Author Interview: Anita Hughes

Tell us about your new novel, Market Street

Market Street is about the young wife of a UC Berkeley Ethics professor who discovers her husband is having an affair with his student. She must decide whether to give the marriage another chance or open a food emporium in Fenton's, her mother's exclusive San Francisco department store.

Why did you write this novel? What was your inspiration?

I love writing about San Francisco - especially high society San Francisco. It's a gorgeous setting and it is easy to fill it with interesting people. My inspiration was what does a woman do when she has devoted ten years to a marriage and discovers she can't trust her husband. Cassie wants to trust Aidan, but once trust has been shaken, it's hard to get it back.

Which of your characters do you identify with the most and why? 

I love Cassie and her best friend, Alexis. I have a particular soft spot for Alexis. Alexis looks like she has everything, but she's actually very vulnerable. And she is funny. I love humor in books.

Why did you choose San Francisco as the setting of your new novel?

I lived in the Bay Area for years and have a love affair with the city. It's a very livable city and the landmarks are recognizable to people all over the world. When I write, I feel like I am there - and San Francisco is a nice place to be!

What is the most challenging part about being a writer? What is the most rewarding?

The most challenging part about being a writer is not to write the whole book at once. I get an idea in my head and want to see the whole thing on paper - I want to read it - but it takes months to get the words and pages down. The most rewarding part of being a writer is creating characters and worlds that feel real. 

What are your favorite genres to read? 

I read mostly fiction, but within fiction just about anything. I don't read horror because I scare easily.

What was the last book you read that you loved? 

I really enjoyed The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin. I love good historical fiction because I learn something when I read.

What do you like to do for fun in your spare time?

I like to walk to the beach, and I like to eat frozen yoghurt with my children. We are big frozen yoghurt fans.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

My advice is to keep writing. When I wrote my first novel, I wrote just for me - and that's the most satisfying way to write. If I liked it, hopefully others would, too.

What are you working on now?

My next novel, Lake Como, comes out on August 13th, 2013. It is set in San Francisco and Lake Como, and it was a pleasure to write. Lake Como is gorgeous, and I felt like I was going there every day.

Thanks, Anita!

Book Giveaway & Author Interview: Cari Kamm

Tell us about your new novel, For Internal Use Only.
For Internal Use Only is a modern-day romance that uses social media and modern technology. It deals with the sensitive fact that it’s not always a given that we know everything about a person just because the information is more readily available. With the ability to be whoever we want to be, ambiguity has never been higher. The story is told through a unique social commentary, and although entertaining, it also debates the pitfalls of today’s level of transparency.

What inspired you to write this book?
Inspired by the notion that women grow up with ideas of true love and destiny, For Internal Use Only approaches those ideas with a decidedly twenty-first century viewpoint. By incorporating problems inherent with today’s dating world, this book is meant to enlighten readers to stop chasing fairy tales and start creating their own. My goal was to write a humorous love story with an edgy and dramatic twist that gives each of us a new fairy tale to look forward to: our own.

Describe the characters in the book.
Chloe Kassidy has just been accepted into one of Manhattan’s most exclusive art exhibits, Love Through Light. However, with her singular dedication to her career, she soon realizes that in sacrificing her personal life, she has never been in love. A hopeless romantic who is terrified of heartbreak, Chloe begins to enlist the help of her circle of friends to learn about love through their very different stories and experiences.

Chloe’s circle of friends include: Kate Watts, a.k.a. Kit Kat: who preferred to be solo, breaking off the male pieces that attached to her. The word soul mate almost made her nauseous. Stephanie and Alexander Cudney: who met and married with fairy tale love. Emma West: who saw signs and soul mate potentials everywhere.

Oh! Let’s not forget about the mysterious international diplomat... Christoph Kostas.

What is your philosophy on dating?
It’s super simple! When it comes to all things love, especially dating, my philosophy is For My Internal Use Only! I believe that we should follow our own rules, listen to our own head, and follow our own heart. Dating is an emotional investment and I don’t think any rules truly apply.
‘Do you wait for him to make the first move?’
‘Is it 2 or 3 days after our first date that he’ll call?’
‘Should I play hard to get?’
‘When should I let him kiss me?’
‘Is he right for me?’
I think we have the ability to create such chaos and that only leads to doubt, worry and torment. I stopped following rules several years ago. Then, one evening I bumped into a man. Our first date was on Valentine’s Day and we’ve been together ever since. That was four years ago. We probably broke every rule in the dating guidebook. He’s my partner in crime for life.

Why do you write women’s fiction?
Back in my mid-twenties, I finally figured out the value of self-worth. I write women’s fiction because I love writing and reading stories of women, their issues and gaining that sense of empowerment. Yes...we can be intelligent, funny and have a shoe obsession, even though we’re struggling. I love creating characters that are on this journey and it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a romantic one or about a man. 

Who do you turn to for encouragement when you’re writing a novel?
I turn to the amazing, supportive, and talented authors that I’ve connected with on social media! I’m grateful to be a part of several groups on Facebook. The daily sharing sends me warm fuzzy feelings, especially when I need a kick in the encouragement department!
What are your favorite genres to read?
Women’s Fiction / Chick Lit / Mystery. Until recently, I’ve been reading a lot more romance. My 80-year-old Italian grandma would be thrilled! I always caught her reading books with Fabio decorated covers.

What are your top five favorite books?
Oh...this is hard!
Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella
Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
The House of Sleep by Jonathan Coe
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

Do you prefer to write in the morning, afternoon, or at night?
First thing in the morning. Before anything can shift my mood or motivation, I make coffee and hit the keys. Even if it’s for thirty minutes or an hour. Writing is my morning stretch.

What do you like to do for fun in your spare time?
Eat! I’m a huge foodie. I blame New York City. I love to talk about food. Look at food. Eat food. I should mention that this refers to restaurants and not cooking. I don’t like to cook. I’m too exhausted to eat afterwards!  Also, I’m addicted to Soul Cycle classes. I never thought I would consider working out to be such a blast. Thankfully so... it helps with all the eating I do!

What are you working on now?
In November 2012, I participated in National Novel Writing Month and completed my third novel. It’s my first romance novel and takes place in Costa Rica. I hope to release it later this year. To learn more, please check out

I would like to give a HUGE thank you to The Chick Lit Bee for hosting me on their blog today. It’s an honor.

Thank you, Cari!
To keep in touch with Cari, connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
Book Giveaway! US only. Please leave a comment to be entered to win 1 of 2 copies of For Internal Use Only (eBook or paperback). Be sure to include your email address or Twitter/Facebook information so that we can get in touch if you win. The winners will be chosen on Friday, March 8th. Good luck!

Fifteen Firsts: Allie Larkin

What was your first car? A Mercury. It was a boat and I had to open the trunk to get the gas tank cover to release, but I loved it.

What was the first thing you learned to cook? I seem to recall I made a mean chocolate cake as a kid.

When was your first time on an airplane? I think it was a trip to Seattle.

What was your first paying job? Babysitting.

How old were you when you had your first kiss? A lady never kisses and tells. I'm not saying I'm a lady, but I'm still not going to tell you.  

What was the first concert you went to see? The Everly Brothers. I was expecting them to look like they did on their record covers, and shocked when they were thirty years older. 

When/what was your first regrettable hairstyle? I had an unfortunate perm in high school. And I cut my own bangs.

How old were you when you got your first computer? My very own computer? College, I think. It was a beast.

New release! Available now!
What was your first big purchase? Our house. It was the first time adult-ish feelings started creeping in.

What was the first book that made you cry? Little Women. I read it in fourth grade and sobbed for hours.

Where was your first road trip? To visit a college friend who lived near Albany over summer break. I took a wrong turn and ended up in Pennsylvania. 

Who was your first best friend? The new girl in third grade, but she moved away a few years later. We wrote letters through high school, but lost touch. I've tried to find her, but haven't been able to. 

When/where was your first trip abroad? Iceland. I was five or six.

Who was your first love? Chocolate. :)

Who was your first celebrity crush? I was obsessed with Jay Underwood who was in a movie called The Boy Who Could Fly.

Thanks, Allie!

20 Questions with Author Donna Joy Usher

Born in Brisbane, Donna is
now a dentist by day and
writer by night. When not
doing either of those things,
she likes spending time
with her husband and two
little dogs, fishing & camping,
motorbike riding, traveling,
drinking wine & eating
chocolate. Donna lives on the
New South Wales Central Coast.
Tara Babcock awakes the morning after 
her 30th birthday with a hangover that 
could kill an elephant - and the knowledge 
she is still no closer to achieving closure 
on her marriage breakup. Things go from 
bad to worse when she discovers that, 
not only is her ex-husband engaged to 
her cousin - Tash, the woman he left her 
for - but that Jake is also running for Lord 
Major of Sydney. Desperate to leave the 
destructive relationship behind and with 
nothing to lose, she decides- with 
encouragement from her three best 
friends - to follow the dubious advice 
from a magazine article, Closure in Seven 
Easy StepsThe Seven Steps to Closure 
follows Tara on her sometimes 
disastrous - always hilarious - path 
to achieve the seemingly impossible.
Kindle or Nook? 

iPhone or BlackBerry? 

Coke or Pepsi? 
If I had to drink one of them, I would choose Coke.

Coffee or tea? 
Both – coffee in the morning and tea at night.

Ice cream or frozen yogurt? 
Baskin Robbins Chocolate Peanut Butter ice-cream.

Flats or heels? 

Facebook or Twitter? 

     Call or text message? 

     Favorite song right now? 
     "50 Ways to Say Goodbye" by Train

     Celebrity crush? 
     Daniel Craig

     Movie you saw recently? 
     Breaking Dawn Part 2

     Favorite television show right now? 

     Favorite snack food? 
     Red Rock Deli Sea Salt Chips

     Your most overused word or phrase? 
     (According to my husband) I’m sorry, which part of that didn’t you understand?
     Your hidden talent? 
     Getting strangers up on the dance floor.

     Your biggest pet peeve? 
     Being in a confined space with someone else’s screaming child.

     Favorite activity when you’re not writing? 
     Stand up paddle boarding

     Favorite authors?
     Marian Keyes, Stephenie Meyer, Janet Evanovich, Jim Butcher, Kristy Berridge, Rachel Amphlett

     Favorite books?
     Dresden File Series and the Twilight Series

     Comment heard most often from your readers?
     I laughed out loud.

     Thanks, Donna!

20 Questions with Author Kate Moretti

Ice cream or frozen yogurt? Ice cream

Coke or Pepsi? Diet Coke

Coffee or tea? Coffee! 

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook

Flats or heels? I like heels better because I'm girly, but I wear flats more because I'm lazy.

Kindle or Nook? Kindle

Call or text message? Call - I like to hear people laugh. LOL is so.... blech.

Favorite authors? Augusten Burroughs, Micheal Connelly, Richard North Patterson, Jodi Piccoult, Anita Shreve, Toni Morrison... I could go on.

iPhone or BlackBerry? iPhone

Favorite song? My all time favorite song is Blackbird by The Beatles (although the Glee version is beautiful).

Celebrity crush? Bradley Cooper (swoon!)

Movie you saw recently? The Grinch

Favorite television show right now? Modern Family

Favorite snack food? Cookies

Your most overused word or phrase? "You know" - I say it constantly in conversation.

Your biggest pet peeve? Disingenuity

Favorite activity when you’re not writing? Reading and a long time ago, cooking. But writing has negated all free time. 

Favorite books? Rebecca, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, The Pilot's Wife, She's Come Undone

Your hidden talent? I can hear a song and figure it out on the piano. Not perfectly, but for the most part the melody and chords fall in the right place. I always wish I had developed it.

Comment heard most often from your readers? "I couldn't put it down!"

Thanks, Kate!