy who dumped her years before after a one-night stand. Now a successful businessman in the perfect position to help her out, his terms for repayment of the debt are not what Lexi expected. To repay the debt, she’ll have to risk her heart one more time and she’s not sure she will come out unscathed. Phoebe Rylander isn’t trying to give up something, but rather someone—specifically, her ex-fiancé, Clark Snowden. The first time Clark was arrested for soliciting a prostitute, Phoebe was devastated and brokenhearted but eventually forgave him when he swore it was a one-time mistake. But now, after being picked up on the same charge again, she’s determined to make a clean break. The problem is that Clark’s so persistent and she’s afraid her resolve might weaken. After all, as disillusioned and humiliated as she may be, she still loves him. She needs a distraction to keep her from taking him back. For More Click HERE
FLOWERS ON MAIN (Sherryl Woods) The second book in the trilogy that began with THE INN AT EAGLE POINT and continues in June with HARBOR LIGHTS. As a child, growing up in Arlington, Virginia, Sherry developed a strong love for the Chesapeake area. As an adult, living in Colonial Beach, she continues to revere her home and the feeling comes through in the strong sense of place that imbues the books. The author’s concern for the environment and the protection of the Chesapeake Bay way of life are a continuing theme that underlies the warm and moving story of three women. The three O’Brien sisters have grown up in the beautiful, planned community of Chesapeake Shores, a fictitious town built by their father and uncles. FLOWERS ON MAIN is Bree’s story. When her last two plays are dismal failures and her relationship with her temperamental mentor falls apart, the fledgling playwright abandons Chicago and the regional theater where she hoped to make a name for herself. Back home, she opens a flower shop, Flowers on Main. Engaged in a new occupation that allows her to utilize the skills learned from her grandmother, she is looking a new kind of fulfillment. But all is not peaceful and serene in Chesapeake Shores, with Bree’s estranged mother on the scene and her ex-lover on the warpath. For More Click HERE
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It was a small cassette, not much bigger than the palm of his hand, and when Mike thought about the terrible license and risk exhibited on the tape, as well as it’s resultant destructive power, it was though the two-by-three plastic package had been radioactive. Which it may as well have been, since it had produced something like radiation sickness throughout the school, reducing the value of an Avery education, destroying at least two marriages that he knew of, ruining the futures of three students, and, most horrifying of all, resulting in a death.