Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Guest Post with Amy Poeppel - Musical Chairs

Photo Credit: George Baier IV

Amy Poeppel grew up in Dallas, Texas. She graduated from Wellesley College and worked as an actress in the Boston area, appearing in a corporate industrial for Polaroid, a commercial for Brooks Pharmacy, and a truly terrible episode of America’s Most Wanted, along with other TV spots and several plays. While in Boston, she also got her M.A. in Teaching from Simmons College.

She is married to David Poeppel, a neuroscientist at NYU and Director of the Max Planck Institute in Frankfurt. For the past thirty years, they have lived in many cities, including San Francisco, Berlin, and New York, and had three sons along the way. Amy taught high school English in the Washington, DC suburbs, and after moving to New York, she worked as an assistant director of admissions at an independent school where she had the fulfilling experience of meeting and getting to know hundreds of applicant families.

She attended sessions at the Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Unit and wrote the theatrical version of Small Admissions, which was performed there as a staged reading in 2011. Amy’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Rumpus, Working Mother, Points In Case, The Belladonna, and Literary Mama. You can read an interview with Amy on Authors Answer.


1. Bridget Stratton, the main character of my new book MUSICAL CHAIRS, is a cellist, the single mother of twin 26-year-olds, and the daughter of Edward Stratton, a famous and well-respected composer/conductor. Unlucky in love, Bridget is hopeful, self-deprecating, and generous. Although she was born into a wealthy family, she’s very down-to-earth. She has a weakness for wine and cheese. 

2. Will is another one of the main characters in MUSICAL CHAIRS. He is handsome, kind, loyal, and barely making ends meet as a pianist. He and Bridget have been friends since college and are the founders of a classical chamber group, The Forsythe Trio. Will has a beloved Labrador and mixes a very good martini. I would marry him in a heartbeat. 

3. I would not marry Gavin. Gavin, the third member of the original Forsythe Trio, is a virtuoso violinist. He’s an unfortunate combination of insecure and arrogant. If you scratch the surface, you’ll find he has a sweet disposition underneath his cocky demeanor. He is known to make a terrible first impression, but he’ll grow on you if given the chance. His hair is thinning, but he’d rather you not notice. 

4. Jackie, the new assistant to Bridget’s famous father, finds herself at the Stratton’s fancy estate in the middle of the Connecticut countryside. She could not possibly feel more out of place. Her first evening with the Stratton family, when she’s trying to fit in, she downs a bit too much rosĂ© too quickly on a very empty stomach and is mortified (as well as hungover) the next day. Much to her relief, she is among friends who don’t judge. Jackie is a runner.

5. Allison, the main character of LIMELIGHT, is a mom and high school teacher who believes she can handle whatever teenagers throw her way. However, when she meets a young, spoiled, celebrity pop singer and decides to help him out, she’s tested beyond what she could have ever imagined. A big fan of Broadway theater, Allison has romantic ideas about life in New York City which don’t always meet reality. 

6. Carter Reid is an uber-famous celebrity who has moved to New York from LA because he was cast in a big Broadway show. He’s foul-mouthed and bratty but a very talented singer and dancer. Under all the attitude and bravado, there’s a decent kid, even though he spends too much time partying and playing video games. He is devoted to his pet turtle. 

7. Owen is the housekeeper in the very posh Central Park West condo where Carter is living. I want Owen in my life! He gets things done and anticipates every need: groceries are bought, laundry is cleaned, lightbulbs are replaced, leaky sinks are fixed, and fabulous meals are served. He’s got a dry humor and is very private about his life. 

8. Kate is the main characters in SMALL ADMISSIONS, and when the book begins, she is a hot mess. She’s been dumped by her French almost-fiancĂ© and can’t seem to pull herself together. When she lands a job in the admissions department at a fancy private school in Manhattan, she slowly emerges from her slump. Meeting kids and parents, all vying for admission, she discovers quite a few things about what rejection has meant in her own life. Kate often looks adorable without trying.

9. Henry Bigley is the boss we all wish we had. He’s supportive, kind, and has complete confidence that you can do all the work you’re pretty sure you’re not even remotely qualified to do. He’s calm under pressure and would never lose his temper. His wardrobe could use a little help. 

10. Maureen works with Kate in the admissions department at Hudson Day School and is possibly my favorite character of them all. She’s wickedly funny and has a weakness for chocolate. She may act like she doesn’t care about anyone, but she’s fiercely loyal underneath.

The “quick-witted and razor-sharp” (Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six) author of Limelight and Small Admissions returns with a hilarious and heartfelt new novel about a perfectly imperfect summer of love, secrets, and second chances.

Bridget and Will have the kind of relationship that people envy: they’re loving, compatible, and completely devoted to each other. The fact that they’re strictly friends seems to get lost on nearly everyone; after all, they’re as good as married in (almost) every way. For three decades, they’ve nurtured their baby, the Forsyth Trio—a chamber group they created as students with their Juilliard classmate Gavin Glantz. In the intervening years, Gavin has gone on to become one of the classical music world’s reigning stars, while Bridget and Will have learned to embrace the warm reviews and smaller venues that accompany modest success.

Bridget has been dreaming of spending the summer at her well-worn Connecticut country home with her boyfriend Sterling. But her plans are upended when Sterling, dutifully following his ex-wife’s advice, breaks up with her over email and her twin twenty-somethings arrive unannounced, filling her empty nest with their big dogs, dirty laundry, and respective crises.

Bridget has problems of her own: her elderly father announces he’s getting married, and the Forsyth Trio is once again missing its violinist. She concocts a plan to host her dad’s wedding on her ramshackle property, while putting the Forsyth Trio back into the spotlight. But to catch the attention of the music world, she and Will place their bets on luring back Gavin, whom they’ve both avoided ever since their stormy parting.

With her trademark humor, pitch-perfect voice, and sly perspective on the human heart, Amy Poeppel crafts a love letter to modern family life with all of its discord and harmony. In the tradition of novels by Maria Semple and Stephen McCauley, Musical Chairs is an irresistibly romantic story of role reversals, reinvention, and sweet synchronicity.

You can purchase Musical Chairs at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you AMY POEPPEL for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel.


  1. "What are you most passionate about today?" My pirate dvds of a fun Australian kids' show (the only way I could get this show) are going haywire from old-age! Oh, woe!

  2. My nieces and my backyard animals/birds.

  3. Umm good question...I guess I'm most passionate about staying healthy and losing weight today.

  4. Staying healthy and knitting and crocheting for the Chase the Chill charity group.

  5. I am focusing on myself and my family during this crisis.

  6. This particular day I’m focused on making halloween wreaths for my family

  7. I was most passionate about cooking today.

  8. Abandoned places - many people would find it weird, but I am really passionate about abandoned places. Many places are just a mystery. How many times a day do we walk beside abandoned buildings? I see them everyday… everywhere! What happened to them? I love to explore abandoned buildings