JeanBookNerd Storytellers BOX

Let your adventure begin...

Burt Weissbourd


Sean Penn


D.J. MacHale


Tom Bilyeu

Impact Theory

Leah Vernon

THE UNION Official Blog Tour

William L. Myers Jr.


Kayleigh Nicol and Andrew Rowe


E.E. KNight


Robert McCaw


Gregg Olsen


Josh Duhamel


Mary Ting


Evie Green


Anna Gomez and Kristoffer Polaha


Barbara Dee


Friday, September 22, 2023

Jarie Bolander Interview - Ride or Die

Photo Content from Jarie Bolander

Jarie Bolander caught the startup bug right after graduating from San Jose State University in 1995 with a degree in electrical engineering. With 6 startups, 7.75 books, and 10 patents under his belt, his experience runs the gamut from semiconductors to life sciences to nonprofits. He also hosts a podcast called The Entrepreneur Ethos, which is based on his last book by the same name. When he’s not helping clients convert a concept to a viable strategy, he can be found on the Jiu-Jitsu mat (he’s a blue belt), interviewing entrepreneurs on his podcast, or researching the latest in earthship construction techniques. He’s engaged to a wonderful woman named Minerva, her daughter, and their Bernedoodle, Sage. Currently, Jarie lives and works in San Francisco, where he works as head of market strategy for Decision Counsel, a B2B growth consulting firm.


Greatest thing you learned at school.
That the world is random and chaotic. You need to be ready for the zigs and zags of life since you really can’t control what happens – only how you react to it.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It opened my eyes to the resistance that you have to overcome as a creative. It also gave me a good perspective that the creative act is something that needs to be manifested daily.

Favorite book outside my genre would have to be anything by Robert B. Parker. The Spenser for Hire Series.

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
For sure. The War of Art changed the way I approach writing and creativity. Knowing that there is a thing called resistance that needs to be overcome and is natural to run into. It also made me appreciate how hard it is to complete a creative project. I have a ton of respect for anyone that follows through on any kind of project since they had to overcome their own resistance.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Storytelling is how us humans survive and thrive. Without story, we would not be able to make sense of the world. I’m typing this and you’re reading this because our ancestors told the best stories. Full stop. In a sense, the best story wins, and that’s important to appreciate.

Can you tell us when you started RIDE OR DIE, how that came about?
I started writing Ride or Die the day Jane died. I felt that I had to capture the raw emotions of the moment. It also allowed me to do something that I felt I could control since I never felt I had much control during her illness.

From that day forward, I pieced together the experience so that I could heal and hopefully help others who are dealing with the challenges and struggles of a loved one going through a terminal disease.

Your Journey to Publication
I have self-published several business books, so I’m biased towards controlling the process. For Ride or Die, I started out with the intent to get an agent and find a traditional publisher. My radiational was that a book with such a powerful message needed to be published with a mainstream press. It turns out that I was wrong since the mainstream publishing model was not something that would give me both the results and the control I needed.

That’s why I selected the hybrid publishing route with a fantastic publisher, SparkPress.

Before I even got to selecting a publisher, the journey to getting Ride or Die out in the world was emotional. The subject matter, especially for a man, is challenging and not many men talk about their feelings of grief, sorrow, and frustration with being a caregiver and losing a spouse.

The courage and encouragement to make it all happen came from the realization that Jane would want me to share our story so that others might not feel so along. Couple that with the fact that our friends and family were supportive made it a lot easier to do the hard work to make it come to life.

What is the first job you have had?
Paper route. Nothing makes you appreciate the value of hard work when you must wake up at 6am to deliver 125 copies of the Sunday paper, on your BMX bike, up hills, in the rain. I have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone that must do similar things.

What was your favorite subject when you were in school and why?
I really enjoyed probability and random processes in college since it opened my eyes to the fact that the world is random and chaotic. If you understand that, then you can then focus on how to mitigate anything that might get in your way.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
Chug a 16 oz class of water. Nothing wakes up the body and starts the day off right like hydration.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
The day my wife Jane died. After that moment, I started to realize that every day is a gift. You must use every day you have wisely since there are only a finite amount of them left.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
I’d choose true love for sure. Nothing like it in the world. Heart break, while painful, is also a great teacher and it helps put the world in perspective in that nothing lasts forever.

What were you doing the last time you really had a good laugh?
I was visiting a friend and their son made an ironic yet witty observation about eating cookies for breakfast. I’m not sure why it was so funny but for some reason, seeing him with a mouthful of sugar cookies, deadpan saying “what better way to wake up in the morning than a sugar high!” I laughed so hard I cried snot.

Modern society has a warped sense of the partner-caregiver role, especially for men. Too often, men are ill equipped to handle switching from provider to caregiver, and the “just suck it up” advice so many offer up falls as flat as the Kansas prairie in the face of the reality of life and death.

Ride or Die takes its audience through the intimate conversations and thoughts of a Gen-X latchkey-generation husband—a man who has always had to fend for himself and believed that it’s up to him to solve his own problems—as and after his wife, Jane, succumbs to a terminal disease.

Jarie Bolander wrote this raw, heartfelt tribute to Jane and her handling of her illness to help men and the people who love them through the experience of loss and grief. A frank chronicle of how an intimate relationship can change and grow—even when the people involved feel there is nothing left to give— Ride or Die offers a detailed exploration of the male experience of grief, in the hopes that others suffering through it will not feel so alone.

You can purchase Ride or Die at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you JARIE BOLANDER for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Ride or Die by Jarie Bolander.

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Monday, September 11, 2023

Kim Imas Interview - Beast Mom

Photo Content from Kim Imas

Kim Imas received degrees in engineering and urban planning, from Duke and Harvard respectively, before pursuing a career as a writer. Her work appeared in Boston Magazine and The Boston Globe Magazine before she turned to longform fiction. Her first novel, a romance, was initially published under a pen name and earned praise from Publishers Weekly for its “smooth prose and witty dialogue.” A former Oregonian, Kim now lives with her family outside New York and tries to do in novels what Dolly Parton does in song: deliver stories of women’s struggles in a way that’s too damn delightful to ignore. She loves a good crossword.


When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
Heading into my senior year of college, I was an unhappy (and regretful) engineering major. On a whim, I decided to fulfill one of my few and final electives with an Advanced Creative Non-fiction seminar. I happened to have an amazing subject to write about: I’d just spent the prior spring in a remote part of Chilean Patagonia, sea kayaking, backpacking, and mountaineering.

I felt like I’d been hit by a truck—in a good way!—in that seminar. In contrast to the assignments I had as part of my major, I absolutely loved this work and stayed up extra late in the public computer cluster polishing my essays. My instructor and classmates were encouraging and kind and the work was very well-received. I knew, then, that I was a writer at heart.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Soon after my first novel came out, I went to an event that had nothing to do with publishing or with my book. But when the organizer—a friend of mine—introduced me to everyone, a hand shot up in the crowd and the person said, “We just read your book in our book club!” It was such a great feeling to see first-hand that something I’d put so much into really did have a life out in the wider world, and that people were enjoying it.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
I have ADHD, so for me, distractions are numerous, intense, and ever-present. What’s more, my family moved houses not once but TWICE during the years (yes, years) I spent writing Beast Mom, and one of those moves was entirely across the country. Also, a little thing named COVID-19 happened. My kids had to do some remote learning.

Throughout this time, I stressed about my slow and halting progress and felt like I “should” be doing more, faster. But looking back, I’m inclined to be much kinder toward myself. It was an unprecedented period of time, and we were all doing the best we could!

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
Yes—Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, by Richard D. Putnam, which first came out in 2000. It’s a robust sociological survey that looks at why Americans spend less time together than they did in previous generations. It carefully examines all of the extensive research that pertains even a little bit to how we spend our time. And in the process, the book debunks several of the hypotheses that are often put forward for why we all socialize less on the whole. It also affirms why that’s a problem, and why we should each try to increase the time we spend engaging with others in our communities, whether through dinner parties, church, the titular bowing leagues, or any number of other gathering opportunities.

I’m glad you asked this question, because Beast Mom is very concerned with the relatively low support that moms in the United States experience. And I think one of the many repercussions of Americans’ diminished community time is that new moms—who are already subject to certain isolating forces—are less connected to their communities than their predecessors were. This makes an inherently difficult period that much harder, and it serves to hide what these parents are going through and, crucially, the ways in which we could offer them more support.

Can you tell us when you started BEAST MOM, how that came about?
I started conceptualizing Beast Mom near the end of 2017. Women had already shown how pissed they were during the women’s marches earlier that year, on the heels of a bruising defeat of a female presidential candidate the prior fall. And now, horrific allegations were coming out about powerful men like Harvey Weinstein, related to their behavior toward women. I decided to write a story about an angry woman, and I did.

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from BEAST MOM
I enjoy these excerpts on account of the way they describe Harry’s experience first of turning into, and then being, a monster:

“[T]he thing that happened to me on the street that night? That I watched. That I heard and felt as it happened, limb by limb, in a state that approached rapture. Every part of me moved in a way that it shouldn’t. It was fascinating to me, and it was beautiful. I watched as my tendons, ligaments, and muscles slithered like snakes under my skin. I listened to the satisfying crackle of my bones, as they grew to new lengths and poked and prodded at the skin that bubbled and stretched to accommodate them. It reminded me of my emergency C-section for Jo and Frankie, when the doctors yanked my intestines this way and that before rearranging and re-stapling my organs together again—except this didn’t hurt, and I wasn’t scared.”

“If…the monster wanted to roll and revel in her monsterness, like a dog in some foul carcass in the woods, who was I to tell her no? Harriet was—I was—part-monster now, and I can only assume nature intended monsters to love differently.”

What is the first job you have had?
Lifeguard (like Harry!)

What is your happiest childhood memory?
Laughing with my family around the dinner table.

Name one thing you miss about being a kid.
My grandmother.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
Why is it so freaking early???

What is your most memorable travel experience?
My husband and I went to a family wedding in Venice, Italy, soon after we began dating. The entire trip was magical.

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
Quicksand, eek.

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

What is your greatest adventure?
I spent three months off-the-grid in remote Chilean Patagonia. I was taking National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) course in which we sea kayaked, backpacked, and mountaineered. We went to places that hadn’t been fully mapped. It was amazing.

What was your favorite subject when you were in school and why?
It’s a tie between social studies and English. Social studies because I loved learning about the world and its history and English because it came more naturally to me than any other subject.

An Oregon mom is about to lose her $#!t.

It might be what the government’s been waiting for.

On the outside, Harriet “Harry” Lime is a typical American mom. But after years of packing all the lunches and picking up all the socks, she’s become a bit…off on the inside. And after stumbling upon the offensive new statue at her daughter’s school, she gets unusually angry and turns into a gigantic monster.

Now she’ll have to figure out why that keeps happening—and why some mysterious uniformed men have begun lurking around town—all while keeping up with the grocery shopping, the carpool, and all those %@#!-€*&ing socks.

As soon as Harriet discovers that other local women are undergoing their own amazing transformations, she faces the sudden danger of being ripped away from everyone and everything she loves. Still, she’s begun to wonder: How much of her old life—with its surplus of cleaning, cooking, and monthly cramping—does she want to hold on to, anyway?

You can purchase Beast Mom at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KIM IMAS for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Beast Mom by Kim Imas.

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Jennifer Hamm Interview - One Friday in Napa

Photo Content from Jennifer Hamm

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Jennifer Hamm graduated with a BA in English at UCLA and began her writing career developing screenplays for movies and television. As a travel writer, she has covered the globe on assignment for various magazines and brands. She also writes It’s Only for A Year, a long-running blog chronicling her adventures raising her four boys in two countries. Hamm currently splits her time between London and Los Angeles. One Friday in Napa is her first novel.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
Haha. My four sons. Not their fault – I just didn’t really know how to juggle both motherhood and writing for years. A friend told me about Darren Hardy’s (life coach) 90-minute targeted time frames for any type of production. Basically, you tune out the world, email, calls, everything, and just do one thing for 90 minutes straight. And you will be amazed at your productivity. So, I tried it. Shut the door and the phone, tried not to panic that any emergency would arise, and began writing this novel. A year later I had a very workable first draft.

What chapter was the most memorable to write and why?
Probably the end. I cried. Without giving too much away, I felt so much for both of my main characters. Their journeys are life- long struggles that need resolutions for peace. And the ticking clock of Olivia dying makes their struggles heightened and intense up until the last moment.

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
Honestly, Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. I was 16 and that book taught me a philosophy that influenced the rest of my life.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
I think people who write and tell stories give voice to everyone’s human experience. I wrote a blog for ten years telling stories about raising my boys in two countries. It wasn’t that my stories were so unique - the attention the blog received came from others who saw themselves in my stories and enjoyed ‘their’ stories being told.

Can you tell us when you started ONE FRIDAY IN NAPA, how that came about?
Six years ago. My house guest and friend, Kelly Hail, wanted to make a thank you dinner for us having her stay. She borrowed one of my cookbooks and started writing notes all over one of the recipes…in ink! When I said ‘wtf????’ she apologized as it was always something she did, her cookbooks read more like diaries than anything else. It reminded me of my grandmother’s cookbooks as well. That got us thinking …what if a daughter found her mother’s cookbook/diary and discovered a totally different version of the woman she knows? It was a great starting point for a story.

What were your feelings when your first novel was accepted/when you first saw the cover of the finished product?
Total elation that a publisher like She Writes Press saw in my book what I intended. And then the finished product is so beautiful. Absolutely perfect.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
That they started talking to me all the time, regardless if I was writing them or not.

Your Journey to Publication
I chose to answer this question because I was/am always curious how authors figure it out! Not having much connection to the publishing world, this process required a huge learning curve for me. I spoke to the couple author friends I had, the few people I knew who had something to do with this world, and of course, my editor. Everyone was very honest about traditional publishing and how difficult that was going to be given I’m not a celebrity and I don’t have a huge social media presence. I was just an author who spent four years writing a book! But I tried the traditional route of submitting the book to agents to then get a publisher to see how the book was being received. I must admit, even that step was confusing. Most agents didn’t seem to accept cold submissions, but I didn’t know most agents! Felt like the acting days all over again. But, I did know a few. And so did a fellow author who helped me out. Together the list was under ten – enough to get a good feel. Must admit, I got the most incredibly kind rejection letters. People really loved the novel but simply couldn’t or wouldn’t take the next step with me. I too was looking for someone passionate about my work and wanting a partnership and felt submitting to round two in this path was somehow not going to ultimately give me what I was looking for.

All the while, I researched hybrid publishers. For months the same name came back at me, She Writes Press. I kept their tab open on my computer for eight months. This process takes ages, mostly because you need others to actually read your manuscript. So after many months, I finally submitted to SWP. Their internal selection process involves a lot of work on the author’s part up front. You have to write out chapter summaries alongside all the other typical pitches/summary/one liners you present. When they ultimately said yes, and being a selective hybrid they only say yes to about 10-15% of all submissions, I was beyond thrilled. I knew instantly that this was my home – that these incredible women who started a publishing company to support authors they believed in, regardless of numbers/followers/track records, wanted my book, well, that was the best feeling in the world.

As for friends and family support – I’m blessed to have both. Having a ‘debut’ in my 50’s means that I am in unmarked territory in my life and it comes with huge vulnerability and yet a lot of life experience to help keep me positive and grounded.

What is the first job you have had?
Mrs. Fields cookies. I got fired after putting walnuts in the chocolate almond cookie.

What was your favorite subject when you were in school and why?
English. It always made sense.

Name one thing you miss about being a kid.
Not having to worry about anything.

What is your most missed memory?
My dad. He died in 2001 and I think about him all the time.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
Is there even a choice in that one?? Being in love is the most glorious states of mind to be in. It takes different shapes and energies over time, but it teaches you more about yourself than anything else possibly could. So yeah, I’d forsake a broken heart to feel what real love is for sure.

At a movie theater which arm rest is yours?
I’m the youngest of four. So, the answer has always been, both! I’ve had to fight for my turn in the front seat, my food! Brothers, right??

What is your greatest adventure?

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
Waves. After a near fatal swim in the ocean at 11 and getting chewed up and spit out by monstrous waves, I just can’t bring myself to get beyond the break without totally freaking out. Not good.

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?
Five minutes ago.
What is your happiest childhood memory?

I am lucky to have loads of happy memories of my childhood. I’d say playing knuckles card game with my two brothers and sister in a hotel room when our parents were out for dinner stands out. Not sure why, as the description of the game is in the title…if you lost the winner got to take the deck and smack your knuckles! But the joy and fun in just being together, room service and a lot of laughter. My mom took us everywhere together. That philosophy was passed down to me and my boys went en masse everywhere with me. No wonder I enjoy chaos so much! 

Vene feels like she and her mother have always been at odds—since she was a child, the first word she used to describe Olivia was “cold.” When news of her mother’s imminent death comes, Vene returns to her family’s home in Napa to see if their strained relationship can be mended, only to find Olivia as harsh as ever and their reconciliation seemingly unreachable.

But when Vene stumbles upon Olivia’s old cookbook, she discovers a passion within her mother she didn’t know existed. The clipped tone and quick judgments of her dying mother don’t match the young woman whose voice she finds between the pages—one that tells a story of romance, longing, duty, and aching heartbreak. Curiosity consumes Vene, and she embarks on an intimate journey to learn about the Olivia she never got to meet—before it’s too late.

A captivating story told in alternating perspectives a half-century apart, One Friday in Napa explores the pains and joys of devotion as two women learn the price of loyalty, the power of secrets, and the meaning of sacrifice.

You can purchase One Friday in Napa at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you JENNIFER HAMM for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of One Friday in Napa by Jennifer Hamm.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Erin Flanagan Interview - Come with Me

Photo Content from Erin Flanagan

Erin Flanagan’s third novel Come With Me (Thomas & Mercer) releases in August, 2023. Her novel Deer Season (University of Nebraska Press) won the 2022 Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author and was a finalist for the Macavity Award for Best First Mystery and the Midwest Book Award in Fiction (Literary/Contemporary/Historical). Her second novel, Blackout (Thomas & Mercer) was a June 2022 Amazon First Reads pick. She is also the author of two short story collections–The Usual Mistakes and It’s Not Going to Kill You and Other Stories–both published by UNP. She has held fellowships to Yaddo, MacDowell, The Sewanee Writers’ Conference, The Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, UCross, and The Vermont Studio Center. She contributes regular book reviews to Publishers Weekly and other venues.

Erin lives in Dayton, Ohio with her husband, daughter, two cats and two dogs. She is an English professor at Wright State University and likes all of her colleagues except one.


Greatest thing you learned at school.
I had a friend in graduate school who used to say, “A publication for one is a publication for all,” and that’s always stuck with me. She meant that if anyone in the program landed a story or a publishing deal, ultimately that reflected well on the program and everyone in it, but I think it’s even broader than that. If a friend gets a book deal or wins an award or sells another copy, that demonstrates the value of storytelling in our lives and shows that people are hungry to connect through stories. It’s a much more humane and uplifting attitude than to see all writers in competition. Incidentally, I had another friend who used to say, “It’s not enough I win; everyone else must fail,” and while I’m (pretty) sure he was joking, I also get that it’s easy to slip into feeling that way. If someone else get X that means I can’t have X, but ultimately, it leaves a person feeling bitter and like they’re always reaching. I want to enjoy this wonderful community of writers, not compete with them.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
When I was in the fourth grade, my teacher, Ms. Burns, used to put creative writing prompts on the backboard every week for us to hand in on Friday. It was by far my favorite assignment. The week before Thanksgiving that year, I wrote a story from the point-of-view of the turkey. He was in a cauldron of hot water asking for a shower cap because he thought it was a bath, not soup. This was real ground-breaking stuff lol. But Ms. Burns loved it and walked me over to the fifth graders to read to their class. It was the most terrifying public speaking event of my life, and yet I’ve been chasing that high ever since.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life in writing?
Do your best to enjoy the process and keep your life in writing separate from you life in publishing. I think too often writers are worried about things they can’t control—whether someone will publish the work, whether the book will find its readers—and as soon as you get something, all you do is worry about the next thing. I think the real joy needs to come from the work, from sitting down and playing with language and solving problems and creating worlds. I try really hard to keep my head there, because that’s where the real joy is.

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
I read A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving in 1992, and as soon as I finished the book I thought, now, how did he do that? Everything folded together so perfectly, and it seemed like not a word was wasted, and I went back and read it again right away paying attention to the plot, the point-of-view, how he stacked scenes one after another, the humor. It wasn’t the book that made me want to be a writer, but it was the book that made me want to be a reader, and an engaged one at that. I started tracking every book I read and making a conscious effort to read more closely, and the joy that reading has brought me all those years later is one of the greatest of my life.

Can you tell us when you started COME WITH ME, how that came about?
The night before I was to have a weekend retreat with my writing group my latest book idea was rejected. This isn’t unusual but the timing was awful, because rather than a weekend to really dive in and start that project, I was back to the drawing board. When we arrived at the retreat, we were all gabbing about how much we loved and admired each other—there are five women in the group—and how sometimes it takes a while to find the friends you really click with, and how that’s harder once you’re out of your twenties. We started talking about the less than wonderful friendships we’ve all had—those that were a little too intense, or happened a little too fast—and I realized what a universal experience that is. COME WITH ME was born out of those conversations.

  • 1. The audio narrator pronounces one of the main character’s names differently than I do in my head (but I think she’s right; I pronounce it like the boy’s name).
  • 2. This is my favorite cover of all my books.
  • 3. Nicola wants to have matching potted Christmas plants with Gwen outside their front doors, and I too am obsessed with matchies and always want to have them with my sister, mom, best friend, and daughter. They can be notebooks, purses, whatever. If I see we have the same thing I am contractually obligated to yell, “Matchies!”
  • 4. I wrote all the point-of-view chapters for Nicola three different ways before figuring out her voice and that she would be telling about the past not the present.
  • 5. I was signing a book for a woman at a library event in South Carolina a year ago and her name was Onita. As soon as she said it, I knew that was the name I’d been looking for to give a character in the book. I asked if I could use it and she said yes, and I warned her that Onita would be a very bad woman. She said, “so am I,” but there was a definite twinkle in her eye.
  • 6. My favorite paragraph in the book is about a 2nd grade class bird. To paraphrase: “Mr. TopHat, the class budgie, was a light-green bird with black markings on his head who loved sweet potatoes, grated carrots, and scratches. He had had a neck goiter due to an iodine deficiency, but Mr. TopHat didn’t let that get him down.” This isn’t central to the plot in any way, but I just love the pluckiness of that bird. Incidentally, my husband and daughter made me a Mr. TopHat Christmas ornament painted to his coloring specifications and with a neck goiter made out of sculpie.
  • 7. I was subliminally trying to convince my husband we should adopt a Cavapoo by writing in Maxx.
  • 8. The cuts for this book (and all my books) are much longer than what actually makes it in the book.
  • 9. Gwen refers to salmon as having the “wow factor” for her wedding dinner. I am obsessed with having a “wow factor” when I pack a lunch. Be it a special bread for a sammy or a good piece of chocolate. It makes all the difference.
  • 10. I wrote most of this novel in the Oakwood Starbucks in Dayton, Ohio, where I have a campaign going to get all the baristas to love me.
What is the first job you have had?
Cleaning out hog pens on my parents’ farm.

What was your favorite subject when you were in school and why?
Reading and writing the whole way through.

Name one thing you miss about being a kid.
Reading for 13 uninterrupted hours every Saturday.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
What should I do first? Pee, take out the dogs, or make coffee.

What is your most memorable travel experience?
I was in London last month and my husband and I went to a Costco. It was amazing. A hotdog and soda is still only 1 and a half pounds there.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
I hate emptying the dishwasher so finally timed it and it only took me 3 minutes. Now when I don’t want to do something, I think, how long is it really going to take versus how long will I dread it? It helps me to not procrastinate.

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?
I can’t wait to have coffee in the morning.

Any Camp stories you would like to share?
I went to bible camp when I was ten and we were all sliding down the wood-floored hallway in our socks when I got the great idea to take it up a notch and slide on my pillow. But instead I tripped on my pillow, knocked out my two front teeth on the floor, and had to get two root canals the next morning.

At a movie theater which arm rest is yours?
All of them.

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
Honestly, all of my fears are mundane and very universal. Fear I’m not good enough, fear I won’t be loved, fear of looking like a fool. These things suck on the unique-ness scale but are very good for writing universal stories others will identify with.

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?
Five minutes ago on the phone with my daughter.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
When my daughter was ten, she was obsessed with the game “would you rather.” “Would you rather swallow a bug or get bit by a spider?” “Would you rather poop your pants in public or break your arm?” I don’t mean to brag, but I got really good at demanding more information, debating both sides, and rationalizing my answer. So I will say here, I need to know if 1) I’ll know all along I’m going to get my heartbroken, which would make a huge difference because then I wouldn’t enjoy true love even in the beginning because I’d be waiting for the other shoe to drop. And 2) I feel it’s loophole that it doesn’t say in scenario #1 that this will be the only time I love, so things could still work out later, and so I would obviously pick that one. This is why my daughter finally stopped playing this game with me.

Two women. An old friendship rekindled. A growing fear. Not everything is as it seems in a dark and twisty novel of suspense by the Edgar Award–winning author of Deer Season.

Gwen Maner is a widowed single mom, returning to her Ohio hometown with her daughter. And thanks to former acquaintance Nicola Kimmel, this is the start of Gwen’s new and promising life.

Nicola’s secured Gwen a lucrative job, rented Gwen a house on her same street, and won the heart of Gwen’s daughter, but she almost seems too good to be true. She’s so selfless. So charismatic. And so take-charge. Gwen is sure Nicola is yearning only for someone to get close to. After all, according to Nicola, her marriage is falling apart, and her best friend just up and left one day.

But how well does Gwen really know Nicola? What does Nicola ultimately want? As their lives become more entwined, and Nicola’s grip tightens, Gwen begins to think that Nicola isn’t helping Gwen and her daughter but vying for control of every aspect of her life. And the consequences may be deadly.

You can purchase Come with Me at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you ERIN FLANAGAN for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Come with Me by Erin Flanagan.

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Friday, August 18, 2023

Alana Albertson Interview - Kiss Me, Mi Amor

Photo Content from Alana Quintana Albertson

Alana Quintana Albertson has written thirty romance novels, rescued five-hundred death-row shelter dogs, and danced one thousand rumbas. She lives in sunny San Diego with her husband, two sons, and too many pets. Most days, she can be found writing her next heart book in a beachfront café while sipping an oat-milk Mexican mocha or gardening with her children in their backyard orchard and snacking on a juicy blood orange.


Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Since being traditionally published, I have adored speaking at book festivals like San Diego Festival of the Books.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life in writing?
It’s a super brutal career. Never quit, believe in yourself, and keep writing.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Reading fiction can invoke emotions and create empathy. You can learn about history from historical fiction and also relate to people who may not be like you.

Can you tell us when you started KISS ME, MI AMOR, how that came about?
I wanted to write a book based on my mom’s family—she’s the 9th of 10 (9 girls 1 boy). I wanted to show the contrast between a traditional Mexican-American family and a more progressive one.

What were your feelings when your first novel was accepted/when you first saw the cover of the finished product?
I was over the moon when I sold the first book Ramón and Julieta of this series. The cover for Kiss Me, Mi Amor was breathtaking. I love the colors and the fields and the strawberry blossom in his hair.

Writing Behind the Scenes
I spend months actively procrastinating—dreaming about the book, the characters, taking long walks thinking about them. Then I do extensive research on their careers and the locations. The names are usually inspired by the source material (in this case, Taming of the Shrew). When I actually write, I’m a binge writer. I draft very quickly—like a full horrible first draft in less than a week. Then I slowly and painfully edit the book.

What was your favorite subject when you were in school and why? 
Math—I liked getting right answers.

What's your most missed memory? 
Anything with my late father.

What is one unique thing are you afraid of? 
I have an irrational fear of brain amoebas.

Name one thing you miss about being a kid. 
Reading all night and doing ballet every day.

It turns out that a fake relationship is the perfect recipe for a love that sizzles hotter than Santa Barbara's spiciest salsa--when it's between enemies....

Enrique Montez, smooth-talking heir to the Taco King empire, is man enough to admit that he made a critical error when he underestimated Carolina Flores. The agricultural hotshot should have been an easy conquest--who would turn down the chance to partner with California's largest fast-food chain? But instead of signing her name on the dotted line, Carolina has Enrique eating out of the palm of her hand, and when fate steps in with an unexpected opportunity, Enrique is willing to do whatever it takes to capture her heart.

Growing up as the daughter of farmworkers, Carolina spent her youth picking strawberries in the fields of Santa Maria and vowing to improve the lives of people like her parents. Now, as one of only a few Latina farm owners, she has no time for romance and she's certainly not about to let the notorious Montez brother anywhere near her business--even if just being near Enrique makes her skin tingle.

But she is willing to let him help get her overinvolved family off her back. When Carolina's father and her lovelorn sisters mistake Enrique for her (nonexistent) boyfriend, she reluctantly agrees to a series of pretend dates to their town's traditional Mexican-American holiday celebrations. Soon the fake feelings turn real and both Carolina and Enrique must convince each other to take a chance on love before their vacation romance is over.

You can purchase Kiss Me, Mi Amor at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you ALANA ALBERTSON for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Kiss Me, Mi Amor by Alana Albertson.

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