My Oxford Year Julia Whelan from William Morrow  //  HarperCollins Set amidst the breathtaking beauty of Oxford, this sparkling debut novel ...

Exclusive Sneak Peek: My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan + Giveaway (US/Can)

My Oxford Year
Julia Whelan
from William Morrow // HarperCollins

Set amidst the breathtaking beauty of Oxford, this sparkling debut novel tells the unforgettable story about a determined young woman eager to make her mark in the world and the handsome man who introduces her to an incredible love that will irrevocably alter her future�perfect for fans of JoJo Moyes and Nicholas Sparks.

American Ella Durran has had the same plan for her life since she was thirteen: Study at Oxford. At 24, she�s finally made it to England on a Rhodes Scholarship when she�s offered an unbelievable position in a rising political star�s presidential campaign. With the promise that she�ll work remotely and return to DC at the end of her Oxford year, she�s free to enjoy her Once in a Lifetime Experience. That is, until a smart-mouthed local who is too quick with his tongue and his car ruins her shirt and her first day.

When Ella discovers that her English literature course will be taught by none other than that same local, Jamie Davenport, she thinks for the first time that Oxford might not be all she�s envisioned. But a late-night drink reveals a connection she wasn�t anticipating finding and what begins as a casual fling soon develops into something much more when Ella learns Jamie has a life-changing secret.

Immediately, Ella is faced with a seemingly impossible decision: turn her back on the man she�s falling in love with to follow her political dreams or be there for him during a trial neither are truly prepared for. As the end of her year in Oxford rapidly approaches, Ella must decide if the dreams she�s always wanted are the same ones she�s now yearning for.


I wake up in a moment of panic when the bus I�d boarded back at Heathrow jerks to a stop, sending the book on my lap to the floor. Hastily retrieving it, I force my sleepy eyes to take in the view from the floor-to-ceiling window in front of me. I chose the seat on the upper level at the very front, wanting to devour every bit of English countryside on the way to Oxford. Then I slept through it.

Pushing through the fog in my head, I peer outside. A dingy bus stop in front of a generic cell phone store. I look for a street sign, trying to get my bearings. My info packet from the college said to get off at the Queens Lane stop on High Street. This can�t be it. I glance behind me and no one on the bus is moving to get off, so I settle back into my seat.

The bus starts up again, and I breathe deeply, trying to wake up. I jam the book into my backpack. I�d wanted to finish it before my first class tomorrow, but I can�t focus. I was too excited to eat or sleep on the plane. My empty stomach and all-nighter is catching up to me. The time difference is catching up to me. The last twelve years spent striving for this moment is catching up to me. Inside my jacket pocket, my phone vibrates. I pull it out and see the same number from earlier. I take a deep breath and preemptively answer, �Gavin, listen, I was thinking, let�s do a trial period of, say, a month, and if you feel that I need to be there��

�Not necessary."

My throat tightens. �Please, just give me thirty days to prove that��

�It�s fine. I made it work. Just remember who comes first.�

Elation breaks through the fog. My fist clenches in victory and my smile reaches all the way to my temples. �Absolutely,� I say in my most professional voice. �Thank you so much for this opportunity. You won�t be disappointed.�

�I know that. That�s why I hired you. What�s your fee? FYI: there�s no money.�

There�s never any money. I tell him my fee anyway and we settle on something that I can live with. The Rhodes is paying my tuition and lodging and I get a small stipend for living expenses on top of that. I decide right then that what Gavin�s going to pay me will go directly into my travel budget.

�Now, go,� he says, �Have fun. You�ve clearly earned it. There�s a pub you should visit in the center of town. The Turf. See where one of your fellow Rhodes Scholars�a young William Jefferson Clinton� �didn�t� inhale.�

�Ha, got it. Will do.�

�Just take your phone with you. Your phone is an appendage, not an accessory. Okay?�

I nod even though he can�t see me. �Okay. It�s a plan.� Just as I say this, the bus rounds a bend and there she is:

Oxford.

Beyond a picturesque bridge, the narrow two-lane road continues into a bustling main street, lined on each side by buildings with a hodge-podge of architectural styles, no room to breathe between them. Like the crowd at the finish line of a marathon, these buildings cheer me on, welcoming me to their city. Some are topped with sloped, slate roofs, others with battlements. Some of the larger buildings have huge wooden gates that look as if they were carved in place, a fusion of timeless wood and stone that steals my breath. Maybe those doors lead to some of the 38 individual Oxford colleges? Imagining it, dreaming of it all these years, doesn�t do it justice.

I look skyward. Punctuating the horizon are the tips of other ancient buildings, high-points of stone bordering the city like beacons.

�The City of Dreaming Spires,� I murmur to myself.

�Indeed it is,� Gavin says in my ear. I�d forgotten he was still on the line.

That�s what they call Oxford. A title well deserved. Because that means, before it was my dream or Seventeen Magazine girl�s dream, it was someone else�s dream as well.

Giveaway!

Books � la Mode is giving away one print copy of My Oxford Year�yay!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
If you could study abroad in any city or at a specific school, where would you choose?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Julia and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Clich�d (and obvious for me), but Paris!

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher�a huge thank you to the lovely folks at HarperCollins!
Giveaway ends May 14th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada readers only�sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for the list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

0 coment�rios:

The Beauty of Dirty Skin Whitney Bowe Little, Brown and Company  // Hachette Internationally renowned dermatologist and research scientist D...

The Beauty of Dirty Skin by Whitney Bowe Giveaway (US only)

The Beauty of Dirty Skin
Whitney Bowe
Little, Brown and Company // Hachette

Internationally renowned dermatologist and research scientist Dr. Whitney Bowe presents, for the first time, the connection between a healthy gut and radiant, clear skin, with a 21-day program to maximize skin health and beauty.

Every year, nearly 80 million Americans will consult their doctors about their skin. In fact, skin disorders beat out anxiety, depression, back pain, and diabetes as the number one reason Americans see their doctors. Unfortunately, however, the vast majority will receive only a surface-level treatment, leaving the underlying conditions at the root of their skin issues unresolved. Skin doesn�t lie; it reflects overall health in unimaginable ways.

In The Beauty of Dirty Skin, internationally renowned dermatologist and scientist Dr. Whitney Bowe shows readers that skin health is much more than skin deep. As a pioneering researcher on the cutting edge of the gut-brain-skin axis, she explains how the spectrum of skin disorders�from stubborn acne and rosacea to psoriasis, eczema, and premature wrinkling�are manifestations of irregularities rooted in the gut. Lasers, scalpels, creams, and prescription pads alone will not guarantee the consistently healthy, glowing skin we all seek. Instead, Dr. Bowe focuses on the microbiome�where trillions of microbes �speak� to your skin via the brain�and highlights the connection between sleep, stress, diet, gastrointestinal health, and the health of your skin.

With simple explanations of the science, do-it-yourself practical skincare strategies, and a life-changing 21-day program, The Beauty of Dirty Skin is your roadmap to great skin from the inside out and the outside in.

Giveaway!

Books � la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Beauty of Dirty Skin�yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What do you do to take care of your skin?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Whitney and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

I'm a bit of a freak about skincare. I love all sorts of serums, creams, masks, and of course sunscreen to protect my skin! I also try to drink lots of water and get enough sleep, but I need to read up more about the gut-brain-skin axis and see what I can do to improve that.

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publicist�a huge thank you to the lovely folks at FSB Associates!
Giveaway ends May 11th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US readers only�sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for the list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

0 coment�rios:

I'd like to welcome Joanne Serling to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of  Good Neighbors  from Twelve , a Grand Centra...

Interview with Joanne Serling, Author of Good Neighbors + Giveaway (US/Can)

I'd like to welcome Joanne Serling to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of Good Neighbors from Twelve, a Grand Central Publishing and Hachette imprint!

Welcome to Books � la Mode, Joanne! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

Joanne Serling�s fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in New Ohio Review and North American Review. She is a graduate of Cornell University and studied and taught fiction at The Writers Studio in New York City. She lives outside of New York with her husband and children and is at work on her second book.

It's amazing to get to feature you today! Readers, here's a bit about the book, which hit shelves in February:

A searing portrait of suburbia, friendship, and family strained by a devotion to false appearances.

In an idyllic suburb, four young families quickly form a neighborhood clique, their friendships based on little more than the ages of their children and a shared sense of camaraderie. When one of the couples, Paige and Gene Edwards, adopt a four-year-old girl from Russia, the group�s loyalty and morality is soon called into question. Are the Edwards unkind to their new daughter? Or is she a difficult child with hidden destructive tendencies?

As the seams of the group friendship slowly unravel, neighbor Nicole Westerhof finds herself drawn further into the life of the adopted girl, forcing Nicole to re-examine the deceptive nature of her own family ties, and her complicity in the events unfolding around her.

What was the inspiration for the plot?

I originally wanted to write a short story about resilience and parenting. I was interested in exploring the ways that children can survive all kinds of difficult circumstances and grow up to be relatively stable and mature. But as I got further into the material, I found that I was as interested in the community as I was in the girl. I don�t think it�s a coincidence that that I grew up with a single mom in a tight knit community in which we relied on our neighbors a great deal. The adoption itself was a bit of a literary device. I knew that Nicole, the main character, considered herself to be an outsider and I wanted her attraction to the little girl to be based on what she saw as a similar life condition.


How did you come up with the characters and setting? How much was drawn from real life?  

I was an Editor for an affluent suburban magazine while I was writing Good Neighbors. Meeting so many different families, touring their homes and getting an inside look at their aspirations and anxieties had a huge influence on the setting and the themes of the book. But fiction is never straightforward. Your experiences get mixed up with your imagination and appear on the page as something recognizable yet invented.


As a huge fan of first lines, I�d love to hear the first line of Good Neighbors. Could you give us a brief commentary?

The book begins with a prologue entitled, �What We Thought We Knew� and the first sentence is:
We knew we lived on the nicest street in the nicest neighborhood in Fair Lawn.
Believe it or not, this was one of the last sentences I wrote. I�d finished a fifth or sixth draft of the book and was getting ready to send it out to agents when the prologue arrived like a song in my head. I had to pull my car over and start typing into my phone to get it all down. After spending so much time with my characters in their world, I suddenly understood that this was a book about people who had an idea about themselves that would be dramatically challenged by the end of the story.

Chilling how that expectation will be subverted! Did you also have the ending in mind?

I always knew that it would be ambiguous but it wasn�t until about draft 6 that I knew that it also needed to be dramatic and tragic. You cannot live a life of self-deception and not have tragedy creep up on you.

What are the novels that have most significantly influenced your life and your writing?

Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell had a huge influence on me as a writer. It�s an indelible portrait of a housewife navigating the changing American landscape between the first and second world wars. Besides loving the depth and simplicity of the writing, I was amazed at the similarities between the domestic world of Mrs. Bridge and modern American motherhood.

I had a similarly charged reaction when I read That Night by Alice McDermott. Never before had I never read an author who unfolded a single event so masterfully, turning ordinary life into something dramatic and powerful in the process. McDermott showed me that everyday life can be made extraordinary with enough love and connection to the material.

I would be remiss if I didn�t also mention Kate Walbert�s Our Kind in this list. Her wonderful stories about a certain generation of upper middle class women, told in the first-person plural, were like a gateway drug for me. For many years and many drafts, I used a similar narrative style to help tell the story of Good Neighbors. Eventually, I switched the narrative to first person and relegated the large �we� narrator to the prologue and epilogue, but Walbert�s book was a huge inspiration.


What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Although I shouldn�t feel guilty about this, I love taking a break around 5pm to read in bed. There are usually a million things I should be doing, like starting dinner or paying bills, but thumbing my nose at my responsibilities gives me enormous pleasure and actually makes me a lot more efficient when I get back to business. I only wished I remembered to do it more often.

Where can you be found on the web?


Before we conclude this interview, what's something you'd like to ask our readers?

Do you believe Nicole did the right thing in Good Neighbors by calling Child Protective Services to report her suspicions about her neighbors? Why or why not?

It was a pleasure to be able to get to know you better today, Joanne! Thank you again for dropping by, and best of luck with future endeavors!

Giveaway!

Books � la Mode is giving away one print copy of Good Neighborswoohoo! To enter, all you have to do is answer Joanne's question in the comments below:
Do you believe Nicole did the right thing in Good Neighbors by calling Child Protective Services to report her suspicions about her neighbors? Why or why not?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Joanne and I really want to hear your thoughts! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher�a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at TLC Book Tours and Twelve Books!
Giveaway ends May 9th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar on the right for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide�there are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

0 coment�rios:

I'd like to welcome Robert Dugoni  to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of  The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell  from Lake...

Interview with Robert Dugoni, Author of The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell + Giveaway (US only)

I'd like to welcome Robert Dugoni to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell from Lake Union, an Amazon imprint!

Welcome to Books � la Mode, Robert! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and #1 Kindle bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite series, which has sold millions of copies worldwide. Dugoni is also the author of the bestselling David Sloane series as well as the stand-alone novels The 7th Canon(a 2017 finalist for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for best novel), The Cyanide Canary (a Washington Post Best Book of the Year), and several short stories. He is the recipient of the Nancy Pearl Award for Fiction, and the Friends of Mystery, Spotted Owl Award for the best novel in the Pacific Northwest. He is a two time finalist for the International Thriller Writers award and the Mystery Writers of America Award for best novel.

His books are sold worldwide in more than 25 countries and have been translated into more than two dozen languages including French, German, Italian and Spanish.

It's amazing to get to feature you today! Readers, here's a bit about the book, which will hits shelves today:

From #1 Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni.

Sam Hill always saw the world through different eyes. Born with red pupils, he was called �Devil Boy� by his classmates; �God�s will� is what his mother called his ocular albinism. Her words were of little comfort, but Sam persevered, buoyed by his mother�s devout faith, his father�s practical wisdom, and his two other misfit friends.

Sam believed it was God who sent Ernie Cantwell, the only African American kid in his class, to be the friend he so desperately needed. And that it was God�s idea for Mickie Kennedy to storm into Our Lady of Mercy like a tornado, uprooting every rule Sam had been taught about boys and girls.

Forty years later, Sam, a small-town eye doctor, is no longer certain anything was by design�especially not the tragedy that caused him to turn his back on his friends, his hometown, and the life he�d always known. Running from the pain, eyes closed, served little purpose. Now, as he looks back on his life, Sam embarks on a journey that will take him halfway around the world. This time, his eyes are wide open�bringing into clear view what changed him, defined him, and made him so afraid, until he can finally see what truly matters.

At its core, Sam Hill�s story is about how to deal with life�s many challenges. For Sam, this takes many forms: cashing in on his �prayer bank,� hiding his condition behind brown contact lenses, and eventually standing up to a bully, to name a few. What do you want your readers to take away from this novel about overcoming struggles and handling adversity?

Mainly, that we all have struggles, that we all face adversity, but that none of us is alone, and there will always be another day if we choose to find it. Too often, I think, we feel alone and we let our problems overwhelm us. We�re embarrassed to share them. We think it will reflect poorly on us as a whole, that people will shun us and treat us as different. Struggles and adversity are two things that bond us as human beings because they are universal. What we all need to accept is there are problems we can work to solve, and there are problems that our out of our control, like my brother being born with Down Syndrome. Those problems that are out of our control we have to accept and trust that they exist for a reason, whether we can see that reason or not.

You chose to tackle a difficult subject�religion�and paint it in many different lights. Madeline is the devout Catholic who looks to the Blessed Mother for intervention. Sister Beatrice should be the model Catholic but is wrestling her own demons. Mickey and Ernie reject, or at least ignore, their Catholic upbringing. And Sam falls somewhere in between: he questions his belief frequently, but always remembers his mother�s words that everything is �God�s will.� Is there any underlying message about faith you wanted to convey through your characters?

Religion is complicated. Organized religion is something that is perpetuated by men and women and those men and women are fallible. Faith is not religion. Religion is tangible, with its sacraments and its rituals and its masses. Faith is intangible. You can�t touch it. You can�t prove there is or is not a God. You just have to believe or not believe.

During the writing of the novel I was searching for that one thread that would pull a reader through the story to the very end, and I found that thread as I drove my family to church. What does Sam Hill want more than anything else in the world? He wants what we all want. He wants to believe. He wants to believe there is a God, and that all his trials and tribulations have a purpose. He wants to believe that his life is pre-destined, that he will lead the extraordinary life his mother so steadfastly believes in. We all want that to some extent. Faith is also a gift. Some of us receive it from parents or spouses, some from friends, and some directly from God. Some never receive that gift, but live extraordinary lives just the same. I�ve always said that if I had to choose between faith and religion, I�d choose faith.


One of the most common topics in the media lately has been race relations in America, and much of that coverage hearkens back to the Civil Right Movement of the 1960s, the same time period in which the first half of The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell is set. You of course address this at various points in the book, as Sam�s friendship with Ernie unfolds due to him being the only African American student in school. And yet, this is not a story solely or primarily concerned with race. Did you think about the race relation issue when you were writing about Ernie and his friendship with Sam?

I did. What I wanted to show was that Ernie was not black to Sam. Ernie was just Ernie, a kid who wanted to be Sam�s friend. Sam looked past the color of Ernie�s skin and Ernie looked past the color of Sam�s eyes to see the beautiful person within. That is what made them so close, because there were no pretenses or pre-conceived notions of the other. They were just two little boys looking for someone to be their friend and they found each other.

At the same time, race cannot be ignored, just as the color of Sam�s eyes cannot be ignored. It is prevalent throughout the United States, and especially back then. So I wanted to create scenes to let the reader know and understand the very real struggles Ernie faced on a daily basis, despite the willingness of some to accept him because of his athletic ability, and later because of his business acumen. I�ve had African American roommates and friends who told me that racism does not disappear simply because a person is a good athlete or a good student. Others are just more adept at hiding it to get what they want out of that person.

This novel falls into an entirely separate genre from your Tracy Crosswhite and David Sloane books, which are all thrillers. What did you most enjoy about writing in a different style of fiction? Did you have any particular challenges in writing this novel that you haven�t faced in your others?

This was the novel I always wanted to write, a story of the heart. I didn�t try to change anything I�ve learned that is crucial to the success of all novels. Readers want to read about great characters doing extraordinary things. Sometimes those novels are thrillers, mysteries, Westerns, or romances. I read, and I enjoy all kinds of books if those books allow me to become a part of the story, to step into the shoes of the character and feel what that character is feeling. I loved being able to write Sam in first person, and I loved finding out how everyone else revolved around him and his life. The challenge for me was not to overwrite the book in narrative, to show and not tell, so that the reader could completely immerse him or herself in the story.

What�s next for you?

The sixth book in the Tracy Crosswhite series is coming in June 2018. A Steep Price is also a very personal story for Tracy and the detectives that are a part of the Violent Crimes Section�s A-Team. It touches on difficult issues of arranged marriages, breast cancer, and seeking justice for those innocent victims of crime.

I�m also working on a novel loosely based upon two true stories. Charles Jenkins, the ex-CIA agent from the David Sloane series finds himself drawn back into the agency and sent to Russia to hunt down an elusive spy responsible for the deaths of several double agents. Instead he finds himself running for his life and desperately trying to escape�only to return to the United States and be put on trial for treason. It�s one of those books in which the reader can never be certain about anything.


Very exciting! Where can you be found on the web?


It was a pleasure to be able to get to know you better today, Robert! Thank you again for dropping by, and best of luck with future endeavors!

Giveaway!

Books � la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell�woohoo! To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What is extraordinary or unique about your life?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Robert and I really want to hear your thoughts! :)

What's extraordinary about my life is how I was born into and raised in two separate cultures, and that has shaped my ability to be open-minded and conscientious as an adult.

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist�a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at Little Bird Publicity!
Giveaway ends May 8th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to continental US residents only�sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

0 coment�rios:

I'd like to welcome Robyn Carr  to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of the 3rd installment of the Sullivan's Crossin...

Interview with Robyn Carr, Author of The Family Gathering + Giveaway (US only)

I'd like to welcome Robyn Carr to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of the 3rd installment of the Sullivan's Crossing series, The Family Gathering from MIRA, a Harlequin imprint!

Welcome to Books � la Mode, Robyn! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

Robyn Carr was a young mother of two in the mid-1970s when she started writing fiction, an Air Force wife, educated as a nurse, whose husband�s frequent assignment changes made it difficult for her to work in her profession. Little did the aspiring novelist know then, as she wrote with babies on her lap, that she would become one of the world�s most popular authors of romance and women�s fiction, that 11 of her novels would earn the #1 berth on the New York Times bestselling books list.

Robyn and her now-retired husband enjoy traveling, often taking research trips together. Their children are grown�her son is an Army surgeon; her daughter, a police detective/hostage negotiator. Robyn says that, in addition to reading her novels and making snide remarks about how she�s used family scenarios to her advantage, they have made her a happy grandmother.

It's amazing to get to feature you today! Readers, here's a bit about the book, which just hit shelves yesterday:

An exceptional storyteller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr beautifully captures the emotionally charged, complex dynamics that come with being part of any family. Readers will laugh and shed a few tears as they discover what it means to be loved, supported and accepted by the people who mean the most.

Having left the military, Dakota Jones is at a crossroads in his life. With his elder brother and youngest sister happily settled in Sullivan�s Crossing, he shows up hoping to clear his head before moving on to his next adventure. But, like every visitor to the Crossing, he�s immediately drawn to the down-to-earth people and the seemingly simple way of life.

Dakota is unprepared for how quickly things get complicated. As a newcomer, he is on everyone�s radar�especially the single women in town. While he enjoys the attention at first, he�s really only attracted to the one woman who isn�t interested. And spending quality time with his siblings is eye-opening. As he gets to know them, he also gets to know himself and what he truly wants.

When all the Jones siblings gather for a family wedding, the four adults are drawn together for the first time in a way they never were as children. As they struggle to accept each other, warts and all, the true nature and strength of their bond is tested. But all of them come to realize that your family are the people who see you for who you really are and love you anyway. And for Dakota, that truth allows him to find the home and family he�s always wanted.

When the book opens, Dakota has been keeping his distance from his family for a number of years, both because he�s been serving in the military and also because of his wandering, lone wolf nature. What is it that ultimately makes him want to reconnect with his siblings and settle down a bit?

He hasn�t had a lot of time for visiting, obviously, and he didn�t rely on his family, though he cared about his siblings and stayed in touch, but once he got out of the Army he decided to visit his brother and sister since they were both in the same Colorado town. He could immediately see they had built stable, functional lives for themselves, a long way from the way they all grew up. They had formed solid relationships. The people they associated with her also stable and functional. It seemed like a good idea to stay a few months to see if he could find stability and happiness of his own so he gets a job. No sooner does the idea form than he meets Sidney Shandon, a bartender in her brother�s pub, and he is immediately taken with her. Besides being pretty, he recognizes her intelligence, humor and independent nature. She is adamant that she won�t date which might even add to the intrigue.

Can you tell us a little about the title of the book? What does it mean for Dakota, and what can readers expect from this particular family gathering?

The Jones siblings are members of a fractured family, having gone their separate ways and built their individual lives as best they can, going off in different directions. Now, with Dakota�s arrival, three of the four of them live in the same town and they begin to get to know each other for the first time in years. They�re very different from the kids who grew up in a converted school bus on their grandmother�s farm. Twenty years later they�ve all changed and they�ve each had to make peace with their childhood traumas. And in getting to know each other as adults, they begin to accept and respect each other, warts and all. Dakota had never counted on his family, they had never counted on him, but all that is about to change.

Sullivan�s Crossing is such a special setting for this series�what�s your favorite part of writing about this town, and do you discover new things about it with each new book?

Colorado really has it all�quaint small towns like Timberlake, the fictional town nearest Sullivan�s Crossing, big cities like Denver and Colorado Springs, chi-chi expensive skiing towns, lots of cattle land and the majestic Rockies. I�ve been building the town since the first book and new people and businesses keep popping up, new stories and characters to explore. In The Family Gathering we meet the amazing Sidney Shandon and her brother who owns the pub where she tends bar. The wildlife is amazing � elk everywhere, sometimes crowding the streets! It�s a wonderful place for outdoorsy types to hike and camp�the beauty of the mountains holds dangers, giving the place that edge of excitement. I can�t wait to see who I meet next. Would you have expected a stalker in Timberlake or Sullivan�s Crossing? Anything can happen!

One of our favorite new characters in this book is Sidney, the wildly intelligent Sullivan�s Crossing bartender who catches Dakota�s eye. What can you tell readers about her character?

Ah, Sid. She�s a PhD in quantum physics, but she doesn�t share that with the good folks of Timberlake. After a crushing divorce, she needs time to be Just Sid, someone who can have ordinary friends, do a regular job, get strong again. So, she has been living with her brother Rob, the single father of two teenage boys. He owns the pub where she tends bar, where most of the patrons know each other, where all the first responders like to stop for dinner. She has taken a break from the UCLA computer lab to massage her personality and form friendships; she has, as a bartender, developed a wicked quick wit. And she doesn�t have any interest in dating. Another relationship or, God Forbid, marriage is just too risky. The way her 7 year marriage ended just about killed her. And she�s very happy living with her nephews, working with her brother. Of course this refusal to date makes her all that much more desirable to Dakota. Did I mention Dakota is hot? Getting a date has never been a problem... till Sid.

By the way, Sid has these stunning though secret credentials and Dakota�s job? He�s driving a garbage truck for the county. They are both, in their private ways, so defiant. I love that.

You�ve penned over 40 novels�many of them debuting at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list!�throughout your impressive career. Where do you get your ideas, and what helps to keep you feeling inspired after all these years?

If you�re focused and always thinking about the story, ideas miraculously come. At least once in every book I think I�ve finally tapped out, that I have no ideas left. Two hours or two days later, I know what to do. I think working everyday generates that. I demand a lot of myself, I work hard, but my writing is my companion�I�d be so lost without it. It�s my best friend and confidant, it�s more than a job or pastime. It�s where I live out my dreams and fears and hopes for the world. I have a chance to create the kind of world I�d like to live in, where people are good to each other and angry and evil people are rejected.

I am inspired because I want to be inspirational. And I learned a long time ago to never underestimate the power of gratitude. When I find myself becoming cynical or ungrateful I write about people who, no matter how stiff and difficult the obstacles, forge ahead. I get to create characters who deserve happiness. Their journey is never easy but so worth the battle. Can you think of a better job? I can�t.


What�s next for you?

I�m at work on the 4th Sullivan�s Crossing novel right now and let me tell you, there are some lovely surprises in store for my readers. There is so much love being negotiated that it seems as if Cupid shot an arrow right into Sullivan�s Crossing. The central characters are two that were just introduced in The Family Gathering but all your favorite characters�California, Maggie, Sierra, Connie, and Sully of course�will be back, all up in each other�s business as ever. We don�t have a title yet but it will be released in January 2019. Then in the spring of 2019 another stand alone women�s fiction, also untitled.

Very exciting! Where can you be found on the web?


It was a pleasure to be able to get to know you better today, Robyn! Thank you again for dropping by, and best of luck with future endeavors!

Giveaway!

Books � la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Family Gathering�woohoo! To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
When is the last time you had a large family gathering? How did it go?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Robyn and I really want to hear your thoughts! :)

Over the winter, I went on a trip to Vietnam with my entire mom's side of the family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins). It was extremely fun!

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist�a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at Little Bird Publicity!
Giveaway ends May 2nd at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to continental US residents only�sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

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I'd like to welcome Peter Golden to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of  Nothing Is Forgotten  from Atria , a Simon &am...

Interview with Peter Golden, Author of Nothing Is Forgotten + Giveaway (US/Can)

I'd like to welcome Peter Golden to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of Nothing Is Forgotten from Atria, a Simon & Schuster imprint!

Welcome to Books � la Mode, Peter! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

Peter Golden is an award-winning journalist, novelist, biographer, and historian. He was born in Newark, New Jersey and grew up in the suburbs of South Orange and Maplewood, New Jersey, where he graduated from Columbia High School. He attended Ohio University for two years then transferred to SUNY Albany, graduating with a BA in Philosophy.

He lives in Guilderland, New York, with his wife, a communication professor at University at Albany.


It's amazing to get to feature you today! Readers, here's a bit about the book, which hits shelves today:

From the beloved author of Comeback Love and Wherever There Is Light, comes a novel about the life-changing journey of a young man who travels from New Jersey to Khrushchev�s Russia and the beaches of Southern France as he finds love and discovers the long-hidden secrets about his heritage.

In 1950s New Jersey, Michael Daniels launches a radio show in the storage room of his Russian-Jewish grandmother�s candy store. Not only does the show become a local hit because of his running satires of USSR leader Nikita Khrushchev, but half a world away, it picks up listeners in a small Soviet city.

There, with rock and roll leaking in through bootlegged airwaves, Yulianna Kosoy�a war orphan in her mid-twenties�is sneaking American goods into the country with her boss, Der Schmuggler.

But just as Michael�s radio show is taking off, his grandmother is murdered in the candy store. Why anyone would commit such an atrocity against such a warm, affable woman is anyone�s guess. But she had always been secretive about her past and, as Michael discovers, guarded a shadowy ancestral history. In order to solve the mystery of who killed her, Michael sets out to Europe to learn where he�and his grandmother�really came from.

Featuring Peter Golden�s signature �vivid characters and strong storytelling� (The Washington Post), Nothing Is Forgotten changes our understanding of the impact of World War II on its survivors and their descendants, and will appeal to fans of novels by Anita Diamant and Kristin Hannah.

As a huge fan of first lines, I�d love to hear the first line of Nothing Is Forgotten. Could you give us a brief commentary on it?
I was never too interested in my family�s history.
I used this line because the story explores why history is important, and I wanted to show the growth of the main character�a crucial feature of a novel. Or at least the novels I enjoy.

Tell us about your road to publication, such as how you first queried, unexpected challenges, and things you picked up along the way.

Nothing Is Forgotten was sold via an outline. It was my third novel. Not much was difficult about that except the 70 pages I produced.

However, my first novel was published by a small press and then picked up by a major publisher. That was a happy accident. It was also after my first two novels had been rejected. There is only one thing to know if you want to publish books: Work at it every day and don�t quit. Ever.


Are the characters from your book based off anyone you know in real life? How much else of your actual life gets written into your fiction?

Yes. Me. And everyone I ever met. And the people I hope to meet. And the people I invent. And the people I dream about. Does it sound like I sometimes confuse reality and fiction? Well, I confess�I do.


Out of all the fantastic books out there, what makes Nothing Is Forgotten stand out from the rest?

Whether Nothing Is Forgotten stands out, I�ll leave to the judgment of readers.

What makes it different is that it deals with the connection between the Cold War and the Holocaust, a history that is rarely explored in novels. Oh, and there is also a love story, because I like novels with love stories.

Blog babes, click "Read more" to find out Peter's best personal and professional advice. We're also hosting a giveaway for a finished copy of Nothing Is Forgotten, so you don't want to miss that either!

Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you had known before getting published.

That one day you�re twenty and, it seems, you wake up one morning and it�s thirty years later. The clich� is right�time flies. Don�t waste it!

Now give us your best personal advice�something you wish you had known when you were younger and would offer to your own kids.

Find out who you are and be that person. Don�t worry what others think, because when you�re old, you�re the only who will have to look back on your life. And you�ll want to keep regrets to a minimum.

Where can you be found on the web?


It was a pleasure to be able to get to know you better today, Peter! Thank you again for dropping by, and best of luck with future endeavors!

Giveaway!

Books � la Mode is giving away one print copy of Nothing Is Forgotten�woohoo! To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
What is something�a specific memory of an experience, person, item�you'll never forget?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Peter and I really want to hear your thoughts! :)

Probably the first time my family and I moved into our new home in Texas when I was a toddler. It was an exciting first experience for me, and such a vivid memory despite how long ago it was. I don't remember much else at that age, though.


Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher�a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at Atria Books!
Giveaway ends April 24th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar on the right for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide�there are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

0 coment�rios: