Today's guest: Suzy Duffy
Why we love her: Her books are so much fun!
Her latest: Newton Neighbors
(Out September 26th!) Pre-order here!
The scoop: Crystal Lake-in the suburbs of Newton-is one of the most desirable places to live in Boston, and Newton Neighbors is a romantic comedy about its colorful residents just trying to "live the dream." Things, however, rarely go as planned. The story starts with two fire trucks and a couple of cop cars getting called to the upmarket road, and that's when things begin to heat up. The Ladies of the Lake: Maria's best asset has always been her hot Puerto Rican body, but she sees the effect a new sitter has on her husband, so she decides to fight back the hands of time. Cathi is Maria's best friend and greatest admirer. Her own life is pretty good, too. Still, she can't help being consumed with ambitions to live on the water. She spirals from persuasion to coercion to deceit faster than you can say 'change of address,' but will she succeed? Noreen may seem like the nice little granny from next door. However, it's the quiet ones you need to watch. While facing forty is a nightmare for Maria, Noreen's living large at eighty. She believes "the only thing worse than a weak dollar is a weak martini." Jessica is in America to study. But when she takes a babysitting job in Newton, she gets more than she bargains for in the shape of fine-looking firefighter. We learn soon enough that not all heroes are good-but is bad better? Thankfully we have Ely, Jessica's crazy roommate, who keeps everyone laughing and partying, too. There's Botox, Bollinger, and a randy Bulldog. We have fireworks, fistfights, and family fiestas. It's a story that stretches from Boston, to London, to beautiful Puerto Rico. Welcome to the wet 'n' wild world of Newton Neighbors.
Our thoughts: A fast-paced, fun read that is the perfect escape!
Fun fact: See the EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT of Newton Neighbors below!
Giveaway: Two SIGNED sets of the New England Trilogy series, which includes Newton Neighbors! Just leave a comment to be entered to win. We'll select the winners on Sunday, September 15 after 3pm PST.
Where you can read more about Suzy: Her website, Facebook and Twitter.
LIZ & LISA PRESENT...SUZY DUFFY'S 5 FIRSTS & LASTS: True confessions and being a plant
First Kiss: Are we talking real kiss??? Oooh, I’m fessing up here, because I don’t even think my husband knows this - yet! I was thirteen years old, In France - on a French/Irish culture exchange. I’m not sure how much ‘culture’ my Mom was hoping for but suffice to say I learned a lot that summer…. It was a mid-afternoon disco and I spotted him almost immediately because he was gorgeous - olive skin, blonde hair and blue eyes. Yes - he could be out of one of my books. His name was Loic and he told me both his parents were math professors. I guess teenagers can’t talk about their careers so they talk about their parents’ work instead. Thanks goodness I didn’t speak much French because clearly we’d have had NOTHING in common; future rom com writer and math genius – hello/bonjour?? Anyway during a slow dance he kissed me. I had no idea what was happening because I didn’t know what a ‘proper kiss,’ was but math-boy helped me figure it out… I never saw him again, after that day but it’s a fond memory - my brush with genius.
Last Kiss: There’s a new man in my bed tonight and he’s insatiable. My husband is away so I invited this young gent in. Just an hour ago – at his insistence – I kissed his lips, his forehead, then both his eye lids and his precious little nose because I know he won’t let me very soon. My husband is away so my dear sweet four-year-old son is sleeping with me tonight (& I love it!)
BOOK I READ
First Book: I was slow to start reading because I wrote my first book when I was seven. I always found writing more fun than reading. That said, Enid Blyton’s Famous five made a huge impact on me. She made the mysteries sound like such fun that I thought I might be a private investigator at one point. Then again my overactive imagination might have been an impediment. I don’t really follow the facts, I make them up.
Last Book: I’ve just finished Marian Keyes, The Mystery of Mercy Close. She always delivers.
RISK I TOOK
First Risk I Took: Getting off my bum and learning to walk??? How far back are we going here? In more recent years; moving my five kids, dog and husband from Ireland to the USA was a massive risk. It impacted so many people too. Here’s the thing about risks. We’ll regret more the ones we didn’t take than the one we did. It’s almost always possible to retrace your steps if you make a mistake. If in doubt, take the darn risk! Go for it. I sure don’t regret moving to the USA. I’d never have written Newton Neighbors in Ireland!
Last Risk I Took: The biggest recent risk was letting my gorgeous seventeen-year-old daughter travel to Singapore this summer on work experience. It’s nine thousand, four hundred miles away. She’s never travelled that far from me before and it’s a very different culture. I’m relying on her to make all the right choices and decisions. I worry, but I trust and love her so much, I have to let her go.
First “Aha!” Moment: Um, still waiting. I’m more of a slow-dawn-person than a ping-aha-type. Things percolate with me over time and I evolve beliefs and plotlines. I love the garden and the pace of things there. Maybe I was a plant in a previous life!
Last “Aha!” Moment: Realizing I was a plant in a previous life.
HELL YA! MOMENT
First “Hell yeah!” Moment: Loic in France, all those years ago.
Last “Hell yeah!” Moment: Right here, right now – writing this blog and thinking about my lovely new story Newton Neighbors hitting the world. Is it good? Hell yeah! Is it funny? Hell Heah! Should you buy it? Hell Yeah!
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.
Lots of love always,
LIZ & LISA PRESENT...AN EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT OF...NEWTON NEIGHBORS!
Rick was annoyed with himself for shouting up the stairs and even more so that the sitter was late. What kind of first impression was that? Then the doorbell rang.
His son and the dog sprinted to answer it.
“Cody, you wanna get that?”
Rick was joking, because there was really no way to outrun the ten-year-old. Cody was going through the first-to-be-everywhere phase. To add to the chaos, the Labrador started another of her barking frenzies.
“Quiet, Orga!” Rick yelled at the dog, but it didn’t do any good. He could still hear Alice wailing, and her protests were getting louder not softer. The ruckus downstairs would only unsettle her more.
Damn. He headed for the kitchen to grab a bottle of something to bring to the party. The sooner they got out the better. They needed a break.
Cody had been sulking around the house all afternoon, telling everybody who would listen that he was too old for a sitter. He claimed some of his friends didn’t even have sitters anymore, but when Rick had talked it over with him, it turned out it was the ones with older sisters. Cody had eventually decided if any of his friends found out, he’d say his mom got the sitter for his little sister. Rick agreed that was a great idea.
Rick decided to bring a bottle of champagne to the party because it was a birthday celebration and it might earn him some brownie points with Maria. Then he headed back to the hall to meet the new sitter.
The first thing Rick saw was Cody smiling and the sitter laughing at something his son had said. She was gorgeous. Long blond hair, big eyes, striking features. Rick had met many sitters over the ten years of his son’s life. They had been a normal mix of pretty, plain, fun, dull, but this one was a real beauty. She could have been modelling instead of watching kids.
He pushed the notion out of his mind. “Hi,” he said, his voice a little too jovial. Take it down a notch. “I see you’ve met Cody already.”
The dog was still barking.
“Orga, be quiet.” The hound started sniffing the newcomer instead. He moved the champagne bottle to his left hand so he could shake with his right. “I’m Rick, Cody’s dad.”
“Hullo, I’m Jessica Armstrong.” Her smile was timid, cute. “And I’ve met Cody and Orga.”
Rick felt uncomfortable and his face was hot. Was he blushing? He wondered if that was even physically possible. Wasn’t there an age limit on blushing? The last time he’d glowed this hot, he was in the fourth grade and Judi Schillawaski had—without any warning—kissed him.
This girl was more beautiful than Judi Schillawaski.
“Maria’s upstairs with Alice. She just woke up.” Rick winced when the baby let out another wail. “You might need to play with her for a while. Alice, I mean. You might have to play with Alice, the baby, not Maria, my wife.”
Just stop talking, you idiot!
Jessica laughed. “I’m the eldest of five and love babies, so really, I’m happy to play with Alice.” She glanced at Cody who was surreptitiously studying her. “And I love playing with big boys, too,” she said.
Now it was Cody’s turn to blush. He turned away. If it hadn’t been for his own discomfort, Rick might have felt sorry for the boy. He had clearly spotted that the new sitter was a beauty. The kid was growing up.
Orga started barking again.
“Cody, will you put that damn dog out in the backyard? I’m sorry, Jessica. She gets excited, but she’ll calm down in a few minutes. It’s just because you’re new.”
“Not a problem. Honest, I love dogs, too.”
With the boy gone, they were alone, and Rick felt his body tense. What in the hell was his problem? He was usually good with meeting new people. This one was different.
“Let me show you around,” he said, but the words felt awkward. Until this evening, the sitters had been little more than kids themselves. He’d never felt wrong-footed or goofy like he did now. Get a grip, he chastised himself, and then he gave best his corporate smile. “I’m thinking that’s an English accent?”
“Yes. I’m English, from a town called Dorking, in Surrey. It’s just south of London.”
“Yeah? My wife, Maria, is from Puerto Rico.” Why did I say that? Act normal, you ass! “What are you doing in Newton?”
“I’m over here for a year. Studying at Wiswall College.”
“Oh, that’s cool. It’s just down the road.”
“Yes, it is. I’m so sorry I was a little late this evening. I got lost, but I assure you, Mr. Sanchez, it won’t happen again. That is, if you want me back.”
“Please, call me Rick.”
Jessica had enormous dark blue eyes which seemed bigger now that she looked anxious. He got the urge to reach out, but that would have been ridiculous. Inappropriate. Against the law?
He laughed louder than he meant to. “No problem about being late. We’re pretty relaxed in this house. If you keep the kids content, Maria and I will be more than happy.” They walked into the living room.
“Oh, an Xbox.” Jessica grinned at Cody, who was back from putting the dog out. “How good are you on this thing? Because I have to warn you, I’m an ace.” She winked at the ten-year-old. Cody’s eyes lit up, and he lunged for the controls.
“You’ve just secured a place in my son’s heart, Jessica. Xbox is his life. If you’re as good as him, he’ll never want another sitter.”
She sat down next to Cody and took the other controller. Then she glanced at Rick. “Call me Jessie.”
He nodded. There was a time when something like this—seeing an incredibly good-looking woman—would have fired him up. Rick would have had all the witty one-liners, all the charm he required, but time had softened him. Eleven years of marriage, two kids, and the fact he spent more time at the country club than the nightclub all meant he’d lost his edge. How could he have let that happen?
Rick watched the two of them settle onto the sofa. Seeing the gorgeous young sitter with the game controller was a reminder that he was ancient in comparison. She had more in common with Cody than with him.
Rick and Maria were heading out to yet another fortieth party, but the stunning blonde on his living room sofa made him think it would be a lot more fun to stay in than head out.
Would you get a grip? You could almost be her dad—almost.