Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Randy Susan Meyers Author Interview


Book Nerd Interview
Photo Content from Randy Susan Meyers

Randy Susan Meyers is the bestselling author of Accidents of Marriage, The Comfort of Lies, and The Murderer’s Daughters. Her novels are informed by her work with batterers and victims of domestic violence. She lives with her husband in Boston, where she teaches writing at the Grub Street Writers’ Center.

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Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Atria Books (April 11, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1501131346
ISBN-13: 978-1501131349
ISBN-13: 978-0765385888

Praise for The Widow of Wall Street

“I dare you not to read Randy Susan Meyers’ The Widow of Wall Street in one big gulp. What is it like to be married to a disgraced wolf of Wall Street, and how do you survive the aftermath of a scandal? Meyers answers the question with a fascinating page turner that somehow manages both to indict and absolve.” --Melanie Benjamin, New York Times Bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue

“I’ll be honest: High finance isn’t my thing and I worried I wouldn’t be able to get into The Widow of Wall Street. How wrong I was! With all the suspense of a thriller, The Widow of Wall Street quickly pulled me into the story and didn’t let me go until the last page. Randy Susan Meyers made me feel, on a visceral level, the giddiness of Phoebe and Jake’s rise to power and the mounting panic as their lives and marriage began to crumble. Brilliantly executed and beautifully written, The Widow of Wall Street should have wide appeal.” --Diane Chamberlain, USA Today Bestselling Author of Pretending to Dance

"Randy Susan Meyers' new novel explores the consequence of deception within a marriage driven by ambition and greed. The Widow of Wall Street is full of robust characters, scandal, and heartbreak. A riveting and engrossing read that I finished in one greedy gulp.” --Alyson Richman, bestselling author of The Lost Wife

“Compelling. This is a great read . . . An engrossing emotional journey.” --Kirkus Reviews

“If you enjoy dark fiction about family relationships and deception, keep an eye out for a new novel coming out this April from bestselling author Randy Susan Meyers. The Widow of Wall Street opens in 2009 with a visit to the Ray Brook Federal Correctional Institution, where Phoebe Pierce’s husband, Jake, is imprisoned on fraud charges following the discovery of the elaborate Ponzi scheme upon which he built their fortune. The novel follows Phoebe from the beginnings of her relationship with Jake in the summer of 1960 through the present day, living with her husband’s notoriety and the world’s censure and suspicion, reminding readers with that sparkly city skyline that all that glitters is not gold.” --Jewish Book Council, The Prosen People

“[A]n engaging and sharp reflection of the rapid changes in marital dynamics over the course of the 20th century, as well as a cautionary tale about the dangers and allure of ambition in the heyday of Wall Street.” --Publishers Weekly

“Meyers once again pulls the reader into a tangled marriage, this time through the lens of the financial world. Full of deceit, scandal, and guilt, her novel expertly explores how rising to the top only to hit rock bottom affects a family. The consequence will leave readers reeling, as Phoebe struggle to understand Jake's reason and redefine her life in the aftermath.” --Library Journal

“Meyers paints a brutal, revealing tale of a woman with everything to lose." --Glommable.com

"A ripped-from-the-headlines story about love, ambition, and forgiveness." --PopSugar





Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?

Though it took me longer than I wanted to reach my dream, books where always the saving grace of my life. When I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn at a very young age, I realized that books could save your life.

I never visited a church or synagogue while growing up in Brooklyn, but like Francie Nolan, I worshipped at the altar of the library. From Francie, the protagonist in coming-of-age novel, I learned that I wasn’t the only frightened, confused, and unhappy little girl in the world.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?

At seventeen, as a senior in high school, I stole a black coat (with a black fur collar) from Bloomingdales. I did it by leaving my raincoat (the same one every high school girl had, rubberized army green) on the hanger and shrugging on the beauty of a coat. When my mother asked how I could afford it, I told her I saved all my money from my job in the supermarket.

That she believed that story still shocks me now.

And no, I am not proud of this story. But my best friend and I still laugh about how I sent her back to get my ratty rain coat.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

Of all the things that stick in my mind, it’s what I learned in a high school journalism class: If it leads, it bleeds. I doubt I should call it the greatest thing, but it stuck the hardest.

In your new novel; THE WIDOW OF WALL STREET, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?

When a scandal unfolds, I wonder two things: What was the self-told story the perpetrator believed that let him hurt so many people? What was it like for his family?

When Bernie Madoff’s crimes came to light, I wondered what it would be like to be his wife—to wake up and find your entire life was built on air.

For the ten years I worked with criminals, the stories they told to excuse themselves both fascinated and repelled me. And I learned how every person on this earth has a story they tell to explain away bad behavior—even if only to themselves.

Writing The Widow of Wall Street, where I built a family in a similar situation to the Madoffs, allowed me to explore both of my questions about scandals, by inhabiting the point of view of both husband, Jake Pierce, and wife, Phoebe Pierce.

When Phoebe meets Jake Pierce as a teenager in Brooklyn, she’s intoxicated by his confidence and ambition. Once married, accumulating mass wealth as a stock broker and investment advisor––along with his private “Club” for wealthier investors––comes easy to Jake.

But when Phoebe learns––along with the rest of the world––that Jake’s triumphs are due to an elaborate Ponzi scheme, and he’s arrested for fraud and goes to prison, Phoebe’s whole world falls apart. Her life, along with her husband’s is ruined forever. The press, the law, and all the Pierce’s friends and investors begin to obsess over Phoebe. Was she part of the scheme? And why is she blamed without a scintilla of evidence?

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Phoebe?

The thin line between love and hate in a marriage—and how even during the worst of betrayals, it’s still difficult to turn off love as though it runs through a faucet. The ropes of marital connection are tough; totally tearing every thread is almost impossible.

And the difficult work of merging memories with a new understanding of the past—how hard that can be—surprised me.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?

Women—especially women of my age—grow up expecting to, if not be supported by, then be with a partner who pays the lion’s share of the rent. Young women today grow up with higher expectations (yes!), but they still harbor dreams of Prince Moneypants rescuing them; how could they not after watching fairy tale messages in classic movies such as Pretty Woman. These images stalk us; we buy into them, despite ourselves. So, I urge all women to know what the financial picture is in a relationship, whether or not they’re the one making financial decisions.

If you could introduce Jake to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

Great question! I would choose Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, because meeting a man with such a deep moral center would, at the very least, provide a moment of impossible-to-ignore reality.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?

I was a teenager in the late sixties and early seventies—I hit a jackpot. Sure, there was plenty of upheaval, but oh, the memories. So I’d stay there.

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?

Being a summer camp counselor brought me about as much joy as any job I’ve ever had. I’d been a camper there since the age of eight, and it was the place I felt safest in the world. The camp was multi-racial, with every religion represented, and where I learned the endless possibilities the world held, from playing a stripper in the staff play Guys and Dolls, to laughing as we paddled our team’s canoe the wrong way during a regatta.

And oh, those staff dances. Wow.

You can re-live any point of time in your life. The time-span can only be a half-hour, though. What half-hour of your past would you like to experience again?

The first half hour holding my first newborn. Such intensity. Such magic.

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?


My husband. He’s the best calmer in the world.

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be?

I had my first daughter at 21, so I would choose to have traveled and built my career before having children. (But I want the same children, okay?)

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?

A second ago—I yelled it to my husband who’s in his study. We’re big on ‘I love you’ in my family. Every phone call, every morning, every night. All of us.

Do you remember your favorite teacher?

I do! Rita Leanza, my fourth-grade teacher, who was kind and lovely and played opera for us.

When was the last time you cried?

About a week ago, when I watched the move A United Kingdom. I’m a big movie/television crier. The right commercial will make me tear up. And forget about awards shows. They bring on my waterworks every time.

Where can readers find you?

I can be reached at randysusanmeyers.com, on Facebook , Goodreads, and Twitter. I love meeting readers and am thrilled to Skype with book clubs, which is easy to arrange through my book club page.



Bestselling author, Randy Susan Meyers "once again pulls the reader into a tangled marriage, this time through the lens of the financial world. Full of deceit, scandal, and guilt, her novel expertly explores how rising to the top only to hit rock bottom affects a family. The consequence will leave readers reeling, as Phoebe struggle to understand Jake's reason and redefine her life in the aftermath."—Library Journal


What’s real in a marriage built on sand and how do you abandon a man you’ve loved since the age of fifteen?

Phoebe sees the fire in Jake Pierce’s belly from the moment they meet as teenagers in Brooklyn. Eventually he creates a financial dynasty and she trusts him without hesitation—unaware his hunger for success hides a dark talent for deception.

When Phoebe learns—along with the rest of the world—that her husband’s triumphs are the result of an elaborate Ponzi scheme her world unravels. Lies underpin her life and marriage. As Jake’s crime is uncovered, the world obsesses about Phoebe. Did she know her life was fabricated by fraud? Did she partner with her husband in hustling billions from pensioners, charities, and CEOs? Was she his accomplice in stealing from their family and neighbors?

Debate rages as to whether love and loyalty blinded her to his crimes or if she chose to live in denial. While Jake is trapped in the web of his own deceit, Phoebe is faced with an unbearable choice. Her children refuse to see her if she remains at their father’s side, but abandoning Jake, a man she’s known since childhood, feels cruel and impossible.

From Brooklyn to Greenwich to Manhattan, from penthouse to prison, with tragic consequences rippling well beyond Wall Street, The Widow of Wall Street exposes a woman struggling to redefine her life and marriage as everything she thought she knew crumbles around her.


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