We are so excited to have our friend and incredibly talented author, Sarah Jio, kick off our brand spankin' new feature today! We'll be asking authors about their "Best Evers" and the why behind them. And don't be afraid to chime in with yours too! Our guest today: Sarah Jio
Why we love her: We fell in love with her debut, The Violets of March, and have been girl crushin' ever since!
Her latest: Blackberry Winter
The scoop: Seattle, 1933. Single mother Vera Ray kisses her three-year-old son, Daniel, goodnight and departs to work the night-shift at a local hotel. She emerges to discover that a May-Day snow has blanketed the city, and that her son has vanished. Outside, she finds his beloved teddy bear lying face-down on an icy street, the snow covering up any trace of his tracks, or the perpetrator's.
Seattle, 2010. Seattle Herald reporter Claire Aldridge, assigned to cover the May 1 "blackberry winter" storm and its twin, learns of the unsolved abduction and vows to unearth the truth. In the process, she finds that she and Vera may be linked in unexpected ways...
Our thoughts: Sarah does a beautiful job of weaving mystery into this thrilling tale. And we loved every page of it. What are you waiting for-go grab a copy!
Giveaway: FIVE copies! Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win. We'll choose the winners after 3pm PST on Tuesday, October 2nd. Good luck! Remember, our giveaways are US/Canada only. Thanks!
Fun Fact: Sarah rented a houseboat to write her next book. Check out the pictures here!
CHICK LIT IS NOT DEAD PRESENTS...SARAH JIO'S BEST EVERS
Song: I have so many songs that are meaningful to me because of their significance at various times in my life, but a favorite would have to be something from U2, and it would probably have to be "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." I love the intro to this song, and I love how it tells a story of always being excited about what's around the corner in life, and the message to keep moving forward to be your best self and to accomplish new things. It's an incredible challenge, actually. (On a side note, if I ever make it into the big time, I want to make a significant contribution to Bono's One foundation--which is especially focused on improving the lives and health of the impoverished in Africa--and I would not be sad if he wanted to thank me by playing a teensy tiny, improvisational acoustic concert in my backyard for my closest family and friends. A girl can dream, right?) On that note, I also love, love, love "Here's to Life" by the great Shirley Horn. She sings, "I've had my share, I've drank my fill, and even though I'm satisfied, I'm hungry still, to see what's down another road, beyond a hill, and do it all again. … I've learned that all you give is all you get, so give it all you've got … So here's to life, and every joy it brings. So here's to life, to dreamers and their dreams…" When I'm 90 years old, I want to feel this way. I want to look back on my life and think, "yes, that was absolutely awesome." And then I want to put on some great shoes, and go out to a great restaurant, have a glass of wine and savor another amazing day.
Book: Maeve Binchy passed away recently, and honestly, the news hit me pretty hard. I began reading her books in high school and they resonated with me then, and now. I always look back on those reading experiences and credit her with teaching me so much about character development, story, plot and heart. She was a one-and-only. And her books "Tara Road" and "Quentins" will always be on my favorite list.
Movie: Absolutely and positively "Sleepless in Seattle." I'm going to tear up here, as Nora Ephron, the amazing woman who wrote the screenplay, also recently passed away. (Which means that I've lost two of my icons this year.) I think I was in junior high when I first saw this movie, and it was spellbinding for me—not only because I grew up in a community right outside of Seattle, but because of the beautiful love story of hope after great loss. I watch it every year, and it always has the same effect on me: wow. In some ways, it inspired the direction of my fifth novel, recently sold to Penguin, which takes place on a houseboat in Seattle. My husband, very generously, offered to rent me a houseboat on Lake Union in Seattle (just across the water from the actual houseboat where 'Sleepless' was filmed) as my writing "office" until New Year's, where I can sneak away and work on the novel. I'm loving it!
Life Moment: Wow, such an important question, and one that has many answers, so I will cheat and give you a mini-movie: The day I met my husband, and the day I married him; the day my first baby was born; the day that my grandfather died; the day I learned that my ovarian cyst was not cancerous; the day my son's blood test for leukemia came back negative; the day I stepped foot in Paris for the first time, all alone; the day I bought my first house; the day I walked into a bookstore and found my first novel on a shelf.
Piece of Advice: There are many mottos and words of wisdom that ring true for me, but in my writing life, I've learned to live by this very important principle (so, aspiring writers, this one's for you!): I'm a big idea person and am always (always!) coming up with a new novel idea (it's a blessing and a curse), but I learned a long time ago to only stick with a works-in-progress that a.) haunt me by day, and b.) keep me up at night. A story can be good, or it can be really, really good. And I've learned to differentiate the two by how much my characters grab me. If they just aren't, then I move on to another project. My reasoning is this: If a story can't hold my interest wholly and completely than I can never expect it to capture my readers in the same way. I truly take this to heart in my daily writing life, and I've given up on many novel starts for this very reason.