Lit IT Girl: Debut Author Kristyn Kusek Lewis

Our latest Lit IT Girl: Kristyn Kusek-Lewis Why we love her: Her writing is heartfelt and real.

Her debut: How Lucky You Are (September 4th!)

The scoop on it: An engaging and moving novel about three women struggling to keep their longstanding friendship alive. Waverly, who's always been the group's anchor, runs a cozy bakery but worries each month about her mounting debt. Kate is married to a man who's on track to be the next governor of Virginia, but the larger questions brewing in their future are unsettling her. Stay-at-home mom Amy has a perfect life on paper, but as the horrific secret she's keeping from her friends threatens to reveal itself, she panics.

As life's pressures build all around them, Waverly knows she has some big decisions to make. In doing so, she will discover that the lines between loyalty and betrayal can become blurred, happy endings aren't always clear-cut, and sometimes you have to risk everything to gain the life you deserve.

Our thoughts: As lifelong friends, we loved and appreciated this heartwarming and authentic story about the complexities of female friendship.  (Side note: We also love the charming cover!)

Giveaway: FIVE copies. Leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll select the winners on September 10th after 3pm PST.

Fun fact: Before writing her novel, Kristyn was a writer and editor for many major magazines including Glamour.

Where to read more about Kristyn: Facebook, Twitter and her website


1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? About 25. I made a massive list of agents by finding out who reps authors I love, surfing sites like AgentQuery, and, in a couple of cases, asking for referrals from author friends. The whole process took about six months. I’ll never forget getting the voicemail from my agent saying that she loved my book and would like to represent me. It was a moment that I’d dreamt about for years.

2. What's a line from your "favorite" rejection letter? I wish that I had a good, juicy story but my rejections were actually pretty standard “thanks, but no thanks” letters, and in the cases where agents asked to read the manuscript and ultimately declined, they sent some surprisingly lovely letters. It’s of course a bummer to get a rejection but I just kept reminding myself of Stephen King’s famous story about how, when he was first starting out, he got so many rejections that he hung them on a wall with a metal stake.

3. What was the hardest part about writing your debut novel? Not knowing whether I’d eventually sell it. I took a break from magazine writing, the career I’ve had for the past fifteen years, to focus on the book and I definitely had days when I wondered if I was wasting my time. I’d already written another novel and scrapped it because I just wasn’t in love with it, and I really wanted this one to work. I was ready.

4. What is the best/worst advice you received while you were trying to break into the book biz? I didn’t get any horrible advice but the best that I got was to take the “long view.” In other words, don’t let the day-to-day stuff get in the way of what you ultimately want out of a writing career. This is a business that is completely subjective and constantly changing, and you can’t get yourself down if you have one bad day of writing or get a single rejection or bad review. There are always going to be highs and lows.

5. How did you celebrate your book deal? Champagne, of course! But I’d just had my second child three months earlier so I’m fairly certain that I had a glass and promptly fell asleep on the couch. Glamorous, I know.

6. Who is your writer crush?
 There are so many! Right now, I’d say Gillian Flynn. I’m reading Gone Girl and it is blowing my mind that she managed to write something that is simultaneously smart, funny, and terrifying. But my ultimate is Nora Ephron. In my twenties, I lived a few blocks from her building in New York and there were so many times when I wished I could just pop in and hang out with her. She managed to write about relationships in such a smart yet relatable way.

If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book, what would it be? Only one?! Probably Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Unoriginal, yes, but there’s good reason why that book makes every “best books about writing” list, and her advice about life in general is just so terrifically down to earth.

8. What's on your iPod right now? A bizarre mix of music—Willie Nelson, Jay Z, Mary J. Blige, The Band, Beyonce, that Taio Cruz “Dynamite” song, Dolly Parton, Fugazi, Led Zeppelin. And “Dora the Explorer Party Favorites,” of course (my daughters are 4 and 2).

9. What's your #1 stress reliever? Running. My dad was a big runner and I spent a good part of my early childhood standing on the sidelines of various road races, passing out orange slices to the runners. It definitely rubbed off. That said, I’m a sucker for a spa treatment.

10. Who/what would you place in the center of the Entertainment Weekly bullseye? Can I say the entire Bravo network? My addiction to their lineup is embarrassing—I just can’t get enough of those damn “Housewives.”

Thanks, Kristyn!


Liz & Lisa