JeanBookNerd Storytellers BOX

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Marina Lostetter

THE HELM OF MIDNIGHT Official Blog Tour

Sean Penn

BOB HONEY WHO JUST DO STUFF

Marina Lostetter

THE HELM OF MIDNIGHT Blog Tour

Tom Bilyeu

Impact Theory

Mike Bond

AMERICA Blog Tour

William L. Myers Jr.

A KILLER'S ALIBI

Veronica G. Henry

BACCHANAL Blog Tour

E.E. KNight

NOVICE DRAGONEER

Robert McCaw

DEATH OF A MESSENGER

Gregg Olsen

SNOW CREEK Podcast

Josh Duhamel

THE BUDDY GAMES

Naomi Kristzer

CHAOS ON CATNET Official Blog Tour

Evie Green

WE HEAR VOICES

Alyson Gerber

TAKING UP SPACE Blog Tour

Gene Doucette

THE APOCALYPSE SEVEN Blog Tour

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Victoria Schade Interview - Lost, Found, & Forever


Photo Content from Victoria Schade

Victoria Schade has been a dog trainer and writer for over seventeen years. During that time her dog duties have included working behind the scenes on Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl as the lead animal wrangler, appearing on two seasons of the Animal Planet show Faithful Friends, writing dog training content and appearing in educational videos for NBC/Universal, Pet360, PawCulture and petMD, and writing two dog training books, Bonding With Your Dog and Secrets of a Dog Trainer.

Victoria shares her 1850’s always-in- need-of- renovations home with Millie the Smooth Brussels Griffon (who wants you to know that she is not a skinny pug), Olive the mixed breed dog, the occasional foster pup, and her incredibly tolerant husband, Tom.
        
  


Greatest thing you learned at school?
To be a critical thinker. I remember a media class where we watched a documentary and the instructor showed us the many subtle ways the filmmaker inserted their opinion into the narrative, which influenced the way we viewed the people in it. I think about it to this day.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Storytelling gives us a framework to process our lives. It unites us all.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I’m still thrilled when readers reach out to tell me that they were moved by my work. There’s no better feeling!

Tell us your latest news.
Silly news from the homefront: t took me 2 seasons, but I’ve finally managed to outsmart the robin that keeps attacking our windows. (He sounded like someone knocking on the door and it drove my dogs – and me – insane!)

Can you tell us when you started LOST, FOUND, AND FOREVER, how that came about?
The concept for LOST, FOUND, & FOREVER stemmed from my work on commercials and TV shows like Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl. I thought readers would enjoy a peek behind the scenes at what happens when working with animals on set. It’s fun AND stressful!

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I hope readers are thinking about how amazing our dogs are, and how much they add to our lives.

TEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT LOST, FOUND, AND FOREVER
  • 1. The book opens with mention of a dog toy that looks like something naughty, and I now have a collection of photos of R-rated dog toys thanks to readers!
  • 2. Like all of my books, I began writing LOST, FOUND, & FOREVER while on Nantucket. (My next book, DOG FRIENDLY, is set on Nantucket and thanks to the pandemic, it’s my first book not started while visiting the island.)
  • 3. My character Griffin’s name is a nod to my real-life dog Millie’s breed, Brussels Griffon
  • 4. The setting is a town called Rexford that’s based on Woodstock, NY.
  • 5. My main character Justine runs to clear her mind, but I hate running. Hate it with a passion.
  • 6. Movie and TV shows nearly always have an independent representative on set to ensure the safety of the actor animals, and that includes bugs. Malcolm’s character is based on the half dozen reps I’ve worked with on sets over the past twenty years.
  • 7. I’ve never had a dog as well-trained as Spencer. (Though both of my dogs can ring a deli bell like Spencer!)
  • 8. I include Easter eggs in all of my books that are callbacks to prior books. This one has two subtle nods to WHO RESCUED WHO.
  • 9. LOST, FOUND, & FOREVER started off as a completely different story involving a stunt man and a fake dating storyline. (I much prefer this version!)
  • 10. I got a little teary writing the HEA!
What part of Justine and Spencer did you enjoy writing the most?
I really enjoyed the Jekyll and Hyde aspect of Spencer’s personality, and how it annoyed Justine even though everything he was doing was adorable. The way he acted shifted depending on who he was hanging with, and I liked writing his lapses back into a lawless boy when he was with his former person Griffin.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
This is a fun question! I would love to introduce Elizabeth from WHO RESCUED WHO to Chloe in GET A LIFE, CHLOE BROWN. Elizabeth spends time in England (no spoilers) and I think she would enjoy hanging out with someone who knows the ropes like Chloe. (Plus, they could bond over their computer geek-ness!)

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
It’s the distraction that keeps me from everything: social media! I have to keep my phone on a different floor of my house when I’m trying to focus.

TEN WAYS YOU GET INSPIRED TO WRITE
  • 1. I read, anything and everything.
  • 2. I listen. Eavesdropping yields magic!
  • 3. I take notes in a special notebook. (Each book gets a new one.)
  • 4. I make lists upon lists.
  • 5. I collect inspo pics and articles from magazine. (Said notebook must have a pocket for everything I find.)
  •  think about tropes and plot points I enjoy in movies.
  • 7. I spend a ton of time researching potential dog characters.
  • 8. I interview subject matter experts if I haven’t had experience with a topic. (Which means I’ve talked with a shepherdess, a craft beer brewer, a few veterinarians, and several mental health professionals.)
  • 9. I cast my characters – gotta have photos of all of them.
  • 10. I procrastinate. Hey, it’s part of the process!
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Volunteer. (Preferably more than once.)

Best date you've ever had?
My first date with my husband! I love to dance, and he took me to a country bar … I knew I was in trouble when he grabbed my hand, said “C’mon” then led me to the dancefloor and taught me how to two-step. The man’s got moves!

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
The Michigan summers of my early childhood, running wild with my neighborhood friends in the woods, riding our bikes, making mischief then trudging home at dinnertime, only to do it all again the next day. It was a free-range life!

What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home?
I used to be a full-time private dog trainer, so I saw so much weirdness in my clients’ homes! One of the most memorable was in a beautiful, historical Victorian. I walked into the lovely front sitting room and discovered a giant decorated Christmas tree fully encased in plastic wrap. It was August.

What was a time in your life when you were really scared?
I’m scared any time a family member is unwell, which thankfully isn’t often. But my father’s prostate cancer diagnosis over twenty years ago was terrifying. (He’s now 85 years old and still swimming three times a week!)

If animals could talk, which would be the funniest?
Probably monkeys. They seem like they have a great sense of humor!

First Heartbreak?
My first college boyfriend freshman year broke my heart. Ohhh, the angsty journal entries from that phase. I was devastated.

Tell me about your first pet.
I come from nature-loving folks, so pets ran the gamut in our house. We had a crow and a variety of other orphaned birds, a raccoon, groundhogs, a fawn … I had a wonderful early education about animals.


What do you do when you discover your four-legged best friend might belong to someone else? From the acclaimed author of Who Rescued Who comes the charming story of a custody battle between two pet parents who would do anything for the dog they both adore.

Justine Becker could not be more in love with her rescue dog, Spencer. He's her best friend and colleague at her dog supply store, Tricks & Biscuits, in upstate New York. When she discovers a heartbreaking social media post trying to locate a dog that looks suspiciously like Spencer, Justine realizes that her beloved pup might actually belong to someone else.

Her worst fears are realized when she and Spencer meet up with Brooklyn-based Griffin McCabe, and he wants Spencer back. He claims he is the dog's rightful owner, and has the paperwork to prove it. But Justine refuses to roll over and let him take Spencer without a fight.

It's not easy juggling Spencer's burgeoning new career as a dog actor, along with the demands of her life upstate, all while constantly trying to prove she's a better pet parent than Griffin. Their not-so-friendly competition teeters on the edge of flat-out hate, so when romantic feelings for Griffin catch Justine off guard, she needs to determine if it's all part of his plot to win the pup back, or if the guy who was good enough for Spencer might also be good enough for her.

You can purchase Lost, Found, & Forever at the following Retailers:
        

1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Megs Calleja Interview - Acorns & Roots


Photo Content from Megs Calleja

Megs Calleja gained recognition with her comedy web pilot Ask Will, directed by Canadian actor & filmmaker Nicholas Carella, which has been described as “Shakespeare meets Sex & the City”. In 2017 she was commissioned to pitch her spin on the screen adaptation of e-book sensation Cupid’s Match for The CW Network. Her runner-up trailer went viral in a matter of hours. She often combines acting & writing, and her first play, Twentysomething, premiered in Canada in 2019 to full houses. In 2020, Megs published her first fantasy novel, Acorns & Roots. Megs is a sought-after theatre teacher, a lover of ecology, and a Maltese-Canadian.

          



Greatest thing you learned at school? 
Based on the Ontario curriculum’s efforts, you would think it would be SOH CAH TOA, but I have yet to use that once in my life. Mind you, I stayed far away from a career that relied on trigonometry. Still, that acronym will be burned into my brain until I die! 

Why is storytelling so important for all of us? 
I try to wrap my head around that question all the time, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to give an articulate answer. I know at our core we are living, feeling beings, and I know that stories are a reflection of life, and feeling, and being in the world. I think we gravitate towards stories for knowledge, communication, and comfort, but also for a reason that’s larger than us. Many creatives/artists say that they feel like they are answering a calling. I think humans recognize that storytelling helps us make sense of ourselves, our place in the world, the space for other people in our world, and even if you don’t identify as a story lover, I think you notice something is missing when stories are not around. They’re incredibly powerful and I love them. 

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
Honestly, every time Acorns & Roots gets picked up by a public library, I’m ecstatic. I spent thousands of hours in my local library writing and printing this manuscript, so libraries are special to me. It’s currently in many public libraries across Canada! 

Tell us your latest news. 
Promoting the book has been a full-time commitment! I have some writing projects in development, but nothing I can reveal just yet. Can’t wait to share when I’m able! 

Can you tell us when you started ACORNS & ROOTS, how that came about? 
I was sitting at my parents’ kitchen table and had this image of a young man chucking rocks at a tree to knock down fruit, and a magical creature falling from a branch on top of him instead. I started writing about how these two characters may have gotten to that point, but I was pretty casual about it, a few pages whenever I had time and energy. It actually lived untouched in an old folder for three or four years. I found a draft unintentionally when I fired up a dying laptop to transfer some files at the end of 2017, and there it was: part of a story. I started reading it, decided it was worth finishing and publishing, if only for my own personal sense of accomplishment. I don’t even remember what I was originally looking for—let’s hope it wasn’t important! 

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel? 
When I wrote Acorns & Roots, I escaped into a place that was enchanting. Crafting this world provided a sense of comfort for me. This carried into the book. The Enchanted Forest is a tad inaccessible; it only reveals itself to you when it feels you need it. My hope is that the themes of belonging, friendship, and defeating the darkness resonate with readers. I also hope readers feel encouraged to look at the forests near their own city, perhaps one that’s just on the boundary or a bit forgotten, and wonder if it could be magical, too. Even if the thought is fleeting! We need a little more wonder in our lives. 

What part of Fillii and Amer did you enjoy writing the most? 
I loved exploring their flaws. I think sometimes we craft these ideas that heroes are super-human, when really, they are super human. Both Fillii and Amer’s flaws are so important to their growth and to the larger story. 

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
I would introduce Matilda to Epie, Frip and Ponnie ’s mischievous young (Elf)child. I think they’d grow up being great friends. 

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
I want to say life was my biggest distraction, as it sat untouched for years, but I don’t think of the distraction as a bad thing. Things take time and experience. 

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives? 
Stand on a mountain and sing a power ballad into the sun. 

Best date you've ever had? 
I read this quickly, and at first thought you were asking about dates the food! I’ve been obsessed with dates and hazelnut butter on crackers lately. It’s delicious. 

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go? 
My six-year-old dance recital, and I would convince them to let me dress as Michelangelo in our Ninja Turtles jazz dance, instead of Raphael. I’m still not over it. 

What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home? 
Not weird but amazing: a three-story house build entirely around a massive tree in the center, with a spiral staircase along the trunk and window holes to accommodate branches. Surreal. 

What was a time in your life when you were really scared? 
That ride where you’re in a boat with the dolls singing in a cave at Disney World (It's a Small World) is truly messed up. I can handle scary things pretty well, but that is just not necessary to have in life. 

Where did you go on your first airplane ride? 
Paris. I was an exchange student. Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before? Go for it, we’re all a little broken. 

TEN WAYS YOU GET INSPIRED TO WRITE
  • Reading 
  • People Watching 
  • Living Life 
  • My Spotify playlists 
  • Watching films/tv shows/plays 
  • Playing my piano 
  • Having a dance party in my kitchen 
  • Going for a run or walk 
  • Throwing darts at random words on the wall 
  • Hearing from people who enjoy my writing. That one’s the best! 
Deleted Scene from ACORNS & ROOTS
There was originally an Epilogue, and the voice in the Epilogue was a bit different than the previous chapters. I don’t want to say too much as it might give away things to come, but after some editor suggestions it got reworked with the final two chapters. Ultimately the decision was left to me but the points made were valid. I considered it for a long time, and eventually decided to remove it. From a story point of view, it read stronger without it. Sometimes you have to kill your darlings. • Your journey to publication (Give us the background on your journey to publish! Tell us where and when you started. What trials you may have gone through, what the best parts were. How did your family and friends react to the news of your publication; how did they help you or inspire you?)


An indestructible object full of strong magic, tempting the darkest of souls.

Rare rainbow roots that are sold for a high price in the city, offering a young man a way to pay rent as he faces eviction.

The secret to taking down a corrupt king and avoiding disenchantment, if a young Pixie succeeds in reaching her destination.

It is believed that all of these things can be found in the Valley, accessed through an Enchanted Forest that is struggling to survive against a dark magic-harnessing monarchy. A rebellion is stirring, and when Forest Pixie Fillii falls from a tree, landing directly on top of unemployed Amer (who doesn’t believe in things like Enchanted Forests), their journeys and worlds literally collide.

With vastly different yet strangely similar backgrounds and experiences, Fillii and Amer must both decide whether they can afford to trust each other, and what is worth fighting for.

Joined by magical creatures such as Elves and a Caribou army, Fillii and Amer find themselves in the midst of an epic battle of survival, old magic, and secrets carved in stone.

You can purchase Acorns & Roots at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you MEGS CALLEJA for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Acorns & Roots by Megs Calleja.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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|Podcast| Gray - Arvind Ethan David and Milena Govich


Photo Content from Laurie Forest

Arvind Ethan David is a writer and producer of film, television, theatre, audio dramas, and comics. In comics, David was Stoker-nominated for his and Mike Carey’s Darkness Visible graphic novel, which they are currently adapting for television for Intrepid Pictures. He wrote the critically acclaimed Dirk Gently comic for three years.

In audio, David most recently wrote the Audible best-seller, The Neil Gaiman at the End of the Universe starring Neil Gaiman and Jewel Staite. In theatre, David is a lead producer on Broadway’s fifteen-time Tony-Nominated and Grammy Winning Jagged Little Pill musical, based on the seminal Alanis Morissette album. In television, David was an Executive Producer of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency for Netflix and BBC America, based on the cult Douglas Adams novel. David has produced eight feature films, including the British hit comedy The Infidel and the Asian Academy Award-winning The Garden Of Evening Mists. 

David is the Principal of Prodigal, Inc., a production company with a first-look deal with Warner Media and JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot. He lives in California with his wife Janine N’jie David and their daughter Odetta.

Milena Govich is a director, actor, and a musician who has most recently served as Co-Executive Producer/Producing Director for Dick Wolf's CBC Serie FBI. She has also directed CHICAGO FIRE, multiple episodes of CHICAGO MED, and the NBC series THE INBETWEEN, and has won numerous film festivals awards for her directing. She is known for her roles on FINDING CARTER, RESCUE ME, and LAW & ORDER, among more.  
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JEANBOOKNERD PODCAST 2021: SEASON 3 EPISODE 11
GUEST: ARVIND ETHAN DAVID AND MELINA GOVICH
JOURNALIST: ERIK WERLIN
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Praise for GRAY

“Dorian is the hero we need now. You’ll fall in love with her as she delivers justice to a modern world that’s lost…” Stephany Folsom, Screenwriter of Oscar Winning Toy Story 4 

“Gorgeous, provocative and damn hard to put down.” Diablo Cody, Oscar Winning Writer of Juno, Jennifer’s Body & Jagged Little Pill 

“Incisive, wickedly funny. Every bit as clever as it thinks it is.” Mike Carey, Eisner Nominated writer of Unwritten & Lucifer

GRAY: A Modern Retelling of Oscar Wilde’s Timeless Classic.
Starring Jagged Little Pill’s Tony nominated Lauren Pattern as Dorian Gray, with Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency alumni Samuel Barnett, Neil Brown Jr. and Emmy winner Richard Schiff

A supernatural revenge thriller and feminist-centric story that questions all assumptions Today, Arvind Ethan David’s Prodigal Entertainment, the producers behind Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Mother of Frankenstein, and Broadway’s Jagged Little Pill, and publishers Clover Press announce the cast and Kickstater campaign for the audio drama and graphic novel GRAY, a radical reimagining of Oscar Wilde's classic novel "The Picture of Dorian Gray."


A radical rework of the classic Oscar Wilde novel, GRAY is a supernatural revenge thriller about a beautiful, debauched and dangerous woman, Dorian Gray, and her mission of retribution. GRAY is told both as a beautiful graphic novel and as a full-cast audio-drama, with Emmy and Tony winning actors. 

Starring Tony nominee Lauren Patten (Broadway’s Jagged Little Pill, Blue Bloods) as Dorian Gray, Neil Brown, Jr. (SEAL Team, Straight Outta Compton) as Detective Hank Wutan, Emmy Winner Richard Schiff (The Good Doctor, The West Wing, Se7en) as Detective Augustus Bracknell, Tony Nominee Samuel Barnett (Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Penny Dreadful, The History Boys) as the villain, Baron Claus Arnheim, Kiran Deol (Sunnyside, Greatest Ever) as Gwendolyn, and to be directed by Milena Govich (FBI, Chicago Fire), who will also play the role of Mrs. Cheveley, the audio drama tells Dorian's story as a true crime investigative podcast hosted by the mysterious Speranza (currently being cast) - a new character, determined for reasons of her own to figure out the truth of what happened to the enigmatic Dorian Gray


Written by Audible Best-selling and Stoker-nominated author Arvind Ethan David (producer behind the cult hit Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and the Tony-nominated and Grammy-winning Broadway hit Jagged Little Pill), and drawn by Eugenia Koumaki, inked by Diana Greenhalgh, and colored by Joana Lafuente, GRAY touches on modern-day issues such as sexual assault and systemic racism. Prodigal Entertainment is working with RAINN (the Nation's Largest Anti-sexual Violence Organization) to provide resources to listeners and project team members around the charged issues of sexual violence that the story explores.

ABOUT CLOVER PRESS
Clover Press is a progressive, eclectic, boutique publisher. Created by the founders of IDW Publishing, Clover looks to celebrate authors and works in a non-mainstream way.
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{Nerd Blast} Red Deception by Gary Grossman & Ed Fuller



ASIN : B08TRQPG7G
Publisher : Beaufort Books (June 22, 2021)
Publication date : June 22, 2021
Language : English

Praise for RED DECEPTION

"Forget 'ripped from the headlines,' because RED DECEPTION threatens to write its own! RED DECEPTION is everything a great thriller is supposed to be! High stakes, incredible action scenes, a deadly plot, and a dynamic hero in Dan Reilly. Gary Grossman and Ed Fuller have crafted a relentlessly riveting tale that hones in on our greatest fears and takes us right to the brink in breathless fashion." —Jon Land, USA Today best-selling author

“RED DECEPTION provides an in-depth and realistic ground level view of the type of asymmetric Nation-state sponsored threats faced by the Agencies tasked with protecting the United States both domestically and abroad. Thoroughly researched with thrilling pacing, it follows a worst case scenario with the resulting fallout and a complex investigation that unfolds all over the Globe.” —Edward Bradstreet, Special Agent, Department of Homeland Security Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)

“Besides keeping us on the edge of our seats, RED DECEPTION is so prescient, filled with deep insights into the real worlds of espionage and politics, while giving us a window that sheds light onto the darkest aspects of political intrigue and human nature.” —Barry Kibrick, Host of national PBS series, Between the Lines


Intelligence experts and thriller authors concur: Red Deception is “A page-turner by authors who might as well sit on the National Security Council.”

When terrorists bomb bridges across the country and threaten the Hoover Dam, the vulnerability of America's infrastructure becomes a matter of national security. But Dan Reilly, a former Army intelligence officer, predicted the attacks in a secret State Department report written years earlier—a virtual blueprint for disaster, somehow leaked and now in the hands of foreign operatives.

With Washington distracted by domestic crises, Russian President Nicolai Gorshkov sends troops to the borders of Ukraine and Latvia, ready to reclaim what he feels is Russia's rightful territory. Tensions in Europe threaten to boil over as a besieged American president balances multiple crises that threaten to upend the geopolitical order.

This is the chaos into which Reilly leaps headfirst. Reilly's position as Global Head of Security for the Kensington Royal Hotel Corporation means he must keep his customers and staff safe as the crisis envelopes countries across three continents. His past as a State Department analyst means he recognizes the connections behind the seemingly disparate terror attacks, assassination plots, and authoritarian power plays that dominate the headlines. But it's the very knowledge that makes him good at his job that also makes him a target—to the press, to the government, and to the forces gathering for another assault on America.

Follow Reilly as he travels the world to safeguard both his company's assets and his country's secrets. With the US at the mercy of an egomaniacal leader, and reporters and covert agents on his tail, he may be the one man who can connect the dots before an even bigger catastrophe unfolds.

RED DECEPTION is the second book in the RED Hotel series.

You can purchase Red Deception at the following Retailers:
 

Photo Content from Gary Grossman & Ed Fuller

ED FULLER
is CEO of Laguna Strategic Advisors, a global consortium providing business consulting services worldwide. He has served on both business and charitable boards during his forty-year career with Marriott International where he was chief marketing officer followed by 22 years as president and managing director of Marriott International.

Under his management the international division grew from 16 to 550 hotels in 73 countries with 80,000 associates and sales of 8 billion dollars. Upon retirement, Ed repurposed his career in several arenas. He has served on five university boards as well as adjunct professor for both MBA and undergraduate students. For over four years he was a blogger for Forbes and other tourism and lodging industry media.

As author Ed published ‘You Can’t Lead with Your Feet on the Desk’ in English, Japanese and Chinese distributed throughout the world. In 2018 he and co-author Gary Grossman released their high energy thriller Red Hotel and in 2021 will release Red Deception, followed by Red Chaos as part of the Red Hotel series. Ed served as an Army captain in both Germany and Vietnam, receiving the Bronze Star and the Army Commendation medals. He and his wife Michela reside in Orange County, California.

GARY GROSSMAN’s first novel, Executive Actions, propelled him into the world of geopolitical thrillers. Executive Treason, Executive Command, and Executive Force further tapped Grossman’s experience as a journalist, newspaper columnist, documentary television producer, reporter, and media historian.

In addition to the bestselling Executive series, Grossman wrote the international award-winning Old Earth, a geological thriller that spans all of time. With Red Hotel and Red Deception, his collaborations with Ed Fuller, Grossman entered a new realm of globe-hopping thriller writing.

Grossman has contributed to the New York Times and the Boston Globe, and was a columnist for the Boston Herald American. He covered presidential campaigns for WBZ-TV in Boston. A multiple Emmy series and specials for networks including NBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, Fox, History Channel, Discovery and National Geographic Channel. He served as chair of the Government Affairs Committee for the Caucus for Producers, Writers and Directors, and is a member of the International Thriller Writers Association and Military Writers Society of America. He is a trustee at Emerson College and serves on the Boston University Metropolitan College Advisory Board. Grossman has taught at Emerson College, Boston University, USC, and currently teaches at Loyola Marymount University.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Laura Hankin Interview - A Special Place for Women


Photo Credit: Katie Tamaro

Laura Hankin is the author of HAPPY & YOU KNOW IT and has written for McSweeney’s and HuffPost, among other publications. The viral videos that she creates and stars in with her comedy duo, Feminarchy, have been featured in Now This, The New York Times, and Funny or Die. She grew up in Washington, D.C. and now lives in New York City, where she has performed off-Broadway, acted onscreen, and sung to far too many babies.

        
  


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?
My favorite book of all time is I CAPTURE THE CASTLE by Dodie Smith, a coming-of-age story about a young woman in England who lives in a crumbling castle with her family, and what happens when she falls in love with an American who comes to town. It has one of the most charming narrators in fiction, I think, and it’s so wise about life and love and growing up, even as it’s also incredibly funny and romantic. Recently, like everyone else, I loved THE VANISHING HALF by Brit Bennett. Well-done historical fiction really intimidates/impresses me, and she created something that was gorgeous and complex, but also a real pageturner.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I still think about a Goodreads review I saw (even though I mostly try to stay off of Goodreads!) about my previous novel, HAPPY & YOU KNOW IT, which came out in May 2020. The reader said it was the first book she’d been able to finish since the pandemic started, and it had really distracted her from everything going on in the world. Just knowing that I’d been able to give someone joy during a scary time gave me joy during a scary time!

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
The Internet! Always the Internet! For some reason I can never stop checking my email/social media – what if I miss the one message/tweet/like that’s going to change my life??

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
Cheryl Strayed’s TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS, a collection of her Dear Sugar advice columns, taught me so much about empathy and patience. Her answer to a reader asking what she wished she’d known in her twenties resonated with me so much that I printed it out and put it up on my wall. She talks about leaving relationships that aren’t right for you, even if you love the person, and about how “the useless days will add up to something… the hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks… these things are your becoming.” That was so useful for me when I was worried that I’d never succeed as a writer, when I felt like time was just slipping away from me, and it helped give me the strength I needed to persevere.

Tell us about A SPECIAL PLACE FOR WOMEN! Why did you write this book?
A SPECIAL PLACE FOR WOMEN is about a journalist who infiltrates a top-secret club for the elite women of NYC, hoping to uncover their secrets. I was inspired to write it after visiting an all-women networking/coworking space for coffee with an acquaintance who was a member. I was so fascinated by how this place, which billed itself as a utopia for women, actually made me feel very self-conscious and excluded – I didn’t feel impressive or cool enough to belong with them! So I wanted to explore the rise of these kinds of women-only places, the benefits and the drawbacks, as well as our own desperate need to belong.

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from A SPECIAL PLACE FOR WOMEN
There’s a scene set at a gala, where SO MUCH DRAMA HAPPENS. All of our major characters are gathered together in one fancy, proper place. The heroine has one last shot to impress the leader of the club, and the stakes are very high. Meanwhile, both men in the love triangle have shown up, and I got to play with some of my favorite rom-com tropes, and it was so much fun!

I also loved writing a sequence where the women in the club take the protagonist out of town and to a cabin in the woods, and some very intense developments ensue. Writing about New York City is one of my favorite things, but there’s something so fun in removing your characters from their normal habitats and letting them get truly wild.

TEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT A SPECIAL PLACE FOR WOMEN
  • 1. I went to visit a psychic for research. (She told me I’d live to my late nineties and get married sooner than I thought!)
  • 2. The character I had the most fun writing was Vy, the experimental artist.
  • 3. To write one particular scene where the women are dancing together, I put “Slow Burn” by Kacey Musgraves on repeat and danced around by myself, trying to really imagine everything as vividly as possible. It was super-helpful!
  • 4. This one has a BIG twist about 60 percent of the way through, and it’s been very hard figuring out how to talk about the book without talking about that!
  • 5. One of the inspirations behind the plot? The Drew Barrymore ‘90s rom-com NEVER BEEN KISSED.
  • 6. My fiancĂ© actually suggested one of my favorite jokes in the book – that one of the characters has an emotional support snake.
  • 7. This was the first book I ever wrote on a deadline, which was exciting and terrifying. I went through a couple different ideas that didn’t work before I landed on this one, and was getting worried I was never going to find the right story!
  • 8. Right as I was handing in my draft of this, I found out about another book based on an all-women networking space, and got worried I’d have to throw out my whole novel! Luckily, they’re very different stories and go in wildly different directions. But if you’d like a companion piece to this, check out THE HERD by Andrea Bartz!
  • 9. To write about Margot, the astrology guru, I downloaded Co-Star, and got far too into that app for a little while.
  • 10. Yes I do have a folder of pictures of celebrities who I think could play my main characters on my computer, and I did look at them for inspiration while writing. Just a few? Aubrey Plaza for Jillian, the protagonist, and Milo Ventimiglia for Miles, her editor.
Meet the Characters
My protagonist, Jillian, is in… a rough spot. She’s lost her job at a new media outlet, her mother recently died, she has an inconvenient crush on her married former boss. Now, she feels like she has one last chance to make her name. She’s never considered herself much of a club person (she’d rather snark in the corner), but she’ll do anything to get this story. And as she’s drawn further in, she finds that, to her surprise, she really likes belonging.

Her description of herself:
Growing up, I’d longed to be one of those compact girls who got to make an adorable fuss about how they could never reach things on high shelves. But I’d just kept growing, not quite tall enough to be a model (also not pretty, thin, or interested enough), until I gave off the vibe of a grasshopper trying to masquerade as a human. All in all, my body and I were like coworkers. I appreciated when it performed well, I got annoyed about all the skills it lacked, and I didn’t want to have to see it on nights and weekends.

A few of the women in the club:
Margot is the captivating astrology guru. In a former life, she might’ve been a muse who flamed out young, immolated by the power of her unused ambition. But now, she’s a maverick, charismatic and mysterious.

Caroline is the “girl-boss,” the kind of woman who seems like she’ll truly be able to have it all. Tiny, red-haired, and running fast on some internal battery. Jillian is somewhat terrified to cross her.

Vy is the experimental mixed media artist, who Jillian has never seen crack a smile. According to Jillian, she is “tall and intensely pale, almost translucent, with white‐blond hair cropped short. It was a pixie cut, technically, but she had nothing of a pixie’s mischief about her. She looked more like she prowled snowy Norwegian woods until she came upon a reindeer and ripped out its heart.”

Writing Behind the Scenes
I changed Jillian’s name halfway through! I was calling her “Abby” but that didn’t quite seem to fit the woman she became. So I did a find-and-replace, which mostly worked wonders except for the times I ended up describing a design style as “shjillian-chic.”


It's a club like no other. Only the most important women receive an invitation. But one daring young reporter is about to infiltrate this female-run secret society, whose beguiling members are caught up in a dark and treacherous business.

For years, rumors have swirled about an exclusive, women-only social club where the elite tastemakers of NYC meet. People in the know whisper all sorts of claims: Membership dues cost $1,000 a month. Last time Rihanna was in town, she stopped by and got her aura read. The women even handpicked the city's first female mayor. But no one knows for sure.

That is, until journalist Jillian Beckley decides she's going to break into the club. With her career in freefall, Jillian needs a juicy scoop, and she has a personal interest in bringing these women down. But the deeper she gets into this new world--where billionaire "girlbosses" mingle with the astrology-obsessed--the more Jillian learns that bad things happen to those who dare to question the club's motives or giggle at its outlandish rituals.

The select group of women who populate the club may be far more powerful than she ever imagined.

And far more dangerous too.

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