Today's guest: Randy Susan Meyers
Why we love her: She's a thoughtful and talented author and we're already anxious for her next novel.
Her latest: The Comfort of Lies (February 12th)
The scoop on it: Five years ago, Tia fell into obsessive love with a man she could never have. Married, and the father of two boys, Nathan was unavailable in every way. When she became pregnant, he disappeared, and she gave up her baby for adoption.
Five years ago, Caroline, a dedicated pathologist, reluctantly adopted a baby to please her husband. She prayed her misgivings would disappear; instead, she’s questioning whether she’s cut out for the role of wife and mother.
Five years ago, Juliette considered her life ideal: she had a solid marriage, two beautiful young sons, and a thriving business. Then she discovered Nathan’s affair. He promised he’d never stray again, and she trusted him.
But when Juliette intercepts a letter to her husband from Tia that contains pictures of a child with a deep resemblance to her husband, her world crumbles once more. How could Nathan deny his daughter? And if he’s kept this a secret from her, what else is he hiding? Desperate for the truth, Juliette goes in search of the little girl. And before long, the three women and Nathan are on a collision course with consequences that none of them could have predicted.
Riveting and arresting, The Comfort of Lies explores the collateral damage of infidelity and the dark, private struggles many of us experience but rarely reveal.
Our thoughts: A captivating novel. A complicated story. Complex characters. We were engaged from the moment we cracked open the book.
Giveaway: TWO copies. Just leave a comment & be entered to win. We'll select the winners after 3pm PST on Sunday, February 10th.
Fun fact: There's an inspirational page on Randy's website for aspiring writers.
CHICK LIT IS NOT DEAD PRESENTS...RANDY SUSAN MEYERS' 5 BEST EVERS
BEST SONG: The more relationships in my rear view, the more I organize my exes according to the sad-song scale: heartbreak song men . . . liar-song men . . . didn’t-mean- to-hurt you-but-oops-I-did song men. Maybe it’s a litmus test of my personality, but though I now know the wisdom of loving a happy-love-song man, I sure do love a great love-gone-wrong song.
In The Comfort of Lies, pile-ups in the intersections of infidelity, adoption, marriage, parenthood and careers create perfect storms for desolate love music. I gathered a playlist eponymous of the particular sadness or strength of each character, and, of course, each rang in a past love nightmare of my own—thus creating a personal blues loop, allowing me to fall down the rabbit hole of melancholia, making me ever more grateful that I ultimately smartened up and married a non-sad song man. In the course, I found perhaps the most gut-wrenching sad-song I ever heard. Perhaps I listened to Ayo’s “Down On My Knees” fifty times during one particular revision. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the triangulation of love quite so plaintive and naked as in this, now favorite, song.
On the other end of the scale, from the perfect-love-moment songs, nothing beats “Come Rain or Come Shine” sung by the great Ray Charles. It’s ‘our song’ and it’s the one I listened to in a loop of stunned-new-love when I met my husband.
BEST BOOK: As reading is close to breathing for me, this is a tough category--but there are two books by a single author that come to mind, so let’s call them twins and include them both. Before and After by Rosellen Brown asks what if your love of your child collides with your moral code—which side will you fall on? And what if this internal battle is also a battle with your husband—the father of your son. Brown does a brilliant job turning the prism of the family to catch the light bending with each character. Tender Mercies breaks your heart, and it breaks it without adornment or fancy footwork. The story of a man who severely injures his wife through an accident of bravado, told from his point of view, explores with the brightest of lights the inside of a marriage after tragedy.
BEST MOVIE: Examining the top four from which I chose (Terms of Endearment, Slap Shot, Schindler’s List, and The Princess Bride) I see how I flip from genre to genre: where is the connective tissue here?) Picking one, I’ll say Schindler’s List.
I was asked by a Holocaust survivor to attend the Boston premiere of this movie. The invitation-only audience was largely made up of survivors and their family. When the curtain closed on this powerful film, the audience was silent but for the sobs. No one stood for at least fifteen minutes. The ability of a filmmaker to use the medium to completely capture an audience, while also bearing witness to history, has no better example than Steven Spielberg.
BEST MOMENT: In the movie of my life, watching kids dance the ‘Electric Slide’ to “Electric Boogie” at Thompson’s Island, a small island off Boston’s shore, was a moment of unmitigated joy. For three years I co-ran an event that brought over 1,000 children together (by bus and boat,) from every neighborhood in Boston—an extraordinarily diverse event for a sometimes over-boundaried city. At the time, the song and dance was gaining traction and when it came up on the loudspeaker (at this huge meadow) kids ranging from ages 7-17 came from everywhere on the field and slipped into lines. There had been no instructions, no exhortations to come dance—it simply happened. The adults followed the Pied Piper children. As though we were part of some spectacular version of West Side Story everyone came together in a magical dance, and unlike the movie, it was only followed by love and laughter.
I only wish smartphones were around then—because it would have ended up on Youtube and the kids could have seen themselves.
BEST ADVICE: If my children follow any advice that I hold close, I hope it is this: Treat others according to the highest standards to which you want to hold yourself, not based on how they treat you.
When my grandmother was 97, I asked her what she would consider the most important piece of advice. “Be nice,” she said. You can’t argue with that, right?