My friend, Elizabeth LaBan, returns to the blog this week to discuss: writing what you know, the thrill of shaping a draft, and her latest book, Beside Herself. Welcome back, Elizabeth!

Author: Elizabeth LaBan

Book Title: Beside Herself

Book Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release Date: October 22, 2019

Publisher: Lake Union

Hi Elizabeth! Can you tell us a little about Beside Herself?

Beside Herself is the story of the Bents whose happily chaotic life comes to a screeching halt when Hannah makes a terrible discovery. While dealing with the unexpected, Hannah Bent must answer the question: is infidelity the deal breaker she always assumed it would be?

What a great idea for a book! What inspired it?

In many ways the title inspired the book, which has not been the case for most of my novels. It is a phrase I use a lot, either to say I’m beside myself when I’m upset about something, or she was completely beside herself. One day my husband said, “That would be a great title for a novel.” The idea stuck, and when the story began to come to me, I immediately connected it to that title, which helped the whole story form in my mind. But at the base of it is this idea that if someone is lucky enough to have a long marriage, there are most likely going to be unexpected hard times along the way, some of which will make a couple stronger, and some that could break them. I wanted to explore that.

Yes, the title inspiring the content–how cool! Is the end product close to that original idea?

For this book it was pretty close in the sense that I always knew where Hannah and Joel were going. But much of the middle of the story, and the ins and outs of how they got from one place to the other, changed and grew as I wrote the book and got to know the characters better.

In what ways do you think you’ve evolved as an author over the course of your career so far?

The main thing I have noticed is that situations and characters are much further from my life and my experience. Having said that, I always tried to steer away from my real life, but sometimes it slipped in anyway. With The Restaurant Critic’s Wife there were many details taken from my life, but I worked really hard to make the main characters different from me and my husband. That was also somewhat true of Pretty Little World in the sense that the characters lived on a block similar to my own and had the same sense of community that I’ve experienced in my little corner of the city. I moved further away from my own personal experiences with Not Perfect, and even further away with Beside Herself, though you will find nods to places and events that I did experience (The University of Michigan connection in Not Perfect, and the Eagles Super Bowl win in Beside Herself, to name a few). I know the old cliché is to write what you know, and while I am a big fan of that, I think with time I am a little more confident and willing to step away from what I know and create an entirely fictional world.

What’s your favorite part about being an author? What’s challenging?

My favorite part is after I have an entire first draft and I can go back and make sense of it all. I just finished my next novel, or at least what I hope is a readable draft of it, and I could see how sometimes while writing that very first draft I would add in details or events that either went nowhere, and I would eliminate those in the drafts that followed, or sometimes those details and events would end up being the core of the story, so I then worked to elaborate on those. I find that part of the writing process to be the most exciting, when I know the characters and their world and what makes sense and what doesn’t. The most challenging part is writing that first word, then the first page. I have a concept now for my next novel, but I have not sat down to write even one word yet. I find it daunting.

Outside of writing, what are some of your favorite activities?

I love to read and take walks. We eat out a ton and are always looking for the next great restaurant. And we are sports fans, and love watching football – we are Michigan fans as well as Eagles fans. We also love basketball, again the Michigan Wolverines and the 76ers. It is a great way to relax and be together as a family.

And what are you working on now?

I just finished the draft of my next novel – which I sent off to my agent this week. We’ll see what he says! And I have a kernel of an idea for the next one. Maybe tomorrow I’ll sit down and write that first sentence, maybe the first page.

Where can readers find you?

My website is elizabethlaban.com, I am on Twitter and Instagram  as @elizabethlaban, and I have an author page on Facebook – Elizabeth LaBan.

Thanks so much for the great interview!

Thank you, Elizabeth! Beside Herself is available as of TODAY!

Beside Herself

When she finds out her husband cheated, Hannah Bent thinks her marriage is over. Isn’t that what happens after an affair? But she’s seen friends divorce, and it’s not pretty. Plus, she and Joel have kids and an otherwise-happy life, and she still loves him, although begrudgingly.

Furious and feeling stuck, she suggests having her own affair to even the score. Joel, desperate for forgiveness, agrees. But does she really want to go through with it? And how exactly does a married mother of two get back in the dating pool? Many awkward dates follow until she finds a deep and unexpected connection where she was least looking for it.

Just as she thinks she’s made a decision, her journey to happiness is waylaid by storms of doubt. But the important thing is that she’s finally figuring out what she truly wants for herself, and she understands that whatever choice she makes must be hers and hers alone.


Kerry Anne King chats about her latest release, Everything You Are, as well as a bit about her active life outside of writing. Please welcome, Kerry!

Author: Kerry Anne King

Book Title: Everything You Are

Book Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release Date: October 1, 2019

Publisher: Lake Union

Hi Kerry! How would you describe your latest book?

Everything You Are is the story of three people and a cello, all bound together by tragedy, broken promises, and a touch of magic—can music bring them healing, forgiveness, and love?

What inspired the idea for Everything You Are and how close is the end product to that seed of an idea?

The original idea started with a female character caring for her wounded war veteran brother and her alcoholic father. She played a cello, and the cello was determined to have a personality and a soul. The book shifted a great deal, in fact. In the final version, the original character still has a point of view voice, but she is a secondary character and a teenager, while her father has taken on a much more dominant role. But all of the characters revolve around the cello.

How has your real life (day job, hobbies, etc.) informed Everything You Are?

I’m licensed both as a mental health counselor and an RN, which totally plays into the book. Braden is dealing with Post Traumatic Stress and alcoholism. Allie is suicidal. In my professional life I’ve had a lot of experience helping clients find healing in these situations. Also, I was married to a musician for twenty years and understand the personal devastation that follows when a person is no longer able to engage in their art.

In what ways do you think you’ve evolved as an author over the course of your career so far?

I’ve learned to trust my own process and formed an alliance with my inner critic (for the most part, anyway – I call it dancing with my demons!) It makes it much easier and more fun to write when I’m not fighting myself. Also, I finally reached the tipping point with my last book where I was able to walk away from my day job and do what I love full time!

Congratulations on being able to write full time! What’s your favorite part about writing? What do you find challenging?

I love making stuff up! My favorite things about writing are getting sudden and unexpected ideas about a story, and watching my characters grow from ideas into real people who take over the plot line! The most challenging parts are connected to the business side of writing. When I fall into worrying it’s around questions like, “what if this book doesn’t sell, or I have to back to my day job?”

What are your interests outside of writing and reading?

Is there life outside of writing and reading? I live on forty acres of land with my Viking and that involves hard work like getting in wood, snow management, mowing the yard and other fun physical labor. Weirdly, I love all of it. I like to do yoga, and listen to music. I have a sourdough culture I’ve been maintaining for a couple of years now and I love baking sourdough bread. More recently I’ve also been brewing Kombucha!

What are you working on now?

I am currently working on developmental edits for my August 2020 release. It’s called A Borrowed Life, and is the story of a middle aged woman creating a new life for herself after the death of her controlling husband.

Where can readers find you?

You can find me at my website www.kerryanneking.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorkerryanneking, and on instagram as @kerry_anne_king. Sign up for my newsletter for all of the inside news plus a monthly drawing for a $5 Amazon gift card – www.kerryanneking.com/inner-circle

Thank you, Kerry! Everything You Are is OUT NOW.

From the bestselling author of Whisper Me This comes a haunting and lyrical novel about the promises we make and the forgiveness we need when we break them.

One tragic twist of fate destroyed Braden Healey’s hands, his musical career, and his family. Now, unable to play, adrift in an alcoholic daze, and with only fragmented memories of his past, Braden wants desperately to escape the darkness of the last eleven years.

When his ex-wife and son are killed in a car accident, Braden returns home, hoping to forge a relationship with his troubled seventeen-year-old daughter, Allie. But how can he hope to rescue her from the curse that seems to shadow his family?

Ophelia “Phee” MacPhee, granddaughter of the eccentric old man who sold Braden his cello, believes the curse is real. She swore an oath to her dying grandfather that she would ensure Braden plays the cello as long as he lives. But he can’t play, and as the shadows deepen and Phee finds herself falling for Braden, she’ll do anything to save him. It will take a miracle of forgiveness and love to bring all three of them back to the healing power of music.

Bio

Kerry Anne King is the sidekick, alter ego, and touchier-feelier doppelgänger of fantasy and paranormal thriller writer, Kerry Schafer. She is the author of three works of women’s fiction, with number four releasing on October 1, 2019, and her last novel, Whisper Me This, was a Washington post and Amazon charts bestseller. Kerry Anne is the proud possessor of a tugboat, a Viking, and forty acres of rocks and trees in the middle of rural northeastern Washington. In addition to writing novels, she is an RN and licensed mental health counselor, a writing mindset coach, and a serious coffee snob. She is kept in line by three cats, a dog, and the aforementioned Viking. Her favorite leisure activities involve reading, yoga, and long walks in the woods.


I’m elated to welcome Megan Mayfair back to the blog today to talk books, writing, and binge-worthy TV. Her latest novel, Spoonful of Sugar (Book 3 in her Tangled Vines series) just released out into the world.

Author Name:  Megan Mayfair

Book Title: Spoonful of Sugar

Book Genre: Romantic Fiction

Release Date: September 14, 2019

Publisher: Crooked Cat Books

Welcome back, Megan! Please tell us about your latest book. 

The heart of a Spoonful of Sugar is that it is never too late to start again and find the purpose, and spark, in life.

What inspired the idea?

I wrote about the same family in Tangled Vines, and then again in The Problem with Perfect. There was a third sibling, Rose, who sort of flittered around in the other books and I wanted to give her the chance to tell her story. I thought she seemed a bit lost and the idea of giving her a near-miss with a tram gave her a bit of a jolt to start examining what she really wanted in life. I also had one side of the story in a love triangle in Tangled Vines that I wanted to hear the other person’s side. For me, this book was all about bookending some of the events of Tangled Vines.

How close is the end product to that seed of an idea?

It was pretty close given I already had the story in my mind. Odette, the matriarch of the family did surprise me, however, and her story ended up being a little more involved than I planned. It was a pleasant surprise though as she is a little cold in Tangled Vines and The Problem with Perfect but I think readers will see a different side of her. Someone who is maybe a little more approachable and less confident than perhaps readers may think.

In what ways do you think you’ve evolved as a writer over the course of your career so far?

I’m definitely a better planner when it comes to plotting out my novels.

I imagine planning is so key, especially when it comes to writing a series! What’s your favorite part about writing? What do you find challenging?

I love the spark of coming up with a new idea – often totally out of nowhere – and thinking up all the whatifs and what nexts, it’s sort of fun and terrifying at the same time as the brain seems to speed up and all these possibilities come together. I love also getting on a roll and just writing. I find time management challenging – I work in PR and teach at a university and have a young family, so stealing those moments to just write can be hard.

That sounds like a lot to juggle! What are your interests outside of writing and reading?

Spending time with my family.  I love watching Aussie rules football and cricket, binge-watching a few shows – love a great drama like The Americans or The Wire or Line of Duty. Always on the look out for what’s new on Netflix. I like exploring around wine regions around Victoria and coffee – I love coffee.

What are you working on now?

I’m writing a contemporary romance set in the medical world and plotting out a new women’s fiction title.

Where can readers find you?

Website: https://www.meganmayfair.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/meganmayfairwrites

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/meganmayfairwrites

Thank you, Megan! A Spoonful of Sugar is out now.

Bio:

Megan Mayfair is an Australian writer who writes women’s fiction with a dash of family intrigue, a sprinkling of humour and a spoonful of romance. And a lot of heart.

Her debut novel, The Things We Leave Unsaid, is published by Crooked Cat Books, as well as Tangled Vines, The Problem with Perfect, and A Spoonful of Sugar.

Tangled Vines won the Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year (Ruby) Award in 2019 in the romantic elements category. Megan was also a finalist in the 2018 Australian Romance Readers Association Awards (Favourite Debut Romance Author).

A Spoonful of Sugar

It’s never too late to start again…

Rose Doyle never wanted a career. A job was fine, but it all seemed like a distraction from what she really wanted: love and family. Filling her days with fun, friends and fashion seemed like a good way to spend the time, but when a near-death experience leaves her questioning her life, she sets out to discover her purpose.

Noah Edwards is a doctor at the cross-roads. With career ambitions having drawn an irreconcilable wedge between himself and his former life on remote Bruny Island, tough decisions must be made. Will a chance meeting with Rose give him the courage to face his past?

Odette Doyle is a woman on the edge. After years of questioning her marriage, a heart-breaking discovery sees her finally start a new chapter in her life.

As Rose and Noah grow closer, Odette worries her daughter may make the same mistakes she made in her life. Will her deepest secret protect Rose’s future, or will it tear mother and daughter apart?


Author Q&A Archives